New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 12:44 PM

Islamic World News ( 27 Jun 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Cutting daughter into pieces – for speaking up in Pakistan

Fresh surge in missile strikes kills 26 in Waziristan

Protesters burn church, destroy bar in Senegal

Debarred from contest for wearing hijab in U.S

Islamophobia, discrimination against Muslims on the rise

Kingdom raps Israeli moves to destroy Islamic landmarks

11 die in Yemeni army, Al Qaeda clashes

Militants using children: US

Only Afghan-led talks acceptable, Pak PM tells US

Two Nato oil tankers torched in Mastung: Pak

Pakistan must show it wants Afghan peace: US

Pak Taliban splits, top commander shot

Bangladesh court jails 657 border guards for mutiny

End military action in Libya: Chinese PM

Set your own house in order first, Farrooq tells OIC

Pakistan to build more n-plants: Gilani

No plans to attack Pakistan's nukes: Taliban

Boosting ties: Pakistan-India to open new trade post

TTP’s suicide-bomb trainer killed in Miramshah, Pak

Three Pak former generals under scanner for graft

Militants compile Western target list on Internet

Muslims are asking for a review of the Waqf Amendment Bill, 2010

Khursheed says Sachar report not Quran, sparks off war of words

Campaign against terrorism requires commitment: Global Fight against Terrorism

Libya rebels have upper hand in war on Gaddafi -UN

Nigeria Islamist group Boko Haram blamed for escalating violence

Islamic banking stirs up controversy in religiously-divided Nigeria

Country's top banker flees nation: Afghanistan official

Cross-border raids spark Pak-Af war of words

Karzai blames Pak for border shelling

Egypt army vows to stop virginity tests: Amnesty

Syrian regime invites oppn for talks on July 10

Gunmen kill Pakistani Taliban commander: Officials

J&K: Hizb divisional commander among two ultras killed

Kashmir to witness mega cricket tournament

Saleem Shahzad probe: PTA, FIA to provide phone, email records

Israel approves plan to repel new Gaza flotilla

Yemen says Qaeda plot foiled, six arrested

UAE to take part in OIC meet in Kazakhstan

Palestinians hope for more support for state bid

Israel U-turn over warning to flotilla journalists

Pop star Prince says women 'happy' to wear burqas

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/cutting-daughter-into-pieces-–-for-speaking-up-in-pakistan/d/4925

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Cutting daughter into pieces – for speaking up in Pak

By Saba Imtiaz

June 28, 2011

SAHIWAL: Dr Fazal Hussain Shah Shirazi once told his wife Abida Batool that the long knife he kept in his bag was to protect him against robbers, as he did not know how to use a gun.

On June 4, he had used that same knife to stab their 17-year-old daughter Anum Fatima while their four children watched.

Disbelieving relatives went to the house to discover Anum’s body lying in a pool of blood surrounded by hysterical siblings and a man who had calmly washed the knife and soaked his blood-stained clothes in a bucket. Shirazi confessed his crime to his sister and fled Sahiwal after he realised that the police wanted to question him.

Abida has not stopped crying since then. Her children, who cradled their dying sister as blood gushed out, have been sent away to recover. Today,  Abida speaks with almost manic energy and repeats the same question: “Why my daughter? Why would he do this?”

Things started to sour soon after Dr Shirazi and Abida Batool married in 1992 in the watta satta tradition (Shirazi’s sister was married to Abida’s brother). The Shirazi family insisted that the differences in faith – the Shirazis are Sunni and Abida’s family is Shia – would not be an issue.

According to Abida, “He constantly criticised my faith. I told him I would not practice rituals. He was suspicious of who I met, so I cut myself off from my family. He wouldn’t spend money on the house. I would ask my brother.”

But Abida Batool set aside all thoughts of divorce after Anum’s birth. “Who would marry my daughter if I were divorced or separated?”

Four more children followed. So did problems. Shirazi barely contributed to family expenses, Abida alleges. “He enjoyed depriving his children and torturing them. Influenced by elder brother Dr Kareem Shirazi, he had no self-esteem. He would do whatever his brother said including practicing at the same clinic even though he made little money there. He barely went to the hospital he was posted at or attended to patients. The children lived in fear of him, since he could take offense at the slightest thing.”

Questions about his income, Abida says, were answered by hurling abuse, and often, blows to her head.

That same anger also applied to matters of faith. While the Shirazis say they are Barelvi, Fazal Shirazi became avowedly anti-Shia. “I have operated on senior, dangerous mujahideen,” he boasted to his wife. “I wish I could go join them as well.”

Members of extremist organisations were regular visitors to his clinic. At one point, he stopped his wife from crying while watching news coverage of Lt Yasir Abbas, who was killed in the PNS Mehran Base attack. “These soldiers have killed so many mujahideen,” he said. “It’s only fair that they be killed too.”

While Abida says she raised her children as Sunnis, they were drawn to Shia rituals. Anum would hide from her father and pray, but he had found her out twice and threatened her with “dire consequences”.

Anum had witnessed her parents’ turbulent marriage for 17 years. Abida recalls that Anum would comfort her, saying that once she started earning they could “escape from this hell”. After several years of silence, she had started arguing with her father, especially in support of her mother’s demand that Shirazi build them a house, since they were living in one loaned to them by Shirazi’s older brother.

“I didn’t want anything else,” Abida recalls. “Only a roof for my children. But that man wouldn’t agree.”

On June 3, the couple fought bitterly over the issue of the house. Shirazi rose to strike her with a water jug, but Anum locked her mother into a room to protect her from her father’s rage. She defended her mother, and in response, Shirazi reportedly yelled: “I won’t give you a house, I’ll give you graves!”

Her father made true on his promise a few hours later.

At around 4am, Shirazi stabbed his daughter, dragging her from one room to another. Her siblings, awoken from their sleep, screamed at their father to stop. A servant, who lived upstairs, watched silently as the man “cut his daughter to shreds”, according to Anum’s grandmother. By then, Abida had moved to her mother’s house for the night, so that Shirazi’s rage wouldn’t affect Anum, who was studying for her first-year examinations.

Piecing together the events of that night has occupied Abida’s family who speculate that the two fought when Anum woke up to offer prayers. Other relatives said they could have fought over the house.

Shirazi confessed his murder to his sister, but according to one account, he has been telling relatives that Anum was talking to a man late at night, which is why he killed her. The account appears inconsistent with investigations carried out by the police and family members.

According to Dr Kareem Shirazi, who sought to separate himself from his brother’s actions, “This was basically a domestic fight. My brother and I are independent.”

The older Dr Shirazi also denied that his brother had anything to do with extremists. “We believe in pirs and mureeds and those people destroy shrines!”

According to Abida’s lawyer Mujahid Hussain, the police has been extremely cooperative in investigating the case.

A legal process may have been set into motion but tears continue to roll down Abida’s cheeks, who refuses to look at pictures of Anum or sift through her belongings.

In the last few minutes before Anum died, she was studying for an Islamiat exam. Her books were scattered around her room when relatives found her body. Whether her father was riled by her faith, or her defence of her mother, is a secret that Anum has taken to her grave, and her father carries around with him as he eludes the police. The house – a source of such contention in the family – has been stripped bare of its belongings, but a blood stained mirror is a reminder of a 17-year-old’s dying moments.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/197882/tribune-exclusive-cutting-your-daughter-into-pieces--for-speaking-up/

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Fresh surge in missile strikes kills 26 in Waziristan

By Manzoor Ali

June 28, 2011

PESHAWAR: Two US drone strikes killed at least 26 people in the South Waziristan Agency on Monday, The Express Tribune learnt.

Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired four missiles on a double cabin van in Kung Ghalai area of Bermal tehsil.  The alleged militants killed and injured in the attack are believed to be from the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group.

The area where the attack took place is two kilometres away from the Pak-Afghan border, close to the Shawal area of North Waziristan, about 29 kilometres north of agency headquarters Wana.

The second strike came later at night on Monday in the Mantoi area of South Waziristan, targeting two houses and killing 14 people.

Drone attacks have surged in the South Waziristan Agency in June, making the attack the sixth of the month, while North Waziristan which bore the brunt of most of the drone attacks last year, reported a single incident of drone strikes in June.

An attack carried out earlier this month reportedly killed al Qaeda ‘kingpin’ and 313 Brigade chief Ilyas Kashmiri in South Waziristan.

“The Americans are trying to infuse fear among militants about moving out to other areas,” security analyst and former ISI Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  chief Brigadier Asad Munir said. Munir added that drones had already restricted militant “movements” in North Waziristan and militants had started infiltrating the Kurram and South Waziristan Agencies out of necessity.

Munir also believed that drone attacks were being carried out in the Wazir area of South Waziristan – a reference to the Waziri Taliban, loyal to Mullah Nazir, believed to be a pro-government militant.

With Additional input from agencies

http://tribune.com.pk/story/197378/us-drone-attack-kills-six-in-s-waziristan/

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Protesters burn church, destroy bar in Senegal

June 28, 2011

Hundreds of Muslim protesters descended on a Jehovah’s Witness temple and a bar in a conservative Muslim neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital, setting the buildings on fire in a rare instance of religious extremism in the predominantly Muslim nation.

Thierno Mbeugne, spokesman for the local imam association, yesterday said the head imam in the conservative Yoff district of Dakar had asked the youths to march yesterday against what they considered “acts of aggression against their faith.” They were targeting the temple because they claim its members were proselytising, and the bar because it was selling alcohol.

He said the Islamic religious leaders did not endorse the violence, “but they do think that the youths were right” to destroy the church and the bar.

One of the rioters Mame Faye, 24, explained that the mob set upon the temple while churchgoers were praying inside before setting upon the bar.

Other witnesses, however, said that the hundreds of protesters burst into the establishment and began drinking the cans of beer. They then stripped the building, making off with the refrigerator, the air conditioners and the furniture. Then they set it on fire.

A doctor who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press said his clinic had treated 37 people, including several wounded police officers. One had a stab wound. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/348909/Protesters-burn-church-destroy-bar-in-Senegal.html

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Debarred from contest for wearing hijab in U.S.

Narayan Lakshman

Washington: Kulsoom Abdullah (35) can deadlift 111 kg and snatch over 47.5 kg without breaking sweat. But the Atlanta-based weightlifter, also a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering, is struggling with a weightier issue — clothing.

While Ms. Abdullah has already made a name for herself competing in the 48-kg and 53-kg weight classes, the future of her career hung in the balance this month after USA Weightlifting, a sporting associations affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee, debarred her from joining a national competitions in Ohio and Iowa because of her hijab.

USA Weightlifting reportedly told Ms. Abdullah that as per International Weightlifting Federation rules, suits that covered either the knees or elbows are forbidden since “the judges must be able to see that the lifter has locked out his or her knees and elbows in order for the lift to be deemed completed”.

After the disappointing judgment came she told media, “I'd hate to think that just because you dress a certain way, you can't participate in sports... I don't want other women who dress like me to say, ‘I can't get involved in that sport' and get discouraged.”

Good news

Yet after her case came to light and organisations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations spoke out on her behalf, some good news emerged in recent weeks — the International Weightlifting Federation agreed to “consider her request” to allow weightlifters to cover their heads, necks, arms and legs during competitions.

The progress came after CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote to USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun, saying, “No athlete should be forced to choose between faith and sport... Muslim women seek to participate in all aspects of American society, including sporting activities, and should not face artificial and arbitrary barriers to that participation.”

According to reports Ms. Abdullah was thrilled by the development, saying, “The fact that it's going to even be discussed, I think that's really great.”

The IWF's technical committee began deliberations on June 26, as part of a review, in Penang, Malaysia. A decision could be announced within days, reports said.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/28/stories/2011062855371000.htm

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Islamophobia, discrimination against Muslims on the rise:OIC

June 28, 2011

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: Foreign ministers at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Kazakhstan on Tuesday will hear that anti-Muslim discrimination is on the rise, OIC sources said.

Prepared by the organization’s Islamophobia Observatory, sources said the report covers the period from May 2010 to April 2011 and catalogs intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and reveals a rise in Islamophobic discourse within both the public and political domains.

Based on the Observatory’s daily monitoring during the reporting period Western media, right-wing political movements and parties are taking advantage of people’s ignorance of true Islamic values to fuel Islamophobia in Europe and the United States.

The trend manifests itself in various forms, including direct attacks and desecration of Muslim places of worship, cemeteries and other Islamic centers along with a growing public perception that Muslims constitute a threat both to culture and well being of Western society and that Islamic religious symbols, particularly the head scarf and burqa, should be strictly limited or completely banned.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article462832.ece

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Kingdom raps Israeli moves to destroy Islamic landmarks

June 28, 2011

JEDDAH: The Council of Ministers on Monday denounced the Israeli occupation forces’ move to destroy Umayyad palaces near the southern wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as its digging works in Jerusalem to obliterate Islamic landmarks in the city.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, urged UNESCO and other relevant UN organizations to intervene immediately to protect Islamic heritage in the holy city.

The Cabinet also reviewed the developments taking place in some Arab countries and expressed the Kingdom’s desire to end the bloodbath by tackling problems in “a way that would ensure peace and stability” in these countries.

The meeting commended the royal decree issued by the king demanding the linkage of the North-South Railway with Dammam. “This vital railway will have a great impact on the Kingdom’s transport system,” the Cabinet said, emphasizing the government’s plan to connect different parts of the Kingdom with a modern rail system.

The Cabinet also referred to King Abdullah’s directive to establish a new stadium near King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and expand Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in the city immediately. It said the new projects would boost youth activities in the Kingdom.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article462811.ece

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11 die in Yemeni army, Al Qaeda clashes

June 27, 2011

At least 11 people, inluding six Al Qaeda militants, were killed and 35 injured in clashes between the armed forces and Al Qaeda militants in Yemen’s port city of Aden Sunday, Xinhua reported on Monday.

“Three soldiers, six Al Qaeda militants and two passers-by were killed in shelling in the eastern entrance of Aden Sunday (and) another 15 soldiers and about 20 Al Qaeda elements were wounded,” a military official said, requesting anonymity.

The Al Qaeda militants have stationed themselves outside Al-Alamkey entrance of Aden city about a week ago in an attempt to invade the port city, said another official.

Yemen has been gripped by five-month-long protests across the impoverished Arab State, demanding long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The prolonged impasse triggered deterioration in security and economic situation.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/348846/11-die-in-Yemeni-army-Al-Qaeda-clashes.html

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Militants using children: US

June 28, 2011

A fourteen-year-old Afghan boy, Noor Mohammad, who was a would-be suicide bomber, speaks during a news conference in Kabul on May 7, 2011. - Reuters Photo

WASHINGTON, June 27: The US State Department`s report on human trafficking, released on Monday, underlines a new problem in Pakistan: militants using children to carry out their dirty work.

The report otherwise places Pakistan in tier 2: Countries which do not fully comply with the minimum standards for dealing this menace but are making significant efforts.

The State Department warns that the international fight against human trafficking, from abuses of migrant workers to organised prostitution networks, lost ground in the past year. The number of countries failing to comply with international standards to prevent human trafficking almost doubled to 23. Pakistan is not among them.

“The problem of modern trafficking may be entrenched, and it may seem like there is no end in sight,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement delivered with the report. “But if we act on the laws that have been passed and the commitments that have been made, it is solvable.”

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/28/militants-using-children-us-report.html

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Only Afghan-led talks acceptable, PM tells US

June 28, 2011

“Pakistan sincerely desires peace and stability in the region to ensure development and prosperity,” said Prime Minister Gilani. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reassured the US on Monday that Pakistan remained committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, but appeared little supportive of Washington’s direct contacts with Taliban, bypassing Islamabad.

“Pakistan sincerely desires peace and stability in the region to ensure development and prosperity,” he said in a statement which significantly emphasised that Islamabad only “supports Afghan-led reconciliation and peace process”.

Prime Minister Gilani also spoke to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and discussed the political process in Afghanistan and strains in Pakistan-US ties.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has already distanced himself from the talks the US is having with Taliban by insisting that the Americans, and not his government, were spearheading the dialogue.

The US has said that the three meetings held with a group of Taliban representatives led by Tayyab Agha, an aide to Mullah Omar, in Qatar and Germany were just preliminary contacts.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/28/only-afghan-led-talks-acceptable-pm-tells-us.html

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Two Nato oil tankers torched in Mastung, Pak

June 28, 2011

According to the police, Afghanistan-bound oil tankers carrying fuel for Nato forces were on way from Karachi when armed men intercepted them. – File Photo

MASTUNG: Unknown armed men set ablaze two more Nato oil tankers and injured one driver on Monday in separate incidents in Mastung district, Balochistan.

According to the police, Afghanistan-bound oil tanker carrying fuel for Nato forces was on way from Karachi when armed men intercepted and opened fire on it at Ghanja Dhori outskirts of Mastung.

Meanwhile, another Nato oil tanker was also on its way when armed men riding motorcycle intercepted and sprayed bullets on it at Dasht area some 25-km from Quetta.

As a result, both oil tankers caught fire while one of driver sustained bullets injuries.

The injured was rushed to the hospital for medical aid.

Unknown armed men managed to escape.

Levies Force reached the sites and started investigation.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/27/two-nato-oil-tankers-torched-in-mastung.html

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Pakistan must show it wants Afghan peace: US

June 28, 2011

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman (R) speaks during a joint press conference as Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasool (L) looks on in Kabul on June 27, 2011. – Photo by AFP

KABUL: Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan said on Monday that Pakistan must prove it wants an end to the war by preventing militants from hiding out on its soil and enabling those who launch attacks on the Afghan side of the border.

Marc Grossman, US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in Kabul that discussions among Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States being held this week in the Afghan capital are important to coordinate efforts to find a political resolution to the nearly decade-long war.

He said they also are an opportunity to clearly convey to Pakistani officials that part of their responsibility for bringing peace is to stop supporting insurgent safe havens and those who attack Afghans and international forces in Afghanistan.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/27/pakistan-must-show-it-wants-afghan-peace-us.html

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Pak Taliban splits, top commander shot

June 28, 2011

Rezaul H Laskar

The dreaded Pakistani Taliban has split over the issue of suicide bombing and the first casualty seems to have been a senior terrorist commander, known for training and deploying over 1,000 suicide bombers, who was on Monday shot dead in the restive North Waziristan.

Fazal Saeed Haqqani, a Taliban commander in Pakistan's volatile tribal belt has broken away from the militant outfit to form his own group as he is opposed to suicide attacks on mosques and civilians.

Haqqani, operating in the Kurram tribal region, separated from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and formed the Tehrik-e-Taliban Islami, Geo News channel reported.

Haqqani told the media that he had taken this step to protest suicide attacks on mosques and civilians. Incidentally, hours after the reports of the split emerged, unidentified gunmen in a car with tinted windows opened fire at commander Shakirullah Shakir, who helped train and deploy over 1,000 suicide bombers in the restive North Waziristan tribal region.

Full report at: There was no word from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on the development.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/348911/Pak-Taliban-splits-top-commander-shot.html

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Bangladesh court jails 657 border guards for mutiny

June 28, 2011

Anisur Rahman

In an unprecedented verdict, a Bangladesh military court on Monday sentenced 657 border guards upto seven years of imprisonment for their involvement in 2009 bloody mutiny at its headquarters here.

The court, however, acquitted nine of the suspects for want of proof of their involvement in the February 25-26 rebellion in Pilkhana headquarters, when 74 people including 57 army officers of the BGB, then known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) serving the paramilitary force were killed.

This verdict is unprecedented in Bangalesh’s history as such a large number of people have been convicted at once, official sources said.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/348901/Bangladesh-court-jails-657-border-guards-for-mutiny.html

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End military action in Libya: Chinese

PM

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Monday told Britain that Beijing was opposed to continued military action in Libya which, instead of protecting civilians as envisaged in the U.N. resolution, had actually led to “led to loss of innocent civilian lives”.

“Foreign troops can win the war but not peace,'' he said addressing a joint press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron after holding talks as part of the annual U.K.-China Strategic Summit.

Calling for a political resolution, Mr. Wen said China had been in touch with both sides to bring them to the negotiating table. “That reflects our just position,'' he said pointing out that ultimately it should be left to the people of Libya to decide their future.

When a journalist asked him whether he thought NATO was in breach of the U.N. resolution, Mr. Wen suggested the question be put to the British Prime Minister first.

Mr. Cameron insisted that Britain and its NATO allies were working within the “ambit'' of the resolution and were committed to protecting civilian lives. Another issue on which the two sides remained apart was human rights with Mr. Wen urging Britain to stop lecturing China.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/28/stories/2011062855391000.htm

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Set your own house in order first, Farrooq tells OIC

June 28, 2011

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today reacted sharply to Organization of Islamic Countries’ terming Jammu and Kashmir as an “occupied” territory saying the OIC should first set its own house in order before worrying about others.

“Let them (OIC) first to set their own house in order rather than worry about others”, Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

“OIC has no jurisdiction as far as we are concerned.

Therefore, their views do not make any difference to us”, he said adding “all the members of OIC are not part of this game that is being played out. Do not worry about OIC”.

Abdullah was replying to a volley of questions on OIC’s invitation to Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and terming Jammu and Kashmir as “occupied” territory.

“There are interested parties who want to create problems. But we know where we stand. India has the largest Muslim population in the world next to Indonesia. We are not member of that”, the National Conference chief said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/set-your-own-house-in-order-first-farrooq-tells-oic/809922/

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Pakistan to build more n-plants: Gilani

June 28, 2011

Pakistan's nuclear capability was purely for peaceful purposes, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said while declaring that the country would build more power plants to meet its growing energy needs.

Addressing a seminar, Gilani said Pakistan would continue to comply with the requirements of International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear safeguard agreements.

"Building and operating nuclear power plants is vital to country's interests because of its severe energy deficiency," Gilani was quoted as saying by Associated Press of Pakistan Tuesday.

Gilani said the Atomic Energy Commission was poised to achieve the 8,800 MW nuclear power production by 2030 and he hoped the commission would look beyond 2030 to build more nuclear power plants.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/349053/Pakistan-to-build-more-n-plants-Gilani.html

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No plans to attack Pakistan's nukes: Taliban

June 28, 2011

The Taliban has said they have no plans to attack Pakistan's nuclear arsenal as it is the only Muslim state to possess such weapons, amid global concerns over the possibility of atomic weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

Taliban has stepped-up a violent campaign in Pakistan to avenge Osama bin Laden's killing and has renewed fears that the country's warheads could be vulnerable.

Declaring that "Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power state," Taliban Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that his group had no intention of changing the fact, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Taliban, after all, aim to take over Pakistan and its weapons, the paper said.

A well coordinated Taliban attack on Pakistan's key naval airbase in Karachi had triggered fresh global alarm that radical militant groups operating from the country's restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan might be out to snatch nuclear weapons.

Seeking to dismiss these concerns, Ehsan claimed that the US was using this as an excuse to pressurise Pakistan government and military into fighting Taliban, whom he portrayed as the country's true protectors.

"Isn't it a shame for us to have the Islamic bomb, and even then we are bowing down to the pressures of America?" the Taliban spokesman mocked.

The WSJ said Ehsan's remarks appeared tailored to appeal to that increasingly nationalist mainstream, where conspiracy theories flourish about American, Indian and Israeli plots to deprive Pakistan of its atomic arsenal.

Pakistan's nuclear capability is cherished here as the guarantor of safety from India's far larger conventional military.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/349059/No-plans-to-attack-Pakistans-nukes-Taliban.html

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Boosting ties: Pakistan-India to open new trade post

By Asad Kharal

June 28, 2011

LAHORE: Pakistan and India on Monday decided to open up another trade point at the Wagah border, to boost trade ties between the two neighbouring countries.

The decision was taken at a meeting held at Wagah border between officials of Pakistan and India. The new point will help facilitate trade and the passage of freedom busses, officials told The Express Tribune.

The agreement was formalised under the supervision of Pakistan’s joint secretary Shabbir Ahmed and Indian joint secretary K K Mather.

The decision comes after two days of secretary-level talks between the two countries ended on Friday.

The nine-member Indian delegation was headed by joint secretary K K Mather and his Pakistani counterpart joint secretary Chaudhry Shabbir Ahmed.

It was stated in the meeting that the new trade route was being opened because trade at Wagah was affected by parades and other reasons.

With the establishment of the new trade route, the current Wagah border post would solely be used for parades and the entry and exit of delegations.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held on July 23, FIA Assistant Director Chaudhry Zafar Ahmed told The Express Tribune.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/197429/pak-india-to-open-new-trade-point-at-wagah-border/

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TTP’s suicide-bomb trainer killed in Miramshah, Pak

June 28, 2011

PESHAWAR: A senior Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) commander who helped train and deploy suicide bombers was shot dead by gunmen on Monday near Miramshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region, sources said.

Tribal sources told The Express Tribune that the incident took place at around 4:00 pm near the Qatub Khel area on Bannu-Miramshah road. Shakir, a resident of South Waziristan, was riding a motorcycle when unidentified gunmen in a vehicle with tinted windows sprayed bullets on him.

Shakir was a close aide of TTP’s trainer of suicide bombers Qari Hussain and had also served as his spokesperson for some time.

Fidayeen-e-Islam, an outfit within the TTP, was responsible for training of suicide bombers and was headed by Qari Hussain. However, the current status of the organisation is unclear, with some sources telling The Express Tribune that it has been disbanded.

Full report at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/197897/ttps-suicide-bomb-trainer-killed-in-miramshah/

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Three Pak former generals under scanner for graft

June 28, 2011

Rezaul H Laskar | Islamabad

In an unprecedented move, a Pakistani parliamentary panel has directed the Defence Ministry and the Army to submit a report on corruption charges against three retired generals who were serving in a military-run transportation company.

The generals — Lt Gen Khalid Munir Khan, Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal Muzaffar and Maj Gen Khalid Zaheer Akhtar — violated rules and regulations by allegedly investing funds from the National Logistics Cell (NLC), a commercial logistics company operated by the military, in the stock market.

The investments caused losses of about `2 billion to the NLC. A meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament on Saturday asked the Defence Ministry to submit the report on the NLC scam by June 30. The meeting was chaired by PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who has been pressuring the army and the Defence Ministry to take action on the scam.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/348904/Three-Pak-former-generals-under-scanner-for-graft.html

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militants compile Western target list on Internet

Jun 28 2011

London : Militants mourning Osama bin Laden have stepped up threats against targets in the West, taking their cue from an al-Qaeda statement that said followers in the US and Europe are perfectly placed to strike.

The network’s globally scattered online followers spent much of June compiling lists of possible targets including Western companies, business leaders and politicians on Islamist forums, experts who monitor the websites said. Western firms, especially those with military links, seem a particular target, analysts said.

Militants appear to be responding to a June 2 video by al-Qaeda leaders for followers in the West to carry on their former chief Osama’s work with do-it-yourself strikes. After the video, participants in several forums began to compile lists of dozens of potential targets that included former US president George W Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair, according to Site group.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Taliban threatened to carry out attacks against the US, Britian and France. “You will see attacks against US and NATO countries,” deputy leader Wali-ur-Rehman said in a videotape, aired on Al Arabiya.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/809502/

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Muslims are asking for a review of the Waqf Amendment Bill, 2010

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Jun 26, 2011

Shoppers visiting the glitzy City Centre Mall at Mumbai Central may not be aware of it but buried beneath the giant structure is a sad story. The land on which the mall stands once housed an orphanage run by a Muslim trust. In 2004, its fortune changed irretrievably, as the charity commissioner permitted the orphanage’s trustees to sell the land to Shahid Balwa’s Neelkamal Realtors and Builders, part of DB Realty—for a mere Rs 1 crore. The orphanage was demolished and the mall and multi-storied towers that came up in its place made Balwa richer by over Rs 500 crore, estimate real estate sources.

Today, as Balwa cools his heels in Tihar Jail for alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam, the Maharashtra Waqf Bachao Committee (MWBC), an NGO in Mumbai, is gearing up to petition the Bombay high court against the sale of this and several other Waqf properties ( properties donated by Muslims for the sole purpose of benefiting less privileged community members). The Waqf Board has around 500,000 properties worth Rs 1,20,000 crore across the country, but the annual income from this huge wealth is, thanks to gross mismanagement, a mere Rs 168 crore.

Full report at: The Times of India

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Khursheed says Sachar report not Quran, sparks off war of words

Seema Chishti

Jun 28 2011

New Delhi: Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed’s remarks in Chennai last week questioning the Sachar report’s recommendations and urging Muslims to think of national issues, not just their narrow interests, has set off a raging debate in the community.

Delivering a lecture, ‘Minorities of India: Issues and Challenges,’ at the Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women last Saturday, Khursheed said that the Sachar Committee Report was not the Quran which cannot be questioned. “The recommendations of Sachar Committee Report are not divine like (the) Quran; they can be wrong also and that’s why one must approach them critically,” he reportedly said.

In 2006, the PM’s High Level Committee, led by Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar, had highlighted how Muslims trailed the rest of the country in almost all social indicators — from education to employment — and had recommended a set of reform measures. Sources said this is now being used as a benchmark by many Muslim advocacy groups and any questioning provokes a barrage of criticism.

No wonder then that the Minister’s remarks in Chennai have led Abu Saleh Shariff, economist and the high-profile Secretary of the Sachar Committee, to write an open letter to Khursheed — posted in an online discussion group, USIPI — ticking off the Congress at the Centre.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/809657/

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Campaign against terrorism requires commitment: Conference on Global Fight against Terrorism

By Elham Pourmohammadi

The two-day International Conference on Global Fight against Terrorism was successfully brought to a close in Tehran on Sunday.

The conference, which was the first of its kind, gathered together officials and scholars from sixty countries who said yes to Iran’s call for a world without terrorism and extended a hand of cooperation to the Islamic Republic in the campaign against this evil phenomenon.

Five presidents, including the Pakistani, Afghan, and Iraqi presidents, whose countries are some of the main victims of terrorism, also saw a ray of hope shining in the Iranian capital for the nations victimized by terror and enthusiastically participated in the event in the hope of drumming up support for a global campaign against terrorism through sharing with others the untold suffering that terrorists have inflicted on their people.

The fact that Iran took the initiative to hold such a conference and set in train the process of holding a conference on the campaign against terrorism in rotating host countries on a yearly basis can be looked at from various angles.

Full report at:

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=243211

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Libya rebels have upper hand in war on Gaddafi -UN

June 28, 2011

UNITED NATIONS: Libya's rebels, with support from NATO, now have a tentative upper hand in the fight against forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the top U.N. political affairs official said on Monday.

"While we do not have a detailed understanding of the military situation on the ground, it is clear that the initiative, although halting, is now with the opposition forces, supported at times by NATO air power," Lynn Pascoe, U.N. under secretary-general for political affairs, told the U.N. Security Council.

It was the first time a top U.N. official suggested publicly that the tide may be turning against Gaddafi's forces more than three months after NATO forces began bombing raids aimed at protecting civilians on the basis of a Security Council mandate.

Pascoe also echoed what reporters on the ground in Libya have been saying -- that the fighting is moving closer to the Libyan capital Tripoli. He said that the U.N. special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, was trying to "narrow the differences" between the rebels and Gaddafi's government in order to launch indirect peace talks.

Both sides say they want peace, but the rebels insist that any peace deal must involve the ouster of Gaddafi and his family, which Gaddafi's government rejects. (Reuters)

 http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=17702

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Nigeria Islamist group Boko Haram blamed for escalating violence

Jun 28 2011

At least 25 Nigerians were killed Sunday night when motorcyclists threw bombs into outdoor beer gardens in the northeastern city of Maiduguri (see map). No group has claimed responsibility yet, but local police say the attack bore the hallmark of the Islamist group Boko Haram.

The attack underscores a deterioration of security in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north – particularly since President Goodluck Jonathan, who comes from the mainly Christian south, was inaugurated on May 29. Boko Haram is fighting for the implemention of sharia (Islamic law), including a ban on alcohol, and has demanded an Islamic state.

The Islamist group, which came to prominence in 2009 and is now considered the greatest threat to Nigeria's security, launched coordinated bombings in three towns after Mr. Jonathan's inauguration. It also claimed responsibility for a June 16 attack on federal police headquarters in Abuja, the capital, and has attacked clerics, politicians, and soldiers, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. According to Reuters, attacks now occur almost daily in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

Full report at:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2011/0627/Nigeria-Islamist-group-Boko-Haram-blamed-for-escalating-violence

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Islamic banking stirs up controversy in religiously-divided Nigeria

By Alex Thurston

June 27, 2011

Since last week, English and Hausa media in Nigeria have been closely following a controversy over Islamic banking in the country. At the center of the controversy is Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the dynamic and outspoken governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Since his tenure began in July 2009, Governor Sanusi’s bold moves to fire bankers and restructure banks have attracted worldwide attention. This year he is one of Time‘s 100 most influential people. Sanusi is no stranger to controversy: he has already locked horns with Nigerian lawmakers and the International Monetary Fund. Neither is he a stranger to the intricacies of Islamic thought: he is the grandson of an emir of Kano, he holds a degree in shari’a from Sudan, and he has debated religious topics with some of Nigeria’s most famous Muslim leaders.

The Islamic banking controversy concerns last Monday’s announcement that the CBN has given the go-ahead for JAIZ Bank, which the press calls “the first Islamic bank in the country,” and Tuesday’s issuance of final guidelines pertaining to Islamic banking in Nigeria. Although, as Next points out, “a draft framework for non-interest banking was issued in March 2009 by the [CBN], its position on Islamic banking did not become much of an issue until a few months ago when the final guidelines were released.” Sanusi ordered the guidelines to be rewritten in order to address and/or incorporate criticisms, but some Christian groups continue to denounce the changes.

Full report at:

http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/393418

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Country's top banker flees nation: Afghanistan official

Jun 28, 2011

KABUL: Afghanistan's top banker, who is alleged to have played a role in the failure of the nation's largest private lender, has fled the country, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said.

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar said Fitrat had not notified the Afghan government of his resignation. But he said that Fitrat was named in a report sent on Monday to the Afghan attorney general's office as someone possibly responsible for the failure of Kabul Bank.

Fitrat told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from a Northern Virginia hotel that he left the country because his life had been threatened and that the Karzai government was refusing to prosecute those allegedly involved in fraudulent loans.

"My life has become completely endangered," Fitrat said. "Since I exposed the fraudulent practices on April 27 in parliament I have received information about threats on my life."

He said he has permanent resident status in the United States and would not be returning to Afghanistan.

The former bank governor said he asked for the Karzai government to prosecute those involved in the alleged fraud 10 months ago.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Countrys-top-banker-flees-nation-Afghanistan-official/articleshow/9021542.cms

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Cross-border raids spark Pak-Af war of words

Jun 28, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani army on Monday rejected Afghanistan's contention that it had fired hundreds of rockets into the Afghan territory killing many people, while launching a counter-attack blaming Kabul for failing to prevent cross-border raids that had killed 55 Pakistanis.

Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said claims by Afghan authorities were incorrect. He said there had been five "major attacks" launched from Afghanistan that had killed 55 Pakistani security personnel in a month.

"This is not true. No rounds have been fired into Afghanistan. In the last one month, there have been five major attacks from the Afghan side of the border, (during which) 250-300 terrorists crossed over and assaulted our border posts," Abbas said in an SMS message sent to the media.

Militants from Afghanistan entered Dir district in Pakistan's northwest, Mohmand and Bajaur tribal regions, killing 55 paramilitary and local militia personnel and injuring 80 more, he said. "The fleeing militants were engaged by the security forces and a few accidental rounds going across cannot be ruled out," Abbas said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Cross-border-raids-spark-Pak-Af-war-of-words/articleshow/9019019.cms

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Karzai blames Pak for border shelling

Jun 28 2011

Islamabad, Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Pakistan late Sunday of firing 470 rockets into eastern Afghanistan over the past three weeks in an escalation of fighting across the porous border.

Pakistan on Monday denied accusations by Afghanistan that it fired hundreds of rockets into two eastern Afghan provinces over the past three weeks, killing 36 people, including 12 children.

Pakistani army spokesman Maj Athar Abbas said no rounds have been intentionally fired into Afghanistan. He said it is possible that a few rounds may have accidentally fallen into Afghanistan when security forces targeted militants carrying out cross-border attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/809514/

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Egypt army vows to stop virginity tests: Amnesty

Jun 27, 2011

CAIRO: Egypt's military has vowed to stop virginity tests on female protesters, Amnesty International said on Monday, after a top official said the tests were necessary to head off possible charges of rape.

"The head of Egypt's military intelligence has promised Amnesty International that the army will no longer carry out forced 'virginity tests' after defending their use, during a meeting with the organisation on Sunday," Amnesty said in a statement.

Major General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had discussed the issue with Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty.

Sisi is a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power after a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.

The general was the first identified Egyptian military official to acknowledge that forced virginity tests have taken place.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypt-army-vows-to-stop-virginity-tests-Amnesty/articleshow/9017103.cms

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Syrian regime invites oppn for talks on July 10

Jun 28, 2011

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime has called members of the opposition and intellectuals for July 10 talks on the wave of protest sweeping the country, the official SANA news agency reported on Monday. "The mechanism put in place for the national dialogue will invite the authorities, intellectuals and political personalities to a July 10 meeting to debate amendments to the Constitution, especially Clause 8," it said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syrian-regime-invites-oppn-for-talks-on-July-10/articleshow/9019068.cms

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Gunmen kill Pakistani Taliban commander: Officials

June 27, 2011

MIRANSHAH: Gunmen shot dead a mid-level Pakistani Taliban commander in North Waziristan on Monday, security officials said.

Officials said they were not aware of the motive for the killing but intelligence officers said it could be a result of internal differences within the militant group.

Shakirullah Shakir, 45, was riding a motorcycle in the Kutab Khel area, just east of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district, when he was mowed down.

“Gunmen sprayed bullets at his passing motorcycle and Shakirullah was killed on the spot,” a security official in Miranshah told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Government officials said they were not aware of a bounty out for Shakirullah, described as a mid-level commander, but said he was believed to be important because of his affiliation with a wing of Taliban suicide bombers called Fidayeen-e-Islam.

The killing came following the defection earlier Monday of a Pakistani Taliban warlord who claims to control hundreds of foot soldiers.

Fazal Saeed told AFP by telephone that he had broken with the militia and would form his own anti-American group along the Afghan border.

Saeed described himself as the leader of Pakistan’s umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) faction in the tribal district of Kurram, but said he had run out of patience with the network for killing civilians.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/197408/gunmen-kill-pakistani-taliban-commander-officials/

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J&K: Hizb divisional commander among two ultras killed

June 27, 2011

Two hardcore ultras, including a self-styled divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, were on Monday killed in a 12-hour-long gun battle in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, a police spokesman said.

Two Army personnel, including an officer, were also injured in the encounter which took place at Shikargah area of Tral, 40 kms from here, the spokesman said.

Acting on a tip off about presence of some militants in the house of Mohammad Yousuf, police assisted by Army cordoned off a village in Shikargah at around 7 pm on Sunday night.

The ultras opened fire on the search party following which the encounter broke out, which continued intermittently throughout the night, the spokesman said.

He said security forces maintained a tight vigil on the house and foiled repeated attempts by militants to flee the besieged area under the cover of darkness.

The security forces launched an assault on the militants shortly after dawn and killed both the ultras, who were later identified as self-styled divisional commander Muzaffar Ahmad Malla alias “Chota Moulvi” and his associate Suhail Khan alias “Shahid”, the spokesman said.

Malla, who had received arms training in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was one of the most wanted militants in south Kashmir.

He had joined militancy in early 1990 and was arrested in 2007. After his release, he rejoined militant ranks and was appointed Divisional Commander for south Kashmir following the killing of Sajjad Dar earlier this year.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/348913/Hizb-divisional-commander-among-two-ultras-killed.html

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Kashmir to witness mega cricket tournament

Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: This summer, Kashmir valley is all set to witness a mega event in cricket as the Army has decided to stretch its tournament to the second phase. It has been named the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).

Encouraged by the response for the first phase, which was organised in the backdrop of apprehension about another unrest, the Army has announced to take it further.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will declare the KPL open on July 4 at the grounds of the Delhi Public School. General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain told The Hindu that the objective of the KPL was to give space to youth for recreation and sporting.

“The last 20 years the youth have seen enough strife and it is time to help them enjoy life in an environment of peace and normality,” he said. Lt. Gen. Hasnain said the Army's endeavour was [to] bring change at every level. “We are not looking at the security angle only, but we think we can help society in other spheres of life as well,” he said, adding, “I am happy that response from the public is tremendous and we will not fail them.”

After the opening ceremony, the first match will be played between Srinagar and Badgam.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/28/stories/2011062858651800.htm

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Saleem Shahzad probe: PTA, FIA to provide phone, email records

By Rabia Mahmood

June 28, 2011

LAHORE: The judicial commission probing Saleem Shahzad’s murder ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), on Monday, to preserve and submit the telephone calls record of the murdered journalist by July 6.

The commission has ordered PTA to make sure no changes are made to Shahzad’s phone record as well as ordering other telecommunication companies to provide complete record of the late journalist’s phone calls.

Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) has been ordered to access and present Shahzad’s email record as well.

Shahzad’s family, friends and colleagues have also been asked to voluntarily submit any information regarding his death by July 5. The secretariat for collecting this information will be the Pakistan Television Islamabad office.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/197436/saleem-shahzad-probe-pta-fia-to-provide-phone-email-records/

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Israel approves plan to repel new Gaza flotilla

June 28, 2011

JERUSALEM: Israel’s security cabinet on Monday ordered the navy to stop an international aid flotilla from breaching a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, but also to avoid clashes with activists on board.

“Members of the (security) cabinet decided today following a debate on the flotilla that the state of Israel will be determined in stopping the flotilla’s arrival in Gaza,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

But forces would be ordered to do so “with minimal confrontation, as far as possible, with those on board the ships,” it said without giving further details.

Also on Monday, Netanyahu said a threat to punish foreign journalists in the convoy by barring them from entering Israel for up to 10 years would not be carried out.

The premier’s office said he had been unaware of the original warning.

“When this was brought to the prime minister’s attention, he ordered that normal procedures taken against infiltrators and those entering illegally not be applied to journalists,” the statement said.

Netanyahu also said he would allow reporters to accompany the naval vessels sent to intercept the flotilla “in order to allow transparent and trustworthy coverage of the events.” Organisers said that between 30 and 50 journalists were expected to sail with the flotilla.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/27/israel-approves-plan-to-repel-new-gaza-flotilla.html

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Yemen says Qaeda plot foiled, six arrested

June 28, 2011

ADEN: Yemen has thwarted an Al-Qaeda plot to attack vital installations in the main southern city of Aden, arresting six suspects, Saba state news agency reported Monday.

"The armed forces yesterday (Sunday) foiled a plan by members linked to Al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist attacks targeting vital and economic installations in Aden," Saba quoted a military official as saying.        

"Six of the most dangerous members of the network specialised in the manufacture of explosives" were arrested at Al-Alam army checkpoint, about three kilometres (two miles) northeast of Aden, said the official. "Detonators and communications equipment were seized," he added.  

Fear has mounted of a spillover by armed extremists to the strategic port city of Aden from nearby Zinjibar, where battles have raged between alleged Al-Qaeda militants and government troops.        

Full report at:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=17701

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UAE to take part in OIC meet in Kazakhstan

28 June 2011

Astana - The UAE will participate in the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Member States which is held under the motto of ‘peace, cooperation and development’ in Kazakhstan from 28 to 30 June 2011.

Dr. Saeed Mohammed Al Shamsi, Assistant UAE Foreign Minister for International Organisations, will lead the UAE delegation to the three-day Islamic gathering.

Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, is expected to chair the opening ceremony. He will deliver the opening speech and the OIC Secretary General,

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, will present a report reviewing the activities he has undertaken since the last session. These activities were marked by intensity and outstanding results confirming the role of the OIC as a strategic partner of the international community in establishing world peace and security.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/June/theuae_June781.xml&section=theuae

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Palestinians hope for more support for state bid

27 June 2011

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — At least 24 more countries are expected to recognise a Palestinian state, making a likely majority when it comes up at the United Nations in September, officials said on Monday.

“We have information that at least 24 countries... have decided to recognise us before September,” senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath told reporters.

“They have informed us so and we expect it will happen within the next few weeks,” he said, adding that he expected Armenia to be the first.

On Sunday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said that without any prospects of a renewal of negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians would definitely pursue their unilateral bid for recognition in September.

Shaath said he was hopeful that 10 European countries, including Spain and Sweden, would be among those to recognise the Palestinian state.

“After the leadership’s decision yesterday we decided that there is no doubt we are going to the UN. It has been settled and there is no going back,” Shaath said.

While many states have indicated they will support the bid, it has faced strong opposition from Israel, the United States and Germany, which said any progress toward a Palestinian state must be made through a negotiated agreement.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/June/middleeast_June727.xml&section=middleeast

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Israel U-turn over warning to flotilla journalists

28 June 2011

JERUSALEM — Israel on Monday backtracked on its warning to foreign journalists covering the Gaza-bound flotilla, saying they would not face the same punishment as other participants in the convoy.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the authorities to draw up a special procedure for dealing with foreign journalists sailing on the flotilla that will enter Israel illegally,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

On Sunday, Israel’s Government Press Office warned journalists sailing on the flotilla could be barred from the country for up to a decade and have their equipment confiscated.

The move was condemned by rights groups and the Tel Aviv-based Foreign Press Association (FPA) as a severe violation of the freedom of the press.

Netanyahu’s office said he had been unaware of the original warning.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/June/middleeast_June726.xml&section=middleeast

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Pop star Prince says women 'happy' to wear burqas

Jun 28 2011

Grammy Award-winning pop star Prince has told a British newspaper that women forced to wear burqas in Islamic countries were "happy" to wear them.

Prince told The Guardian newspaper: "It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion.

"There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that."

When the interviewer pointed out perhaps that not every woman forced to wear the face and form-covering cloak appreciated it, the singer reportedly said: "There are people who are unhappy with everything. There's a dark side to everything."

Prince - embraced religion in 2001, when he became a Jehovah's Witness.

He was back in the news over the weekend after criticising the organisers of the Glastonbury festival, claiming that rumours that he was to play the festival were an attempt to sell tickets on the back of his stardom.

"They use my name to sell the festival," he said. "It's illegal. I've never spoken to anyone about doing that concert, ever."

Full report at:

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/8266153/prince-says-women-happy-to-wear-burqas

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/cutting-daughter-into-pieces-–-for-speaking-up-in-pakistan/d/4925


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