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But the lords of torture never imagined that they would be facing a day, a day of trial and judgment – formal, tiring and humiliating. They never imagined that they would be making a journey back through the dark, bloodied alleys they created. They never imagined that they would be recollecting the dead bodies they killed. They never imagined they would be recalling tact of torture they practiced....


Can An Election In Maldives Without The Candidacy Of Former President Nasheed Be Considered Free And Fair?
Former President Nasheed

President Nasheed is poised to win the Maldives’ presidential elections on September 7, 2013. It has become increasingly obvious that the only way to prevent Nasheed’s return is to ensure his name stays off the ballot paper. At the same time, the repeated exposure of the farce of the courts and the dishonesty and idiosyncrasy of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) by open parliamentary committee sessions since the February 7, 2012 coup d’état, and the mounting evidence against the JSC in many international reports investigating the status of the Maldives’ judiciary and its transition, has made it increasingly difficult to convince the public or the international community that any decision to exclude Nasheed from the elections will be impartial…..


Examination of the prosecutors' letter does indeed offer support to those who regard Mayer's prosecution as unfair.  In general, the letter described the presented question as how far an artist may go "before he crosses the line between ('just barely' allowed) provocation and 'defamation' and wounding of religious feelings."  ...


London: In an Imaginary Homeland, the English Jihad Rises
Praveen Swami

Ever since the London bombings of 7/7, the United Kingdom has sought to deal with emergence of the virtual Islamic homeland by reinventing multiculturalism—spending millions marketing purportedly moderate, anti-jihadist forms of Islam. This project, however, has simply perpetuated ghettoisation. In a 2006 survey, six of every 100 British Muslims were reported to support the 7/7 bombing; the following year, 25% said the terrorist attack was a government plot....


The Indian Muslim seminary of Deoband that has considerable influence on the Bangladeshi traditionalists must be asked to dissuade them from further confrontation. The mainstream liberals, atheists and Marxists in Bangladesh must rein in their militant wing from launching incendiary attacks on Islam. The window to act is small and getting smaller by the day. Time is of real essence....

The days that followed were terrible. The first thing that comes to a freshman’s mind when they set foot in their university is the horrid thought of being ragged. The British tradition of ragging new students is unfortunately prevalent in Pakistani universities. In certain universities, an official ‘Rag Day’ is observed where seniors ridicule newbies and ask them silly questions.....

“For the simple reason central power rests there. The party held a mammoth rally in Islamabad’s D-Square right on the polls’ eve. The participants were highly charged, highly motivated and highly spirited. It seems now PTI would attract such mass assemblies of supporters anytime it wants. I fear the D-Square would eventually turn into the ultimate battleground, i.e. Pakistan’s Tahrir Square. Not now, but say two or three years from now on.”...


Hefazat-e-Jamaat, Nothing Else! On the Recent Developments in Bangladesh
Subhash Gatade

While participation of young girls and women outnumbered men at Shahbagh, Hefazat jamboree was a all men affair and when they saw a woman journalist assigned to cover their 'long march" she was brutally targeted by them for violating one of their prime demands : a ban on women mixing with men in public. In the presence of thousands of rallyists, comprising mainly of students and teachers of madrasas, she was badly beaten by them mercilessly for daring to join the men-only rally….


Mamata Banerjee has fought for the rights of the Muslims of the state because of which the Muslims of Bengal are grateful to her. She has taken a number of steps for the development of Muslims of the state including the implementation of Urdu as the second official language. But according to Siddiqullah Choudhary all this is not enough if she does not stand up to save the rapists and murderers of Bangladeshi people. All of them had taken an anti-India position during the conflict and even fought against the Indian forces.....

Pakistan: Taliban Have Won the Elections , But Where are they?
Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, New Age Islam

Pakistan: Taliban Have Won the Elections , But Where are they?
Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, New Age Islam, Islamabad

Elections in Pakistan are over. Almost all shades of political parties participated wholeheartedly. Like all political parties and groups with religious, sectarian, liberal, secular, ethnic, linguistic and nationalist political agendas, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban, the religious militants, also participated indirectly in a proxy manner through its supporters and directly through its bombing campaign.


Nasheed has been hitting the waterways that connect the islands for over a year now, seeking justice and asking people to back him. The former President insists that he was thrown out in a coup on February 7, 2012, and wants people not to forget this ‘fact’ when they reach the polling booths. Nasheed remains the most popular leader in Maldives today.....


Awards for War:  Why Are We Giving Prizes to Burma's Thein Sein and Indonesia's SBY?
Benedict Rogers

If the international community is to encourage genuine reform, promote religious harmony and resolve conflicts, it must recalibrate its position in regard to both Burma and Indonesia. It is right to caveat criticisms with recognition of positive achievements; it is also right to present criticisms as constructively as possible, appealing to self-interest....


The Spectre of Sanjay Gandhi Rises Again: The Tehelka Story of How His Son Varun Subverted Indian Judiciary with the Help of Politicians His Father Had Thrown Into Jail, Subverting Indian Constitution
Varun Gandhi

The idea of India is based on several cardinal plinths: the idea of plurality and equal rights for all its citizens are perhaps the two most sacred of those plinths. Varun’s hate speeches violated this in deep and wounding ways.

But his elaborate cover-up went a step worse. The idea of democracy is predicated on the rule of law. In trying to clear his name by subverting the entire judicial process, Varun crossed an even greater line.

Today, he stands acquitted in all the cases. Major political responsibilities have been given to him and the BJP is considering him as a future tall leader. But are Varun’s acquittals merely the story of an accused getting away with a crime? Or will these cynical exonerations strengthen the foundation over which similar crimes can prosper in the future?

If the perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots had been brought to book, perhaps the carnage of 2002 would have been less vile and rampant, if not stemmed altogether. The political patronage given to the perpetrators of 1984 gave rise to people like Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani. If Varun had been meted proportionate punishment in time, perhaps Akbaruddin Owaisi would have learnt to hold his tongue.

Like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Varun’s inflammatory speeches could have proved disastrous. Parmeshwari Gangwar, a close associate of Varun, said on TEHELKA’s hidden camera, “The vendors would not go to Muslim-dominated areas in Pilibhit, they were so afraid.” Ramveer Singh, the reporter who recorded Varun’s communal speech, says, “The things he said in Barkhera were very dangerous. There is a Muslim locality close by with at least a 1,000-1,500 Muslims. If they had thrown stones from their rooftops, a 100-200 people in the market could have died.” Ram Avtar told TEHELKA that the villagers had even begun making preparations to kill Muslims. “The intelligent people of the village did not agree with this, but many illiterate people said this politician is good. We are Hindus; he is saying the right thing. So, the villagers started making preparations to kill Muslims.”....


Trust Islamabad, but Verify Too
Mayuri Mukherjee

Now, add to this the fact that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan did not attack the PML (N) during this election because it said it had no problems with the party, and a murky picture of the dangerous opportunist politics emerges. Especially now that the PML (N) is in power, make no mistake that the Taliban, who like to view themselves as the king-makers, will seek to extract more than just their pound of flesh from Mr Sharif and his Government....


Two Neighbours, And Dealing with Them
Chinmaya R. Gharekhan

When I worked in the Prime Minister’s Office of Indira Gandhi from 1981 to 1984, she told me that she could visualise a time in the future when India and Pakistan would have normal, even friendly, relations but she did not have the same hope for relations with China because, she said, it was essentially an expansionist power. How do recent events validate her instinct and analysis?.....

Rethinking History: An Alternative and Neutral Narrative to The Indo-Pak Students
Alefia T. Hussain

“Working on this project has not only changed my perspective on the apparently common history that our countries have undergone but also on stories and past events in general,” she adds, while remembering moments when she was in Lahore recently while working on this project, and “we were reduced to silence because of the vast differences, for example an extremely important event from the Indian side [Civil Disobedience Movement] is omitted from the Pakistani book”.....


Pakistan’s Elections Prove the Complexity of Its Polity
Ejaz Haider

Finally, the civil-military imbalance that has prevented Pakistan from establishing a democratic institutional framework is headed towards righting itself. The military has chosen to stay out of the political. And while the civilians have yet to increase their capacity to deal with the security sector, a second-generation problem, the first-generation problem is over — i.e., the fear of coups d'etat. This is just the beginning, though...


Pakistan Elections: Mandate to Move Mountains
Kamal Siddiqi

Mubarak Mian Sahab. You have been given another chance and that too with a thumping majority. This gives you the muscle to take steps that previous governments have been unable or unwilling to. How will you be different? On being sworn in, you will have created a record of being the first PM to score a hat trick. How else do you want us to remember you in times to come?....

Noam Chomsky on Pakistan Elections
Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky

Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important. And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries.....

Nawaz Sharif Makes a Comeback in Pakistan, Faces Numerous Challenges
Nawaz Sharif

In many ways, analysts say, Sharif's return reflects the slow and steady maturing of democracy and politics in Pakistan, which has been run by the military for more than half of its 66-year history.  And it is Sharif's relationship with the powerful military, which sets the agenda for foreign and security policies that will largely determine the country's future. The PML-N is set to bag over 125 of the 272 parliamentary seats for which polls were held on Saturday, with the party performing better than expected in the face of a last minute surge by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf. .......


The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) may be down after Punjab ignored its call for ‘change’ on Saturday, but it is not out. “Overall the PTI has emerged as the second largest national party, capable of playing the role of a strong, active opposition in the National Assembly and independently forming the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Asad Omar, a central PTI leader, told Dawn. Omar sounded confident of a future for his party in national politics and did not appear disappointed at its poorer-than-expected electoral performance in Punjab……….


'Pakistan Votes In Landmark Election: Nawaz Sharif 'Set For Victory'
Nawaz Sharif

Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif is celebrating with his supporters, amid early signs that his party will be the largest after parliamentary elections.

Media projections based on partial results suggest a big lead for Mr Sharif's Muslim League, and he has already claimed victory.

The election should lead to the country's first transition from one elected government to another.

The turnout was huge but the poll was marred by violence. In Karachi, the Pakistan Taliban said they planted a bomb which killed 11 people and wounded 40 others.

The bomb was placed outside the office of the Awami National Party. There were also attacks in Balochistan and the north-western city of Peshawar. Voting was extended for an hour across the country before closing at 18:00 (13:00 GMT). 'Thank Allah' An election commission spokesman said they hoped for a turnout of 60-80%. In 2008 it was 44%.


Election Mubarak: The World’s Bravest Democracy Rejected Those Who Supported Drones
Murtaza Haider

Pakistan may not be the world’s largest democracy, but is certainly the world’s bravest. Over 50 million voters braved heat, violence, and terrorism to cast their votes and wrote a new chapter in the history of democracy. The al Qaeda franchise in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had vowed to target anyone who would participate in the electoral process in Pakistan. Numerous attacks and suicide bombings by the TTP targeted liberal-minded candidates resulting in the pre-poll deaths of over 100 individuals......

A Personal Perspective on the Pakistan Elections
Zulfiqar Shah

Pakistan is in the midst of the most violent and an anarchic election of its history. The electoral politics in Pakistan has polarized the internal factions of society and more importantly of the powerful security establishment. Hundreds have been killed so far in dozens incidents of violence, mostly taking place during the elections campaign. It is widely believed that the results of these elections are strategically important to decide the narrative about the future of Pakistan......

A bomb blast targeting an election candidate killed eighteen people and wounded dozens near Dawood intersection in Quaidabd area of Karachi as historic elections got underway on Saturday, police told. "We have received 11 dead bodies and several injured people," said doctor Semi Jamali, head of the emergency department at Jinnah Hospital in Karachi.  The target was an election candidate of ANP (Awami National Party). He was travelling in his car when the bomb exploded," senior police official told.......

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