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Murders, forced conversions, lynchings: Pakistan's sorry religious-freedom record

  • New Age Islam News Bureau

    17 Jan 2012
  • 13 militants killed in Pakistan
  • 18 die at Pakistani Chehlum procession
  • Pakistan PM Gilani faces Supreme Court contempt order
  • Rushdie's visit cancellation sparks outrage on social media
  • JI condemns Abdullah statement; terms Rushdie as enemy of Islam
  • Maldives Islamic Minister to investigate “Christian missionary” allegations against the
  • Religious fundamentalism bound to fall, Islam protects minorities: Egypt Mufti
  • India: Islamic court charges Anglican and Catholic with proselytism
  • State
  • Beirut: Existing Muslims-Christian crises unrelated to their religions
  • Saudi Women Target Guardianship Laws to Ease Employment Restrictions
  • Police tap emails of Kerala Muslims
  • Iran: Under Increased Pressure Pastor Youcef Refuses to Recant Faith in Christ
  • Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable - South East Muslims
  • Iraq Lashes Out at Turkey as Sunni-Shiite Rift Grows
  • Int'l Crimes Tribunal fair at Bangladesh
  • UK Barrister Wants Shari`ah Tribunals
  • The Arab Spring and the model of Islam in SE Asia
  • Al-Qaida raises flag over Yemen town, pledges allegiance to terrorist leader
  • Syria: 'heading for civil war' - live updates
  • Pakistan’s greatest crisis is the country’s withering leadership
  • Indian MPs arrive in Pakistan for parliamentary dialogue
  • Iran plays major role in regional stability: Lebanese PM     
  • Visit of Pakistan Army Chief to China
  • Pakistan's apex court suspends Pak President’s lawyer
  • Pakistan Minister Wants Evidence of Taliban Leader's Death
  • Has al-Qaeda Ceased to Exist?
  • Al Qaeda: Is the terrorism network fueling Syrian uprising?
  • Hosni Mubarak trial: Lawyers open defence case in Cairo
  • Nigerian Senate rises to insecurity challenge
  • Egypt's revolution has been misread
  • Foreign aid groups now meet with cold eyes in Pakistan
  • Govt's failure can't be buried under debris of political martyrdom: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
  • Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan
  • Pakistan points gun at its own head
  • Iranian Festival Announces Film Lineup for Muslim Cinema Competitions
  • Islamist Set to Lead Egypt’s Next Parliament
  • Two Saudis bag King Faisal Prize

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Chehlum procession in Khanpur




Murders, forced conversions, lynchings: Pakistan's sorry religious-freedom record

January 16, 2012

From Our Store: Essays in Apologetics, Volume II (eBook)

At least 161 people were indicted last year under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, and 9 people accused of blasphemy were lynched. A Muslim legal scholar estimates that 95% of all blasphemy charges are fraudulent.

A year-end report from the Asian Human Rights Commmission also notes that last year about 1,800 Hindu or Christian girls were forcibly converted to Islam, usually after being kidnapped or pressured into marriage with a Muslim man.

The report on Pakistan’s abysmal religious-freedom record noted that in 2011 at least 30 activists and journalists working on religious-freedom issues were killed. “The state played an ambiguous role to appease the religious extremism and remained a silent spectator of such killings.”


18 die at Pakistani religious procession

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Pakistan police confirmed the explosion that ripped through a religious procession in Khanpur killing at least 18 people was caused by a bomb.

At first, police said the explosion was caused by faulty high-voltage electrical distribution cable but later said it was a remote-controlled bomb planted near an electricity distribution location.

Police near the explosion reported confusion as dust settled over the crowd, which initially turned on the officers as they tried to help the injured.

The explosion went off as mourners came out of a mosque, a report by the Pakistan newspaper Dawn said.

The bomb appeared to have been planted in the path of the procession near a utility pole ahead of time, District Police Chief Sohail Chatta said.

"There was a loud explosion a few yards from the procession and we all scrambled to get away," Imran Iqbal, one of the members of the procession, said.

"Debris was everywhere and a cloud of dust engulfed us. Many people died on the spot."

A police officer said the crowd of mourners started throwing rocks at police after the blast and officers had to use tear gas to control the crowd.

Members of the Shiite population were celebrating Chehelom, the 40th day of mourning. The observance commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and who Shiites say is the legitimate successor to the Mohammed.

Around 20 percent of Pakistan's population is Shiite and 70 percent is Sunni.

The explosion in Khanpur comes after another fatal explosion on the weekend, in Dera Ismail Khan, a Shiite-majority city in north central Pakistan. Dera Ismail Khan is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, around 200 miles west of Lahore.

The attack on a police station left four bombers, three civilians and a police officer dead, witnesses and other sources said.

The News International reported eight other people, including seven police officers were wounded in the attack.

"Four suicide bombers wearing jackets filled with explosives and carrying hand grenades and automatic rifles entered the compound of the [District Police Officer] offices but were immediately engaged by (police)," Syed Itiaz Shah, deputy inspector general for the district police, told the Pakistani newspaper.

One of the suspected attackers was captured but authorities haven't released details of the attackers' affiliations, religious or otherwise.

The city is close to Pakistan's Tribal Agency areas on the border with Afghanistan. Its Shiite and Sunni populations have suffered at the hands of many suicide bombers in the past several years. Many have religious connections but authorities also suspect Taliban is responsible for some of the blasts.

In August 2008 a suicide bomber targeting Shiites set off an explosive device in a hospital waiting room, killing 32 people, including seven police officers. Twenty of the dead were members of one family. Police said they suspected a Taliban bomber.

More than 30 people attending the funeral of a local Shiite man were killed when a suicide bomber attacked in February 2009.

Read more:


13 militants killed in Pakistan

January 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD (Xinhua) -- At least 13 militants were killed in overnight clashes with security forces in southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, local media reported on Tuesday.

The paramilitary troops came under militants attack when they were establishing check posts near Chmalang coalfields in Behlol area late on Monday night. The security forces retaliated upon, killing 13 militants and injuring several others.

The security forces launched a search operation in the area following the clash in which many suspected militants were also reportedly arrested.

Chmalang coal mine is run by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan province under strict security.

The paramilitary personnel provide an outer cordon to the coalfield ensuring security of the work force, including engineers and officials.

Despite the strict security measures, the area is often targeted by militants of separatist movements. Earlier in November last year, 15 security personnel including an official were killed by a group of armed militants in the same area.


Pakistan PM Gilani faces Supreme Court contempt order

Mr Gilani can continue as prime minister while court proceedings take place

Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan's Supreme Court has issued a contempt order against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, raising the prospect of his prosecution.

The court has been considering what to do about the government's refusal to reopen corruption cases against the president and other political figures.

Mr Gilani says that he will appear in person at the court on Thursday to defend himself.

His announcement came on a day of several challenges for the government.

It is locked in a war of words with the army in addition to its tussle with the judiciary.

The prime minister said that his decision to appear before the court was a sign that he respected its authority.

He was speaking in parliament in Islamabad after MPs passed a resolution in support of democracy and the constitution.

Mr Gilani described the vote as "good news for Pakistan".

Correspondents say that even some opposition parties supported the resolution - the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion because it was seen as support for democracy in the country in general.

But it was not a personal vote of confidence in Mr Gilani himself, correspondents say.

Meanwhile another court hearing is taking place into a controversial anonymous memo which asked for US help to avert an army coup in Pakistan, in the wake of the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011, has also resumed.

It is understood that Mr Gilani can continue as prime minister while court proceedings take place. If contempt proceedings go ahead and he is found guilty, he could be automatically disqualified from holding public office.

Continue reading the main story

M Ilyas Khan

BBC News, Islamabad

By putting Prime Minister Gilani on a contempt notice, the Supreme Court in Pakistan has taken its recent stand-off with the government a step further.

A destabilising factor over the last few weeks has been the country's powerful military, which is actively participating in the memo case, which could potentially bring down President Asif Ali Zardari on the charge of treason. It is also said to be supporting the judiciary against Mr Gilani.

But the government is also likely to deploy techniques that will help it to delay a conviction against the prime minister.

The vote in parliament was meant to display unity between political players and aims to discourage unelected institutions from taking action against the government.

Intense uncertainty

At the heart of the court's complaint is the government's refusal to act on a court order quashing a controversial amnesty, which had protected the country's senior politicians from corruption prosecutions.

One of the cases at stake is against Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari - the government insists he has immunity from prosecution as president.

But the deadline for the government to reopen the corruption cases expired on Monday and government representatives were summoned to court to explain what they planned to do.

"The Supreme Court has issued a contempt of court notice to the prime minister for not complying with its orders," AFP news agency reported judge Nasir-ul-Mulk as telling the court.

The order comes at a time of intense political uncertainty, with the government at loggerheads with country's powerful military as well as the judiciary.

The government's stand-off with the military escalated sharply last week when the army publicly rebuked Mr Gilani warning of "potentially grievous consequences" after he criticised army leaders in a media interview and sacked his defence secretary.

Pakistan has suffered three military coups since independence in 1947 but analysts believe the army has little appetite for a coup in this instance.

Continue reading the main story


Supreme Court corruption case: Government's refusal to reopen corruption cases led to a contempt order for PM Yousuf Raza Gilani. If found guilty he could be disqualified from office.

Supreme Court 'memogate' inquiry: This is considering whether President Zardari was involved in a memo asking for US help to avert an army coup. He could be charged with treason.

Parliamentary vote: Parliament backed Pakistan's political leadership and democratic system on Monday - a welcome bonus for the government.

Q&A: Renewed instability in Pakistan

Correspondents say things appeared to have calmed down after talks between civilian and military elites over the weekend when Mr Gilani described the armed forces as "a pillar of the nation's resilience and strength".

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan says the army is throwing its weight behind the judiciary as it pursues its cases against the government.

'Memogate' inquiry

The other court hearing being considered today concerns the so-called "memogate" scandal - the anonymous memo apparently seeking help from the US to avert a possible military coup.

It is not clear who wrote the memo or conveyed it to Washington. US officials say they received the memo but took no action.

The scandal has already cost Pakistan's former ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, his job. He denies any role in the memo, as does Pakistan's President Zardari.

The commission, set up last month, is expected to question government officials to try to establish whether they endorsed the memo, and if so, whether the cabinet can remain in power.

The next key date in this inquiry is 25 January, when Mansoor Ijaz, the person responsible for delivering the memo and who revealed its existence in the first place, is set to appear before court.

The findings of the investigation are due to be announced later this month.


Rushdie's visit cancellation sparks outrage on social media

Jan 17, 2012

NEW DELHI: The cancellation of award-winning author Salman Rushdie's visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival on the inaugural day (January 20) has sparked outrage on social media with many suspecting the government's hand behind it.

It has also fuelled speculation whether Rushdie will visit the festival at all after Muslim hardliners asked the government to bar him from coming.

"Salman Rushdie will attend the festival. His security remains a prime concern," Sanjoy Roy, the managing director of Teamworks Productions, which organises the festival, told the media. Roy added that Rushdie's visit had just been postponed to avoid the first day.

But fans and liberals expressed their anguish on social media. In a hard-hitting message about the Salman Rushdie saga on Twitter, well-known journalist and commentator Vir Sanghvi reacted by saying, "Don't take power away from the people and give it to the bullies."

Last year, Rushdie was in the eye of a storm at the aborted Harud festival in Kashmir after media reports said the organisers had invited the author of controversial books like "The Satanic Verses" and " Midnight's Children".

However, the Jaipur Literature Festival stands by its invitation this year.

Rahul Pandita, the author of "Hello, Bastar", described the tirade against Rushdie as a "shame, shame, shame!"

"This is the real face of the Congress party," Pandita said on social media while foreign correspondent Seema Sirohi felt that "the large Indian state was too weak to protect one man."

Full Report At:


JI condemns Abdullah statement; terms Rushdie as enemy of Islam

SRINAGAR, (SANA): January 13, 2012, Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir has strongly criticized the statement of the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, in which he had described the issuance of visa to Salman Rushdie as a non-issue for the Muslim community.

Omar on Wednesday said issuing visa to Rushdie was not an election issue for Muslims as they are more concerned with their day-to-day affairs.

“By issuing this statement, Omar has played with the religious sentiments of Muslims. CM’s statement depicts his ignorance of the history of Muslim Ummah who have sacrificed everything for safeguarding the honour of the most beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Rushdie is great enemy of Islam and will remain so forever.

Any concession in his favour means disregard to the sentiments of Muslim Ummah,” said Jama’at spokesman advocate Zahid Ali, in a statement.

Full Report At:


Religious fundamentalism bound to fall, Islam protects minorities: Egypt Mufti

January 15, 2012

Amid concerns over the rise of Islamist parties in post-revolution Egypt and ongoing debates about the application of Islamic laws, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa offered quite a comforting overview of both the history of fundamentalism and the ability of moderate Islam to offer equal rights to all citizens.

“Islamic a law as a main reference for legislation has always been in the Egyptian constitution since 1923,” Gomaa told Al Arabiya. “It is the ceiling no one can exceed even in the parliament.”

Gomaa pointed out that preserving the rights of Egyptians from other religions is part of the principles of sharia (Islamic law), mentioned in Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution and which has been a source of controversy especially after the sweeping victory of Islamists in the first parliamentary elections after the revolution.

“However, this article can be modified so that a sentence about the rights of Egyptians belonging to other religions to follow their own legislations can be added.”

Islam, Gomaa added, also grants religious minorities freedom of faith and the right to practice their rituals.

Full Report At:


Islamic Minister to investigate “Christian missionary” allegations against the State

By JJ Robinson and Eleanor Johntone

January 16th, 2012

Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has consulted with President Mohamed Nasheed on allegations that the government has cooperated with Christian missionaries in an effort “to wipe out Islam”.

“The President is now considering the best way forward,” said Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair. “He will either form an independent commission to address the issue, or allow the Islamic Minister to consult with his colleagues. The Islamic Minister will advise the President in the matter.”

Full Report At:


India: Islamic court charges Anglican and Catholic with prosyletism

Final sentence within days. Grand Mufti of the region claims the two men are guilty of forced conversions. Rev. Khanna: "I fear for my life." John Dayal of the All Indian Christian Council (AICC): "Islamic Court has no authority, India is a secular and democratic state".

Friday, January 13, 2012 by Asia News 

"I fear for my life. I am in danger”, is the cry of alarm launched by Rev. CM Khanna (pictured), pastor of All Saints Anglican Church to AsiaNews after he was indicted by a Islamic court in Kashmir for proselytism and forced conversions to Christianity. With him, the Shariah court (which has no legal authority in the State, ed) has also indicted Fr. Jim Borst, a Catholic priest from The Netherland and a Mill Hill missionary on the same charges. The Grand Mufti Muhammad Nasir region-ul-Islam said that the court will announce the sentence "as soon as possible."

In November 2011, the Islamic court had summoned the Rev.. Khanna, charging him with having led 7 young Muslims to baptism in exchange for money. To these accusations - always strongly rejected by the pastor and the converted themselves – led to the man being arrested and only released after a week. A similar fate for Fr. Jim Borst: the missionary had to respond to allegations of proselytizing before the Shariah court of Kashmir state in which he has lived for 49 years.

According to the Grand Mufti, Rev. Khanna allegedly confessed that he "lured" the young people to convert to Christianity. "The situation in Kashmir - said the Islamic leader - is going through a critical phase. If we do not immediately stop such things as these, they will have a negative impact on society. It is shocking and surprising that the Government tolerates such activities. "

Full Report At:


Bairut: Existing Muslims-Christian crises unrelated to their religions

Beirut, Jan 17, IRNA – IRI culture and Islamic guidance minister said here Monday entire crises among Muslims, or between them and Christians, are unrelated to their religions, hoping that they will be eliminated thanks to Muslims’ civilization-building current movements.

Full Report At:Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30768388


Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable - South East Muslims

Say Boko Haram isn’t in line with Islamic tenets

JANUARY 17, 2012


Following security threats in the country by Islamist Sect, Boko Haram, the South East Muslim Organisation (SEMO) on Monday said we have come a long way, so the unity of Nigeria a nation is not negotiable.

The group also stated clearly that the Holy Quran, Hadiths and Sunnah, to which every Muslim is obliged to adhere, stress that any act that involves destruction of human life is antithetical to Islamic teachings and must be condemned in its entirety.

In a press release signed by the National Coordinator, Alhaji Haroun Aja and National Secretary, Alhaji Suleiman Ukandu and made available to journalist in Abakaliki, the group said Islam does not believe in sects, hence Boko Haram is of a political posture and as such the authority concerned should treat them.

SEMO further stated that no nation thrives without equity and fairness, noting that the plight, equal rights and justice of minority groupings should be looked into to ensure proper national integration.

Full Report At:


Saudi Women Target Guardianship Laws To Ease Employment Restrictions

Written by: Rob L. Wagner

January 16, 2012

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – When Shroog Talal Radain sought employment as a teacher’s assistant at King Abdulaziz University, her husband signed the necessary guardianship forms granting her permission to take the job.

It’s the law of the land. A woman must carry around a permission slip from a man to function in Saudi society.

Full Report At:


Iran: Under Increased Pressure Pastor Youcef Refuses to Recant Faith in Christ

By Matthew Clark

Jan. 16, 2012

Iran is continuing its relentless attempt to force persecuted Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to recant his faith in Jesus Christ. New reports state that Iranian officials are still pressuring the pastor, who has been sentenced to death for his Christian faith, “to renounce his faith in Christ and accept the prophet Muhammad as his savior.”

Pastor Youcef, has once again refused, remaining steadfast in his faith. Remember, Iran previously demanded on at least three separate occasions that Pastor Youcef recant his faith and convert to Islam at his latest trial, to which he replied “I cannot.”

The Iranian court tasked with making a final determination about Pastor Youcef’s fate has ignored its own promise to make its determination over a month ago. Iran’s move to further delay a determination regarding Pastor Youcef not only violates international law; it violates Iranian law as well.

Full Report At:


Police tap emails of Kerala Muslims

This is a shocking news published in a Malayalam daily called Madhyamam on 16th Jan.

The report says the Special branch police in Kerala have been told to tap the email of Muslims in Kerala. The list includes, political leaders, professionals, businessmen, journalists and NGOs run by Muslims. It also include hundereds of common Muslims, who doesn’t have any previous history of  any crime.

Those who can read Malayalam pls follow the link


Iraq Lashes Out at Turkey as Sunni-Shiite Rift Grows


JANUARY 17, 2012

Iraq summoned Turkey's ambassador on Monday to protest what it called Ankara's meddling in Iraqi politics, the latest sign of a rising rift between Sunni Turkey and its Shiite neighbors.

Full Report At:


Int'l Crimes Tribunal fair at Bangladesh

Almost 40 years later, the people of Bangladesh will finally see justice done for war crimes and other atrocities committed during the 1971 War of Liberation. (map credit)

Or will they?

Full Report At:


UK Barrister Wants Shari`ah Tribunals

16 January 2012

CAIRO – A leading British barrister at Harvard Law School wants Britain to become more Shari`ah-literate, saying that Islamic teachings are compatible with human rights legislations that can serve the whole community.

“It's very important that they be acknowledged and allowed to exist,” Sadakat Kadri, a barrister and contemporary of Barack Obama at Harvard Law School, told The Guardian on Monday, January 16.

Full Report At:


The Arab Spring and the model of Islam in SE Asia

mtiyaz Yusuf

January 17, 2012

There are about 240 million Muslims in Southeast Asia, making up about 42 per cent of the total Southeast Asian population and 25 per cent of the total world Muslim population of 1.6 billion. The majority of them belong to the Sunni sect, and follow the Shafii school of Muslim jurisprudence. Three Southeast Asian countries - Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei - have Muslim majority populations, while Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam have Muslim minority populations. Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and Brunei and is one of the officially recognised religions of Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Southeast Asian Muslims come from many ethnic groups, speaking different languages such as Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, Javanese, Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, Thai, Chinese and Burmese.

Full Report At:


Al-Qaida raises flag over Yemen town, pledges allegiance to terrorist leader

Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

The historical Radda castle, above, was overtaken by al-Qaida militants on Sunday.

By news services

SANAA, Yemen -- Islamist militants have seized full control of a town southeast of Yemen's capital, raising their flag over the citadel, overrunning army positions, storming the local prison and pledging allegiance to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, residents said Monday.

The capture of Radda in Bayda province, some 100 miles south of capital Sanaa, underscores the growing strength of al-Qaida in Yemen as it continues to take advantage of the weakness of a central government struggling to contain nearly a year of massive political unrest.

Full Report At:


Syria: 'heading for civil war' - live updates

• Russia submits new draft resolution on Syria to the UN

• Syria's divisions appear to be deepening, Ian Black reports

• UN to train Arab League observers

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Members of the Free Syrian Army demonstrate against Bashar al-Assad near Idlib. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

11.15am: The Arab League's monitoring mission to Syria is due to end on Thursday. Reuters provides a useful guide to what the Arab League could do next. Here's a summary of the main options it outlines:

Full Report At:


Pakistan’s greatest crisis is the country’s withering leadership

Date: 16 Jan 2012

By Abid Mustafa

Today the people of Pakistan face a myriad of challenges that threaten the country’s very existence. This includes: American threats of unilateral action beyond the tribal area and its efforts to seize the country’s prized nuclear assets, the Indian backed insurrection in Baluchistan, a dramatic increase in suicide blasts, and the economy in tatters. But perhaps, the most significant issue that has blighted the nation is the leadership vacuum that pervades all segments of society.

Full Report At:


Indian MPs arrive in Pakistan for parliamentary dialogue

ISLAMABAD -Tuesday, 17 Jan 2012 , A 15-member multi-party parliamentary delegation of India has arrived here to participate in the third round of Pakistan-India Parliamentarian Dialogue, organizers said Monday.

The two-day dialogue will be held on Jan. 17-18 in Islamabad where parliamentarians of both sides will interact on the broad theme of Trade and Economic Relations between India and Pakistan.

Full Report At:


Iran plays major role in regional stability: Lebanese PM    

17 January 2012

TEHRAN – The Islamic Republic of Iran plays a significant role in maintaining stability in the region, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati told Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini during a meeting in Beirut on Monday.

Mikati also praised Iran’s efforts to bring about the proximity of beliefs and religions and said Tehran and Beirut should focus on their cultural affinities and help resolve religious disputes.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed various issues such as the course of cultural ties between the two countries and the ways to implement cooperation agreements.


Visit of Pakistan Army Chief to China

Mandip Singh

January 17, 2012

“Chin-Pak dosti zandabad!” – this closing remark by Liu Jian, in an article in the Pakistan daily `The Nation` on January 10, 2011, is a telling statement about China-Pakistan relations during the past year. That the new year began with the third visit of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to China on the invitation of the Chinese leadership from January 5-10, 2012 is in itself very significant. Coming as it did at a time when Pakistan is passing through a critical phase in its relations with the US over the war in Afghanistan and a troubled relationship with the political leadership back home, lends the visit great importance in Sino-Pak relations. A security official reportedly said that during this visit, `we want to take the relationship to the next level`, indicating that Sino-Pak relations were moving towards a new phase. During his visit, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) met the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie, the PLA Chief of General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde, State Councillor and key diplomat Dai Bingguo, and Chen Qiufa, the Chief Administrator of State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

Full Report At:


Pakistan's apex court suspends Zardari lawyer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 

Asif Ali Zardari

Islamabad: An attorney of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court, a media report said on Tuesday.

The legal licence of Babar Awan has been suspended following a contempt of court notice to him by the apex court, Geo News reported. It also asked Zardari to get a new lawyer.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former prime minister and Zardari's father-in-law, was hanged by then military General Zia-ul-Haq's government in 1979 for allegedly authorizing the murder of a political opponent. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government believes it was a flawed judicial verdict and wants to reopen the case.

On Jan 5, the apex court had issued contempt of court notice to Babar Awan, former federal law minister, during a hearing on a possible review of the Bhutto verdict.

"How can things move forward without respect for the judiciary," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked. "We are the issuing authority and have the powers to cancel (legal) licences as well," he said.

Full Report At:


Pakistan Minister Wants Evidence of Taliban Leader's Death

January 16, 2012

Pakistani intelligence officials said they have intercepted militant radio communications indicating the Pakistani Taliban's leader Mehsud may have been killed in a recent U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan, (File).

Pakistan's interior minister says he is unable to confirm reports that the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed Thursday in a  U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Full Report At:


Has al-Qaeda Ceased to Exist?

January 17, 2012

By Kerry Patton

Osama bin Laden, the presumed mastermind behind the creation of al-Qaeda, originally formalized a global network of militants mostly comprising Muslim Brotherhood members.  These Brotherhood members, like Ayman al-Zawahiri, tapped into their own personal networks which later socially conditioned and recruited a mass movement of followers.  Many were active militant fighters, while many more were passive supporters of a newly established global terror network.  But that original al-Qaeda no longer exists.

As al-Qaeda grew long after the Russian-Afghan war, many of its leaders became empowered.  They split off, moving into strategically positioned bases around the world.  Their mission was to mainstream al-Qaeda's radicalized views of Islam in an attempt to create a "world caliphate."  Needless to say, many leaders in this movement sought to achieve this strategic objective through government infiltration, passive social conditioning, and even violent terror activities.

Full Report At:


Al Qaeda: Is the terrorism network fueling Syrian uprising?

Jan 16, 2012

A recent spate of suicide bombings in the Syrian capital of Damascus is fueling a debate over whether Al Qaeda and its affiliates have infiltrated the 10-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The Assad regime insists that the opposition protests that have rocked the country since March are being driven by “armed terrorist groups” and “Islamic militants.” It has blamed Al Qaeda for three suicide bomb attacks over the past month against security offices in Damascus, which left 70 people dead.

Analysts say there is little proof – at least for now – that suggests that Al Qaeda, or its militant affiliates, are seeking to play an active role in the Syrian uprising. But the Assad regime has an ambiguous history with Sunni militants – serving at times as suspected patron and at other times as bitter enemy – and a descent into civil war could draw Al Qaeda and like-minded groups into the fray.

“I haven’t seen any evidence of Al Qaeda being responsible for any of the events that have happened in the Middle East against these embattled regimes,” says Imad Salamey, associate professor of politics at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. “These leaders have an interest in exaggerating the role Al Qaeda is playing.

Full Report At:


Hosni Mubarak trial: Lawyers open defence case in Cairo

Lawyers for the ousted Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, have begun arguing the case for the defence, after his trial reopened in Cairo.

Mr Mubarak is accused of ordering the killing of demonstrators during unrest which led to his resignation last year.

Full Report At:


Senate rises to insecurity challenge


The Senate may have realised that these are not ordinary times for the country. Two events that took place in the upper legislative chamber underscore this realisation.

One was the spirited intervention of the Senate in the face-off between the federal government and labour over the controversial withdrawal of subsidy on premium motor spirit. Another was what has been aptly described as “the mother of all motions” by observers - the controversial motion on the “general insecurity in the nation”.

The disposition of the Senate may have been borne out of the appreciation that the country is sitting on the precipice.

Full Report At:


Egypt's revolution has been misread

Tahrir was not about ushering in a US-style political campaign, and Egypt's parliament is not a touchstone of the future

Khalid Abdalla

Monday 16 January 2012

Since the very beginning, the Egyptian revolution has been misread. At its dawn, people said it could never happen. Within days it had become the flame to Tunisia's spark. The euphoria brought with it successive uprisings in the region, and an international movement that re-appropriated the word "occupy".

Full Report At:


Foreign aid groups now meet with cold eyes in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: Monday, Jan. 16, 2012  -- International aid groups say they're under siege in Pakistan, demonized by hard-line Islamists, viewed as spies by suspicious Pakistanis and, now, increasingly sidelined by the government.

The groups report that in the last year, they began to feel unwanted in the country, and in some cases persecuted. Nongovernmental organization visa requests languished or were outright rejected. New travel restrictions hampered aid workers' movement. Some workers were arrested and harassed.

Full Report At:


Govt's failure can't be buried under debris of political martyrdom: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

January 16, 2012

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Deputy Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said that if the Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) thinks that corruption charges in the Swiss courts were fake then why the government was not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities.

Full Report At:


Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan

January 16, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Around five million illegal immigrants have been residing in different cities of Pakistan for more than three decades.   

The illegal immigrants, around two million Bangladeshis, 2.5 million Afghanis and 0.5 million other nationals including Africans, Iranians, Iraqis and Myanmars, are currently living in Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other cities, an official said on Monday.

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Pakistan points gun at its own head


From: The Wall Street Journal

January 17, 2012

WHO gets to decide when a democratically elected government's time is up? To the average Japanese, Indian or American, the answer is obvious: the same people who voted it into office in the first place. Not so for the average Pakistani.

In the country's 64-year history, power has never changed hands purely by the ballot. The army, working alone or in tandem with sympathetic civilians, hasn't let any elected leader finish his term, thanks to which democracy has failed to seep into the country's foundations.


Iranian Festival Announces Film Lineup for Muslim Cinema Competitions

TEHRAN (FNA)-Tuesday 17 Jan 2012, The 30th Fajr International Film Festival announced the titles of 8 films for the Competition of Films from Islamic Countries (Cinema of Salvation).

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Islamist Set to Lead Egypt’s Next Parliament

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Egypt's leading political parties have agreed to select a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure as speaker of the country's newly elected parliament, with another Islamist group and a liberal party taking the deputy posts.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party-led alliance, which secured the biggest bloc in parliamentary elections, proposed its secretary-general, Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, as parliament speaker.

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Two Saudis bag King Faisal Prize

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

RIYADH — Two Saudi nationals, two Egyptians and three Americans bagged the King Faisal International Prizes for the year 2012 (1433H), it was announced here Monday.

The coveted Service to Islam Prize went to Suleiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi while Prof. Adnan Bin Muhammad Al-Wazzan won the Islamic Studies (Human Rights in Islam) Prize. Al-Rajhi and Al-Wazzan are both Saudi nationals.

Prof. Ali Hilmi Ahmad Moussa and Dr. Nabil Ali Muhammad, both Egyptians, were named co-winners of the Arabic Language and Literature (Computer Processing of the Arabic Language: Individual and Institutional Endeavors) Prize.

In the medicine (Minimal invasive fetal management) category the prize was shared by Prof. Richard Berkowitz and James Bruce Bussel. Berkowitz and Bussel are both from the United States.

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