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Islamic World News ( 30 May 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan’s Ahmadi sect demands protection after mosque massacre

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed demands revocation of AFSPA

Everyone loves a bad fatwa

US plans punitive strikes in Pak

Pak has to end terror against India: US

Ministers spar over Jamia's minority status

Israeli planes target Gaza, no casualties

Top Terrorist nabbed in Punjab

Israel denounces NPT 'hypocrisy' as Iran hails accord

'Punjab Taliban behind attacks'

UN asks India, Pak & Israel to join NPT, CTBT

My Kargil inputs were ignored: Sacked major

Prez pardon for Malawi gay couple

‘Afghans Hit By Mistake’

Jets kill 18 suspected militants in Orakzai

A revolution in rights for Rwandan women

Five convicts to appeal death penalty verdict

Commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan sacked

Army orders high-level enquiry into alleged fake encounter in J&K

War against terror needs to be won: Nawaz

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Pakistan sect demands protection after mosque massacre


May 30, 2010

LAHORE: Leaders of Pakistan's minority Ahmadi sect demanded better government protection Saturday as they buried many of the 93 sect members killed by terrorists at two of the group's mosques.

The request could test the government's willingness to take on hard-line Islamists whose influence is behind decades of state-sanctioned discrimination against the Ahmadis in the Sunni Muslim-majority country.

The attacks occurred minutes apart Friday in two neighborhoods in the eastern city of Lahore. Two teams of gunmen, including some in suicide vests, stormed the mosques and sprayed bullets at worshippers while holding off police.

Thirteen people died overnight at hospitals, raising the death toll to 93, said Raja Ghalab Ahmad, a local sect leader. Dozens were hurt. Waseem Sayed, a US-based Ahmadi spokesman, said it was the worst attack in the group's 121-year history.

Local TV channels reported that the Pakistani Taleban, or their Punjab province branch, had claimed responsibility.

Ahmad called on the government to take action against the militant group, which also has attacked security, government and foreign targets throughout the country in recent years.

"Are we not the citizens of Pakistan?" he asked at the site of the attacks in the Garhi Shahu section of Lahore.

"We do have the right to be protected, but unfortunately we were not given this protection." Ahmadis are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief that their sect's founder was a savior foretold by the Qur'an, Islam's holy book. Many Muslims say Ahmadis are defying the basic tenet of Islam that says Muhammad is the final prophet, but Ahmadis argue their leader was the savior rather than a prophet.

Under pressure from Islamists, Pakistan in the 1970s declared Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority. Ahmadis are prohibited from calling themselves Muslims or engaging in practices such as reciting Islamic prayers.

Mourners on Saturday began burying the victims of the attacks at a sprawling graveyard in Rabwa, a headquarters of the Ahmadi sect 90 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Lahore. Hundreds of men, women and children wept near bodies covered with white sheets and lined up in an open area for the funeral.

In a sign of the sensitivity surrounding the group, several Pakistani leaders who condemned the attacks did not refer specifically to the Ahmadis in their statements. TV channels and newspapers avoided the word "mosque" in describing the attacked sites, preferring "places of worship." Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the federal government had alerted Punjab province's administration about threats to the Ahmadi community, and that the latest warning was sent Wednesday.

Officials in Lahore, the provincial capital, said they were investigating Friday's assaults.


Everyone loves a bad fatwa

Rakhi Chakrabarty

May 30, 2010

Everyone loves a bad fatwa, rues journalist Kashif-ul-Huda.Fatwa is arguably one of Islams most misunderstood words.Say fatwa and it conjures up an image of hardline,extremist Islamism.

In 1989,when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini passed a death sentence on Salman Rushdie,the fatwa attracted worldwide negative publicity.

In 2007,an India fatwa sought to put exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen to death for defaming Islam.

Osama bin Laden issued two fatwas in 1996 and 1998.Both were targeted at civilians and military personnel from the US and allied countries and were meant to remain current until the West withdrew support for Israel and its army from Muslim countries.

Small wonder the fatwa has such a bad press and has promoted learned ignorance about Islam.Arshad Alam,assistant professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University,believes such depiction of fatwas and Muslims in general is a product of western Orientalism.They think Muslims can be best understood through the Quran.

This is why the West has created the homogenous Islamic mind,he says.For the West,Islam continues to be the great Asian mystery,the variety and differences within are brushed aside and it is given a monolithic character.India has borrowed such typecasting from the West and a senior bureaucrat explains this as helping certain vested interests here.

So what is a fatwa exactly Maulana Abdul Khalik Madrasi,deputy vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband,says a fatwa is advice or an opinion given in response to questions asked by an individual on a personal or religious matter.It is not binding on anyone.Whether the person who sought the advice follows it or not is his or her wish. Fatwas are based on Islamic law.

Faizan Mustafa,vice-chancellor of the National Law University in Orissa,points out,Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is not sacred,Sharia is.Fiqh developed around 200 years after the death of the Prophet.Various schools of thought within Islam have differing views on it.Nobody can say authoritatively that this view is wrong and that is right.

It is all about interpretation.Arshad Alam says,In India,the Quran is interpreted in a way that makes family planning unIslamic.But,Indonesia draws upon the Quran to justify family planning.

Differences are the hallmark of democratic debate.The Prophet had said,I am happy there is disagreement among my people, says Faizan Mustafa.

A fatwa from a mufti of one sect is not considered binding in any way by other sects.Abdur Rauf,columnist and social activist in Kolkata,says,Bengali Muslims in West Bengal,for instance,largely follow the peer gharana or Sufi Islam.A fatwa issued by,say a Deoband mufti,has no impact on most.The fatwa culture is barely there in Bengal.

Bangladesh banned fatwas by a high court judgement.Anyone who violates the ban and issues a fatwa is immediately arrested, says Tahmina Khatun,senior lawyer associated with Bangladesh National Womens Lawyers Association.

Theologians believe that fatwas are not really meant for public consumption.Maulana Mubarak Hossain Misbahi of the Barelvi sects Tanzeem Abnae Ashrafia at Mubarakpur in Uttar Pradesh says,The frequent publicity in the media makes a mockery of fatwas.Imams and muftis should act responsibly and refrain from pronouncing fatwas,say during elections,asking Muslims to vote for a particular candidate.

Many Muslims lament that news reports about fatwas affect non-Muslims more.It is human psychology.People like to hear ill of others.In reality,fatwas have no effect on Muslims,especially those who are educated, says Shia religious scholar Kalbe Sadiq.

His views are echoed by Ayaz Mohammed,a Chennai-based HR consultant.Fatwa is a suggestion.I will mull over it.Ultimately,the decision is mine whether I accept or reject it.

Fatwas are not a restrictive or punitive device as is often made out to be.The hype created by the media irks Ayaz.Many Muslims share his angst.The essence of fatwa is being distorted by the media, says Salman Sultan,associate professor of chemistry at Azamgarhs Shibley National College.

Kalbe Sadiq feels the media is playing a negative role.A senior IAS officer agrees that when a fatwa is issued about making education mandatory for women,newspapers bury it on the inside pages.But,the fatwa forbidding women to work with men is splashed on the front page of all newspapers.

Such reports reinforce carefully crafted stereotypes about Muslims,adds Arshad Alam.

Its a misconception that Muslims follow every diktat from every maulvi,says Abdul Wahid,associate professor of sociology at Aligarh Muslim University.There is a gap between precepts and practices of Muslims.What Muslims practise in their daily lives is often contrary to Islam.For instance,dowry is anti-Islam.But,in many Muslim marriages,especially in north India,dowry is prevalent, he says.

Generalizations about Muslims stem from the assumption they are a homogenous group.To a great extent,the media has helped cement such views.After 9/11,the veil of propriety came off and the stereotyping became more blatant.Experts say India too is following in the footsteps of the West.

That is absolutely wrong.If you look around,you will see that the behaviour of a rich Muslim is very similar to a rich Hindus.It is imperative to consider a host of factors socio-economic,spatial,political while analyzing a community, says Abdul Wahid.

The media is also blamed for according undue importance to the ulema and theologians.Nobody asks the opinion of a Muslim intellectual.Theologians of any religion will propagate a conservative view, says Faizan Mustafa.

He says the conservative nature of Indian Islam is undoubtedly part of the problem.In India,the Muslim personal law is stuck in the 11th century.It is not even Sharia compliant.It was given by British judges.

Indian Muslims missed an opportunity post-independence when Jawaharlal Nehru reformed Hindu marriage laws.Mustafa says Muslims could not muster the courage to reform Muslim laws.Nehru understood secularism as an assurance of protection to minorities,their customs and laws.In the West,secularism entails a wall of separation between religion and State.

Mustafa believes Islamic jurisprudence needs to be looked at again.Fiqh was developed considering Islam as a State religion where Muslims are rulers.It has become redundant today when 80% of Muslims live as minorities in a world that talks gender justice,equality and secularism.

Times of India



Mufti Mohammad Sayeed demands revocation of AFSPA

Shujaat Bukhari

May 30, 2010

Srinagar: The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Saturday called for convening a special session of the Assembly to pass a resolution on revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in view of the “increasing human rights violations.”

Reacting to the killing of three youths in a “fake encounter” in Kupwara district last month, Mr. Sayeed blamed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for this situation, saying that it had cast a shadow over “even genuine encounters.” “Who knows there may be many more such incidents,” he told journalists here.

 “The fake encounter at Machil raises many questions, casting doubt on the entire range of encounters” he said. The Chief Minister as head of Unified Headquarters cannot shirk responsibility in what he called “an organised racket.” He said it was important at this stage to discuss the issue with seriousness.

“That is why we call upon the government to convene a special session of the State Legislature where human rights would be the only subject and a resolution will be presented for revocation of AFSPA. I expect unanimity in passing such a resolution,” Mr. Sayeed said.

The PDP founder alleged that fake encounters were staged only for medals and rewards or to strengthen the argument in support of continuation of AFSPA, which was otherwise repugnant to the ethos, idea and spirit of India. “It suggests a larger web of murder for promotions and medals,” he said.

Mr. Sayeed also doubted the sincerity of the probe ordered into the incident, saying that “there is nothing to boast about.” “All this will be mere promise like the Pathribal case and no prompt action will happen on the ground. The magisterial inquiry into such a huge scandal amounts to rubbing salt to the wound.”

He argued that if there were fewer militants operating in the State as per the Intelligence reports, then why continue with the AFSPA and such a large number of troops. In this backdrop, he said: “The whole range of encounters is doubtful now. We have just stumbled on one fake encounter. There might be a whole series of it. It might be a part of a bigger design.”

Mr. Sayeed recalled his recent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he highlighted that steps needed to be taken for revoking the AFSPA. “This has been recommended by the Working Group set up by the Prime Minister himself.”

“Nothing happened even after the Prime Minister's promises,” he said.

On the coming visit of Dr. Singh to the Valley, the Mufti said it could have been an opportunity to restart the internal dialogue process. “But the new situation could cast a cloud on it. It must be an eye-opener for the Prime Minister.”

However, the Mufti said that these incidents cannot subvert the reconciliation process between India and Pakistan. “It is time for the entire political class and civil society of India to introspect and change their response to the problem,” he said.

‘Rot in regime'

Mr. Sayeed referred to the various human rights violations that took place since January 2009, and said: “The killing of a disabled person on Gupkar, the Shopian incident, the killing of youth in Srinagar and the random slapping of PSA on youth reflect the rot that started with the installation of the present government.”



US plans punitive strikes in Pak

Chidanand Rajghatta

May 30, 2010

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has let it be known that it is considering unilateral retaliatory strikes against Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced back to that country. 

Elaborating on secretary of state Hillary Clinton's warning of "severe consequences" for Pakistan in the aftermath of the failed Times Square bombing, US officials have revealed that its military is fine-tuning retaliatory action that rely mainly on air and missile strikes, but could also employ small teams of US Special Operations troops already positioned along the border with Afghanistan. 

"Planning has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square," an unnamed US official was quoted as saying in the Washington Post, which first reported the story on Saturday, causing alarm in Pakistani circles. 

US officials are saying ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban "have sharpened the Obama administration's need for retaliatory options". 

Evidently, Washington is not buying the Pakistani argument it is selling to India that "non-state actors" are responsible for such terror attacks and there is little Islamabad can do about it. Yes you can, US insisting. 
Officials are saying on background that the Obama administration has put Pakistan "on a clock" to launch a new intelligence and counterterrorist offensive against terrorist groups. Messages to this effect were delivered by National Security Adviser Jim Jones and CIA director Leon Panetta during a visit to Islamabad last month. 

However, conscious of possible blowback from any hasty action, US officials stressed that an American reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, "such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient", the Post reported. 

US officials explained that the administration is trying to deepen ties to Pakistan's intelligence officials in a bid to head off any attack by militant groups. 

The US and Pakistan have recently established a joint military intelligence center on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, and are in negotiations to set up another one near Quetta, they disclosed. 

Times of India


Pak has to end terror against India: US

Anirudh Bhattacharyya

May 30, 2010

 Just days ahead of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington, the United States indicated that the onus is on Pakistan to remove obstacles in the way of talks between India and Pakistan.

During a briefing in Washington, DC, Robert O Blake, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the US State Department, said, “One of the most impor- tant obstacles to expansion of those relations is the continu- ing infiltration from Pakistan by Punjab-based groups, such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish- e-Mohammed and others.“

In this context, Blake said that “one of the first things that has to happen is for there to be visible progress in stopping this.“ He added that the United States had consistently called for greater action on the part of Pakistan to stop the activi- ties of anti-India groups.

He also emphasized the view within the Obama Administration that terrorist groups in Pakistan were “oper- ating together as a syndicate.“

Blake also did not believe that Kashmir would immediately figure on the agenda once discus- sions between India and Pakistan resumed. The “imme- diate“ issue was that of coun- terterrorism, and once they have developed a degree of con- fidence, they might then be able to take up some of these “more sensitive territorial issues.“

There has been a sense with- in the Obama Administration that Pakistan's inaction on coun- tering India-focused terrorist groups had impeded normali- sation of relations with India, though that criticism has been muted in public because ele- ments in Washington do not want to rile the Pakistan establishment.

The US-India Strategic Dialogue will comprise several heads with counterterrorism figuring prominently when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meets US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday. The focus will also be on countries in India's neigh- bourhood. Blake mentioned “Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, probably China“.

Also likely to figure in the talks will be Iran, as Blake pointed out, “This is a very important issue for both of our countries. I think the United States and India both share a concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions, and both of us are opposed to any kind of nuclear arms for Iran.“

But there are tricky issues to be navigated. Among them is access to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, consid- ered by India to be a major fig- ure behind the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Blake refused to put a timeframe for Indian investigators to question him.

Blake also said the US was “not frustrated“ over the pace at which liability legislation, a key element to completing the India-US civilian nuclear deal was churning through the sys- tem in India. As he explained “It has some political resonance in India because of the Bhopal disaster. So people are  obvi- ously look at this very closely and they should. It deserves that kind of scrutiny.“

Hindustan Time


Ministers spar over Jamia's minority status

Zia Haq

May 30, 2010

 The controversy over whether Jamia Millia Islamia is a minority institution or not, currently pending the decision of a commission, has taken a new turn with Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hit- ting out at HRD Minister Kapil Sibal after mails exchanged by the two became public.

“Ministers should not debate, discuss and disagree in public,“ Khurshid said, hinting that the HRD ministry had leaked the letters.

Khurshid's ministry has mar- shaled numerous arguments to underscore that Jamia -- a Delhi-based central university, set up in 1920 -- deserves minor- ity status. Such a status would allow the university to reserve half of its seats for the minori- ty Muslim community.

The HRD ministry opposes granting this.

“The PM is our judge and I can tell you I'm going to win,“ Khurshid told HT. Sibal was not available for comment.

Khurshid's letter to Sibal said both ministries must take “a consistent position“ before the National Commission for Minority Educational Institu- tions, which will decide the mat- ter. It said this should be done through “a mutually agreed upon, appropriate affidavit“ filed by the HRD ministry.

Sibal's response on May 14 was cold: The government's intention is to “maintain the historical character of Jamia Millia Islamia and not to accord minority status thereto“.

I: The Congress's top leadership on Saturday conve- yed to Law Minister Veerappa Moily not to air his views on the caste census in public, seeking to end to the debate within the Congress and the government.

Moily, who has been publicly supporting a caste count, was told that since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had inter- vened in Parliament and referred the matter to a group of ministers (GoM), it was “untenable“ on the part of any member of the council of min- isters or the Congress party to speak out of turn.

He was also told that speak- ing in public or through the media not only creates confu- sion but also sends a message that the Congress and the gov- ernment are divided on the issue.

“Let the GoM handle the matter,“ was the party's mes- sage to the law minister.

The directive came a day after a similar signal to Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken following his letter to 67 young MPs across political parties.

Maken is not against the coll- ection of data related to other backward castes (OBCs) for better planning and funding of welfare programmes. His oppo- sition is to the census exercise being used as an instrument for collection of information.

Besides the caste census, Moily was also asked not to speak on the issue of khap pan- chayats, known for their dik- tats prohibiting same gotra (sub-caste) marriages.

This directive came after Haryana Chief Minister Bhup- inder Singh Hooda requested Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to restrain central leaders from airing their views that were being construed as the party's stand on contentious issues.

Hindustan Times


Israeli planes target Gaza, no casualties

May 30, 2010

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes launched a double air strike overnight on targets in the Gaza Strip after militants fired two rockets at the Jewish state, Palestinian and Israeli military officials said on Sunday.

No casualties were reported in Gaza or Israel. The Israeli aircraft twice struck a target in the area of

the disused and wrecked Gaza airport at Rafah in the south, bordering Egypt, a Palestinian medical source said.

An Israeli military spokesman said the raid was "in response to rocket fire" yesterday, and that the target was a

tunnel "used to infiltrate terrorists" into Israel.

On Saturday, Palestinian militants in the densely populated enclave had fired two rockets at southern Israel, causing neither casualties nor damage, the military said.

One rocket, fired from the north of the territory, hit open ground near the southern port city of Ashkelon, the

military spokesman said, adding that the second fell inside the Gaza Strip itself.

It was the second night in a row that Israeli warplanes attacked Gaza. Overnight on Friday, Palestinian security

officials and witnesses reported six raids, while Israel said there were just two.

Again, no casualties were reported.


Top Terrorist nabbed in Punjab

May 30, 2010

A hardcore Khalistani terrorist, who allegedly masterminded a bomb attack on the convoy of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief in Karnal two years ago, has been nabbed by the Punjab police.

Bakshish Singh Baba was nabbed from Amritsar recently by the Special Operation Cell and was being interrogated, top police sources said on Saturday.

The police was trying to apprehend his other accomplices hiding in Punjab and neighbouring states, they added.

According to the sources, the Khalisthan Liberation Force terrorist was wanted for "masterminding" the bomb attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh in Karnal in February 2008 in which nine persons were injured.

Baba, carrying a reward of Rs five lakh on his head, was allegedly involved in more than 25 cases of terror related activities and destruction of public property in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.


Israel denounces NPT 'hypocrisy' as Iran hails accord

May 30, 2010

JERUSALEM: Undeclared nuclear power Israel on Saturday denounced the "hypocrisy" of a UN call for a nuclear-free Middle East that singled it out but ignored Iran, which is suspected of seeking the bomb and which welcomed the document.

"This accord has the hallmark of hypocrisy. Only Israel is mentioned, while the text is silent about other countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea, which have nuclear arms, or even more seriously, Iran, which is seeking to obtain them," a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

"The fact that no reference is made to Iran is even more shocking, given that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has disclosed more and more information in recent months on the military character of Iranian nuclear projects," the official added.

Separately, an unnamed senior official was quoted on public radio as saying the decision was a "negative change for Israel," but also expressing doubt that it would lead to anything concrete.

In New York on Friday, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's 189 signatory nations proposed new steps towards disarmament and making the Middle East free of atomic weapons.

Diplomats approved a document that laid out action plans on the three pillars of the treaty -- disarmament, non-proliferation and promoting peaceful atomic energy.

The NPT called on Israel to join the treaty, which would oblige the Jewish state to do away with the nuclear weapons it is widely believed to have but does not acknowledge.

It mentioned "the importance of Israel's accession to the treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards."

US President Barack Obama welcomed the statement as strengthening "the global non-proliferation regime," but said he "strongly" opposed singling out Israel.

Iran's IAEA representative Ali Asghar Soltanieh told state news agency IRNA that the United States, despite opposing the text on Israel, would have to fall in line with other countries.

"The US reservation is symbolic and it is obliged to go along with the world's request, which is that Israel must join the NPT and open its installations to IAEA inspectors," he said.

The United States and other countries suspect Iran of using its nuclear energy programme as a cover for building an atomic weapon, a charge Tehran denies.

They are continuing efforts to impose a fourth set of UN sanctions on Iran for continuing to enrich uranium, a process that can produce nuclear fuel but in more refined form can provide the fissile core for a bomb.

"The greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle East, and to the NPT, is Iran's failure to live up to its NPT obligations," Obama said.

Soltanieh dismissed the US leader's stance.

"Of course this was to be expected, since (US Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton made such (statements) during the inaugural session (of the NPT meeting) and several times later," he said.

"The Americans are isolating themselves, since Iran's nuclear file is an (IAEA) agency issue. This conference was about the NPT and its future."

The document came after a month of deliberations that looked set to fail until almost the very last hour, with Israel's arch-foe Iran seeking tougher anti-Israeli language.

Soltanieh, whom many feared would veto the consensus text, said that despite its "limited" nature, the final statement was "a step forward... towards our common goal of nuclear disarmament.

The wording on the Middle East called for a conference in 2012 "to be attended by all states of the Middle East, leading to the establishment" of such a nuclear-weapons-free zone.

Washington vowed on Friday to work for a successful meeting in 2012.

It would be a one-time-only conference, with any follow-up dependent on agreement by all the parties. Israel opposes creating a nuclear weapons-free zone until Middle East peace has been achieved.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due in Washington for talks with Obama next week, and an Israeli official quoted by public radio on Saturday said the NPT question will be on the agenda.


'Punjab Taliban behind attacks'

May 30, 2010

LAHORE: One of the two terrorists arrested during audacious terror strikes on two mosques of the minority Ahmadiyya sect here has told investigators that the attackers had received training in the lawless Waziristan tribal belt and were working at the behest of the Pakistani Taliban’s Punjabi wing.

Abdullah Mohammad and Amir Muavia were captured after they stormed the Ahemdi mosque in the upscale Model Town area of Lahore on Friday. Muavia was seriously injured when his suicide vest failed to detonate properly. Mohammad, 18, was captured by worshippers when he tried to set off explosives strapped to his body.

“We received training in Waziristan (tribal region). Our commander is Badar Mansoor, who is based in south Punjab,” Mohammad was quoted as saying by SSP Zuliqar Hamid.

Hamid said Mohammad had disclosed that the attackers were launched by the Punjabi faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “Muavia is seriously injured. We will interrogate him after his condition improves,” he said.

Mohammad hails from Rahim Yar Khan district in the southern part of Punjab province and police teams have been sent there to take his family and acquaintances into custody, Hamid said. Police said they gleaned positive clues about the network of the attackers from the information provided by Mohammad.


UN asks India, Pak & Israel to join NPT, CTBT

May 30, 2010

UNITED NATIONS: In a departure from tradition of not singling out countries by name, the UN has asked India, Pakistan and Israel to join NPT and CTBT without further delay and pre-conditions.

The United Nation's call to the three countries to join Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty came at the end of the month-long 2010 NPT review conference here on Friday.

While it was expected that the names would be dropped in favour of a general statement calling for the universality of the NPT, the final document produced at the conference specifically called on India, Pakistan and Israel to accede to the treaty without further delay and pre-conditions.

"The conference remains convinced that universal adherence to the treaty can achieve this goal (of non-proliferation) and it calls upon all States not parties to the Treaty, India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it without further delay and without conditions," the final document said.

The 189 delegates to the conference also called on the three states, operating unsafeguarded nuclear facilities to reverse clearly and urgently any policies to pursue any nuclear weapon development.


My Kargil inputs were ignored: Sacked major

Ajay Sura

May 30, 2010

Chandigarh: A Chandigarhbased former Armyman came out with a shocking revelation : his inputs on Kargil intrusion sent to his seniors as early as January-February 1999 were ignored and he was asked to stop sending such reports in writing.

This came close on the heels of the Armed Forces Tribunal's indictment of a top Army General for fudging war records to mask his own errors and playing down the exemplary courage shown by a subordinate officer in the Kargil War.Manish Bhatnagar,who participated in the Kargil war,said not only were his inputs ignored,later,when a full-scale conflict broke out,he was court martialled on another pretext and made to leave the Army. This was done so that the truth is not revealed about the early warnings,'' the former Major told TOI.Bhatnagar,who is a practising lawyer in Punjab and Haryana High Court,is also looking for reinstatement of his honour,which was snatched by Army authorities through court martial on grounds of disobeying superior officers.His plea for quashing the court martial proceedings are slated for hearing in July at the Delhibased principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal.

It was the mindset of the top general of the Army who presumed weak strength of enemy in Kargil sector at the time of conflict in 1999.That led to huge causalities of soldiers,'' he claimed.

He said he had informed his senior officers about the heavy enemy presence at Point 5770 of Haneef sector in northern glacier.He had also apprised them of the large number of bunkers and occupation of vital points by the enemy during his posting at the post. Later,when the strength of intruders was found to be more than the perceptions of top Generals resulting in mass causalities of soldiers officers like me were persecuted to hide their wrongs,'' said Bhatnagar.

Times of India



Prez pardon for Malawi gay couple


Two gay men jailed in Malawi but later pardoned by the country's President Bingu wa Mutharika have been released from prison, say reports.
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga had been given 14-year jail terms for "gross indecency and unnatural acts" after celebrating their engagement.
They were pardoned during a visit by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
But a government minister told the BBC the men could be re-arrested if they continued their relationship.
The case sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.
Monjeza, 26, and Chimbalanga, 20, were released from prison on Saturday evening, hours after Mr Mutharika announced their pardon.
Gift Trapence, director of the campaign group Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep) which had been supporting the couple, said they had been taken separately to their home villages.
"The prison authorities told them they had been given instruction from above that they should take them to their respective homes," he told the AFP news agency.
Mr Trapence said they had been "warmly welcomed by their respective relatives" when they arrived home.
'No change'
But Patricia Kaliati, Malawi's Minister of Gender and Children, said Monjeza and Chimbalanga's release did not mean they could continue their relationship.
"It doesn't mean that now they are free people, they can keep doing whatever you keep doing," she said. 
Ms Kaliati said they could be rearrested if they "continue doing that".
Men's lawyer said they were unlikely to be treated in the same way if they were arrested again.
"The pardon only applies to the offence under which they were convicted. If, for example, they go back and the state is of the view that they have recommited the offence, the pardon will not apply," said Mauya Msuku.
Monjeza and Chimbalanga were arrested in December last year, a day after they celebrated their engagement and had been in custody ever since.
They were convicted of engaging in gay sex under a law dating back to colonial rule by Britain and sentenced to 14 years with hard labour.
Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa said their actions went "against the order of nature".
"In all aspects of reasoning, in all aspects of human understanding, these two gay boys were wrong - totally wrong," he said.
"However, now that they have been sentenced, I as the president of this country have the powers to pronounce on them and therefore, I have decided that with effect from today, they are pardoned and they will be released."
His comments came after a meeting with UN chief Mr Ban, who praised the decision as courageous.
But Ms Kaliati insisted that the president had not bowed to international pressure in releasing the men.
She said Malawi would not now reconsider its laws against homosexuality.
"We have our own rules and laws which we are following, and our own constitution. Our constitution is not the same as your constitution," she said in her BBC interview.
Many of Britain's former colonies have similar laws outlawing homosexuality - India overturned it last year.
In Uganda, MPs are debating whether to strengthen the laws to include the death penalty for some gay people - a move which has infuriated Western governments and human rights campaigners. 
Source: BBC


‘Afghans Hit By Mistake’

May 30th, 2010

The US military acknowledged on Saturday killing 23 civilians and wounding 12 others earlier this year after mistaking them for a convoy of Taliban insurgents. The US report into the incident, which happened in Uruzgan, said the crew of a remote-controlled drone aircraft had “provided inaccurate reporting” ahead of the incident and local command posts “failed to properly analyse the situation”.

“Information that the convoy was anything other than an attacking force was ignored or downplayed by UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) personal,” it said.

The Taliban are responsible for the majority of civilian conflict deaths in the country, but the issue is a sensitive one for US-led foreign troops, who are frequently accused of using indiscriminate firepower — even in civilian areas — to fight the insurgency.

The US counterinsurgency strategy emphasises seizing population centres and avoiding combat in built-up areas whenever possible to avert civilian deaths. Taliban fighters, however, frequently plant bombs, launch suicide raids and attack government and Western targets in civilian areas. The US report into the Uruzgan incident cited operational shortcomings in training.


Jets kill 18 suspected militants in Orakzai

30 May, 2010

PARACHINAR: A government official says fighter jets pounded militant hide-outs in northwestern Pakistan, killing 18 suspected fighters.

Jahanzeb Khan, a local administrator, says the attacks Sunday targeted militants in the Orakzai tribal region who had fled from an army offensive last year in nearby South Waziristan.

Khan says two soldiers were killed in Orakzai on Saturday night when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

Nasim Shah, an administrator in the neighboring Kurram tribal area, says militants also opened fire on a passenger vehicle Sunday, killing two women and wounding four other people.

Shah says the militants carried out the attack because they were frustrated by their inability to muster support in Tabertan village, where the shooting occurred.


A revolution in rights for Rwandan women

By Sarah Boseley

30 May, 2010

KIGALI: What is happening for women in Rwanda is little short of revolutionary. Women occupy some of the most important government ministries and make up 56 per cent of the country’s parliamentarians, including the speaker.

Rwanda’s women express astonishment at Britain’s low female representation. By law in their country they must have at least 30 per cent of the seats in government, including local government.

And it is not window dressing. “There used to be a lot of rapes, wife beating, male domination of women, boys sent to school and not girls,” said Daphrose Nyirasafali, national programme officer for UNFPA, the UN’s family planning and reproductive health organisation. “That has all changed, even in the countryside.”

Women now have the right to own land and property. When they marry they can choose to pool their assets with their husband or they can keep them separate.

The divorce rate is increasing as a consequence of these changes. Inheritance laws have been passed so that a man’s property is split equally between his wife and both female and male children.

Rape has been acknowledged as a very serious offence; there is a free police hotline and there are heavy jail sentences for perpetrators. Contraception has been made widely available. Women who want to stop having babies but whose husbands object are told it is their right to choose. Some attend clinics in secret for three-monthly injections.

Traditionally in Rwanda men and women had different roles, and separate domains, said Juliana Kantengwa, who trained as a vet, in exile in Uganda, and who is now a member of Rwanda’s senate. “There were no-go areas, like drumming,” she said. That was a male preserve. During opening ceremonies, teams of girls now drum with strength, enthusiasm and skill.

“In modern times they are happy. We see fathers encouraging their daughters to do engineering and get out of nursing. We have quite a number in the army and police force,” added Kantengwa.

There are still issues. “Domestic violence is still prevalent - when [women] get more money than the man, there is that threat. And the majority of women who go into politics early don’t get married - very few men make passes at them. But we have made great strides.”

Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister, said no one should imagine Rwanda’s women parliamentarians were a sign of “window dressing”.

There are eight women ministers. “We have a lot of influence,” she said. “The president is present most of the time in our cabinet meetings. He encourages us to think out of the box and initiate policy. It’s a very open forum. That’s where all the major decisions for the country are made.”

Rwanda’s progress on women is admired elsewhere. This month the government convened an international forum on the role of leadership in gender equality and woman’s empowerment, attracting women ministers, MPs and dignitaries from all over Africa and beyond, including the Tanzanian UN deputy secretary general, Asha-Rose Migiro. “I salute you for bringing gender and equality to the heart of the political process,” she told the forum in the Rwandan parliament.


Five convicts to appeal death penalty verdict

May 30, 2010

QATIF: The relatives of five people who have been sentenced to death for murdering a Saudi youth in Qatif are to appeal the verdict.

The men, who strangled the youth after luring him to a rural location pretending he would meet a young woman there, have 30 days to appeal the verdict, Al-Yaum newspaper reported. A relative of one of the convicts said the murder was unintentional and that only one of the five men was responsible.

“They did not plan to kill him but only rob him. They had been in contact with the victim via mobile phone for around a month and had pretended they were women,” he said.

Having arrived at the location, the young man was met by two men dressed as women. They then drove to a remote location.

“One of the attackers was sitting on the front seat near the driver while the second was sitting on the back seat behind him.

“The two men then attempted to strangle him. When they saw him faint, they took him to the emergency section of a nearby hospital. The hospital, however, refused to treat him, which then led them to go and tell the police,” he said, adding that by that time the youth had died. Ahmad Al-Sudairy, the lawyer representing the five men, expressed surprise at the verdict.

“We’ve never heard of such a verdict," he said, adding that he hopes the appeal court will overturn the verdict.

“If we go over the case, then we can see that the murder was committed by one of five men and that they did not plan to kill him but only rob him,” he said.

He further wondered how all of the five could have strangled the man to death, adding that the others should receive some sort of Ta'azir punishment.


What Islamic jurisprudence says about jihad

May 30, 2010

Jihad Wach, May 30, 2010: . . . . Jihad doesn’t just “connote” warfare. It juridically means warfare, according to Islamic texts and teachings. There is not a single traditional school of Islamic jurisprudence that does not teach, as part of the obligation of the Muslim community, warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers.

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, says that “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.0).

BOOK: Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik

Hanafi school: A Hanafi manual of Islamic law emphasizes that jihad is a religious war against non-believers. It insists that people must be called to embrace Islam before being fought, “because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith.” It emphasizes that jihad must not be waged for economic gain, but solely for religious reasons: from the call to Islam “the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war.”

However, “if the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax [jizya], it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.” (Al-Hidayah, II.140)

Maliki school: Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a Maliki legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that “in the Muslim community, the holy war [jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

Hanbali school: The great medieval theorist of what is commonly known today as radical or fundamentalist Islam, Ibn Taymiyya (Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya, 1263-1328), was a Hanbali jurist. He directed that “since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.” . . . .


Commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan sacked

May 30, 2010

TORONTO: The commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan has been sacked and ordered home immediately following allegations that he had an "inappropriate" personal relationship with a female soldier.

Brigadier-General Daniel Menard was removed from his position as commander of the Joint-Task Force Afghanistan and replaced by Col. Simon Hetherington as acting commander, a defence ministry statement said.

Interestingly, Menard has been relieved of his duty, three days after he was fined heavily for mishandling a weapon.

The Canadian military has a strict non-fraternisation policy.

An investigation has been launched into the conduct of Menard, who is married, Toronto Star reported on Sunday.

The military made the decision "following allegations concerning Menard's inappropriate conduct related to the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternisation directives," the statement said, adding that it had lost confidence in Menard's capacity to command.

The paper, quoting an official in defence minister Peter MacKay's office said the allegations against Menard involve a member of his staff.

Canada has about 2,800 troops in Afghanistan as part of NATO forces fighting the Taliban.

On Tuesday, Menard was fined USD 3,345 -- the stiffest fine ever levied on a Canadian soldier for mishandling a weapon.

Menard was boarding a helicopter at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan on March 25 when he said his rifle accidentally went off while he was loading it.

No one was hurt in the incident. But Menard faced a court martial in western Quebec, where he pleaded guilt to accidentally discharging a weapon.

Menard is the second high-ranking Canadian military officer to be relieved of his command in recent months.

Col. Russell Williams, former commander of CFB Trenton, faces charges in the deaths of two women, the sexual assault of two others and dozens of break-ins, the paper said.


Army orders high-level enquiry into alleged fake encounter in J&K

May 30, 2010

SRINAGAR: Army on Sunday ordered a high-level enquiry into the alleged fake encounter in which three youths were killed on April 30 and said that proceedings will be "judiciously expedited".

"Based on the preliminary report of the Machhil encounter, received from Jammu and Kashmir Police late evening on 29 May, a high-level enquiry has been ordered by the Army," a defence spokesman said.

He said the enquiry will investigate all allegations, based on the report submitted by the police and efforts were on to "recall" the witnesses as their unit has been de-inducted.

"We will judiciously expedite the proceedings as promised," spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said.

"The only delay we foresee is the recalling of the witnesses who are involved in the incident as the unit has de-inducted after competing its mandated tenure. However, efforts to get them back have already been initiated", he said.

Army had on April 30 claimed that they killed three unidentified infiltrators in Machhil sector when they sneaked into this side from across the border. However, relatives claimed that they were three youths who were missing since April 27.

Their bodies were exhumed on Friday and identified by the relatives. Authorities handed them over for last rites after taking DNA samples.

A former special police officer and other two others including a jawan of territorial army have been arrested for allegedly luring the three youths to the Line of Control.

The trio were buried in the local graveyard in Nadihal-Rafiabad, 65 km from here, on Saturday.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Defence minister A K Antony had yesterday said that the army will cooperate in the probe and the guilty will not be spared.


War against terror needs to be won: Nawaz

May 30, 2010

LAHORE: We have to win the war against terrorism at all costs and the entire nation should unite for this purpose, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday.

The PML-N chief made these remarks while addressing a meeting to review the law and order situation of Punjab at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. Nawaz suggested that a new institution be established to tackle terrorism and it should be headed by an experienced officer. He directed officials that a better coordination network be developed between different government departments to counter the menace of religious extremism. The former prime minister said that a special committee headed by the Punjab chief secretary be established to review all the aspects of the terrorist attacks on the worship places of Ahmedis at Model Town and Garhi Shahu. The meeting was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other officials.\05\30\story_30-5-2010_pg7_13