New Age Islam
Wed Apr 17 2024, 09:49 PM

Islamic World News ( 6 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

55 killed in Rare Attacks on Afghan Shiites

Maldives Muslims Fight for the Right to Flog

Billionaire at heart of Pakistan political crisis offered RAW help with ISI-linked jihadists

ISI not in Pakistan government control: Mansoor Ijaz

Pakistan, Iran bear 'burden' of Afghan refugees: Bonn conference communiqué

Shia Muslims 'killed in Pakistan by pro-Taliban groups'

From Karachi to Chennai: How a module was busted

The Madhubani connection with Terror

Haleem: More than a dessert on Ashura

Bomb kills Afghan woman, 4 children

Two killed, 11 injured in Kohat rocket attack  

AVCC, CPLC kill 3 ‘Taliban’ in encounter, recover abductee

Gravestone epitaph a must in overcrowded cemeteries!

Bonn: Allies pledge another decade of help

Saudi may join nuclear arms race: ex-spy chief

US tabloids highlight Pakistani Actress Veena's photo controversy

End to violence against women underlined

Pakistan PM sees progress in US ties

As business climate improves, Pakistan keen to export flowers, produce films jointly

US builds backup Afghan bases after Pak eviction

Muslim Brotherhood party poised to emerge as single largest in Egypt

Syria accepts Arab plan for observer mission

Libyan forces take control of Tunisia crossing

Maldives calls for increased foreign intervention in Syria

Hezbollah leader makes rare public appearance in Beirut

Senator: Bahrain’s human rights trump arms sale

Key US senators urge review of Pakistan funding

No repetition of attack on Pakistani soldiers: US

US officials say Pakistan leaving liaison centers

Pak to repatriate widows, kids of Osama bin Laden: Report

Is this morphed too, Veena Malik?

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



55 killed in rare attacks on Afghan Shiites

By Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez-

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)December 6, 2011 — A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers at a mosque in Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 55 people in the deadliest of two attacks on a Shiite holy day — the first major sectarian assaults since the fall of the Taliban a decade ago.

Four other Shiites were killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded as a convoy of Afghan Shiites was driving down the road, shouting slogans for the festival known as Ashoura. Health Ministry spokesman Sakhi Kargar gave the death toll and said 21 people also were wounded in that attack.

The Kabul bomber blew himself up in the midst of a crowd of men, women and children gathered outside the Abul Fazl shrine to commemorate the seventh-century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein. Some men were beating themselves in mourning, and food was being distributed.

The shrine, which is near the presidential palace, was packed with worshippers, and dozens more were crammed into the courtyard. One witness said the bomber was at the end of a line and detonated his explosives near one of the gates to the shrine.

The Ministry of Interior said 55 were killed — including two women and four children. Sayed Kabir Amiri, who is in charge of Kabul hospitals, said more than 160 were wounded in the blast. He said casualties were taken to several hospitals and the toll could rise.

Religiously motivated attacks on Shiites are rare in Afghanistan, although they are common in neighboring Pakistan. No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blasts, reminiscent of the wave of sectarian attacks that shook Iraq during the height of the war there.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement blamed the Taliban and “terrorists” for the attack. It provided no other details but added that police defused another bomb that had been planted in Mazar-i-Sharif near the one that blew up.

The Taliban strongly condemned the two attacks and said in a statement to news organizations that it deeply regretted that innocent Afghans were killed and wounded.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, speaking at a news conference after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, said the attack was unprecedented in scope.

He said it was “the first time that on such an important religious day in Afghanistan terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place.”

Mohammad Bakir Shaikzada, the top Shiite cleric in Kabul, said he could not remember a similar attack having taken place on such a scale.

“This is a crime against Muslims during the holy day of Ashoura. We Muslims will never forget these attacks. It is the enemy of the Muslims who are carrying them out,” he said, declining to place blame.

Shiites make up about 20 percent of Afghanistan’s 30 million people, most of them ethnic Hazaras. Although thousands of Hazaras were massacred by the Taliban during fighting in the 1990s, Afghan insurgents — nearly all of them Sunnis — in recent years have focused their attacks primarily on U.S.-led NATO troops and Afghan security forces.

It was unclear whether Tuesday’s attacks mark a change in Afghan Taliban strategy or were carried out by al Qaeda or another group based in Pakistan, where Sunni attacks on Shiites are common. Hard-line Sunnis consider Shiites nonbelievers because their customs and traditions differ from the majority sect.

The last incident of violence between Shiites and Sunnis following the U.S. invasion 10 years ago occurred in early 2006, during Ashoura commemorations in the western city of Herat. During those riots, blamed on Islamic extremists, five people were killed and more than 50 injured.

Mahood Khan, who is in charge of the Abul Fazl shrine, said the explosion occurred just outside a courtyard where dozens of worshippers were lined up as they filed in and out of the packed building.

A few minutes after the blast, bodies could be seen loaded into the trunks of cars while wounded were led away by friends and relatives. Survivors wept in the streets.

“It was a very powerful blast,” Mr. Khan said. “The food was everywhere. It was out of control. Everyone was crying, shouting. It is a disaster.”

Mustafa, a shopkeeper, said he and his mother were delivering food to the worshippers when the blast occurred. Two groups of 150 to 200 people from Kabul had just prayed at the shrine and left.

Another group of more than 100 from Logar province was entering when the explosion occurred. He said the suicide bomber was at the end of the line of worshippers from Logar when he blew himself up near one of the gates to the shrine.

“It was very loud. My ears went deaf, and I was blown 3 meters (yards),” said Mustafa, who uses only one name. “There was smoke and red blood on the floor of the shrine. There were people lying everywhere.”

The shrine’s loudspeaker continued to blast a recitation of the Quran as ambulances carried bodies and wounded away. Women, wailing and holding crying children, stood outside the shrine.

The shrine is close to the palace where Mr. Karzai lives, but he was in Europe to attend an international conference on Afghanistan. It is named after Abul Fazl, who was an adviser to a 14th-century Mogul emperor. The shrine and its blue minaret are one of Kabul’s better-known shrines. It is located in the Murad Khane area near the Kabul River, a district that has been listed by the World Monuments Fund as one of its 100 most endangered sites of cultural heritage.

Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Deb Riechmann, Heidi Vogt and Patrick Quinn in Kabul contributed to this report.


Maldives Muslims Fight for the Right to Flog

By Daniel Greenfield

Dec 6th, 2011

When the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visited the Maldives, she wasn’t expecting to make much of a splash there. Officially the Republic of Maldives is a Constitutional democracy with open elections that any Muslim can vote in (not being a Muslim happens to be against the law in the Maldives). Unofficially it’s a paranoid theocracy based on Sharia law where an Indian teacher who drew a compass had to be hurriedly evacuated after students mistook it for a cross.

The United Nations Human Rights apparatus generally tries to avoid looking too closely at human rights in Muslim countries because it knows exactly what it will find. The Maldives is a case in point. So when Navi Pillay stopped by the Maldives she followed the formula to the letter, praising the human rights progress in the Maldives and after a few minutes of that, briefly suggested that perhaps they should stop flogging women accused of premarital sex.

Naturally Pillay did not put it as harshly as I just did. In her words, “The fact that people, especially women, are still flogged in the Maldives is a serious blot on the country’s otherwise increasingly positive and progressive image overseas.” But how progressive can a country be when it outlaws the practice of any religion besides Islam and holds blasphemy trials and where a judge ruled that four men who gang raped a 14 year old would not be imprisoned because the girl had reached the age of puberty?

Despite Pillay’s careful wording, Muslims in the Maldives reacted by holding a protest that accused her of being a “racist Zionist” out to undermine Islam. This was an unfortunate setback for Pillay who had spent a good deal of time condemning Israel, only to be accused of being a “racist Zionist” for suggesting that flogging women might be undermining the progressive image of a country where a cross shaped design on a water bottle is a major scandal.

Maldives’ Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem reassured his fellow Muslims that the government was not about to do anything crazy like ending the flogging of women. “”What’s there to discuss about flogging? There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with Allah. Our foreign ministry will not allow that to happen.”

That is literally true as arguing with Allah is against the law in the Maldives. Two years ago a drunk who tried arguing with Allah was sent to court and was forced to recite the Shahadah, the Islamic profession of faith. But Pillay had been careful not to argue with Allah. In her remarks she praised the Maldives for “reaching out in the Islamic world to promote dialogue on the compatibility of Islam and human rights” only to get a harsh reminder that in the real world Islam and human rights were as compatible as oil and water.

The Republic of Maldives, along with Libya, Cuba, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, which has not been paying much attention to the right of women not to be flogged in the name of Allah, as it has to the right of Hamas members to blow up Israeli children. The Maldives had met most of the official benchmarks on human rights, so long as no one looked too closely at the fine print.

CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, had been ratified by the Republic of Maldives, with one very minor caveat. “The Government of the Republic of the Maldives reserves its right to apply article 16 of the Convention… without prejudice to the provisions of Islamic sharia, which govern all marital and family relations of the 100 per cent Muslim population of the Maldives.” Which is to say that the Maldives will only grant those rights to women that don’t conflict with a 7th century document that treats women as legal and moral inferiors. But from the UN point of view, that makes the Maldives better than the US which has not ratified CEDAW at all.


Billionaire at heart of Pakistan political crisis offered RAW help with ISI-linked jihadists


NEW DELHI, December 5, 2011  Ijaz met former RAW chief Sahay, claiming to have blessings of White House to broker a secret India-Pakistan deal on J&K

Mansoor Ijaz, the billionaire businessman now at the heart of a scandal that is threatening to bring down Pakistan's democratic government, had earlier approached India's intelligence services with an offer to broker peace between New Delhi and jihadists linked to the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, highly placed government sources have told The Hindu.

The billionaire businessman, the sources said, made contact with C.D. Sahay—who went on to serve as RAW's chief from 2003 to 2005 —claiming to have the blessings of the White House to broker a secret India-Pakistan deal on Jammu and Kashmir.

In October this year, Mr. Ijaz revealed that Husain Haqqani, Islamabad's ambassador to the United States, had recruited him into plot to ease Pakistan's generals out of positions of power. He went public with a memo calling on the United States to help Pakistan's government rid itself of the Army, and then made over evidence of his conversations with Mr. Haqqani to the ISI's chief, General Shuja Pasha.

President Asif Ali Zardari has since been forced to recall Mr. Haqqani—and many analysts believe what is being called “MemoGate” could end in a frontal showdown between the military and the elected government.

Mr. Ijaz's Kashmir mission reveals the businessman had a long history of participating in political intrigue — but failing to deliver on his promises, and then falling out with partners in public.

Ijaz's Mission Kashmir

Mr. Ijaz's offer came even as key Hizb ul-Mujahideen commander Abdul Majid Dar and former RAW chief A.S. Dulat were engaged in secret discussions aimed at bringing about a ceasefire. Mr. Dar and Mr. Dulat, the sources said, met in the United Arab Emirates after the Kargil war. Srinagar-based sources close to Mr. Dar admitted the meeting took place, but said it came about after the jihad commander experienced a spiritual epiphany while caught among a crush of pilgrims in Mecca.

Less than a fortnight after the July 25, 2000, ceasefire announcement, though the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's Pakistan-backed chief, Muhammad Yusuf Shah, backed out under ISI pressure—sparking off a bitter internecine war that would claim the lives of several members of the hardline faction, as well as Mr. Dar himself.

Eight weeks before the ceasefire, Mr. Ijaz was flown to Srinagar under RAW escort, where he met with top officials including then-XV corps commander Lieutenant-General Kishan Pal and Director-General of Police Gurbachan Jagat. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah hosted a dinner for the businessman on May 10, 2000.

In a November 22 article in the International Herald Tribune, Mr. Ijaz claimed credit for having organised the ceasefire, saying he implored Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, to “persuade the Mujahideen under his control to opt for non-violent means”. In the course of a three hour meeting, Mr. Ijaz wrote, “I told him that every civilian I met in Kashmir earlier that month had tired as much of the incessant violence imparted by Pakistan's militia forces.”

The ceasefire, Mr. Ijaz's account of events has it, fell apart, after “Pakistan's Islamic fundamentalists got wind of the proposal”. General Musharraf in turn “got cold feet”.

Mr. Sahay, RAW sources said, received calls from Mr. Ijaz on several subsequent occasions—one time, claiming to have the former head of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami, Qazi Husain Ahmad, on the line.

RAW's opinion, however, was that Mr. Ijaz did not have the influence to deliver on promises he made. His claims to have had a role in organising the ceasefire caused amusement

The Sudan affair

India's spies weren't the only players to lose faith in Mr. Ijaz. In the 1990s, Mr. Ijaz—who runs an investment bank in New York, and was a major donor to the Democratic party—claimed to have been relaying messages from Sudan's Islamist government to the White House. Mr. Ijaz later wrote his mission had given the United States an opportunity to eliminate Osama bin-Laden.

Key administration officials have since attacked these claims. Susan Rice, now the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, said Mr. Ijaz brought the administration of President Bill Clinton offers of counter-terrorism cooperation from Sudan—but that they never materialised.


ISI not in Pakistan government control: Mansoor Ijaz

WASHINGTON:6 DEC, 2011,, Mansoor Ijaz, the man who stirred Pakistan's 'memogate', has alleged that Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), especially its 'S' or strategic wing, was not in government control and was interfering in Afghanistan's political affairs.

There was considerable evidence available on the spy agency's involvement in setting the political stage in Pakistan by manipulating election results, the Pakistani-American businessman told CNN in an interview. ISI also interferes in the political affairs of Afghanistan by using the Haqqani network, he said.

"The ISI has two critical branches in it, one is called CT for counterterrorism, and the other is the S branch for strategic - it's sort of the arm of the ISI that does everything from political interventions in other countries, for example, Afghanistan, which is what they're doing through the Haqqani Network and the Taliban right now," Ijaz said.

"They do a lot of political interventions in their own country. You know, there are many times when it has been reported in the past and authentically reported and authoritatively reported by the Pakistani press that S Branch was involved in manipulating elections and doing things of that nature inside Pakistan," he said.

"So it's an organ of the state that nobody can control, and it is essentially the organ of the state that the army and the intelligence wings are using to shall we say coordinate or obstruct what it is that the political side of the government, the civilian side of the governments do in Pakistan," Ijaz said.

Asked about the effect of his op-ed that stirred the memogate Ijaz said: "There will never be a time in my view where the military is subservient to the civilians in our lifetime. It may take 30, 40 years for that transformation to come.

"But when it does come, at least what we did was make sure the civilian government has an equal shoulder to the military and the judiciary."


Pakistan, Iran bear 'burden' of Afghan refugees: Bonn conference communiqué

Dec. 06, 2011

BONN: Afghanistan pledged at a major conference in Germany on Monday to step up the fight against corruption in return for sustained international support.

"Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them," Afghanistan and its international partners said in a communique after the Bonn meeting.

"In this context, the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities."

Afghanistan was again named one of the world's most corrupt nations in a global survey published this month by Berlin-based anti-graft watchdog Transparency International.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told reporters as the conference wrapped up that the central government in Kabul had a commitment to its people, not just international donors and troop suppliers.

"Fighting against corruption, good governance, that is something that Afghan people deserve to be given by the elected government," he said.

"Good governance is not only to make our friends happy -- it is our democratic duty to give it to our own people."

The conclusions said that, in exchange for good governance, the international community was ready to stand by Afghanistan in the 10 years after NATO combat troops withdraw in 2014.

"This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation."

Both sides "solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024".

"In 2024 Afghanistan should not be a country in need of donors but also a donor country," Rassoul said.

The one-day conference, which brought together 1,000 delegates from around the world, made special note of the strain on neighbours Pakistan and Iran in dealing with refugees from the war-ravaged country.

"We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistan's neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult times and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return," the conclusions said.

Islamabad had boycotted the conference over a NATO air strike late last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, raising fears that the Bonn meeting would make little headway on issues crucial to Afghanistan.

In the final communique, Afghanistan recommitted to "upholding all of its international human rights obligations" including the rights of women.

Participants said they maintained the goal, first agreed at another major conference here in 2001 that established an interim government after the fall of the Taliban, that Afghanistan should never again harbour terrorists.

"Our shared goal remains an Afghanistan that is a peaceful and promising home for all Afghans, at the centre of a secure and thriving region -- an Afghanistan in which international terrorism does not again find sanctuary and that can assume its rightful place among sovereign nations," they said. (AFP),-Iran-bear-Afghan-refugees-burden


Shia Muslims 'killed in Pakistan by pro-Taliban groups'

6 December 2011 Security is tight in Pakistan ahead of the Day of Ashura, which is the climax of a period of remembrance for Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Already this year, hundreds of Shia Muslims have been killed in Pakistan, mostly in the western province of Balochistan.

Pro-Taliban Sunni militants admit carrying out the attacks, to curb what they call the growing regional influence of neighbouring Iran.

Shoabe Hasan reports from the provincial capital, Quetta.


From Karachi to Chennai: How a module was busted

New Delhi: Dec 06 2011,What is different in the recent pan-India arrest of six IM operatives over five days is the close coordination between different forces, helping join the dots faster

Mohammed Adil alias Ajmal, the latest Pakistani terrorist held in India, was all set to send alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives Mohammed Qateel Siddiqui and Gayur Ahmad Jamali to Pakistan for further training when the police caught up with them.

Ajmal had already arranged passports and travel documents of these two men from north Bihar. However, this time, the intelligence agencies and police moved faster, arresting six while efforts are on to nab the rest.

Sources attribute this to better coordination, with the Delhi Police taking the initiative to share information with security agencies at the right time rather than being protective about it. From what is emerging, there were two separate surveillances on — one by the Central security agencies on Ajmal, since October last year, and the other a focused Delhi Police effort tracking Siddiqui. In fact, security agencies did not know of the name Ajmal or Mohammed Adil. They were tracking him as Waleed, an alleged Pakistani terror hand operating out of Kathmandu who, their investigations had shown, had moved to north Bihar.

The Delhi Police, on the other hand, had been monitoring Siddiqui for the past four months. They found that he was present in Pune during the German Bakery blasts, in Bangalore when an attack was made on the Chinnaswamy Stadium and in Delhi when the Jama Masjid firing happened.

There were other details on his locations that made mere coincidence seem implausible. It was with this body of information that the Delhi Police approached the Central security agencies in November first week.

Ajmal has told interrogators he was initially sent to Nepal by Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal to recruit Muslims who could be sent to India through Bihar to carry out terror attacks.

After spending months in Nepal, he claims to have got back to the Bhatkal brothers saying that there was not much hope of success with Nepali Muslims, and to have suggested that he be allowed to enter India and find recruits. Ajmal was given the go-ahead. Since February, sources said, his trips to Darbhanga, Madhubani, Purnea and Samastipur became very frequent, a fact that was picked up by intelligence agencies.

Ajmal is alleged to have used seven SIM cards, with the one he used the most in Bihar obtained under the name ‘Ranpreet Paswan’. The Delhi Police also recovered an election identity card from him along with $625.

Siddiqui from Darbhanga was among those in touch with Ajmal, and when the Delhi Police shared information on him with the Central security agencies, the latter realised that Waleed and Ajmal or for that matter Mohammed Adil were the same person. This completed the bigger picture of a larger module, with Yasin Bhatkal or Yasin Ahmad Siddibappa running as a common thread through it.

Ajmal says he spotted Gayur Ahmed Jamali, who was held a day before him in Bihar, for the first time during a lecture on Islam in one of the local “institutions”.


The Madhubani connection with Terror

Madhubani: Dec 06 2011,When Gayur Ahmed Jamali and Mohd Adil alias Ajmal were picked up from Darbhanga and Madhubani respectively 10 days ago, it was the sixth big arrest with terror links in this area bordering Nepal in the past five years.

Bihar shares a 625-km border with Nepal, of which 73 km falls in Madhubani district. This is a largely porous border, and with families on either side having relatives or land on the other side, it is easy to cross over unnoticed.

The first inkling of the emergence of a Madhubani module came in October 2005 when an Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police team swooped down on the Jaynagar telephone exchange along the Indo-Nepal border. A look at call records of the earlier few years showed that the 125-km stretch from Raxaul in East Champaran district to Jaynagar in Madhubani reported the most number of ISD calls of the six Bihar districts bordering Nepal. Basopatti, Jaynagar and Laukaha reported some 500 ISD calls, mostly to and from the Gulf countries, in 2005. Intelligence agencies found that two dozen youths of Madhubani villages had left homes and not been back for a long time.

RJD Bisfi MLA and prominent Muslim leader from Madhubani Faiyaz Ahmed refused to talk about the arrests, saying, “These are tricky matters. Please spare me.”

Madhubani BJP MLA Ramdev Mahato said the “open Nepal border” was “bringing terror to this region”. “Terrorists have been luring misguided youths who want shortcuts in life,” Mahato said, adding that terror has no religion. The arrests:

July 20, 2006: A Mumbai ATS team (of which the late Hemant Karkare was a part) came to Basopatti village and arrested Mohammed Kamal Ansari in connection with the Mumbai serial train blasts. Investigations later revealed that Kamal, a former bicycle puncture repair man, had come in contact with Shah Bano, based in Janakpur, Nepal, who ran an NGO working in rural development but was believed to be associated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. This was the first known case of the LeT trying to recruit youths from Nepal and Bihar. Shah Bano is alleged to have recruited Kamal for the LeT, said an IPS officer. She remains at large.

November 12, 2007: A resident of Gandhwar village (under Sakri, the same place from where Gayur was arrested), Mohammed Sabauddin alias Farhan was arrested in Lucknow for the Rampur CRPF camp attack case and the Jaipur science conference firing. Sabauddin had done Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from Aligarh Muslim University. His acquaintances said he had been a very sharp boy and a good cricketer. Sabauddin’s father Mohammed Abdul Qadir is a samiti member in the Brahmin-dominated panchayat. Though acquitted in one case, Sabauddin, a suspected Lashkar commander, is facing trial in other cases. He is believed to have recruited several youths from Madhubani and Janakpur in Nepal.

July 9, 2008: UP ATS team arrested a Jaynagar resident in Lucknow for alleged links with the Sarojini Nagar blast in Delhi in 2005. Pappu Khan is a resident of Andra village of Jaynagar.

October 14, 2008: The UP ATS team arrested Mohamed Khalil, another Jaynagar resident, from Lucknow for the Delhi serial blasts.

Full Report at:


Haleem: More than a dessert on Ashura

By: Danish Rafique

KARACHI: December 06, 2011, - The Karachiites, without any discrimination, set up Sabeel (water stalls) and cooked Haleem (Niaz) to distribute among the faithful on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

The cooking of Haleem is an old tradition of the City as the people from various localities collected the amount and then cooked the Niaz of Haleem on the day of Ashura to observe the great sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS).

Like all other religious occasions, Muharram has also its economic significance. A large number of people distribute Haleem, Kithra and Sharbat (soft drink) among the poor, as well as faithful, relatives and neighbours. Besides, many people arrange Nazr and Niaz by distributing Biryani and Qorma with Sheermal, Taftan or Roti.

According to a rough estimate, people spend billions of rupees for distribution and preparation of Niaz in Muharram with their self-contribution.

People started buying things for Nazr’o Niaz from the first of Muharram, which rose to peak on Ashura day. The trend of buying commodities continues even after the Ashura but not at the same pace as witnessed during the first 10 days of Muharram. Retailers said that buying of commodities gathered momentum from Muharram 7.

Wholesalers, retailers, shopkeepers and market forces fully exploit this situation by demanding higher prices.

Milk is being heavily used in making sweet drinks during Muharram. Sudden increase in milk prices during Muharram is a sheer jerk to the consumers and the authorities concerned cannot take action as their officers lack magisterial powers.

An aged buyer Syed Ramzan Zaidi said, “No matter what is the rate, people buy milk for making Sharbat in huge quantity during Muharram and especially a day ahead of Ashura.” He said that milk was being sold at higher prices in some areas.

But despite all enthusiasm of preparing Haleem or other items for distribution among the faithful, inflation in recent years has hit hard the buying capacity of people which also dwindled down this old tradition.

Roti, Taftan and Sheermal makers also enjoy a ‘heyday’ during the first 10 days of Muharram. Caterers, who do not have any orders for marriages and other ceremonies in Muharram, continue their business activities by getting orders for Haleem, Kitchra, Biryani and Nazr’o Niaz.


Bomb kills Afghan woman, 4 children

KABUL: December 06, 2011, A minibus full of Afghan civilians struck a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Monday, setting off an explosion that killed five passengers. One woman and four children died and another six passengers were wounded, said Uruzgan provincial police spokesman Fareed Ayal. Ayal said the vehicle had just left the main market area in Chor district when it hit the buried explosive. He said two brothers and their families were travelling in the minibus. Civilians are frequently the victims of bombs laid by insurgents to target Afghan or international forces. The UN said in a recent report that 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed in the crossfire between Taliban insurgents and Afghan, US and NATO forces during the first half of this year - up 15 percent from the same period a year earlier. There are around 140,000 international troops, mainly from the United States, in Afghanistan helping government forces combat the insurgency.

Full report at:\12\06\story_6-12-2011_pg7_2


Two killed, 11 injured in Kohat rocket attack

KOHAT: December 06, 2011, At least two policemen were killed and eleven others, including three policemen, were injured on Monday evening in a rocket attack in the Main Bazaar of Kohat. According to initial reports, at least two rockets were fired by unknown miscreants, one of which landed in Paracha market, the city’s main business centre and the other some distance away a few hours before a Muharram procession was due to pass through the area. The rocket landed in the bazaar during its peak hours. “Two rockets were fired from Darra Adam Khel. One slammed into the market and the other landed near it,” Commissioner Kohat Sahibzada Anis told the media. Rescue teams rushed to the attack site and moved the injured to a hospital while a heavy contingent of police rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area. Owing to the Muharram processions, security was at high alert and authorities had made stern security arrangements to avoid any mishap. Security arrangements were further tightened in all key cities of the country following the terrorist attack. Two suspects have been arrested so far. inp


AVCC, CPLC kill 3 ‘Taliban’ in encounter, recover abductee

Staff Report

KARACHI: December 06, 2011, Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) and Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) in a joint raid claimed to have killed three members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Monday during an encounter, which ensued in a bid to recover an abducted industrialist Ahmed Chinoy.

Two policemen Raees Baloch and Abdul Sattar were also wounded in the skirmish and were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for treatment.

Chinoy was kidnapped from Landhi Industrial Zone, Quaidabad on Oct 8. Officials said that the kidnappers had initially demanded Rs 70 million for his release but later decided to settle for Rs 20 million after negotiations.

The AVCC and CPLC raided their hideout located in Allahwala Town, Korangi after the kidnappers called Chinoy’s family to deliver the ransom.

Full Report at:\12\06\story_6-12-2011_pg7_15


Gravestone epitaph a must in overcrowded cemeteries!

By: Syed Danish Hussain

RAWALPINDI December 06, 2011,– Business for someone is linked with another’s loss. The same is true as far as business of writing epitaph on gravestone is concerned and it’s demand has been on the rise in the city, as it helps identify grave in today’s overcrowded graveyards.

The business is flourishing, as with day-by-day changing trends now have become essential to fix gravestone on beloved one’s grave, the idea, which was not much in vogue in earlier days.

“In earlier days, epitaph writing was not much in trend. But now it is almost mandatory, as it is convenient for people to identify the grave of the dead,” said Habib-ur-Rehman, an epitaphist who has been associated with this trade for the past 15 years at City Saddar Road gravestone market.

Usually, apart from holy verses from the Quran and relevant Urdu couplets, it is the name of the dead, his or her lineage and the day and date of death, which are inscribed on the epitaphs.

We buy marble from factories where it normally takes two days of hard work to chisel and engrave and two more days to prepare a ‘Katba’ at shop according to the demand of the customers, Habib added.

“Price of an epitaph depends on the quality of marble and the writing stuff on it, if granite marble is used then the price surged up to approximately Rs3,000 while a normal epitaph is prepared in Rs800,” Habib informed in addition that, similarly, difficult and unique writing style and abundance of words also increased the price of epitaph.

Unrest in Swat and Malakand areas had badly affected this business, as country’s bigger marble reservoirs are located in Swat and Buner.

Full Report at:


Bonn: Allies pledge another decade of help

BONN December 06, 2011,(Agencies) – A major conference Monday on Afghanistan’s future after NATO combat troops leave in 2014 pledged sustained support for another decade, in exchange for clear progress on good governance.

Participants including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon vowed to stand by Afghanistan as it struggles to establish security and stability. Pakistan boycotted the conference as a mark of protest after Nato troops killed its 24 soldiers.

“This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation,” the conference’s final conclusions said. “The protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities.”

President Hamid Karzai told around 1,000 delegates gathered in the western German city of Bonn for the one-day meeting that his government needed long-term international backing. “We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade” after the troops pull out, he said.

Full Report at:


Saudi may join nuclear arms race: ex-spy chief

RIYADH: December 06, 2011, Saudi Arabia may consider acquiring nuclear weapons to match regional rivals Israel and Iran, its former intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal said on Monday.

“Our efforts and those of the world have failed to convince Israel to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iran, therefore it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons,” Faisal told a security forum in Riyadh.

“A (nuclear) disaster befalling one of us would affect us all,” said Faisal. Israel is widely held to possess hundreds of nuclear missiles, which it neither confirms nor denies, while the West accuses Iran of seeking an atomic bomb, a charge the Islamic republic rejects.

Riyadh, which has repeatedly voiced fears about the nuclear threat posed by Iran and denounced Israel’s atomic capacity, has stepped up efforts to develop its own nuclear power for “peaceful use.” Abdul Ghani Malibari, coordinator at the Saudi civil nuclear agency, said in June that Riyadh plans to build 16 civilian nuclear reactors in the next two decades at a cost of 300 billion riyals ($80 billion). He said the kingdom would launch an international invitation to tender for the reactors to be used in power generation and desalination in the desert kingdom. afp\12\06\story_6-12-2011_pg7_32


US tabloids highlight Pakistani Actress Veena's photo controversy

December 06, 2011

NEW YORK - Pakistani actress Veena Malik’s alleged nude photo shoot for an Indian magazine has hit the headlines in American tabloids and even taken note of by major national newspapers. ‘Pakistani actress Veena Malik sues FHM magazine over nude cover photo’, (Mass-circulation New York Daily News), ‘Veena Malik, Pakistani Model, Poses Nude, Causes Fury’ (Huffington Post) and  ‘Pakistani actress Veena Malik’s nude ‘ISI’ photo stirs controversy’ (Washington Post) are some of the headlines in Monday papers. ‘Pakistani actress Veena Malik appears on the cover of FHM India’s December issue wearing nothing but a steamy gaze and the initials of Pakistan’s fearsome intelligence agency, ISI, tattooed across her arm’, wrote The Daily News. . ‘Conservative Muslim clerics in her home country slammed the shot as an insult to Islam, while Pakistan’s government has promised to investigate whether the image was doctored’, it said.

The Washington Post noted that the controversy comes on the heels of a tense week for Pakistan, in which NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an incident Senator John McCain blamed on ISI, which he said was actively supporting terrorist organisations. Senior officials in recent months have repeatedly accused ISI of supporting militants based in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas. Pakistan has denied such allegations. Kabeer Sharma, the editor of FHM magazine, which carried the photos, was quoted as saying that having ISI written on Veena Malik’s arm was just intended as a joke. But Pakistan’s media aren’t finding it funny, it was reported.


End to violence against women underlined

Our Staff Reporter

SIALKOT -December 06, 2011, Domestic violence is a massive impediment curbing the development of women not only in Pakistan but in whole of the south Asian Region where after every two minutes a woman has to face violent situation in her routine life. The states in the region have so far not been successful in eliminating the social menace of gender-based discriminations and violence.

This was stated by Hina Noureen, President Baidarie Sialkot while addressing a seminar conducted in solidarity with “We Can” movement to celebrate the Universal Day Against Violence on Women. The day is celebrated to highlight the need for coherent efforts for making the life free of violence and torture for women.

Hina said that the global trend of “Feminization of Poverty”, and related issues including subservience of the social players to patriarchic structures, rigid orthodox norms and stifling socio-cultural customs and traditions continuously decay the status and role of women (48 percent) of the population of 180 million people) in Pakistan. In unfortunate practical terms, the women in this part of the world are seen as the repository of family honour- although not regarded as honourable in themselves and any perceived slight to that honour, whether true or not, is considered to be punishable in the most brutal way.

Full Report at:


Pakistan PM sees progress in US ties

Lahore: Dec 06, 2011, Pakistan wants to rebuild ties with the United States despite ongoing retaliation over deadly NATO airstrikes on its troops along the Afghan border, the country's prime minister said on Monday, stressing that he believes "it won't take long" to achieve a new relationship with its uneasy ally.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's remarks indicate that Pakistan is looking for a way to restore some normalcy to ties with Washington following the Nov. 26 airstrikes by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, but wants to leverage the situation to try and reset the relationship in ways more beneficial to Pakistan.

In an interview, Gilani also said the country remained committed to working with Afghanistan to bring insurgent leaders - many of whom are believed to be on Pakistani soil and to enjoy close relations with Islamabad's security forces - into talks with the government and allow the US to begin withdrawing its troops as it is committed to doing.

"I think we have evolved some mechanisms, and we are ready to cooperate," he said, referring to meetings with Afghanistan's military and intelligence chiefs on a framework for talks. "We are committed (to reconciliation), despite that we are not attending" the conference on Afghanistan, he said.

That may offer some reassurance to international leaders meeting in Bonn, Germany, to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

Islamabad boycotted the talks because of the airstrikes along the Pakistan-Afghan border that killed 24 Pakistani troops. The decision disappointed Afghan and Western leaders, who realize the vital role Pakistan has in any future stability in neighboring Afghanistan even as they complain that it tolerates, or even supports, insurgents along the border.

Pakistan refused pleas by Afghan and US leaders to attend the Bonn conference. Gilani said he did not regret skipping the meeting, saying "since the soil of Afghanistan was used against Pakistan in the NATO raids, there was a tremendous protest in my country and people putting pressure that we not attend."

Speaking in Germany, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers tragic and reiterated a pledge for a thorough investigation. "No one is more interested than the United States in getting to the bottom of what happened in the border incident," she said.

President Barack Obama called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday to offer his condolences. No one from either NATO or the US has formally apologized, but they have disputed comments by Pakistan's army that the act was a deliberate act of aggression.

As well as boycotting the Bonn talks, Pakistan retaliated by blocking its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies and giving the US 15 days to vacate Shamsi air base, which has been used by American drones to strike militants along the Afghan border. US Ambassador Cameron Munter said in a local TV interview that Washington was doing its best to comply with Pakistan's demand to leave the air base.

Gilani said new ties being negotiated with the US would ensure that the two countries "respected each other's red lines" regarding sovereignty and rules of engagement along the border. While he gave few details, he made it clear he thought this was both desirable and possible.

"We really want to have good relations with the US based on mutual respect and clearly defined parameters," he said in an interview at his residence. "I think that is doable. I think that it won't take long."

The civilian government is in many respects subservient to the army in Pakistan, which formulates Afghan policy. Gilani is unlikely to be saying anything that doesn't broadly reflect the thinking of the army, however. This year has a seen a succession of crisis in Pakistan-US ties that have been patched up, albeit at a cost of dwindling trust and expectations on both sides.

While no one in Washington underestimates the difficulties in dealing with Pakistan, most officials there also call for continued engagement. As well as holding a major key to future Afghan peace, Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a thriving Islamist militant insurgency of its own that is giving support to al-Qaida operatives in the country.

Pakistan, despite the fiercely anti-American rhetoric of its people, many of its lawmakers and - increasingly after the NATO strike - its army, relies on Washington for military and civilian aid to maintain some parity with its regional foe India, as well as diplomatic legitimacy.

In Gilani's office, along with photos of his children, there are two pictures of the prime minister with President George W. Bush in Washington, along with a signed note from Bush in 2008 pledging continued support for Gilani's efforts to bring stability to the country and thanks for "the fine-looking gun" he had brought him as a gift.

Washington and Islamabad have given differing accounts of what led to the airstrikes on the Pakistani army posts last month, in what is at least the third such incident along the porous and poorly defined border since 2008.

US officials have said the incident occurred when a joint US and Afghan patrol requested air support after coming under fire. The US checked with the Pakistan military to see if there were friendly troops in the area and were told there were not, they said.

Pakistan has said the coordinates given by the Americans were wrong - an allegation denied by US defense officials.


As business climate improves, Pakistan keen to export flowers, produce films jointly


NEW DELHI, DEC. 5: The fragrance of Pakistani and Indian flowers could soon breeze through homes and offices on either side of the border while Bollywood heros could soon serenade their Pakistani heroines.

With the Governments of India and Pakistan easing visa restrictions and encouraging business to business contacts, exports of flowers and joint production of movies are some of the new ventures being considered by the Pakistani business community.

“I am thinking of making a flower exchange where Indian and Pakistani flowers can be auctioned. It will be on the lines of what you have in Bangalore. Setting up an exchange will make it more viable for the farmers. In Pakistan, we have a variety of roses, gladiolas, tube roses – all of which can be exported to India directly through the exchange, thereby saving costs. This could be an alternate market to the West where there are so many quarantine issues,” said Ms Saeeda Nazar, Vice-President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Ms Nazar, whose primary line of business is footwear, hopes to convert her hobby into something which will help the farmers and brighten up homes and offices in both India and Pakistan.

Similarly, having been in the film production business in Pakistan since 1958, Mr Anwaar Ahmed Sheikh is now keen to have a collaboration with the Indian film industry. “We would want a co-production between India and Pakistan film industry and want to promote India-Pakistan friendship through the medium of movies. We would like it if the hero is from here and the heroine from there. The young generation wants originality, not enemy culture,” he said.


Apart from flowers and movies, the Pakistani business delegation said at a function organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry that it was looking at business opportunities in conventional areas of textiles, chemicals, plastic packing and chemicals among others.


US builds backup Afghan bases after Pak eviction

WASHINGTON ,(Online) - Pakistan’s decision to evict the United States from a Predator drone base will have little impact on the CIA’s ability to strike terrorists in the country’s austere tribal areas because the US has built backup bases in Afghanistan, a senior US defence official has said.

The official told The Washington Times that the US military and CIA had built the launching strips in Afghanistan in anticipation of the day when Pakistan wanted US forces out of the Shamsi facility. Shamsi is widely understood to be the base of operations for the covert CIA drone war on terrorists in tribal areas.

Pakistan ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi base and shut down a vital supply line to Nato troops in Afghanistan after coalition forces airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in a border clash on Nov 26.

President Obama on Sunday expressed condolences for the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers in a phone call to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the White House said in a statement.

Mr Obama “made clear that this regrettable incident was not a deliberate attack on Pakistan and reiterated the United States’ strong commitment for a full investigation,” the statement said.

Full Report at:


Muslim Brotherhood party poised to emerge as single largest in Egypt


CAIRO:  Dec 5, 2011, As Egyptians voted today in run-off contests, Muslim Brotherhood linked FJP is poised to emerge as the single largest party in the country's first free election in six decades, overcoming challenge from hardliners and secular groups.

Turnout has so far been low in the nine governorates holding run-offs, where a total of 52 seats are being contested.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6 per cent of the 9.7 m ballots cast last week, followed by the Salafist al-Nour Party with 24.4 per cent. The elections are the first since the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak who ruled the country for nearly three decades.

Voting in the remaining two-thirds of electoral districts is scheduled to take place later this month and in January.

Full Report at:


Syria accepts Arab plan for observer mission

CAIRO/ DAMASCUS: December 06, 2011, Arab League Chief Nabil al Arabi said on Monday he was consulting Arab foreign ministers on Syria’s last-ditch effort to avoid new sanctions by offering to allow an observer mission into the country with conditions.

The Arab bloc had warned it would impose sweeping sanctions on Syria, where the UN estimates a crackdown on anti-regime protests has cost more than 4,000 lives, unless Damascus allowed monitors access to the country.

Arabi, whose organisation suspended Syria’s membership last month, told reporters that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem had sent him a letter agreeing to sign off on the monitors “but with conditions and demands.”

“We’ve contacted Arab foreign ministers and they have been apprised of the Syrian letter,” he said. Arabi did not explain Syria’s conditions, but said Muallem’s letter contained “new demands.” Syria asked in the letter for “minor changes which do not touch on the substance of the protocol and for clarifications that are not linked to the nature of the mission,” Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said. “We asked them for the names and nationalities of the observers” he said, adding, “We hope for a positive reply. The success of this mission depends on Arab intentions.”

Full Report at:\12\06\story_6-12-2011_pg7_4


Libyan forces take control of Tunisia crossing

TRIPOLI: December 06, 2011,  Libyan interior ministry forces have taken control of the key Ras Jdir border crossing with Tunisia from former rebels who toppled Muammar Gaddafi, a top official said on Monday.

“Today, I can announce that the control of Ras Jdir has been taken over by forces of the ministry of interior,” interim interior minister Fawzi Abdelali told reporters.

He said taking control of the crossing was a “priority” for Libya to show “the law of the state.” The crossing, 180 kilometres west of Tripoli, was closed last week after Tunisian guards stopped work, complaining of lack of protection against armed and unarmed fighters deployed on the Libyan side.

Tension at the border between Tunisia and Libya erupted after a Libyan rebel reportedly shot and wounded a Tunisian customs official as he forced his way across the Ras Jdir crossing.

Voicing “deep concern,” Tunis called on Tripoli to manage its side of the border with professional forces. The minister said the crossing would be reopened later this week but he did not give details on the status of the Dehiba crossing. Mohammed Jarafa, a border officer at the Ras Jdir crossing, confirmed to AFP that the post was now entirely in the hands of interior ministry forces.

Full Report at:\12\06\story_6-12-2011_pg7_33


Maldives calls for increased foreign intervention in Syria

By Eleanor Johnstone

December 4th, 2011

The Maldives, European Union (EU), United States (US) and Arab League have convened a UN Emergency Session on human rights in Syria. The session is taking place at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Maldives was named one of the seven most important countries on the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the Maldives played a key role in convening the session, which addressed the killing of thousands of Muslim civilians by Syrian security forces since the its Arab Spring began earlier this year.

The Maldives has also expressed full support for measures taken by the Arab League against Syria, which include economic sanctions.

The BBC today reported that Syria’s government said the League’s proposal to allow observers into the country placed “impossible conditions” on Damascus and infringed on Syria’s sovereignty.

The session in Geneva included a report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which revealed “widespread evidence of gross and systemic human rights violations in the country.


Hezbollah leader makes rare public appearance in Beirut

6 December 2011

The leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamist group, Hezbollah, has made his first public appearance for several years at a rally in Beirut.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah normally speaks to his supporters via video-link, but on Tuesday he addressed a crowd marking the religious festival of Ashura.

He said his appearance in the suburb of Dahiya was a message to those who believed they could "threaten us".

He has rarely been seen in public since Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006.

The 34-day conflict left more than 1,200 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians. Some 160 Israelis, most of whom were soldiers, were also killed.

'Regional change'

On Tuesday, the Hezbollah leader was filmed walking through a crowd in Dahiya - one of the group's strongholds - surrounded by bodyguards.

"I wanted to be with you for few minutes... to renew our pledge and for the world to hear us," he told the tens of thousands of people there.

The crowd chanted, "Death to Israel" in response.

After only a few minutes, Sheikh Nasrallah told his supporters that he would reappear in a few minutes on a giant screen and left the podium.

In the speech, he promised that his group's military wing, the Islamic Resistance, would continue to be armed regardless of "regional change" - a reference to the uprising in Syria, whose government backs Hezbollah.

"A message to all those who are conspiring against the resistance and banking on change... We will never let go of our arms," he said. "Day after day, the resistance gains more fighters, trains better fighters and arms even more heavily."

The day of Ashura is marked by Muslims as a whole, but for Shia Muslims it is a major religious festival which commemorates the martyrdom at Karbala of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.


Senator: Bahrain’s human rights trump arms sale

By Ben Birnbaum-The Washington Times

December 5, 2011 Sen.

A Senate Intelligence Committee member says a recent report on Bahrain’s human rights abuses against protesters validates his opposition to a proposed $53 million arms sale to the island kingdom.

“Imagine if everyone in Congress had kept quiet and this arms sale had been completed,” Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, said Monday at an event for the Project on Middle East Democracy.

“What kind of message would this have sent the world or the people aspiring for freedom and democracy?”

In October, Mr. Wyden and four other Senate Democrats - Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and Robert Menendez of New Jersey - asked the State Department in a letter to delay the arms sale to Bahrain.

The State Department said it would review the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and assess the kingdom’s efforts to implement reforms before considering approval of the sale.

Last week, the commission, which was convened by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, reported widespread torture and excessive use of force by Bahraini security forces during the kingdom’s uprising in February and March.

Full Report at:


Key US senators urge review of Pakistan funding


WASHINGTON: December 6, 2011, The United States must “fully review” its ties with Pakistan and consider cuts or new restrictions to military and economic aid, Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Monday.

A joint statement from the veteran American politicians conveyed the depth of feeling felt by many of their contemporaries in Washington about the need to re-evaluate a decade-long strategic relationship that has foundered this year.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts,” they said.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support.”

McCain serves as the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Graham is a member of that panel and is the top Republican on the committee that allocates US foreign aid.

Full Report at:


No repetition of attack on Pakistani soldiers: US

ISLAMABAD:6 DEC, 2011,, The US would ensure there is no repetition of incidents like the Nov 26 attack that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has said.

Munter told PTV that there is a mechanism in place on both sides of the border to prevent such things. But the fact that it did happen indicates failure of the mechanism, he said.

The Nov 26 NATO airstrikes on two Pakistan Army checkposts left two dozen soldiers dead and triggered outrage in the country. Islamabad cut off its NATO supply through the country and boycotted an international conference that discussed the future of Afghanistan.

Based on the findings of an inquiry, Munter said, the US would take steps to ensure such incidents do not recur in future, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

Both Pakistan and the US will have to remain engaged and talk to each other, he said, adding that Washington wants restoration of the bilateral relationship to its previous level.

This year has seen a deterioration in the US-Pakistan ties. In February, Raymond Davis, an undercover CIA agent, was arrested in Lahore for shooting two Pakistani nationals. Then Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed May 2 by US commandos who swooped on his Abbottabad hideout without informing the Pakistani military.

Munter reiterated that the NATO attack was not deliberate.

He added that the loss of lives of Pakistani soldiers was as unfortunate and regrettable as the loss of American soldiers.

"This was a terrible tragedy. Something that happened that was not planned and what we need to do is that we need to get to the bottom of it," he was quoted as saying.

"We want to make sure that your people have the answers they deserve through an investigation that we are to carry out in the next couple of weeks," he added.

"Of course the results would be shared with Pakistan because US is fighting against militancy. That is why the US called for Pakistan to take part in the Bonn Conference where the long term future of Afghanistan is to be decided," Munter said.


US officials say Pakistan leaving liaison centers

ISLAMABAD: December 6, 2011, U.S. military officials say Islamabad is pulling its troops out of at least two of the three centers meant to coordinate military activity across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The move comes a little over a week after NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two army posts along the border. The deadly incident seems to have been caused in part by communication breakdowns.

U.S. military officials said late Monday that losing Pakistani liaisons at the border centers is a problem because the whole purpose of the posts is to exchange information about ongoing operations.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Pakistani military did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Baldor reported from Washington.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — In an overture to Washington, Pakistan's prime minister said Monday his country wants to repair U.S. relations pushed close to rupture since NATO airstrikes on the Afghan border killed 24 Pakistani troops last month.

Yousuf Raza Gilani's interview with The Associated Press was the strongest indication yet that Islamabad realizes Pakistan needs an alliance with Washington even as it continues retaliating for the Nov. 26 raid by blocking NATO and U.S. supplies from traveling over its soil into landlocked Afghanistan.

The interview came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called Pakistan's president to tell him that the airstrikes were not deliberate targeting of Pakistani soldiers and that the U.S. was committed to a full investigation. The White House said Obama and President Asif Ali Zardari reaffirmed their countries' relationship, which it described as "critical to the security of both nations," and agreed to keep in close touch.


Pak to repatriate widows, kids of Osama bin Laden: Report


ISLAMABAD: Dec 6, 2011, , Pakistan will soon repatriate to Saudi Arabia two widows and several children of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden who were captured after he was killed during a US military raid in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

The decision to repatriate the women and children was made as Pakistani authorities had completed their investigation into the US raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in May, the Al-Hayat Arabic daily reported on Monday.

It is expected that Osama bin Laden's family would leave Pakistan in the next two days on a special plane but Pakistani authorities are keeping the date of their travel a secret, the report said.

An official of Pakistan's interior ministry told Al-Hayat that Saudi Arabia had agreed to a Pakistani request to allow the women and children to return to the kingdom.

Their return had been hampered by the Pakistan investigation and other problems, the daily reported without giving details.

The Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer, said he had not received any official directive about the repatriation.

Al-Ghadeer said he had only seen media reports that Osama bin Laden's eldest brother, Bakr bin Laden, had brought the matter to the attention of Saudi King Abdullah.

Bakr bin Laden has reportedly submitted an application to the king requesting the repatriation of bin Laden's two widows and their children.


Is this morphed too, Veena Malik?

Priyanka Dasgupta

Dec 6, 2011,

Veena Malik's controversial shoot has created quite a stir across the border. Mahesh Bhatt had called her and advised her to send a legal notice to all those if she believes that she has been victimized. Hours after this conversation, late on Sunday night, Veena sent a legal notice Maxposure Corporate Media (India) Private Limited, Kabeer Sharma (Chief Editor, FHM Magazine) and photographer Vishal Saxena, where she asked her offenders to pay 10 crore as monetary damages caused.

In her notice, Veena has stated that she has been "materially misrepresented", "deceived" and "induced to take a photo shoot". She has asked her offenders to cease and desist from continuing with the publication and circulation of her nude photo images in the issue of your magazine FHM December 2011, withdraw the circulation of her nude photograph from the internet site and/or withdraw the circulation of physical copies of the publication of the forthcoming issue FHM, December, 2011, from the market and to pay her a sum of 10,00,00,000/- (Rupees 10 crores only) as and by way of monetary damages caused to her by the illegal act, within a period of 24 hours from the receipt of the notice. Veena's notice claims that she had agreed to shoot four images for the magazine.