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Thursday, 26 January 2012

161 Islamic missionaries deports from Sri Lanka

Immigration controller Chulananda Perera says they are members of Tabligh Jamat, a group founded in India to spread the teachings of Islam.


He said Monday they arrived in Sri Lanka as tourists but were found to be propagating Islam in several parts of the country.


Perera said they include citizens of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and some Arab countries.


About 7 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are Muslims. About 74 percent are Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, while about 18 percent others are Tamils, who are predominantly Hindus or Christians.

Dollar becoming more Stronger against Rupee


In the Intra-day trade this month rupee become a record low of 91.28 to the doller, Analysts says that this is due to the country economic health and weakening current account.


According to the data of State Bank of Pakistan The current account recorded a provisional deficit of $2.154 billion in the first six months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with a surplus of $8 million in the same period last year.


Dollar is becoming more stronger as compared to the Rupee due to the economic pressure on rupee.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Imran Khan Visit to Bhalwal

The time of Nawaz Sharif gone, The tsunami of PTI can never be stop by the President Zardari and Nawaz.


The visit to bhalwal was very success and he said revolution has reached out to villages.  He said that “Rural people should get more justice. A farmer works hard throughout the year, but he hardly gets the right price of his crops. Sugar mafia is sitting in assemblies. President Zardari too has many sugar mills.”


He also questioned to the prime minister that “If you are innocent, why don’t you write the letter.”


He said that the backbone of Zardari government is PML-N.


Vice President of PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi also addressed the gathering of Bhalwal.


He stated that PPP government failed and due to their poor performance people of the country did not give the votes to PPP.


Qureshi criticized the PPP government, saying it has failed in controlling inflation, providing security to the common people of the country and arresting Benazir Bhutto’s killers.

Mansoor Ijaz decline to come Pakistan


Layer of Mansoor Ijaz stated that Mansoor want security on his arrival to pakistan.


Akram Sheikh Advocate told the media persons adding he will get his statement recorded while sitting in his office.


He also said that Mansoor Ijaz has many truth and secrets about memo case and he does not want to trigger confrontation among institutions.


Akram Sheikh Advocate said that After having defied the orders of the Supreme Court (SC), the government did not accede to comply with the decision made up at the Corps Commanders meetings.


Mansoor Ijaz Also requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to record his hearing in abroad, as he is not coming to Pakistan due to some security reasons.


Ijaz told that “I am all the willing to come to Pakistan And, through my evidences, the impression will be dispelled that I don’t want to come to Pakistan,”

Pak Vs Eng 2nd Test Match

England and Pakistan are playing 3 test Match series, In the first match Pakistan won and this is the second test match.


Pakistan will start this match with the same winning combination but some changes in England Team can be occurred.


Pakistani players told that they are working hard and they want to win this series as they won the previous series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.


Former Pakistani Spinner Saqlain Mushtaq said that there is no problem in Saeed Ajmal’s bowling action. Many news was spread after the 1st test match because Saeed Ajmal took the 10 wickets in that test match.


Saqlain also revealed how he developed the doosra at a young age on the rooftops of Lahore and why some off spinners struggle to bowl the delivery, despite being excellent bowlers.


“The doosra was a blessing for me. It was all my prayers answered in one. I used to ask the Almighty to give me something special, something that was unique and the Almighty answered my prayers and gave me the ability to bowl the doosra.”

Syria FM signals crackdown will continue

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem spoke as Gulf Arab countries announced they were pulling their monitors from an Arab League mission in Syria.


The Gulf Cooperation Council also called on the U.N. Security Council to take all “necessary measures” to force Syria to implement a League peace plan announced Sunday, which Damascus has rejected.


Al-Moallem brushed off the threat of the Security Council.


“If they go to (U.N. headquarters in) New York or the moon, as long as we don’t pay their tickets, this is their business,” he told reporters at a televised news conference.


He also suggested that the military crackdown will continue.


“It is the duty of the Syrian government to take what it sees as necessary measures to deal with those armed groups that spread chaos,” he said.


Syria has long held that a foreign conspiracy is behind the uprising, not peaceful protesters seeking change in one of the most authoritarian states in the Middle East. On Tuesday, al-Moallem said it was clear that some Arab countries have joined the conspiracy.


Shortly before al-Moallem’s appearance, the GCC announced that it was withdrawing from the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria because of the country’s failure to implement League measures aimed at ending 10 months of violence.


“The decision was made after careful and thorough monitoring of events in Syria and the conviction by the GCC that the bloodshed and the killing of innocent people there is continuing,” the statement by the six-nation GCC said.


An official at the Cairo-based Arab League said an emergency meeting of permanent representatives of the group’s 22 members will be held later Tuesday in the Egyptian capital to “review the situation” following the GCC’s decision.


The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


The GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, has long advocated referring Syria to the Security Council, putting it in conflict with other Arab states.


Its statement called on the international community “to shoulder its responsibilities,” and said that the Security Council should take the “necessary measures” to make Damascus comply with an Arab League initiative, which calls for the creation of a national unity government in two months to preside over a transition leading to elections.


The proposal also provides for Assad to give his vice president full powers to cooperate with the proposed government to enable it to carry out its duties during a transitional period.


Damascus has rejected it as a violation of national sovereignty.


The 150-member observer mission, which includes 30 monitors from the Gulf nations, has encountered heavy criticism for its failure to stop the Assad regime’s crackdown, which along with other violence has left an estimated 5,400 dead.


Saudi Arabia had announced Monday that it would pull out its observers.


“This is their business,” al-Moallem said. “Maybe the Saudi brothers in the mission don’t want to see the realities on the ground, which don’t satisfy their plots,” he added./AP

Friday, 20 January 2012

‘American Rambo’ goes berserk – Results of initial investigation

An American diplomat gunned down two Pakistani young motorcyclists near Mozang Crossing, shortly after they intercepted him as he was fleeing after crushing another bike rider to death at Jail Road on Thursday afternoon, eyewitnesses said. Even after killing three people, the Americans went on the rampage as the USZ Consulate vehicles also hit and injured over a dozen people who came in their way or tried to stop them when they were escaping from the crime scene. The killer, identified as Raymond Davis, an undercover USZ spy who is working as technical advisor at the USZ Consulate General in Lahore, told the police that he shot dead the boys in ‘self-defence’ as they were robbers. However, police investigators and local residents said the boys were gentlemen and they had no criminal record. The police have registered two separate FIRs, including one of murder case under Section 302 of the PPC, against the diplomat and are investigating.


The terrible incident sparked anti-American protests in different parts of the city while the religious parties have announced protests today after Friday prayers. Sources revealed that the police handed over the so-called diplomat to the USZ Consulate covertly late on Thursday night. However, the city police chief claimed that Raymond Davis was in their custody. Replying to a query, he said no doubt the diplomats enjoyed some immunity, “but I think in case of killings they don’t.” The police are also investigating as to why the American was carrying arms when he was traveling on the city roads without prior information and armed protection.


According the police sources, two vehicles of the USZ Consulate (white colour Honda VIT-1.8 LEC-5545 and a land cruiser Parado LZQ-6970) were moving towards Qartaba Chowk from Shadman Crossing when the over-speeding pink colour land cruiser hit a motorcycle at about 2:20pm. Davis was sitting in white colour car and he was following the land cruiser. As a result, the motorcyclist, later identified as Ubaid-ur-Rahman, 25, a trader in Shah Alam Market, sustained multiple wounds and died on the spot. As the USZ diplomats tried to escape from the scene, local shopkeepers and passers-by started chasing him. Two young motorcyclists, who witnessed the deadly accident, also started chasing the diplomat, intercepted his car and managed to stop it near Qartba Chowk.
“The boys were chasing the Americans on humanitarian ground as they (USZ officials) were fleeing from the crime scene after crushing a motorcyclist instead of shifting him to the hospital”, Mahmood Khan, an eyewitness said.
Davis, from inside the car, opened indiscriminate fire with his Beretta pistol using hollow point bullets. An orphan youth Faizan Haider, 23, and his pillion riding friend, unidentified so far, sustained multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot. Sources further revealed that another two American diplomats managed to flee and reached the consulate on the land cruiser.
“According to our knowledge, all the three Americans are undercover agents of Blackwater, a notorious American security firm, also known as Xe Services”, a source said.
The police sources said Faizan, a resident of Ravi Road, was a thorough gentleman and was carrying a licensed pistol with him.
“His elder brother Kamran Haider was shot dead by his rivals a couple of months back. The killers are on interim bail these days. Therefore, Faizan used to carry pistol with him for self-protection. He was also pursuing the murder case of his brother in a local court. This is true that Faizan Haider was carrying pistol with him but he did not fire even a single shot”, a senior police officer said, adding that the deceased and his other family members had no criminal record.


Police investigators said and added that they also recovered the pistol and bullets from the crime scene. As the people gathered on the spot and tried to capture the killer, the drivers accelerated the cars and managed to flee from the spot. Later, the USZ vehicles got stuck in the traffic in Old Anarkali area, where DSP Safdar Raza Kazmi along with a heavy police contingent managed to stop the vehicle. Davis took out his gun and pointed at the policemen, forcing them to leave the spot but to no avail, an eyewitness said, adding, the police managed to took them to the nearby police station, from where later they were shifted to the office of Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).


Sources revealed that neither the diplomat informed the local administration prior to his ‘special assignment’, he was leaving for, nor he got police security. Medical experts and investigators said that Faizan Haider sustained nine bullets while his friend was shot four times. They were rushed to the Services Hospital, where doctors pronounced them dead. The police handed over the bodies to the morgue for autopsy.
“The killer after shooting the boys came out of his car and made video of the incident using his mobile camera. The boy was breathing his last when the killer was making video clips”, an eyewitness said.


The police chief said that “He is an American national working as Technical advisor in USZ Consulate. He is in our custody and we are investigating.” The police have also impounded the vehicle of the killer. The family members of the deceased Ubaid-ur-Rehman refused to receive his dead body at the hospital. “We will not perform his last rites until the killer is hanged”, Sajjad-ur-Rehman brother of the deceased told reporters outside the hospital. Soon after the incident, hundreds of people gathered on the crime scene, blocked the road and staged strong protest demonstration by setting the tyres on fire, disrupting the traffic flow for hours at the busy road during rush-hours. The killer also told the police that a pedestrian was killed by a speeding car from the USZ consulate which came to his help. USZ Consulate officials told police that the American went “patriotic” in “self defense”. USZ embassy officials also confirmed that an American was involved. They also claimed that the men were pursuing the American in his car. The killer told the police that he pulled out his pistol in self-defence. The USZ diplomat’s car had several bullet holes in the front windscreen as the killer fired several shot from inside. Later he came out and opened more shots to ensure on-spot-death of the boys whose fault was only to chase the murderer’s car to catch him for killing an innocent motorcyclist and then running away.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Connectivity between Moscow, Lahore & Karachi Blasts

On January 25, 2011 two blasts detonated just after the Magrib prayers in Lahore and Karachi. In Lahore at least 17 people embraced shahadat (killed), over 70 injured and some individuals are in critical condition   in a powerful explosion at Bhati Gate near Kerbala Gamay Shah in a mourning procession. Out of killed six were police individuals.  According to the witnesses and Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore, the blast took placed when 14 or 15 years old Child carrying a bag was stopped at the police entry point for checking purpose.


Another powerful blast rocked Malir 15 area of Karachi in which a motorcyclist hit the Police mobile Van and exploded himself once he has been asked to stop by the elements of law enforcing agency.  In this blast two police persons got shahdat (killed) and five individuals injured. The similar nature of blast took place in Russia at the evening of January 24 when a suicide bomber detonated in the international baggage claim area of Moscows Domodedovo Airport, which rusulted into killing of at least 31 innocent people. More than 130 people were also wounded in the attack.


The above narrated incidents are giving clear cut indication of involvement of RAW’s hand due to the visual pattern of terrorists’ attacks. The timing of blasts, selection of soft targets, use of motorbikes, types of explosive and claiming of attacks by an unknown planted Jehadi organization are some of the indicators  reflect that there is a single planner of intelligence organization behind these suicidal missions. Probability of illicit involvement of Israeli and Indian intelligence agency could not be ruled out by alleging Taliban or others Muslims. According to the sources, Plan of defaming Muslims and targeting Pakistan has been prepared in the nerve centre of RAW in collaboration of Israeli Intelligence agency. MI-6 of UK also provided them tacit support. In the first instance they started a deliberate propaganda against Pakistan community based in Uk, spreading rumors against the government and supporting rebels of Balochistan. Then they planned to hit the processions of Shia’s community and Data Ganj Bakhsh Shrine in Lahore and Karachi, whereas in Russia, tried to widen and creating the gap between Christians and Muslim communities while carrying out blasts at the airport. In this regard probably, the Indian intelligence agency does have Mossad and Western Intelligence Agencies’ support too.


There is a strong perception in Muslim Ummah that India, Israel and some of their Western masters has the agenda to pose them as terrorists, extremists and criminals. For example Andrew Norfolk field a report on Child sex trafficking and exploitation of white underage girls by gangs within UK were published in the daily times on January 5 and 6, 2010.The report revealed that 14 court cases since 1997 in which 56 sex offenders were convicted, comprising 3 whites and 53 Asian with majority of them being people of Pakistani origin but it does not identify the ethnic background of other individuals. Singling out one ethnic community is aimed to target the Pakistani community. In this context Jack Straw, the former Labor Home Sectary who during the BBC News night programme on January 8 2011 mentioned of cultural problem in the Pakistani community.  Probably, he has forgotten to mention the sex free society of his country, which in fact is the basic root cause of the dilemma. Thus all this propaganda, overt and covert terrorism is the part of their strategy to degrade Muslim community as whole and targeting Pakistan in particular. It is evident from Pakistan’s internal political and security situation that it is passing through a very critical era of her history. Its traditional rival with the tacit support of Israel is clearly found involve in launching terrorism, supplying arms to the rebels, creating political instability  by supporting anti Pakistan elements, India actually also has the desire to divert global  attention  away from her intelligence agencies and Col Prohit activities against minorities . It has also been learned that the wife of Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Chief, Hemant Karkare is going to file a case against RAW in the Indian Supreme Court for murdering of his loving Husband. It is notable here that Karkare was suspectedly killed by RAW during Mumbai Attack in 2008.


Thus, in the light of above mentioned discussion we can find out that there is conspicuous connectivity between Moscow, Karachi and Lahore blasts. It also help in unveiling of hidden connection between Mossad, RAW and MI-6.  To fight back the terrorism there is need of unity amongst the political parties, the parties’ leadership and ruling authorities should show cooperation in fighting terrorism rather than pulling each others legs and indirectly facilitating our rivals in accomplishing of her agenda against Pakistan.  President, Prime Minister and COAS has condemned the blasts against innocent people.

Former U.S. Asset Exposes Tony Blair’s Legacy of Deception and 911

He’s got the smirking grin of a politician who knows that he got away with his crimes. He escaped responsibility for his political murders and the full brunt of moral outrage for the wasteful public sacrifice on his behalf.


I can see it in his eyes. They don’t know half the truth. They don’t know they’re asking the wrong questions. I’m scott free.


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair got a second grilling in London last week over his decision to force Britain into the Iraq War, though U.N. weapons inspectors had uncovered no caches of illegal weapons to justify the invasion. Iraq was already broken by United Nations sanctions and had no capacity for self defense at all.


In the aftermath of sectarian strife and daily bombings, Blair’s delusion of nation-building has collapsed. Not so his preening moral rectitude to justify the War.


That smirk tells it all. Blair knows his legacy of public deception has prevailed.


Until now.


What the British people don’t realize is that up to this point, while Blair’s government fabricated nonsense stories of Pre-War Intelligence and phony moral arguments, intelligence Assets involved in Pre-War Iraq have been locked up in prison or otherwise silenced by phony indictments that functioned as a gag on political discourse. So much for the moral courage of Washington’s favorite puppy dog.


I myself covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations in New York from August, 1996 until March, 2003. A few weeks after requesting to testify before Congress about a comprehensive peace framework that would have fulfilled all U.S. and British objectives without killing a single Iraqi child, I got indicted as an “Iraqi Agent” in “conspiracy with the Iraqi Intelligence Service.”


I got hit with all the bells and whistles of the Patriot Act– secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. My demands for a trial were blocked to protect the government. Instead, I “disappeared” into prison on Carswell Air Force Base in Texas for 11 months, where I faced threats of indefinite detention up to 10 years without a trial. Actually that proved to be the least of my worries. In prison, I had to fight off a Justice Department demand to forcibly drug me with Haldol—a rhinoceros tranquilizer that imitates the effects of Parkinson’s Disease—so that I could be “cured” of knowing the unhappy truth about the Iraqi Peace Option and Iraq’s substantial contributions to the 9/11 investigation.


Making matters worse, my team had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s private staff and the Office of Counter Terrorism in August, 2001. I was definitely persona non grata at the White House and 10 Downing Street.


My indictment continued five years. It ended five days before the inauguration of President Obama. Those five years gave pro-war leaders in Washington and London ample time and free rein to invent a totally fictitious story about Iraq and anti-terrorism that beefed up their personas in the corporate media.


I watched it all on prison television at Carswell Air Force Base. And I watched it again when Blair testified last week. In the absence of public knowledge, Blair has manipulated silence and secrecy to his own advantage. He has abused security classifications to obfuscate his weakness and policy mistakes.  And Blair’s government has continued to promote policies that have caused grave harm to global security, and perhaps most ironically, the War on Terrorism.


Unhappily for Blair’s legacy of deception, today Assets are free from prison and false indictment. Now it is our day to defend the public’s right to disclosure and accountability.


And so I challenge the British Government to summon Blair back to face the Inquiry. Only this time the British people should ask Blair about the comprehensive peace framework negotiated by the CIA in the two years before the War.


Oh never fear. MI-6 tracked our back channel talks exhaustively, even appearing at restaurants in New York at lunches with senior diplomats on the Security Council. British Intelligence had full knowledge of the Peace Option. Blair’s top intelligence staff understood that every single objective demanded by Washington and London could be achieved through peaceful means.


That included major oil contracts for the United States, and a package of highly innovative democratic reforms proposed by Baghdad to guarantee the successful repatriation of Iraqi Exiles and international election monitoring. Iraq also offered major reconstruction contracts for U.S (and British) corporations in any post-sanctions period. Iraq promised massive engineering contracts, translating to thousands of jobs and billions in revenues for any U.S. (or British) corporation that helped rebuild Iraqi infrastructure after sanctions.


Everything the U.S and Britain wanted was free for the taking. No blood had to be spilt. And this was no last ditch appeal for peace. It was a rock solid framework, with careful attention to all potential flash points for future conflict identified by the CIA. The truth is not remotely similar to what the international community has been told.


Once the British people understand the right line of questions, let us start again— with the truth this time. For the sake of historical integrity, Tony Blair should face the people to answer questions that would have been asked if Assets like myself had not been locked in prison to protect pro-War leaders in Washington and London. If Tony Blair deceives the British people in this next round of questioning, let him face criminal prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice, like any other British citizen who lies under oath.


For that matter, I am prepared to stand before Parliament myself—as one of the very few Assets covering Iraq before the War. I am ready to look the people in the eye, and raise my hand to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Assets are primary sources of intelligence, in direct contact with people and events after all. As it stands, for all the tens of thousands of pounds financing this inquiry, the British people don’t know anything. Why not ask those of us who do?


That would wipe the smirk off Tony Blair’s face. Because now Assets are free from prison and phony indictments. And Tony Blair’s legacy of deception is finished.


Susan Lindauer covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years before the invasion.

Is Osama Bin Laden In India?

Osama Bin Laden surprised everyone in late 1990s when he escaped from the Gulf to hide at an unexpected place: Sudan.  Is it that the al-Qaeda chief is repeating history by choosing South Asia’s least likely place to hide?


Osama bin Laden’s disappearance since late 2001 despite a massive high-tech military and intelligence hunt involving assets and agents across several regions is strengthening a conclusion reached by many analysts that the al-Qaeda leader might have sought an unexpected hiding spot—India.


CIA has established an advanced information and intelligence gathering network in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the past nine years. The operation in Pakistan has reportedly recruited tribal men, garbage collectors and even doctors in hospitals in Pakistani towns and cities in the hope that an ailing bin Laden might be spotted somewhere. The failure to uncover any leads is forcing some analysts to dust off old pieces of information that were dismissed or not pursued for a variety of reasons.


India’s name came up frequently in intelligence briefs on the bin Laden hunt in the early months after the rout of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan in November 2001. This information was dismissed by the US intelligence community on the suspicion that the Pakistanis might have planted it to defame archrival India. There was also concern the information might have been planted by Al-Qaeda members as a diversionary tactic, meant to create breathing space for their hunted leader.


But a small breakthrough last summer refocused attention on India.


Before the Indian connection is explained, a word on the authenticity question of recent bin Laden tapes is necessary.


At least four different audio tapes surfaced last year carrying messages from Osama bin Laden. The year 2010 was not good for these bin Laden podcasts. Compared to each year since 2001, this was the first time that bin Laden tapes were met with widespread public skepticism inside and outside the United States. Never before were al-Qaeda leader’s voice and video releases so scrutinized and questioned. One reason for this was Osama fatigue. The news media and public opinion had lost interest in bin Laden ‘new tape’ releases. It no longer generated the same excitement. But there was a bigger issue this time. Eight years into America’s Afghan war, more and more Americans and others had begun questioning the credibility of the tapes.  At question was not just how these tapes were produced but also the full cycle of their release, methods of delivery, and final airing.


BIN LADEN TAPES IN 2010


Bin Laden released four tapes in 2010.  On 29 January, he came out with an audio tape blasting President Obama’s hazy position on climate change. This was a major departure for bin Laden. Climate change debate is hot in the United States and parts of Europe but hardly attracts any popular interest in the Middle East and Asia. For bin Laden to make this statement would not have won him any new admirers in the Middle East. But what it did was to embarrass the antiwar liberal camps in the US and Europe who largely also oppose US government’s position on climate change. Another new aspect in this audio release was bin Laden offering praise to an antiwar American activist, Noam Chomsky, who is a renowned critic of US government, CIA and the US military. Never before had bin Laden praised US persons by name in his audio and video tapes. The move, he would have certainly known, could have hurt Mr. Chomsky in the eyes of ordinary Americans and provided easy fodder in the hands of US hawks to discredit Chomsky’s antiwar message. The tape was aired by Al Jazeera in Qatar and the channel refused to explain how it obtained the tape.


A week earlier, bin Laden released an audio tape praising an attempt by a Nigerian citizen to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on 25 December 2009. The one-minute audio tape, aired by Al Jazeera, endorsed the act but stopped short of claiming responsibility for it. The said incident was an amateur act by all standards of terror acts, poorly organized and with little chance of succeeding. It was not clear why bin Laden would want to be associated with it.  Mr. bin Laden also showed a sense of humor in the purported audio tape, saying his was a message ‘from Osama to Obama.”  This play on the name was strange. It served no purpose except to embarrass President Obama in front of American extremists who have been accusing him of being a closet Muslim.


In March, Bin Laden released another tape warning the US government it would kill American hostages if the accused in the 9/11 attack jailed in Guantanamo were executed. The irony in this tape, which many US commentators did not miss, was that al-Qaeda had already killed Americans whenever a chance offered itself, so how was this threat really a new threat? The progress in the trial of Guantanamo detainees was slow when this tape came out. Reports suggested that President Obama was resisting pressure from US military to expedite the trials because of legal and constitutional reasons. Bin Laden’s tape served to renew pressure on Obama to resume the trials.


And finally, in October, bin Laden released an audio tape warning to kill five French citizens kidnapped in Niger if France does not withdraw troops from Afghanistan. This was a bizarre message from the Al-Qaeda leader. The reason is simple. The Frenchmen were kidnapped by a little known local group in Niger that calls itself Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghrib. US intelligence officials refer to it by the acronym AQIM. The problem is that no one knows where this AQIM is really based. The best explanation coming from US sources is that this is a group of militants who, according to one American source, used to ‘roam the Sahara desert’ before coming together and ‘pledging allegiance’ to Osama bin Laden. How intelligence professionals can blindly accept the ‘Al-Qaeda credentials’ of any group coming forward and ‘pledging allegiance’ to bin Laden while sitting in another continent is a question that remains unanswered.


The strange part is that the kidnappings actually neatly fitted with the international competition over uranium mines in Niger where these kidnappings occurred. Imagine five Frenchmen kidnapped from a uranium mining town in Niger, where they were in fierce competition, and then the justification for the kidnapping comes from Al-Qaeda chief in an audio tape released some 2,000 miles away.  This is eerily similar to Chinese engineers kidnapped or killed in and around the new strategic Pakistani port city of Gwadar in 2006 and 2007 where countries like India, Iran, UAE and the United States were and continue to be opposed to Chinese presence and involvement for strategic reasons. When the Chinese were targeted, the responsibility was conveniently shouldered by a new group called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as TTP or Pakistani Taliban. This new Pakistani Taliban, which borrowed its name from the original Afghan Taliban, gave a clumsy explanation for why it decided to attack Chinese interests in Pakistan while claiming to fight a jihad against United States. It said it did it in order to embarrass Pakistan’s pro-US government. The skeptics were not sure Pakistan’s pro-US government was embarrassed. What is for sure is that this was part of efforts to keep China out of a strategically important nation.


WHO RELEASES THESE TAPES?


There is a full delivery cycle to Osama bin Laden’s tapes. They are recorded, edited, copied and then transported to reach their final destination on the screen of a television news channel. Al Jazeera has received most of these video and audio tapes, with few going to other Arab and western networks.


For some reason, the government of the United States and its allies in the war on terror never pursued this trail as hard as they pursued terror financing, for example. Not that it would be easy. In most cases, unknown individuals dropped the tapes at the residence or at the local offices of Al-Jazeera correspondents in Islamabad or Peshawar.


But there has been another very prolific source of Al-Qaeda tapes other than al-Jazeera. This second source is SITE.  It is short for Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute. It was founded in 2002 as a private intelligence group by Rita Katz, an Iraqi born Israeli and US citizen. She served in the Israeli military. In 2008 she closed the institute and established SITE Intel Group. Its website describes the company in the following words: ‘Rapid, Full Translations of Primary Source Jihadist Media and Access to Jihadist Videos.’  This is a marketing niche that no one has thought of before and perfectly suited to the post-9/11 US security and military doctrines. In short, she combs the Internet for sites and chat rooms where al-Qaeda and Islamic groups post messages, press releases and audiovisual material. She does not reveal the identity of her clients but the company has been engaged by the Clinton and the Bush administrations.


Many have accused SITE and Ms. Katz of turning terrorism into an industry. Her strong links to the Israeli military and intelligence community provide context to her work.


Israel’s threat perception is very simple: Muslims pose a threat. Period. There are many Israelis who wish their security and military establishments would change this threat perception because all Muslims cannot be a threat. Interestingly, Ms. Katz and SITE has carried this paranoia to Washington DC. In 1999, when FBI and CIA could not find enough evidence to say al-Qaeda posed a global threat, terror experts in the government hired SITE to build a case against al-Qaeda. This case helped in propelling Al-Qaeda, a little known group in the Middle East before 9/11, into the coveted position of America’s main adversary in the world, a spot previously occupied by the former USSR.


There is one more country besides Israel that shares a similar threat perception as Israel. This country is India.


THE INDIAN LINK


The Bush administration worked hard and quite successfully in convincing the Indians that China posed a threat to India and that countering China will propel India to a superpower status. But despite Indian military buildup to counter China, it is Pakistan and Islamophobia that drives Indian policymakers. Hindu religious fundamentalism and inaccurate notions about geography and history force the Indian ruling elite to consider Pakistan and Muslims as a major threat. Historically, of all the foreign invaders of India, Muslims are the only ones to rule India for more than ten centuries until it was ‘liberated’ by the British Empire. This history weighs heavily on the Indian psyche and drives Indian policy toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.


During the 1990s, and thanks to this common threat perception, India and Israel started working closely to counter Islam. How paranoid these two countries are can be gauged from the fact that Islam is not a monolith political force. Muslim countries and nations are diverse and do not constitute a single force that would threaten either Israel or India. But despite this fact, ruling elites in Israel and India have used the ‘Islamic threat’ as a rallying cry for ideological and military buildup.


Israel had a long history and experience in dealing with Muslim religious groups. It learned how to infiltrate them, understand them, and negotiate with them. It also established schools to train agents in Quran and Islamic Sharia, and devoted resources to studying fault lines inside Islam that can be exploited to work Muslim groups against each other.


Israel passed this training and experience to India for use in occupied Kashmir to quell a pro-Pakistan popular movement there. So strong was the Israeli help that at one stage, in summer 1999, Indian military requested assistance from Israeli Special Forces to help stop the advance of Pakistanis. Even today, Israeli diplomats in New Delhi often remind their hosts about how Israel helped turn the situation on the ground in Kashmir.


India learned Israeli lessons in dealing with Muslim groups fairly quickly. Many freedom groups that operated in Indian-occupied Kashmir during the 1990s were fronts for Indian intelligence. India used these groups for various purposes. Some of these groups committed atrocities to discredit the genuine pro-freedom groups. Others acted as Trojan horses, spying from the inside on the pro-freedom Kashmiri movement.


After 2001, India established an elaborate intelligence setup in Afghanistan. But the purpose here was three-fold: Spy on Afghan Taliban, export terror into Pakistan’s western regions under the guise of Taliban, and exacerbate misunderstandings between Pakistani and US militaries. The last two were of special interest to the Indians. Disguised as Taliban, the Indians established contacts with militants and guns-for-hire inside Pakistan’s tribal region. Pakistani militants were recruited for training to commit terrorist acts inside Pakistan. The Indians were also keen to demonstrate that US soldiers are under threat from militants inside the Pakistani tribal belt. Establishing a direct link between attacks on US soldiers and Pakistan’s tribal belt was of paramount importance to the Indians. In some cases, this meant funneling weapons and funding to criminals and terrorists to mount attacks on US soldiers in Afghanistan and magnify links to Pakistani tribal belt.


INDIA AND BIN LADEN


All countries in the region have established contacts with Al-Qaeda at different times when it served their interests. Topping the list is the United States. Osama bin Laden started out as a CIA asset. Later, he established contacts with the Pakistanis and the Saudis. After 9/11 and the US war against Afghanistan, bin Laden established ties with Iran. This was a clear example that the impossible can happen. Who would have thought that two opposing religious schools, Iran’s Shias and al-Qaeda’s hard liners would become friends of convenience and circumstance? This relationship went as far as bin Laden trusting Iran with his sons and daughters and other senior lieutenants who were provided safe havens inside Iran.


The only country in the region whose name never appears in the list of countries that tried to contact al-Qaeda is India. But that is not because India did not try to establish such contact.


Indian intelligence agency, RAW, approached al-Qaeda immediately after the group’s defeat in Afghanistan. Such contacts date back to 2002 and 2003. The Indians are known to have kidnapped Pakistani and Afghan militants and transported them by air to India for training and indoctrination.


The first signs of Osama bin Laden’s contacts with the Indians emerged in early 2002, barely four months after the collapse of Taliban government in Kabul, and three months after the last sighting of bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora. At the time, India had amassed half of its military on Pakistan’s borders and there was a heightened possibility of war. Pakistanis knew Washington was using India to blackmail Islamabad in Afghanistan. The Indians tried to convince Washington that Osama bin Laden might be hiding with a pro-Kashmir group in the Pakistani part of Kashmir. New Delhi was hoping this would get Washington to go after pro-Kashmir freedom groups based in Pakistan.


What happened next is that the Americans and the British found leads indicating the possibility that bin Laden did indeed come to the region but only as a stopover to cross into India. Moreover, there were signs the Indians were in contact with the al Qaeda leader, or at least some of the Indians since not everyone in the Indian government knew about it. This divide between Indian intelligence and political establishment was proven eight years later when Indian intelligence officers admitted to running clandestine programs outside the purview of Indian politicians. One of these programs groomed Hindu terror groups to conduct a bombing campaign inside India that would be blamed on Pakistan, ISI and Kashmiris.


Washington and London quietly convinced New Delhi to allow foreign troops into the Indian occupied part of Kashmir to trace bin Laden’s trail. The Indians were extremely reluctant. They were concerned if they approved the measure and word got out, then India’s long held position of avoiding the ‘internationalization’ of Kashmir dispute would stand nowhere. In the end India allowed a 40-man team of US and British special forces – US Delta Force and Britain’s SAS – to enter Indian occupied Kashmir to hunt for bin Laden. When Britain’s daily Telegraph’s defense correspondent broke the news, Indian officials were in a fix. They denied the presence of Delta Force and SAS inside India or in Kashmir. “There is no question of allowing American or British or any foreign troops into J&K. The report is totally incorrect and baseless,” an Indian Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the Indian media.


No trace of the terror leader was found. But it was a year later that information started trickling in about the possibility that bin Laden had availed Indian contacts and visited India. The information first reached the Pakistanis. Multiple contacts inside Afghanistan and among the Afghan Taliban talked about reports that bin Laden left the region for India. It seemed farfetched at the time. But four years later, new evidence showed that the Indians have actually moved terrorists involved in bombings inside Pakistan to India via Afghanistan. Among them was Brahamdagh Bugti, a Pakistani warlord from Balochistan, and terrorists who formed the so-called Swat Taliban that overran the scenic Swat region in 2009 before the Pakistani military defeated it.


There were three routes that bin Laden could have taken to India dodging the Pakistanis, knowing that Pervez Musharraf’s government would not hesitate in turning him over to the Americans having backstabbed pro-Pakistan Afghan Taliban officials, like the last Taliban ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef. Bin Laden could have been flown from Afghanistan to India via Dubai. Or via Uzbekistan. A third possibility is that he slipped into Indian-occupied Kashmir from Pakistan.


The reports at the time said bin Laden visited two cities in southern India: Hyderabad and Bangalore. Pakistani intelligence officials tried to ascertain whether bin Laden slipped into India covertly or with help from elements in the Indian intelligence. A conclusive answer never materialized. But Pakistanis said this visit was not possible without the involvement of Indian intelligence. Yet there were no buyers in Washington and London for the Pakistani information. It is important to remember that this was 2003. Bin Laden’s family members were yet to be found hiding in Iran with Iranian intelligence help, and India was yet to be accused of supporting terrorism on the Pak-Afghan border and inside Pakistan using Afghan soil.


Pakistani officials shared this information with American and British journalists and were surprised to see them protecting India and giving it maximum benefit of the doubt. These journalists were ready to print unproven theories about Pakistan and its nuclear weapons but will not even hint at the possibility that bin Laden might have used the Himalayas to cross into India.


Myra McDonalds, a Reuters journalist, did muster the courage to mention bin Laden’s India link in a passing way in May last year. But the reason it came up was fresh developments in the India-bin Laden story.


Apparently, al Qaeda chief’s audio tape of March 2010 came from India. Security officials in the Gulf traced the tape to a courier service that booked the parcel in Bangalore. This is the same city identified by information floating in 2003 indicating bin Laden was there.


Al-Qaeda is almost decimated. There may not be more than fifty current and former al Qaeda associates in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s border region. But the Americans continue to use it as a scarecrow. Since it came into being, al Qaeda and its chief have been played by various countries according to their interests. Even now, bin Laden continues to be played to some extent by one or more strategic players. It is not possible for a wanted man in an unstable region to sustain himself for a long period of time without a hiding place protected by the sovereign powers of a spy service.


Back in late 1990s, when all doors were closed for bin Laden, he surprised everyone by taking refuge in an unexpected place: Sudan. A decade later the al Qaeda chief seems to have repeated history by going in hiding at an unexpected place.

Lahore Shootings: As The Case Unfolds, The Mystery Deepens

As the US diplomatic machinery moved to calm a brewing storm over Thursday’s shooting incident in Lahore involving an official attached to its consulate, peculiar details are trickling in regarding the exact identity of the man.


US Ambassador Cameron Munter is learnt to have met Foreign Secretary Salman Basheer, requesting the federal government’s intervention in the case of US official Raymond Allen Davis, who gunned down two young motorcyclists near Lahore’s Qurtaba Chowk in apparent self-defence. The case is currently being handled by the Punjab government, and Davis has been remanded into police custody for six days, according to police officials, by a magistrate.


Munter, according to well-placed sources, is said to have brought up the Geneva Convention, under which diplomats are allowed diplomatic immunity. The provincial government has so far refused to bring the international protocol into play. Other diplomats are also learnt to have tried to contact the Punjab government.


The Foreign Office is learnt to have contacted the Punjab government requesting case details. There has also been a meeting between Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik regarding the matter. Gen. Kayani is said to have advised Malik to handle the matter with ‘extreme care’ given its sensitive nature. He also advised that, aside from the apparent diplomatic links, Davis’ military links should also be kept in mind as the case moves forward.


Also discussed was the law and order situation that could arise if Davis is granted immunity.


Who is Davis?


Meanwhile, intelligence data shows that Davis has visited Pakistan nine times since 2009.


According to records available with The Express Tribune, Allen Davis, aged 37, visited Pakistan for the first time on October 18, 2009, landing in Islamabad. His last entry into Pakistan was on January 20, 2011, when he landed in Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport.


Davis travelled using a regular passport, on which he had regular visit visas. There was no diplomatic passport.
Insiders say that Davis was performing duties as a technical advisor serving in the Intelligence and Security Wings of the US Embassy in Islamabad and the consulate in Lahore. He also made frequent visits to Karachi and Peshawar. The police are said to have recovered an identity card from Davis for the US’ Peshawar consulate.


Pakistani intelligence agencies have so far not reached any conclusion and had not submitted a report regarding the incident till the filing of this report. However, initial data suggests that police or other security/intelligence agencies had no record or intimation of Davis’ movement or participation in official events since he first arrived in Pakistan in 2009.
According to policy guidelines and security advisory issued by the Foreign and Interior Ministries, US officials are, for their own security, not meant to move around without informing security officials due to the terror threat in the country. The vehicle Davis was driving was locally-registered, and did not have diplomatic number plates.


Initial reports revolved around a possible looting attempt by the men on the motorcycles, to which Davis is said to have retaliated. Conversely, some reports rejected the robbery bid. However, it is unclear what would have provoked Davis to open fire.


A new angle to the incident, submitted in a statement by Davis himself, has it that the vehicle he was driving had had a minor collision with a Rickshaw a little before the incident. Therefore, if not a robbery, the two men could have chased the vehicle to argue with the driver.


Tristram Perry, the information officer of the US Consulate in Lahore, did not answer queries regarding Davis’ immunity, saying that he has been requested by Islamabad to not comment on the incident. “We are working with Pakistani authorities to determine the facts and work toward a resolution,” he said


FIRs against the deceased


Meanwhile, though it was initially reported that the two deceased motorcyclists had no criminal record, the police registered FIRs against them posthumously on Friday, police sources told The Express Tribune.


The complainants, Doctor Farzand and Sheharyar Malik, in a written application, state that the two had robbed them of their mobiles and cash just before the incident and were fleeing.


As evidence, the two have referred to phone logs of calls made to Rescue 1-5 about the incident right after it happened. The police say that two mobile phones were recovered from the deceased which matched the description of those the applicants had complained to 1-5 had been stolen.


However, the police had also shown the recovery of foreign currency from the deceased, which they say had also been looted. On the other hand, there is yet to be a complaint regarding the theft of foreign currency on the day of the incident.


In the FIR registered against Davis, the police have also included charges of carrying an illegal weapon – a Glock pistol and two magazines. The police also recovered a digital camera, a phone tracker with a charger.
Conversely, the police so far have no information about the other vehicle that came to rescue Davis and crushed a motorcyclist – Ibadullah – in the process. After killing the man, the vehicle fled from the scene. Davis did not disclose who was heading to his rescue, but did tell the police that, after the incident, he telephoned his Regional Security Officer who might have sent some officials for his rescue.


A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that they had, through the Lahore Capital City Police Officer, sent a formal request to Pakistan’s foreign office to contact the US Consulate to identify those in the vehicle for their arrest.

Pakistan to be most populous Muslim nation by ’30: Study

The world’s Muslim population is expected to reach 2.2 billion in 2030 from 1.6 billion in 2010, with Pakistan becoming the most populous Muslim nation, says a study.


Under current projections, a majority of the world’s Muslims — about 60 per cent —  will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, says the study by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre. “But Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population” with a population of about 256 million in 2030 from current 178 million.


Pakistan used to be the largest Muslim nation till 1971, when its majority province — East Pakistan — became an independent nation of Bangladesh. Indonesia is projected to have 238.8 million Muslims in 2030, with India a close third with 236.18 million and Bangladesh fourth with a projected 187.5 million.


In the United States, the Muslims will more than double in the next 20 years — from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030. Europe’s Muslim population will grow from 44.1 million in 2010 to 58.2 million in 2030.


Muslim populations in some parts of Europe will reach the double digits, with France and Belgium at 10.3 per cent by 2030. In Britain, Muslims will account for 8.2 per cent of the population in 2030, up from an estimated 4.6 per cent today.


The top countries of origin for Muslim immigrants to the US in 2009 were Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are expected to remain the top countries of origin for Muslim immigrants to the US in 2030. The number of Muslims in Canada will nearly triple, from about 940,000 in 2010 to nearly 2.7 million in 2030.


Argentina will have the third-largest Muslim population in the Americas, after the US and Canada. Argentina, with about one million Muslims in 2010, is now in second place, behind the US.


Globally, the Muslims will grow at about twice the rate for the non-Muslims — an average annual growth rate of 1.5 per cent, compared with 0.7 per cent for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 per cent of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 per cent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.


Muslim-majority countries, however, are not the only ones with aging populations. As birth rates drop and people live longer all around the globe, the population of the entire world is aging.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Pakistan: Our National Purpose

“What we must look for is, first, religious and moral principles; secondly gentlemanly conduct; thirdly intellectual ability.” – Thomas Arnold.


The national resilience of the Pakistani people is to be judged by the degree of their consciousness and commitment to guard their values, traditions and honour, called the National Purpose, or the raison-d’etre, as the French call it. National Purpose, is sacrosanct and sublime. Quaid-e-Azam first of all preferred to affirm his own faith, belief and commitment to the cause of Pakistan. On October 22, 1939, while addressing All India Muslim Council, he said:


“I have seen enough in my life, experienced the pleasures of wealth, fame and life of repose and comfort. Now I have one single ambition, to see Muslims gaining freedom and rise to the pinnacle of glory. It is my very ultimate wish that when I die, my conscience and my Allah may testify that, Jinnah never betrayed Islam and that he relentlessly struggled for the freedom of Muslims, to forge institutional discipline among them and strengthen their resolve. I do not wish to get acclamation or reward from you. I only nourish the desire that, my heart, my faith and my conscience, all bear testimony till my death that Jinnah, ‘You contributed your share for the resistance against Islam and my Allah proclaim that “Jinnah you were a born Muslim, lived as such and died, quite steadfastly, holding the banner of Islam against the evil forces.”


After Pakistan was created, Quaid-e-Azam provided the guidance and defined the parameters of our National Purpose, on following occasions:


* First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 1947. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed – that has nothing to do with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state …. Now keep this as your ideal and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because, that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense, of the citizens of the state of Pakistan.
* February 1948 at Malir Cantt. You have to safeguard our ‘Islamic Democracy’, based on social justice and for the furtherance of the principles of Islamic equality and brotherhood; social equality and unity are the cardinal principles of our ‘Deen’ and our civilizational and cultural values.
* 23 March 1948, at Chittagong. I can say with conviction that our system of governance shall be based on the foundation of basic principles of Islam, which shall be democratic. These principles are applicable in our lives now as these were thirteen hundred years ago.
* 14 February 1948  at Sibbi Darbar. Adherence to the golden principles of life is the only source of our viability and strength, which has been enunciated as laws, by our prophet Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (Peace be upon him).


His guidance was explicit, and directional, embodying the vision of Pakistan, yet the nation took almost a quarter of a century to frame a Constitution, that identified our true vision of life, based on a democratic system of governance. The Constitution defined the National Purpose: “To strive for a democratic order based on the principles of Quran and Sunnah.” Thus its, main ingredients were: “Democracy” and “Islamic Ideology”, as the fountain-head, but unfortunately, we failed to serve the cause of both, democracy and the Islamic Ideology. and, till today no system has really emerged which could reflect our hopes and aspirations. The recurrent intrusions by the Army and short interlude of weak civil administrations, have led to a feeling of antipathy towards democracy.


The present democratic system, however, is fortunate that those, who trampled democracy in the past, are now reconciled to taking a back-seat. For instance USA is now in no position to install a government of it choice, as the military leadership is not prepared to play their game. The opposition, which in the past always relished a change, is now committed to the continuance of the democratic order, under the Charter of Democracy. Our higher judiciary has attained its legitimate position and has discarded the notion of “Law of Necessity”. Thus, never before, a government has had such a favourable opportunity to deliver a clean governance based on justice. But it is indeed unfortunate, that corruption, incompetence and lawlessness have weakened the very roots of societal order. If this malaise is not removed, people’s faith in democracy would erode and they would be justified in demanding a different system of governance.


‘Islamic faith’ is an integral element of our Vision of Life, but we paid no heed to it. Allegiance to faith can be built through moral principles, knowledge and action, but the tragedy is that, over 70% population of Pakistan is devoid of the knowledge of the ‘Deen’. This is so on account of the fact that 42% population is illiterate and of the remaining, only 30% possess both, the knowledge of the ‘Deen’, as well as the ‘worldly affairs’, and truly represent the Pakistani sensibility. These statistics were based on the survey conducted during 1990 by the Army, of the officers and men inducted in the Army, whose knowledge of Islamic faith was similar to what was in the general national context. It is but natural that the majority, the 70% will rightly be demanding a ‘secular’ system of governance.


In fact, we ourselves are responsible for this state of affairs. We don’t impart knowledge of Deen to our children. Our schools are also reluctant to impart religious education. And the 5-6%, who get the requisite religious education, in the ‘madrassas’ are kept out of the main-stream, suffering from a sense of deprivation and frustration, and on very trivial issues they raise big agitation, to gain a sense of ‘identity.’ The situation, therefore is greatly obscuring the real issues of Pakistan.


People with belief and commitment to their National Purpose, know how to protect the ‘values’ and ‘traditions’ that lend resilience to the nation. The living example is that of Afghans, who during the last thirty years have made great sacrifices protecting their way of life. In 2001, when USA had occupied Afghanistan, we sent the message to Mullah Umer that, “should they engage in another war of liberation, it could entail much of bloodshed and destruction. It was therefore expedient that they follow the American Plan and their promise for democracy for Afghanistan.” Few months later, we received a firm reply:


“We have resolved to fight back the occupation forces till they are routed. When we gain freedom, we would take decisions under a free environment. It is unthinkable for the Afghan nation to follow the American plans, as it was not in harmony with their religious values and traditions. We shall engage in war and Insha Allah we will triumph over the enemy and we will win our freedom.”


For the last thirty years, the Afghans have waged a grim struggle for freedom, reaching a point of victory, as ordained by Allah:


“You shall prevail, No doubt, you have suffered, but so have they” (Al-Imran, 138-139). Very soon the invaders will be forced to run away, turning their back on you (Al-Qamar, 45)

Pakistan’s corrupt insensitive ruling elite

Common man feels alienated and disgusted at the extravagant ways of his political representatives


As Pakistan’s ruling politicians continue to pay lip service to the cause of living within their means rather than well beyond as they do, a suggestion from an opposition politician says much about the mindset of the country’s political elite.


Rana Tanveer, a politician from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who also happens to be a member of the lower house of parliament-the national assembly, on Thursday publicly demanded a reduction in the number of seats of his legislature.


For Tanveer, such a move will inevitably reduce state expenses and help to enforce further budgetary cuts at a time when Pakistan’s economy is ailing badly. Tanveer may have half a point, though his argument also borders on the ridiculous.


A ruling structure which lives well beyond its means must demonstrate its ability to cut costs rather than pass on the burden of the prevailing economic stress to ordinary citizens.


Yet, to make that point through reducing the number of public representatives in the federal ruling structure, also ignores other vital issues.


For instance, it absolutely vital that Pakistan’s ruling politicians hold themselves accountable in other ways, ranging from paying their taxes to upholding the rule of law. In a country where ruling politicians have a pathetic record when it comes to paying their taxes on vast incomes, it is imperative that there has to be a full-scale effort to tackle this gap.


Besides, many among the ruling elite have a history of breaking the law time and again.


In sharp contrast to Tanveer’s novel suggestion, it has to be said that there is indeed a case for Pakistan to increase the number of elected public representatives, who must then be held responsible for the plight of their constituents.


Dissatisfaction


A continued failure to establish a much deeper link between constituents and representatives will only add to the malaise that already engulfs Pakistan.


Across the country, ordinary citizens simply share a feeling of disgust towards the political elite and consider them a major burden on public welfare.


Appreciating this issue is all the more vital as winds of change begin to blow in parts of the Middle East setting a quicker pace for a future full of unexpected changes.


After the recent populist change in Tunisia, the ongoing events in Egypt must be an eye-opener for Pakistan. If indeed, the country’s rulers fail to see the writing on the wall, they may only do so at the expense of the political structure that they dominate.


Real problems


In sharp contrast to being locked in discussions that range from the ridiculous to the futile, it is absolutely vital that Pakistan’s rulers recognise the importance of the real issues.


In a country where at least one-third of the population lives in abject poverty, it is essential to be up to speed with the prevailing trends. These trends almost in their entirety suggest a long term failure to deal with key issues such as education, health care, basic housing and some form of employment for every adult.


To make matters worse, there are many in Pakistan’s ruling structure who choose to be complacent over the prevailing trends. It is therefore just not surprising to find public representatives such as Tanveer pushing for reform that will remain largely inconsequential for the lives of the vast majority of Pakistanis. But across the streets of Pakistan, from the country’s urban areas to its rural regions, a widespread sentiment based on disgust towards the political elite, is much too obvious. Such a trend is indeed fuelled by two inter-related trends.


On the one hand, most Pakistanis share the view, based on anecdotal evidence, that their leaders have no right to rule upon them. A range of indicators, notably vox pops on the streets, only bring out a strong measure of public disgust towards the ruling elite.


On the other hand, a rapid growth in dissemination of public information, makes it all the more likely for information to flow far more rapidly than ever before. Consequently, finding impoverished but well information individuals across Pakistan in more ways than one must not be a surprise to anyone under the prevailing circumstances.


This has become possible with the proliferation of channels of public information, notably private television, that has changed the broad contours of the world we live in. Tragically though, while the world has changed radically, Pakistan’s ruling elite continue to live up to their reputation of being just locked up in the past.

US Embassy Personnel Caught Spying On Kahuta

Pakistani authorities have enough evidence that implicates US diplomats and trainers in spying on Kahuta, one of the prime nuclear facilities in the country.


What is stunning for most Pakistanis is that elements in the elected government, and especially the Interior Ministry, appear to be facilitating the Americans despite protests from police and intelligence officials.
The issue brings into question, once again, the role of Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik.  A trail of internal ministry documents sharply bring Mr. Malik’s role into focus, especially in a case where his ministry appears to have permitted US defense contractors to conduct suspicious activities on Pakistani soil without informing Pakistani intelligence agencies.  Those activities have included allowing at least one US defense contractor to conduct a large scale recruitment of retired Pakistani military officers.


In a report titled, US Spying On Kahuta Since 2003, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper revealed the following on Oct. 23:


“Despite the fact that Americans have been permanently housed near Pakistani nuclear installations at Kahuta since 2003 in the guise of imparting training at the Police College Sihala, neither the military nor the PPP regime has dared to dislodge them.  According to reliable sources, the PPP government paid no attention at all to the hue and cry raised by senior police officials against the dubious movements and installation of the American trainers.  It has been learnt that some senior police officials have been continuously raising questions about the quality of training courses being offered by the Americans to the senior police recruits.  These officials say that Pakistani police trainers could impart much better training than that the Americans.  But the government turned a deaf ear to all these concerns of senior police officials and made no efforts to close the American training base allegedly involved in monitoring Pakistani nuclear activities.


Several senior police officials are asking, on condition of anonymity, that even if this training by the Americans was necessary, why had this very sensitive area been chosen and why this training has continued, risking the secrecy and sensitivity of nuclear installations of Pakistan. They were of the view that the Americans had no interest in the area except the intention to monitor the activities at the Khan Research Lab in Kahuta.”


The Commandant Police Training College Sihala, Mr. Nasir Khan Durrani, wrote a letter on Aug. 15 to senior Pakistani police officers drawing their attention to the suspicious activities of American ‘trainers’ at Sihala.  Mr. Durrani is widely respected within the officer corps of Pakistan’s police service.  Some of his ideas, like Rescue 15, were implemented nationwide.


Durrani’s letter was not without basis.  In his report, titled, Agency wants survey of site to assess equipment, Mr. Ansar Abbasi, editor investigations at The News International, revealed that there was some evidence that radiation measurement equipment has been installed by the Americans at the training facility.  He reported that US diplomats have been caught making frequent visits to the facility, attempting at one point to get into the high security perimeter around Kahuta. Amazingly, someone from FIA, the interior minister’s former employer and a lead civilian spy agency, helped release the arrested American diplomats.


An excerpt from Mr. Abbasi’s report:


“Pakistani authorities suspect that Americans involved in training of the Punjab Police at the Sihala Police College may have been involved in espionage near the Kahuta nuclear site located close by. However, US diplomats strongly deny this.


A credible government source said at least one Pakistani security agency has clearly indicated in its report submitted to the government that the Americans might have installed radiation detection devices at their Anti-Terrorism Assistance Programme (ATAP) camp situated in the college to monitor activities in the Kahuta nuclear site.


“Concerned authorities may be asked for a joint survey of the ATAP Camp by incorporating technical experts to assess if any interception equipment to detect radioactive rays has been installed or not,” the report said.


The report also revealed that following US pressure, the Ministry of Interior vide its letter number 1/41/2003-Police dated June 29 also granted a no objection certificate (NoC) for import of explosive material by the office of the ATAP.


Like the case of Inter-Risk, now banned, the Interior Ministry issued the NoC for the import of explosives without getting any security clearance from the intelligence agencies.


Interestingly, initially the Interior Ministry decided to issue the NoC but it was subject to clearance by two intelligence agencies — the ISI and the IB — which sought clarification about the quantity and type of explosive and detail of courses.


Consequently, the Sihala College administration was approached, which sought details from the ATAP camp. But instead of providing the details, Robert A Clark and Bob of the ATAP Camp contacted the US embassy, which used its influence and managed to get the NoC bypassing the rules.


The ATAP base camp is located just nine kilometres away from the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and housed within the premises of the Sihala college but even the commandant of the college is not allowed to go there. Of late, the US embassy wanted additional space apparently for training purposes but the Punjab government refused to oblige the Americans.


Top authorities in the Punjab government also confirmed to The News that US Ambassador Anne Patterson not only personally met Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif but also wrote to him requesting for additional space at the Sihala college.


They offered additional training to the Punjab Police in the field of firearms and raids. “But we politely refused to offer any additional space,” the source confided to The News, admitting that serious questions are being raised about the presence and conduct of US trainers already present at the Sihala college. A senior spokesman for the Punjab, when approached, confirmed this.


Interestingly, in the last several months no training course for the police officials has been conducted by the ATAP at the college, but American’s presence is well pronounced. Commander of the police academy Nasir Khan Durrani also formally wrote to the top authorities in the Punjab to express his concerns over the activities of the ATAP officials.


Sources also said that US embassy officials were also found visiting the camp quite regularly. They revealed that two Americans working at the Sihala ATAP Camp along with four other Americans of the US embassy were intercepted near Kahuta in July 2009 by security officials of the KRL.


They were detained for 2-3 hours as they could not satisfy the KRL security personnel regarding their visit to the sensitive region.


However, a retired assistant director of the FIA, working with Americans at the ATAP Camp, was sent to take them back who, introducing himself as an FIA officer, freed the Americans and took them back to the camp. The sources disclosed that those Americans along with Pakistani staff riding on 4×4 vehicle, tried to trespass into the restricted area of Kahuta.


The Interior Ministry spokesman was not available to offer any comment on suspected spying of the country’s nuclear programme by Americans or to explain why the Interior Ministry issued an NoC to the Americans for the import of explosive material without getting clearance from security agencies.


The Interior Ministry spokesman, Rashid Mazari, never returns any call from The News. He was contacted by different staffers of The News Investigative Wing during recent weeks but he never responded.”


The suspicions of Mr. Durrani, Commandant Police Training College Sihala, turn out to be legitimate.  Mr. Durrani might have expected to be rewarded for keeping a vigil on the country’s vital interests.  To his surprise, instead of a citation, Mr. Durrani was reprimanded by the Federal Interior Ministry.


On Oct. 22, The Nation published a report whose title, Rehman Malik Defends US interests, warns Durrani, said it all.


“The Interior Ministry is browbeating the Commandant Police Training College Sihala as to why he has written a letter to the Punjab, Inspector General of Police (IGP), expressing his concerns over the presence of US security officials in the premises of the institute, the sources told TheNation.


Sources privy to the developments said that the Ministry was annoyed with Nasir Khan Durrani, Commandant Police Training College Sihala as to why he had written a letter to IGP seeking clarification from the Interior Ministry and Foreign Office about the terms and conditions of US security officials’ presence as well as the duration of their stay in the college premises.


The sources said that the Ministry had expressed its displeasure over the action of Commandant and in its reply to the IGP it was stated that the matter could have been discussed verbally and there was no need to write about it.


According to Ministry sources, the Interior Minister, Rehman Malik in his harsh reply to the IGP made it clear that US security officials would not be relocated from the centre and directed him to hush up the matter and stop propagating against it, otherwise Durrani would have to face the music.


The Ministry was also critical of leakage of such sensitive and confidential information to media and directed the IGP to keep secrecy of such sensitive matters in the larger interest of the state, the sources further disclosed.


Nasir Khan Durrani had written a letter to IGP on 15th of August that on the concurrence of Interior Ministry, US security officials were using the site which was part of the college and now it had become a “no go” area for the college administration.


In the letter, it was also said that high explosive material was stored within the premises of the site under the possession of US personnel, which was a security risk for the trainees of the college.


It is pertinent to mention here that Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) are only a few kilometres away from the Sihala College and it is suspected that Americans had installed sensitive monitoring equipments to monitor the activities of KRL.


The spokesman and Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry were contacted for comments; the spokesman was not available for comments while PRO replied that he was admitted in the hospital and thus unable to comment on the issue.”


The US Embassy in Islamabad, under a new policy of aggressively countering what it alleges to be ‘anti-Americanism’, responded to these accusations but conveniently kept silent on the alarming incident of the arrest of US diplomats in July as they tried to survey the area around Kahuta.


Evidence is piling up that the present ‘elected’ government in Islamabad is racing against time to plant enough Americans inside Pakistan to counter the Pakistani military and the country’s strong intelligence setup. [See the video US Terror In Pakistan]


On Oct. 20, The Nation ran a story titled, Blackwater arms warehouse in Capital? . The report began as follows:


“Kestral Logistics, a warehouse located in the industrial area of Sector I-9/3, and involved in arms trading, is working as the subcontractor of US security company, Xe Worldwide (Blackwater), TheNation has learnt. The sources claimed that the company had arms deals with Blackwater and was importing heavy arms as well as ammunition for the US company for its ongoing illicit operations in Pakistan. The sources said that Kestral Logistics was also involved in importing sensitive monitoring instruments for Blackwater, which had been installed at Sihala by the said security company to monitor activities of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Kahuta, as well as to keep an eye on the nuclear assets of Pakistan.”


Kestral is run by a former Pakistani military officer.  Another officer was arrested last month and his license cancelled after his security firm imported illegal weapons into the country with the help of the US Embassy in Islamabad.


The US public opinion is told that anti-Americanism is on the rise in Pakistan but US government officials and the US media keeps mum on these suspicious activities inside Pakistan that are feeding the sudden rise in opposition to American presence.


No one is demanding severing ties with Washington.  We need them and they need us.  The question is: Why can’t Pakistan conduct its business with the United States on the basis of respect, non-interference, and mutual benefit.  That is much better than the client-state model that former president Musharraf and the current pro-American Pakistani democrats are pursuing.

Spirit of tolerance in Islam

What is tolerance? Literally the word “tolerance” means “to bear.” As a concept it means “respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human.” In Arabic it is called “Tasamuh”. There are also other words that give similar meanings, such as “Hilm” (forbearance) or “‘`Afu” (pardon, forgiveness) or “Safh” (overlooking, disregarding). In the Persian and Urdu languages, we use the word “rawadari” which comes from “rawa” meaning “acceptable or bearable” and “dashtan” meaning “to hold”. Thus it means to hold something acceptable or bearable. Intolerance is on the increase in the world today, causing death, genocide, violence, religious persecution as well as confrontations on different levels. Some times it is racial and ethnic, some times it is religious and ideological, other times it is political and social. In every situation it is evil and painful. How can we solve the problem of intolerance? How can we assert our own beliefs and positions without being intolerant to others? How can we bring tolerance into the world today?


Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious moral duty. It does not mean “concession, condescension or indulgence.” It does not mean lack of principles, or lack of seriousness about one’s principles. Sometimes it is said, “people are tolerant of things that they do not care about.” But this is not the case in Islam. Tolerance according to Islam does not mean that we believe that all religions are the same. It does not mean that we do not believe in the supremacy of Islam over other faiths and ideologies. It does not mean that we do not convey the message of Islam to others and do not wish them to become Muslims. The Holy Qur’an speaks about the basic dignity of all human beings. The Holy Prophet (PBUH), spoke about the equality of all human beings, regardless of their race, color, language or ethnic background. Shari‘ah recognizes the rights of all people to life, property, family, honor and conscience. Islam emphasizes the establishment of equality and justice, both of these values cannot be established without some degree of tolerance. Islam recognized from the very beginning the principle of freedom of belief or freedom of religion. It said very clearly that it is not allowed to have any coercion in the matters of faith and belief. The Holy Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Al-Baqarah: 256).


If in the matters of religion, coercion is not permissible, then by implication one can say that in other matters of cultures and other worldly practices it is also not acceptable. In Surat Ash-Shura Allah says to the Prophet (PBUH), “If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is but to convey (the Message).” (Ash-Shura: 48) In another place Allah says, “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. Your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (An-Nahl:125). Further, Allah says to the Believers, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, know then that it is Our Messenger’s duty to proclaim (the Message) in the clearest manner.” (Al-Ma’idah: 92). One can also cite Allah’s words: “Say: ‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if you turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to preach the clear (Message).”(An-Nur:54). All these verses give note that Muslims do not coerce people; they must present the message to them in the most cogent and clear way, invite them to the truth and do their best in presenting and conveying the message of God to humanity, but it is up to people to accept or not to accept. Allah says, “And say, ‘The truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wants let him believe and whosoever wants let him deny.” (An-Nahl: 29). The question then comes: If Allah gave choice to


believe or not to believe, then why did He punish the people of Prophet Nuh, the ‘Ad, the Thamud, the people of Prophet Lut, the people of Prophet Shu‘aib and Pharaoh and his followers? The answer is in the Holy Qur’an itself. Those people were not punished simply because of their disbelief. They were punished because they had become oppressors. They committed aggression against the righteous, and stopped others to come to the way of Allah. There were many in the world who denied Allah, but Allah did not punish every one. Ibn Taymiyah, the outstanding Muslim scholar, said, “The states may live long inspite of their people’s unbelief (kufr), but they cannot live long when their people become oppressors.” Another question is raised about Jihad. Some people say, “Is it not the duty of Muslims to make Jihad?” But the purpose of Jihad is not to convert people to Islam. Allah says, “No compulsion in religion.”(Al-Baqarah: 256). The real purpose of Jihad is to remove injustice and aggression. Muslims are allowed to keep good relations with non-Muslims. Allah says, “Allah does not forbid you that you show kindness and deal justly with those who did not fight you in your religion and did not drive you out from your homes.” (Al-Mumtahinah: 8). Islam teaches that fighting is only against those who fight. Allah says, “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors.” (Al-Baqarah:190).


Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. It should be a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), and the rule of law. The Holy Qur’an says very clearly: “To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, ‘God knows best what it is you are doing.’ ‘God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ.’” (Al-Hajj:76-69).

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