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Islamic World News ( 31 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Science Museum unveils new Muslim Heritage exhibition

Muslim Washing Rite Goes Hi-Tech With 'Wudu' Machine

Indian composer Rahman wins two Grammy Awards

Aligarh Muslim University Court members elected

Political violence in Karachi claims 12 lives

Taliban bomb girls’  school

Darul Uloom, Deoband nod to photo IDs without burqa

Egypt arrests 26 suspected of plotting terrorism

Muslim outfits join agitation for Telangana

Muslim meet demands Telengana with Hyderabad

Protest over death of Muslim leader in a shoot-out with FBI

Troops snatch key Taliban area; 20 killed

Taliban-Pak army links deepening?

26/11 trial: Pak govt presents proof against Lakhvi, 6 others

Bangladesh hunts for fugitive Mujib killers in Libya

'ISI, LeT getting Indian jihadis together in Karachi for attack'

Terrorists giving youth lure of arms in Jammu

Ceasefire offer in Yemen

Nigerian group ends ceasefire

Lashkar seeks brand-new charity avatar

Mumbai Police unable to trace Karkare's jacket

Headley planned to set up Delhi base in Nov

Pak Taliban denies death of Hakimullah

Incriminating' evidence against Lakhvi: Pak counsel

Forces take control of militants’ stronghold after seven years

Afghan, Iraq wars shape Pentagon budget, US strategy

Death rate signals tough year ahead in Afghanistan

US drones killed 123 civilians, three al-Qaeda men in January

Indian goods being taken to NATO troops via Pakistan

Protester killed in Kashmir

Israeli forces declare West Bank area ‘closed’

War crimes in Gaza: Israel rejects Goldstone Report; Gaza accepts its findings

Row over 9/11 terror trial site

Afghanistan: Much is at stake for India

This way lies disaster: Bribing Taliban will just not work

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/science-museum-unveils-new-muslim-heritage-exhibition/d/2441

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Science Museum unveils new Muslim Heritage exhibition

01 February 2010

A brand-new exhibition entitled 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World, was unveiled at the Science Museum today. Tracing the forgotten story of a thousand years of science from the Muslim world, from the 7th century onwards, the exhibition which runs until 25 April 2010, looks at the social, scientific and technical achievements that are credited to the Muslim world, whilst celebrating the shared scientific heritage of other cultures. The exhibition is a British based project, produced in association with the Jameel Foundation.

Featuring a diverse range of exhibits, interactive displays and dramatisation, the exhibition shows how many modern inventions, spanning fields such as engineering, medicine and design, can trace their roots back to Muslim civilisation.

One of the focal points of the exhibition is a six-metre high replica of the ‘Elephant Clock’-  a visually striking early 13th century clock whose design fuses together elements from many cultures and is featured alongside a short feature film starring Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari, inventor of the fabled clock.

Other exhibits featured in this interactive exhibition include:

    * Model of an energy efficient and environmentally-friendly Baghdad house.

    * A large 3 metre reproduction Al-Idrisi’s 12th-century world map.

    * Model of Zheng He’s Chinese junk ship – originally a 15th century wooden super structure over 100 metres long.

    * Medical instruments from a thousand year ago, many of which are still used today.

    * Model of a 9th-century dark room, later called Camera Obscura, which Ibn al-Haytham used to revolutionise our understanding of optics.

1001 Inventions was created by the Manchester-based Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC). The exhibition will run from 21st January until 25th April 2010 (with a short closure between 25th Feb and 12th March 2010 inclusive).

1001 Inventions offers a fascinating backdrop for evening corporate events for up to 250 guests. The exhibition can be hired exclusively for receptions or in conjunction with one of the Museum’s other stunning interactive galleries for gala dinners.

http://www.londonlaunch.com/newsArticle.asp?newsID=4064

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Muslim Washing Rite Goes Hi-Tech With 'Wudu' Machine

By Angie Teo

January 31, 2010

Malaysian Invents Machine to Help Muslim Purification Without Wasting Water

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - A Malaysian company has invented a machine it says will help Muslims purify themselves before prayers without excessively wasting water.

The ornate, green-colored machine comes with automatic sensors and basins to curb water usage during wudu, an Arabic word used to describe the act of washing the face, arms and legs before prayers.

The wudu, or ablution, rite precedes the five daily prayers Muslims are obligated to perform. There are more than 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, with the majority in Africa and the Middle East where water supplies are scarce.

Inventors AACE Technologies is counting on rich countries in these two regions to snap up the machines that will be available in the next six months and cost

"Saving water is a motivation for people to adopt this system rather than the conventional methods, where there's a lot of water wastage," AACE Chairman Anthony Gomez told reporters while launching the product in the Malaysian capital.

The device, which also emits recorded Koranic verses and is 1.65 meters (5 ft 4.96 in) tall, only uses 1.3 liters (0.3 gallons) of water compared to the conventional methods, which usually involve leaving faucets running for the duration of the washing ritual, which can last for several minutes, Gomez said.

"During the Haj, two million people used 50 million liters water a day for wudu. If they introduce this machine they are saving 40 million liters per day," he said, referring to the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Gulf city of Dubai has shown interest in acquiring the product for its airport, Gomez said, adding that the machine took two years to develop at the cost of $2.5 million.

AACE also wants to target mosques and offices with new models that can be wall mounted in a group of six.

Muslims heading for prayers in mainly Muslim Malaysia had mixed feelings about the high-tech, but pricey, invention.

"The idea is good and it is built in line with Islamic teachings. But water in this country is cheap, so it is still not worthwhile to have this machine," an officeworker who gave his name as Aminuddin told Reuters.

But a tourist from neighboring Singapore, which has little water supplies, said the machine would help conserve natural resources.

"Nothing is impossible. Of course we are trying ways and means to new products, those that can save mankind, those that can save nature," Azman Mohamed Noor

(Writing by Niluksi Koswanage, editing by Miral Fahmy)

Copyright 2010 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=9713998

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Indian composer Rahman wins two Grammy Awards

1 February 2010

Indian composer AR Rahman has won two Grammy Awards at the prestigious US music ceremony in Los Angeles.

Rahman received awards for best film song and best soundtrack, both compositions for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

Rahman won two Oscars, a Bafta and a Golden Globe last year for his soundtrack to the multi award-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

The composer is often called the Mozart of Madras, the city where he works.

Rahman won in the best compilation soundtrack for a motion picture. His Jai Ho song in the film also won in the best motion picture song.

"This is insane, god is great again," Rahman said as he accepted his award.

He later told the BBC it felt "so good, because the Grammies are meant to be the greatest music awards".

Rahman beat such rivals as Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds and rock star Bruce Springsteen in the soundtrack and best song categories respectively.

Last month, Rahman was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination for his Tamil song NaNa from the Hollywood film, Couples Retreat.

The song is vying with 62 others for the nominations which will be revealed on 2 February.

The Grammy awards are further recognition of Rahman's enormous talents, says the BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi.

The 44-year-old composer is a musician with a staggering range - from raga to reggae to hip hop to Indian folk to jungle rhythms to western classical, our correspondent says.

Seventeen years after he began writing music and songs for films, the jingle maker-turned-musician finally got recognition as India's first truly global film music composer with his score for Danny Boyle's sleeper hit Slumdog Millionaire in 2009.

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and tabla player Zakir Hussain are the other Indian musicians who have won Grammy Awards.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8490528.stm

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Aligarh Muslim University Court members elected

February 1st, 2010

Aligarh: In the crucial annual meeting of AMU Court eminent theologian and President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana M. Rabe Nadvi, former India’s Hockey Captain Zafar Iqbal, Prof. A. M. Pathan, Vice Chancellor of Central University of Karnataka, former India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ishrat Azeez and eminent scientist Dr. Shahid Jameel were elected as members of the Aligarh Muslim University Court, the supreme governing body of the University.

The election of 42 representatives from the six different categories to serve as members on the University Court was announced yesterday night. Seventy six candidates were in fray. Eighty-nine members of the University Court attended the annual meeting of the University Court. Some of the prominent members who attended the meeting were Mr. Mohammad Shafi Quraishi, Chairman, National Minorities’ Commission, Padma Bhushan Mr. Moosa Raza, Prof. R. P. Singh, former Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, Mr.Naseem Ahmad, ex-Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, noted sociologist Prof. Imtiaz Ahmad, noted educationist Mr. A. R. Sherwani, Mr. Shahnawaz Husain, former Union Minister, Mr. Rashid Alvi, Mr. M. I. Shahnawas, Mr. Shafiqur Rahman Barq,  Ms. Kusum Rai and Dr. Monajir Husain (all MPs).

Noted industrialist Mr. Ameer Ahmad, Chairman, Teejan Groups of Industries, Muscat, Oman, Mr. Nadeem A. Tareen, Educationist and Philanthropist, Prof. Syed Khalifatullah, President, Niyamat Science Academy, Chennai, Mr. Ishrat Azeez, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Basheer Thangal, President, Kerala Muslim Education Association, Ms. Parveen Talha, former Member of Union Public Service Commission, Prof. Zakia A. Siddiqui, Khwaja Mohammad Shahid, Director Institute of Secretariat Training and Management, New Delhi were also declared elected as member of the University Court for a period of three years. Padma Shri Professor Siddiqur Rahman Kidwai, Secretary, Ghalib Institute, New Delhi and Professor Shamim Hanafi of Jamia Millia Islamia were elected to represent Urdu language and literature.

The detailed result of the election is however given below:

Election of six (6) persons representing Muslim Colleges of

Oriental Learning in India under Statute 14(1) (xxvi).

http://nvonews.com/2010/02/01/aligarh-muslim-university-court-members-elected-2/

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Political violence in Karachi claims 12 lives

Jan 31, 2010

Karachi : At least 12 persons have been killed and over a dozen injured in fierce clashes between supporters of two political parties here, weeks after political violence claimed over 40 lives.

Tensions erupted between workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) following a clash between their supporters late on Friday night.

Two political activists, Sharif Khan of ANP and Muhammad Javed of MQM, were killed in target killings in Orangi town.

"The two activists were killed after trouble started over the opening of a new party office (of ANP) and some wall chalking," senior police officer Matiur Rehman said on Sunday.

Tensions between the ANP and MQM which are members of the coalition governments at the centre and in Sindh province mounted yesterday and six more persons were killed in clashes and shootouts.

Rehman said since then several incidents of aerial firing, torching of vehicles and target killings were reported in areas where the ANP and MQM have strongholds, taking the toll to 12.

Fierce clashes between party activists were reported from several parts of Karachi, including Banaras Colony, Qasba Colony, Muslim Colony, Orangi Town and Liaqatabad.

"According to reports we have around 15 people have also been wounded in these incidents," Rehman said.

Armed men forced the closure of shops in some areas. They also torched a mini-bus and fired in the air.

Other police officials said in Bukhari colony three poor labourers were gunned down by armed men although they had no political affiliations.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/political-violence-in-karachi-claims-12-lives/573673/

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Taliban bomb girls’ school

Monday, 01 Feb, 2010

BANNU, Jan 31: A girls’ school in the Muavia village of Ghoriwala area was bombed late on Saturday night.

According to officials, militants placed explosives in the building of Government Middle School for Girls and set them off.

The boundary wall and walls and roofs of two classrooms collapsed and other rooms were damaged. Local people said windowpanes of nearby houses were also shattered.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/taliban-bo

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Darul Uloom, Deoband nod to photo IDs without burqa

Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui

1 February 2010

LUCKNOW: Within days of the Supreme Court stating that Muslim women must get themselves photographed without their burqa for their voter I-cards, Darul Uloom, Deoband, on Sunday set conditions under which they would comply: The photographs must be taken by women; and, officials deputed for matching the ID with its holder on polling day, too, must be only women.

A senior Darul Uloom office-bearer, Maulana Arshad Farooqui, said that since conditions for getting oneself photographed for a passport were exactly the same as that for the voter I-card, the solution will also be identical.

The Supreme Court had, on January 22, reacting to some clerics' call that Muslim women can be photographed only with their veils, had said their voting rights would be cancelled if they didn't get photographed without veils. Security was one of the important reasons cited for the move.

According to a source, the most rational argument at Darul Uloom for supporting the move of Muslim women being photographed was that they get their pictures taken without their veils for passports.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Darul-nod-to-photo-IDs-without-burqa-/articleshow/5522046.cms

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Egypt arrests 26 suspected of plotting terrorism

REUTERS, 1 February 2010

CAIRO: Egypt has arrested 26 suspects who the prosecutor said belonged to a cell of militant group Islamic Jihad and were plotting terrorist acts against tourists and state installations, the official news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

The suspects, arrested in the provinces of Mansoura and Dakahiliya on the Nile Delta, had firearms, ammunition and explosives, the agency said.

The public prosecutor ordered them placed in precautionary detention for 15 days pending investigations, MENA wrote, adding that the prosecutor had sent the arms and explosives for forensic investigations.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) emerged in the 1970s and carried out the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

Security analysts say it has been largely absorbed into al-Qaida, in which former EIJ leader Ayman al-Zawahri is deputy to Osama bin Laden.

Egypt is concerned about the possibility that al-Qaida-inspired militants could infiltrate the country after being forced out of the neighbouring Palestinian enclave of Gaza by Islamist group Hamas, analysts told a conference last week.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypt-arrests-26-suspected-of-plotting-terrorism-/articleshow/5522057.cms

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Muslim outfits join agitation for Telangana

A Srinivasa Rao/ Hyderabad

FOR THE first time, many Muslim groups in Telangana have decided to hop onto the separate statehood bandwagon.

While the Majlis- e- Ittehadul Muslimeen ( MIM) — which represents a majority of the Muslim population in Hyderabad — has maintained a stoic silence on the demand, other organisations of the community are ready to join major political parties in the movement.

On Sunday, several Muslim organisations held a convention in Hyderabad and resolved to support the Joint Action Committee ( JAC) of political parties to fight for a separate state. The organisations include the Telangana Muslim Advocates’ Forum, the Telangana Minority Employees’ Welfare Society, the Mashayakeen Telangana JAC, the All India Tehaffuz Masaajid Board, the Telangana Tehaffuz Urdu and the Telangana Muslim Women’s Joint Action Committee.

The meeting was chaired by civil liberties activist M. T. Khan and attended by a large number of Telangana leaders.

Among those present were TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Telangana ideologue K. Jayashankar, civil liberties activist K. G. Kannabhiran, Maoist sympathisers Gaddar and P. Vara Vara Rao, academic Mahboob Alam Khan and Telangana JAC convenor M. Kodandaram.

The speakers claimed that the Andhra rulers had destroyed Muslim culture.

They said Muslims would enjoy self- respect only in the separate state.

Mail Today, New Delhi

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Muslim meet demands Telengana with Hyderabad

01 Feb 2010

Prominent personalities and public representatives from different political parties, at a meeting organised by Muslim leaders here today, declared that the Telangana Muslim community would get justice only in a separate State.

The meeting passed a resolution urging the Central Government to form Telangana state by making Hyderabad its State capital.

The meeting decided to organise a massive rally and public meeting on Nizam College grounds here on Feb 7. Prominent national leaders from the Muslim community will speak at the public meeting.

Muslim minority leaders organised a convention on Telangana for the first time in the city today.

The meeting got importance as leaders and intellectuals of a cross-section of society shared the dais.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekahar Rao said that in the separate Telangana State Muslims would be given 12 per cent reservation in education and employment, and the Sachar Committee report would be implemented.

``Capitalists from coastal Andhra are grabbing Wakf lands for business development and such lands could be protected only in a Telangana state. Besides, Andhara people spoiled the real Telangana culture and instigated communal violence in and outside Hyderabad,’’ rao alleged.

Telangana JAC convener M Kodandaram said that Muslims had a great history in the region and the historical monuments in several parts of the city stood testimony to it. ``Muslims are living in about 40 percent area of Telangana but are deprived of even basic facilities.

A section of political leaders are trying to separate the Muslim community from the Telangana movement. Development and welfare of Muslims will be possible only in a separate Telangana State,’’ he said.

Full report at: http://www.expressbuzz.com/

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Protest over death of Muslim leader in a shoot-out with FBI

By Niraj Warikoo

Feb. 1, 2010

A protest is planned for this morning outside the Dearborn Police Department during a news conference to release the autopsy report of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the Muslim leader who died in a shoot-out with FBI agents.

"We want to let people know we won't tolerate this type of vicious assault on citizens," Ron Scott, with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said today. "An assault on Muslims is an assault on everyone."

Scott's coalition is holding the rally along with the Michigan Emergency Coalition against War and Injustice, a Detroit-based group.

"I've received numerous calls from average ordinary citizens who are appalled and sickened by what happened," Scott said of the Oct. 28 shooting. "The assault on Imam Abdullah was an assault on the entire community as a whole, not just Muslims."

The FBI has said that Abdullah was an Islamic extremist who was dealing in stolen goods. Federal officials say that Abdullah opened fire during an Oct. 28 raid in a Dearborn warehouse by FBI agents seeking to arrest Abdullah and 10 others on suspicion of buying and selling stolen items provided by an undercover informant.

Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office, said last week that while the case ended tragically, his agents acted appropriately in the two-year investigation of Abdullah and during the raids.

"We did what we had to do," Arena said. The FBI has portrayed Abdullah as a Sunni Islamic extremist who spoke against law enforcement and followed Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the Muslim leader formerly known as H. Rap Brown in prison for killing a police officer.

The rally is set for about 10:15 a.m. across the street from the Dearborn Police Department, Scott said.

http://www.freep.com/article/20100201/NEWS02/100201007/1004/news02/Protest-planned-over-death-of-Muslim-leader

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Troops snatch key Taliban area; 20 killed

By Anwarullah Khan

Monday, 01 Feb, 2010

KHAR, Jan 31: Security forces gained control of Taliban’s headquarters in the Sewai area of Bajaur Agency on Sunday after intense shelling and clashes in which at least 20 militants, an important ‘commander’ among them, were killed.

Artillery, jets and helicopter gunships provided cover when troops advanced on Sewai, Jani Shah, Azarnau, Sapari, Khaza and Damadola areas of Mamond tehsil.

Sources said that two personnel were also injured in fighting that started when troops, accompanied by Mamond Lashkar volunteers, moved towards Damadola, a stronghold of TTP ‘commander’ Maulvi Faqir Mohammad. Two children were among the dead, they added. Security forces set up bunkers and checkpoints and hoisted national flag in the areas.

AFP adds: The army action was stepped up after a suicide attack killed at least 16 people in the area on Saturday. Two security personnel were killed by another bomb on Sunday.

“Fighter jets and helicopter gunships are bombing militant hideouts in Mamond and Salarzai,” administrative official Jameel Khan said.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/troops-snatch-key-taliban-area-20-killed-120

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Taliban-Pak army links deepening?

TNN, 1 February 2010

NEW DELHI: More and more Pakistan army officers are being identified with extremist beliefs, as well as with links to Taliban and other related organisations which is the greater worry inside Pakistan.

In the most recent instance, one Colonel Shahid Nazir and two colleagues, serving army and air force officers, were arrested in Balochistan and court-martialled in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). They were charged with passing on information to guide terrorist attacks on military establishments inside Pakistan.

The charges were serious. The three officers are members of Hizbul Tehrir, an extremist Islamist group. They were accused of passing on information to the Taliban and later, two civilians were arrested trying to attack the Shamsi air base in Balochistan.

Pakistan has been battling the steady ingress by Taliban sentiments among its officer corps, even though its been long a fact that recruitment for the Pakistan army and the extremist organisations happen from the same provinces, sometimes same villages, making the connections much deeper than otherwise appreciated.

The seriousness of this came to light when a group calling itself Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan actually protested against the court-martial of these officers in Kotli, PoK.

This was unusual, specially since the TTP, for the first time, set off explosions in PoK, raising worries about Taliban infestation in a province that has been relatively free of them. In fact, a TTP spokesperson there said they had set off the explosions as a mark of protest.

The reason why their trial for treason was moved to PoK from Balochistan on January 15 was that under local laws, the accused cannot appeal the decision in the appellate court. Only PoK residents are allowed to do so. This means the military court would be the final arbiter.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Taliban-Pak-army-links-deepening/articleshow/5521997.cms

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26/11 trial: Pak govt presents proof against Lakhvi, 6 others

PTI, 30 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government today presented evidence before an anti-terrorism court against LeT operations’ chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects for their involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

The government's team of prosecutors presented evidence against the accused in the court of Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan in Rawalpindi, sources said.

The details and nature of the evidence could not immediately be ascertained.

"Following the presentation of evidence, the judge adjourned the matter till February 13," said Shahbaz Rajput, a lawyer for some of the accused. Defence lawyers had boycotted the last hearing on January 23 in protest against the failure of authorities to provide them security and facilitate their meetings with their clients at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail in line with an order of the Lahore High Court.

Judge Awan is conducting the trial in Adiala Jail for security reasons.

The seven accused - Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum - are also being held in Adiala Jail.

They were last year formally charged with planning and helping execute the assault on India's financial hub in November 2008 that killed 166 people.

A Rawalpindi-based division bench of the Lahore High Court this week reserved its decision on a petition filed by Lakhvi seeking his acquittal in the case in the anti-terrorism court.

Lakhvi filed the petition in the High Court to challenge the anti-terrorism court's decision dismissing an earlier plea for acquittal.

Another bench of the Lahore High Court last week dismissed a separate application by Lakhvi seeking the transfer of his trial from the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to Lahore

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/26/11-trial-Pak-govt-presents-proof-against-Lakhvi-6-others/articleshow/5517461.cms

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Bangladesh hunts for fugitive Mujib killers in Libya

Manas Paul

TNN, 1 February 2010

Libya, or Benghazi to be precise, is the destination the Bangladesh government is looking at to nab the fugitive killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"We have specific information about the fugitives and are working to bring them back to face justice,' Bangladesh law minister Shafique Ahmed said.

He added that diplomatic channels were working overtime to ensure the arrest and extradition of the absconding Mujib killers. Once brought back, they would face the gallows in Bangladesh.

Out of the 12 convicted for Mujib's killing, five were sent to the gallows on Thursday, while one, Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2002. Rest of the six are absconding. Sources said the Bangladesh government did not have the exact locations of at least four fugitives, though they were believed to be holed up in Libya or Pakistan.

A worldwide hunt led by Interpol is underway to track down the condemned six. Various other intelligence agencies, including RA&W, Mossad and Bangladesh's own NSI, are also part of the team looking for the absconding killers of Mujib.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-hunts-for-fugitive-Mujib-killers-in-Libya/articleshow/5521875.cms

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'ISI, LeT getting Indian jihadis together in Karachi for attack'

Shishir Gupta

Feb 01, 2010

New Delhi : The ISI has put together a team of Indian jihadis in Karachi, and is waiting to launch them into the country on a terrorist project, alleged terror suspects David Coleman Headley and Mohammad Amjad Khwaja have told their interrogators.

Headley was arrested by the FBI in Chicago in October last year, and is accused of recceing Mumbai and other Indian cities for the Lashkar-e-Toiba as part of the preparations for 26/11. Khwaja, belonging to the Harkat-ul Jihad-i Islami, was arrested on January 18, and is being held in Hyderabad.

Headley has described the “Karachi project” to FBI interrogators, details of which have been shared with New Delhi, sources said. He is believed to have said that both the ISI and the Lashkar have been training Indian nationals in terrorist activities, and using them for anti-India “projects” from time to time.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also been able to unearth significant details about Headley’s movements in Pakistan through his e-mail correspondence. Contents of his Gmail account were shared with New Delhi following an official request to Google.

Details of Headley’s movements in and out of India, reported in The Indian Express last Thursday, show that he flew into Mumbai from Karachi and returned to the same city twice over the last three years — once in late 2006, and then again in April 2008.

Evidence of the ISI-Lashkar Karachi project has also come independently from HuJI man Khwaja, who was picked up by Chennai Police on his return from Saudi Arabia on a Pakistani passport. Top sources said Khwaja has told his interrogators that a large number of highly-indoctrinated jihadi Indian nationals have been housed in the Pakistani port city.

Khwaja is understood to have revealed that he met alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists Amir Raza Khan and Riyaz Bhatkal in Karachi, both of whom are staying in the city’s Defence enclave, probably under the ISI’s protection.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/isi-let-getting-indian-jihadis-together-in-karachi-for-attack/573878/

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Terrorists giving youth lure of arms in Jammu

Jan. 31 2012

The terrorist groups, unable to “sustain their cadre in view of the heavy attrition by the security forces”, are coercing the youth to recruit them in various terrorist outfits to keep alive terrorism in Doda. This has been claimed in an analysis of terrorist recruitment corresponding to terrorist attrition conducted in Doda region by the Army. An official handout issued by northern command maintained that with the growing disillusionment of the youth with the terrorist cause, the rate of recruitment is just 32 percent of terrorist casualties. The study revealed that in Doda district, in 2008, 98 terrorists were killed by security forces whereas 51 youngsters were recruited by various terrorist outfits (52 per cent). In 2009, 58 terrorists were killed, however, only 19 youth joined terrorist groups (32 per cent) mostly by force and fear of reprisal. Out of these 19 terrorists, 7 have already surrendered or either rescued or apprehended by the security forces. “Earlier, the youth was misguided in the name of religion or jihad by senior terrorist leaders, but due to pro-active security forces most of these self styled commanders who were being actively supported and motivated by inimical forces across Line of Control were killed or have fled to Pakistan or have surrendered. Elimination of senior terrorist leaders has resulted in significant reduction in recruitment levels. The terrorist groups are now finding it very difficult to sustain their cadres in view of the heavy attrition by the security forces and are, therefore, resorting to recruitment under coercion,” claimed the study. Decreasing levels of recruiting is a clear indication of waning terrorism. Also, the parents are unwilling to let their children join terrorist groups and are either willing to pay to get their children back or approach overground workers to put pressure on the terrorists to release their children. This is another method being employed by terrorist groups which are cash starved to raise funds. Lure of easy money and glamour of the gun is the primary motive to join terrorist groups. Majority of youth joining terrorist groups are in the age group of 18 to 28 years and are from poor economic background, are semi or illiterate and are invariable unemployed, the study stated. *** Headley planned Delhi base in Nov. Sumir Kaul Mumbai Jan. 31: American terror suspect David Headley was scheduled to visit India aga-in in November last year ap-parently to finalise the next target for LeT group and set up a base in Delhi. Full report at: www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/india/terrorists-giving-youth-lure-of-arms-in-jammu.aspx

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Ceasefire offer in Yemen

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: A Shia group battling a Yemeni military offensive has agreed to a ceasefire following a major international conference in London which has listed key elements for bringing lasting peace to the strife-torn nation.

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi group, which has been fighting Yemeni forces in the northern Saada mountains has declared that his fighters will cease all military engagements if government forces stopped attacking. He said the group would also accept the government proposed five-point deal to end fighting.

“I announce our acceptance of the [government’s] five points, after the aggression stops,” said Mr. Al-Houthi in an audio message released on the Internet. “The ball is now in the other party’s court.” The government has said fighting will end if the Houthis withdraw from official buildings, reopen roads blocked in the north, return weapons seized from security forces and release all prisoners, military as well as civilian.

Both sides had been clashing intermittently since 2004, but fighting escalated in August, when the government launched its “scorched earth” military campaign against the Houthis. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia also joined the fighting in November, but calm has prevailed since January 25, when the Houthis announced their withdrawal from Saudi territory.

The Saudis have said the group’s fighters had been forced out of the country’s border areas.

Analysts say in case the ceasefire materialises, it would help implement the international commitments towards Yemen proposed at the London conference.

During deliberations on January 27, participants at the conference expressed their keenness to see that Yemen remains focused on countering Al-Qaeda, which has taken root on its soil, and work towards ending other conflicts that have engaged Sana’a.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/01/stories/2010020161571400.htm

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Nigerian group ends ceasefire

Nairobi/Abuja: Nigeria’s main militant group has called off a three-month ceasefire and warned that oil companies in the Niger Delta should expect an “all-out onslaught” against facilities and personnel.

Attacks by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had slashed the West African nation’s oil production by around a quarter and helped drive up global oil prices when MEND responded to a government amnesty and laid down its arms last October.

However, MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an emailed statement that his group had become disillusioned by the government’s failure to create real dialogue.

MEND says it is fighting for a share of oil revenue for Niger Delta residents. — DPA

http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/01/stories/2010020161561400.htm

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Lashkar seeks brand-new charity avatar

Pranab Dhal Samanta

Jan 31, 2010

New Delhi: India’s frustration over Pakistan’s lack of action against Hafiz Mohammed Saeed is only growing by the day with latest intelligence inputs suggesting that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) head has moved an application to launch a social welfare trust in Lahore.

According to reliable inputs available with India, the now banned Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) — which has served as a front for the LeT — has initiated measures to register a society called Al Noor University (Trust) with its headquarters behind Masjid Toheed, 114-E Johar Town, Lahore.

The memorandum and rules and regulations of the trust state that Hafiz Mohammed Saeed will be the founder-member and first chairman. And interestingly, many among the 14 members of the Board of Governors are known JuD or LeT functionaries. Consider them:

Hafiz Abdul Rauf: The director of JuD’s public welfare wing, he has been named the trust’s general secretary.

Zafar Iqbal: He was director of JuD’s education wing and is going to be the trust’s joint secretary.

Hafiz Abdul Rehman: He was director of JuD’s Justice & Fatwa wing and has been given task of being the information secretary of the trust.

Ameer Hamza: A former editor of JuD publication Ghazwa, he is also a member of the trust.

This, for India, is a clear violation of the UN Taliban & Al Qaida Sanctions Committee’s decision to ban the JuD after the Mumbai terror attack. While the objectives of the trust are welfare-oriented, the same was the case with the JuD when it was floated following the ban on the LeT after the Parliament attack.

Already, the JuD has been working for rehabilitation of those displaced in Pakistan’s troubled western theatre under the banner of Falaah-I-Insaaniyat. This group is active alongside the Pakistan military and has access to camps manned by them.

This Al Noor University (trust), sources said, is different from the relatively better known Al-Noor trust that is also registered in Lahore. The slight change in name is being seen as an attempt to avoid any immediate detection. Just like the JuD, the objectives of this trust largely cover areas like education and health.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/lashkar-seeks-brandnew-charity-avatar/573619/

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Mumbai Police unable to trace Karkare's jacket

Jan 31, 2010

Mumbai: The disappearance of the bullet-proof jacket of Hemant Karkare, who was killed during the 26/11 attacks, is turning out to be one of the biggest mysteries for Mumbai police which continues to be clueless as to where it vanished.

Running from pillar to post, personnel of elite crime branch of Mumbai Police have been sweating to trace the remains of the jacket and have not spared even the shops in South Mumbai's Chor Bazar. Sweeper of J J Hospital Dinesh Gattar, who sprung a surprise last December by saying that he had dumped jacket of Karkare along with the hospital waste, thus waking up Mumbai police from a slumber who were caught napping over the mysterious disappearance of the bullet proof jacket.

Recently, on a tip-off that the inside material including the steel and iron caste used in the bullet-proof jacket might have been sold to vendors in Chor Bazar, teams of crime branch searched virtually every scrap dealer in the area but without any luck.

While already red-faced police was maintaining a studied silence over the entire issue officially, sources within the department said that every lead was probed thoroughly so that the jacket of the former Anti-terror chief Karkare, killed by Ajmal Iman Kasab outside Cama hospital on 26/11, could be traced.

The Crime Branch had registered a case against Kasab, the lone surviving Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist out of 10 who carried out attack on Mumbai in November 2008, for killing Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaskar.

Senior police officials, requesting anonymity, opined that bullet-proof jacket is the first line of evidence which should have been taken into the custody by the investigators. However, Mumbai police found this blooper only after slain IPS officer's wife, Kavita Karkare, filed an RTI plea in which the police admitted that the jacket was not traceable. This resulted in a furore as the wife and other experts had leveled allegations of poor upkeep of jacket, which could have been crucial forensic evidence in the probe of audacious terror attack of 26/11.

The allegations also included that the poor quality of the bullet-proof vest worn by Karkare and the disappearance could be one of the cover up exercise by vested interests. The Mumbai Police, after facing flak for missing the evidence, is looking for the traces of elusive jacket in the narrow by lanes of the market infamous of trading stolen goods besides the Chor Bazar.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/mumbai-police-unable-to-trace-karkares-jacket/573671/

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Headley planned to set up Delhi base in Nov

Jan 31, 2010

Mumbai: American terror suspect David Headley was scheduled to visit India again in November last year apparently to finalise the next target for Pakistan based Lashker-e-Taiba group and set up a base in Delhi.

Sources privy to the investigations said that 49-year-old Headley had told his friends in India that he was coming to the country in November for his business. Headley's messages to his friends, who have recorded their statements before the National Investigation Agency, stopped in the last week of September, barely a few days before he was arrested by the FBI at O'Hare airport in Chicago on 3rd October last year, the sources said.

After recording the statements, the sleuths believe that since Lashker had postponed its planned terror strike on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten because of international pressure following 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Headley, who was arrested just before he could board a plane for Philadelphia en route to Pakistan, was coming to India for finalising the next target.

The friends, which included some women, told the investigators that Headley was constantly in touch with them from the US and before being arrested he had said that he was coming to India and that they will have a get-together.

According to the documents shared by the FBI, Headley had been asked by his handler, a Pakistani Army official that he should wind up his office First World Office in Mumbai and ‘open up a new business centre in Delhi to be used as a cover for future activities’. The travel details of Headley, who is now turning out to be the globe-trotting prize asset of Lashker-e-Taiba, was being examined by various agencies, the sources said.

The investigators believe that the last visit of Headley to India in March last year may have been to finalise synchronised terror strikes on Jewish houses located in five cities. Piecing together the travel trail of Headley during his visit to India in March last year, the investigators were of the opinion that the US terror suspect was scouting only the Jewish targets including the El Al airlines office here.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/headley-planned-to-set-up-delhi-base-in-nov/573675/

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Pak Taliban denies death of Hakimullah

Reuters, Feb 01, 2010

Peshawar : Pakistan's Taliban denied a report on Sunday that their leader Hakimullah Mehsud had been killed in a US drone aircraft strike.

"It is a total lie," a spokesman for the group told Reuters by telephone from northwest Pakistan, referring to a report on Pakistani state television.

Pakistan's military said earlier it was investigating the report that Hakimullah died from wounds sustained in a drone attack and had been buried in the Orakzai tribal region in the northwest of the country.

"We're inquiring further but so far there's no confirmation," said army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.

Hakimullah's death would likely create disarray in Pakistan's al Qaeda-linked Taliban, analysts say, but it would not deal a major long-term blow to the group, which is fighting to topple the pro-American government.

State television did not give dates for the drone attack.

Pakistani intelligence officials said they had received unconfirmed reports that Hakimullah, the number one enemy of the Pakistani state, may have died of wounds after a drone strike on two vehicles carrying militants in North Waziristan on Jan. 17, days after surviving a similar attack.

Hakimullah appeared in a farewell video with the suicide bomber double agent who killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan on Dec. 30.

The footage suggested his Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Taliban Movement of Pakistan, which has focused on fighting Pakistan's government, had become more sophisticated, taking part in the second deadliest attack in the CIA's history.

Pakistan's Taliban issued an audio tape on Jan 16. purportedly from Hakimullah denying he was killed in a US drone strike two days earlier.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-taliban-denies-death-of-hakimullah/573985/

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Incriminating' evidence against Lakhvi: Pak counsel

Jan 31, 2010

Lahore : Pakistani authorities have 161 witnesses and ‘incriminating’ evidence to nail LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects in the Mumbai terror attack case, a senior government law official has said.

“We have 161 witnesses and incriminating material to prove the involvement of Lakhvi and the other accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks”, Special Public Prosecutor Malik Rab Nawaz Noon told reporters. The interior ministry has hired the services of Noon to head the prosecution team in the Rawalpindi-based anti- terrorism court that is conducting the trial of Lakhvi and the other suspects.

Noon also alleged that the lawyers of the accused were causing delays in the court proceedings. Rejecting the defence counsel's objections to the validity of the confessional statement made to Indian authorities by Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone attacker arrested in Mumbai, Noon said it was received through proper government- to-government channels.

“We have got it translated by the head of the Hindi department of the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad”, he said.

Lakhvi's counsel has filed a petition in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court challenging the anti-terrorism court's decision to reject his plea for acquittal. In his petition, Lakhvi said the proceedings against him should be quashed and he should be acquitted under Section 265-K of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the grounds that there was no evidence or witness against him. He also contended that there was no probability that he would be convicted.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/incriminating-evidence-against-lakhvi-pak-counsel/573684/

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Forces take control of militants’ stronghold after seven years

Monday, February 01, 2010

Clashes leave 20 militants dead in Bajaur

KHAR: Security forces on Sunday took control of the Sewai area and hoisted the national flag in the erstwhile stronghold of the militants in Bajaur’s Mamond subdivision after seven years, official sources said.

Also, 20 militants and two tribesmen were killed while two soldiers sustained injuries in the fighting. The sources also claimed that several militants’ hideouts and bunkers were destroyed in the clashes, artillery shelling and air raids in various areas of the agency.

The sources said security forces, backed by tanks, armoured personnel carriers (APCs), gunship helicopters and fighter jets, took control of the Sewai area after a brief but fierce clash with the militants early in the day.

During the operation, gunship helicopters and fighter planes also targeted and strafed the suspected hideouts in Sewai, the Taliban’s nerve centre, where they had established a parallel judicial system.

The sources said 20 militants were killed and two soldiers were injured when gunship helicopters and fighter planes bombed Jani Shah and Damadola areas in Mamond. Two tribesmen were also killed after an artillery shell reportedly fired by security forces struck a house in Mamond Tehsil. However, the identity of the slain civilians could not be ascertained.

http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26991

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Afghan, Iraq wars shape Pentagon budget, US strategy

Monday, February 01, 2010

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration plans to unveil a defence budget on Monday (today) that pours billions into drones, helicopters and Special Forces, reflecting a focus on fighting extremists rather than conventional armies. The Pentagon’s spending priorities as well as its strategic vision — which is also due to be unveiled this week — are a product of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that have severely stretched the military.

The proposed 2011 defence budget comes to more than $700 billion, a modest two per cent increase, and unlike last year avoids sweeping cuts to major weapons programmes, according to Pentagon officials and draft documents. Despite alarm over the US government’s ballooning deficit, Obama has spared the military from belt-tightening efforts and will ask for $33 billion for the current fiscal year to pay for a surge of 30,000 reinforcements in Afghanistan, said officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost one trillion dollars since 2001, and the new budget calls for roughly $159 billion to cover the costs of the US missions there — including about 11.6 billion to expand the Afghan security forces, officials said. The budget asks for $9.6 billion for a range of helicopters — a lifeline for troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan’s rugged landscape — and $2.7 billion for unmanned drones and sensors used to hunt down insurgents. The Pentagon sets a goal of nearly doubling the fleet of MQ-9 Reapers, unmanned planes that can carry precision-guided bombs, a coveted weapon that has transformed US tactics.

With Special Forces seen as serving a pivotal role in helping hunt down al-Qaeda figures and training allied troops, the budget provides $6.3 billion to provide equipment, training and 2,800 additional soldiers for the service.

Full report at: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221957

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Death rate signals tough year ahead in Afghanistan

Monday, February 01, 2010

KABUL: The Afghan war has notched up another grisly record, with the number of international troops to die in the fight against the Taliban the highest for the month of January since the war began.

With tens of thousands more international troops being deployed to Afghanistan this year, analysts and officials are warning the deaths of 44 foreign soldiers in January is a sign of things to come.

The record death toll comes as the Kabul government and its international partners shift the war’s emphasis from battleground to development, and start focusing on attempts to convince Taliban infantry to lay down their arms. In the meantime, experts say more troop’s means more casualties as foreign forces take the fight to the Taliban — with a major offensive planned for this week likely to be the first of a battle-scarred year.

“With more foreign forces, and the enhanced quality and quantity of Afghan forces, the enemy will use all its capacity to show that the surge is causing further instability,” said defence ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi.

“When the fight increases, the area of the fight expands accordingly, so the casualties will increase,” he told AFP.

The 113,000 troops fighting the Taliban under US and Nato command are being supplemented with another 40,000 arriving up to August, to fight with and train up Afghanistan’s security forces.

January’s foreign troop deaths, reported by independent website icasualties.org, which keeps a running tally, compares with 25 in January 2009. The number of Americans who died last month in the conflict now in its ninth year was almost double the number for January last year, at 29 compared with 15, the website says.

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221961

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US drones killed 123 civilians, three al-Qaeda men in January

By Amir Mir

Monday, February 01, 2010

LAHORE: Afghanistan-based US predators carried out a record number of 12 deadly missile strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan in January 2010, of which 10 went wrong and failed to hit their targets, killing 123 innocent Pakistanis. The remaining two successful drone strikes killed three al-Qaeda leaders, wanted by the Americans.

The rapid increase in the US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan can be gauged from the fact that only two such strikes were carried out in January 2009, which killed 36 people. The highest number of drone attacks carried out in a single month in 2009 was six, which were conducted in December last year. But the dawn of the New Year has already seen a dozen such attacks.

The unprecedented rise in the predator strikes with the beginning of the year 2010 is being attributed to December 30, 2009 suicide bombing in the Khost area of Afghanistan bordering North Waziristan, which killed seven CIA agents. US officials later identified the bomber as Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian national linked to both al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In a subsequent posthumous video tape released by Al-Jazeera, Balawi claimed while sitting next to TTP Chief Commander Hakimullah Mehsud that he would blow himself up in the CIA base to avenge the killing of former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack. The consequent increase in US strikes, first in North Waziristan and then South Waziristan, specifically targeting the fugitive TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud clearly shows that revenge is the major motive for these attacks. The US intelligence sleuths stationed in Afghanistan are convinced the Khost suicide attack was planned in Waziristan with the help of the TTP. Therefore, it is believed Afghanistan-based American drones will continue to hunt the most wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, especially Hakimullah, with a view to avenge the loss of the seven CIA agents and to raise morale of its forces in Afghanistan.

Full report at: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=221847

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Indian goods being taken to Nato troops via Pakistan

By Khawar Ghumman

Monday, 01 Feb, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Despite Pakistan’s refusal to let Indian products be taken to Afghanistan through its territory under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT), Indian goods are being taken to the country via Pakistan under the tags of Isaf and Nato.

Documentary evidence placed in the National Assembly library may have failed to catch the attention of honourable parliamentarians, but International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) personnel are receiving Indian goods transported through Pakistan under special arrangements.

Soon after the US attacked Afghanistan, the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf offered a special concession whereby Isaf and Nato got a blanket cover for importing their cargoes through Pakistani ports and airports. The government issued the Customs General Order (CGO) 12/2002 for the purpose.

Such goods were given customs duty exemption and Pakistani customs officials were neither allowed nor they had any mechanism to check details of imported items and had to accept the information provided by the countries in the international alliance.

The present government made no changes in the arrangement introduced by the Musharraf regime.

A recent information sheet of cargoes meant for Nato transported through Pakistan carries the name Tata—a 66-seater bus—scores of other Indian brand items which are mentioned only as ‘Provisions for Isaf and Nato’.

Documents available with Dawn reveal that the facility was being regularly used since the start of the war on terror and Pakistan playing the role of a frontline state.

Full report at: www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/13+indian-goods-being-taken-to-nato-troops-via-pakistan-120-za-07

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Protester killed in Kashmir

Monday, 01 Feb, 2010

SRINAGAR, Jan 31: A Kashmiri youth was killed and eight others were injured when police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse scores of anti-India protesters in occupied Kashmir on Sunday, police and witnesses said.

The violence broke out when protesters pelted police positions with stones and bricks in downtown Srinagar.

The youth was critically injured when a tear gas shell hit his head, a police officer said.

“He later died in hospital,” he said, adding that police were still trying to establish the dead person’s identity.

The death sparked more protests in Srinagar, with demonstrators burning tyres and blocking roads, residents said.—AFP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/protester-killed-in-kashmir-120

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Israeli forces declare West Bank area ‘closed’

Mohammad Mar’i | Arab News

 RAMALLAH: Israeli forces on Sunday declared the West Bank area of Al-Baq’a, east of Hebron, a closed military zone in order to help Jewish occupiers plant trees.

Palestinian sources said Israeli forces barred Palestinian farmers and local and foreign journalists from entering the area. The sources said “about 200 occupiers from nearby settlement of Kharsina arrived in the area and started planting trees they brought with them.”

Hussein Al-Araj, the governor of Hebron, told Arab News that the “occupiers’ move is a translation of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks where he promised to create a park in front of every West Bank settlement.”

Last week, Netanyahu planted trees in three major West Bank settlements and called on occupiers in other settlements to follow suit. Al-Araj said: “Al-Baq’a area is the most fertile land in Hebron governorate and planting of trees there will deprive local farmers of their main source of income.”

Israeli Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin on Sunday laid the foundation stone for construction work in a new neighborhood in Beit Hagai settlement, south of Mount Hebron.

Ahead of a three-day visit to Tel Aviv this week, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied West Bank is a “mistake” which could be an obstacle to any peace settlement. “It will never be possible to convince the Palestinians of Israel’s good intentions while Israel continues to build in territories that are to be returned as part of a piece agreement,” Berlusconi told the Ha’aretz newspaper, in an interview published Sunday.

Full report at: www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=132205&d=1&m=2&y=2010

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War crimes in Gaza: Israel rejects Goldstone Report; Gaza accepts its findings

Arab News

The Feb. 5 deadline for the Palestine Authority and Israel to respond to allegations in the Goldstone Report that Israel committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during last year’s Gaza war will most likely come and pass. Israel roundly rejected the Goldstone Report; Gaza’s authorities accepted its findings in full. So it would be better that the PA go all the way and hold an independent probe to avoid being referred to the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague, as was recommended by the Goldstone Report, should the two sides fail to carry out credible investigations.

The Palestinians have nothing to fear. The Goldstone Report unearthed damning evidence of Israeli war crimes. The Palestinians were at the end of what the Goldstone Report described as an Israeli aim in Gaza not just to kill Hamas fighters but to collectively “punish, humiliate and terrorize” an unarmed and captive civilian population. They were the victims of man’s inhumanity against man. Not surprisingly then, the Israeli investigations were conducted by their military, which naturally exonerated itself of any systematic wrongdoing. It is a mockery of justice to entrust the task of investigating Israeli war crimes in Gaza to the Israeli government or an Israeli commission of inquiry. You don’t ask the Gestapo to investigate Nazi crimes. Israel is a law unto itself and most Israeli leaders and government operatives are themselves war criminals. Thus, it is totally unacceptable that Israel be allowed to investigate itself. What is needed is a credible third party to establish the truth about what Israel did in Gaza, and what better neutral party than the Goldstone Report which documented allegations of international crimes with meticulously collected evidence and careful analysis? It is a report of the highest standard of professionalism, commensurate with what one would expect from a group of leading legal experts.

Full report at: www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=132187&d=1&m=2&y=2010&pix=opinion.jpg&category=Opinion

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Row over 9/11 terror trial site

Scott Shane

February 1st, 2010

For much of President Barack Obama’s first year in office, his national security team worked to devise a secure plan to send dozens of Yemeni detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — the largest single group at the prison camp — home to Yemen, perhaps to a rehabilitation programme. Then came the Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt, which was planned in Yemen, and the President put all transfers there on hold.

Since November, the administration had been preparing to move the highest-profile Guantanamo prisoners — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accomplices accused of plotting the September 11, 2001, attacks — to Manhattan for a federal criminal trial.

But overwhelming opposition from New York politicians concerned about costs, disruptions and security has the Justice Department scrambling to come up with a Plan B, even as Congress threatens to block money to pay for a criminal 9/11 trial altogether. That could force the administration to revive the very option that the President and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had rejected: military commissions at Guantanamo for the 9/11 plotters.

“It’s obviously proven a lot more difficult than a lot of us expected to close Guantanamo,” said Sarah E. Mendelson of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who has studied the issue intensively. She called the turnaround of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other New York officials “disappointing” and the costly security plan they proposed for Manhattan excessive, given the major al-Qaeda trials held there in the past with far less disruptive procedures.

For some who have always advocated military commissions for the 9/11 plotters, the demise of the Manhattan plan simply proved their point. “It just shows what a dumb idea it was in the first place,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham in an interview on Thursday. Graham plans to reintroduce legislation in a few days to block criminal trials for the 9/11 suspects altogether.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/01/stories/2010020161330900.htm

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Afghanistan: Much is at stake for India

February 1st, 2010

Afghanistan has been a theatre of war and foreign involvement in its internal affairs for three decades. A stable equilibrium is far from being reached. Kabul is as yet a long way from generating its own resources to run a modern state system, including its security vector, to fend off threats from historically meddlesome neighbours, the most pernicious of which has been Pakistan, seeking from the time of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. On account of the military conflict imposed on Afghanistan by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which receive Pakistani state support, Kabul continues to be badly in need of international assistance of a non-threatening variety. India was absent from the scene for most of the time Afghanistan was in turmoil in the past three decades, and returned to its historically friendly engagement with Kabul only after the end of Taliban rule in 2001, following which the international community entered the picture in a big way. India enjoys enormous goodwill of the people of all regions of that country. The nature of its involvement is viewed positively across ethnic divides, including very much the Pashtuns among whom the Taliban are mainly to be found. However, India is one among several foreign actors in Afghanistan. Different players approach key issues differently, depending on how their long-term interests are impacted. Vital questions of policy, politics, ideology and the path to be pursued will be debated. Last week’s London conference on Afghanistan, which became the occasion for discussing primarily British and European concerns, marks but an early stage of that debate. It is necessary to view the outcome of London as a part of an ongoing discussion involving Afghans and the internationals, and not some final formula which all concerned must accept or be turned away from the table. The US secretary of state, Ms Hillary Clinton’s non-endorsement of the basic British idea of seeking to win over elements of the Taliban leadership with Pakistan’s help is an indication that discussions on Afghanistan’s long-term stability are at an incipient stage.

Full report at: www.deccanchronicle.com/dc-comment/afghanistan-much-stake-india-467

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This way lies disaster: Bribing Taliban will just not work

February 1st, 2010

What has till now been talked about by strategic experts and debated in the columns of newspapers may soon become a reality. Last week’s conference in London, attended by representatives of 70 countries and international organisations, including Nato and the UN, to set in motion the process of what has been described as a ‘grand reconciliation’ — but is in reality a grand bargain — to ‘reintegrate’ the Taliban into mainstream Afghan society and politics, has virtually resulted in a decision to legitimise ruthless Islamist terrorists and their murderous ways. Worse, the path chosen to reach the goal of defanging the Taliban is sure to lead to disaster. The proposed $ 500 million ‘Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund’, which will ostensibly be used for bribing those Taliban fighters who accept the Constitution of Afghanistan, lay down arms and disown Al Qaeda, we can be sure, will achieve little. It is more than likely that Taliban fighters will come forward, swear allegiance to the Afghan Constitution, collect the money, and then disappear into the badlands of that country to rejoin the jihad being directed by Al Qaeda. The deal has been worked out by Britain and other Nato members with America’s blessings and brings to mind similar efforts by Pakistan to buy peace with jihadis in the tribal areas of that country. Those efforts resulted in further emboldening the Taliban instead of taming the brutal thugs. Yet, neither the US nor its tans-Atlantic allies appear to have learned any lessons from that misadventure which is primarily to blame for the subsequent surge in terrorism that has virtually sent Pakistan into a free fall.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/232857/This-way-lies-disaster.html

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