New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 8 May 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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I will contest next election in Pakistan, says Musharraf

Iran hangs woman and four other 'enemies of God'

Iran executes 5 for 'anti-revolutionary' activities

Pakistan to probe links between Shahzad and Taliban: Rehman Malik

Times Square probe lead to Karachi mosque-run by JeM

Kidnapped journalist asks HRW to raise $10m ransom

US gets tough on Pakistan, seeks action in North Waziristan

Is the yuppie Pakistani the new face of terror?

Separatists urge Kashmiris to participate in census

65% of Saudi women are unemployed

Pro-democracy activist goes on trial in Egypt

Now US Is Enemy No 1 In Pakistan Public’s Mind

Somali Islamists vow to free British hostages from pirates

Hayef urges Parliament to provide Islamic projects

Taliban threatens to launch a fresh offensive in Afghanistan

Rights and privileges that Kasab has in jail

Two children, 15 militants killed

US drone strike kills 10 in Pakistan: Officials

Suicide bomber attacks Russia military base

Police terror sows paranoia in Kerala villages

Police suspect Nirupama’s suicide note may have been tampered with

PLO agrees to indirect talks

Priest hired supari gang to kill rival Church member:CB

Youth held for killing sister's boyfriend; girl still missing

Our Pak policy has failed

My son is not as flamboyant as I was

Boy's throat slit, girl hacked

Somali pirates hijack chemical tanker with 22 crew including Indians

Phone call nailed IM role in Pune blast

Israel yet to replace UK diplomat

Advani refuses to support resumption of India, Pakistan peace dialogue

J& K ultras building network with love

Pushy US stand evokes mixed reaction in Pakistan

Compiled by: New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo:Former Pak President Pervez Musharraf





I will contest next election in Pakistan, says Musharraf


ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has unveiled his plans to return to active politics, saying he would contest the next general election in Pakistan whenever it is held. 

Musharraf, who has been living abroad for over a year, announced his future plans while addressing a gathering of his supporters in the Pakistani capital by teleconference. 

"I have decided to take part in Pakistan's politics and I will come forward in the next elections, irrespective of whether they are mid-term elections or end term elections. "I will participate in them," he said in the brief address. 

The former president resigned in August 2008 to avoid impeachment by the Pakistan People's Party-led government. A raft of civil and criminal cases were filed against him in courts across the country after the Supreme Court declared the emergency imposed by Musharraf in 2007 as unconstitutional and illegal. 

A confident-looking Musharraf said he was determined to return to Pakistan as he had received a lot of support from Pakistanis living abroad during his recent travels to various countries. 

"The Pakistanis I have met abroad have told me I should return to the country," he said. 

However, he was guarded about his plans for the future, saying: "My views on taking Pakistan towards progress will be revealed at an appropriate time. I will soon place my vision before the people". 

Musharraf thanked people who had extended support to him, including his fans on the social networking website Facebook. He noted that his fan club on Facebook had rapidly grown to over 175,000 members and CNN had declared him "Connector of the day". 

"If you are with me, I will not let you down," he said. In a message posted on his Facebook page yesterday, Musharraf promoted a gathering of his supporters to be held in Islamabad today. 

He said: "Sitting on the sidelines of history never changed anything, become a part of positive change in Pakistan by attending the 8th of May 2010 (Pasdar-e-Pakistan) gathering at Islamabad Press Club". 

Musharraf's supporters have also launched a move to register a new party - the All Pakistan Muslim League - to facilitate his return to active politics.


Iran hangs woman and four other 'enemies of God'

May 09, 2010

Iran hanged five militants on Sunday, including a Kurdish woman, convicted of bombing government offices and a gas pipeline to Turkey and described as "enemies of God", state media reported.

The five, including the woman Shirin Alamhouli, were executed in Tehran's Evin prison, the official ISNA news agency said, quoting a statement from the capital's prosecution office.

The four others who were hanged were Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili and Mehdi Eslamian.

Kamangar, Heidarian and Vakili, along with Alamhouli were members of the Kurdish rebel group, PJAK (The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), ISNA news agency said quoting the same statement from the prosecution's office.

Eslamian reportedly belonged to the anti-regime monarchist group, Kingdom Assembly of Iran, which aims to restore the constitutional monarchy that was abolished by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

ISNA said the five were convicted of being "moharebs" or "enemies of God" - a crime punishable by death under Iran's sharia-based Islamic law.

They were also "convicted of carrying out terrorist acts, including bombings of government centres and public properties in several Iranian cities," the prosecutor's office said, according to IRNA.

"The three bombed two governors' offices, a department of the commerce ministry in Kermanshah and also blew up a gas pipeline to Turkey," it said. Police seized explosives, bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-regime leaflets from the three men.

ISNA said Alamhouli was arrested for bombing a car in a Tehran parking lot belonging to the elite Revolutionary Guards.

The agency reported that Eslamian was involved in the deadly bombing of a a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz in April 2008 and charged with acting against national security.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has identified Kamangar as a teacher while the European Union had condemned the death sentences against him, Vakili and Heidarian.

Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain public security and is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.



Iran executes 5 for 'anti-revolutionary' activities

May 9, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran put to death on Sunday five members of "anti-revolutionary" groups who had been involved in a series of bombings, the state news agency said.

Farzad Kamangar, Ali Haydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam Houli and Mehdi Eslamian were hanged at Evin prison on Sunday morning, IRNA said.

The report said the five were involved in "terrorist operations", including planting bombs in both public and government places over several years.

The incidents appeared to have taken place before disputed elections last year that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office, creating a protest movement the authorities have tried to crush.



Pakistan to probe links between Shahzad and Taliban: Rehman Malik

May 9, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will probe alleged links between Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-American arrested for the botched car bomb attack in New York, and Taliban leaders based in the country's volatile tribal belt, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday.

The US today formally requested Pakistan's cooperation in investigations into Shahzad's alleged links with militants in the tribal areas, Malik told reporters during an interaction at his residence. However, Malik contended it would be premature to link the incident in New York with the Waziristan tribal region in northwest Pakistan.

"We will investigate the reports of Faisal Shahzad's visit to Waziristan," he said. The US provided some details about the charges against Shahzad in its formal request for cooperation, Malik said. "They think that Shahzad has been visiting South Waziristan and meeting (Taliban commanders) Qari Hussain and Hakimullah Mehsud. But it all needs confirmation," he said.

Hakimullah is the head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan while Hussain is considered the trainer of suicide bombers.

A complaint filed in a US court by the FBI said Shahzad, the 30-year-old son of a former air force officer, had received bomb-making training in Waziristan.

Malik made it clear that only Pakistani agencies will investigate the matter and no foreign team will be allowed to come to the country for this purpose.

"It is the prerogative of Pakistani intelligence agencies to investigate the alleged links of Faisal Shahzad with the Taliban and we will do that investigation in a transparent manner," he said.

He denied reports in a section of the media that a FBI team was in Islamabad to investigate Shahzad's links with terrorists in the tribal areas.

Malik's comments came hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Pakistan that it would face "very severe consequences" if any other terrorist attack is traced back to the country.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that Shahzad's family knew at least two key Pakistani militants involved in terrorist activities.

Reports have said US and Pakistani investigators have questioned Shahzad's relatives and associates and four members of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed.



Times Square probe leads to Karachi mosque-run by JeM

May 9, 2010

Pakistani intelligence officials are tracing links between Times Square bombing plot suspect Faisal Shahzad and the banned terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad-led by Maulana Masood Azhar.

This search has led investigators to the sprawling, marble-floored Batha Mosque and a religious school in a crowded neighbourhood of Karachi which was once provincial headquarters of the JeM and which is visited at times by the elusive militant leader, who was released from an Indian jail in 1999 in exchange for a hijacked Indian Airlines plane.

The mosque patronised by the JeM is under scrutiny and security and intelligence sources say there is a link being established between Faisal and the people running the mosque.

The sources who declined to be named said the security and intelligence officials had questioned four persons picked up from the mosque for possible links with the Times Square bombing suspect and attempt.

"Possible links have emerged as we try to track down the movements of Faisal when he visited Pakistan in the last few years," one source said.

The source said that US law enforcement officials were also being updated on the ongoing investigations. "There is a link that this mosque was being used to recruit young people by the Jaish-e-Muhammad," one source said.

The mosque located in the north of Karachi in a lower middle class locality has been frequented by the Jaish activists in recent months.

"There are indications that the mosque had links with the banned outfit and they are regular congregations held that are patronised by the banned outfit," one source stated.

The Jaish-e-Muhammad was established in 2000 by Maulana Azhar to train militants to fight against India.

JeM has been blamed for many terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets and has also been accused of killing US journalist Daniel Pearl.

The group has links to Afghanistan dating back to the war against the Soviet occupation.

The security and intelligence sources said that they were investigating possible links between Faisal and the mosque as one of Faisal's friends who was arrested this week was a Jaish member.

The detained Jaish member is said to be Muhammad Rehan who offered prayers regularly at the mosque.

The security and intelligence sources said they were trying to ascertain whether it was possible that Faisal might have been in touch with al-Qaeda and Taliban sympathisers or activists when he last visited Pakistan and stayed in Karachi for three months.

One official said that Rehan was questioned because of his background but nothing clear had emerged as yet.

Another official said the focus on the mosque was there because it had served as the provincial headquarters of the JeM before the outfit was banned in 2002 by the president Musharraf government in its crackdown on militant outfits.


Kidnapped journalist asks HRW to raise $10m ransom

By Alamgir Bhittani

09 May, 2010

TANK, May 8: Freelance journalist Asad Qureshi who is in custody of a militant group along with a former official of ISI, Col Imam, has said that his captors are demanding $10 million and appealed to the Human Rights Watch to help him get freed.

In a video message released to the media on Saturday, Mr Qureshi said he had been detained by the Asian Tigers group but was not sure about his location.

“This is a message for Human Rights Watch. I am Asad Qureshi being held by the Asian Tigers and (they are) demanding $10 million while my family has no means to raise such amount,” he said.

The little unknown Asian Tigers group kidnapped two former officers of ISI, Col Imam and Khalid Khwaja, along with Asad Qureshi on March 26.

On April 30, the kidnappers shot dead Khalid Khwaja and his body was found in Mirali town of North Waziristan. Col Imam was also in captors’ custody.

The journalist accompanied by ISI’s former officials was reportedly going to North Waziristan to make a documentary about Taliban.

Mr Qureshi said in his message that his captors had given him 10 days to arrange for the money, adding that he had urged them to extend the period to 15 days. “Please help me raise the amount,” he said.$10m-ransom-950



US gets tough on Pakistan, seeks action in North Waziristan

May 9, 2010

NEW YORK: The US has delivered a tough new warning to Pakistan, asking it to quickly crack down against militants in North Waziristan, where the Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad is said to have been trained.

With the trail of the latest attempted terror strike in New York leading to Pakistan, the administration appears to be losing its patience with its war on terror ally, and has warned it to act against extremists or face the consequences.

US military commander in Afghanistan Gen Stanley A McChrystal met Pakistani military chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad on Saturday and pressed for a new military offensive in North Waziristan, the main base of the Pakistan Taliban, a report said on Sunday.

McCrystal urged Pakistan to move more quickly in beginning a military offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida in North Waziristan, New York Times said quoting American and Pakistani officials.

The Pakistan army has finished major military offensives in militant-strongholds of the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwah province, and has also launched a ground operation in South Waziristan but has so far been jittery in extending it to North Waziristan.

The paper said Kayani was essentially told: "You can't pretend any longer that this is not going on... We are saying you have got to go into North Waziristan".

The province is a major base of key militants of Pakistan Taliban and al-Qaida, and is considered the main hideout of fighters of the Haqqani network, and has been the centre of frequent strikes by US drones.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton also warned of "very severe consequences" if a terror plot was traced to Pakistan.

"We've made it very clear that if, heaven-forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences," Clinton said.

The fresh pressure on Pakistan is being viewed as a sharp turnaround from the relatively polite encouragement adopted by the Obama administration in recent months, the daily said.

"We are saying, 'Sorry, if there is a successful attack, we will have to act'" within Pakistan, an unnamed American official was quoted as saying.

It also comes at a time when there is an increasing debate within the administration about how to expand US' military influence on Pakistani soil, including boots-on- the-ground presence, it said.

Pakistani-American Shahzad, has allegedly told investigators that he had received training in the lawless North Waziristan.


Is the yuppie Pakistani the new face of terror?

May 9, 2010

May 8: This week, with Judge Tahaliyani pronouncing the death sentence on the sole surviving terrorist of the Mumbai terror attack, the 22 year old Ajmal Amir Kasab, the nation attempts to bring closure to the night that terror stalked unsuspecting Mumbaikars and 19 Pakistanis played the Grim Reaper.

As India debates on what we gain from “hanging Kasab by the neck until dead” and if this one act will stop our malevolent neighbour from cranking out the terror machine, even as the understandable bloodlust in some quarters threatens to drown out the humane option, there is another troubling aspect that we explore — Faisal Shahzad, the man behind the failed Times Square bomb in New York is clearly not from the lower rungs, as Kasab and his associates were, but from the upper strata of Pakistani society. Jihad’s killing machine, it seems this week, has taken hold of Pakistan’s elite, as well, disproving the oft-heard argument that poverty drives its youth into the arms of terrorist groups.

Like the notorious Ahmed Omar Saeed Shaikh, sprung from jail by the hijackers of IC 184 in the Kathmandu-Kandahar hijack, a graduate of the London School of Economics who went on to mastermind the decapitation of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia correspondent, Shahzad is a man born to privilege, whose education in Pakistan’s elite private schools and his subsequent university degree in the US underlines the yawning divide between the haves and the have-nots in Pakistan. Till now, though, it was the likes of Kasab, the young man from Faridkot whom the jihadis homed in on when he was a starving daily wage labourer at Lahore’s crowded market outside the Data Darbar mosque, who fit the profile of the kind of young man the Jihadi recruitment machine was said to target.

Of the terrorists who mowed down the men, women and children in Mumbai’s V.T. Station and in the Taj and Oberoi, the one uniting factor was their small beginnings and their antipathy towards India. With David Headley aka Dawood Gilani, the son of a former diplomat, and Faisal Shahzad, the son of a top ranking air force pilot, the newest face of Jihad, the question is: Has the Jihadi recruitment drive inside Pakistan switched gears? Is the new face of terror emanating from Pakistan the bluetooth headset-wearing yuppie who is as comfortable in Binnori mosque as he is on the Upper East Side? Shahzad, with a privileged upbringing in a moderate family, illustrates the point.

As the New York Times reported, at Shahzad’s wedding in Peshawar six years ago to Huma Mian, men and women danced separately but also together, “a rarity at that time,” as one guest recalled. When he returned to the US, Shahzad put photographs of Huma on his desk at the offices of cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden office in Stamford, Connecticut. The couple bought a brand new house for $273,000. As investigators tracked Shahzad’s road to radicalization, people who knew him, both in Connecticut and in Pakistan, said he had changed in the past year or so, becoming more reserved and more religious as he faced “financial troubles.”

Last year, one of his Pakistani friends said, Shahzad even asked his father Bahar ul-Haq, a retired high-ranking air force pilot in Pakistan, for permission to fight in Afghanistan. Mr. Haq, now in his 70s, adamantly refused, according to a person familiar with the conversation, saying that he disapproved of the mission and reminding his son that Islam does not permit a man to abandon his wife or children. As a newlywed, “there was no sign of him being extremist or, for that matter, he wasn’t a bit religious,” the friend said, but added that in the past couple of years, however, after changing jobs and fathering two children, Mr. Shahzad “started talking more of Islam.” “The recession had taken a toll on them, I guess,” the friend said, adding that Shahzad’s  money worries became apparent in 2008 or 2009 and that he “lost his way during the financial problems.” JPMorgan Chase has since moved to foreclose on Shahzad’s house, which the couple abandoned in a hurry, leaving behind clothes and toys.

Mr Shahzad, now 30, appeared to be tracing a familiar arc of frustration, increasing religiosity and, finally, violence. Mr. Haq, according to people who know him, “was a man of modern thinking and of the modern age.” But Shahzad, the youngest of four, was born into a new generation in the years after the late Cold War-era military autocrat Zia ul-Haq began to inject a rigid version of Islam into Pakistan’s education system and pumped in money into hard-line mosques with a mandate to elevate a  narrow, often sectarian world view that cast a pall over young Pakistanis. The Pakistani elite, its clear, have not escaped the consequences of Zia ul-Haq’s radicalization.


Separatists urge Kashmiris to participate in census

Khursheed Wani

May 9, 2010

In the wake of the national census across the country, Kashmir’s separatist group — the All Party Hurriyat Conference — has cautioned against any “demographic change” in the embattled region.

The amalgam led by moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq claimed in a statement that the passage of an inter-district recruitment Bill in J&K Assembly guaranteeing eight per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes was “part of the conspiracy” to change the demographic composition.

The statement added that non-Muslims were silently being settled in the State to alter its Muslim majority character.

Jammu & Kashmir has a unique law that bars non-State subjects from acquiring citizenship or owning immovable properties. A controversial amendment in the law in 2008, however, safeguarded the citizenship of women who were married to non-state subjects. Earlier, the women lost the citizenship and right to inherit property after marrying ‘outsiders’.

Last week, People’s Democratic Party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig claimed that the Muslim majority status of J&K was under constant threat.

Interestingly, the separatists are urging people to vigorously participate in the forthcoming census. Syed Ali Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, and is known for his uncompromising anti-India stance, too has asked the people to participate in the census in order to stop “manipulation at the hands of authorities”.

Shakil Bakshi, one of the staunch advocates of armed insurgency in Kashmir, was the first to issue appeal to the people to participate in the headcount with “open eyes”.

JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik has also asked the people to ensure there was no manipulation in the record-gathering during the census. This is for the first time that separatists, for their own reasons, have asked the people to participate in a process initiated by the Central Government.


65% of Saudi women are unemployed


May 9, 2010

ABHA: Only 35 percent of qualified Saudi women are employed, said Mufrej Al-Haqabani, deputy labor minister for planning and development.

“This is a low rate and does not augur well,” he said.

Presenting a working paper at a forum on human resources here, he said expatriates accounted for 53 percent of the workforce in the private sector in 2009 while Saudis represented 47 percent.

Al-Haqabani emphasized that fighting unemployment among Saudis is a joint responsibility, adding that it does not fall on his ministry alone.

He said the Council of Ministers approved the Kingdom’s employment strategy last year and gave 25 years to fulfill its objectives.

Noura Al-Fayez, deputy education minister for girls affairs, also spoke at the forum. She referred to her ministry’s efforts in human resource development.

“The King Abdullah General Education Development Project aims at developing educational curricula, providing orientation courses to teachers and education leaders, improving education atmosphere and developing students’ skills,” she said.

Participants asked Al-Fayez whether the ministry had any plan to introduce physical education for girls in order to solve problems with obesity. She did not answer the question, but offered the view that even male students who attend physical education suffer from such problems. She however urged female students to practice physical exercise to keep themselves fit.


Pro-democracy activist goes on trial in Egypt

May 9, 2010

CAIRO: Egypt's state-owned news agency reports that a court has started the trial of a pro-democracy activist accused of assaulting police officers during a protest.

The agency says Ahmed Abu Doma also has been charged of destroying police equipment and participating in an unauthorized public gathering.

Abu Doma was arrested during a scuffle between police and dozens of protesters demanding political reforms on Monday.

The demonstration was latest in a series of a public challenges to the Egyptian government.

Abu Doma is a member of the April 6 pro-reform youth movement, which was formed through online social networking sites.

The court refused to release Abu Doma on bail during Saturday's hearing.


Now Us Is Enemy No 1 in Pakistan Public’s Mind

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

May 9, 2010

As Anti- US lava spews from the fiery volcanoes of Pakistan’s private television channels and newspapers, a collective psychosis grips the country’s youth. Murderous intent follows with the conviction that the US is responsible for all ills, both in Pakistan and the world of Islam.

Faisal Shahzad, with designer sunglasses and an MBA degree from the University of Bridgeport, acquired that murderous intent. Living his formative years in Pakistan, he typifies the young Pakistani who grew up in the shadow of Zia- ul Haq’s hatebased education curriculum. The son of a retired air vice- marshal, life was easy as was getting US citizenship subsequently. But at some point the toxic schooling and media tutoring must have kicked in.

There was guilt as he saw pictures of Gaza’s dead children and related them to US support for Israel. Internet browsing or, perhaps, the local mosque steered him towards the idea of an Islamic caliphate.

This solution to the world’s problems would require, of course, the US to be destroyed. Hence Shahzad’s self- confessed trip to Waziristan.

Ideas considered extreme a decade ago are now main stream. A private survey carried out by a European embassy based in Islamabad found that only 4 per cent of Pakistanis polled speak well of America; 96 per cent against.

Although Pakistan and the US are formal allies, in the public perception the US has ousted India as Pakistan’s number one enemy. Remarkably, anti- US sentiment rises in proportion to aid received. Say a good word about the US, and you are labelled its agent. From what TV anchors had to say about it, Kerry- Lugar’s $ 7.5bn may well have been money that the US wants to steal from Pakistan rather than give to it.

Pakistan is not the only country where America is unpopular. In pursuit of its selfinterest, the US has waged illegal wars, bribed, bullied and overthrown governments, supported tyrants and undermined movements for progressive change. Paradoxically, America is disliked more in Pakistan than in countries which have borne the direct brunt of its attacks — Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Drone strikes are a common but false explanation. Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi implicitly justifies the Times Square bombing as retaliation but this does not bear up. Drone attacks have killed some innocents but they have devastated militant operations in Waziristan while causing far less collateral damage than Pakistan army operations.

On the other hand, the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong were carpet- bombed by B- 52 bombers and Vietnam’s jungles were defoliated with Agent Orange. Yet, Vietnam never developed visceral feelings like those in Pakistan.

Finding truer reasons requires deeper digging.

In part, Pakistan displays the resentment of a client state for its paymaster. USPakistan relations are transactional today but the master- client relationship is older.

Indeed, Pakistan chose this path because confronting India over Kashmir demanded big defence budgets. In the 1960s, Pakistan entered into the Seato and Cento military pacts, and was proud to be called ‘America’s most allied ally’. The Pakistan army became the most powerful, well- equipped and wellorganised institution in the country. This also put Pakistan on the external dole.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, even as it brought in profits, deepened the dependence. Paid by the US to create the anti- Soviet jihadist apparatus, Pakistan is now being paid again to fight that war’s blowback. Pakistan then entered George W. Bush’s war on terror to enhance America’s security — a fact that further hurt its selfesteem.

It is a separate matter that Pakistan fights that very war for its own survival and must call upon its army to protect the population from throat- slitting fanatics.

Passing the buck is equally fundamental to Pakistan’s anti- Americanism. It is in human nature to blame others for one’s own failures. Pakistan has long teetered between being a failed state and a failing state. The rich won’t pay taxes? Little electricity? Contaminated drinking water? Kashmir unsolved? Blame it on the Americans. This phenomenon exists elsewhere too. For example, one saw Hamid Karzai threatening to join the Taliban and lashing out against Americans because they ( probably correctly) suggested he committed electoral fraud.

Tragically for Pakistan, anti- Americanism plays squarely into the hands of Islamic militants. They vigorously promote the notion of an Islam- West war when, in fact, they actually wage armed struggle to remake society. They will keep fighting this war even if America were to miraculously evaporate. Created by poverty, a war culture and the macabre manipulations of Pakistan’s intelligence services, they seek a total transformation of society. This means eliminating music, art, entertainment and all manifestations of modernity. Side goals include chasing away the few surviving native Christians, Sikhs and Hindus.

T HERE IS little doubt that the US has committed acts of aggression, as in Iraq, and maintains the world’s largest military machine. We know that it will make a deal with the Taliban if perceived to be in its self- interest — even if that means abandoning the Afghans to bloodthirsty fanatics. Yet, it would be wrong to scorn the humanitarian impulse behind US assistance in times of desperation.

Shall we write off massive US assistance to Pakistan at the time of the earthquake of 2005? Or to tsunami- affected countries in 2004? In truth, the US is no more selfish or altruistic than any other country. And it treats its Muslim citizens infinitely better than we treat non- Muslims in Pakistan.

Instead of pronouncing moral judgments, we Pakistanis need to reaffirm what is truly important for our people: peace, economic justice, good governance, rule of law, accountability of rulers, women’s rights and rationality in human affairs. Washington must be resisted, but only when it seeks to drag Pakistan away from these goals. More frenzied anti- Americanism will produce more Faisal Shahzads.

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Somali Islamists vow to free British hostages from pirates

May 09, 2010

A HARDLINE Islamist group that has seized control of the Somali town of Haradhere has vowed to find Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple held hostage by pirates since last October, and release them unconditionally.

The group, Hizbul Islam, captured Haradhere without a fight after the pirates fled on hearing that it was on its way. The Islamists are feared for their tough enforcement of sharia (Islamic law), including stoning for adultery and amputation for theft.

“We will search [for] the British hostages,” said Sheikh Mohamed Arus, a leading figure in Hizbul Islam, brandishing an AK-47 rifle. “If we see them, we will release them. We will fly them to their homeland without taking any ransom.”

The pirates’ decision to flee appears to have worsened the plight of the Chandlers, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, who are both in poor health. Since their 38ft yacht, the Lynn Rival, was hijacked as they sailed towards Tanzania on October 23 there have been persistent reports that their physical and mental condition is in decline.

The couple, who are being kept apart, are apparently being forced to move on foot as the pirates believe that the tyre tracks of their 4x4 Land Cruisers could be followed by the Islamists.

It took me several weeks of building up trust among intermediaries to trace the pirates holding them. When I finally met them last week, sitting outside a mosque in Adaado, 180 miles from Haradhere, they appeared nervous. They were worrying about how to deal with both Hizbul Islam fighters and British agents who they believe may try to free the Chandlers.

The pirates regarded me with deep suspicion — convinced that every British passport contains a secret locator chip that would help the authorities to track them down. I showed them my passport and said it was an old one that did not contain any such device. They were reassured.

The men, who ignore Islamic teaching on matters such as drinking alcohol and chewing qat, a leaf with narcotic properties, gradually became more forthcoming. They were obviously terrified of the revenge that Hizbul Islam, which opposes piracy, would wreak if it captured them and they were frustrated that no ransom had yet been paid for the Chandlers after more than six months of captivity.

Maslah Yare, one of the pirates, claimed that the eyesight of Paul Chandler, a 60-year-old retired quantity surveyor, was deteriorating rapidly. He said that when he was first taken hostage Chandler had been able to read; now he could not see books even with his glasses.

The pirate said that Rachel Chandler, a 56-year-old economist, was growing more angry and distressed and occasionally shouted at her captors. “Sometimes she sits there and stares at something for hours,” said Yare. “Other times she shouts Paul’s name in a loud, shrill way as if he can hear her.”

The pirates, who have demanded a £1.6m ransom, fear that Hizbul Islam may force them to hand over the couple for nothing.

“It is getting very difficult to keep them,” said Ali Gedow, speaking with his face half-covered by a scarf to disguise himself. “If we can’t keep them, we will have to give up. We’re not prepared to put our lives at risk.”

The pirates blame the Chandlers’ lack of wealth for the failure of negotiations with third parties for a ransom. More importantly, they say, they want to “get on with their lives”, an apparent reference to a future hijacking attempt.

One of them said that once he received his share of any ransom, he would give up piracy and emigrate to Europe. According to the men, a number of people have offered to pay, including the Chandlers’ own family and the Somali interim government, but the sum proposed was “very little”. They claimed their monthly expenditure was more than £50,000, much of which went to qat traders.

Most of the Haradhere pirates have moved to Hobyo, another pirate base further to the north. Haradhere, which was a busy market town before the Islamist rebels arrived last weekend, was eerily quiet last week. Groups of Hizbul Islam fighters armed with assault rifles patrolled the streets on foot. Others drove past on trucks with machineguns mounted on the back.

Shopkeepers, many of whom supplied the pirates with drink and illicit goods, complained that trade had collapsed since they left.

“Hizbul Islam has brought us security but trade is right down. I don’t think we’re going to be able to stay in business,” a local merchant said.

Experts believe there are few solutions to the problem of piracy. It has flourished since the livelihoods of local fishermen were destroyed by foreign trawlers exploiting the absence of an effective government in Mogadishu to over-fish Somalia’s territorial waters.

More than 300 foreign hostages are being held on about 15 captured vessels and piracy is unlikely to diminish any time soon.

Rescuers admit fatal blunder

The widow of a French yachtsman who died when commandos stormed their yacht to free them from Somali pirates has won an acknowledgment that special forces fired the fatal shot, writes Matthew Campbell.

Chloé Lemaçon urged French generals to admit the mistake for more than a year. Last week, Hervé Morin, the defence minister, finally confirmed the blunder.

As the rescue of Lemaçon and her four-year-old son Colin began, her husband Florent leaned out of a porthole to tell the attackers the pirates were in the front of the boat. She heard an “oooh” sound as he fell back on to her; he had been shot in the eye.

The soldier responsible has apologised. “His eyes shone with sadness,” she writes in a new book. “He thought it was a threat, and fired.


Hayef urges Parliament to provide Islamic projects

May 09, 2010

KUWAIT: An Islamist lawmaker has urged local Islamic organizations to cooperate with MPs to come up with Sharia-compliant draft laws, stating that there is a shortage of such legislation, for which he blamed Islamic service organizations and other MPs. "There have been a number of draft laws presented in this regard, including a draft law to appoint Islamic clerics to all Kuwait embassies abroad, in addition to a draft law to establish a public authority for the Hoy Quran and Hadith Sciences," said MP Mohammad Hayef during a forum held at the diwan of the GCC Sharia Scholars Association.

Hayef also talked about another draft law, one related to banning banks from charging interest, which is viewed as usury, adding at the same time that the relevant parliamentary committee has discussed a draft law to provide a Sharia supervisory committee at all local banks to monitor their transactions and facilitate their transformation into Islamic banks.

The MP said that there are thousands of Islamic scholars and students in this field in the country, who could form teams to monitor 'negative phenomena' in society and urge the parliament to provide more Islamic projects.

Meanwhile, head of the association Dr. Ujail Al-Nashmi said that the responsibility for achieving the goals listed by Hayef lies first and foremost on MPs' shoulders, reported Al-Watan. Another speaker at the event, the head of the supreme committee for the implementation of Sharia regulations, Dr. Khalid Al-Mathkour, said that the precedence once given by MPs to implementing Islamic regulations had receded in favor of other issues.

Meanwhile, at a meeting on Thursday attended by Minister of Electricity and Water Dr. Bader Al-Shuraiaan, the parliamentary committee in charge of public facilities approved several reforms on the draft law for the establishment of Kuwaiti public companies concerned with building power stations and water desalination plant, while rejecting government reservations over the legislation.

Committee Rapporteur, MP Dr. Faisal Al-Mislem, told reporters after the meeting that the draft law is vital in terms of dealing with basic services like water and electricity, noting that the continued suffering of people due to shortages of those two vital services had forced the MPs to come up with the proposed draft law.

The MP added that the committee had rejected the reservations submitted by the government regarding the draft because the committee is keen on bolstering cooperation in implementing the draft law once its approved and effective as a new article of legislation.

Regarding the government's reservations, Dr. Al-Mislem explained that the government had requested more exemption powers in the law, particularly concerning vital conditions determined by the cabinet, but added that such powers would be decided through an assessment authority, noting that all companies must be governed by this legislation.


Taliban threatens to launch a fresh offensive in Afghanistan

May 9, 2010

BAGRAM: The Taliban threatened to launch a fresh offensive across Afghanistan on Saturday, as President Hamid Karzai said international forces have yet to secure large parts of the country.

The Taliban said the offensive starting Monday will include assassinations of government officials, roadside bombs and suicide attacks against foreigners and those who support them.

"All foreign invading forces will ultimately face defeat," the Taliban said in a statement sent to reporters from an e-mail address used by the militants. An increase in violence is typical in spring as mountainous Afghanistan has particularly harsh winters that limit travel and other activity.

A crucial test of the nine-year war is coming this summer, when a US-led military operation tries to clear the Taliban from the key southern city of Kandahar, the group's spiritual heartland.

Insurgents have ramped up attacks there recently. Today, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the death of a government official in Arghandab in Kandahar province.

Manan Khan, vice president of the Arghandab district shura and former police chief in the district, was killed yesterday night along with two of his bodyguards, according to district chief Syed Ali said.

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Karzai said today that the US and its allies still have "miles to go" in Afghanistan and international forces have yet to secure large parts of the country.


Rights and privileges that Kasab has in jail

May 09 2010

Mumbai : Pants without cord, woollen blankets, pot, plate and aluminium mug are some of the articles that convicted Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab is entitled to under the provision of Prison rules.

After an accused is convicted, he is entitled to certain facilities under the Prisons (prisoners sentenced to death) Rules 1971, according to lawyer Sayaji Nangre.

Since Kasab has been convicted in the 26/11 terror attack case, he too shall be entitled to such facilities prescribed under the Prison Rules, he said.

Kasab may be permitted to have interviews with his relatives, friends and lawyers if the Superintendent of Prison is of the opinion that such permission may be granted to him. So far, none of his relatives or friends have contacted him.

The Superintendent has the discretion to allow Kasab read religious books, keep religious pictures, rosary and essential emblems, subject to security checks.

Kasab may also be allowed to read newspapers and books with the permission of the Jail Superintendent.

On the recommendation of medical officer, Kasab may be allowed to exercise in open air within the prison walls in morning and evening hours under the care of a guard.

Kasab may also be given tobacco and other indulgences if the Superintendent deems fit. However, according to jail sources, he does not consume tobacco in any form.

When death penalty is confirmed it shall not be executed on a public holiday, the prison rules state.


Two children, 15 militants killed

By Abdul Sami Paracha

09 May, 2010

KOHAT, May 8: Fifteen militants and two children were killed on Saturday in fierce clashes between security forces and the Taliban in upper Orakzai Agency and a mortar attack in Hangu.

In Dabori area, a stronghold of the Taliban, seven militants died and three others were injured in a gunbattle amid reports that troops had taken control of the area.

Eight militants were killed when security forces pounded their hideouts in Kasha area in upper Orakzai Agency.

Heavy artillery fire continued in Shahu Khel area of Hangu and on militants’ hideouts in Orakzai Agency till late night.

Officials and hospital sources said that a mortar fired from Kasha area of Orakzai Agency hit the house of one Habib in Shahu Khel village of Hangu. Sahzia, 13, and Haroon, 11, died and a baby was injured in the attack.

The bodies and the injured were taken to the civil hospital. A man was injured when a rocket fired from unknown location exploded near Jazo Maidan area in Hangu district.,-15-militants-killed-950


US drone strike kills 10 in Pakistan: Officials

May 9, 2010

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: A US drone fired two missiles into a militant compound in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt on Sunday, killing at least 10 rebels, local security officials said.

The strike took place in Inzarkas village, 50 kilometre (31 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, known as a hub for Taliban and al-Qaida linked militants.

"The missiles struck a militant compound in the village, killing at least 10 rebels," a senior Pakistani security official in the area said on condition of anonymity.

Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties but said the nationalities of those killed in the attack were not yet known.

He said: "The compound became suspicious as it was being used by foreigners."

Pakistani officials use the term "foreigners" for al-Qaida linked militants operating in the tribal regions.

"It was, however, not immediately known if any high-value target was present in the area at the time of attack," the official said.

US forces have been waging a covert drone war against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked commanders in the country's northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountainous areas outside direct government control.

More than 900 people have been killed in over 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

Washington calls Pakistan's tribal belt the global headquarters of al-Qaida and the most dangerous region in the world. Islamist militants in the area are believed to be fuelling the nearly nine-year insurgency in Afghanistan.


Suicide bomber attacks Russia military base

May 9, 2010

MOSCOW: A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a military base in the southern Russian region of Dagestan on Sunday, Interfax news agency reported, quoting an unnamed military official.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. Police were on alert for possible attacks ahead of Sunday's celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War Two.



Police terror sows paranoia in Kerala villages

VR Jayaraj

May 9, 2010

The terror unleashed by the CPI(M)-led Kerala Govern

ment’s police on the people protesting against a dubious land survey for road construction on Thursday and the subsequent day-and-night police raids on houses for protestors have sown disquiet verging on paranoia in villages in the Kinalur area of Kozhikode district.

Almost all young men have fled their villages for fear of police brutality. Homes in the area remained closed throughout Friday. Women, children and elderly people were afraid to venture out as police vehicles rushing along the rural roads in search of the “accused” in the conflict of Thursday.

Despite independent reports and visuals of brutal action on Thursday by the police, who did not even spare children, 150 identifiable villagers have been charged with attempt to murder. CPI(M)’s Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem, whose firm stand that the road would be built at any cost had led to the conflict, claimed that there had been no police excesses in Kinalur.

Several women had suffered serious wounds and other injuries in Thursday’s attack by the police but not many had sought medical help at hospitals. They said they were afraid that the police would pick them up from the hospitals. “My wound is aggravating by the minute but I don’t want to go to a hospital. We have no idea as to who all are there in the list of the accused,” said a 48-year-old Muslim woman through the grills of her house verandah.

Several women said they had been unable to sleep due to the anxiety set off by the police action and raids. Sulaiman, a 48-year-old small-time businessman, said his wife had been having tantrums and delirium since the police action on Thursday. “She keeps on saying in hushed voice that policemen and CPI(M) workers could set the house on fire any moment,” Sulaiman said.

At least sixty persons, including women, children and old men, were injured – some of them seriously – in the attack by the police on Thursday with lathis, stones, stun-grenades and tear-gas during the people’s protest against the survey of land for acquiring land to construct a four-lane, 30-metre-wide road to a 270-metre plot owned by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) in Kinalur. The police had even beaten up people in their houses and destroyed vehicles parked in the courtyards.

Even Industries Minister Kareem admits that no concrete proposal for any project has come up in Kinalur but he is firm that the road would be built at any cost. There were allegations that pro-CPI(M) real estate mafia had acquired thousands of acres of land in the area and that the Minister wanted to build the road to enhance the value of these lands. .

It was in this context the people refused to allow the survey for the 26-km road, which had to go through densely populated villages and ecologically sensitive and fertile paddy fields. As per estimates, 650 acres of housing plots and paddy fields would have to be acquired for constructing the road to a 270-acre industrial estate where no significant unit existed or proposed. Opposition parties, including the BJP, say that the CPI(M) was trying to create a Nandigram in Kerala to help the land mafia.

Throughout the day on Friday, the roads in villages like Cherukandi and Valathur in Kinalur area remained deserted, except for the police vehicles and personnel, as people remained indoors. The Industries Minister’s declaration on Friday morning that the “violence” during Thursday’s protest was pre-planned worsened the hunt by the police, people complained.

As the police hunt became big news in the visual media, the higher authorities were forced to withdraw vehicle patrol by late Friday but patrol on foot had reportedly continued. “I fear that there the police could knock at my door any time,” said Abdul Rehman, a villager. “I will not open my door even if they come. I don’t know whether they would break the door to come in. If that happens the police would get a real reason to charge me with some serious crime,” he said.


Police suspect Nirupama’s suicide note may have been tampered with

May 9, 2010

A fresh twist in the Delhi-based journalist murder case has surfaced. The probing teams of Delhi Police and Jharkhand Police are believed to have suspected that the suicide note may have been tampered as far as the date is concerned. Sources said that it is still not clear whether the suicide note discovered by Koderma police was written by Nirupma Pathak on April 27 or April 29. “It seems that one has overwritten to appear 27 as 29. Though the date - 27 and 29 may not be of much significance at this stage but it will certainly give a direction if the culprit who might have changed or overwrote the suicide is caught,” said a source in the probing team.

Meanwhile another team of police officers from native state of Pathak reached Delhi with Post Mortem Report of the deceased for seeking further advice from forensic experts. A team from Kodrema was already in the Capital and questioning the friends of Pathak including his boyfriend — Priyabhanshu Ranjan. On Saturday, during the joint investigation, the Delhi Police and Koderma Police also questioned three close female friends of Pathak whether the relationship between Pathak and Ranjan have become soar.

The police sources said the probing teams talked to her three friends at South District’s special staff office of Delhi Police at Pushp Vihar. Two of them were deceased’s batch mate in Indian Instituite of Mass Communication (IIMC) and another girl was Pathak’s colleague at Business Standard. “They were interrogated them as we wanted to know if the girl has told them about her status of relationship with Ranjan,” said the sources. The sources also informed that the police is moving further with cautiously and also investigating with an angle of abetment to suicide case. The police sources said between 27-29 April, Pathak sent around 60 SMSs to Ranjan and out of which 50 were sent on 29 April, which is the date of alleged murder.

“We could retrieve only a SMS from her boyfriend’s phone. Remaining have been deleted by him. We are in process to recover all those SMSs. Why did he delete all her messages and why did he send reply file times to 60 SMSs. It grows suspicion,” he also added.

It might be noted that following a Jharkhand court direction and with the investigations inputs from the Delhi Police, a case of rape and abetment to suicide has been filed against Ranjan. A city court in Koderma on Friday directed the police to file a case of rape and abetment to suicide against Priyabhanshu Ranjan following charges levelled by her arrested mother Subha. Sources said that another team of Jharkhand Police on Friday reached Delhi with Nirupama’s post mortem report to the determine its authenticity. The report has been submitted with a panel of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences for examination. If needed, Ranjan will be taken to Koderma for further questioning in connection with the case.

Taking cognisance of Subha Pathak’s petition, the Chief Judicial Magistrate N K Agarwal asked Tilaya police to file the FIR under IPC Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 420 (cheating) against Priyabhanshu Ranjan. All the sections are non-bailable and the police is waiting to execute the possible arresting of Ranjan.

Nirupama’s mother Subha, suspected to have had a hand in her death, had already been arrested after a post mortem report confirmed that the scribe had died of asphyxia as a result of smothering. The court had also allowed a petition of the police to take Subha in police remand for three days from judicial custody from May 9. 22-year-old Pathak, who was working for a business daily in Delhi, was found dead on April 29 in her parents’ house in Tilaya in Koderma district under mysterious circumstances.


PLO agrees to indirect talks

By Gwen Ackerman and Saud Abu Ramadan

May 9, 2010

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to U.S.-mediated indirect talks with Israel after receiving Palestine Liberation Organization approval that cleared the way for the first negotiations in 17 months.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Abbas told U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell of his decision in a meeting yesterday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The indirect negotiations, also called “proximity” talks, will last for four months and focus on border and security issues that would include the issue of a disputed area of Jerusalem, he said.

“It’s time now to take decisions and implement them on the ground,” Erakat told journalists after the meeting.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in December 2008 at the start of an Israeli military initiative in the Gaza Strip the government said was intended to stop cross- border rocket attacks. Abbas had linked his participation in the U.S.-proposed indirect talks to the Israeli government agreeing to freeze plans to build new homes for Jews in east Jerusalem, captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and sought by the Palestinians as the capital of their state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “welcomes the resumption of peace talks,” a statement relayed by his spokesman Nir Hefez said. Netanyahu stressed that the negotiations should be exempt from any preconditions and lead quickly to direct talks.

Core Issues

An Israeli official, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to give details of the negotiations, said Israel had agreed core issues such as Jerusalem, borders and refugees could be raised in the talks for preliminary discussion, on the understanding that any solutions would be found in direct talks.

“In a certain sense, proximity talks are mainly theater,” said Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv. “Certainly nobody expects proximity talks to lead to anything substantial.”

Opposition and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister who was a chief negotiator with the Palestinians under the previous government, called the indirect talks a test of Netanyahu’s readiness to make decisions for peace.

“I hope these talks will have content, that they will be true talks, and I hope we will not miss this opportunity,” Livni said today in an e-mailed statement.

New Homes

U.S. efforts to initiate the indirect discussions stalled last March when Israel approved a plan to build 1,600 new homes for Jews in east Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. officials criticized the plans, which led the Palestinians to reconsider their participation in the talks.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber al-Thani said on May 1 that Arab ministers received “positive indicators from the U.S. mediator” before agreeing that the Palestinians should restart talks.

“U.S. guarantees, which were offered to the Palestinian leadership, were the reason behind today’s acceptance to join the talks,” Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee that approved the talks yesterday, told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Netanyahu, while publicly insisting construction in Jerusalem will continue, may have slowed projects in disputed areas of the city.

The planning committee responsible for approving construction in Jerusalem, which gave the go-ahead for the building plans in March, met last week for the first time since Biden’s visit. No building plans related to east Jerusalem were on the agenda, committee member and Jerusalem Councilman Yair Gabbay said in a phone interview last week.

The U.S. will announce the starting day for the negotiations and describe what guarantees were offered the Palestinians, Erakat said.

Abbas is expected to meet with Mitchell again today to discuss the mechanism for holding the indirect talks, the statement from his office said.


Priest hired supari gang to kill rival Church member:CB

May 9, 2010

GIVING a new twist to the decades-old feud between Syrian Jacobite and Malankara Orthodox Churches in Kerala, the CBI has arraigned a senior Jacobite priest as the first accused in the murder of a layman, who was a member of the managing committee of the rival Church.

In the chargesheet filed in the Kochi Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court, the CBI has said Fr Varghese Thekkekara hatched the conspiracy and hired a supari gang to kill Malankara Varghese of Orthodox Church at Perumbavoor in the rural district of Ernakulam in 2002. The case has 18 others also as the accused.

The CBI took up the investigation in 2007 after the family of the murdered businessman moved the High Court, pointing out faults with the investigation of the state

crime branch. The agency had found that Varghese’s murder was a fallout of the dispute between the two nonCatholic Churches in Kerala over several decades.

Last month, the CBI arrested the second accused, Joy Varghese, who, according to the agency, had taken part in the conspiracy. The priest’s role in the case was disclosed by the second accused, who was subjected to a polygraph test. The CBI has submitted the chargesheet as the court is slated to consider the bail application of the second accused on Monday.

According to the chargesheet, Malankara Varghese had allegedly led an attack against a Jacobite man in 2002. While trying to escape from the attack scene, Varghese’s vehicle hit a youth hailing from the Jacobite group.

The youth died later.

This reportedly provoked the Jacobite priest to hatch a conspiracy to kill Varghese.

The Sunday Express


Youth held for killing sister's boyfriend; girl still missing

May 9, 2010

IN another suspected honour killing, a youth was allegedly murdered by his girlfriend’s brother in Mandi area of Muzaffarnagar district. The girl is still missing.

Muzaffarnagar SSP Praveen Kumar said the body of Ajit Saini, 21, was found in a deserted field on Thursday evening. His throat was slit and there were cuts on his legs too. The victim was identified on Friday.

SP (City) Rajiv Malhotra said primary investigation revealed that Ajit (21), a BCA student, was involved in a love affair with Anshu Tomar, 20, a BA student. The girl belongs to Badaut area of Baghpat district and was staying with a relative in Mandi area.

On the basis of a complaint filed by Ajit’s family, the girl’s father Narendra Tomar and brother Anuj were arrested. During interrogation, Anuj reportedly confessed to having killed Ajit for bringing shame to his family. He is said to have told the police that he was helped by a fried and two

others. Anuj, however, claimed ignorance about the whereabouts of his sister.

According to Malhotra, Anshu had eloped with Ajit in February, but returned home after two weeks when her family assured her that they would solemnise their marriage. However, her family members reportedly restricted her movement outside the house.

Ajit’s father told the police that his son had left home on April 25 saying he was going to Pune for some work.

The Sunday Express


Our Pak policy has failed

May 9, 2010

IN one of life's mysterious coincidences, a Pakistani tried to blow up New York's legendary Times Square in the week that our most famous Pakistani terrorist was sentenced to death in Mumbai.

Since we still do not know the names of the men who were really responsible for 26/11, I found it hard to join in the general jubilation over Ajmal Kasab's death sentence. What is the point in celebrating the death of a pawn when those who made the moves on Mumbai's murderous chessboard on those two horrible days remain unpunished and unnamed? The Pakistani government would have us believe they were `non-state actors' but fiercely guards their identity. Why? If Pakistan is itself a victim of jihadi terrorism, as it would like its Western financiers to believe, then why does it protect men so evil that a death sentence would not be punishment enough?

Compare the duplicity over 26/11 with the alacrity that we saw last week in the case of Faisal Shahzad and you face the dismal reality that the Pakistani State is fully behind terrorist activity in India. But, not in full support of terrorist groups that try to blow up Times Square.

This could be because the $18 billion that Pakistan currently gets from its Western friends would instantly dry up. Whatever the reason, we saw keen cooperation in the Times Square incident after initial stupid remarks. Pakistani officials tried at first to say that since Shahzad was now an American citizen he was no longer Pakistan's problem but it did not take long to discover links to Jaish-e-Mohammed and training camps in Waziristan.

Arrests were quickly made and loose-tongued officials told to shut up. If only we could begin to see this limited degree of cooperation on 26/11, we could begin a serious peace dialogue with Pakistan. We could even lend a hand in helping Islamabad solve its terrorist problems though we know that they are a blowback from decades of a foreign policy based on supporting jihadi groups in India and Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Government’s obdurate refusal to pay more than lip service to cooperation on 26/11 leads to the inevitable conclusion that the Pakistani State continues to believe that groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaishe-Mohammed are useful. Not just because of Kashmir, as some fools believe, but because a stable, strong India weakens the raison d’etre of Pakistan. If Indians continue to buy cell phones at the rate they are buying them and if technology and some wise decisions on infrastructure (both physical and social) bring the dramatic changes that are possible, then there could be Pakistani citizens who might start asking questions. Why has Allah been so mean to Pakistan that it has been forced to rely on military rulers while us infidels across the border have been bequeathed regular elections? Why does Pakistan need billions of dollars of Western aid just to survive while Indian billionaires wander about the world buying up huge companies? Why does India, despite four wasted decades of socialism, look so much better than the land of the believers? A politically stable and economically prosperous In

dia could even end up inadvertently solving the Kashmir problem. Would Kashmir’s separatist leaders still want independence or secession if the Indian economy begins to boom? I think not. So India must be weakened in every way and because war is so not a 21st-century option, what better way than to continue sponsoring wicked men like Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed and Maulana Azhar Masood? Notice that the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed vanishes whenever there is trouble but operates openly otherwise.

The sad truth about our attempts to deal with Pakistan since the attack on Mumbai is that we have failed on every front. We have failed to convince the United States that Pakistan is not an ally in the war against Islamist terrorism but its epicentre, and we have failed to convince the Pakistani government that we are not stupid. That whether the American President can or not we see through their web of deception and lies and that until this duplicity stops there can be no peace dialogue, no ‘engagement’. The death sentence on Kasab will not bring closure but it could become a new beginning if we could see the smallest sign from Pakistan that it sincerely wants peace. Giving us the names of those who conducted the 26/11 massacre from cell phones that have been traced to a location in Pakistan could be a good first step in building what some Pakistani official called the ‘trust deficit’. Otherwise any attempt to restart the peace process would not just be meaningless but a betrayal of those who died in Mumbai because the Indian state failed to protect them against the new tactics of an old enemy.

The Sunday Express


My son is not as flamboyant as I was

May 9, 2010

After serving as chief minister of J&K for three terms, Farooq Abdullah moved to Delhi, becoming Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet. In this Idea Exchange moderated by Special Correspondent Maneesh Chhibber, Abdullah speaks about Kashmir, his role in the IPL governing council and his son's performance as Chief Minister of J&K I thought Modi did a very good job. Here was a man who came up with an idea and it shook India and then it shook the world...Justice was not delivered (to Modi). He should have been given that opportunity to discuss all issues raised by (the governing council) and by the media.

MANEESH CHHIBBER: You are in charge of a ministry that not many people wanted, yet you continue to make news because of it.

This is one ministry where you can be the architect of something new in this country. I have visited many states and I have told the chief ministers about our areas of work: solar energy, bio mass, micro hydel up to 25 megawatts of power and wind energy. Also, guidelines are being finalised for the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission and should be out very soon. More than 40 per cent of India has not seen power. There are places that will not see grid power for many years so I thought here is an opportunity for us to help out.

MANEESH CHHIBBER: You are close to the top leadership of the BJP, Congress, Left and others. Your son, Omar Abdullah, has repeatedly said that going with the BJP was a mistake and that your party would never do that again. Do you agree with him?

I cannot comment on what my son said. As far as I am concerned, why should you spoil your relationship with anybody? You never know when you will need them. How does it hurt me if I am friends with Vajpayeeji, Advaniji? I may not agree with their policies, they may not agree with me always. But we are still friends. The trend here is that if you are with one person, you are the other's enemy. That is not my philosophy.

SWARAJ THAPA: One year ago, when the UPA government imposed austerity measures, you were among those who opposed the move.

I did not oppose austerity. I opposed having to sit in the economy class of a plane as there is no leg space. Also, why should we show that we are poor? We are so rich yet we pretend that we do not have anything. How many crores are we going to save like this? I said that I will travel only in that class where my legs will fit comfortably and the Cabinet was kind enough to understand.

SWARAJ THAPA: You are a member of the IPL Governing Council, which went hammer and tongs at Lalit Modi. What happened for three years? Was the Council sleeping?

There is no question of sleeping. I thought Modi did a very good job. Here was a man who came up with an idea and it shook India and then it shook the world. The aura of IPL is so big and the finances coming in so big that now the BCCI has the money to build stadiums in every state--Himachal Pradesh recently held an IPL match. We are building a stadium in Jammu. Look at the change it has brought to Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla ground. None of us could have ever imagined what happened be hind the scenes in the IPL because things were on such a large scale. I think we slipped on that.

SWARAJ THAPA: You did not attend the GC meeting. If you had, would you have voted out Lalit Modi?

No, I would have said we should give him an opportunity to put his case before us. We should not have held that meeting just a day after the IPL final. It was a Monday, my question day in Rajya Sabha, I requested the BCCI president to hold it when I could attend it and we could talk to Modi. Let him tell us exactly what happened. I thought justice was not delivered. He should have been given that opportunity to discuss all issues raised by us and by the media.

DHIRAJ NAYYAR: The way things are, the government doesn't run sports directly but politicians do.

What is the reason?

This is not a question of politicians running sports. I think one of the advantages you have is that you can open up many more doors than others. I do not think the BCCI president can open as many doors as Sharad Pawar. Politics gives you those opportunities.

DHIRAJ NAYYAR: Do you agree with MS Gill's proposal of fixed tenures for heads of sports institutions?

I have friends on both sides of the fence. If you have been in a position for 40 years, it is quite a long time. I don't know what thrill you can get of being in an organisation for over 40 years.

D K SINGH: How do you rate Omar Abdullah's performance as CM of Jammu and Kashmir? How does he compare with you?

I do not think I can rate him. One year is not enough to rate anybody. He is not as flamboyant as I was--that I can say.

SWARAJ THAPA: The Justice Saghir Ahmed report on Centre-State relations has been with the J&K government for sometime. As a former CM, why aren't you pursuing the report with the government? You have been an advocate of autonomy for J&K. Is there something else that can be thought of?

We do want a peaceful settlement with Pakistan. People in Delhi do not realise the suffering we go through. Innocent people die every day. Terrorists are coming in through Nepal, Bangladesh, Punjab, and Kutch. It's a major problem. Various people are financing people in the street to be disruptive, be it the ISI or other agencies in our own country. Our people can't get accommodation, jobs in other parts of the country because we are all branded as Muslim and therefore Pakistani. The Government of India promised the people of Kashmir a plebiscite. Why did they go back on it? And where do we go? Are we part of India, Pakistan, or are we divided? Unless you take the bull by its horns, you cannot solve this.

We appoint five committees and say these committees will find a solution to all tragedies. The most important committee was the Sarkaria Committee on Centre-State relations. What happened to that report? It is collecting dust. And then Justice Saghir Ahmed was asked to find a way to go about the CentreState relationship. What happened? As for autonomy, it is not easy because the Hindus in Jammu and Ladakh oppose autonomy. They oppose self-rule. What about regional autonomy for people in Rajouri, Poonch and Ladakh? So it is not that easy. You have to be very careful: whatever you bring about must be acceptable to the majority of the community in the region.

MANEESH CHHIBBER: Sunanda Pushkar, who was involved in the IPL controversy, is reported to have claimed in an interview that you offered her the post of Tourism Minister of J&K.

Never. It's absolutely wrong. To become a minister you have to be elected.

She was a Canadian citizen, so how could she stand for election in India? I didn't know her at all. She came from Canada with her son. A good friend told me she wanted to do something in computers and we were computerising everything, so I said she could bid but it had to be with an Indian company.

That's when I met her. Then, I met her in Dubai for a meeting on solar energy.

I had no idea about anything, her shares in the Kochi team, etc.

COOMI KAPOOR: You are a born politician and you strike an instant chord with people. Is it instinctive or did you learn from your father?

I think it runs in the family. My daughter Sara is like me. We like travelling, we make quick friends. My son, Omar, is reserved.

COOMI KAPOOR: Tell us how your father trained you in politics, the one lesson he taught you?

My father was quite tough on me. I was the only child in the family who got the maximum beatings from my father. I really liked watching English movies. I remember one evening I went for the 9 p.m. show. That night my father came to my room and did not find me there. I will never forget the beating after that.

Another day, a servant made a mistake and I abused him and by mistake, his cap fell off. My father saw this. He beat me with a stick. I was bleeding all over, my mother was crying, saying he would kill me. Then he took me to the servant and said pick up his cap, put it back on his head and apologise to him.

I have never ill-treated a servant after that. That is something my father taught me.

AMBREEN KHAN: Tell us how similar your son and you are.

We think alike on many political matters--autonomy, etc. When he wanted to leave the NDA, Vajpayeeji was very keen that he should stay. He called me but I said no, my son has made up his mind, I cannot stop him. He is my son, my blood but then we do disagree too and that is normal. When he resigned after being accused in the sex scandal, I lost my temper and said to him, how dare you do this? Don't you know this is not your decision alone? He then said to me, how do I face my children, my wife and my friends? I said I am sorry, son, you are right and I am wrong; but I still feel you should have consulted the party before deciding. He was right because you take a long time to build your honour but it takes a moment for it to be destroyed. Had they charged Farooq Abdullah with this crime, I would have probably accepted it and stayed on in the chief minister's chair.

D K SINGH: How did you react to his `I am an Indian' speech (during the confidence vote)?

I was thrilled. I think God gave him that opportunity. I think his inner self came out and it showed how he felt inside--that made the difference. I was in London then but when I heard it later, I immediately called him and said you have emerged on your own.

MAROOSHA MUZZAFAR: Will you return to state politics?

There is no question of my returning to politics in Kashmir. My son is good enough. I must give him a free hand to guide the people of Kashmir the way he feels and thinks he should.

D K SINGH: What has changed in the Congress?

Lots. There is a new leadership, younger people. I think Sonia Gandhi does hear people out. She also makes her own judgments and that makes a difference. Her son and mine share a good rapport and that makes a difference.

RAGHVENDRA RAO: How do you react to Chidambaram's idea of quiet diplomacy with separatist forces in J&K?

Quiet diplomacy is a good idea. But the media does not leave people alone.

When I was the chief minister, there was a meeting with the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Government of India and look at the crush they had at the guest house. They could not even walk in. So the other side knew this was happening and each one of them got bumped off. How can you protect Maulvi Umar Farooq when he has to give a sermon in Jama Masjid every day--he can't do that behind a bullet proof screen. So you have to be careful that when these people talk, you make no mention of it till a final solution is arrived at.

MAROOSHA MUZZAFAR: What did you think of Sajjad Lone's decision to participate in the last elections?

It was a very good decision. He said this is what has to be done if you have move on. The people have problems, any India-Pakistan settlement will take time but can development wait? Can jobs, schools and hospital improvements wait? No. So for that, you need the government needs to function. It was very good that he participated and I hope that others will participate when the next elections take place.

RAGHVENDRA RAO: What is your stance on the withdrawal of central paramilitary forces from J&K?

Sometimes it is a red rag to the bull.

There are areas in the state where there are no more problems of terrorism but when visitors see these people with guns they think the place must be full of terrorists. That is not a good impression for foreign and domestic visitors to carry with them. Where (the forces) are not needed, they should be withdrawn.

It is just a question of shifting them out from where they are not needed.

AMBREEN KHAN: What is the one piece of advice you would give to the Home Minister to deal with Maoists given your long experience in dealing with militancy?

I would say you have to find methods of talking to them. I believe there is political support for the Maoists and we should find out who are the politicians supporting these movements. We must work out what they want but not at the cost of the common man. Everyone has the right to live here and you don't have to live by the rule of the gun. It is the ballot box that matters. The Naxalites are in very backward areas and over the years we have neglected those areas. These areas have a tremendous amount of wealth underground but the people do not have homes, electricity, schools, hospitals, water--things that that an independent country like India should have given them in 60 years. So our thrust should be to improve their lot. The tragedy of this movement is that they now want the power to control India. They think that by burning schools, targeting security forces and going against the law of the state, they can capture power.

The Sunday Express


Boy's throat slit, girl hacked

May 9, 2010

Muzaffarnagar, May 8 -- In two honour-killing cases that surfaced in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, a 19-year-old boy was found with his throat slit and legs chopped off, and a girl was hacked to death in a temple. The government may amend the Indian Penal Code to define honour killing, which is not a classified crime in India. "We've completed our preparations to put in place a strong deterrent against the practice of honour killings not only against those who carry it out, but also those who abet it," said Law Minister M Veerappa Moily. In Muzaffarnagar, about 500 km north of Lucknow, the mutilated corpse of Ajit Saini, a BBA student, was dug out by stray dogs from a field on Thursday. Police said Ajit was killed by the family of Anshu Tomar (18), a Jat girl. Anshu may have also been killed, police suspect. Anshu's father, Narendra, and brother, Anuj, have been arrested. Anuj confessed to the media he killed Anshu to protect the family honour. In Khalilabad village, about 250 km east of Lucknow, Soni (20), was hacked to death allegedly by her family.


Somali pirates hijack chemical tanker with 22 crew including Indians

May 9, 2010

NAIROBI: Somali pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic guns hijacked a chemical tanker off East Africa with 22 crew members, mostly Indians, on board, the European Union Naval force said today.

Spokesman Cmdr John Harbour said there is little chance that military forces can storm the ship because officials don't believe the crew all made it to a safe room before the pirates boarded. The crew consists of 19 Indians, 2 Bangladeshis and 1 Ukrainian, he said. The ship -- the Marida Marguerite -- was heading from India to Belgium.

Also today, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said a Taiwanese fishing boat was hijacked off the Somali coast by pirates who demanded a ransom for the crew.

The ship's Taiwanese owner lost contact with Tai Yuan 227 two days ago as it headed for the Maldives. When the owner resumed contact with the vessel a day later, he was told by hijackers to pay a ransom for the crew, the ministry said.

"The boat has since changed direction to sail toward Somalia, so this may very well have been done by the Somali pirates," the ministry said in a statement. "We hope that the many other boats sailing in the area can stay alert and avoid the pirates from launching an attack at other boats from the Tai Yuan 227."

It wasn't immediately clear how many crew were aboard the trawler.

Foreign Ministry officials refused to provide contact information for the boat's owner, saying he wanted to remain anonymous until the crew was released.

Pirate attacks have continued to climb despite the presence of about 35 international warships patrolling the waters off the lawless Somalia coast.


Iran executes 5 for 'anti-revolutionary' activities

May 9, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran put to death on Sunday five members of "anti-revolutionary" groups who had been involved in a series of bombings, the state news agency said.

Farzad Kamangar, Ali Haydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam Houli and Mehdi Eslamian were hanged at Evin prison on Sunday morning, IRNA said.

The report said the five were involved in "terrorist operations", including planting bombs in both public and government places over several years.

The incidents appeared to have taken place before disputed elections last year that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office, creating a protest movement the authorities have tried to crush.



Phone call nailed IM role in Pune blast

Sagnik Chowdhury

May 09 2010

Mumbai : Investigators probing Pune’s German Bakery blast have got compelling information to confirm that the attack was the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen, sources told The Sunday Express, days after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told Parliament that the case had been cracked.

The breakthrough, the sources said, is based on a telephone call IM co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal is believed to have made to a young IM operative who was in Nepal on the day of the blast on February 13, claiming credit and exchanging congratulations for the attack.

The operative, Salman alias Chotu, was arrested weeks after the blast and is said to be singing about the IM hand in the blast during his interrogation by security agencies from across the country while in custody in Delhi.

“During interrogation, he told us that on February 13, shortly after the Pune blast, he received a call from Riyaz Bhatlal on the Thuraya phone he was using there,” a source said. “Riyaz immediately congratulated him. When Salman asked him what the congratulations were for, Riyaz told him to switch on the TV to see the outfit’s latest work. This has helped us narrow down the Pune probe to one outfit and its members.”

Salman belongs to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and spent several years of his childhood in Mumbai’s western suburb of Nirmal Nagar, studying up to class eight in a municipal school opposite the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrates Court. According to the UP Police, Salman was enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) course in the Lucknow campus of Sikkim Manipal University in 2008.

Alleged to be a teenage bomber, Salman is accused of involvement in the serial bomb blasts in Gorakhpur in May 2007, the simultaneous blasts outside civil courts in Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad in November 2007, the May 2008 bomb blasts in Jaipur, the serial blasts in Ahmedabad in July 2008, as well as the serial blasts in Delhi in September 2008.

“Following the Batla House encounter, Salman fled the city along with Dr. Shahnawaz, the brother of Mohammad Saif who was arrested after the encounter,” an officer said. “For almost a year after that, he stayed in a small room in his native village Sanjarpur in Azamgarh district. There was a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head announced by the Delhi police. He then slipped into Nepal via Basti and Siddharthnagar.”

On February 28, Salman crossed over into India and was arrested from Siddharthnagar district in UP by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad on March 6. Following his arrest, the Delhi Police secured a transit remand for his custody, and he has been behind bars in the Capital since.

Interrogators are said to have found that Salman used a bogus Nepali passport which was in the name of Mohammad Fahad Ansari. While he was actually born in October 1992, the year of birth on this passport was 1985. From Nepal, he is believed to have flown to Sharjah and then on to Pakistan on December 12, 2009.

In Pakistan, Salman met top IM leader Ameer Raza Khan, who told him to attend terror training camps again in preparation for future strikes. After completing this terror training, Salman once again slipped into Nepal on January 16, sources said.


Israel yet to replace UK diplomat

May 09, 2010

Israel is yet to replace a diplomat expelled after forged British passports were used in the killing of a Hamas leader, it has emerged.

The Foreign Office said no request had been made to replace the official, but added that "specific assurances" would be sought from Israel if one was made.

The Israeli Embassy in London refused to comment on the situation.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in Dubai in January, allegedly by Israeli agents using forged foreign passports.

It is believed the fake passports - 12 of them British - were used in the plot to murder Mr Mabhouh, the founder of Hamas's military wing, in his hotel room in Dubai on 19 January.

Dubai officials said they were "99% certain" that agents from Mossad, the Israeli secret service, were behind the killing.

“ We look to Israel to rebuild the trust we believe is required for the full and open relationship we would like ”

Foreign Office

The names and details on the UK passports used by eight of the 12 suspects belonged to British-Israeli citizens living in Israel - all of whom have denied involvement in Mr Mabhouh's murder.

Their passports had been copied and new photographs inserted.

During the ensuing diplomatic row, in March, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for the forgeries.

He said the misuse of British passports was "intolerable".

Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, said he was "disappointed", but Israel confirmed there would be no tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsion.

Israel has previously said there is no proof it was behind the killing at a Dubai hotel.

The name of the expelled diplomat has not been released.

'Specific assurances'

Several newspapers have reported that the person expelled was a Mossad representative and claimed that UK authorities are now preventing Israel from replacing the individual until it agrees not to use British passports in the same way again.

The Foreign Office said: "We have had no approach from the Israelis about a replacement. However we look to Israel to rebuild the trust we believe is required for the full and open relationship we would like.

"We have asked for specific assurances from Israel, which would clearly be a positive step towards rebuilding that trust. Any Israeli request for the diplomat to be replaced would be considered against the context of these UK requests."

Dubai police said forensic tests showed Mabhouh was drugged with a quick-acting muscle relaxant and then suffocated.

Earlier reports had said he may have been strangled or killed by a massive electric shock.


Advani refuses to support resumption of India, Pakistan peace dialogue

May 9, 2010

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani on Saturday turned down the request of a group of Pakistani politicians and diplomats to support the resumption of peace talks between Pakistan and India. The group consisting of former chief of army staff General (r) Jahangir Karamat, PPP leader Sherry Rehman and others met Advani to seek his support for the resumption of dialogue between the two countries but the BJP leader categorically told the group that he could not support the holding of peace talks until Pakistan stopped sponsoring terrorism and cross-border infiltration in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).\05\09\story_9-5-2010_pg7_20


J& K ultras building network with love

By Arjun Sharma in Jammu

May 9, 2010

MILITANTS operating in the far- flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir have apparently turned love into a currency to build their network, again.

They are reportedly playing Romeo to Muslim girls to make them work for Pakistan- backed terror outfits as overground workers.

Rubaiya Bano, whom the Jammu and Kashmir Police had declared an active militant last August, revealed this following her arrest recently.

Rubaiya and two other girls — Rubina Bano and Zaituna Bano — from Kishtwar in Doda district had gone missing on August 13 last.

The police found that the girls had eloped with three hardcore Lashkar- e- Tayyeba militants who were operating in the district.

“Rubaiya was recently arrested in Srinagar along with her lover, the LeT militant Aashiq Hussain alias Abu Umer.

She revealed that Hussain had lured her into falling in love with him and they had eloped,” an investigating officer said.

“Rubaiya has revealed that one month after she eloped, she was asked to deliver grenades to a terrorist at a locality in Srinagar,” the officer said.

The police initially suspected that the three girls had been kidnapped by the ultras. But Rubaiya’s statement has shown that the militants are returning to old tactics to sustain the terror network.

Militant networks used to employ a large number of women as overground workers in 1998 when the militancy was at its peak. Women were preferred as they are able to take better care of ration and other daily needs.

Mail Today


Pushy US stand evokes mixed reaction in Pakistan

By Badar Alam

SECRETARY of state Hillary Clinton’s warning of “severe consequences” has evoked a mixed response from politicians and public intellectuals in Pakistan.

The tone of TV talk show hosts remained acerbic and many of their guests looked at her statement as a reflection of the US government and its public’s anti- Pakistan sentiment. But there were several other voices that advocated restraint.

Talking to M AIL T ODAY , Liaqat Baloch — a senior member of the right- wing Jamaat Islami — summed up the views of the first group saying that the US had always used real or imagined acts of terrorism to invade the rest of the world. “They create stories, then spread them in order to justify their invasions of the countries that they want to subjugate for one reason or the other,” Baloch said.

“ This is what they did in Iraq, and then in Afghanistan,” he added, but stopped short of saying that the US could also have waged war against Pakistan if Faisal Shahzad’s terror plan had succeeded in blowing up Times Square.

He, however, said: “ The Americans want the Pakistanis to be under pressure constantly; they want Pakistan engaged permanently in Afghanistan and in its own tribal regions. That is why they come up with one excuse or the other every now and then to demand that Pakistan does more.” In his opinion, Clinton’s statement would only add to the already high anti- American sentiment in Pakistan. “ More than 60 per cent people in Pakistan do not like the American attitude towards their country, nor do they approve of their own government’s policy of pleasing the US at any cost,” Baloch said.

The other shade of the opinion came from Ahsan Iqbal, the information secretary for main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League ( Nawaz). He told M AIL T ODAY that Clinton’s statement was premature, in the sense that it blamed Pakistan even before initial investigation into Shahzad’s act of terrorism had concluded. But he added: “ We need to understand it in the context of the pressure that the American administration is under from its domestic constituency on the issue of terrorism.” Talat Masood, a retired military official and a defence analyst based in Islamabad, said acting against terrorism was in Pakistan’s own best interest, whether or not there was any warning from Washington.

“ We need to put our house in order. We need to clean up our domestic mess and we need to realise that we are losing a lot as a consequence of the international image we have acquired,” he said.

Dr Riffat Hussain, another Islamabadbased analyst, remarked that a bomb explosion in New York’s Times Square would have been another 9/ 11 for the US. “ This would have killed many innocent people and it is in this context that we need to see Clinton’s statement,” he said.

“ We should not see it as an anti- Pakistan threat because it is just one statement among many others that have praised Pakistan’s cooperative response on the incident as well as the encouraging remarks by New York’s mayor that it should not lead to anti- Pakistani sentiments in the US,” he added.

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