New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 08:13 AM

Islamic World News ( 12 Oct 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Lucknow: Progressive cleric supports Egyptian ban on burqa

Maulana Kalbe Sadiq also kicks up a row proposing 30 per cent quota for women in India’s Muslim Personal Law Board

Al-Qaeda 'faces funding crisis'

Don't pressure Iran, says Russia

Iran on defensive over secret site

Karzai questions vote fraud panel:

Reasons to back Afghanistan's Karzai

America should shift focus: Egypt to Indonesia, fall-out of Pew study of Muslims

How Osama trained his family for ‘war’

Osama likes giving surprises, took us camping: Wife in book

India fumes at Pak HC relief for Saeed

Saeed lawyer wants to visit India home

Deoband: Jamait-ul-Ulema Hind split, factional fight to intensify

Global agenda for change in Muslim-Christian relations

US facing disappointments in battling Taliban in Pakistan

Albanian Imam Charged with Inciting Jihad

Centre ready to build the road to Kashmir’s heart

13-yr-old kills 41 in Pak market

Pak jets pound Taliban hideouts

‘ISI officer’ electrocuted in Delhi, body taken to Pakistan

Pakistani diplomat in Capital dies under mysterious circumstances

Pak diplomat electrocuted by faulty hair dryer

Qasab wants case shifted like Fahim, judge says no

I have no faith in Indian court: Kasab

Bad news: Glaciers in J&K melting faster than others

India: Congress rewards Muslim fan of Narendra Modi, a Marxist ex-MP

Between Afghanistan and Yemen: Battlegrounds of the fight against terrorism are intensifying and growing in size

Arab extremists behind recent Jerusalem clash, alleges Netanyahu

Pakistan's cricket captain offers to quit

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

 

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/lucknow--progressive-cleric-supports-egyptian-ban-on-burqa-/d/1907

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Cleric kicks up quota row

By Piyush Srivastava

13 October 2009

SHIA cleric and vice- president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Kalbe Sadiq has kicked up a debate by supporting an Egyptian university’s ban on burqa in all- girl classrooms and proposing 30 per cent quota for women in the Board.

Speaking at the third convention of Muslim Women’s Movement on Sunday evening, Sadiq said he was opposed to “conservatives” and “anti- developmental religious forces”. “Any Muslim organisation should have adequate representation of women. That is the only option left with us for genuine development of women. I would like to table a resolution in the next meeting of the AIMPLB to provide 30 per cent representation to women,” he said.

Talking to this newspaper later, he also supported the decision of the supreme council of Cairo’s state- run Al- Azhar University to ban niqab (burqa) in its women’s colleges and residences.

“Nothing can be imposed on women. There is no need of a veil when it is a women’s college,” he said.

But it seems Sadiq is in a minority. Most of the Muslim leaders dubbed his views as populist and removed from reality.

Khalid Rashid Firangimahli, Naib Imam of Idgah and the youngest member of the AIMPLB, said Sadiq was irrational and his views were against Darul Qaza (Islamic courts).

“Out of the 251 members in the Board, 25 are women. It was not an easy task to find out those women. Otherwise also, we are against any such provision.

Sadiq is trying to raise these issues to gain publicity.

We wouldn’t have questioned his intention if he had raised the issues in the forum of the Board instead of making public statements,” Firangimahli said.

Zafaryab Jilani, a lawyer and AIMPLB member, said: “Sadiq is free to table these issues in the working committee meeting.

But let me clarify that majority of the members will oppose it.

There are 25 women members in the Board. Most of them never attend the meetings. We are also against the decision of the Cairo University. They are influenced by France and the UK.” Sadiq’s views don’t seem to have found support even among women. Shaishta Amber, chief of the All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board, said: “It sounds good that women should have 30 per cent reservation. But it is not going to add to the economic and educational empowerment of women. I am also against any Western hangover on Islamic institutions. The Cairo University’s decision is absurd.”

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Al-Qaeda 'faces funding crisis'

Al-Qaeda is in its worst financial state for years, the US says

Al-Qaeda is in its worst financial state for many years while the Taliban's funding is flourishing, according to the US Treasury.

Senior Treasury official David Cohen said al-Qaeda had made several appeals for funds already this year.

The influence of the network - damaged by US efforts to choke funding - is waning, he said.

The Taliban, meanwhile, are in better financial shape, bolstered by Afghanistan's booming trade in drugs.

According to Mr Cohen, the al-Qaeda leadership has already warned that a lack of funds was hurting the group's recruitment and training efforts.

"We assess that al-Qaeda is in its weakest financial condition in several years and that, as a result, its influence is waning," Mr Cohen said from Washington.

But he added that as the organisation had multiple donors who were "ready, willing and able to contribute" the situation could be rapidly reversed.

However, the assistant secretary for terrorist financing said that the Taliban were in a better financial position, despite efforts to control the movement's cash supply.

The US administration's Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said that the Taliban get most of their funding from private benefactors in the Gulf.

The many sources of funding for the Taliban make it more difficult to intercept and interrupt money flows, Mr Cohen said.

He also noted a trend in militant organisations turning to criminal activities to finance themselves.

Hezbollah, he alleged, is involved in making and selling illegal copies of music and computer software, as well as cigarette smuggling.

ANALYSIS: Gordon Corera, BBC Security Correspondent

After 9/11 much emphasis was placed on dealing with terrorist finance, since it was something tangible that governments could try to tackle and was far easier than the bigger challenge of dealing with the ideology that sustains terrorism.

But do groups like al-Qaeda need money? Terrorist attacks are not in themselves expensive. Estimates vary but 9/11 might have cost around half a million dollars, the 2004 Madrid bombings $10,000 and the London attacks of 7 July 2005 only a few thousand.

However, al-Qaeda does need resources to operate effectively - for instance its leaders will be paying off local villagers and tribes to ensure their location is not revealed. So restricting the money flow can make it harder for them to operate.

Full Report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8303978.stm

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Don't pressure Iran, says Russia

Hillary Clinton: "We are very interested in working with Russia"

Pressuring Iran and threatening further sanctions over its nuclear programme would be counter-productive, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.

Speaking after talks in Moscow with US counterpart Hillary Clinton, Mr Lavrov said every effort should be made to continue negotiations.

His comments appeared to fall short of the tougher commitment sought by Washington towards Iran.

But Mrs Clinton praised Russia for its help on the issue.

The US secretary of state, in Moscow at the end of a five-day European tour, told a joint news conference with Mr Lavrov that Russia had "been extremely co-operative in the work that we have done together" on Iran.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy purposes, but the US and other Western nations believe it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Tehran revealed last month that it had a second uranium plant, further raising questions about the nature of its nuclear ambitions.

'No requests'

Ahead of Mrs Clinton's visit, a US official had suggested she would ask Russian leaders about "specific forms of pressure" that Moscow would be prepared to back if talks failed.

But Mrs Clinton said no requests had been made.

"We did not ask for anything today. We reviewed the situation and where it stood, which I think was the appropriate timing for what this process entails," she said.

The US was not seeking further sanctions pending talks between big powers and Iran, she added, but could do so "in the absence of significant progress and assurance that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons".

Mr Lavrov, for his part, said "all efforts" should be made to maintain dialogue with Iran.

"We are convinced that threats, sanctions, and threats of pressure in the present situation are counter-productive," he said.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Moscow says Mrs Clinton was looking for a solid commitment from Mr Lavrov, but did not get one.

Both Mr Lavrov and Mrs Clinton also said there had been considerable progress in talks on a new treaty to reduce the two countries' nuclear arsenals.

Talks with President Dmitry Medvedev were also on Mrs Clinton's agenda for Tuesday.

Full Report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8303517.stm

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Iran on defensive over secret site

UN sanctions against Iran

Iran and the nuclear issue

A month ago, following the revelations about Iran's second uranium enrichment facility, the Russian president said his government might ultimately accept further sanctions as inevitable.

Since then, Mr Obama has met a key Russian demand to scrap plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic as part of a US missile defence system in Europe.

The US administration insisted it did not expect concessions in return.

But US officials have called on Russia to support, or at least not oppose, the idea of the UN Security Council imposing tougher sanctions on Iran if it fails to live up to its international obligations.

The council wants Iran to end uranium enrichment and has approved three rounds of sanctions - including bans on Iran's arms exports and all trade in nuclear material.

During her visit, Mrs Clinton will not meet Russia's powerful Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. He is in China for talks focusing on trade, but also expected to raise the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea.

Karzai questions vote fraud panel

Hamid Karzai said Afghans deserved praise for voting despite adversity

President Hamid Karzai has expressed concern about the investigation into election fraud in Afghanistan.

In an interview on US TV, Mr Karzai said the resignation of an Afghan member of the UN-backed panel "cast serious doubt" on its work.

Mr Karzai said that fraud was likely to have taken place in the August vote, but called it "good and fair".

He leads the preliminary count but the panel's findings - due imminently - could force the vote to a second round.

The election has been mired in controversy since it was held in August, with accusations that fraud was committed on a huge scale.

Full Report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8304592.stm

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Reasons to back Afghanistan's Karzai

 It seems a decision has been taken that, whatever the Americans think of him, whoever's side he is on, he will win, and so he has to be backed, says Mark Mardell, BBC North America editor

Mark Mardell | 16:23 UK time, Tuesday, 13 October 2009

American hard-headed foreign policy, giving succour and aid to dubious foreign leaders, used to be summed up in FDR's alleged phrase "he may be a son of a bitch, but at least he's our son of a bitch".

He may never have said it, but it perfectly summed up a sort of realpolitik justification that was used throughout the Cold War to justify support for all sorts of unsavoury dictators.

That won't be the current White House's approach to the about-to-be democratically elected leader of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. Only in their dreams. It's almost two months after the election and still the votes haven't all been counted. But it is pretty clear he will emerge the winner, and almost certain there won't be a second round.

Full Report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/10/american_hardheaded_foreign_po.html

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A shifting Focus: Egypt to Indonesia, fall-out of Pew study of Muslims

Oct 13, 2009

When Barack Obama made his appeal, back in June, for a new understanding between America and Islam, the venue he chose was Egypt-for some obvious reasons. It is the most populous of the Arab nations adjoining the Middle Eastern conflict zone, with an ancient tradition of Islamic scholarship, and a citizenry that is tempted by fundamentalism but also admires some things about the West.

Still, not everybody liked his choice. Some said he would have made a better point-to his compatriots, especially-if he had addressed the Muslim world from Indonesia, the country where (to quote a line from his speech) he first heard the call to prayer “at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk”. By speaking in Jakarta, Mr Obama might have challenged the mental association that (judging by polls) some Westerners still tend to make: Muslim equals Arab equals hostile to the West.

A new survey of the world’s Muslim population, by the Pew Research Center based in Washington, DC, will help those who are keen to break that link. It estimates the total number of Muslims in the world at 1.57 billion, or about 23 per cent of a global population of 6.8 billion. Almost two-thirds of Muslims live in Asia, with Indonesia providing the biggest contingent (203m), followed by Pakistan (174m) and India (160m).

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528413/

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How Osama trained his family for ‘war’

13 October 2009

AL- QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden’s penchant for springing surprises seems to predate 9/ 11.

A new book, Growing Up bin Laden, co- authored by the terror kingpin’s first wife Najwa and their son Omar, has revealed how on one night in Sudan, Osama suddenly decided to take his family — four wives, 14 kids — on a camping trip.

According to the book, Osama drove into the desert, found an isolated spot and had his oldest sons dig ditches in the sand, long enough to fit each person.

He believed he was training them for an upcoming war between Muslims and “Western infidels”, the New York Post reported.

“You must be gallant. Do not think about foxes or snakes,” he said. “Challenging trials are coming to us.” Each child, including one and two- yearolds, lay in a hollow. There was no water or food. As night fell, a child’s voice whispered in the darkness, “I’m cold”, the book said.

“Cover yourself with dirt or grass,” Osama snapped. “You will be warm under what nature provides.” Osama’s first wife, Najwa, didn’t like the idea, “ but, I reminded myself that my husband knew much more about the big world than any of us.

We were all pearls to my husband, and he wanted to protect us”. Fifty- one- year- old Najwa remains married to Osama, though she now lives separate from him in an undisclosed Middle Eastern location with her fourth son Omar, one of 11 children.

In the book, however, she has neither defended nor lashed out at her husband.

Terrorism is what he does for a living; all she needed to worry about was keeping his house in order, she said in the book.

Najwa met her first cousin Osama, the nine- year- old son of her father’s sister, when she was just seven.

He was such a serious, conscientious boy. He was proud, but not arrogant. He was delicate, but not weak. He was grave, but not severe, the book said.

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Osama likes giving surprises, took us camping: Wife in book

Oct 13, 2009

New York: It seems that Osama bin Laden has a penchant for acting without notice.

A new book, Growing Up bin Laden, co-authored by Osama’s first wife Najwa and their son Omar, has revealed how on one night in Sudan, the al-Qaeda leader suddenly decided to take his family — four wives, 14 kids — on a camping trip.

According to the book, Osama drove into the desert, found an isolated spot, then had his oldest sons dug ditches in the sand, long enough to fit each person “as he believed that was a training for an upcoming war coming between Muslims and the Western infidels”, New York Post reported.

“You must be gallant. Do not think about foxes or snakes,” he says. “Challenging trials are coming to us.” Each child, including a few one and two-year-olds, lies in a hollow. There is no water or food.

As night falls, a child’s voice whispers in the darkness, “I’m cold.” “Cover yourself with dirt or grass,” bin Laden snaps. “You will be warm under what nature provides.”

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528430/

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India fumes at Pak HC relief for Saeed

By Badar Alam in Lahore, 13 October 2009

THE LAHORE High Court on Monday threw out two cases that a provincial government in Pakistan had registered against Hafiz Saeed, whom India considers to be the 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind. India has reacted strongly to the development.

“It is surprising that Saeed has been let off by the Pakistan court. He was the brain behind the Mumbai blasts. Pakistan should conduct a probe on his role in the attacks,” external affairs minister S.M. Krishna said.

The minister said India would take up the issue with Pakistan as the latter had indicated that it will launch a formal investigation against the 26/11 mastermind. Krishna said India had provided enough evidence on Saeed but he was not booked in that case. “Our talks with the Pakistan foreign minister was on the line that formal investigation would be conducted on Hafiz Saeed with reference to Mumbai. We will certainly take it up with Pakistan,” Krishna said.

“As far as my knowledge goes, Saeed was not probed for his role in the Mumbai attacks though we insist that they investigate his role. We have provided evidence that he was the brain behind the attacks,” Krishna said. Earlier in Pakistan, a division bench of the Lahore court said the cases registered under the anti-terrorism law had no legal basis. They were based on the premise that Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that Saeed runs, is proscribed, A.K. Dogar, Saeed’s counsel said. “But under the Pakistani law it is not a proscribed organisation,” the lawyer added.

The two cases were registered in late August this year after Saeed addressed a couple of religious gatherings in the Punjab city of Faisalabad.

“The cases were lodged under a clause of the anti-terrorism law that prohibits the leaders and members of banned terrorist organisations from making public speeches,” Dogar said.

“But we argued in the court that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is neither a terrorist organisation nor a banned one,” he added.

When asked about the United Nations ban placed last December, Dogar said: “ The court has also settled this issue ( in an earlier case). The UN does not have legal jurisdiction within our country. Unless the government of Pakistan bans Jamaat- ud- Dawa, it is a legal entity.” However, in India, the ruling Congress has termed the dismissal a serious development.

“ The international community should take note of it,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said. The Opposition BJP described it as a a proof that Pakistan did not want to act against the 26/ 11 attackers.

SUICIDE BLAST

A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up near a troop convoy in a crowded market in the Shangla area of the restive northwest region in Pakistan, killing 41 people.

“Six securitymen were also killed and 50 others wounded,” police said. This was the fourth major strike by the Taliban in a week and came just two days after the terrorists carried out a brazen storming of the Pakistan Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The Taliban main spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tariq said the strike on the army Headquarters was the first planned series of attacks to avenge the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud.

With inputs from Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi & PTI

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Saeed lawyer wants to visit India home

Ruchika Talwar, Oct 13, 2009

Lahore : He is counsel for Hafiz Saeed, and in Monday’s triumph in court, he has added to India’s frustrations. He says he’s only doing a job — as he does with his other clients, a group that includes the Communist Party of Pakistan. And deep inside him still lives the child victim of Partition who cannot forget his school by a railway line in undivided Punjab.

A K Dogar, lawyer for Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Saeed, is an unlikely candidate for nostalgia.

“I reminisce about my days in india. I recall Hoshiarpur, my birthplace, and the train journeys I would make with my father to the erstwhile kingdom of Rampur where I went to school,” he told The Indian Express. “Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Jagadhri, Moradabad make up the montage of those journeys... My school was beside a railway line... I am very keen to visit the land I left behind in 1947.”

He is unapologetic about defending the man New Delhi considers the mastermind of the worst terrorist outrage on Indian soil.

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/saeed-lawyer-wants-to-visit-india-home/528439/

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Global agenda for change in Muslim-Christian relations

Georgetown's Common Word conference raises awareness on urgent need to work together.

By John L. Esposito - WASHINGTON

The just-completed Georgetown's Common Word conference, Oct. 7-8, occurs at a time when the need for serious engagement and cooperation between Muslims and Christians is more urgent than ever.

Islam and Christianity are far and away the two largest global religions (1.5 and 2.1 billion). Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world's population. Today, more than ever before, they co-exist or encounter each other in 57 Muslim countries and in Europe and America and beyond. Despite significant doctrinal differences, they also they share much in common in matters of faith, values and interests. If religion has too often been part of the problem, it must also be part of the solution.

In contrast to the past, the world of the 21st century is both transformed and threatened by the impact of globalization, a source of integration and fragmentation in international affairs, economic and social development, and inter-religious or multi-religious affairs. Today, President Barack Obama and European leaders are faced with the fallout from eight years of Bush legacy that led many Muslim critics of the US-UK war on global terrorism to charge it was a war against Islam and Muslims, an attempt to redraw the map of the Muslim world. Obama, in his inauguration and subsequent addresses to Muslims from Ankara and Cairo, has sought to recast America's image among its Muslim and non-Muslim allies. His commitment to the importance of a multi-lateral approach with its emphasis on diplomacy in the pursuit of peace and justice -- in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, were among the reasons for the recent and surprising award of the Nobel Peace Prize as a recognition and encouragement f Barack Obama's fresh international vision in American foreign policy.

Full Report at: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=34910

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US facing disappointments in battling Taliban in Pakistan

October 12, 3:16 PM

Since the early days of the Global War on Terrorism, destroying the terrorist threat and closing the terrorist safe haven have been key to US national security goals.

For example, the United States has provided Pakistan, a key ally in the war on terror, more than $12.5 billion for military, economic, and development activities. Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which border Afghanistan, are vast unpoliced regions attractive to extremists and terrorists seeking a safe haven.

The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven in Pakistan's FATA. The US relies principally on Pakistan's military to address US national security goals within their borders.

Of the approximately $7.8 billion the United States provided for efforts in the FATA and border region from 2002 through 2009, about 96 percent reimbursed Pakistan for military operations there. According to the Department of State, Pakistan deployed 120,000 military and paramilitary forces in the FATA and helped kill and capture hundreds of suspected Al Qaeda operatives; these efforts cost the lives of approximately 1,400 members of Pakistan's own security forces.

However, members of the US Congress found broad agreement, as documented in the National Intelligence Estimate, State, and embassy documents, as well as Defense officials in Pakistan, that al Qaeda and the Taliban have regenerated their ability to attack the United States and had succeeded in establishing a safe haven in Pakistan's FATA.

No comprehensive plan for meeting US national security goals in the FATA has been developed, as stipulated by the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (2003), called for by an independent commission (2004), and mandated by congressional legislation (2007).  During President Barack Obama's administration, this lack of a comprehensive plan continues to exist.

Full Report at: http://www.examiner.com/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m10d12-US-facing-disappointments-in-battling-Taliban-in-Pakistan

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Albanian Imam Charged with Inciting Jihad

Tirana | 13 October 2009 | Besar Likmeta

Albanian authorities arrested a local imam, Artan Kristo, on charges of inciting terrorist acts on Monday afternoon, in the port city of Durres.

In a press statement, the General Prosecutor's Office, said that the investigation into Kristo's activities started in July and is ongoing, underlining that enough information had been gathered to warrant his arrest.

Kristo, also know as Muhamed Abdullah, is accused of “publicly inciting and propagating terrorist acts”. He is also charged with calling for jihad in the AlbSelafi.net online forum.

While historically Albanians have practiced a traditional, tolerant form of Sunni and Bektashi Islam, now a third, more radical school is gradually being introduced. 

According to observers, the Selefi sect of Islam, which currently enjoys the adherence of a small minority in Albania, associated with imams who mostly studied in the Middle East after the collapse of communism, has been persistently seeking to gain control of Albania's Muslim Community, AMC, the country's leading Islamic organisation. 

In a paper published in August 2008 for the Advanced Research and Assessment Group of the British Defence Department, historian Miranda Vickers argues that the Selefi sect is garnering increasing support in Albania from young men favouring a stricter, more rigorous interpretation of Islam, as practiced in some Arab states.

Aristo had formerly worked in 2002 as a representative of the El-Haramain Foundation, an Islamic charity with alleged ties to Al-Qaida. The El-Haramain offices in Albania were closed in 2004 and the charity banned, after its inclusion on the US State Department's terrorist watch list.

Since the mid-1990s thousands of young Sunni Muslim Albanians have travelled to Arab and Asian countries on educational scholarships, with many returning to Albania having embraced different religious schools to the Hanefi, which is traditionally predominant in the Balkans.

Full Report at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/22816/

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Centre ready to build the road to Kashmir’s heart

13 October 2009

THE UNION government has decided to bear the entire cost of building a historic road in Jammu and Kashmir, tracing the path once taken by Emperor Akbar, in a bid to conquer the hearts of the local populace.

The 84- km Mughal Road will be an alternate link to the Kashmir Valley, besides the existing 300- km Jammu- Srinagar highway.

Connecting Bufliaz in Poonch to Shopian on the other side of the Pir Panjal range, it will dramatically reduce travelling time.

The road distance from Poonch to Srinagar will come down from nearly 600 km to just 126 km.

Akbar had trod along this route 423 years ago to conquer Kashmir, but the project to lay the road has been gathering dust for three decades.

But it may finally see the light of the day after the Planning Commission gave its nod to the Centre bearing the total cost of the project — Rs 692 crore. Cabinet secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar travelled to Srinagar last week, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit scheduled for later this month, to inform the state government of the decision.

The decision came after chief minister Omar Abdullah met Union road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath and asked for full central funding for the project. Abdullah said it was impossible for the state government to meet half the project cost — as it had initially agreed.

Kamal Nath then wrote to the Planning Commission. “ Following the request of the state government, the Centre decided to fully fund the construction of the road,” an official said.

The government is likely to release the money soon. However, it has put up the condition that the project will be inspected by a third party to maintain quality control and clean financial dealing, and ensure that the construction deadline is met. The road is expected to be completed in two to three years.

It will pass through some of the most picturesque parts of the Valley, touching a height of 13,000 feet when it crosses the Pir Panjal range. Officials said the link would not only boost the socio- economic profile of the region but also be of strategic advantage.

The road was conceived in 1979 by Sheikh Abdullah, who gave it the name Mughal Road.

Pratul Sharma in New Delhi

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13-yr-old kills 41 in Pak market

13 October 2009

PESHAWAR: A devastating suicide bomb hit northwest Pakistan killing 41 people on Monday, as the military geared up for an assault on Taliban rebels blamed for increasingly bloody and brazen attacks.

The bomber, reported to be aged about 13, flung himself at a military convoy passing through a busy market in Shangla, a northwest district near Swat where the army claimed to have flushed out Taliban rebels after a fierce offensive.

But Islamist extremist groups appear far from quashed, with an audacious raid on army headquarters over the weekend leaving 23 people dead and underscoring the vulnerability of the nuclear-armed nation.

At least 116 people have been killed in a series of devastating blasts and attacks in Pakistan in the last four days.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Shangla blast, but the suicide bombing bore all the hallmarks of a TTP strike, and hit in a one-time stronghold of fugitive Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah.

“Forty-one people were killed and 45 were injured in the suicide blast,” said Mian Iftekhar Hussain, provincial information minister.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/13-yr-old-kills-41-in-Pak-market/articleshow/5117788.cms

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Pak jets pound Taliban hideouts

13 October 2009

KHAR: Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant hideouts on Monday in a tribal region where the military had previously declared victory

over the Taliban, killing 13 alleged extremists a day after the end of a deadly siege of the army’s headquarters.

A series of attacks over the past week shows that the Taliban have rebounded and appear determined to shake the nation’s resolve as the military plans for an offensive in South Waziristan.

Monday’s airstrikes were in Bajur, a separate segment of the northwestern tribal belt where Pakistan waged an intense offensive that wound down in February. Resurgent violence in Bajur could distract the military as it tries to focus on South Waziristan. “This was a heavy spell of bombing”, said local official Tahir Khan, who put the death toll at 13.

Also in Bajur on Monday, a remote-controlled bomb went off in front of the political administration office in the main city of Khar, wounding a passer-by.

In addition, militants were suspected of abducting 10 tribal elders after they attended a meeting aimed at forming a citizens’ militia to protect against the Taliban.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-jets-pound-Taliban-hideouts/articleshow/5117778.cms

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‘ISI officer’ electrocuted in Delhi, body taken to Pakistan

Sahim Salim, Oct 13, 2009

New Delhi : M K Afridi, political counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission and believed by Indian intelligence officials to be a senior ISI staffer, died of electrocution at his home in Vasant Vihar, south Delhi, on Sunday night.

His body was taken to Pakistan through the Wagah border after intervention at the highest level.

Pakistan High Commission officials left Delhi at around 3 am on Monday, crossing into Pakistan at around 8 am. No autopsy was conducted, and no foul play is suspected.

Police said Afridi, 47, had gone for a bath after returning from work on Sunday night. Judging by the way his body was found, it appears he was blow-drying his hair when the electric dryer short-circuited, officers said.

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528461/

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Pakistani diplomat in Capital dies under mysterious circumstances

13 October 2009

A SENIOR diplomat of the Pakistan High Commission died after being electrocuted at his residence in the Capital.

Mohabbat Khan Afridi, political counsellor at the high commission, was killed around 9.30 pm on Sunday. He was in his bathroom and was reportedly electrocuted while using a hair dryer. A relative broke open the door and found Afridi’s hand charred, sources said.

Afridi, who lives in Vasant Vihar with his wife and two children, was taken to Fortis Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

The 47- year- old diplomat was posted in Delhi a couple of years ago. He was a Brigadierrank officer and was suspected to be an ISI operative.

Conspiracy theories about his death have already started doing the rounds.

Vasant Vihar is among the posh colonies of Delhi and the residential units in the area usually have quality electricity circuits.

According to sources, some differences had surfaced among ISI sleuths, triggering rumours that Afridi may have been a victim of internal differences.

His body was taken back to Pakistan on Sunday night itself by road after the ministry of external affairs gave a clearance, sources said. His body was accompanied by his family members and officials from the Pakistan High Commission.

Sources said it was the prerogative of the country whose diplomat had died under unnatural circumstances to lodge a police case or seek a post- mortem report.

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Pak diplomat electrocuted by faulty hair dryer

Rahul Tripathi , TNN 13 October 2009

NEW DELHI: An unfortunate act of carelessness claimed the life of a 49-year-old Pakistani diplomat in the capital on Sunday — straight out of a bath, Mohabat Khan Afridi had tried to use a defective hair dryer, leading to a fatal electric shock.

Afridi, who lived in D-Block, Vasant Vihar in south Delhi, was the political counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission since 2007. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Afridi was a native of Kohat in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

On Sunday night, the diplomat went for a bath, carrying his hair dryer along. ‘‘His wife told us that the hair dryer was damaged and used to give an electric shock about which she had warned Afridi. It appears that after the bath, Afridi was using the dryer when he was electrocuted around 8.30pm. He might have tried to raise an alarm but since the bathroom door was locked, no one heard him,’’ said a senior police officer.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Pak-diplomat-electrocuted-by-faulty-hair-dryer-/articleshow/5118103.cms

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Kasab wants case shifted like Fahim, judge says no

Oct 13, 2009

Mumbai : The special sessions court trying Mumbai terror attack cases rejected the plea of Fahim Ansari, accused of supplying Mumbai maps to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives, to stay the proceedings on the ground that he had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of 26/11 cases to some other court. He had alleged that the recording of evidence was incorrect and should be video-recorded.

While rejecting the plea, Special Judge M L Tahaliyani said that “it was an attempt to delay the ongoing trial”. The court also observed that the current application and the one filed on October 6 were of similar nature and were being filed with an intention to put hurdles in the completion of the case when the recording of evidence is at the fag end.

The court said it had on several occasions ensured that the lawyer of the accused is present in the court and advance intimations had been given to him, but to no avail. The court also said it had been lenient towards the accused and allowed him to meet his wife for long durations. However, the demeanor of accused Ansari has been of unconcern towards the court proceedings, it stated.

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/528285/

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I have no faith in Indian court: Kasab

October 12, 2009

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani gunman who along with his nine accomplices attacked the city on November 26, 2008, moved an application seeking transfer of his case to an international court.

But on Monday the special court hearing the 26/11 trial rejected the application of the 21-year-old Lashkar-e-Tayyeba suspect.

When Judge M.L. Taheliyani asked Kasab why he wants to transfer the case, he replied: “Mujhe kisi Hindustani court pe bharosa nahi, mera case international court ke pas bhej do. (I don’t have faith in any Indian court, transfer my case to an international court).”

Rejecting his plea, Judge Taheliyani said: “The plea is totally misconceived and mischievous and it needs no judicial order.”

Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi refused to advance any argument regarding the plea saying he wasn’t aware of the application.

Meanwhile, co-accused Fahim Ahmed Ansari, one of the alleged local facilitators of 26/11 attacks, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking audio-video recording of the proceedings before the special court. He claimed the evidence was not being recorded properly.

Full Report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle-news/mumbai/I-have-no-faith-in-Indian-court-Kasab/464160/Article1-464378.aspx

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Bad news: Glaciers in J&K melting faster than others

Toufiq Rashid. October 13, 2009

Environment specialists have long warned that the Himalayan glaciers, a source of water to rivers that flow across India, China, Bangladesh and Burma, are melting faster than the glaciers in the rest of the world.

Now, there are figures to back the claims.

In the last 40 years alone, the Kolhai glacier in the Zabarwan range in Kashmir has receded by 18 per cent, while the 72 sq km area in Suru basin in Kargil district of Ladakh — covered by over 300 glaciers — has shrunk by over 16 per cent.

This data was presented in an international conference on “Climate Change, Glacial

recession and Livelihoods”, organised jointly by the Jammu and Kashmir government, University of Kashmir and The Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, in Srinagar. Experts from the UK, the US, Australia and Nepal are participating in the conference.

Experts say the glaciers are melting at a rate of 0.8 sq km a year due to warmer winters and lesser precipitation.

“The glaciers in the Himalayas are receding at a rate which is higher than other parts of the world,’’ said Shakeel Ramshoo, associate professor of geology and geophysics in Kashmir University and convenor of the working group for climate change in Jammu and Kashmir.

The two glacier systems are the main source of drinking water and irrigation in the valley.

Full Report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rssfeed/india/Bad-news-Glaciers-in-J-amp-Kmelting-faster-than-others/Article1-464526.aspx

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Cong rewards Modi fan Marxist ex-MP

VR Jayaraj, October 13, 2009

The Congress in Kerala decided on Monday to field the former Marxist MP from Kannur, AP Abdullakutty, who was expelled from the CPI(M) in March last for praising the development model of Narendra Modi, as the UDF candidate in Kannur Assembly constituency for the bypoll to be held on November 7. Abdullakutty, who had campaigned in the April Lok Sabha election for the UDF, had joined the Congress after the poll.

Despite stiff protests from several quarters in the party and its feeder outfits against the nomination of Abdullakutty, State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala sent the final list containing his name to the high command on Monday afternoon. Official announcement of Abdullakutty’s candidature is expected from the high command in Delhi either late Monday night or Tuesday morning.

The candidates for Ernakulam and Alappuzha, the other two Assembly constituencies where bypolls are to be held, also had been finalised by the party. As expected, former State Minister Dominic Presentation would be the candidate in Ernakulam, while district Congress president AA Shukur would contest for the UDF in Alappuzha. The bypolls were necessitated by the resignation of the Congress’s sitting members after they were elected to the Lok Sabha.

At the same time, the CPI(M) continued its struggle to find an appropriate candidate for Ernakulam constituency, while it had already decided to field party State committee member MV Jayarajan in Kannur. The Alappuzha seat would be contested for the LDF by CPI’s G Krishnaprasad. The CPI(M) wanted K Balachandran, former Kochi Mayor and former chairman of the Greater Cochin Development Authority as the candidate in Ernakulam, but he had steadily refused the offer.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/208737/Cong-rewards-Modi-fan-Marxist-ex-MP.html

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Between Afghanistan and Yemen: Battlegrounds of the fight against terrorism are intensifying and growing in size

Mon, 12 October 2009

Abdullah Iskandar

The international situation is becoming more and more marked by the repercussions of the US’s war on terror. In spite of the criticism directed by the current administration in the US against the former one in this respect, and of its promises to change the way this issue is being dealt with, the facts on the ground remain more stubborn than wishes and declared intentions. Indeed, the battlegrounds of the fight against terrorism are, according to the US Administration, increasing in intensity and growing in size, in addition to opponents scoring points in confronting US power.

At the same time, and as a result of such contradiction between intentions and wishes on the one hand, and the progress achieved by opponents on the other, the administration finds itself in a predicament regarding how to continue waging the battle, especially in the Afghan arena and its Pakistani extension. Such a predicament brings to mind its precedent in Iraq, which eventually led to an agreement to withdraw US troops from the country, knowing that it would be nearly impossible to repeat such an agreement in Afghanistan. Thus the United States finds itself fighting a war that seems almost vain.

Full Report at: http://www.daralhayat.com/portalarticlendah/65342

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Arab extremists behind recent Jerusalem clash, alleges Netanyahu

Josef Federman, October 13, 2009

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Muslim extremists of being behind recent violence in Jerusalem and said on Monday they spread baseless lies to ‘undermine the peaceful life’ in the holy city.

The comments followed days of low-level unrest at the city’s most sacred shrine. The violence has added to regional tensions fueled by stalled peace efforts, Israeli construction in Jewish settlements and a UN report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Late on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem and undermining Palestinian claims to the city.

In an about-face, Abbas also announced he would push for a vote in the UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned the Gaza report, to refer it to the UN General Assembly — a move that could ultimately lead to war crimes proceedings against Israel.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/208559/Arab-extremists-behind-recent-Jerusalem-clash-alleges-Netanyahu.html

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Pakistan's cricket captain offers to quit

Younus is unhappy at the allegations made against his team

Younus Khan has tendered his resignation as Pakistan captain despite being cleared of match-fixing charges by a parliamentary sports committee.

He submitted his resignation to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) - who are yet to accept it - on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old said he was "disgusted by match-fixing allegations made against me and the team."

Younus was attending a hearing to discuss Pakistan's performance in the recent ICC Champions Trophy.

National Assembly committee chairman Jamshed Dasti had alleged that Pakistan deliberately under-performed during the competition - although he later insisted that the committee never intended to make match-fixing allegations against the players.

"We are totally satisfied with the explanation of the team management and board," he said. "The committee is satisfied no match-fixing took place."

Younus told the Reuters news agency: "Yes, I have submitted my resignation. I have told the chairman to go through my resignation and read my point of view."

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt added: "It's an emotional decision and I reject it.

"I hope to convince Younus to revoke his decision, but if he sticks to his stand then the matter will be decided by the PCB's governing council next week on 19 October."

Younus has scored 5,260 runs in 63 Tests - at an average over 50 - since making his debut against Sri Lanka in 2000, and succeeded Shoaib Malik as Pakistan captain in January 2009.

He has also appeared in 194 one-day internationals and led Pakistan to victory at the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England earlier this year - before retiring from Twenty20 internationals.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/lucknow--progressive-cleric-supports-egyptian-ban-on-burqa-/d/1907

 

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