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Islamic World News ( 12 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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45 Chained Students Rescued from Karachi Madrasas

2,080 Lashes for Saudi Man who Raped Daughter

SC of India: Oath in Allah's name not against Constitution

Human Right Watch: West 'ignores Uzbekistan abuses'

For Malaysian Christians, an Anxious Holiday Season

Syria should be referred to ICC, UN's Navi Pillay says

Israel PM for Loudspeaker Ban in Mosques

Libyan Army Clashes With Militia in Tripoli

Parliament attack: India observes tenth anniversary

Concern in RS over Sikhs, Hindus in Pak

Hezbollah unravels CIA spy network in Lebanon

US ditches Zardari, a re-run of Musharraf’s episode

Pak Envoys warn against breakdown in US ties

India-Pak border to have trade on Sundays also

NATO Announces End of Training Mission In Iraq

Civil disobedience shuts Syria capital

Pakistan to down American drones, US promises more strikes

US lawmakers freeze $700 million to Pakistan as distrust grows

US faces turmoil if Pakistan turns a failed state: Republican

Is Pakistan heading towards global isolation: Pakistani Daily

Indian Intelligence to trace visa over stayers from Pak

Pak: Pro-women bills sail through Senate

102 Pak women drug pushers flee after getting bails in four months

SC grants bail to anti-Modi IAS officer Pradeep Sharma

Acquitted in Jaipur blasts, accused say the taint will be hard to wash

Terror acquittals: Jamiat demands change in ‘biased’ police system

Afghan situation to impact Kashmir: Army

Obama asks Iran to return downed US drone

Iran scoffs at Obama request for US drone’s return

Israel orders closure of controversial walkway in Jerusalem’s Old City

Egypt’s revolution forces squash off the priority list

Syrian death toll now at over 5,000: UN rights chief

Premier’s Actions in Iraq Raise U.S. Concerns

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




2,080 Lashes for Saudi Man who Raped Daughter

AP | Dec 12, 2011,

RIYADH: An official Saudi newspaper says a man convicted of raping his daughter has been sentenced to receive 2,080 lashes over the course of a 13-year prison term.

The court in the holy city of Mecca found the man guilty of raping his teenage daughter for seven years while under the influence of drugs.

The Okaz newspaper reported on Saturday that the man will receive the lashes in stages throughout his prison sentence. The man's name was not published.

Saudi religious police say the girl's uncle tipped them off to the crime.

Lashing is one of the penalties available to the clerics who serve as judges in Saudi Arabia and issue rulings according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic law.


45 chained students rescued from Karachi madrasas

KARACHI - Police raided a madrassa in the Afghanistan Basti area of Sohrab Goth, Karachi on Monday and rescued 45 students chained in the basement, police said.

Officers also arrested two clerics at the Madrassa Zakarya in Karachi's central Sohrab Goth area but the head of the seminary managed to escape, police official Mukhtiar Khaskheli told AFP.

"At least 18 of those chained are aged 20 while the rest are older," Khaskheli said.

"The madrassa officials claim that they had chained those students because they were drug addicts and they wanted to rehabilitate them and make them better Muslims," the police official said.

Khaskheli said a full scale investigation had been started which would also inquire about any possible links with militants.

"Every possibility including its involvement in militancy will be investigated upon," said Sharfuddin Memon, a spokesman for the home department of Sindh.

Memon said the incident highlighted the brutality in society.

"It showed the brutalised aspect of our society and our police's effort was aimed at eradicating that element," he said.

Gudap Superintendent of Police (SP) Rao Nawaz said most of the imprisoned students were brought in from Peshawar.

A private TV channel showed footage of the madrassa and the chained students, who danced in jubilation as police started to release them.

The students said that they were tortured during the imprisonment.


SC of India: Oath in Allah's name not against Constitution

TNN | Dec 13, 2011,

NEW DELHI: Article 159 of the Constitution may mandate a governor to take oath of office by "swearing in the name of God" or "solemnly affirm" but the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmad did not breach the constitutional provision by taking oath in the name of "Allah".

In fact, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya was critical of a student, Kamal Nayan Prabhakar, for attempting to link Ahmad's taking oath in the name of "Allah" to the constitution of Pakistan.

Terming the motive behind Prabhakar's appeal "sinister", the bench dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 1 lakh. "World over, God is regarded as formless. Why do you want to confine him to a name or an image? It is sickening," the court said.

Prabhakar had earlier approached the Jharkhand high court terming the September 4 oath by Ahmad in "Allah ke naam par" unconstitutional and had sought a declaration to that effect. The court had dismissed his petition accusing him of attempting to create disharmony in society upon which he appealed to the apex court.

Generally, all governors take oath in the prescribed format in Article 159 either in the name of God, Eeshwar or simply "solemnly affirm" that he would faithfully execute the office of governor.

Though the SC took a secular view of the word "God" prescribed in Article 159 by admonishing the petitioner not to confine God to a name or an image, it would be interesting to see whether the broad definition rendered by the apex court will encourage others to invoke different incarnations of God while taking oath for constitutional posts.


Human Right Watch: West 'ignores Uzbekistan abuses'

13 December 2011

Western governments are ignoring human rights abuses in Uzbekistan as they seek closer ties with the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

In a new report, the campaign group says Uzbekistan is continuing to use torture in its criminal justice system.

The report documents cases of detainees being subjected to physical and psychological torture.

Western countries have dramatically weakened their stance on human rights in the central Asian country, it says.

There has been no comment as yet from the Uzbek government on the report.

The 107-page document makes for a chilling read, says the BBC's Central Asia correspondent Rayhan Demytrie.

It is based on interviews with torture victims, their families, lawyers and human rights activists.

One torture case describes police officers handcuffing an espionage suspect and burning his genitals with a lighted newspaper.

Others include allegations of interrogators pouring boiling water on an activist, beating detainees, hanging them by their wrists and ankles and subjecting them to rape and asphyxiation.

The report also alleges that Tashkent has been disbarring some of the country's most outspoken lawyers, as well as routinely denying detainees access to legal counsel.

Human Rights Watch calls on governments to consider punitive measures such as asset freezes and visa bans for Uzbek officials alleged to have been involved in torture.

Supply route

The report criticised the EU for dropping sanctions on Uzbekistan two years ago, while the US moved in September to waive Congressional human rights restrictions on assistance, including on military aid, to the Uzbek government.

Steven Swerdlow, who was the head of Human Rights Watch's Uzbek programme before being expelled from the country, criticised the United States and European Union countries for their close ties to the "dictatorial regime".

"That's because Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan has this single functioning rail line from the north to the south into Afghanistan", Mr Swerdlow told the BBC.

"And the United States and the EU have of late, moved away from criticising the human rights situation in favour of co-operating with the country in order to supply their troops in Afghanistan," he says.

Washington officials insist that it is important to remove restrictions on military aid.

"We need this waiver to allow the United States to provide defensive equipment to enhance Uzbekistan's ability to protect its border through which a lot of cargo that is destined for our troops in Afghanistan is passing," says US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake.

"But we raise human rights on every occasion that we have engagement with Uzbekistan," he told the BBC.

Uzbekistan is now a key part of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) - an increasingly important supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

It is an alternative route to the one through Pakistan shut down last month following a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

More than half of US supplies are already shipped to Afghanistan through Central Asia.


For Malaysian Christians, an Anxious Holiday Season


December 12, 2011

Elizabeth Periathamby listened to the prayers during a Sunday morning mass at St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur.

But their voices masked the unease many Christians in Malaysia are feeling this season, following accusations that they are trying to “Christianize” this Muslim-majority country by converting Muslims, which is illegal.

“It’s unfortunate that the authorities don’t take the relevant action against those making such wild allegations,” said Bishop Jason Selvaraj, who led the service at St. Mary’s. “We are upset about that. There’s a sense of justice is not done. We have not done anything wrong.”

The Malaysian Constitution both guarantees freedom of religion and designates Islam as the official religion — ethnic Malays are automatically considered Muslims. While Muslims are free to proselytize to others, most states have laws that prohibit members of other religions from proselytizing to Muslims. In Selangor State, the penalties can include a year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to 10,000 ringgit, or almost $3,200.

While the central government’s Department of Islamic Development says no one has ever been formally charged with trying to convert Muslims, recent statements by Muslim politicians and groups promoting Islam have left many Christians, who make up just 9 percent of the population, feeling victimized. Many are convinced that they are being used as political pawns to win support among Muslim voters in advance of the next general election, widely expected to be held next year.

“I think Christians are generally feeling that there is kind of a Christian-bashing going on,” said the Rev. Thomas Philips, a Syrian Orthodox priest and vice president of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, a group that represents Protestant and Orthodox churches.

While Christians, for the most part, work and live peacefully alongside Muslims in Malaysia, several incidents have heightened tensions in recent years, including the firebombing of churches in 2010.

The latest round of religious tensions was set off in August, when Selangor religious officials interrupted a church dinner outside of Kuala Lumpur, saying they had information that these Christians were proselytizing to Muslims.

Although the sultan of Selangor eventually concluded that there was “insufficient” evidence to take further legal action, Muslim politicians and leaders of Himpun, a new organization that has pledged to protect Islam, have continued to charge that there is a plot by some opposition political parties and Christian organizations to “Christianize” the country.

On Nov. 29, Ahmad Maslan, a deputy minister from the United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, the dominant party in the governing coalition, asserted that Islam would be “lost” if the opposition gained seats in the next election, according to a report by The Malaysian Insider, a news Web site.

“Say goodbye to Islam, because they are agents of Christianization,” he said, referring to the Democratic Action Party, a member of the opposition alliance.

The governing coalition, which has led Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, suffered its biggest loss in the 2008 elections, losing its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time. Some analysts say UMNO is trying to play on religious sensitivities to win back support from Malay Muslims.

Meanwhile, Himpun is planning a series of rallies around the country to “save and protect” Islam. The group, which held a rally in Kuala Lumpur in October that attracted 5,000 people, complains that the government is not enforcing laws that prohibit trying to convert Muslims.

“If we have a law which is not enforced, then it’s a mockery on the part of the religious authorities,” said Mohammad Azmi Abdul Hamid, Himpun’s chairman.


Syria should be referred to ICC, UN's Navi Pillay says

13 December 2011

The top United Nations human rights official has told the Security Council that Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court over its crackdown on anti-government protests.

Navi Pillay said she felt widespread killings and torture in the country "constituted crimes against humanity".

Ms Pillay put the number of those killed by security forces in the nine-month uprising at more than 5,000.

Syria's UN envoy said Ms Pillay was "not objective" and "not fair".

Ms Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a closed session of the Security Council that 300 children had been among those killed since the start of the uprising in March.

She also said 14,000 people were believed to have been arrested, and 12,400 had fled to neighbouring countries.

"It is based on the evidence and the widespread and systematic nature of the killings, the detentions and the acts of torture that I felt that these acts constituted crimes against humanity and I recommended that there should be a referral to the International Criminal Court," Ms Pillay said.

She said her estimate of more than 5,000 deaths did not include security forces. The Syrian government has said more than 1,000 of its police and troops have been killed.

The Syrian ambassador at the UN, Bashar Jaafari, said Ms Pillay had "allowed herself to be misused in misleading the public opinion by providing information based on allegations collected from 233 defectors".

Anti-government protests have continued daily since March

He added: "How could defectors give positive testimonies on the Syrian government? Of course they will give negative testimonies against the Syrian government."

Call for action

It is difficult to confirm the exact casualty toll in Syria because there are no independent monitors on the ground and international journalists have been denied access to the country.

Full Report at:


Israel; PM for Loudspeaker Ban in Mosques

By Harinder Mishra


In a controversial move, Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his support for a proposed law that would ban mosques from using loudspeakers to call people to pray, stressing that “there is no need to be more liberal than Europe“. The law popularly known as the Muezzin Law, proposed by legislator Anastassia Michaeli of ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party applies to all houses of worship, but the practice is mainly prevalent in mosques.

“There’s no need to be more liberal than Europe,” Mr Netanyahu was quoted by Ha’aretz as telling ministers of the ruling Likud party during a discussion on the proposed law.

However, after intense pressure from Likud min

isters Limor Livnat, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, who harshly criticised the bill, Mr Netanyahu announced that he was postponing the scheduled debate in the ministerial committee for legislation.

Ms Michaeli has said that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens routinely

suffer from the noise caused by the muezzin’s calls to prayer.

“The bill comes from a worldview whereby freedom of religion should not be a factor in undermining quality of life,” she emphasised.

“I do not want to turn the bill into a national, religious and cultural issue,” the legislator asserted.

“This is a green problem, not a black problem,” she added in reference to the

Opposition the bill has garnered. Mr Netanyahu echoed similar sentiments.

“I have received numerous requests from people who are bothered by the noise from the mosques,” the Israeli Premier said. “The same problem exists in all European countries, and they know how to deal with it. It’s legitimate in Belgium, it’s legitimate in France. Why isn’t it legitimate here,” the hawkish leader added.



Libyan Army Clashes With Militia in Tripoli


December 12, 2011

The clashes, which began when the Libyan National Army’s highest ranking officer tried to speed through a militia checkpoint, underscored the continued inability of Libyan authorities to organize — or control — the thousands of armed men who fought for months against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in ad hoc units that have proved enduring.

The fighting does not bode well for a campaign by the Transitional National Council, Libya’s postwar interim government, to persuade militias from other areas to leave the capital by Dec. 20. The militiamen poured into Tripoli as it fell to rebel forces in August, and hundreds of heavily armed men have lingered, staking out territory and occasionally skirmishing with one another, despite officials’ pleas to quit the city.

From the earliest months of the Libyan uprising, rebel leaders have been trying to create a unified army from the remains of Colonel Qaddafi’s badly fractured military. In July, those efforts suffered a setback when the rebel force’s chief of staff, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, was assassinated in Benghazi amid suspicions over his loyalties. As a top security official under Colonel Qaddafi, General Younes had been responsible for the detention and torture of countless Libyan dissidents.

In recent weeks, a rival of General Younes, Gen. Khalifa Hiftar, has emerged as the army’s most influential officer, though many of the militias still operating in the capital continue to answer to their own commanders.

Tensions over the conflicting claims of control came to a head on Saturday when General Hiftar’s convoy, on its way to the international airport, was attacked as he sped through a checkpoint run by fighters from the western mountain town of Zintan, according to rebel leaders and an army spokesman.

Full Report at:


Parliament attack: India observes tenth anniversary

ANI | Dec 13, 2011,

NEW DELHI: Cutting across party lines, political leaders today paid homage to those who had lost their lives in the 2001 Parliament House terrorist attack.

It was ten years ago on this day when terrorists made an unsuccessful attempt to storm the Parliament complex.

Vice President M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, and several other leaders offered floral tributes to the martyrs at a solemn ceremony this morning.

Mohammed Afzal Guru, who was held guilty in the case, was awarded the death sentence by a Delhi court on December 18, 2002, after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001, waging war against the country and murder.

The Delhi high court upheld the death sentence on October 29, 2003 and his appeal was further rejected by the Supreme Court two years later.

Following this, Afzal filed a mercy petition with the President, who forwarded it to Union Home Ministry for its comments.

The 2001 Parliament attack, led to the death of a dozen people; five terrorists, six policemen and a civilian. It also caused increased tensions between India and Pakistan resulting in Operation Parakram in 2002.


Concern in RS over Sikhs, Hindus in Pak

TNN | Dec 13, 2011,

NEW DELHI:: Cutting across party lines, members in the Rajya Sabha on Monday expressed concern over fear and insecurity under which minorities, particularly the Hindus and the Sikhs, live in Pakistan and asked the government to take up the issue with Islamabad.

Some of them wanted the government to take up the issue at international fora like the United Nations. The matter of atrocities on minorities in Pakistan and killings of some Hindus recently was raised during Zero Hour by Avinash Rai Khanna (BJP). He was supported by a number of members from various political parties associating themselves with the issue.

Khanna said Pakistan's Human Rights Commission in its recent report had pointed out such atrocities on minorities including Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, whose property and life were not secure in that country. The BJP members said many Hindu families from Pakistan had been camping in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Rajpura and Khanna for quite some time, refusing to return home despite expiry of their visas. They are seeking Indian citizenship. He said the Indian government was not doing any thing in support of minorities in Pakistan. "The government has not spoken a word in their support," he said.

S S Ahluwalia (BJP) joined his colleague and asked the government to take up the matter with the United Nations. M S Gill (Cong) too urged the government to take up the issue seriously. Several other members both from the treasury and the Opposition benches joined them. PTI


Hezbollah unravels CIA spy network in Lebanon

AP | Dec 13, 2011,

WASHINGTON: Hezbollah has partially unraveled the CIA's spy network in Lebanon, severely damaging the intelligence agency's ability to gather vital information on the terrorist organization at a tense time in the region, former and current US officials said.

Officials said several foreign spies working for the CIA had been captured by Hezbollah in recent months. The blow to the CIA's operations in Lebanon came after top agency managers were alerted last year to be especially careful handling informants in the Middle East country.

Hezbollah's longtime leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, boasted in June on television he had unmasked at least two CIA spies who had infiltrated the ranks of the organization, which the US considers a terrorist group closely allied with Iran.

Though the US Embassy in Lebanon officially denied the accusation, American officials concede that Nasrallah was not lying and the damage spread like a virus as Hezbollah methodically picked off the CIA's informants.

To be sure, some deaths are to be expected in these shadowy spy wars. It's an extremely risky business and people get killed. But the damage to the agency's network in Lebanon has been greater than usual, several former and current US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about security matters.

Full Report at:


US ditches Zardari, a re-run of Musharraf’s episode

Liaqat Toor

December 13, 2011, Muharram 17, 1433

Islamabad—Almost a re-run of former President Pervez Musharraf’s state of affairs a few years ago when the United States had abandoned him in the end. This time President Asif Ali Zardari has been tossed away by the deceptive power and started bidding on new political horses in Pakistan including an emerging leader Imran Khan.

A disappointed Zardari, who had been enjoying US support while sitting in the President House was suddenly in the lurch on confronting Memogate Scandal, reopening of cases after verdict of apex court in review petitions filed by the Government and fast changing regional security situation.

Sources privy to the situation in the President’s camp told this scribe an ineffective Zardari, who has became toothless on security issues was gradually turning useless for the demanding United States. The issues of security and sovereignty have been effectively taken care of by the security apparatus of the country marginalising the role of the President, a friend of the United States.

Full Report at:


Pak Envoys warn against breakdown in US ties

Dec, 13, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani envoys based in important world capitals on Monday cautioned the ruling circles against a complete breakdown in ties with the United States, saying it could harm the national interests, but also asked for a long-term relationship with the world’s sole superpower based on mutual interests and not just a security-based partnership.

Islamabad on Monday opened its two-day ‘Envoys’ Conference’ here to discuss various aspects of foreign policy with focus on revising the country’s policy on ties with Washington, which have been strained in the wake of the recent deadly NATO air strike against two Pakistani outposts in Mohmand Agency in which 24 soldiers were killed. Pakistani envoys to US, China, European Union, Russia, Germany, Iran, India, Afghanistan and Turkey are participating in the conference, which is presided over by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Khalid Shameem Wyne and Finance Minister Abdul Hafiz Shaikh also attended the ambassadors’ moot on Monday, which went on for the whole day.

Full Report at:


India-Pak border to have trade on Sundays also

Yudhvir Rana, TNN | Dec 13, 2011,

AMRITSAR: Customs officials of India and Pakistan have decided to clear the backlog of trucks stranded on both sides of the land border by allowing trading activities to start on Sundays. The two departments have also operationalized a hotline between Attari and Wagah railway stations for smooth movement of trains between the nations.

The decision for opening cargo movement was taken on Sunday in a meeting of officials of two departments at Lahore, said deputy commissioner (customs) R K Duggal upon his return from Pakistan. "This was done keeping in view problems faced by traders due to long queues of trucks and to promote trade," he added.

Truck operators are relieved as at present they have to wait two or three days for unloading goods at the border. Gurnam Singh, a driver from Ludhiana, who has been waiting for clearance of his truck for past two days, said, "It is an admirable decision which would benefit both drivers and traders."

Talking about the railway hotline, Duggal said, "The telephone connect would help smoothen movement of Samjhauta Express."

Hotline contact for Attari and Wagah road link is already operational, he added. He stated that Indian side had given a proposal to set up hotline contact between rail cargo customs officials of Amritsar and Lahore to regulate movement of goods wagons between the two countries.

Meanwhile, in reply to a question over the reports of smuggling through Attari road, customs commissioner Ranjit Singh said he had ordered an inquiry to verify the reports. "It is a question of detailed examination since there are many agencies operating from border," added Duggal.


NATO Announces End of Training Mission In Iraq

Brussels, Dec. 12, 2011

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday announced that a mission to train Iraqi security forces will end at the turn of the year.

“The North Atlantic Council has decided to undertake the permanent withdrawal of the Nato Training Mission-Iraq personnel from Iraq by 31 December 2011,“ Mr Rasmussen said in a statement. The news provided confirmation after Iraq's top security adviser Falah al-Fayadh told AFP of the decision in an interview aboard a flight transporting Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki to Washington.

“Agreement on the extension of this successful programme did not prove possible despite robust negotiations conducted over several weeks,“ Mr Rasmussen said. On November 29, Iraqi government spokesperson Ali alDabbagh said Iraq was studying a contract to extend Nato's presence in Iraq. -AFP


Civil disobedience shuts Syria capital


AMMAN, DEC. 12, Syrian troops and Army defectors have fought one of the biggest battles in Syria’s nine-month uprising while a protest strike shut businesses in a new gesture of civil disobedience, residents and activists said.

Arab foreign ministers will meet on Saturday to discuss a response to Syria’s conditional acceptance of an Arab peace plan aimed at ending its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, Egypt’s MENA news agency said, citing an Arab diplomat.

And in a major international development likely to raise Western pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said

Paris believed Syria was behind attacks that wounded French peacekeepers in neighbouring Lebanon on Friday. In Sunday’s fighting, Syrian troops mainly from the 12th Armoured Brigade based in Isra, 40 km (25 miles) from the southern border with Jordan, stormed the nearby town of Busraal-Harir.

A housewife in Busra, who did not want to be named, told Reuters by telephone that the town was being hit by machinegun fire from tanks. Opposition activists said they had shut down much of the capital and other towns with a strike, the biggest walk out by workers since the protest movement demanding Assad’s removal erupted in March. Syria has barred most independent journalists.



Pakistan to down American drones, US promises more strikes

12 December, 2011,

The Pakistani military are under orders to take down any UAV they locate in the country’s air space. So far, the only drones making incursions into Pakistani skies have been US Predators used to attack Taliban insurgents.

In a speech to troops on the border, Pakistan’s Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani told them to use all means at their disposal to give a “shattering answer” to any aggression – whatever the price or consequences.

For his part, the Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, American General John R. Allen, said he did not rule out the possibility of a repeat of last month’s NATO strike on Pakistani soldiers.

The news appears to be a development of the notorious friendly fire incident on November 26 on Mohmand frontier territory, when 24 border guards died and over 30 were injured after an American assault helicopter entered Pakistan territory and devastated a block post, taking servicemen for mujahedeen.

Pakistan has called the accident a well-planned, premeditated assault, whereas the American command insists the incident was a tragic and unintentional mistake.

As a result of the incident, a love-hate relationship has turned openly hostile.

Pakistan has halted all cargo transits through its territory to the international contingent in Afghanistan.

Full Report at:


US lawmakers freeze $700 million to Pakistan as distrust grows

Reuters Dec 13, 2011,

ISLAMABAD: A crisis in relations looked set to deepen after a US House-Senate negotiating panel agreed to freeze $700 million in US aid to Pakistan until it gives assurances it is helping fight the spread of improvised explosive devices in the region.

Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of US foreign aid, and the cutback announced is only a small proportion of the billions in civil and military assistance it gets each year.

But it could presage greater cuts as calls grow in the United States to penalise Islamabad for failing to act against militant groups and, at worst, helping them, following the secret US raid on a Pakistan military town in which al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed.

Home-made bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are among militants' most effective weapons against US and coalition troops in Afghanistan as they struggle to fight a resurgent Taliban insurgency.

Many are made using ammonium nitrate, a common fertilizer smuggled across the border from Pakistan. The freeze on US aid was agreed as part of a defense bill that is expected to be passed this week.

Full Report at:


US faces turmoil if Pakistan turns a failed state: Republican


WASHINGTON: 13 DEC, 2011, Pakistan faces a major threat of turning into a failed nation state, a leading Republican presidential candidate has said, advocating that the US shore up its relationships in the region, particularly with India, to meet the potential "turmoil".

Republican candidate Jon Huntsman said a greater relationship with India, a country which shares the democratic values of the US, would give Washington "a hedge" in the region.

"As you look the world over, I would have to say that Pakistan is a candidate for possible failed nation-state status, probably second only to North Korea," Huntsman said participating in a "Lincoln-Douglas" presidential debate in New Hampshire.

"If that were to happen, the turmoil in South Asia would be imponderable at this point. And would our interests be at stake? Of course they would be," the former Utah Governor noted.

Contending that Pakistan had become "a training ground for terrorism," Huntsman said the US not only needs to work on this but also needs to tie up aid to outcomes and formulate whether its aid support to the country be channelised through non-governmental groups.

"And it means we're going to have to shore up some of the relationships in the region. I think the relationship with India is a primary -- a prime example of a relationship that is waiting to broaden and expand its economic, military intelligence links with the United States.

Full Report at:


Is Pakistan heading towards global isolation: Pakistani daily

IANS, 13 DEC, 2011

Is Pakistan treading the path towards global isolation, asked a Pakistani daily that said the steps taken by Islamabad following the Nov 26 NATO airstrikes could "end up hurting" the country.

Pakistan had reacted in anger to the Nov 26 NATO airstrikes that left two dozen soldiers dead in Mohmand Agency. It cut off NATO supply and directed the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase, near Quetta in Baluchistan province, that was used to launch drone attacks.

An editorial in the Daily Times on Tuesday said that it was incredible how successive governments in Pakistan have been so generous in the distribution of land to foreign governments for their exclusive use.

"First, the Shamsi airbase was given to the UAE... In 2001, it was then handed over to the US as a launch pad for drone strikes across the border in Afghanistan, and on the tribal areas in Pakistan," the daily noted.

Full Report at:


IB to trace visa overstayers from Pak



Taking serious note of specific intelligence inputs that some foreign nationals, particularly from Pakistan, who had overstayed their visa limit in India and had since gone underground could well be involved in subversive activities, the Intelligence Bureau has written to all its State Intelligence Bureau (SIBs) and special branches of state police to launch a massive drive to track them.

The confidential Intelligence Bureau note,

dated December 5 and marked urgent, a copy of which is in possession of this newspaper, clearly states: “There is information that a number of Pakistani national, who have gone missing since the expiry of their visa dates, may well be involved in terrorist and criminal activities, ranging from providing logistics for acts of terror, smuggling of banned substances, including narcotics and even hawala trade.'' The note adds: “This drive is also necessitated due to the fact that terrorists have managed to strike both in Mumbai and Delhi in the last few months. Further, the Indian Mujahideen module busted recently has revealed that one of the accused in the case was indeed a Pakistani national who had overstayed illegally.'' The note refers to Mohammad Adil, alias Ajmal, a Jaish-eMohammed militant from Karachi, who was active in parts of north Bihar, working in coordination with an IM module. According to the IB directive, “the SIBs and the state agencies should even track down Bangladeshi and Afghan nationals who are staying beyond their visa dates and gone underground.” Explaining the logic behind this, a top intelligence official said: “It’s a known fact that a number of Pakistanis involved in terror activities are operating out of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. So, it is not difficult for them to get a passport of that country on forged documents.” Even in India, cases have been reported where Pakistani terrorists were caught with valid Indian ration cards, driving licence and even voter IDs, which in turn can be used to procure a passport. The IB is also in the process of preparing a detailed profile of some of the missing people suspected to be involved in terror activities, which will also be sent to the respective state units in the days to come.

The note also directs the concerned agencies to send a monthly update on this vexed issue and maintain an updated database with maximum details of people gone missing and how many of them have been accounted for. The note goes on to add that as of now 8,375 Pakistani, 13,760 Afghans and 33,980 Bangladeshis are untraceable.


Pak: Pro-women bills sail through Senate

Staff Report, Dec, 13 12 2011

ISLAMABAD - Following the National Assembly, the Senate also unanimously passed a landmark legislation on Monday to provide protection to women against centuries-old brutal traditions and social practices and disfiguring of human body and organs by corrosive substances like acid and other means.

MQM Senator Tahir Mashhadi also introduced a bill regarding digging up or damaging graves in a desecrating manner. The Senate passed the two bills, as passed by the National Assembly, whereby Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 would be amended after formal approval of the president. Both bills were moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtayar in the Senate.

The legislation meant for protecting women against exploitation and discrimination by declaring many things like forced marriages, Wani or Swara or any other custom or practice under any name in consideration of settling a civil dispute or a criminal liability, as punishable acts.

“Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels a woman to enter into marriage, as badal-e-sulh, Wani, or Swara or any other custom or practice under any name in consideration of settling a civil dispute or a criminal liability shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of Rs 500,000,” the bill states.

The bill also seeks to prohibit depriving a woman from inheriting property by adding a new chapter titled “Offences Against Women” to the PPC. Similarly, when this bill becomes a law, forced marriage will also be declared a punishable offence. The prohibition of marriage to the Holy Quran is a significant step to rein in the feudal culture and traditions.

The provincial governments have also been legally barred from interfering in sentences of rape by inserting a new section (402D) in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Regarding bringing justice to victims of acid crimes, the other bill says, “Whoever victimises someone through the use of corrosive substance shall be punished with life imprisonment or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than 14 years and a minimum fine of Rs 1 million,” read the newly-introduced section 336B that amended the Pakistan Penal Code 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1998.

Meanwhile, the bill introduced by Mashhadi seeks that digging up or damaging of graves without sanction of lawful authority should be declared a punishable act.


102 Pak women drug pushers flee after getting bails in four months

By Ali Hassan

ISLAMABAD: December 13, 2011, Taking leniency of laws of courts for granted, majority of women flee right after getting bail plea from district court. Resultantly in the last four months (August- November) district court has issued 102 arrest warrants of women drug pusher for not appearing before court.

According to documents at district court, in last four months, court issued arrest warrant of 102 women drug pushers for not appearing before court after getting bails in the cases of narcotics registered against them under section 9-A, 9-B and 9-C (Drug Act, using and selling charas, ganjha, opium and heroin).

Besides, in 2010 369 cases had registered against women in drug act, while in current year, 356 women have been booked for using drugs and selling under Control of Narcotic Substances Act, 1997.

Full Report at:\12\13\story_13-12-2011_pg11_5


SC grants bail to anti-Modi IAS officer Pradeep Sharma

PTI | Dec 13, 2011,

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Gujarat civil servant Pradeep Sharma, who alleged that the Narendra Modi government slapped several cases against him after his brother and IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma gave adverse statements in riot related cases.

The controversial Gujarat cadre IAS officer was arraested in connection with a land allotment case.


Acquitted in Jaipur blasts, accused say the taint will be hard to wash

Kota: Dec 13 2011, They had resigned themselves to dying in jail. But their acquittal in the 2008 Jaipur serial blasts has reinforced their faith in the judicial system, say the seven men from Kota now cleared of terror charges.

The celebrations haven’t stopped since the acquittal came two days ago, even as anger lingers over being charged with a crime for which the police had little or no proof.

On Friday, a fast track court in Jaipur acquitted 11 of 14 men arrested for the blasts. Three are awaiting trial at Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat. Of the 48 witnesses in the case, 43 were examined, of which 38 were declared hostile.

“Most of the witnesses stated that they were forced by the police to give false testimony and sign papers. The police had little corroborative evidence otherwise,” said counsel for the accused Jamil Ahmed.

Those acquitted include Younis Khan, Munawar Qureshi, Mohammed Ishak, Nazakat, Amanullah, Nadim, Taufiq and Inamur Rehman from Kota, Sohail and Azam from Jodhpur and Illiyas from Baran. Imran, Mehndi Hassan and Atik-Ur-Rehman are in Sabarmati jail.

Munawar Qureshi’s son Mudassar says his father has aged a decade in the three-and-a-half years he spent in a Jaipur prison. “He used to be vibrant, walked tall and had an unlined face. When he came out of jail on Friday night, I could not recognise him.”

Munawar talks of long lonely hours inside single cells. He also claims to have surrendered on his own to the police after three others from the locality were held and the cops came looking for him.

Full Reprt at:


Terror acquittals: Jamiat demands change in ‘biased’ police system

10 December 2011

By TCN News,

New Delhi: In the wake of acquittal of 14 Muslim youths in the Jaipur serial blasts case, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani has demanded immediate change in the police system as the acquittal “proves deep penetration of communal and fascist elements in the police system of the country.”

While referring to the release of 14 Muslims detained in Jaipur bomb blasts, pressed the need for immediate change in police system. Maulana Madani said acquittal of Muslim youths by courts falsely framed in various terror cases proves deep penetration of communal and fascist elements in the police system of the country.

“The attitude of police administration is biased towards Muslims everywhere in the country”, Maulana Madani said. He also pointed out that despite being innocent the Muslim youths were charged under IPC Section 120-B, 153-A, 295-A, etc in Jaipur blast case that was blatantly admitted before court by a few officials involved in arresting innocents that they were forced by seniors to arrest these persons belonging to a particular community.

Maulana Madani demanded:

-- Punishment for those who framed and hatched case against innocents

-- Compensation, govt. job and career certificate to the victims

He said Jamiat has always expressed concern over targeting a particular community and organized conferences to protest against such nature of investigation declaring it dangerous to the country.


Afghan situation to impact Kashmir: Army

Srinagar, Dec 12: General Officer Commanding of Army’s 15 Corps, Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain, has said there may be attempts by militants to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir and the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2012 will have an impact on the security situation in the state. He said the Sunday evening attack on the state’s Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar is indicative of the militants’ presence in the city.

“Attempts will continue. In the past, we have seen attempts being made in December and February as well. It will also depend on the situation on the other side, not only in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered-Kashmir but also in Afghanistan,” Lt Gen Hasnain told reporters here.

He said the army does not see any change in the intention on the other side as the “launching pads are still intact.”

“We have not seen the end of militancy yet. Only last night, there was an attack (on Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar) in Srinagar city,” he said.

He said there was no let-up in the infiltration bids by militants from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) this year and indications are that attempts will continue next year as well.

The Army commander said a very successful counter-infiltration grid had foiled most of the attempts by militants to sneak into the Valley.

Lt Gen Hasnain said the high level of synergy between Army, other security agencies and intelligence agencies had helped curb militancy in Kashmir during the current year.

“We may see some desperate attempts of infiltration as many militants and militant commanders have been killed during this year,” he added.


Obama asks Iran to return downed US drone

AFP, Dec, 13 2011

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama acknowledged for the first time Monday that a US drone was in Iranian hands and said the United States has asked Tehran to return the sophisticated spycraft.

"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

It was the first open confirmation by the Obama administration that Iran was in possession of the drone, which Tehran says it brought down as the plane was flying over its territory.

Obama, however, shed no further light on the plane's mission or why it failed to return to a base in Afghanistan.

"With respect to the drone inside of Iran, I'm not going to comment on intelligence matters that are classified," he said.

Full Report at:


Iran scoffs at Obama request for US drone’s return

AFP Dec, 13, 2011

 TEHRAN - Iran on Tuesday scoffed at US President Barack Obama's request for it to return a sophisticated US drone, with a foreign ministry spokesman stressing the aircraft violated Iranian airspace.

"It seem he (Obama) has forgotten that Iran's airspace was violated, spying operations were undertaken, international laws were violated and that Iran's internal affairs were interfered with," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in his regular media briefing, according to Fars news agency.

"Instead of an official apology and admitting to this violation, they are making this request," he said.

Obama on Monday acknowledged that Iran was holding the reconnaissance drone -- a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel -- by saying: "We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond."

Iran last week displayed what it said was the drone on state television.

Officials claimed a Revolutionary Guards cyber-warfare unit had hacked the aircraft's controls and brought it down.

US officials have indicated it was more likely the drone suffered a malfunction while on a CIA spying mission over the Islamic republic when it was captured.

The head of Iran's parliamentary national security committee, Parviz Sorouri, said on Monday that Iran was in the "final stages" of unlocking the drone's software and "our next action will be to reverse-engineer the aircraft."


Israel orders closure of controversial walkway in Jerusalem’s Old City

Sebastian Scheiner,  Associated Press

Dec. 8, 2011

The controversy surrounds the Mughrabi Bridge, a walkway that leads up to one of the world’s most combustible holy sites — the enclosure known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

The city’s chief engineer ordered the walkway closed because of fears of fire or collapse. The bridge was built in 2004 as a temporary replacement for an adjacent older ramp that collapsed in a snowstorm.

Muslim anger and international politics have put any plans to renovate or replace the structure on hold since then. Muslim leaders charge the planned work is part of a plot to destroy their holy sites — a claim that Israel rejects.

Last month, Israel announced plans to finally replace the walkway. Officials from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the body in charge of the work, say the project is a modest effort that aims only to restore the original ramp that existed before 2004. It is not known how long the bridge will remain closed.

Full Report at:


Egypt’s revolution forces squash off the priority list

Smriti Sinha

New Delhi: Dec 13 2011, Karim Darwish, the second seed at the PSA Masters squash tournament in Delhi this week, has savoured several victories sweeter than his 12-10 11-5 11-4 trouncing of South Africa’s Ryan Cuskelly. But it is unlikely the world number three Egyptian has a fonder memory of his squash career spanning over two decades than being acknowledged for his efforts by the country’s President itself.

When Darwish won the World Championship Juniors in Italy, Mubarak, an enthusiast and a player himself, presented Darwish with a trophy, and also gifted the player one of his own racquets in a glittering ceremony.

Over the years, Mubarak’s initiatives — from hosting tournaments in the backdrop of the Giza pyramids to his presence at major tournaments — gave a huge boost to the game. There are apocryphal stories of Mubarak pausing official meetings to follow Egypt’s squash exploits the world over.

However, with all the political upheaval, a lot of things in the country have taken a backseat, and squash is no exception. “Squash was his favourite sport and if he couldn’t make it to the tournaments himself, he would send some minister to show support for the players. Top five players would receive $1100-1200 for representing Egypt and while participating in big PSA events like this. Air fare was reimbursed,” says Omar Mosaad.

t is not an indictment of the revolution, rather, a call for the establishment to not let the sport suffer for the lack of support. “Things are not as smooth now, we don’t have any support but we are happy that the country is witnessing the democratic change,” says the player, who recounts being cut off from his family during the revolution, while playing in the United States.

Full Report at:


Syrian death toll now at over 5,000: UN rights chief

PTI | Dec 13, 2011,

UNITED NATIONS: Over 5000 people have been killed in Syria's violent crackdown against protesters, the UN rights chief has told the Security Council, recommending that the regime of President Bashar-al Assad be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay briefed the Security Council today in a closed door meeting here about the "rather shocking" human rights violations and continued loss of life in Syria during the nine-month long uprising.

She said out of those killed, more than 300 were children.

Pillay said she had informed the Council in August that the bloody crackdown on civilians had claimed 2000 lives but in four months' time, the death toll has more than doubled.

"Today I reported that this number exceeds 5000 and the number of children killed is more than 300," Pillay later told reporters.

She said the Syrian government's brutal crackdown on civilians, including the widespread and systematic nature of killings and torture of thousands in detention centres constitute crimes against humanity and "I recommended that there should be a referral to the International Criminal Court".

Pillay said her briefing was "taken very seriously and everyone (in the Council) said this level of violence has to stop".

Representatives of Britain, France, Germany, Portugal and the US later expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria, saying UNSC's inaction regarding Assad's regime can no longer be an option.

The UNSC has so far issued a Presidential Statement asking the Syrian government to stop the violence.

Full Report at:


Premier’s Actions in Iraq Raise U.S. Concerns

Michael Kamber for The New York Times

BAGHDAD — December 12, 2011, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has moved swiftly to consolidate power in advance of the American military withdrawal, offering a glimpse of how Iraq’s post-American identity may take shape, by rounding up hundreds of former Baath Party members and evicting Western companies from the heavily fortified Green Zone.

As Mr. Maliki met with President Obama in Washington on Monday to discuss Iraq’s future after the end of a painful nearly nine-year war, his aggressive actions back home raised new concerns in the West, where officials have long been uneasy with the prime minister’s authoritarian tendencies.

The actions also underscored the many lingering questions about America’s uncertain ally, a prime minister who once found refuge in Syria and Iran and who will now help write the epitaph to the American invasion.

“There are two dominant narratives in Washington about Maliki,” said Ramzy Mardini, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington who recently published a report on the arrests. “Some say he is a nationalist; others say he is a puppet of Iran.”

Both are oversimplifications, he said: “Maliki is a Maliki-ist. His religion is the church of survivability.”

Full Report at:



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