Former Sunni Tehreek activist among six killed in Karachi
UAE: Friday sermons in English soon in mosques
In Iran, thief`s hand cut off in front of jail inmates
Shia opposition inching towards majority in Bahrain
'Pak racing to become No 1 corrupt country'
Supreme Court could have prevented demolition of Babri Masjid, says Ahmadi
Abdullah to host 1,300 pilgrims
Over 13,500 Chinese for this Haj
17 terrorists killed in Orakzai, Swat
13 Taliban fighters killed, militants blow up Pak schools
Blair's sister-in-law converts to Islam
Army chief feels Pak N-arsenal secure
Purohit spilled the beans on Indresh?
28 kids kidnapped from Leh rescued from Jammu hostel
Pak violates ceasefire at LoC, jawan hurt
Khurshid moots monitoring panel for Muslims
WikiLeaks founder on the run, trailed by notoriety
Karzai confirms report of cash payments from Iran
Kashmir was never integral part of India: Arundhati
WikiLeaks' Iraq logs put Maliki in a tight spot
RSS leader's name in charge-sheet a conspiracy: Sudarshan
Iraq war allegations extraordinarily serious, says Britain
Terror Threat To India Fazes Pervez
'No proof of Pak Army, ISI opposing Afghan-Taliban talks'
Acid Test for Wikileaks founder
Hurriyat and BJP slam interlocutors
How ISI took Headley under its wicked wing
Court orders Iraqi parliament back to work
North Waziristan operation reports upset Taliban
N. Waziristan string attached to military aid package
Talks held with US on equal footing, says Qureshi
Pakistan, Iran to curb illegal border crossing
Palestinians welcome Catholic support
Iran restricts studies in social sciences
Israel slams ‘political attacks’ by Catholic bishops
Picture exhibition on Benazir Bhutto’s life
‘Querying the Label’: 11 artists’ response to ‘Islamic Art’
Gunmen torch NATO trucks in Khuzdar
Pak-Afghan border sealed at Chaman
US renews bonds with Pak Army
Global unity for peace and justice needed: King
Netanyahu tells Palestinians talks only option to achieve peace
Fatah, Hamas to resume talks
Somali Pirates seize 2 ships off Kenya
Gaza rockets hit Israel, no one hurt: army
Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau
Five killed in blast at Dargah Hazrat Baba Farid Ganjshakar in Pakpattan
25 Oct, 2010
MULTAN: A bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded at the gate of the famous Baba Farid Shakar Ganj Sufi shrine in central Pakistan’s Pakpattan district during morning prayers Monday, killing at least five people, officials said.
The blast at the shrine in Punjab province was the latest in a string of attacks targeting Sufi shrines in Pakistan.
The dead from Monday's blast included at least one woman, said Maher Aslam Hayat, a senior government official in Pakpattan. At least 13 others were wounded in the explosion, he said.
The bombing significantly damaged a row of shops outside the shrine, said Hayat. But the shrine itself, which is dedicated to a 12th century Sufi saint, was largely undamaged, he said.
Local TV footage showed the twisted and charred body of the motorcycle on which the bomb was planted. It also showed large piles of broken wood and chunks of concrete from the shops damaged by the blast.
After the attack, religious scholar Mufti Muneebur Rehman, criticised the government for not doing enough to protect the population.
''Our rulers are too busy serving foreign masters and have not prioritised protecting the people and sacred places from terrorists,'' said Rehman.
Earlier this month, two suspected suicide bombers attacked a Sufi shrine in Karachi, killing at least eight people and wounding 65 others.
A suicide attack in July killed 47 people at the nation's most revered Sufi shrine, Data Darbar in Lahore. That attack infuriated many Pakistanis, who saw it as an unjustified assault on peaceful civilians.
KARACHI: A former Sunni Tehreek activist was gunned down near his house in the Bohra Pir area, the Risala police said on Sunday.
Kamran Ahsan Ilahi, 29, was sitting outside his house in Choona Bhatti Compound near the Siddique mosque when two unidentified men arrived on a motorcycle and opened fire on him. Ilahi sustained two bullet wounds and died on the spot. His body was shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and first information report (FIR) No 341/10 registered against the suspects.
A bullet-riddled body of a man of Bengali origin was found near Korangi 100 Quarters, the Zaman Town police said. Abdullah Sona Bengali, 28, was kidnapped from Ali Akbar Shah Goth in Ibrahim Hyderi, where he had his residence, and his body was later dumped after he was gunned down. Bengali’s body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). He had several criminal cases registered against him at different police stations and had a dispute with the Alam Bengali gangster group. It is possible that the Bengali group was involved in the murder.
Another man of Bengali origin was gunned down at his house in Kausar Niazi Colony, the North Nazimabad police said. Three unidentified men broke into the house of Ayub Bengali, 42, in the wee hours and opened fire on him. Bengali died on the spot and FIR No 940/10 was registered against the suspects.
A garments trader was gunned down near his house in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the Aziz Bhatti police said. Imran Khan, 45, was standing near his house in Block 13-B when unidentified men arrived in a Prado Jeep and opened fire on him. Khan sustained serious wounds and was shifted to the Liaquat National Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
A man was gunned down near his house in Patel Para, the Jamshed Quarters police said. Forty-year-old Arshad Mian alias Cheetah was standing near his house at Jahangir Road when two unidentified men arrived on the scene and opened fire on him. Mian died on the spot and his body was shifted to the CHK. He had several criminal cases registered against him at the Jamshed Quarters and Soldier Bazaar police stations. It is possible that his accomplices were involved in the murder.
A bullet-riddled body of a man who appeared to be Urdu-speaking was found near the Dawood Chowrangi in Landhi, the Quaidabad police said. The unidentified man’s body was found near a traffic check-post and shifted to the JPMC.
UAE: Friday sermons in English soon in mosques
25 October 2010
In an unprecedented move Islamic scholars has suggested English Friday sermons for certain mosques, along with the reduction in the time gap between prayer call and the actual prayer in certain mosques. The committee has also decided to install LCD screens at the pulpit for Imams to read out the sermons from, rather than using paper.
The suggestion came during a workshop organised by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs (GAIA) and the decision would be implemented soon as part of the UAE’s 39th National Day celebrations.
A certain number of mosques would be allocated for English Friday sermons in each emirate, the GAIA concluded after successfully piloting the project in a few mosques in the capital as well as other cities.
Chairing the workshop, the Direcor General of GAIA, Dr Mohammed Mattar Al Kaabi, said that it is necessary to communicate with imams from each emirate on a regular basis to boost the performance as well as help them in all aspects of their life.
Announcing the initiatives, he said that LCD screens would be installed for imams to read their sermon from, as an advanced alternatives to paper.
In a significant move, he added, that the normal gap of around 15 to 20 minutes between prayer call (Adhan) and the prayer in mosques located in certain ares would be reduced to around five minutes. The decision comes keeping in mind the convenience of the people at market place, malls, Highways, etc.
Asad Rifaat, a non-Arabic Moroccan, seemed impressed with the decision to have English Friday sermons. “I think it’s necessary, because Islam is not regional, it’s global. Faith should extend beyond language, since most expats here speak English, this will be a beautiful way of extending Islam and making it more relevant for non-Arabic ?speakers.”
He added that a lot of non-Arabic speaking Muslims here feel alienated because they are disconnected from the general Muslim community. “Sermons can bring the Muslim community closer together, regardless of nationality.
Shahnawaz Alam, an Indian, who also can’t speak Arabic, suggested that it is a great move and would help more people understand Islam better. “I sit and listen to words I cant understand, if English language is used I’m sure it would make a change, especially to us non-Arabic speakers. Now many questions and matters could be answered.”
The GAIA, in coordination with several ministries, agencies as well as private institutions and companies, directly supervises all mosques in the country and offers them with programmes, religious guidance and choice of Imams.
Oct 25, 2010
TEHRAN (Iran): Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in front of other prisoners, state radio reported on Sunday, in a possible step towards restoring the punishment to common use and carrying it out in public.
Cutting off the hands of thieves — allowed for by the Iranian judiciary`s strict reading of Islamic law — has been rare in Iran in recent years, but the amputation reported on Sunday was the second this month. A week ago, a judge ordered the same punishment for a man who stole from a candy shop, though that ruling can still be appealed.
Sunday`s report said the 32-year-old convict, whose hand was cut off at a prison in the central city of Yazd, had committed four robberies and other crimes. It did not elaborate or identify the prisoner by name.
The reporting of the punishment on state-run radio indicated it had approval from senior Iranian leaders, though there has been no official comment about resuming more frequent implementation of punishment.
DUBAI: Bahrain's main Shia opposition formation is inching towards majority having got 18 out of 40 seats during Saturday's elections for the country's Lower House of Parliament.
Nine more seats are up for grabs during the second round of polls slated for October 30.
Compared to the authoritarian establishments that dominate the region, Bahrain's Lower House of Parliament is not toothless, as it is authorised to examine and pass legislation proposed by the King or the Cabinet. It also has monitoring powers. However, Bahrain's monarchy-appointed 40-member Upper House, also called the Consultative Council, has the powers to block legislation that the Lower House may have passed. Eight women are among the 127 candidates who have contested elections.
Despite its small size, Bahraini elections have grabbed considerable international attention. The Kingdom is home to the fifth fleet of the United States Navy, which has its footprint spread across the oil-rich Gulf. Analysts point out that the Americans are wary about gains made by Shia parties, suspecting them of having close ties with arch-rival Iran. The Bahraini polls are also being closely monitored by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has a large Shia minority in its oil-bearing eastern province, which borders Bahrain. Shia assertion in Bahrain, therefore, draws considerable attention in Riyadh. In the previous elections held in 2006, two Sunni hardline Islamist groups, the National Islamic Forum and the Al-Assalah, had secured 12 seats.
Despite the strong showing by the Islamic National Accord Association (INAA), the main Shia group, many observers doubt whether the Sunni monarchy will allow the Shia groups to gain an upper hand in Parliament. Iran's state-run Press TV quoted the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, as saying the government wants to ensure the Shia majority will not come to power. The Iranian station pointed out that at least 23 top opposition figures, who have been recently arrested, have been charged with plotting against the government.
ISLAMABAD: Corruption in Pakistan has attained new heights in 2010, as the country, under the administration of Zardari-Gilani duo, is said to have surpassed several other badly corrupt nations ranked above it in 2009.
A serious charge sheet of corruption against Pakistan is all set to be released by the Transparency International on October 26, The News reported.
"You will soon be hearing really bad news about Pakistan," warned a source, disclosing that as against the last year when the nation had slipped five ranks from the 47th most corrupt country in 2008 to 42nd, the 2010 scenario was much worse.
Sources said, Pakistan`s downslide amongst the most corrupt nations was deeply depressing. "It seems thecountry (Pakistan) is fast racing to become number one on the list of the most corrupt nations," a source opined.
New Delhi: The former Chief Justice of India, A.M. Ahmadi, on Saturday expressed the opinion that the Supreme Court could have acted to prevent the December 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Mr. Ahmadi said this at a seminar, “Ayodhya Judgment: Civil Society Response,” organised by the Institute of Objective Studies. He pointed out that the then Attorney-General, Milon Banerjee, had repeatedly urged the two-judge Bench of Justices M.N. Venkatachaliah and G.N. Ray to consider appointing the Central government as the receiver of the land where kar seva was to be performed to foreclose the possibility of demolition. Mr. Banerjee told the court he had definite information that the mosque was about to be demolished. “Instead, the court passed an order allowing a symbolic kar seva. Had that order not been passed, the mosque would have been standing today,” Mr. Ahmadi said. He also faulted the court for handing out a “one-day simple imprisonment” to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.
Mr. Ahmadi was part of the five-judge Bench that heard the one-line presidential reference on Ayodhya. The question was whether a Hindu temple or any other structure pre-existed at the site where the mosque stood. Recalling the reference, Mr. Ahmadi said: “We were sure that we did not want to exhume old issues.”
Full report at:
By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
JEDDAH: As many as 1,300 Muslims around the world will perform Haj this year as guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh Al-Asheikh said on Sunday.
He said the guest pilgrims would come from Turkey, Ukraine, Moldavia, Belarus, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Seychelles, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and North Cyprus.
“Some of the guest pilgrims will be arriving from African and South American countries,” Al-Asheikh said, adding that his ministry has made all preparations to receive them and provide various services.
So far 15,368 Muslims around the globe have performed Haj during the past years as guests of the Kingdom. The program has been managed by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance.
By SULTAN AL-TAMIMI
JEDDAH: Over 13,500 Chinese pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year, almost a seven percent increase on last year’s number of 12,700 Hajis from China.
The first batch of 4,620 pilgrims arrived on Oct. 18, and the second batch is expected to leave China on Oct. 27.
“Along with this year’s pilgrims, there are 51 members of the China Islamic Association and they will be part of the Haj mission to help the pilgrims complete their Haj,” said China Islamic Association Vice President Mustafa Yang Zhibo at a press conference held at the Chinese Consulate in Jeddah.
“There will also be a special medical team, which will include doctors and paramedics to take care of the pilgrims. The mission will have its own imams who will guide the pilgrims during the Haj."
Zhibo told Arab News that the average age of the Chinese pilgrims is 60, while women account for one third of them.
He added that the pilgrims would be given $4,000 in cash each during their trip. By Nov. 9, all Chinese pilgrims will be in Makkah.
Islam established itself as one of the five major religions in China after it entered the country around 1,300 years ago.
PESHAWAR: The security forces stepped up action against suspected militants in Orakzai Agency and Swat on Sunday, killing 17 militants and injuring eight others besides destroying their key hideouts, sources said.
The forces backed by helicopter gunships, targeted militants’ positions in different areas, including restive Khadizai and Kot Khali of Orakzai Agency, destroying several hideouts. Reportedly, 12 militants were killed and eight others injured due to shelling.
The militants have no option except to lay down arms and surrender before security forces. The security forces had destroyed more than 30 training centers and 150 hideouts of militants in the agency. The militants are on the run, leaving behind arms and ammunition.
October 25, 2010
Thirteen Taliban fighters were killed and seven others injured when helicopter gunships targeted militant positions in the restive Orakzai tribal region of northwest Pakistan on Sunday, security sources said.
Ground forces backed by the helicopters attacked Taliban hideouts in Torsmat and Chapaer areas of Orakzai Agency. Two militant hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes, the sources said.
There were reports of clashes between security forces and militants in and around Khadizai and Kot Khali areas, where the Taliban have taken advantage of the hilly terrain and were resisting the troops.
Security forces launched a crackdown in Orakzai Agency after a lieutenant colonel and five soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb blast in the region on Friday.
Officials had earlier said that 10 militants were killed in air strikes on Saturday. The militants have no option but to lay down their arms and surrender to the security forces, the sources said. Troops have destroyed over 30 training centres and 150 militant hideouts in the agency, they claimed.
LONDON: Former British prime minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth revealed over the weekend that she has converted to Islam. Booth, who is half-sister to Cherie Blair and a Catholic by birth, switched faith after a recent visit to Iran. A human rights campaigner and journalist, she works for Press TV, Iran's 24-hour English language international news channel.
News of Booth's conversion surfaced after she was showcased at a rally here under the banner of Global Peace and Unity 2010, attended by several Islamic hardliners. It was a propaganda coup for those who militantly propagate Islam.
Booth (43), who has once figured in a reality television contest, told a section of British media, ``I had a delightful experience at a Muslim shrine in Iran six weeks ago. I now pray five times a day and occasionally go to a mosque. And I haven't had an alcoholic drink for 45 days.''
Booth now covers her head and neck with hijab when outside her home (and doesn't rule out wearing a burqa in future), no longer eats pork and reads the Quran every day. She conceded that her decision to convert might create a controversy. ``Every action sparks a reaction,'' she said.
NEW DELHI: Amid global fears that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may fall into the hands of terrorists, Army chief Gen V K Singh says concern remains over this aspect but he feels these weapons are secure.
"Probably Pakistan also has and they are taking extra measures....I don't think, there is any reason to say things are not secure. Things are secure," the Army chief said.
He, however, added that this will remain a concern given "the way internal dynamics (of Pakistan) are". Gen Singh recently raised hackles in Pakistan which had criticized him for his comments that Pakistan and China are "major irritants" and India was ready to fight a conventional warfare in a nuclear scenario. Rejecting Pakistan`s contention that his recent comments were "jingoistic", he said such views were not only his but of the entire world.
Nitesh Kumar Sharma
JAIPUR: While some ATS officials, on condition of anonymity, said RSS official Indresh Kumar could be interrogated soon, others said the agency was still in the process of concretizing evidence against him. They also said there was political pressure to ensure that Indresh is not interrogated or arrested without adequate paperwork as it could boomerang not just on the ATS but the Central and state governments as well.
It was also pointed out that the ATS had no option but to question Indresh as it would otherwise be difficult for it to defend the allegations against him in the court. The ATS has claimed that Indresh had met Sunil Joshi and six others at the Gujarati Samaj guesthouse in Jaipur to plan the conspiracy on October 31, 2005. However, the agency hasn`t given details of how it got this information.
ATS sources say that Indresh`s name was included in the chargesheet on the basis of information given by Srikant Purohit, member of Abhinav Bharat, in jail for the Malegaon blasts. It`s learnt that Purohit bore a grudge against Indresh as he suspected Indresh had leaked information to the ATS about his and Pragya Singh`s involvement in Malegaon. Purohit has also told agencies that he had once thought of eliminating Indresh as he was ``diluting the Hindutva agenda``.
JAMMU: Twenty-eight children from Ladakh, including four girls, were rescued by the police from a Jammu hostel run by an NGO. Five members of Jammu-based NGO, Youth Movement for Peace (YMP), were arrested after parents complained that the children had been kidnapped.
The children are victims of flash floods in August following a cloudburst in Leh. A police team will take them to their houses in Ladakh. According to a senior police officer, ''The children will be handed over to their parents and the Ladakh Buddhist Council.'' Till then, the police have arranged for their stay in Ladakh-Kargil House near Jammu railway station.
JAMMU: One Indian Army soldier was injured as Pakistani troops opened heavy fire with machineguns and rockets at Indian posts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Sunday evening, an army official said. The firing lasted for more than an hour.
Indian troops did not retaliate, for they did not want to escalate tension, the official said.
"They (Pakistani troops) opened fire with machineguns around 5.30 p.m. and also fired rockets," 16 Corps Brigadier General Staff (BGS) Satish Dua told IANS.
He also said that a soldier was injured.
The firing lasted for more than an hour and has now ended.
"We did not retaliate in the interest of confidence building measures," he said, referring to the ceasefire that is in force along the 744-km-long LoC that divides Indian and Pakistani Kashmir.
Indian troops are maintaining high level of vigil against the attempts of infiltration being made by terrorists from across the LoC.
NEW DELHI: With its Muslim-centric initiatives like the Waqf and enemy property bills triggering controversies, a wary Congress is looking to buffer itself from the negative fallout by forming a national monitoring panel of minority leaders.
In a recent communication to the PM, minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid expressed concern over political implications of rows like Waqf bill and minority status of AMU triggered by some Muslim leaders in a bid to paint Congress as inimical to community interests.
Khurshid said there was a need to institutionalise contacts with Muslims. In his view, a national monitoring panel comprising community leaders would act as a listening post and buffer the Congress from negative perceptions. The suggestion would require a decision from the top leadership and nothing has been heard yet.
There are apprehensions over the political fallout of controversies resulting from opposition from within the community against central initiatives. This is a setback for Congress as the hostility of Sangh Parivar to its minority impetus was expected to ensure a welcome from the community and add to the party's goodwill.
The minister told the PM that there was a need for quick action on key issues like minority status for AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia, and Waqf properties. "If, after sincerely doing so much for Muslims, we remain in deficit because of these three (issues), it would be unfortunate," Khurshid wrote. He added that government initiative would suit Congress better than a judicial verdict in the university issues.
Adding to the urgency for action, Khurshid highlighted accumulated cynicism and conscious attempts to counter and undermine the efforts of Congress.
The communication laced with concern only highlights the belief in Congress that it cannot be complacent that development plank would automatically result in political positives on the minority front.
JOHN F. BURNS and RAVI SOMAIYA
Oct 24, 2010
LONDON: Julian Assange moves like a hunted man. In a noisy Ethiopian restaurant in London's rundown Paddington district, he pitches his voice barely above a whisper to foil the Western intelligence agencies he fears.
He demands that his dwindling number of loyalists use expensive encrypted cellphones and swaps his own as other men change shirts. He checks into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends.
"By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I've wound up in an extraordinary situation," Mr. Assange said over lunch last Sunday, when he arrived sporting a woolen beanie and a wispy stubble and trailing a youthful entourage that included a filmmaker assigned to document any unpleasant surprises.
In his remarkable journey to notoriety, Mr. Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks whistle-blowers' Web site, sees the next few weeks as his most hazardous. Now he is making his most brazen disclosure yet: 391,832 secret documents on the Iraqi war. He held a news conference in London on Saturday, saying that the release "constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record."
Twelve weeks ago, he posted on his organization's Web site some 77,000 classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.
Mr Karzai said the cash was used to maintain the presidential palace and run his office
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that his office has received cash from Iran, but insists it was part of a "transparent" process.
Mr Karzai was responding to a report in the New York Times that Tehran had been passing bags stuffed full of cash to Mr Karzai's aides.
The cash was intended to promote Iran's interests in Kabul, the report said.
However, Mr Karzai said the money was not for an individual but to help run the president's office.
Speaking at a news conference, he said many countries had given money to Afghanistan in this way, including the US.
"The government of Iran has been assisting us with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice every year, that is an official aid," he told reporters, according to the AFP agency.
He said his chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, "is receiving the money on my instructions".
"The cash payments are done by various friendly countries to help the presidential office and to help dispense assistance... in various ways to the employees around here, to people outside, and this is transparent," he said.
"This is something that I have also discussed... at Camp David with President Bush. This is nothing hidden.
Srinagar: Activist Arundhati Roy, who created a controversy by questioning Jammu and Kashmir's accession to the Union, on Sunday said the State was never an integral part of India.
“Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this,” the Booker Prize winner said.
Ms. Roy alleged that India became “colonising power” soon after its Independence from the British rule.
She was speaking at a seminar on the theme ‘Wither Kashmir: Freedom or enslavement' organised by the Coalition of Civil Societies (CCS) here.
Jack Healy and John Leland
A U.S. Army soldier (right) looks on as Iraqi Army soldiers detain two suspected terrorists in Mosul in this March, 2008 file photo. U.S. forces often failed to follow up on evidence that Iraqi forces tortured and killed their captives, according to documents made public by whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
BAGHDAD: The release of thousands of classified Iraq war records quickly became part of Iraq's fraught political terrain on Saturday, with Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki denouncing the leak as a move to derail his bid for a second term.
Mr. Maliki, who has been mired in a stalemate with his political rivals since parliamentary elections last March, defended his administration against allegations it had permitted the abuse of prisoners and other misuses of power. In a statement, he dismissed the records as a politically timed smear and a series of “media games and bubbles.”
“The Iraqi people know who their leaders are,” he said.
Asserting RSS leader Indresh Kumar, whose name figures in the Ajmer blast charge-sheet, was not involved in any anti-national activitiy, former RSS chief K C Sudarshan today charged Congress with hatching a conspiracy to defame the Hindu organisation.
"It is incorrect that Kumar is somewhere linked with the Ajmer blast or any kind of anti-national activity," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
"The truth (that Kumar is not linked with terrorism at all) will come out soon," Sudarshan said.
"It is absolutely wrong to say that Kumar was present at a secret meeting held in a guest house here in 2005 as mentioned in the charge-sheet filed by the Rajasthan ATS," the former RSS Sarsanghsanchalak said.
"These are false allegations," Sudarshan said charging the Congress with hatching a conspiracy to establish a wrong fact that Hindu terrorism exists in the country.
He alleged the Congress was trying to defame the image of the RSS intentionally by stating incorrect facts.
Allegations raised against the US-led forces by the leaked Iraq war documents are ‘extraordinarily serious’ and people are awaiting a response on the shocking disclosures, said Washington’s close ally Britain on Sunday.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has earlier said that the decision of the then Tony Blair Government to join the March 2003 US-led invasion was illegal, said the allegations needed to be looked into.
“People are waiting for an official response to the shocking allegations against US and coalition troops,” Clegg told BBC television.
“We can bemoan how these leaks occurred but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they’re very serious,” he said.
Oct 25th, 2010
Washington: Growing Islamic extremism among the youth in India is a matter of concern and New Delhi needs to look into that, says the former Pakistan president, Mr Pervez Musharraf.
The former military ruler also said that Pakistan faced threats from Al Qaeda who exist in small numbers in the country’s western tribal areas, the Pakistani Taliban who are getting bolder, and growing numbers of ex-mujahideen travelling to Jammu and Kashmir to fight the Indian Army.
Expressing concern about what he said was increasing Islamic extremism among the young in India, he said: “The Indian government needs to look into that.” He did not elaborate.
Oct 25 2010
Washington : US special envoy to AfPak region Richard Holbrooke said he has no evidence to support media reports, stating ISI and Pakistan Army are opposed to the peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban.
"I do not have personal evidence or intelligence that supports that interpretation (the reports) of what has been going on," Holbrooke said, asserting that he is "not here to defend the Pakistani military or to attack them."
"They know our views on the importance of this area you're talking about, and that is really all I feel comfortable saying on that issue, except to acknowledge the importance of the subject you've raised," he told CNN in an interview.
Holbrooke said bringing peace in Afghanistan is of "the most vital importance" to US security interests. "We have our goals, we have our strategy... it (terror activities in the region) directly affects the homeland security of our nation.
And we are determined to see it through."
He said President Barack Obama "personally" oversees all the critical details related to US homeland security.
London : Julian Assange moves like a hunted man. In a noisy Ethiopian restaurant in London’s rundown Paddington district, he pitches his voice barely above a whisper to foil the Western intelligence agencies he fears.
He demands that his dwindling number of loyalists use expensive encrypted cellphones and swaps his own as other men change shirts. He checks into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends.
“By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I’ve wound up in an extraordinary situation,” Assange said over lunch last Sunday, when he arrived sporting a woolen beanie and a wispy stubble and trailing a youthful entourage that included a filmmaker assigned to document any unpleasant surprises.
In his remarkable journey to notoriety, Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks whistle-blowers’ website, sees the next few weeks as his most hazardous. Now he is making his most brazen disclosure yet: 391,832 secret documents on the Iraqi war. He held a news conference in London on Saturday, saying that the release “constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record”. Twelve weeks ago, he posted on his organisation’s website some 77,000 classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.
By Naseer Ganai in Srinagar
THE TASK of the Centreappointed panel of interlocutors on Kashmir just got tougher on Sunday even as it indicated that Pakistan should be involved in the process to find a “ comprehensive solution”. While the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, ruled out meeting the three- member panel, the interlocutors also came under attack from the BJP for “ unnecessarily internationalising” the process.
On Sunday, Farooq sought US intervention in the Kashmir issue and said the Hurriyat has already decided not to meet the interlocutors. “ We believe it is an attempt to procrastinate the resolution of ( Kashmir) dispute,” he added.
Huriyat’s hardline faction, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has already ruled out meeting the panel. However, by accepting Kashmir as a “ dispute” and talking about Pakistan’s involvement in the process, the panel was closer to “ meeting Geelani midway”, as a journalist said.
But the BJP slammed the panel chief Dileep Padgaonkar’s comments regarding Pakistan’s role and demanded an explanation from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Full report at: Mail Today
By Aman Sharma in New Delhi
PAKISTAN’S spy agency, the Inter- Services Intelligence, got hold of Lashkar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT)’ s American operative David Coleman Headley in 2006 and used him to execute the 26/ 11 masterplan.
In his 109- page confession to the National Investigation Agency ( NIA), Headley says the Pakistani police detained him in January 2006 near Peshawar along with retired Major Abdur Rehman Hashim.
They were lodged in Landikotal jail and interrogated for three days.
He says ISI’s Major Ali, alias Salim, let them off after learning Headley’s 26/ 11 plot. This was six months before Headley made his first reconnaissance trip to India and just after he had completed his training with the LeT. “ Major Ali told me that some people would be contacting me in Lahore who would be useful to me in my mission,” Headley says.
The ISI trailed him and within two days of Headley returning to Lahore, ISI’s Major Iqbal contacted him on his phone. He set up Headley’s first meeting with the ISI brass.
“ At the meeting, Major Iqbal and his boss, Lt- Col Hamza listened to my plan for two hours. Assuring me financial help, Lt- Col Hamza directed me to follow what Major Iqbal says and inform him of my activities,” Headley confessed.
Monday, 25 Oct, 2010
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s highest court on Sunday ordered parliament to resume work, after a nearly eight-month political deadlock which has left the country with a house in recess and without a new government.
Federal Supreme Court spokesman Abdul Sattar Bayrakdar said parliament was ordered to convene and elect a new speaker, the first step to forming a coalition in Iraq, which has been without a government since the March 7 poll.
“In a decision taken today, the supreme court ordered parliament to return to its regular meetings and do its regular work,” Mr Bayrakdar said.
“It must start by choosing the speaker and two deputies, and then proceed step-by-step for the other nominations,” said the spokesman for the court whose rulings can not be appealed.
The Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc of former premier Iyad Allawi narrowly won the election with 91 seats in the 325-member parliament, followed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia State of Law Alliance with 89.
Neither has been able to muster the majority needed to form a government, despite back-door negotiations with various Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs that also picked up seats.
MIRAMSHAH: In a surprising development, the local Taliban council has said that militants will move into Afghanistan if the army launches an operation in North Waziristan.
A pamphlet purportedly distributed by the Mujahideen Shura of North Waziristan in Miramshah bazaar on Sunday said that the Taliban would ask Afghan President Hamid Karzai to provide shelter to their men if the army launched an operation in North Waziristan.
“If the army starts another operation we will migrate to Afghanistan."
“But this will lead to an unending war in the region and jihad will continue,” the pamphlet said.
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: No conditions were attached to the $2 billion military aid package the United States announced for Pakistan this weekend but there are expectations that require Islamabad to expedite its effort to dislodge militants from North Waziristan.
Diplomatic sources told Dawn that during the strategic dialogue, which concluded on Friday, the Americans accepted Pakistan’s position that it did not have enough troops or resources to launch a major offensive in North Waziristan, as Washington demands.
Pakistan, in return, agreed to increase pressure on the militants hiding in the tribal belt by carrying out more targeted operations at various militant hideouts inside the area, the sources said.
US-trained special operations units of the Pakistani army will conduct those operations but there will be no US participation.
But during the talks, the United States made it obvious that even though it had attached no conditions to the package, it retained various options to halt or reduce aid if its expectations were not met.
By Intikhab Hanif
LAHORE: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said here on Sunday that the recent round of strategic dialogue had been productive and the United States had accepted Pakistan’s point of view on various issues which was a major development.
“Unlike in the past, we are also making the Obama administration accept our position on various issues. We are talking on an equal footing and have gained a lot of things, including a $7.5 billion economic package (approved by the US Congress last year) and (the new offer of) $2 billion military aid,” he said at a news conference after his arrival from the US. Discussions were also held on a demand for a military action in North Waziristan, Mr Qureshi said.
“We told them that Pakistani agencies have conducted several operations in the tribal belt and they need some consolidation before entering North Waziristan. They were told that we have already deployed 34,000 personnel there and we have to move in while keeping in mind our resources and priorities,” he said.
“We have our own priorities and sense of timing. We will proceed while keeping in mind our defence requirements for both the eastern and western borders and the need to engage troops for helping the flood-affected people. We have told America to enhance our capabilities to combat terrorism,” he said.
QUETTA: Pakistan and Iran have decided to take steps to stop illegal border crossings and drug smuggling and agreed to consider the reopening of the ‘Zero Point’.
At a meeting held in Taftan on Sunday, the border authorities of the two countries discussed issues of illegal movement along the border, drug smuggling and problems faced by traders because of the closure of Zero Point for about three months.
Deputy Commissioner of Chagai Mohammad Aslam Baloch and officials of FC, Balochistan, represented the Pakistani side while the Iranian side comprised Col Mehdi Zamani and other senior officials. Pakistani officials informed the Iranian team that the closure of Zero Point had affected thousands of people.
Iranian officials said that they would take up the matter in Tehran and hoped that a decision would be taken soon.
RAMALLAH: The chief Palestinian negotiator on Sunday welcomed a call from Catholic bishops for the international community to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Saeb Erakat said Christians were an “integral part of the Palestinian people” and blamed Israel for their emigration from the Holy Land, which he added “gravely damages... the prospects of our future state.” “We join the synod in their call to the international community to uphold the universal values of freedom, dignity and justice,” he said in a statement.
“The international community must uphold its moral and legal responsibility to put a speedy end to the illegal Israeli occupation.” His remarks came after the bishops and patriarchs of the region’s Catholic churches called on the international community to take “the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories.”
The Palestinians welcomed the synod’s reference to UN resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967.
TEHRAN: Iran has imposed new restrictions on 12 university social sciences deemed to be based on western schools of thought and therefore incompatible with Islamic teachings, state radio reported on Sunday.
The list includes law, philosophy, management, psychology, political science and the two subjects that appear to cause the most concern among Iran’s conservative leadership — women’s studies and human rights.
“The content of the current courses in the 12 subjects is not in harmony with religious fundamentals and they are based on western schools of thought,” senior education official Abolfazl Hassani told state radio.
Hassani said the restrictions prevent universities from opening new departments in these subjects. The government will also revise the content of current programmes by up to 70 per cent over the next few years, he said.
JERUSALEM: Israel on Sunday slammed critical remarks made by Middle East Catholic bishops after a meeting chaired by Pope Benedict XVI as “political attacks” on the Jewish state.
“We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement.
“The synod was hijacked by an anti-Israel majority,” he added.
Bishops and patriarchs from across the Middle East on Saturday called on the international community to end the occupation of Arab lands in an official statement following a two-week synod held at the Vatican.
“Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the synod said.
KARACHI: Federal Labour and Manpower Minster Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah has ruled out his involvement in the Tori Embankment breach and termed it baseless propaganda against him.
He said this during his visit to ‘Pictures exhibition on the life of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’ at a local hotel on Sunday.
He said it was the major task of the irrigation department to protect the people from heavy floods, which it did. “We (politicians) were playing our role as supervisors only,” he added.
Earlier, the federal minister met with photographer Agha Feroz and announced a gift of a motorcycle for him. Talking about the exhibition, Shah said the pictures had refreshed the memories of a historical period of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the political history of the country.
He appreciated the work of Feroz and said the photographer had done a great job to collect the precious pictures. He said Benazir Bhutto’s life was a great example for PPP’s workers and the people of Pakistan as well. “We are still following the political rules of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and working for materialising her political and social dreams,” he added.
KARACHI: Eleven artists responded to an open call that asked them to explore what it meant to them to be an artist whose world or life was informed and/or influenced and/or inspired by Islamic culture, practice or ideology, or the complete lack thereof.
Their reactions are registered in an exhibition titled “Querying the Label: Pakistani Artists’ Responses to the Term ‘Islamic Art’” that would be held at the Poppy Seed Gallery until Nov 7.
The impetus for this inquiry came from curators Fatima Quraishi and Sumbul Khan’s academic background in Islamic Art History, where research suggested that art historians of Western origin or heritage interpreted Islamic art as art produced “by people of Islamic faith” or “by people living in the Islamic Empires between the 8th and 18th centuries” and used it interchangeably as a religious and secular qualifier.
As art historians of Muslim heritage, the curators felt the need to question and reframe the breadth of these interpretations with the help of artists who shared that heritage at a time when being a Muslim and a Pakistani has its own political baggage.
QUETTA: Gunmen in Balochistan torched two vehicles carrying supplies for NATO troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Two men riding on a motorbike opened fire, wounding the driver of a truck in Baghbana town of Khuzdar district in Balochistan, local police official Mohammad Azam said on Sunday. When the driver got down they sprinkled petrol and set the truck ablaze, he added. There was no claim of responsibility for the latest incidents but the Taliban mounted a series of similar attacks this month, exploiting the build-up of convoys caused by the border closure and saying they were avenging US drone strikes. A second border crossing at Chaman remained open during the period. afp
LAHORE: Afghan officials have sealed the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman, a private TV channel reported on Sunday. The border was closed because of the visit of top Afghan officials, sources said. Due to the closure, dozens of vehicles had been stranded on both sides of the border. The transportation of NATO supplies through the Chaman border were also suspended, the channel reported. daily times monitor
WASHINGTON: When it crafted a giant civilian aid plan for Pakistan last year, the United States proclaimed a turning point in a troubled relationship, with US money henceforth to serve the cause of democracy.
On Friday, in the wake of the latest tensions between the war partners, President Barack Obama’s administration announced it would seek another two billion dollars in aid for Pakistan — this time, destined for the military.
The Obama administration has repeatedly pledged support for civilian rule in Pakistan, which was restored in 2008, and said on Friday it would bar assistance from several military units accused of human rights abuses.
But the latest aid package shows that the United States is also keen to meet the wish-lists of the Army, which has long been a major player in Pakistan and provides vital logistical support for forces in Afghanistan.
Teresita Schaffer, a former US diplomat who has served in Islamabad, said the United States faced a balancing act between working with the military and supporting civilian institutions. “The US routinely has trouble figuring out exactly where that line belongs and how to stay on the right side of things,” said Schaffer, director of the South Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Sunday called for joint global efforts to establish peace and justice. He also emphasized the need to safeguard the interests of humanity.
"Saudi Arabia stands for the whole world. Our religion is Islam and we believe that other religions are revealed from God. We spread the teachings of God for the benefit of humanity," the king said, while speaking to newly accredited ambassadors.
King Abdullah wished the new ambassadors success in their new careers and a happy stay in their "second home." The new envoys presented their credentials to the king.
They included Syed Muhammad Javad Rasooli of Iran, Talmiz Ahmed of India, Ahmed Aflal Jawad of Sri Lanka, Ahmed Al-Bousaeedi of Oman, Ahmed Mukhtar Gun of Turkey, Pablo Bravo of Spain, Hasan Moulaye of Niger, Yekaterina Mayering-Mikadze of Georgia and Gatot Abdullah Mansour of Indonesia.
By AMY TEIBEL
JERUSALEM: Israel’s prime minister on Sunday urged the Palestinians to avoid unilateral action and resume peace talks, a reflection of growing concern that the Palestinian leadership may be inching toward a “Plan B” in which they seek international recognition of an independent state without Israeli agreement.
Talks have stalled, just weeks after their launch, following Israel’s decision to resume full-fledged settlement building in the West Bank after a 10-month period of restrictions. The Palestinians say they cannot negotiate with Israel unless the curbs are renewed.
As the stalemate drags on, the Palestinians have said they are considering sidestepping Israel by seeking UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem — territories the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
At the start of the weekly meeting of his Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to “honor their obligation to engage in direct negotiations.” “I think any attempt to circumvent it by going to international bodies isn’t realistic and won’t advance true peacemaking in any way,” Netanyahu said. “Peace will be achieved only through direct talks.” Netanyahu said he was in close contact with US mediators in an effort to revive the talks, which were launched with great fanfare at the White House on Sept. 2. He said he remained committed to reaching the outlines of a deal within one year, the target set by the White House.
By MOHAMMED MAR'I
RAMALLAH: A senior Hamas official on Sunday said that reconciliation meeting between his movement and Fatah will be held next week.
Salah El-Bardawil, the spokesman of Hamas parliamentary bloc, said that the rival movements agreed to hold a meeting next week to discuss security arrangements in order to reach an inter-reconciliation agreement. The political unity was severed since Hamas routed pro-President Mahmoud Abbas forces and ousted Fatah in deadly fighting in Gaza in 2007.
El-Bardawil said that the two movements haven't yet agreed on the place where they will convene the meeting, however, added that Damascus is one of the options.
The reconciliation meeting was scheduled to be held in Damascus in Oct. 20. However, Fatah officials asked their Hamas rivals to move the place to another capital "due to arguments between Abbas and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Libya on Oct. 10."
Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah Central Committee and the chief of its delegation to the reconciliation talks, told the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily that the two rival factions had agreed to hold the meeting next week.
By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
BERLIN: Pirates seized a German freight ship off the coast of Kenya on Sunday — the second foreign vessel to be captured in the region in as many days, officials said.
The pirates took control of the German freight ship Beluga Fortune about 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) east of Mombasa, Kenya, a spokesman for the German army said on condition of anonymity, in keeping with military regulations.
The German shipping company Beluga-Reederei, which owns the vessel, declined to comment, but the German news agency dapd said it contained at least two German citizens.
On Saturday night, pirates seized a liquefied gas tanker 105 miles (165 kilometers) off the coast of Kenya in the Somali Basin, said officials in Singapore, where the ship is registered.
The MV York was traveling from Mombasa to Mahe in the Seychelles with 17 crew when pirates commandeered it, the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority said in a statement.
The authority said Sunday it was working with the ship’s owner, York Maritime Co., and government agencies to recover the ship.
JERUSALEM — Three mortars fired from Gaza hit southern Israel and the Palestinian territory itself on Sunday but caused no damage or injuries, an Israeli military spokesman said.
One of the devices exploded in an Israeli field while the two others exploded in the Gaza Strip.
Since the start of this year Palestinian activists have fired more than 120 rockets or mortar rounds into Israel from Gaza, according to the military.