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Islamic World News ( 5 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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BAHAWALPUR Preparing for Moharram: 103 Ulema, Zakirs Banned; 56 Gagged

Bonn: Support 'Vital to Afghan Future'

US, others vow support for Afghanistan post-troops

Italian journalist forced out of Pakistan because of friendship with Baloch leader Mehran Baloch

PPP committed to empower women: Dr Firdous

Afghan rights situation still ‘critical’ 10 years on


Pakistan to review all accords with US, NATO, UN: Yousuf Gilani

I am a ‘patriotic Muslim’

Egypt’s Salafis Will Not Work With Muslim Brotherhood

Pakistan unimpressed by Labor u-turn on India

Kidnapped Pakistanis freed in Afghanistan: police

Pakistan says no change in position on Bonn conference

Bonn conference: US lifts hold on development funds for Afghanistan

Taliban splinter into 100 factions

Man kills sister over dispute

U.S. ready for eviction of drones in Pakistan

Qatari PM urges OIC members to take advantage of development potentials

In show of force, Syrian regime holds war games

Syria ignores Arab deadline, faces new sanctions

Syria says it accepts Arab League observer request

Pak decision on Bonn meet regrettable: Ban

US govt must take action against Mansoor Ijaz: Malik

Polish Euro MP slams Pak's kill, dump policy of journalists, other civilians in Balochistan

President sends letters to three MDP MPs requesting “clarification” of corruption allegations against government

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



BAHAWALPUR Preparing for Moharram: 103 Ulema, Zakirs banned; 56 gagged

December 05, 2011

BAHAWALPUR - All security arrangements have been finalised to keep peace on the eve of Youm-e-Ashur while extra security measures will be adopted for the 103 suspected points in Bahawalpur Region where the law & order situation can be disturbed.

This was stated by the Regional Police Officer Bahawalpur Range Capt (R) Syed Muhammad Abid Qadri here Sunday. He said Special Control Rooms had been set-up in the Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts under the supervision of DSPs of the respective districts besides his office to get or inform any kind of information regarding law & order in connection with the Muharram proceedings.

Moreover, the entry of 103 Zakirs had been banned in the Bahawalpur Region as a precautionary measure and 56 Ulema and Zakirs had been directed to remain silent on this occasion till further orders for the promotion of harmony and brotherhood as well as to curb sectarianism.

He pointed out that 485 Muharram processions would be taken out in the Bahawalpur Region on 9th and 10th of Muharram and 1,315 Majalis would be held in the Region. He disclosed that 42 Muharram processions and 100 Majaalis had been declared sensitive. He said that more than 11,000 policemen had been deputed for Muharram duty and 334 personnel of Elite Force would remain on round while 19 Platoon of the Punjab Constabulary besides other personal of law-enforcement agencies would be in reserve to meet any emergency on the eve of Youm-e-Ashur. Sufficient police force would remain along with the Muharram processions and on the Majaalis-e-Aaza points for security purpose as well as the policemen would be deputed on the rooftops of the buildings on the en route of the Muharram processions. The Emergency Service, Rescue1122 has also made special arrangements for this occasion to remain alert to meet any emergency effectively.

Security personal will also remain on duty in civilian dress in the area as a security measure for peace while the DCO has banned pillion riding in the Bahawalpur district on 9th and 10th of Muharram as well as under section 144 banned display of arms, distribution of provocative literature/material, wall chalking and misuse of loudspeaker in the district.


Bonn: Support 'Vital to Afghan Future'

Hamid Karzai makes plea at Afghanistan summit in Bonn

5 December 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said international support after foreign forces withdraw in 2014 is crucial if Afghanistan is to remain stable.

His comments opened a major global conference on Afghanistan's future in the German city of Bonn.

It comes 10 years after a similar gathering held in the city, weeks after the Taliban fell from power.

But key player Pakistan is boycotting this round in protest at a Nato attack on a border checkpoint last month.

Nato apologised for the air strike on 26 November in which 24 Pakistani troops were killed and on Sunday US President Barack Obama also offered his condolences, but Pakistan has insisted that it will not reverse its decision on the talks.

President Karzai hailed the progress Afghanistan has made in the decade since the last conference, but warned that such gains were by no means secure. He said the conference presented an opportunity for Afghanistan to consolidate its gains.

"The people of Afghanistan are looking to this conference for clear affirmation of commitment to make security transition and economic progress irreversible," he said.

He added that the country does not want to be a burden on the international community for a day longer than necessary, but said that support would be needed for at least another decade.

As the conference got under way the United States and other nations vowed to continue supporting Afghanistan's fragile recovery after 2014.

The US "intends to stay the course with our friends in Afghanistan", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the summit.

She is one of about 1,000 delegates from 100 countries and international organisations taking part in Monday's gathering.

Kabul and the international community may be playing down the absence of Pakistan, but the truth is more complex.

Kabul had been hoping that Bonn would be where the international community pressured Pakistan to allow peace talks with Taliban leaders. It also wanted leaders to ask for guarantees that Pakistan will stop ''interfering in Afghanistan's internal matter'' as one senior Afghan aide put it. That is now not possible.

There are other stakeholders here too - for example, Afghan women's groups want international guarantees and backing to consolidate gains made for women.

But analysts warn that Afghanistan's road to peace is paved with peril and it can only be achieved if the international community commits to a long-term policy for Afghanistan.

The president also made pointed reference to what he called the "problem of sanctuaries [for terrorists] outside Afghanistan," which he said remain unaddressed and posed a threat to the security of the wider region and the world.

Analysts say that Pakistan is crucial if any progress is to be made on negotiating a long-term peace with the Taliban - a goal that President Karzai said he remained committed to.

Afghan and US officials have repeatedly said that militant groups operating in Afghanistan are based in Pakistan - a charge Pakistan denies.

Many observers regard a long-term international commitment to Afghanistan as critical, as most Western forces prepare to leave the country by 2014.

There are likely to be a several key issues on the agenda but the among the most pressing of these is the thorny problem of reconciliation with the Taliban and the cost of rebuilding Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Estimates say that about £4.5bn a year is needed by 2020 if the country is to stay at current levels of development.

More than 500 Nato troops have been killed so far this year in Afghanistan. Much of the worst fighting in the decade-long conflict takes place in eastern Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border.

Hillary Clinton commented on Pakistan's absence from the talks

"Our objective is a peaceful Afghanistan that will never again become a safe haven for international terrorism," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said earlier.

Taliban talks

Efforts to launch talks with the Taliban are already under way, but have brought no tangible result so far.

Reconciliation efforts suffered a major setback in September, with the assassination of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading Kabul's effort to broker peace with the insurgents.

"Right now we don't know their address. We don't have a door, to knock on," Afghanistan's ambassador to the US, Eklil Hakimi, told AP news agency.

The US and other Western nations have long suspected Pakistan of harbouring the Taliban and other insurgent groups, including the Haqqani network, blamed for attacks on the Afghan side of the border.

Nevertheless analysts say that Pakistan is crucial if any progress is to be made on negotiating a long-term peace with the Taliban.

Correspondents say that a failure to bring the Tailban into the peace process will make it harder to secure the long-term commitments needed to rebuild Afghanistan when Nato operations end in 2014.


US, others vow support for Afghanistan post-troops


Dec: 05, 2011

BONN: The United States and other nations vowed Monday to keep supporting Afghanistan’s fragile economy after most foreign forces leave the country, as an international conference got underway in Bonn despite the crippling absence of key regional player Pakistan.

The Bonn conference is focused on the transfer of security responsibilities from international forces to Afghan security forces during the next three years, long-term prospects for international aid and a possible political settlement with the Taliban.

“Together we have spent blood and treasure in fighting terrorism,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in his opening remarks, urging the international community to stand by the country even beyond the planned troop withdrawal in 2014.

“Your continued solidarity, your commitment and support will be crucial so that we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain. We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade,” Karzai said.

About 100 countries and international organisations are represented among the 1,000 conference delegates, with some 60 foreign ministers in attendance, among them US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“This is the beginning of our hard work,” Clinton told a sideline meeting with Afghan activists, women leaders and others. “We have to be very clear about what we can and cannot do together.”

The lack of progress toward a political settlement with the Taliban is a major disappointment for the United States, which sees a deal as the key to ending the war. But the prospect of some accommodation with the hardline movement that once forbade Afghan girls to go to school is a bitter pill for many of the leaders Clinton addressed Monday.

“Reconciliation holds promise, but it cannot be at the cost of the gains you have suffered for,” Clinton said.

The Bonn conference attendees are hoping to agree on a set of mutual binding commitments under which Afghanistan would promise reforms and work toward goals such as good governance, with donors and international organisations pledging long-term assistance in return to ensure the country’s viability beyond 2014.

“The road ahead will remain stony and difficult. It will require endurance and tenacity,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. “A stable and peaceful Afghanistan which does not pose a threat to the world is in the interest of all of us.”

Afghanistan will present a sobering view of its economic dependence on foreign aid and spending related to the huge military presence and seek assurance that donor nations will help fill the gap after most forces leave by 2015.

Although donor nations will not commit to specific figures at the one-day session Monday, they will sign up to the principle that economic and other advances in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban government in 2001 should be safeguarded with continued funding.

Afghanistan estimates it will need outside contributions of roughly $10 billion, or slightly less than half the country’s annual gross national product, in 2015. It will present plans to expand mining and agriculture and boost exports, and pledge improvements in financial management and anti-corruption efforts.

Pakistan is a central player in regional efforts to improve trade and strengthen historically weak economies in what is a strategically important part of the world. But its boycott has cast a pall over the session, because it points out that nation’s influence in Afghanistan and its ability to play the spoiler.

Pakistan is seen as instrumental to ending the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan because of its links to militant groups and its supposed unwillingness, from the US and Nato perspective, to drive insurgents from safe havens on its soil where they regroup and rearm.

Pakistan cancelled its participation to protest last month’s Nato air assault, carried out from Afghan territory, that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The deaths fed the popular perspective in Pakistan that the US and Nato, not the Taliban, are Pakistan’s principal enemies.

Pakistan’s army accused Nato of a “deliberate act of aggression,” an assertion the Pentagon hotly denied. Pakistan has received billions in US aid since 2001, largely in expectation of cooperation against militants.

Clinton called the deaths tragic and pledged a thorough investigation. Pakistan rebuffed her entreaties, as recently as Saturday, to reconsider and attend the conference. President Barack Obama called Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday to reaffirm that the Nato airstrikes were not deliberate attacks and that the US was committed to a full investigation.

Afghanistan’s western neighbour Iran, in turn, joined the conference, represented by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

The US had once hoped to use the Bonn gathering to announce news about the prospect for peace talks with the Taliban, making it a showcase for political reconciliation, but Afghan and US outreach efforts have not borne fruit and no prominent Taliban representatives were attending the conference.

“The political process will be inclusive, open to the Taliban and other militants who renounce violence,” Karzai said.

The reconciliation efforts suffered a major setback after the September assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading the Afghan government’s effort to broker peace with the insurgents.

The final declaration of the Bonn conference is expected to outline broad principles for political reconciliation with the Taliban, a project that several leading participants in the conference increasingly predict will outlast the Nato timeline for withdrawal in 2014.

The session is also expected to address the holdup in hundreds of millions in development aid for smaller, community-based projects because of financial irregularities and corruption in Afghanistan’s key Kabul Bank. The International Monetary Fund lifted some restrictions related to Kabul Bank last month, which Afghan diplomats said should give a green light to renewed international contributions. The US has held its annual contribution to between $650 million and $700 million.

Afghanistan is failing in two major areas in particular: security and good government. Violence has gone up sharply this year, and has spread to the once-peaceful north of the country. And widespread corruption is bedevilling attempts to create a viable Afghan government and institutions to take over when the US and Nato leave.

Afghanistan provides about 90 per cent of the world’s opium, the raw ingredient used to make heroin. Money from the sale of opium is also used to fuel the insurgency, helping to buy weapons and equipment for the Taliban.

A law meant to protect Afghan women from a host of abusive practices, including rape, forced marriage and the trading of women to settle disputes, is being undermined by spotty enforcement, the UN said in a report last month.

The 2009 law criminalised many abuses for the first time, including domestic violence, child marriage, driving a woman to resort to suicide and the selling and buying of women. Yet the report found that in the first full year the law was in effect prosecutors filed indictments in only seven per cent of the more than 2,000 alleged crimes reported.


Italian journalist forced out of Pakistan because of friendship with Baloch leader Mehran Baloch

Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: December 01, 2011, A freelance Italian journalist has alleged that she was forced out of Pakistan on the instruction of Pakistan’s spy agencies because of her friendship with Baloch leader Mehran Baloch.

Francesca Marino, who has authored a book titled Apocalypse Pakistan, was issued a regular visa by the Pakistani embassy in Rome on October 25, but she found out she was put on the blacklist when she arrived in Karachi to interview Pakistani politicians, including former cricket star Imran Khan and Khair Bux Marri, and to meet some friends.

Speaking to The News, Marino complained that Pakistani police detained her all night and kept in a cell, ìwithout a lawyer and withouttelling me what the issue wasî. She alleges that the powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency ìblacklisted my visa a couple of days after it had been issued and there was an order to arrest me and charging me for anti-Pakistani activitiesî.

Marinoís hosts in Pakistan contacted Interior Minister Rehman Malik who secured 72 hours visa for the journalist to stay in Pakistan but she says that her hosts and the Italian Ambassador to Pakistan advised her to leave ìas soon as possible because nobody could rule out the chance of having a car accident, a random bullet or whateverî.

She refutes the allegation that she ever took part in anti-Pakistani activity but says that her friendship with Baloch leader Mehran Baloch, who represents Balochistan at the United Nations sessions, has been picked up by Pakistan. She said she has attended many events with Mehran in Brussels, the latest being at the South Asia Democratic Forum, where she was photographed besides him and her speeches recorded. She suspects that she came under scanner after she campaigned against the human rights violations in Balochistan.

After flying from Karachi to Lahore, the Italian Ambassador gave Marino a car in Lahore driven by an Italian intelligence man to make sure nothing would happen to her during the night but she took the first flight out of Pakistan for fear of being attacked.

She alleges she was questioned about her frequent trips to India, where her husband is buried and has adopted an Indian child. She says she remains committed to her journalistic and research work and doesnít harbour any particular agenda.

Marino told The News that the matter of her ìmistreatmentî will be raised in the Italian Parliament. Separately, the Journalist Trade Union in Italy has also condemned the harassment of the journalist.

The News tried to get an official version on the Italian journalistís version but all the media contacts in Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) passed the matter to the Interior Ministry or the Ministry of Information but the press officers in these two departments said they were unable to comment on the story or verify the facts


PPP committed to empower women: Dr Firdous

ISLAMABAD, Dec 4 (APP): Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Sunday  the Pakistan People’s Party( PPP) was committed to empowering women in all respects. Speaking to a gathering at sector G-/2  Markazi Imam Bargha,held here in connection with Muharram-ul-Harram, the information minister said women who constituted half of the country’s population were contributing to every walk of life, adding that the government was taking concrete steps to reinforce their role for achieving national prosperity. She said women offered sacrifices for promotion of Islam which taught tolerance, brotherhood and harmony and their supreme sacrifices were matchless.

The information minister said that women should also be included in consultation process on different issues because Islam does not stop them from expressing their views.

She stressed the need for forging unity to foil conspiracies of the elements that were trying to disturbing peaceful environment during the holy month.      

She said with unity and brotherhood among people belonging to  different school of thoughts nefarious design of anti-peace could be foiled.

She said “Islam is a religion of brotherhood, tolerance, love and pace which has forbidden killing of innocent people and it is high time that we should collectively work for elimination of terrorism and extremism from the country”.

She said holding such gatherings spread the message of peace, brotherhood and unity among the masses across the country.

Dir Firdous said Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions rendered unprecedented sacrifices in Karbala just for the glory of Islam and not for the rule.

Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions fought for the supremacy of truth and did not bow to evil forces.

She said: “ The sacrifices rendered in Karbala will be remembered in all times to come which are beacon for the Muslim Ummah to get rid of multifarious problems and challenges in the modern world”.


Afghan rights situation still ‘critical’ 10 years on

KABUL (AFP)  December 05, 2011, - The human rights situation remains “critical” in Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s ouster 10 years ago, Human Rights Watch said Sunday, accusing Kabul and its Western backers of failing to prioritise rights conditions.

The US-based group said the government had missed opportunities to put the rights of Afghans at the top of the agenda since the Taliban fell from power in the US-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2011 attacks.

“Afghans still struggle, often unsuccessfully, to exercise their basic human rights and freedoms,” HRW said in a report ahead of a major international conference on Afghanistan’s future in Germany’s Bonn this week.

The conference marks 10 years since a gathering in the same city installed the Western-backed administration of President Hamid Karzai, which said human rights — especially those of women — would be a top priority.

“But 10 years later, many basic rights are still ignored or downplayed,” Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, was quoted as saying in the statement. “While there have been improvements, the rights situation is still dominated by poor governance, lack of rule of law, impunity for militias and police, laws and policies that harm women, and conflict-related abuses.”

The report especially pointed the finger at Afghanistan’s justice system, which it said was so weak that much of the population relies on traditional justice mechanisms and sometimes Taliban courts to resolve disputes.

But these traditional systems perpetuate human rights abuses, it said, with some illegal practices still alive and well.

It said women have taken on more leadership roles since the rule of the Taliban, under whom general repression was particularly brutal towards women. Their lives were heavily curtailed and they faced punishments such as public execution for victims of rape.

But women in the public eye still face threats and even violence, HRW said.

And for ordinary women, in addition to Taliban attacks and threats, the government itself imprisons women for “moral crimes” such as running away from home.

Infant and maternal mortality remain among the world’s highest, the report said.

Meanwhile, in the attempt to establish security, the United States has ended up backing abusive militia commanders and the Afghan Local Police programme has created unaccountable armed groups, said HRW.


The Hijab issue in IWO, Nigeria

05 December 2011

THERE appears to be brewing religious intolerance in Iwo, Osun State, which all stakeholders must nip in the bud before it assumes a crisis dimension.

The potential crisis allegedly stemmed from the use of hijab by a female student in a public secondary school founded and formerly owned by a church. The school authorities had allegedly ordered the arrest of the student for wearing hijab to school. The  authorities, it was said, had to involve the law enforcement agency because when a similar incident occurred last year and a teacher in the affected school chose to whip the student into line, he got what he never bargained for: the female student allegedly organised male thugs to give the teacher the beating of his life. But even with the involvement of the law enforcement agency, the Muslim organisations in the town were reportedly livid with rage, because one of their own was arrested by the police for allegedly practicing her faith.

THE organisations reportedly mobilised their members demanding that female Muslim students be allowed to wear Hijab irrespective of the schools they attend. The protest was reportedly led by one Alfa Dawud said to be the leader of Jamat Tahawum.  The protesters allegedly went from school to school to register their disapproval of the school authorities’ rules that prevent female students from wearing Hijab. Consequently, the authorities had to close down all public secondary schools in Iwo.

THIS is a very dangerous development, as the South-West from the inception of the Nigerian State is not known for any serious religious intolerance or crisis. Indeed, a religious crunch in any of the states in the West will be disastrous, as it will pit many families against one another, because there is hardly any family in the Yoruba-speaking states which has no members practising the major religions of Christianity and Islam. And the adherents of both faiths have lived together peacefully for ages with mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and faith. Therefore, the brewing crisis in Iwo over the use of hijab in public schools is somewhat strange and uncalled for. The question may be asked as to what fuelled the agitation now? If the Muslims have been allowing their girls to do without hijab for just six hours on school days only, what has changed to challenge that tolerance?

TO be sure, the Muslim girls are free to want to wear hijab or anything for that matter in tandem with their faith but as of today, hijab is not part of the school uniform in public schools in Osun State. And if the Muslim girls must necessarily wear hijab now and before due process is followed, they should go to Muslim schools where the authorities and the students consider the dress code ideal. It should be stressed, however, that without violent or near-violent protestation, the wearing of hijab could be permitted in any public school if a civil approach is adopted by the stakeholders. All they need to do is lobby the Osun State House of Assembly to enact an enabling law to that effect. That would be more effective than open agitation in the streets and in the schools with the potential to cause the breakdown of law and order. The wearing of hijab in public schools in that liberal part of the country is unlikely to cause any agitation so long as it is by choice, but the snag is that that choice is not yet available to exercise. And to attempt to exercise a non-existent choice in defiance of the extant rules is an open invitation to anarchy.

IT is rather unfortunate that many believers of the different religions have yet to see them as personal relationship between man and God.  The truth is that the level of genuine piety does not consist in outward grand posturing and the adornment of the paraphernalia of  faith, but the pureness of the heart towards God and fellow human beings. True religion consists in striving at all times to keep the peace and live in harmony with others, because the central kernel of most religions is love of God and mankind.

THEREFORE, the otherwise peace-loving people of Iwo should not be seen to be initiating what could culminate in a religious crisis in the South-West. The Iwo people and indeed the entire region cannot afford to add a religious dimension to the challenges of everyday living in a depressed economy, such as is prevalent in Nigeria now.  We appeal to the Muslim and Christian communities in the ancient town to embrace peace and iron out their differences with utmost civility. The meeting between the major stakeholders in the burgeoning crisis and the Osun State government, which was deadlocked, should be re-convened and both parties should be ready to steer a mid-course in the interest of peace.

WE also appeal to the Osun State government to take urgent conciliatory measures that would forestall a resort to self-help or violence in the present circumstances. Sincere and honest communication and tolerance is a sure panecea for the problem.


Pakistan to review all accords with US, NATO, UN: Yousuf Gilani


ISLAMABAD: Dec 5, 2011, Pakistan will review all its agreements with the US and NATO in the aftermath of the November 26 airstrike that left two dozen Pakistan Army soldiers dead, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.

Gilani said in Lahore on Sunday that the government had decided to review the agreements made by then President Pervez Musharraf's government with the US, NATO, UN and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), reported Dawn.

The NATO airstrike on two check posts in Mohmad Agency late last month left 24 Pakistan Army soldiers dead, sparking outrage in the country. Islamabad promptly stopped NATO supply through the country.

Gilani said: "Soon after the NATO attack... we took up this issue very seriously by involving all stakeholders, including military and political leadership."

He said the political and military leadership, along with the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), see the Nov 26 incident as a reason to revise the entire terms of business (ToBs) on all national and international issues such as war on terror and security of the region, made by the Musharraf government with the US, NATO, ISAF and the UN.


I am a ‘patriotic Muslim’

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta


Abraham Samad, the lawyer tipped to lead the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Friday, says he was startled to learn that representing Muslim hard-liners was considered a negative.

In an interview with The Jakarta Post on Sunday, Abraham laughed off claims that he possessed a radical view of Islam, saying the opportunity to represent Muslims came about by chance.

“I never defended them in the context of their ideology. I defended them because it’s part of upholding human rights, which is among my main tasks as a lawyer.”

Abraham was chosen to be the KPK chairman on Friday, trouncing another lawyer, front-runner Bambang Widjojanto, by winning 43 of 56 votes cast by members of House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs.

During the selection process, the government’s selection committee noted Abraham’s past political activism with the Preparatory Committee for Islamic Sharia Enforcement (KPPSI), which they deemed irrelevant to the selection of the nation’s top anticorruption official.

Abraham defended members of the KPPSI who were prosecuted in 2002 for the bombings of a McDonald’s restaurant and a Toyota dealership that killed three and injured 11 in Makassar.

The businesses were owned by former vice president Jusuf Kalla, then a private businessman.

Critics said Abraham’s representation of the hard-liners was overlooked as he was not expected to win the race.

Abraham, who was educated in a Catholic high school, said that there was no way he could be considered a hard-line Muslim, describing himself as a person “rarely went to pengajian”, or Koran recitation sessions.

“I possess neither a radical Islamic perspective nor a liberal Islamic perspective; I’m just average.”

Abraham, however, described himself as a “patriot”, as his father was a retired Indonesian Military (TNI) officer.

Abraham currently lives in Makassar, South Sulawesi, with his wife of 13 years, Indriana Kartika, a homemaker and tailor, and their two children.

In addition to his affiliation with Islamic hard-liners, concerns were voiced on Abraham’s leadership ability, as the 45-year-old was the youngest of all candidates interviewed by the House.

According to a document made available to the Post, the government’s selection panel rated the 45-year-old lawyer as the second-worst of eight candidates on the criteria of “leadership”. Abraham received 90 points for the criterion, as opposed to Bambang Widjojanto who scored 114.

Abraham dismissed notions that he lacked leadership capabilities, saying he was ready to work with the other four new KPK executives.

Curiosity about the KPK’s new chief has also prompted investigation of Abraham’s daily life.

Tempo daily reported that Abraham bought a new Toyota Fortuner car during the selection process for KPK leaders in August. Such vehicles are reportedly sold for Rp 350 million (US$38,850).

Abraham rebuffed allegations that the car was a gratuity or purchased with illicit money in connection with his KPK appointment.

“I bought the car through credit.”

The coordinator of the Sulawesi Legislative Observers Committee (Kopel), Syamsuddin Alimsyah, also a colleague of Abraham, said the new KPK chief had a good track record as a local anticorruption icon.

Syamsuddin said Abraham was a co-founder of the Makassar Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC), still served as its chairman and never had a record of defending corruption defendants.

“Through the ACC, Abraham discovered corruption cases, such as embezzlement from the South Sulawesi provincial fund in 2003,” Syamsuddin said. Abraham was a popular lawyer representing marginalized people and the victims of corruption, Syamsuddin said.


Egypt’s Salafis Will Not Work With Muslim Brotherhood

Linda Carbonell

December 4, 2011.

The ultra-conservative Islamist Salafis will not “water down” their ideology to form any kind of coalition with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They consider the Muslim Brotherhood “too moderate.” The Brotherhood, which entered the Egyptian elections with a more developed party structure than any other of the nascent parties in the countries, is leading in the “parliamentary” elections being held right now, but the Salafis have come out with a strong showing, and may end up as the number two party in a transitional parliament whose principle function will be to create the framework for a new government, by either heavily amending the old constitution or writing a new one.

The Muslim Brotherhood, or more accurately the Society of Muslim Brothers, has a really bad reputation in the West, but one that is largely unearned. The Society began in 1928 in response to the manner in which the Ottoman Empire had been removed from the Middle East and North Africa after World War I, only to be replaced by the colonial forces of France and England. From its beginning, it has denounced violence as a means of change, but that didn’t stop people who began as members from committing acts of violence and letting the Muslim Brotherhood take the rap for it. One of their best known expelled former members is the current head of al Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the “Egyptian doctor” who was Osama bin Laden’s number two man and had to fight to become number one because of his advanced age. Al Qaida has criticized the Muslim Brotherhood for their preference for elections over terrorism.

Full Report at:


Pakistan unimpressed by Labor u-turn on India

Alexandra Kirk

December 5, 2011 12:10:00


ELEANOR HALL: But first - one of the Labor Party's most staunch opponents of selling uranium to India says he is not surprised that the Pakistani government is now demanding equal treatment.

Labor Senator Doug Cameron says that's one of the many reasons he's opposed to exporting uranium to India, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But the ALP conference on the weekend overturned the party's ban on sales to India.

Now Pakistan's high commissioner says Australia should be prepared to sell uranium to Pakistan as well - but even those who support the Indian proposition are saying no to Pakistan.

In Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor's national conference at the weekend delivered the Prime Minister a win on her bid to overturn the ALP policy platform's ban on uranium exports to India.

Within hours Pakistan's jumped on the bandwagon, demanding equal treatment.

ABDUL MALIK ABDULLAH: If Australia is going to lift the ban on a country which has not signed NPT, it is of hoped it will also apply to Pakistan the same way.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Pakistan's high commissioner to Australia Abdul Malik Abdullah told AM his country might ask for Australian uranium down the track. And to the critics he says Pakistan's playing a front line state role in the war against terrorism so why should it be considered "unstable"?

Full Report at:


Kidnapped Pakistanis freed in Afghanistan: police


PUL-I-ALAM: Dec, 5, 2011, Seven Pakistani workers kidnapped in Afghanistan were released on Monday after five days in captivity, police said.

The Pakistanis – engineers and workers on a hospital construction project in Logar province, just south of the capital Kabul – were freed unharmed, provincial police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghliwani said.

It was not clear what prompted their release, he added, saying an investigation into the incident was underway.

The men were snatched at gunpoint Wednesday as they drove from their workplace back to their accommodation in Pul-i-Alam, provincial capital of Logar, which is troubled by the Taliban-led insurgency.

The police chief said he believed criminal gangs seeking a ransom payment were behind the abduction.

Abduction of rich Afghans and foreign nationals is relatively common in Afghanistan.

The Pakistanis were taken to an unknown location in Kabul after their release, the police commander added.


Pakistan says no change in position on Bonn conference

By Reuters

ISLAMABAD: December 5, 2011 Pakistan said on Monday it had no plans to reverse a decision to boycott a conference on the future of Afghanistan in Bonn in protest over a NATO strike, even though US President Barack Obama had expressed regret over the incident.

“There is no change in our position vis-à-vis the Bonn conference,” Abdul Basit, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Reuters after Obama spoke to President Asif Ali Zardari offering condolences over the strike.

Media reports had earlier cited diplomats in Washington stating that they were expecting a low level participation from Pakistan at the conference.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had earlier voiced regret over the decision because she said Pakistan had a stake in a secure and stable Afghanistan, but aides travelling with her denied Pakistan’s absence would undermine the conference.

The Nov 26 NATO air raid, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, has added to strains in relations with Islamabad, whose cooperation Washington views as crucial to helping to stabilize the region before most foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.


Bonn conference: US lifts hold on development funds for Afghanistan

By AFP / Reuters

BONN: December 5, 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Monday that the United States was ending a freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars in development funds for Afghanistan amid financial reforms.

“The United States is pleased to announce we will be joining other partners in resuming financial disbursements to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund,” Clinton told a conference on Afghanistan in Bonn.

US officials said that the decision would allow for the disbursement of roughly $650 million to $700 million in suspended US aid.

Afghanistan needs help for at least another decade: Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the conference that his country would need international help for at least another decade.

Karzai told around 1,000 delegates gathered in the western German city of Bonn for the one-day meeting that his government would battle corruption and work toward national reconciliation but it needed firm international backing.

“We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade” after the troops pull out, he said.

The meeting comes 10 years after another conference here put an interim Afghan government under Karzai in place after US-led troops ousted the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

However, Pakistan and the Taliban – both seen as pivotal to any end to the bloody strife in Afghanistan a decade on – have bowed out of Bonn, dampening already modest hopes for real progress.


Taliban splinter into 100 factions

ISLAMABAD - December 05, 2011, Battered by Pakistani military operations and US drone strikes, the once-formidable Pakistani Taliban has splintered into more than 100 smaller factions, weakened and running short of cash, according to security officials, analysts and tribesmen from the insurgent heartland, reported MSNBC on Sunday, quoting an American news agency.

Known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or TTP, the Taliban want to oust the US-backed government and install a Islamic regime. “Today, the command structure of the TTP is splintered, weak and divided and they are running out of money,” said Mansur Mahsud, a senior researcher at the FATA Research Centre. “In the bigger picture, this helps the Army and the government because the Taliban are now divided.”

The first signs of cracks within the Pakistani Taliban appeared after its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike in August 2009, Mahsud said. Since then, the group has steadily deteriorated. Set up in 2007, the Pakistani Taliban is an umbrella organisation created to represent roughly 40 groups in the tribal belt plus Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

“In the different areas, leaders are making their own peace talks with the government,” Mahsud added. “It could help the Pakistani government and military separate more leaders from the TTP and more foot soldiers from their commanders.” The two biggest factors hammering away at the Taliban’s unity are US drone strikes and Pakistani Army operations in the tribal region.

Full Report at:


Man kills sister over dispute

KASUR - December 05, 2011 A man killed his sister over a row here on Sunday at Kot Veer Singh in the limits of Changa Manga police station.

Shahzad killed his teenager sister Huma over a family matter. Later, Shahzad managed to escape.

However, police entered a case against Shahzad on the complaint of father Muhammad Sharif.


U.S. ready for eviction of drones in Pakistan

By Rowan Scarborough

The Washington Times Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pakistan’s decision to evict the United States from a Predator-drone launching base will have little impact on the CIA’s ability to strike terrorists in the country’s austere tribal areas because the U.S. built backup bases in Afghanistan, a senior defense official said Sunday.

The official told The Washington Times that the U.S. military and CIA built the launching strips in Afghanistan in anticipation of the day when Pakistan wanted U.S. forces out of the Shamsi facility run by Pakistan’s intelligence service. Shamsi is widely understood to be the base of operations for the covert CIA drone war on terrorists in Pakistan’s lawless border areas with Afghanistan.

Pakistan ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi base and shut down a vital supply line to NATO forces in Afghanistan after NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in a border clash 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:


Qatari PM urges OIC members to take advantage of development potentials

Economics 12/4/2011

DOHA, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani on Sunday called on the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take advantage of "their tremendous potentials" to serve their development goals.

"If we had all these huge potentials and did not take advantage of them, then we are nothing," Sheikh Hamad said in his inaugural address to the Second Annual Conference of Business Owners Union of the OIC, being held here on December 4-5.

"The real value lies in our ability to take advantage of what exists and to direct it towards serving the development goals. Reading of the economic reality of the OIC member states shows that there are a lot of positive elements for the establishment of a strong and effective economic entity.

"However, the inter-Muslim relations and economic indicators which could be points of strength for launching economic integration among the Muslim countries, constitute impediments to this quest too," he argued.

Regarding the human resources, the Muslim nation has 1.5 billion people or 25 percent of the world's total population. A high percentage of this figure is at the working age but lack the access to employment.

Full Report at:


In show of force, Syrian regime holds war games


The Associated Press

BEIRUT — Syria's state-run media say the country's military has held war games during which the army test-fired missiles and the air force and ground troops conducted operations "similar to a real battle."

In this image from amateur video made available by the Ugarit News group on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, a soldier takes aim in Homs, Syria. The United Nations' human rights chief called on the international community to protect Syrian civilians Friday as violence surged across the country, with hours of intense shooting that sent stray bullets whizzing across the border.(AP Photo/Ugarit News Group via APTN) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL. TV OUT

A pro-Syrian regime protester waves a Syrian flag as he stands in front of portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad, during a protest against sanctions, Damascus, Syria, Friday Dec. 2, 2011. International intervention, such as the NATO action in Libya that helped topple Moammar Gadhafi, is all but out of the question in Syria. But the European Union, the Arab League, Turkey and others have piled on sanctions aimed at crippling the regime once and for all.

The maneuvers come as Syria is under Arab and international pressure to end a crackdown on an eight-month uprising that the U.N. says has killed more than 4,000 people.

State TV said Monday the exercise was meant to test "the capabilities and readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression." It says the war games were held on Sunday.

In October, Syrian President Bashar Assad warned the Middle East "will burn" if the West intervenes in Syria.

Syria is known to have surface-to-surface missiles such as Scuds capable of hitting deep inside its archenemy Israel.


Syria ignores Arab deadline, faces new sanctions

DAMASCUS: December 05, 2011 Syria faced new sanctions after flouting Sunday an Arab League deadline to accept observers to monitor the unrest sweeping the country, which the UN says has killed at least 4,000 people.

The latest standoff between Syria and the Arab League comes as the death toll from violence across the country on Saturday and Sunday rose to at least 44, and after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) accused Damascus of “gross violations” of human rights.

A senior Qatari official said Damascus had asked for “new clarifications and further amendments to be made to the protocol which was proposed” to cover the deployment of the observer mission. But the Arab ministers had refused.

The Qatari official said, however, that if Syrian officials “still want to sign, they can come tomorrow to Cairo.”

The Arab League ministerial committee late on Saturday gave Damascus until Sunday to allow an observer mission into the country and thereby avoid further sanctions.

Jeffrey Feltman, US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, said monitors were needed to keep a check on the forces of Syrian President Bashar al Assad who have been accused by the UN of rights abuses.

“We believe that in full light of monitors and media, the security services reporting to Assad and his clique would not be able to operate the way they are operating now,” Feltman said in Jordan.

Full Report at:\12\05\story_5-12-2011_pg7_1


Syria says it accepts Arab League observer request

Syria has accepted an Arab League request to send observers to the country in an effort to end its eight-month crisis, a move that could ease Arab sanctions on Damascus, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The Syrian statement came after Damascus announced it has conducted wide military manoeuvres over the weekend in an apparent show of force as President Bashar Assad’s regime defies pressures over its deadly crackdown on opponents.

The Ministry’s spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters that Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem “responded positively” to the League demand and sent a letter to the organisation’s Chief Nabil Elaraby on Sunday night.

Arab leaders had given Syria a new deadline of Sunday to respond to the League’s plan, which calls for the admission of observers to ensure compliance with a government ceasefire. They also held out the threat of pushing for U.N. involvement if Damascus balks.

The 22-member Arab League did not immediately react to Syria’s announcement.

Syria’s failure to meet a November 25 deadline to allow in observers drew Arab League sanctions, including a ban on dealings with the country’s central bank. Together with sanctions from the United States, the European Union and Turkey, the Arab League’s penalties are expected to inflict significant damage on Syria’s economy and may undercut the regime’s authority.

Full Report at:


Pak decision on Bonn meet regrettable: Ban

UNITED NATIONS, December 5, 2011:  U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has termed as “regrettable” Pakistan’s decision to boycott the Bonn conference on Afghanistan and said that its participation was required as the country has a role to play in its war-torn neighbour’s peace and stability.

Mr. Ban is in the German city for the international conference, where he also met Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Addressing the media, Mr. Ban said Pakistan not attending the crucial meet is “their sovereign decision.”

“Pakistan is one of the key countries in the region who can help peace and stability in Afghanistan and thus it would have been much better if Pakistan was present in the conference. I feel it regrettable that Pakistan has decided not to come,” he was quoted as saying in a statement released by his spokesperson here.

Pakistan’s decision to boycott the conference came in the wake of a NATO attack on its border posts that killed 24 of its troops.

Mr. Ban however added that absence of the Pakistan delegation does not in turn mean that the country will not cooperate in ensuring peace and stability in the South Asian region.

“I am told by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle that he had been informed by the Pakistani Government that even though they may not be here, the Pakistani Government is committed to fully cooperate with the members of the international community and particularly the Afghan Government to work together and to promote peace and security in the region.”

“I believe that Pakistan is committed to work together with the Afghan people and also to promote peace and security in the region and this is mutual interest and you should also have closer cooperation with many Central Asian countries,” he said.

The U.N. chief said he has been emphasising, in his dialogue with leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan over the years, that both countries should “maintain the neighbourly relationship and closely coordinate and help each other to promote peace and security.”


US govt must take action against Mansoor Ijaz: Malik


ISLAMABAD: Dec,. 05, 2011, Minister for Interior Rehman Malik Monday said that the United States government must take action against Mansoor Ijaz for violating US laws and issuing false statements against the armed forces and against Pakistan’s leadership.

Regarding Ijaz’s statements of the country’s leadership and Haqqani’s knowledge of the Abbottabad operation, Malik said the US had itself admitted that the Pakistani government and Haqqani were not aware of the operation so the US must take action against Ijaz for giving false statements.

“Pakistan has always been asked to do more but it is time for the US to take action against the person who is violating its laws by misguiding the international community,” Malik told media representatives after a meeting at the Interior Ministry on the law and order situation during Muharram.

All the information related to Ijaz has been collected and the Interpol would be approached for further investigation.

Malik said that from the very beginning Ijaz has been changing his stance on the issue.

Malik asked the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) to approach the Supreme Court against Ijaz and said the government would extend its support in the matter.

Responding to a question, he said the government would honour and implement the Supreme Court’s decision on Haqqani.

He further said that Haqqani had no intention of leaving Pakistan and if he wanted to leave the country, he would not have returned.

Malik said Pakistan’s decision for not participating in the Bonn conference was in accordance with the people’s aspirations.

“We will not allow any one to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty at any cost,” he said.


Polish Euro MP slams Pak's kill, dump policy of journalists, other civilians in Balochistan

Brussels, Dec.3 (ANI): A Polish Euro MP has condemned Pakistan's kill and dump policy of journalists and other civilians in Balochistanyszard Czarnecki, Member of the European Parliament and the Chairman of the Friends of Balochistan in the European Parliament said the Pakistani Government claims that the number of missing persons in Balochistan has declined; it is only because many of them have lately been found dead.

 Since June 2010, more than 230 bodies of the previously missing persons have been dumped at abandoned places in the largest but the least populated province. According to the Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ), 10 journalists have been killed so far this year.

The missing persons' issue and the policy of Pakistani Government's kill-and-dump spree in the province are as disturbing as the fact that Balochistan's problem is almost altogether missing from the mainstream discourse.

Czarnecki, mentioned one special case of Javed Naseer Rind, whose name was added to the list of more than 10 journalists whose bodies have been found tortured and dumped in Balochistan.

Said to be in his mid-twenties, Rind's bullet-riddled body was found dumped in Khuzdar, about 300 kilometers south of Quetta, on Saturday morning. He was a senior sub-editor at a local daily Tawar, a pro-nationalist newspaper.

 Czarnecki asked the government to carry out investigations regarding these killings and urged the European Parliament to have a fact finding mission delegated for an EU investigation into large scale disappearances of civilians by government agencies in Balochistan. (ANI)


President sends letters to three MDP MPs requesting “clarification” of corruption allegations against government

By Ahmed Nazeer

December 5th, 2011

President Mohamed Nasheed has sent letters to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Musthafa and Shifaq Mufeeq, requesting they clarify corruption allegations made recently against the government.

According to the President’s Office, the Nasheed requested the MPs send details and evidence related to the corruption allegations as soon as possible, and urged their cooperation.

Mustafa told Minivan News that he had received the letter sent by the President and that he would share all the information he had, as requested by the president.

‘’These corruption allegations have become a national issue and the President is obliged to investigate it,’’ Mustafa said. ‘’I believe that when the president makes a request, we are obliged to share whatever information he wishes. There are many corruption allegations against senior officials of MDP and some serious allegations that we cannot share with the media right now,’’ he claimed.

“We will be sharing this information later,” he said, adding that he would reply to the president’s letter.

Several MDP MPs have recently alleged in parliament that there were corruption allegations in the government and that these should be investigated and stopped.

On November 21 during a debate in parliament MDP MP Shifag accused MDP Chairperson and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik of corruption.

He claimed that excavators sent by Moosa’s Heavy Load Company to the SAARC Summit preparations were not usable, but that Moosa was paid millions of rufiya in lease payments for the excavators that he was not entitled to receive.

MDP MP Ahmed Rasheed claimed that same day in parliament that there was corruption in the government to a level that was ”concerning and dangerous.”

Ahmed Rasheed was not in town and was not available for a comment, while Shifag was in a committee meeting and was unavailable for a comment.

Moosa also said he was in a meeting and was unable to comment.