Qatar Royal Killed In Car Crash In Iraq
Entry of 99 clerics into Sindh banned during Muharram
Cash Flow to Terrorists Evades U.S. Efforts
Ahead of WB, Kerala polls, CPM tries to win back Muslim support
Six Iranian pilgrims among 14 killed in Baghdad attacks
Six killed, 34 hurt in China cafe blast: State media
Pakistan team to visit India for Mumbai attacks probe
US wants to divide and rule Muslims: Iran
Iran will ‘never use’ force against Muslim neighbours
Iran minister gives Hillary the cold shoulder
‘Islam a bystander dragged into conflicts, subjected to finger-pointing’
Christianity arguably the most persecuted religion in the world
No nation can win 'war on terror' sans Pak support: Gilani
India stops 40 peace activists from entering Pakistan
Abu Dhabi hosts Mideast missile, air defence symposium
Two years before 26/11, US asked Pak to crack down on LeT, JuD
Court orders arrest of police officials in Bhutto case
Malik told that support for NRO withdrawn under US, UK pressure
US anger over possibility of A.Q. Khan’s release from house arrest
What Taliban leader could tell about ISI
Culprits of Karachi attacks identified: Home Office
Govt urged to implement Domestic Violence Bill
Kayani holds all national leaders in esteem: ISPR
Musharraf mulled to pack up Govt after six months
Tribesmen face Taliban threats on home coming
Naif to lead Saudi delegation to GCC summit
Fishermen to elect chairman
RCCI: Saudi trend of maid abuse ‘media fabrication’
7 Afghan demining experts released by captors
12 pirates get life sentence in Oman
UN appeals for $678 million in aid for Afghanistan
Malaysian girl, 14, celebrates wedding in public
'I kissed a girl' at Af base echoes US gay ban debate
Unexploded WWII bomb defused on new NATO HQ site
Egypt's parliamentary elections runoff; Mubarak likely winner
India may allow Pak panel to interview 26/11 witnesses
Pakistan Army says it is ‘pro-democracy'
Peace group to Gaza stopped at Wagah
Wikileaks: Russia views Pak as 'greatest' potential threat
Big powers and their 1971 games
Obama says US on top in Afghan war
Azam back amid sobs & hugs
Iran organizing art festival to highlight strategic economic plan
Muhammad Institute wants Islamic world,& Canada, to build B.C. space launch site
Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau
Wikileaks: LeT plotted to assassinate Narendra Modi
Dec 05 2010
New Delhi : Terrorist organisation Lashkar- e-Taiba was plotting to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and discussions to carry out the attack took place between Pakistani handlers and Indian members in June last year, intelligence reports released by whistle blower website wikileaks have revealed.
The terror organisation was planning three major tasks in India just six months after the Mumbai attack, including the assassination plot and setting up of terror camps in South India, US intelligence inputs that are part of a leaked diplomatic cable, reveal. The third task pertained to some work involving a car but details were not shared in the leaked cable.
“ LeT member Shafiq Khafa possibly preparing for operations. Hussein, an India-based LeT member, continued operational planning on three tasks in early June. The tasks were associated with a possible operation against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendar Modi, the establishment of a training camp, and unspecified work involving a car,” the cable reads. It goes on to say that Hussein would coordinate his activities with an India-based colleague identified as Sameer.
December 06, 2010
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - A member of the Qatari royal family was killed in a car accident during a hunting trip in Iraq's western Anbar province Sunday, a provincial official said.
The victim was identified as Khalifa bin Abdulla bin Hassan bin Ali al-Thani, said Sadoun al-Shalan, a member of the Anbar provincial council.
Thani's car rolled over in the desert south of the village of Nukhaib, about 200 km southwest of Anbar's capital, Ramadi.
"He was driving a GMC, hunting for prey when he hit some sort of a bump and the car started to roll over," Shalan said.
Thani was taken to hospital in Ramadi but had internal bleeding and was dead on arrival, Shalan said.
His relationship to Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was not immediately known.
"We have a photocopy of his passport which says he is a member of the royal family in his 20s," Shalan said.
KARACHI: Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza has directed the Sindh police to implement the ban imposed on the entry of 99 clerics, belonging to different schools of thought, into the province during Muharram.
The Sindh home department recently issued a notification banning the entry of 99 clerics into Sindh during Ashura.
A notification for imposing a ban on pillion-riding, carrying weapons and wall-chalking has already been issued to ensure peace in cities especially their sensitive areas during Muharram.
According to the notification, the entry of the 99 religious clerics — 49 clerics from Punjab, 42 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eight from Balochistan — has been banned into Sindh.
These clerics include 26 of Fiqh-i-Jafria, one of Ahle-i-Hadith while other 72 belong to Deobandi, Barelvi and other schools of thought.
The notification further stated that 19 clerics of Sindh could not move outside the province — five of east zone, two west zone, two south zone, one of Hyderabad region and nine from Sukkur region. These are eight clerics belonging to Fiqh-i-Jafria, two from Barelvi, one of Jamaat-i-Islami and two of JUI while six belong to the banned outfit Sipah-i-Sahaba.
The notification for cancellation of weapons carrying permits and a ban on pillion-riding in Karachi and Hyderabad has also been issued, effective till the 12th of Muharram.
The Sindh home minister has directed authorities to devise a foolproof strategy in consultation with religious scholars during Muharram, adding that a list of contact numbers of clerics should be compiled.
Dr Mirza also directed the authorities to install scanners; secret cameras and walk-through gates outside mosques, Imambargahs and on the routes of processions in sensitive areas.
He said that a surveillance system should be arranged for monitoring of the central procession in order to avert any untoward incident.
The clearance of the procession routes should be ensured by a bomb disposal squad, he added.
He said that DIGs of all zones would remain in contact with the Central Control Room established in the police headquarters for monitoring of the security arrangements, adding that reports on processions organizers, number of participants in processions, name of clerics leading the processions would be prepared by the DIGs.
He further instructed that district police officers (DPOs) and town SPs remain in contact with the organisers of the processions while extra contingents of police force should be deployed on the procession routes.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — Nine years after the United States vowed to shut down the money pipeline that finances terrorism, senior Obama administration officials say they believe that many millions of dollars are flowing largely unimpeded to extremist groups worldwide, and they have grown frustrated by frequent resistance from allies in the Middle East, according to secret diplomatic dispatches.
The government cables, sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and senior State Department officials, catalog a list of methods that American officials suspect terrorist financiers are using, including a brazen bank robbery in Yemen last year, kidnappings for ransom, the harvesting of drug proceeds in Afghanistan and fund-raising at religious pilgrimages to Mecca, where millions of riyals or other forms of currency change hands.
While American officials have publicly been relatively upbeat about their progress in disrupting terrorist financing, the internal State Department cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to several news organizations, offer a more pessimistic account, with blunt assessments of the threats to the United States from money flowing to militants affiliated with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups.
A classified memo sent by Mrs. Clinton last December made it clear that residents of Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, all allies of the United States, are the chief financial supporters of many extremist activities. “It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority,” the cable said, concluding that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
The dispatch and others offered similarly grim views about the United Arab Emirates (“a strategic gap” that terrorists can exploit), Qatar (“the worst in the region” on counterterrorism) and Kuwait (“a key transit point”). The cable stressed the need to “generate the political will necessary” to block money to terrorist networks — groups that she said were “threatening stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and targeting coalition soldiers.”
While President George W. Bush frequently vowed to cut off financing for militants and pledged to make financiers as culpable as terrorists who carried out plots, President Obama has been far less vocal on the issue publicly as he has sought to adopt a more conciliatory tone with Arab nations. But his administration has used many of the same covert diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement tools as his predecessor and set up a special task force in the summer of 2009 to deal with the growing problem.
While federal officials can point to some successes — prosecutions, seizures of money and tightened money-laundering regulations in foreign countries — the results have often been frustrating, the cables show. As the United States has pushed for more aggressive crackdowns on suspected supporters of terrorism, foreign leaders have pushed back. In private meetings, they have accused American officials of heavy-handedness and of presenting thin evidence of wrongdoing by Arab charities or individuals, according to numerous cables.
Kuwaiti officials, for example, resisted what they called “draconian” measures sought by the United States against a prominent charity and dismissed allegations against it as “unconvincing,” according to one cable.
The documents are filled with government intelligence on possible terrorist-financing plots, like the case of a Somali preacher who was reportedly touring Sweden, Finland and Norway last year to look for money and recruits for the Shabab, a militant group in Somalia, or that of a Pakistani driver caught with about $240,000 worth of Saudi riyals stuffed behind his seat. One memo even reported on a possible plot by the Iranians to launder $5 billion to $10 billion in cash through the Emirates’ banks as part of a broader effort to “stir up trouble” among the Persian Gulf states, though it was not clear how much of the money might be channeled to militants.
One episode that set off particular concern occurred in August 2009 in Yemen, when armed robbers stormed a bank truck on a busy downtown street in Aden during daylight hours and stole 100 million Yemeni riyals, or about $500,000. American diplomats said the sophistication of the robbery and other indicators had all the markings of a Qaeda mission. “This bold, unusual operation” could provide Al Qaeda “with a substantial financing infusion at a time when it is thought to be short of cash,” a dispatch summarizing the episode said.
Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is seen as a rising threat by the United States and was blamed for a parcel bomb plot in October and the failed attempt to blow up a jetliner last Dec. 25. The cables do not make clear whether the finances of the Yemen group are tied to Osama bin Laden’s network.
American officials appear to have divided views on the bin Laden group’s fund-raising abilities. A February cable to Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that “sensitive reporting indicates that al-Qaida’s ability to raise funds has deteriorated substantially, and that it is now in its weakest state since 9/11.”
But many other cables draw the opposite conclusion and cite the group’s ability to generate money almost at will from wealthy individuals and sympathetic groups throughout the Middle East while often staying a step ahead of counterterrorism officials.
“Terrorists avoid money transfer controls by transferring amounts below reporting thresholds and using reliable cash couriers, hawala, and money grams,” a recent cable warned. “Emerging trends include mobile banking, pre-paid cards, and Internet banking.”
The documents suggest that there is little evidence of significant financial support in the United States or Europe for terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, despite a string of deadly but largely low-budget attacks in London and other European cities in recent years, according to the documents.
“U.K. financing is important, but the real money is in the Gulf,” a senior British counterterrorism official told a Treasury Department official, according to a cable last year from the American Embassy in London.
In hundreds of cables focusing on terrorist financing, the problem takes on an air of intractability, as American officials speak of the seeming ease with which terrorists are able to move money, the low cost of carrying out deadly attacks, and the difficulty of stopping it. Interdictions are few, and resistance is frequent.
In Kuwait, for instance, American officials have voiced repeated concerns that Islamic charities — largely unregulated by the government there — are using philanthropic donations to finance terrorism abroad. But a Kuwaiti minister, in a meeting last year with the United States ambassador, “was as frank and pessimistic as ever when it came to the subject of apprehending and detaining terror financiers and facilitators under Kuwait’s current legal and political framework,” a memo summarizing the meeting said.
Saudi Arabia, a critical military and diplomatic ally, emerges in the cables as the most vexing of problems. Intelligence officials there have stepped up their spying on militants in neighboring Yemen, and they provided the tip that helped uncover the recent parcel bombs. But while the Saudis have made some progress, “terrorist funding emanating from Saudi Arabia remains a serious concern,” according to a cable in February. Mrs. Clinton’s memo two months earlier said Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups “probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan.” Officials said they believed that fund-raisers for extremist groups had often descended on the pilgrims to seek money for their causes.
The American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reported in February that the Saudis remained “almost completely dependent on the C.I.A.” for leads and direction on terrorist financing.
So it was not surprising that a month earlier, the embassy reported in a separate cable that Treasury Department officials had provided information to the Saudi domestic intelligence service, the Mabahith, on three senior Taliban leaders — Tayyeb Agha, Mullah Jalil and Khalil Haqqani — who had made several fund-raising trips to the kingdom, the cable said. (Like a number of other suspected financiers identified in the cables, the three Taliban leaders do not appear on the Treasury Department’s list of “banned” entities suspected of terrorism financing connections.)
The Americans shared phone numbers, e-mail addresses and passport information for the three men with the Saudis to cross check against Saudi customs databases. Saudi authorities said they were not familiar with the Taliban leaders but promised to pursue the tips.
Last week, American officials said that steady pressure from both the Bush and Obama administrations had led to significant improvements in combating terrorist financing. They said, for example, that Saudi Arabia was now taking actions that they had long hesitated to take or had resisted, including holding financiers accountable through prosecutions and making terrorist financing a higher priority. A leading Saudi cleric has issued an edict against terrorist financing, and the Saudis have created new financial intelligence unit.
“The U.S. government has been relentless in pursuing sources and methods of terrorist financing, including prioritizing this issue with all countries in the gulf region,” said Stuart A. Levey, a senior Treasury official, who was speaking generally about American policy and not about anything in the leaked cables. “As a result, we have put Al Qaeda under significant financial pressure.”
Behind the scenes at diplomatic encounters, tensions have occasionally flared. In 2007, a senior Bush administration official, Frances Fragos Townsend, told her Saudi counterparts in Riyadh that Mr. Bush was “quite concerned” about the level of cooperation from the Saudis, and she brought a personal letter on the subject from the president to King Abdullah, according to a cable summarizing the exchange.
Ms. Townsend questioned whether the kingdom’s ambassador to the Philippines, Mohammed Ameen Wali, might be involved in supporting terrorism because of his involvement with two people suspected of being financiers, the summary said.
Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, challenged the assertion, however, saying the ambassador might be guilty of “bad judgment rather than intentional support for terrorism,” and he countered with an assertion of his own: an unnamed American bank handling the Saudi Embassy’s money in Washington was performing unnecessary audits and asking “inappropriate and aggressive questions.”
American diplomats said that while the Saudis appeared earnest in wanting to stanch the flow of terrorist money, they often lacked the training and expertise to do it. “Their capabilities often fall short of their aspirations,” a cable last November said.
Saudi leaders appear equally resigned to the situation, according to the cables. “We are trying to do our best,” Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who leads the Saudis’ anti-terrorism activities, was quoted as telling Mr. Holbrooke, the special representative to the region, in a May 2009 meeting.
But, he said, “if money wants to go” to terrorist causes, “it will go.”
Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting from New York.
In an attempt to win back its Muslim votes in Left-stronghold Kerala [ Images ] and West Bengal [ Images ] ahead of next year's assembly elections, the Communist Party of India-Marxist hosted a Muslim convention in New Delhi [ Images ] on Saturday.
The party tried to hide its obvious attempt at garnering the Muslim vote bank in both the states by not lending its name to the banner. However, it was attended by a host of CPM bigshots including party general secretary Prakash and Member of Parliament Brinda Karat [ Images ] and other prominent leaders from West Bengal and Kerala.
"Ahead of the elections, I think the party is attempting to include the minorities in the development process. Left oriented parties hosting this convention goes on to show that they are committed to their secular promises," film director P T Kunju Muhammed, who attended the convention, told rediff.com.
Full report at:
Six Iranian pilgrims among 14 killed in Baghdad attacks
BAGHDAD — Six Iranian pilgrims were among 14 people killed in a spate of bombings across Baghdad on Saturday morning, security officials said.
Two near-simultaneous blasts, one at a derelict house laced with explosives and the other a car bomb, went off close to a rest house popular with Iranian religious tourists in Kadhimiyah.
Five people, including four Iranians, were killed and 18 were wounded, 11 of them pilgrims, an interior ministry official said, revising his earlier statement that all of the dead and wounded were Iranian.
And in the Shuala neighbourhood, a suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Iranian religious tourists before detonating his payload. Two Iranians were killed and 28 people were wounded, 19 of whom were Iranian.
Dec 5, 2010
BEIJING: At least six people were killed and 34 injured when a powerful explosion hit an Internet cafe in southwest China on Saturday evening, reducing it to ruins, state media reported.
The blast ripped through the cafe in Kaili city in Guizhou province at about 10:30pm (1430 GMT), the state-run Xinhua news agency said, citing local police and the provincial public security department.
Rescue workers were pulling victims from the devastated building and rushing the injured to hospital, Xinhua said.
Police were still investigating the cause of the explosion, which also smashed windows in neighbouring buildings.
KARACHI: A three-member probe team will soon be visiting India to investigate the Mumbai attacks, DawnNews reported on Sunday.
According to the Indian media, Pakistan sent a request to the Indian Foreign Ministry, which will be giving the final approval of the tour to the investigation team.
Media reports also stated that the Pakistan team will be recording statements of the accused and the eye-witnesses of the Mumbai attacks.
MANAMA: Iran cautioned the Muslim world against falling prey to American machinations and dismissed allegations it is building a nuclear weapon.
Speaking on the second day of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki blamed the American presence in the region for its instability.
“They bombed Afghanistan (after 9/11) and then became so arrogant that they did not even feel the need to take the permission of the United Nations to bomb Iraq. They killed hundreds of innocent people in Iraq — people who had committed no crime,” he said in Farsi.
He accused the US of spreading lies and deception, citing the recent WikiLeaks controversy, and claimed that Iran was a friend to all Arab and Muslim countries in the region. “We are happy when Saudi Arabia flourishes. We are happy to note that Bahrain has become an important center of international banking. Why should we not be happy? These are our Muslim brothers,” he said while driving his point home.
MANAMA: Iran sought on Saturday to calm its neighbours’ fears, saying it would never use force against them because they are Muslims, after Washington highlighted concerns over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki made the point at a security conference two days before Iran is to sit down with world powers in Geneva for the first time since October 2009 to discuss their differences.
“We have never used our force against our neighbours and never will because our neighbours are Muslims,” Mottaki told journalists on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue, sponsored by the International Institute for Security Studies.
“Your power in the region is our power and our power is your power.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said Washington’s concerns were shared by Iran’s neighbours in the Gulf, through which most of the world’s oil flows.
SHANNON, IRELAND: Hillary Clinton lost him at "hello."
The US secretary of state had a rare chance to interact with Iran's foreign minister at a Bahrain security conference, which Hillary used to deliver a message to Tehran on the need to engage with the international community over its nuclear program at next week's talks in Geneva. But while Hillary's keynote speech from the podium directly addressed the Iranian team led by foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, her attempt at a more personal diplomacy with Mottaki fell distinctly flat.
"I got up to leave and he was sitting a couple of seats down from me and shaking people's hands and he saw me and he stopped and began to turn away," Hillary told reporters on her plane returning to Washington on Saturday. "I said 'Hello, minister.' He just turned away."
While the US secretary of state laid out her case for broader Iranian engagement, Mottaki concentrated on his dinner — giving no sign that Washington's latest message to Tehran had been heard.
New : As the conflict in Afghanistan drags into its tenth year and Pakistan fights its own demons, questions on the nature of conflicts and the role played by Islam continue to be asked. What role does Islam actually play in edging these conflicts? What are the legal tenets of jihad according to the Quran? And ultimately, does the war exist merely to exploit the resources that ravaged countries have in abundance. Answers to such questions were debated at the launch of the book Winning the Peace: A Quest by Zeenat Shaukat Ali.
Shuakat Ali posed the following question: If Islam is a peaceful religion, one that shies away from promoting violence, why is it that it increasingly gets engulfed by violence? It is easy to finger-point at Islam, in the same manner in which communism was demonised during the Cold War, she says, adding that it is now political Islam that carries the brunt. Further, Shaukat Ali says there exists a small segment of society, the so-called military-industrial complex, that finds conflicts lucrative and Islam is an innocent bystander that gets dragged into them.
Bullet holes on a stone relief of the Virgin Mary which decorated the entrance to the Sayidat al-Nejat Catholic Cathedral, or Syrian Catholic Church, in central Baghdad on Nov. 1, 2010, the day after seven security force members and 46 Christian worshippers were killed.
Earlier this month, Christians who are free to observe their faith gathered in churches around the world for the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. They recited pre-written invocations for fellow Christians who face violence and oppression.
Maybe pew-bound Christians should instead heed the sentiments of escaped American slave Frederick Douglass: “I prayed for 20 years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
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No country can win the war against terrorism without Pakistan's help, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said.
Addressing a joint press conference after holding bilateral talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Gilani said that seeing the prevailing scenario with regard to the global war being fought on terrorism, it is impossible for any country to nip this menace in the bud without support of Pakistan, a frontline ally of the United States on the cause, Geo News reported.
"Now there is an equal realization that both the countries are equally suffering because of terrorism and there should be no blame game," he said, referring to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
LAHORE: Some 40 peace activists having valid visas were denied entry into Pakistan by Indian authorities at Wagah on Saturday.
Thirty-two Indians and eight others from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Japan were not allowed by the Border Security Force to cross over to Pakistan on foot for want of an NoC from New Delhi, a spokesman for Pakistanis for Palestine, Amanullah Kariapper, said at a news conference at the Lahore Press Club.
The activists were part of the Asian Gaza Solidarity Caravan, organised by the Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine, a coalition of social movements, trade unions and civil society institutions of the region.
Mr Kariapper said the activists were scheduled to visit Karachi and Quetta before leaving for Iran.
5 December 2010
Under the Patronage of the Armed Forces General Headquarters represented by the and with special support of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, The Institute of Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) launched today at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club in Abu Dhabi the second edition Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium (MEMAD).
The two-day event was attended at the opening by a crowd of political and military leaders and diplomats from the Gulf region and abroad.
The first day included an opening session and three plenary sessions.
The opening session started with a brief welcome note by INEGMA CEO, Mr. Riad Kahwaji, who stressed the importance of the symposium as missiles constitute a real threat to the stability of the GCC countries. The first keynote speech was delivered by Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces Major General Ali Mohammed Subaih Al Ka’abi.
Islamabad : Exactly two years before the 2008 Mumbai attacks, American officials pressured the Pakistan government to crack down on the Lashker-e-Taiba and its front Jamaat-ud-Dawah but were unable to make much headway, according to a secret US diplomatic cable.
A cable sent on November 27, 2006 by former US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan C Crocker, one of the hundreds released by WikiLeaks, said the US embassy had raised the operations of the two groups with "contacts throughout the Government of Pakistan" after the LeT was designated a terrorist organisation under UN Security Council resolution 1267 the previous year.
Crocker took up the activities of LeT, Al Akhtar Trust and Al Rashid Trust -- all designated underFollowing the Mumbai attacks, the UN Security Council designated the JuD a front for the LeT and imposed restrictions on its assets and efforts to gain access to weapons.1267 -- with the then Foreign Secretary Riaz Khan and the then National Security Advisor Tariq Aziz while other US officials engaged the Foreign Ministry's UN Directorate and the Information Ministry.
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has ordered the arrest of two senior police officers on allegations they failed to provide adequate security for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination, a prosecutor said on Sunday.
“The court has issued warrants and these are non-bailable. They can be arrested anytime,” special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told Reuters.
“I argued that they were responsible for Bhutto’s security and they failed to make foolproof security arrangements and they ordered the crime scene to be hosed down despite resistance from other officials.”
Court officials were not immediately available for comment.
Ali named the two police officials as Saud Aziz, former police chief of the city of Rawalpindi, where the attack took place, and one of his deputies, Khurram Shahzad.
In a November 9 meeting with Ambassador Patterson, Interior Minister Rehman Malik requested that the USG (United States government) issue a public statement in support of Pakistani democracy. He suggested that such a statement would be useful in protecting President Asif Ali Zardari from military-induced pressure for Zardari to leave office. In addition, it would help dispel persistent charges from the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) that the United States and the United Kingdom had urged it to withdraw support for the National Reconciliation Ordinance, thereby placing Zardari at risk. Malik assessed that Saudi Arabia and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were cooperating with the military and MQM to bring down President Zardari. Despite these charges, Malik was optimistic that the Supreme Court would not/not strip Zardari of his presidential immunity and suggested that even if it did, the government would simply cease prosecution of Zardari`s cases, thereby allowing him to continue to hold office.
US anger over possibility of A.Q. Khan`s release from house arrest
Washington is concerned that the government of Pakistan may release A.Q. Khan. Washington requests Post to please draw from points in para 4, as appropriate, with senior government officials including the Director General of Strategic Plans Division Lt. Gen (retd) Kidwai.
Post should achieve the following objectives:
Inquire about the accuracy of press reports indicating that Dr Khan will soon be released from house arrest.
Express Washington`s strong opposition to the release of Dr Khan and urge the Government of Pakistan to continue holding him under house arrest.
Explain the possible negative consequences that the release of Dr Khan will have on Pakistan`s image in the international community. Note that it would undermine the positive steps Pakistan has taken on nonproliferation.
American anxiety over the fate of Mullah Brader, a Taliban leader captured in Karachi in February 2010. A court decision preventing Brader’s extradition to Afghanistan comes amid renewed anti-American hostility in the media. The Americans speculate that the Pakistanis might swap Brader for a Baloch nationalist leader hiding in Kabul, but feel he ‘knows too much’.
The Beradar arrest was raised at a February 24 tripartite meeting of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Minister Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior, and Minister Atmar Hanif of the Afghan Ministry of Interior in Islamabad. There was no agreement from either side about the transfer of “wanted persons.”
In the meeting, Malik provided a list of Pakistan’s Most Wanted to Atmar, and requested the same from Atmar. Malik named one of the Most Wanted, known Baloch separatist Bramdagh Bugti, and asked Atmar to assist in locating the individual and returning him to Pakistan. Full report at:
KARACHI: Law enforcement agencies have identified the actual perpetrators behind the deadly suicidal-attacks on Shah Ghazi shrine and CID building, sources in the Interior ministry told Dawn on Saturday.
Both attacks were orchestrated by Ameerzada, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Karachi chapter’s chief.
Maulvi Tayyab of the banned organistaion played a pivotal role in hauling the suicide attackers to the targets for the deadly attacks.
According to the sources, these names came up after probing the arrests during the recent search operations carried out by the Karachi Police.
The sources further indicated that the Police and Intelligence agencies have speed up the campaign for the arrests of those involved in the attacks.
Govt urged to implement Domestic Violence Bill
By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: Marking ‘16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women’ - November 25 to December 10 - Aurat Foundation (AF) organised a daylong ‘Women Solidarity Mela’ in collaboration with Oxfam-GB at Sindh Graduates Association (SGA) auditorium on Saturday to throw light on the issues of violence against women.
The representatives of various NGOs and other stakeholders overwhelmingly participated in the event and urged government to implement Domestic Violence Bill.
Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) Chairman Zamurrad Khan was the chief guest at the occasion. In his address, Zamurrad Khan said that passage of sexual harassment bill in the parliament evidently showed the commitment of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the vision of its leader Benazir Bhutto. He underlined that the government formed committees in all the institutions to register complaints of women workers.
LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani holds all national leaders in esteem, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Athar Abbas was quoted as saying by a private TV channel on Saturday.
The ISPR spokesman said this while referring to recent media reports clarifying certain matters attributed to the army chief by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
Responding to a question while talking to reporters in Islamabad about WikiLeaks’ recent revelations regarding the Pakistan Army, Abbas said the armed forces gave preference to national interests while dealing with the challenges confronting Pakistan, the channel said.
After the leaked US diplomatic cables highlighted the army’s power in the country, the ISPR DG said that the WikiLeaks revelations about the army chief were baseless.
ISLAMABAD – Former President Gen (rtd) Pervez Musharraf was mulling after just six months of February 2008 elections to replace the freshly elected government with that of technocrats, according to another WikiLeaks cables.
This was revealed in a cable sent to Washington on July 25, 2008. According to cable, Musharraf, in view of weakening relations between Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, was certain that the two will part ways and in that case, Zardari will fall in need of new allies to keep its majority from falling. Under the circumstances, PML-Q could come forward for the purpose.
However, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Zardari apprehended that they could be at political disadvantage by working with the former dictator. And Gilani wanted to raise the issue in his US visit.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN – The displaced families started returning to their homes in South Waziristan Agency Saturday for the first time after a government offensive to clear the area of militants sent them fleeing more than a year ago.
About 140 people from 16 families were the first civilians to return. The security forces cleared the area of militants from Al Qaida and the Taliban.
Brigadier Shahzad Raza, the senior army official in charge of the repatriation operation, said Saturday that families from six villages had been selected to return, as their areas had been cleared of militants and secured by the military.
He said it was disappointing that so few decided to make the trip. Mohammad Zubair Mehsud, one of the displaced people who declined to return, said his family wanted to go home but worried about the requirement that they travel in a government convoy.
JEDDAH: Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif is leading, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the Saudi delegation to the Gulf Summit meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Secretary-General of Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah said a meeting of the GCC foreign ministers on Sunday would review the final agenda of the summit, discuss closer cooperation in security and military affairs in addition to finalizing the draft of the final communiqué of the summit.
Al-Attiyah affirmed the significance of the summit as it reflects the keenness of the member countries for joint action.
By MD AL-SULAMI
JEDDAH: Fishermen in Yanbu will elect a new chairman for their group as the Department of Fishers in the industrial city has invited nominations from prospective candidates to contest elections to be held in the middle of this month.
The chief administrator in Yanbu, Ibrahim Al-Sultan, has set up a committee to supervise the elections. The committee is chaired by Yousuf Al-Fayedi, assistant director of services. Contestants should be Saudi, physically fit, should have adequate knowledge of fishing regulations in the Kingdom.
The announcement for elections came after a number of fishermen lodged complaints against the existing chairman Naji Al-Ruwaisi. The director of the fisheries department has withdrawn the official stamp from Al-Ruwaisi in preparations to remove him from the post. As many as 37 fishermen lodged a complaint to the department director against Al-Ruwaisi, saying he was not available to solve their problems.
RIYADH: The head of the Recruitment Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Saad Al-Baddah, blamed the Saudi media on Saturday for exaggerating the problems of abused maids.
“Our media did not play a balanced role,” he said. “It only pointed out the negativity and did not bother to bring positive examples.”
He said reporters should send photographers to the airport to take photos of the many maids who depart after many years of work in the country, their arms laden with gifts from their benevolent Saudi employers, their eyes filled with tears of sadness at their departure and their minds filled with warm memories of their Saudi experience.
Al-Baddah said that media should also underscore punishments meted out to Saudi employers who abuse their servants and the role of Saudi human rights organizations in responding to abuse cases.
KABUL: Seven Afghan demining experts have been released, two days after kidnappers ambushed them near the Pakistan border, the border police commander for eastern Afghanistan said Saturday.
The deminers were released Friday after local elders helped in negotiations with the kidnappers, Gen. Aminullah Amerkhail said. Two of them had been beaten, he said.
The seven were the last to be released of a team of 16 Afghans seized Wednesday near the Pakistan border. The others were freed several hours after the attack near the Torkham border crossing in Nangarhar province.
Also Saturday, NATO said a service member died of a non-combat injury in eastern Afghanistan. The military coalition did not provide further details.
MUSCAT – For the first time in Oman a court has sentenced a group of sea pirates to life imprisonment, local newspapers reported on Saturday.
The Court of Appeal in Salalah handed down the punishment to 12 Africans for committing piracy in Omani waters. They were apprehended in May after the owner of a fishing boat tipped off the Mirbat police of a pirate attack.
A Coast Guard ship patrolling the area intercepted the pirates who were heading to some African coast, but had to retreat after the bandits opened fire. The Coast Guards informed the Royal Navy of Oman which captured the pirates.
The pirates requested assistance from the Omani fishing boat after pretending that their boat was damaged. When the fishing boaed into the fishing boat and t stopped to help, 10 armed pirates bargseized it. They where planning to kidnap the crew and the boat in order to get a ransom from the owner, the pirates confessed to the investigation team. ?email@example.com
KABUL, Afghanistan: The UN is appealing for $678 million for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in 2011.
Catherine Bragg, the UN's Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, said Sunday the toll of conflict and natural disasters requires continued aid to Afghanistan in 2011.
Also on Sunday, NATO said a Taliban leader in Wardak province was killed in a December 3 airstrike. NATO said the leader had been conducting surveillance on coalition forces operating in the area, possibly in preparation for an attack.
KUALA LUMPUR: A 14-year-old girl and 23-year-old man have celebrated their recent marriage in public in Malaysia's largest city, a report said Sunday, fuelling a debate on teen weddings.
Underage marriages are allowed for Muslims with court permission and parental consent but are not common in this Muslim-majority country.
The New Straits Times reported the Muslim couple, whose union was arranged by their parents, were married in July after obtaining permission from an Islamic court.
The couple, whose photo was published on the government-linked newspaper's front page, celebrated their union at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur Saturday together with about 250 other couples. The celebration was organized by Kuala Lumpur's Islamic department.
"It has been hard trying to juggle two roles - as a student and a wife - but I am taking it in my stride," said the bride, Siti Maryam Mahmod, who studies at a religious school.
Authorities could not immediately be reached Sunday to comment.
BAGRAM AIR BASE: In his drive to end a ban on gays in the military, US president Barack Obama got an unexpected boost during his latest visit to Afghanistan, as a female singer performed "I Kissed a Girl."
It was an unusual musical choice for a presidential event, but pop star Katy Perry's same-sex themed lyrics were in tune with the political debate back in Washington , where senators were arguing over the merits of opening up the armed forces to openly gay troops.
As a throng of US troops waited for Obama to take the stage in his unannounced visit it to Bagram air base on Friday , a band warmed up the crowd with Perry's breakthrough single. "I kissed a girl and I liked it," goes the 2008 hit.
Obama has called on Congress to repeal the current law, known as "don't ask, don't tell," which obliges soldiers to hide their sexual orientation or else face expulsion from the military.
BRUSSELS: Belgian police and NATO say an unexploded bomb has been uncovered and defused on the construction site of the alliance's new headquarters building near Brussels airport.
The bomb is the second to be found there in less than a month. The airfield was repeatedly bombed during World War II, initially by the Nazis and later by the Allies.
Construction on the project broke ground in October and is scheduled for completion by 2015. NATO's new home will be situated across the street from its current offices.
A US-Belgian consortium designed the new, state-of-the-art headquarters consisting of eight wings, converging in a vast, glass-covered central hall.
Officials say the wings symbolise the allies coming together, while the glass walls are supposed to represent NATO's transparency.
CAIRO: Amid a boycott of elections by two main opposition parties over alleged fraud and rigging, Egypt today held parliamentary runoffs that are likely to hand over victory to the party of President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for the last 29 years.
The reruns come a week after the main elections which saw the ruling National Democratic Party win over 90% of the seats amid accusations from political parties, independent candidates and civil society organisations of fraud and rigging.
Egyptians are voting in parliamentary runoff elections to choose 283 Members of Parliament.
After the first round the banned Muslim Brotherhood MB group and the Liberal Wafd- the two largest opposition groups - announced they were boycotting the elections in protest.
The boycott was reminiscent of the call by former IAEA chief Muhammad al-Baradi for parties to boycott the elections and "not participate in the play the ruling party is producing to fool the world".
NEW DELHI: India may allow a Pakistani commission to travel here to interview key witnesses and other officials in connection with the trial of seven Pakistani suspects in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case.
Sources said Pakistan will be informed of India's stand on the issue once the government gets the view of Bombay high court on it, possibly next week.
India, as such, does not have any problem if a commission from Pakistan comes to take statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule and Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who recorded 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab's statement, and the doctors who carried out the post-mortem of the victims and the terrorists.
But, the sources said, it is mandatory to take the view of the high court as the case related to 26/11 is now pending before it.
Islamabad: Pakistan Army on Saturday said it was “pro-democracy and would continue to remain so”, days after leaked U.S. diplomatic cables revealed its chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had mulled toppling civilian President Asif Ali Zardari amid a political stand off.
Apparently stung by disclosures of strained relations between the military and politicians, the Army stepped in and said it “supported the political set-up while remaining within constitutional limits”.
Referring to media reports based on confidential cables, chief military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani respected the country's political leadership and all national leaders, including PML-N head and former Premier Nawaz Sharif.
NEW DELHI: Indian peace activists planning to take humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip sat in dharna briefly at the Wagah border point with Pakistan. They later returned to Delhi as the government denied them permission to cross over on foot.
“Permission was not denied. They had valid passports and visas and were free to use the established means of transport to cross over into Pakistan. Going on foot is not one of the established means such as bus, train or plane,” said informed sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here.
Members of the “India lifeline to Gaza” claimed that the Ministry did not respond to their plea for permission to cross over even though it was sought a month ago. “We thought the Indian government has a stated policy of support to the Palestinian people. But such unresponsiveness makes us have serious doubts,'' said Sunil Kumar who sat in dharna with the others at Wagah.
Moscow : Russia views Pakistan as the "greatest" potential threat to the regional stability and has de facto imposed embargo on the sale of weapons to Islamabad, according to a secret US diplomatic cable leaked by vestibules WikiLeaks website.
In his 'secret' dispatch, US Ambassador to Moscow William J Burns said Russia views Pakistan as the greatest potential threat to regional stability and Russian Foreign Minister ruling out weapons sales to Pakistan as far back as 2003.
"Russian decision-making process has led to a de facto embargo on weapons transfers to Iraq, where Russia is concerned over leakages to Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda; to a hands-off policy towards Pakistan, the country Russia views as the greatest potential threat to regional stability (with then-Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov ruling out weapons sales to Pakistan as far back as 2003)," Burns communicated in dispatch to Washington in October 2007.
By Devbrat Roy Chaudhary
An interesting though incomplete account of the part the great powers played in influencing the Bangladesh War
THE TITLE of B.Z. Khasru’s book is somewhat misleading. For, the author does not take up explicitly the myths about the war that he has set out to dispel. Neither does he deal with the Liberation War in detail. The primary purpose that seems to have made Khasru, a US-based editor and publisher, write this book is set out in its subtitle: ‘How India, US, China and the USSR shaped the outcome’. It is the behind-thescenes manoeuvring and diplomacy by these countries with regard to the developments in East and West Pakistan and India in the turbulent 1970-71 that shape the book’s narrative. More specifically, the book has been written from the standpoint of American policy towards the crisis that unfolded after Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League won a landslide victory in the 1970 elections, forcing the establishment in West Pakistan to finally show its cards on the Bengali question.
Full report at: Mail Today
US PRESIDENT Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan late on Friday and assured US troops that they were winning the war against the Taliban despite difficult days ahead.
The president’s visit was not announced due to security concerns. Obama spent only four hours in the country.
He was all the time at the Bagram air base outside Kabul.
Also, a meeting with President Hamid Karzai was replaced with a 15- minute phone call, as weather scuppered plans to fly Obama by helicopter to Kabul.
The trip came as the Obama administration faced new friction with Karzai over embarrassing assessments of the Afghan leader in leaked diplomatic cables, but war czar Douglas Lute told reporters the topic did not come up between the two leaders.
“ Both leaders acknowledged that early 2011 was not far off and that this had to remain a priority for both countries to begin the transition process,” Lute said.
By Rajat Rai
IN A key move to restore its clout with the minority community, the Samajwadi Party ( SP) formally took prominent Muslim leader of western UP Mohammad Azam Khan back into its fold on Saturday.
Khan was expelled from the SP before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls for questioning party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s move to align with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh, who was UP’s chief minister when the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.
The Samajwadi Party had revoked Azam Khan’s expulsion on November 2. Khan announced his intention to rejoin the party in the presence of its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on November 27.
He was given a grand ‘ comeback’ reception at the party’s headquarters on Saturday, with Mulayam Singh Yadav personally greeting him.
Later, Khan got emotional while delivering his reunion speech — he wiped his tears a number of times during his 20- minute address to party leaders and workers.
TEHRAN -- Iran’s Art Bureau is currently organizing an art festival for the upcoming year to highlight its 20-Year Outlook Plan.
The 1404 Iran Art Festival is scheduled to be held in May 2011 in the categories of music, films, plays, visual arts, architecture, literature and satire.
The festival plans to remind people and officials about the goals of the 20-Year Outlook Plan, festival secretary Morteza Gudarzi-Dibaj said during a press conference on Saturday.
Iran’s 20-Year Outlook Plan comprises four five-year development plans, which has been in effect since 2005.
Affiliated to the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, The Art Bureau will hold the festival with the help of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
MONTREAL - The head of the Muhammad Institute for Space Science wants to build a space-launch facility in Canada.
Redouane Al Fakir's goal is putting the Islamic world back at the forefront of scientific discovery.
But the Vancouver astrophysicist wants all Canadians to be involved in his project.
His proposed commercial space port in British Columbia would be the first of its kind in this country — and Al Fakir says it's about time.
The way he sees it, if countries like India, China and Japan can launch satellites into space, why not Canada?
The UBC astronomer is out raising money, especially in the Middle East, but he faces a big challenge: Al Fakir estimates that it would take $100 million to build a facility, and $500 million to send up a rocket.