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Islamic World News ( 12 Feb 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Malaysia deports Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari

Saudi blogger’s tweets about Muhammad has some calling for his execution

Sierra Leone: President Koroma opens 51st Ahmadiyya Conference

Militants outlaw attacks against Pakistani military in key sanctuary along Afghan border

Militants decry attacks against Pakistani military

Islam better protects human rights

Comm. and Industry Minister heads for Pakistan, eyes $10 billion trade in three years

Pakistan, India firm on improving trade ties: Pak Minister

Australians to be healed from ''Islamophobia'' by head of global Islamic organisation

China will not risk economic ties with India for Pakistan: Pakistani Author

Al-Shabab, Al Qaeda: Linkup of groups in decline?

Live peacefully, get good education: Osama told his kids

Afghan forces raid Pakistani village, kill 2 ‘Taliban suspects’

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari



Malaysia deports Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari

By Katerina Nikolas
Feb 12, 2012

Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari has been deported to Saudi Arabia by authorities in Malaysia, in spite of pleas by human rights organizations not to send him back. Kashgari could face execution if Saudi finds him guilty of apostasy.

Malaysia has deported Saudi writer and journalist, Hamza Kashgari, 23, sending him back to Saudi Arabia where he is accused of blasphemy. Kashgari left Malaysia in the custody of Saudi officials, in spite of pleas by human rights organizations that he should be allowed to be given leave to stay, as he faces a possible death sentence in Saudi.

The News reported Malaysia's Home Ministry issued a statement saying "Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other, and (Kashgari) will be repatriated under this arrangement. The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities."

Kashgari's family retained lawyer Muhammad Afiq Mohamad Nor, who Aljazeera reported has obtained a court order to prevent the deportation. He slammed the deportation as unlawful in light of he court order, saying "We are concerned that he would not face a fair trial back home and that he could face the death penalty if he is charged with apostasy."

Right wing Saudi clerics in the Kingdom are already baying for the blood of Kashgari, demanding he be punished for blasphemous writings concerning Prophet Muhammad. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had implored Malaysia not to return Kashgari to Saudi, with HWR saying Malaysia should not be "complicit in sealing Kashgari's fate by sending him back."

Malaysian human rights lawyer Edmond Bon condemned the deportation, saying "Malaysia should have allowed him to seek asylum from the UN refugee agency to a country of his choice."


Saudi blogger’s tweets about Muhammad has some calling for his execution

February 9, 2012

What are the consequences of just three tweets? For Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi blogger who tweeted about the Islamic prophet Mohammad on his birthday, the result was more than 30,000 responses in one day, death threats and a call by the king of Saudi Arabia for his arrest.

The Daily Beast reports that Kashgari removed the tweets posted last week, apologized and asked for forgiveness. But it was too late. He has since had to flee the country for his safety.

Here is what Kashgari originally tweeted, according to the Daily Beast:

“On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you,” he wrote in one tweet.

“On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more,” he wrote in a second.

“On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more,” he concluded in a third.

Since leaving for Southeast Asia yesterday, Kashgari told the Daily Beast that he will never go home, saying “It is impossible. There is no way.”

International Business Times reports that some have placed a 10,000 riyals (about $2,666) reward on Kashgari’s head with others saying he was a “dead man walking.”

Watch as Islamic cleric Sheikh Nasser Al Omar breaks down in tears during a speech while asking the king to have Kashgari arrested and charged with apostasy, which is punishable by death:

The Daily Beast reports Ahmed Al Omran, who writes the blog Saudi Jeans, as saying that more conservative Saudi’s often watch social media sites for controversial statements, such as Kashgari’s. He says he believes they are using Kashgari’s statement to “take advantage of the situation, make an example out of him, and show their strength.”


Sierra Leone: President Koroma opens 51st Ahmadiyya Conference

By: State House Communications Unit

February 11, 2012.

Bo, Southern Sierra Leone: In keeping with his policy of religious tolerance, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma officially opened the 51st Jalsa Salana of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Bo on Friday 3rd February, 2012.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, which stands for the brotherhood of mankind and strives to establish peace on earth through love, persuasion and tolerance, was founded in 1889 in a small town Qadian, in Punjab, India. Its founder, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) claimed to be the Promised Reformer of the age.

The Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is aimed at not only promoting increasing knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Islam and gain all forms of blessings to enable Muslims to become better Ahmadi Muslims, but also infuse in them a new spirit of faith and Taqwa (fear of Allah) and are enabled to go forth and serve the Jama’at and the cause of Islam with renewed fervor and energy.

In his keynote address and formal opening of the conference, President Koroma paid glowing tribute to the work of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Sierra Leone. He noted that over the years the Mission has intervened in the educational and health sectors of the country and the signs of their good work are visible for all to see. In education, the Ahmadiyya Mission has built 187 primary schools and 53 secondary schools all across the country, the president disclosed and advised the Ahmadiyya Jama’at to send their children to school. He also noted that because of the intervention of the Ahmadiyyat in the health sector, many lives have been saved.

President Ernest Bai Koroma maintained that for one to be a true Muslim, Christian or Believer one has to live a life of peace, love and tolerance. According to the president, when some Meccans were persecuted for their belief in the Holy Prophet Mohamed, they fled to Abyssinia where they got refuge and shelter from the Christian King Jaffi Jaffa. He said that the relationship between the Muslims of Mecca and the Christians of Abyssinia as told in the Holy Quran is an excellent example of religious tolerance.

President Koroma informed the Jama’at that the recently concluded Conference on Development and Transformation focused on peace as the “palm oil with which development is eaten”. He thanked the Ahmadiyya Mission for their role in strengthening the peace and orderliness that the country so crave for to propel development and alleviating the lives of the people. He enjoined the Sierra Leonean people to unite and put aside hatredness, be tolerant, love and respect each other for development to move on.

Shiek Tejan Sillah of the Freetown Central Mosque described President Ernest Bai Koroma as a man of peace. He prayed for the president for Allah’s blessings, long life and good health to continue the wonderful work ongoing under his stewardship. The Imam of the Freetown Central Mosque emphasized that all 124,000 prophets sent to this world by Allah came to promote peace and love, thereby changing the behaviour and attitudes of people.

Bishop J.C. Humper of the Sierra Leone Inter-Religious Council called on all Sierra Leoneans to be tolerant and peaceful, “Love for all, hatred for none,” he pleaded. He referred to President Koroma as a very peaceful leader, while adding that the president has preached unity in diversity since he came to office in 2007.

Another firebrand of the Inter-Religious Council, Alhaji U.N.S. Jah observed that Ahmadiyys are much disciplined, and “without discipline”, he said, “a nation cannot move”. Alhaji U.N.S. Jah said that the presence of President Koroma at the ceremony was a very good thing and noted that obeying the president is an edict of Allah. He thanked President Koroma for continuing the religious tolerance prevalent in the country, while maintaining that as far as he believes President Ernest Koroma has been given a post dated check to continue to open ceremonies of such nature.

Alhaji U.N.S. Jah entreated the people of Sierra Leone to eschew violence, preach peace as it is the only way forward for the country. He openly declared that “President Ernest Bai Koroma is a very peaceful man without prejudice to any other person whatsoever”. He called on Muslims to register to enable them to vote, otherwise, he said, if they fail to vote, the devil will rule this country.

Meanwhile, President Ernest Bai Koroma also visited the Bo City central praying ground at the New Site where 200 bags of cement was donated to the Imams in Bo to fence the praying ground.

President Koroma described the massive turn out as an indication that there is unity among the Muslim Umaah in Bo. He emphasized the need for unity, peace and tolerance among the people of Sierra Leone for development to take root. “Is the road system in Bo today the same as yesterday?” he asked. The multitude replied a resounding nooo! “Is the agricultural sector in Bo today the same as yesterday?” The people replied again nooo! “Is the health sector in Bo today the same as yesterday?” Again, the crowd roared, nooo! The president went on to note that even the blind will realize that the roads in the Bo Municipality are not the same as yesterday. He asked the people to decide for themselves who has done more for this country in terms of addressing their heartfelt concerns.

The president reaffirmed this commitment to continue to promote religious tolerance in Sierra Leone. He gave the parable of man whose brother was a surgeon but whenever he performs an operation, the patient will die, while another surgeon, although a stranger performs operations with dexterity and saves lives. “Will you continue to go along with your surgeon brother against the stranger? The mammoth crowd thunderously replied NOOOO!

In his statement, the representative of the United Council of Imams Southern Region, Alhaji Mustapha Alpha Koker expressed profound pleasure to speak on behalf of the noble Council of Imams. He described President Koroma as a President without religious borders. “Your Excellency’s unreserved and perpetual concern for Muslims and their welfare has taught both Muslims and Christians of Sierra Leone a great deal of religious tolerance”, Imam Koker said.

The representative of the Council of Imams, South, disclosed further, “Your Excellency allow me to disclose to you that Sierra Leone is rated No.1 for religious tolerance in the Continent and beyond…in retrospect, you nearly called off a trip to last year’s Commonwealth Conference in Australia because of the stranded Pilgrims at Lungi Airport. Your sympathy was immediately translated into dispatching one of your Ministers to end the suffering of those stranded Muslims.” He also revealed that “During the month of Ramadan every year you feed thousands of Muslims nationwide. May Allah reward you abundantly. May he make true all your good intentions for this nation.


Militants outlaw attacks against Pakistani military in key sanctuary along Afghan border

By Associated Press,

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, February 12— Pakistan’s leading militants have called on fighters not to attack the Pakistani military in their most important sanctuary along the Afghan border.

Taliban and al-Qaida militants have long used the North Waziristan tribal area as a base to stage attacks against U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan has refused U.S. demands to launch an offensive in North Waziristan. American officials have accused the Pakistani government of supporting some militants in the area.

A militant leadership council distributed a pamphlet Saturday saying fighters should honor an agreement not to attack Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan.

The council includes leaders of the Pakistani Taliban and the feared Haqqani network.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Militants decry attacks against Pakistani military

By RASOOL DAWAR, Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP), February 12, 12 — Pakistan's leading militants have called on fighters to honor an agreement not to attack the Pakistani military in the most important sanctuary for the Taliban and al-Qaida along the Afghan border.

Militants have long used the North Waziristan tribal area as a base to strike U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan. American officials have accused Pakistan of supporting some militants in the area, especially the feared Haqqani network — allegations Islamabad denies.

The operational chief of the Haqqani network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is part of the five-member leadership council that distributed a pamphlet Saturday ordering militants not to stage rocket or bomb attacks in North Waziristan.

"In North Waziristan, we are all in agreement with the Pakistani government, so we are all bound to honor this agreement and nobody is allowed to violate it," the pamphlet said. A copy of the document was obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday.

Anyone who violates the agreement "will dealt with as a culprit," it said.

The military, which has never publicly acknowledged a peace agreement with militants in North Waziristan, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The military has targeted militant bases in other tribal areas along the border, and the pamphlet appeared to be an attempt by the militants to preserve North Waziristan as a sanctuary from such an offensive. There have been several rocket and bomb attacks against the military in North Waziristan since the council was formed in early January.

Haqqani is the only Afghan militant on the council. The others are from Pakistan, including the most senior members of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, and two other prominent commanders, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir.

The council was set up with the assistance of al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban to work out differences among the Pakistan-based militants, who have long been split over where they should focus their fighting. The Pakistani Taliban have concentrated on toppling the government in Islamabad, while the other militants on the council have almost exclusively directed their attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has launched a series of offensives against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest. But it has resisted U.S. demands to launch an operation in North Waziristan, even though it has approximately 40,000 troops stationed there.

The military has said its forces are stretched too thin by other offensives. But many analysts believe the reluctance is driven by close ties with the Haqqani network, which is seen as a key ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.

The military has also allegedly struck peace agreements in the past with two other members of the council, Bahadur and Nazir. But those pacts have never been explicitly acknowledged by the military.

Many Afghan Taliban militants are also believed to be based in Pakistan, especially in the southwestern province of Baluchistan. Analysts have speculated that the group's chief, Mullah Omar, is based there.

Pakistani tribal police on Sunday accused Afghan forces of crossing into Baluchistan and snatching three men allegedly providing safe haven to militants fighting in Afghanistan.

Thirteen Afghan security personnel drove nearly 2 miles (3 kilometers) into Baluchistan on Saturday and took the men from Thukha village, said Mohammed Azim, tribal police chief in the surrounding Killa Saifullah district.

Officials have received unconfirmed reports that two of the men have been killed and have sent a delegation to Afghanistan to retrieve the bodies, said Azim.

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the allegations.

The border in the area is not clearly marked, and locals regularly travel between the countries.

Associated Press writer Abdul Sattar contributed to this report from Quetta, Pakistan.


Islam better protects human rights

By: Our Staff Reporter

SADIQABAD, February 12, 2012 - The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) should be followed by the Ummah and the Muslims should make an all out-effort to live according to the commandments of the Last and Final Messenger.

These views were expressed by Anjuman Fidayaan-e-Mustafa founder and president Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Jatoi while addressing a religious congregation in connection with Miladun Nabi (SAWW) at a mosque at Hussainabad, tehsil Rahim Yar Khan. “With the arrival of the Last and Final Messenger (SAWW), the evils, atrocities and injustice came to an end in the Arab society. The ways Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) ensured the protection and provision of human rights are guidance for the whole of humanity,” he said. The speaker urged the Muslims to play their key role in eradication of social evils.

The congregation was also attended by Anjuman district leaderSaeed Ahmad Chishti, Maulana Noor Ahmad, Noorul Hassan Hayat, Arshad Warsi, Qari Ghulam Haider, Mufti Muhammad Usman Saifi among other scholars.


Comm. and Industry Minister heads for Pakistan, eyes $10 billion trade in three years

Indo Asian News Service, 12 Feb 2012

The largest Indian business delegation to Pakistan, consisting of some 150 members and led by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, will take part in a series of events, including an "India Show" in Lahore, over four days starting Monday.

Co-hosted by the two leading Indian business chambers, the event will mark the first visit of an Indian trade minister to Pakistan in 30 years in an exercise aimed at ramping bilateral trade to $10 billion in three years.

The delegation includes some top names from India's corporate world, including Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice chairman and managing director, Bharti Enterprises; Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman, Hero Corporate Services; K K Modi, chairman, Modi Enterprises; Harsh Pati Singhania, managing director, JK Paper; Naresh Goyal, chairman, Jet Airways; Jyotsna Suri, chairperson and managing director, Bharat Hotels; and Arun Nanda, chairman, Mahindra Holidays and Resorts.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president R V Kanoria and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president B Muthuraman will lead the delegations of their respective chambers.

The delegations will visit Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad for close interaction with Pakistani CEOs and officials in what is being described as a "landmark initiative" for removing the barriers so that the volume of two-way trade reaches its potential of $10 billion in the next three years.

 "Any delegation to Pakistan goes beyond business and trade. It will help deepen overall ties and improve people-to-people contact between the two countries," said FICCI president Kanoria, who is also chairman of Kanoria Chemicals and Industries.

Kanoria said besides senior officials, chief executives of over 100 companies would visit Pakistan to explore business opportunities. "There will be a lot of participation from small and medium enterprises as well," he said.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar, chairman and managing director of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) Rita Menon and senior officials from the department of customs and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will also be part of the delegation that will visit Pakistan Feb 13-16.

The delegation will have a series of meetings with business leaders and government officials of Pakistan, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan was recorded at $2.7 billion in 2010-11. Trade balance is heavily in favour of India with its exports at $2.3 billion and imports from Pakistan at $332 million.

Major items of export from India to Pakistan are sugar, cotton, man-made filaments and chemicals, while its top imports from Pakistan include edible fruit, mineral fuels, and organic chemicals.

"The trade potential between our two countries is very high and based on strong fundamental complementarities. One step of opening up of the Wagah border for all tradeable items would double bilateral trade," said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII.


Pakistan, India firm on improving trade ties: Pak Minister

Jawwad Rizvi

February 12, 2012

LAHORE: Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the federal commerce minister, said on Saturday that local businessmen will also go India for a single country exhibition soon on the pattern on The India Show.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of The India Show at the Expo Centre, Lahore, he said that now the Pakistan-India trade relations would move forward reciprocate basis.

“Both governments are determined to ensure normalisation of trade and economic relations and the Indian exhibition is part of the efforts being put in this direction,” Fahim asserted.

He said that the government was well aware of reservations being expressed by certain sectors of the economy.

He, however, urged the Pakistani pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring down prices of their products to compete with Indian pharma companies. He said discussions are underway for three-year multiple visas for the business community.

Later talking to the media, Fahim said that the existing infrastructure at Wagha border was insufficient to handle the volume of bilateral trade.

“Things are gradually improving on both sides and infrastructure development was also underway,” he said and added that the stakeholders from both the countries were meeting to resolve issues faced businessmen and that no decision would be made in haste. However, he did not respond to a question that India has yet remove non-tariff barriers.

Sharat Shabarwal, the Indian High Commissioner, speaking on the occasion, said that the India wants to share its growth potential with other countries especially with its neighbours. He said that India wants to enhance corporation and bilateral trade with Pakistan. But he admitted that the visa regime was the main hindrance in the promotion of bilateral relations and added that the visa will be eased soon.

He said that a wide range of products is being displayed by Indian manufacturers in The India Show which will pave the way for promoting future trade ties.

Speaking on the occasion, Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, president Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that the India Show 2012 would lay a new milestone in the history of Pak-India relations. He said that Pakistani business community would also hold the same kind of event in India soon.

He said that documented bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is around $2 billion whereas the actual potential is around $10 billion.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, vice president of the Saarc Chamber, termed The India Show as a start of a new era in Pakistan-India relations. “It will not only further strengthen relations between the two sides but would also give a considerable boost to the bilateral trade,” he said and added that trade among regional countries was the best answer to ongoing global financial crisis.

After the ceremony, the Federal Minister formally inaugurated the exhibition and took round of the hall. LCCI’s senior vice president Kashif Younis Meher, vice president Saeeda Nazar, US Consul General in Lahore Nina Maria Fite, former senior vice president Abdul Basit were among the prominent personalities who were present in the ceremony.


Australians to be healed from 'Islamophobia' by head of global Islamic organisation

February 12, 2012

This week Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has invited Professor Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to discuss “Transition and Change: The OIC and the Islamic World”

Events take place on February 15th and 16th at the National Press Club of Australia and at Griffith University, Brisbane. Following similar events in Europe and Washington, Mr Rudd’s visitor is here to educate and help us overcome “Islamophobia” in Australia.

The OIC, which represents 56 Islamic states, makes up the largest voting bloc of the UN.

United in their effort to limit critical discussion of the Islamic religion and sharia law, these countries refuse to sign the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. OIC members construed the ‘Cairo Declaration’, in which human rights are subject to interpretation by Islamic clergy and sharia law. The OIC is headquartered in Saudi Arabia, a feudal monarchy renown for violation of basic human rights under strict sharia law.

The feigned concern of the OIC with discrimination against Islam and more notably views not supportive of Islam is in contrast to the violent intolerance experienced by non-Muslim minorities in many Islamic countries. Indigenous religious minorities, which are not afforded the same respect, recognition or equality demanded by the OIC for Muslim immigrants in the West.

Author and human rights activist Ayan Hirsi Ali ‘s recent article 'The Global War on Christ-ians in the Muslim World' highlights “... an unrecognised battle costing thousands of lives.” With these facts in mind, there are serious questions democratic governments should be asking the OIC, before taking advice from Professor Ihsanoglu.

Q Society appeals to Mr Rudd to show courage and openly address this discrepancy and the discrimination against non-Muslims, evident in almost every OIC country.

Vilifying critics of Islam and sharia practices as 'islamophobic' is in fact aiding and abetting those who seek to silence the debate about the rise of Islamic sharia, both in the West and in the once secular countries of the OIC.

About Q Society of Australia Inc.

Q Society of Australia Inc is a national grassroots organisation run by volunteers since 2010. Our members are concerned about the socio-political problems associated with the rise of Islamic sharia law in Australia; as well as religiously-motivated human rights abuses against women and indigenous religious minorities in OIC countries. We seek to inform and lobby for a free and open discussion about the socio-political impact of Islam in Australia. We oppose the Islamisation of our society and attempts to silence critical debate under the pretence of multicultural tolerance. No tolerance for the intolerant.


China will not risk economic ties with India for Pakistan: Pakistani Author


WASHINGTON:12 FEB, 2012, It might be an 'all-weather ally' of Pakistan, but China is not prepared to treat India as an enemy as it would never want to jeopardise its whopping $ 60 billion trade with the country, eminent Pakistani author and watcher of the region, Ahmed Rashid, says in his new book.

Economic considerations mean that Pakistan can no longer rely on China for full or "unconditional support" to it against India, says Rashid, in his forthcoming book, 'Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan' that is slated to hit the stands on March 19.

"China wants a strategic relationship with Pakistan to balance a rising India, and Pakistan has shown a willingness to provide it.

"But China is not prepared to treat India as an enemy, as Pakistan wants it to; rather, China wants the two countries to live in peace, not in a state of proxy war," Rashid writes.

In his latest book running into more than 230 pages, Rashid says that once upon a time, China strongly supported Pakistan's position on Kashmir, but since the mid-1990s it is no longer the case.

"China has a massive $ 60 billion trade and business relationship with India, which it envisages will rise, six fold in the next ten years. China will not forsake that by throwing its support wholly and unconditionally to Pakistan," he says.

Many Pakistanis, he says, believe that if its relations with the United States finally break down, the lost economic aid can be replaced by China.

China is geographically close to Pakistan; it has in the past funded some major infrastructure projects, such as dams, ports, and roads; it has helped substantially with Pakistan's nuclear weapons and nuclear energy programmes; and it has provided the military with several billion dollars' worth of heavy weapons at cut-rate prices--tanks, ships, submarines, and fighter aircraft.

"But the China-Pakistan relationship is essentially military to military, rather than people to people. (Outside the military, Pakistanis don't visit China and don't speak Chinese.) The $ 9 billion trade between the two countries is heavily weighted in China's favour," Rashid says.

Rashid, who has authored several books, including "Descent into Chaos," which is now considered as one of the standard reference books on the region's recent history, argues that China cannot oblige Pakistan the way the United States does.

"It does not give cash or loans for budgetary support --- it gave only one loan of $ 500 million in 2001.

"It does not give development aid -- in fact, Beijing has no government development agency to distribute such aid," Rashid says, adding that during the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 floods, China's financial help was negligible, and many Pakistanis criticised its lack of presence.

The Americans provided hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of helicopters, but the Chinese provided neither, Rashid writes.


Al-Shabab, Al Qaeda: Linkup of groups in decline?

Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 10, 2012 -- Al Qaeda's decision to formally extend its terror franchise to what once was a nationalist movement in Somalia may only be a desperate joining of hands to prop up two militant groups that are both losing popular support and facing increasingly deadly military attacks, analysts said Friday.

Somalia's main militant group, al-Shabab, and Al Qaeda have been patting each other on the back for years. On Thursday, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri formalized the relationship by giving "glad tidings" that al-Shabab had joined Al Qaeda.

Al-Shabab, which began as a movement to oust Ethiopian troops from Somalia some six years ago, has long been using terror tactics like suicide bombings and car bombings against the weak Somali government and African Union troops in Mogadishu.

The group also has hosted Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters with experience in Iraq and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Al Qaeda also could seek to utilize several dozen U.S. citizens -- mostly of Somali descent -- among al-Shabab's ranks who U.S. officials fear could use their American passports to travel back to the U.S. and carry out attacks.

The Somali government dismissed Thursday's announcement as non-news, given the close ties between al-Shabab and Al Qaeda over the years.

Abdi Rashid, a Somalia expert, said it's not clear what benefit Al Qaeda gets out of the newly announced partnership, given that al-Shabab has been losing large chunks of territory to the East African militaries fighting it in Somalia.

Only a year ago, al-Shabab held sway in most of Mogadishu and much of south-central Somalia. But the group is now losing its grip on the country.

"For me the message they are sending is clear. It is basically an admission that their conventional militarily capabilities probably cannot recover so the only way forward they have in the so-called jihad is to merge with Al Qaeda in the terror campaign," said Rashid, a former Somalia analyst with the International Crisis Group who is setting up an independent policy forum.

Full Report at:


Live peacefully, get good education: Osama told his kids

LONDON:Feb 12, 2012, Slain al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden reportedly told his children to live peacefully in the West where they would get a good education, his brother-in-law has revealed.

Zakaria al-Sadah, whose sister was Osama's fifth wife, said the al-Qaida chief did not want his children and grandchildren to follow the same path of terrorism like him, the Daily Mail reported.

"He told his own children and grandchildren, go to Europe and America and get a good education," al-Sadah, a 24-year-old journalism student, was quoted as saying.

He said that Osama's children were left traumatised by the raid carried out by US special forces in May last year in Pakistan that killed the terrorist.

The children, who were found in the compound in Abbottabad, have not seen the sun for around nine months, al-Sadah said.

The worst affected was 12-year-old daughter Safiyah, who held the head of her injured mother during the attack.

Amal, a 29-year-old Yememi woman, and two other wives, Khairiah and Siham, have gone on hunger strike to protest their imprisonment, al-Sadah said.

He said he fears his sister could be charged with committing crimes against Pakistan.

He wanted to take the children back to Yemen but Pakistani officials have reportedly refused saying the children could be hiding information.

"These children have seen their father killed and they need a caring environment, not a prison, whatever you think of their father and what he has done," al-Sadah said.

"They have never had a normal life. They do not know what it is like to see the sun and to run around the garden. It breaks my heart to see them," he said.

Amal, the youngest of Bin Laden's three widows, was shot in the leg as she lunged at the US troopers to try to protect her husband during the raid.

Of the two elder wives, Khairiah Sabar is a child psychologist, and Siham Sabar is a teacher of Arabic.


Afghan forces raid Pakistani village, kill 2 ‘Taliban suspects’

By Mohammad Zafar

QUETTA: February 12, 2012, Afghan security forces raided a house inside Pakistan, kidnapped two suspected Taliban fighters and later shot them dead, sources said on Saturday.

The incident took place in Badini area close to the Afghan border.

“The Afghan forces raided the residence of tribal elder Sadullah Kakar and whisked away two Taliban suspects,” the sources said.

The house is located more than a kilometre inside the Pakistani territory, they said, adding that the Afghan forces violated the borders, attacked the residence of Kakar and took with them two persons – Abdullah and Muhammad Sarwar Shabozai. Residents of the area confirmed the two people had been shot dead by Afghan forces. Officials said the Afghan authorities had not returned the bodies of the slain Pakistanis. The relatives of the victims said, however, that three people had been abducted and killed by Afghan forces. The third victim, according to them, was identified as Din Muhammad.

Taking strong exception to the border violation, the Balochistan government has informed the Foreign Ministry about the incident. “We have convened an immediate meeting with the Quetta-based Afghan Consul General through the Foreign Ministry to discuss the incident that took place in Qilla Saifullah,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Nasebullah Bazai.


Thousands gather for Difa-e-Pakistan Karachi rally

By Web Desk / Saba Imtiaz

KARACHI: February 12, 2012, Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC)’s Karachi rally, being organised with the support of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), began today (Sunday) at the Quaid’s mausoleum where several religious and political leaders are giving speeches, reported Express News.

JI chief Munnawar Hassan, Maulana Samiul Haq, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hameed Gul, former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Chief of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Ahmed Ludhianvi, late General Ziaul Haq’s son Ejazul Haq, among many others, are present at the rally.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) senior vice-president Ejaz Chaudhry was also present at the rally.

During his speech, Chaudhry claimed that the spirit of change had spread throughout the country and emphasised that Pakistan needs to be “cleansed of America”.

JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch and Haq, while addressing the rally, said that the DPC parties will besiege parliament on February 20 to protest against any decision related to reopening Nato supply routes.

The security cordon around the stage was earlier broken as ASWJ workers stormed the ground when Karachi leader Orangzaib Farooqi took the mic to address the rally.

Regional leaders of the parties have been making speeches since the morning. The afternoon and the evening will be dominated by the central leaders of the parties.

The speeches so far have touched on themes central to DPC, which are against reopening the Nato supply routes and ending American tyranny to live with honour. Speakers have also talked about India’s role in Kashmir and some even paid tribute to Mullah Omar.

Rally preparation

Around 10,000 chairs have been set up, while several CCTV cameras have been installed to ensure security at the rally. Around 2,500 police personnel and 3,500 Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) volunteers are also on duty.

The roads leading to the venue were packed with Jamaatud Dawa and ASWJ supporters. Flags of all parties that are part of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council have been put up at the venue.

Against MFN status for India, reopening of Nato supply

Difa-e-Pakistan Council is a coalition of over 40 religious and political parties that has been vocally demanding the government to keep Nato supply routes closed and withdraw its decision to grant India the status of most-favoured nation.

The DPC has also been promoting the rally online through a newly launched website and the microblogging website Twitter (@Difaepak).

The first DPC rally was in Lahore which was organised by Jamatud Dawa (JuD), whose leadership is in charge of coordination and communication between all members of the group.

Calling for the Nato supply routes to stay closed, the DPC has several times, in their past rallies, threatened to besiege the parliament in case the government decides to reopen the routes.

DPC next rally will be in Quetta on February 27.


Strategic Shift in India-Pakistan Relations



On Kashmir Solidarity Day Yousaf Raza Gilani - Prime Minister of Pakistan - told a Kashmir convention: “we want to resolve Kashmir matter through dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus”. He believes that in 21st century we cannot afford any more wars, though Kashmir remains the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. This amiability marks a sharp strategic shift in the backdrop of Mumbai 26th attacks which led to a complete breakdown in the dialogue process. We of course do find incremental strategic shift in India-Pakistan relationship. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Sing recently described Gilani of Pakistan as a man of peace and Hina Rabbani –Pakistani foreign minister during her India visit stated that mere talking is progress in Indo-Pak relations.

Indo-Pak relationship is conditioned by mutual acrimony born out of politics of revenge. The result is that there is no present, there is no future, only the past happening over and over again. There are of course compulsions for both nations to carry forward the peace process. The civil society in both countries is also doing a fine job by putting necessary pressure on policy making structures. The track two diplomacy is at its finest in supplying timely and doable inputs to both to get out of Mumbai syndrome.

In Pakistan key stakeholders including army are in a process of soul-searching and busy in clearing the rubble of Mumbai attacks. Nawaz Sharief was the first major political player to acknowledge that Mumbai 2008 attacks were carried out by Pakistanis. He stated that it was wrong to view India as No. 1 enemy. The government of Pakistan conveyed the same message through the foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar during her visit to India on July 26th 2011. She stated on the Indian soil that “we have learned lessons from history but are not burdened by history. We can move forward as good neighbours who have a stake in each other’s future and who understand the responsibility that both countries have to the region and within the region”. In fact political introspection has pervaded at other levels.

Speaking at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs former foreign Secretary Reyaz Khan candidly accepted that military strength will not help us in the post cold war era, in a world where there has been a paradigm shift - globalization, economic cooperation and   knowledge society. He argued that china changed its way in the world not through military confrontation but its economic strength. Needless to mention that Reyaz Khan was to carry forward the back channel diplomacy with India after the exit of General Mushrraf. The media too has remained supportive to improving the relationship between two countries. On 14th august 2011 – the independence day of Pakistan - the leading English daily The Dawn organized a round table on ‘’how to take Pakistan forward”. From Sherry Rehman, Akbar S Zaidi, Ayaz Amir to Atizaz Ahsan and Salima Hashmi, near about thirty influential Pakistanis argued that democratic forces need to consolidate and deepen democracy by taking control of areas which shape policy both internal and external. That we have spread our feet far too apart and that 1965 war with India was single most disruptive influence in our history which led to india-centricism in our national security. Mr Atizaz Ahsan confessed that trade through third party is hypocrisy and there is a huge South Asian market for Pakistan to build on.

Full Report at:


Pakistan Taliban holding two kidnapped foreigners

According to a senior militant commander, two foreign aid workers kidnapped from Multan in January are being held by the Pakistan Taliban near the border with


“The two NGO (non-governmental organisation) workers who were kidnapped in Multan nearly a month ago are in our custody near the border. We haven’t made any demands yet,” a senior commander of the Pakistan Taliban said.

“They are in good health,” he assured.

A German and an Italian citizen were kidnapped from their house in Multan on January 19, according to local officials.

The foreigners reportedly work for an aid group, Welthungerhilfe, which helped victims of the devastating 2010 floods. They have been identified as German national Bernd Johannes, 70, and Italian national Giovanni, 24.

Bernd had arrived in Multan on January 11, while Giovanni arrived on January 17 from Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Police in Kot Addu have arrested four people in connection with the kidnapping of two foreign aid workers.

Police suspects that the aid workers were abducted for ransom, however, they had not ruled out reasons.

That is all we can confirm, that they were abducted for ransom. At the moment, we cannot provide any more details or say anything about who is behind it,” said Javed Iqbal, the provincial police chief.


Pak court adjourns Mumbai case proceedings till Feb 14

Press Trust Of India

Islamabad, February 11, 2012, The court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks today adjourned proceedings till February 14 after prosecutors informed the judge that authorities were awaiting fresh dates for a Pakistani judicial commission's visit to India. Chief

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqa Ali told anti-terrorism court Judge Shahid Rafique that Pakistani authorities were awaiting a new schedule from the Indian government for the judicial commission's visit to India, sources told PTI.

The Indian government had earlier told Pakistani authorities that the commission could visit Mumbai at any time between February 1 and 10.

However, the panel could not go ahead with the visit due to various reasons.

Ali told the judge that Pakistani authorities had sought new dates for the commission's visit and were not awaiting a response from New Delhi, the sources said.

Following this, the court adjourned proceedings till February 14.

Khwaja Haris Ahmed, counsel for Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, has filed a petition questioning the manner in which the commission was constituted.

This petition is yet to be decided by the court.

Ahmed also requested the court to fix a date for the commission's visit after February 12, when a 40-day period of mourning for his late father, Khwaja Sultan, will end.

Sultan was Lakhvi's lawyer till his death.

The Pakistani judicial commission is scheduled to interview the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker, the police officer who led the investigation in Mumbai and two doctors who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists and victims.

Lakhvi and the six other suspects have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people in November 2008.

However, their trial has stalled due to various technical issues for the past year.

Prosecutors have said the commission's visit to India is necessary to take forward the trial.


Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to strengthen bilateral ties

ISLAMABAD: February 12, 2012,  Pakistan and Sri Lanka have reached a consensus on ways and means to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation and promote peace and security in the region.

The broad consensus was reached during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s

two-day (February 10-11) visit to Pakistan.

The talks between leaders of the two countries were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and marked by trust and complete understanding, said a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa was accorded a warm welcome. He held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani,” it said.

“Both the president and the prime minister of Pakistan hosted banquets in honour of the visiting Sri Lankan president. The Sri Lankan president also visited Taxila, which was the first centre of Buddhist learning and a testimony to Pakistan’s rich Gandhara heritage,” the statement said.

It said the two sides underscored the importance they attached to the special bonds of affinity existing between the two countries.

“Both sides agreed to hold frequent summit-level meetings, promote parliamentary exchanges and enhance the process of consultations, cooperation and coordination between their respective institutions.”

They attached importance to the free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and considered this to be a valuable instrument to utilise their considerable economic potential, it said.

“They expressed satisfaction on work of their Joint Economic Commission in taking all requisite steps to enhance a two-way trade. It was agreed to make special efforts to increase the bilateral trade to over $2 billion by 2015.”

The two countries also agreed to promote cooperation in financial and banking sectors. The establishment of National Bank of Pakistan in Sri Lanka was also discussed.

In his remarks, the prime minister emphasised the need for exploring the true potential of trade between the two countries. He said the commonality of views on different international and regional issues was the hallmark of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Gilani said the Pakistani nation was happy that Sri Lanka was on the trajectory of development and progress with eight percent per annum GDP growth.

Islamabad and Colombo also pledged to give impetus to their cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, sporting contacts, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts.

They expressed satisfaction on the defence and security cooperation, and agreed to take steps to enhance air and sea connectivity. They also emphasised on the need to exchange parliamentary and media delegations to promote people-to-people contact. The Sri Lankan president said his country looked forward to expanding trade and economic ties with Pakistan. app


Gilani says he’s ready to ‘sacrifice’ position for sake of Pakistan

Agency: ANI

ISLAMABAD, Feb 12, 2012, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court to face contempt of court charges tomorrow, hinted that he was prepared to sacrifice his position for the sake of Pakistan.

“Our aim is to serve the people of Pakistan, doesn’t matter we remain in power or not.Gone are the days when party workers used to sacrifice; now the leaders will render sacrifices… We don’t need government which is not given by masses,” The Nation quoted Gilani, as saying while addressing a public rally.

Citing the example of the former prime minister and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Gilani said the latter preferred embracing the gallows than compromising people’s rights.

On Monday, the Supreme Court is poised to frame contempt of court charges against Gilani. If convicted, he may face disqualification from his office and a jail sentence.

On Saturday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had accused Gilani of putting the whole system at risk to save a corrupt President, Asif Ali Zardari.

Imran said that the government had caused a loss of 8.5 trillion rupees during the last four years.

Alleging that all the government allies including Nawaz Sharif were part of this corruption, Imran said: “How could the politicians having their assets outside the country work for the prosperity of the country.”


Sudanese head of Arab mission to Syria resigns


The Associated Press

CAIRO, February 12, 2012 — An Arab League official says the Sudanese head of the League's observer mission to Syria has resigned.

The official said Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Dabi stepped down on Sunday.

Al-Dabi's resignation comes on the same day that foreign ministers from the 22-member group are to consider a proposal to send a new mission to Syria with Arab League and U.N. observers.

The official said League chief Nabil Elaraby will nominate former Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib as the new envoy to Syria. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The League suspended its observer mission last month amid a surge in violence as President Bashar Assad's regime battles an uprising that began 11 months ago.

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

CAIRO (AP) — The Arab League was to consider a proposal Sunday to revive its suspended observer mission in Syria by expanding it to include monitors from non-Arab, Muslim nations and the United Nations, officials from the 22-member group said.

The proposal was to be discussed in a meeting in Cairo by a "Syria Group" made up of seven member states led by Qatar, according to the officials. The group would make recommendations to an Arab League foreign ministers' meeting scheduled for later Sunday in the Egyptian capital.

Full Report at:


Indonesia: 'Demolition Man' who made the Bali bomb goes on trial


JAKARTA, 12 FEBRUARY 2012, Umar Patek tells police how he used household items to make 1,500lb device that killed 202

An Indonesian militant charged in the 2002 Bali terrorist attacks has told interrogators he spent weeks holed up in a rented house, painstakingly building a huge bomb using household items including a rice ladle, a grocer's scale and plastic bags.

A transcript of Umar Patek's interrogation obtained by the Associated Press offers extraordinary detail of the Bali plot just days before the radical Islamist goes on trial in Jakarta for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that killed 202 people.

Patek, known as "Demolition Man" for his expertise with explosives, says he and other conspirators stashed the 1,540lb bomb in four filing cabinets, and loaded them in a Mitsubishi L300 van along with a TNT vest bomb. The van was detonated outside two nightclubs on Bali's Kuta beach on 12 October 2002. Most of those killed were foreign tourists.

Monday's trial follows a nine-year flight from justice that took Patek from Indonesia to the Philippines to Pakistan, reportedly in pursuit of more terrorism opportunities. He was finally caught in January 2011 in the same Pakistani town where US Navy Seals would kill Osama bin Laden a few months later. Patek was hiding out in a house in Abbottabad, a $1m bounty on his head, when Pakistani security forces, acting on a tip from the CIA, burst in. After a firefight that left Patek wounded, he was captured and extradited to Indonesia. He is charged with premeditated murder, hiding information about terrorism, illegal possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit terrorism, and now faces a possible death sentence as well.

Full Report at:


Syria uprising: Al-Qaeda's al-Zawahiri lends support

12 February 2012

Zawahiri urged militants in other countries to join the Syrian uprising

Al-Qaeda's leader has backed the anti-government uprising in Syria, urging the opposition not to rely on the Arab League or the West for help.

In a video message, Ayman al-Zawahiri said the Syrian rebels had the right to use whatever means they saw fit to get rid of a "cancerous regime".

Egyptian-born Zawahiri, 62, took over as head of al-Qaeda after the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011.

The Syrian government blamed al-Qaeda for two blasts in Damascus in December.

That double suicide bombing killed 44 people.

'Muddy the waters'

Zawahiri, who has a $25m (£15m) US bounty on his head, addressed his video message to the "Lions of Syria".

He urged them to depend on their own efforts and sacrifices, and not on what he called the "failed states of the Arab League, the West, or Turkey".

"If we want freedom, we must be liberated from this regime. If we want justice, we must retaliate against this regime," he said in the video.

Arab League ministers are meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Syria, following the league's decision to suspend its observer mission in the country last month.

Zawahiri called on militants in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, to rise up and support what he called "their brothers in Syria".

There have already been reports of Islamic militants crossing into Syria from Iraq.

It is the clearest sign yet of involvement by al-Qaeda in the uprising in Syria, as it takes on increasingly an aspect of armed insurgency as well as popular protest, says the BBC's Jim Muir, in neighbouring Lebanon.

US officials are reported to believe the recent suicide car bombings in Damascus and Aleppo were the work of al-Qaeda.

Opposition activists have blamed the Syrian government itself for the attacks.

If violent Islamic extremists are becoming increasingly involved, it is going to muddy the waters of an already very complex situation, our correspondent says.


Iranians Show Strong Support for Islamic Republic

TEHRAN (FNA), 2012-02-11- Millions of Iranians in Tehran and other cities poured to the streets to show their unconditional support for the Islamic Republic through staging massive rallies on February 11th, marking the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Huge masses of people from all walks of life converged on streets and squares all over the country to express their support for the cause and ideals of the Islamic Revolution.

More than 1,700 foreign reporters have covered the Bahman 22 (February 11) rallies.

In Tehran, demonstrators then congregated at the Azadi Square, Tehran's main square and the site of major national rallies over the past three decades.

The nationwide rallies also prove to the world that the brave Iranian nation is fully ready to resist and challenge the enemies of Islam and the Islamic Republic.

Led by the Founder of the Revolution, Imam Khomeini, Iranians confronted the forces of US-proxy Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi in late 1977 to end his oppressive, cruel and autocratic rule over the country.

By December 1978, millions of Iranians would take to the streets in protest against the policies of the Shah on a regular basis.

Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Iran to be received by millions of cheering crowds after the departure of the Shah in mid-January 1979. Two weeks later, the country saw the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

The final collapse of the Shah's regime came on February 11 when the military renounced its loyalty to the Shah and joined the revolutionary forces.

On this day 33 years ago, people took to the streets to celebrate the collapse of the Pahlavi Dynasty and the emergence of the new era.


Building halal brands

February 10, 2012 0

By Shelina Janmohamed of Ogilvy Noor

The race is on to establish powerful international ‘halal brands’. The stakes are high: by some estimates, the global market for halal products is worth $500bn a year.

But it’s a market strewn with confusion, as separate Muslim countries try to establish recognised standards and producers from outside the Muslim world also hurry to enter the market. That leaves many Muslim consumers crying out for reliable brands that will help them guide their choices.

First, for the uninitiated, what is halal? In its broadest sense, it applies to anything that is “permitted” or “lawful”and covers everything from food to finance to logistics. In a narrower sense, it covers anything made from animal products, especially food, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Certification in these industries can be especially tricky. That makes it all the more important for marketers to establish credible brands that give Muslim consumers the assurance and confidence they crave. As halal brands proliferate, those that can establish instant recognition and credibility will gain a larger mind share and pocket share among Muslim consumers. As in any industry, brands that establish first mover credentials are likely to win.

Full Report at:


Bad Manto is neither Pakistani nor Indian

Sajid Hussain

Karachi, February 12, 2012, Manto is known for his stories on post-partition prejudices. Ironically, people are still arguing over whether he became an alcoholic in India or Pakistan.

When historian Ayesha Jalal said Manto became an alcoholic after migrating to Lahore from Bombay, some in the audience perhaps saw an anti-Pakistan narrative in the making. “That is stupid,” a middle-aged woman whispered to a much younger man sitting next to her. “That doesn’t make any sense. Manto was always an alcoholic,” the young man replied without looking at the woman. “That has nothing to do with Pakistan.”

There is no reason to believe that Jalal overheard the couple, but she somehow identified the mood. “Manto was always a heavy drinker, that is true, but he became an alcoholic after his migration to Pakistan,” she said. Yet, the murmurs grew louder and denser. “Blame Pakistan for anything, and you’ll become popular,” there came a strong, manly voice, from God knows where. That Jalal must have heard. She had to explain herself further. “In Lahore, Manto couldn’t find a booming film industry from which to eke out a living.” Back in Bombay, Manto had been earning a decent income by writing scripts for films. When he shifted to Lahore after partition, he found himself out of place. Hard pressed for money, his frustration grew, and so did his drinking sessions.

Ayesha Jalal, the ‘greatest historian of Pakistan’ (at least that’s what the host, M R Kazimi, called her), was reading excerpts from her forthcoming book on Manto and partition. She has an inherent advantage in writing on the subject: after all, she is closely related to Manto.

The author of a controversial but respected book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Jalal argued that unlike others – who blamed the post-partition bloodshed on outsiders – Manto was capable of seeing blood on his own hands.

He was a social renegade, she said, who was not convinced with the selective nationalist reconstruction of the past, both in India and Pakistan. “Congress is a mosque and Muslim League a temple,” she quoted the legendary Urdu short story writer as saying.

Saadat Hasan Manto did not find angels on the earth he lived. Maybe that is why he named his compilation of merciless sketches of famous literary figures and film actors as Ganje Farishtay (Bald Angels).