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Islamic World News ( 11 Jul 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistani woman appointed to Canadian Senate

24 ‘Ulema’ sent to judicial custody in Karachi

Death toll in Pakistan attacks rises to 105, say officials

Bangladesh set to start trial of main BDR massacre suspects

Iran to review woman's stoning verdict

Prajapati case: Top Gujarat policemen in CID custody

US terms Kashmir Valley protest India’s internal matter

Taliban attacks kill 14 Afghan police in Kabul

Surge of attacks kills 6 US troops, 12 Afghans

Palestinian village to be encircled by barrier

Forces kill 15 extremists in Orakzai

Muslim University Campuses: A conspiracy against Muslims

Economic experts call for overhaul of zakat system

Protest against ban on Mulim religious channels

Pakistani Islamic scholar gets a warm welcome in Deoband

Conference on Social Reform and Women’s Education

Pak channels banned in Indian Kashmir

Yemen arrests 8 Al Qaeda suspects, including Saudi

‘Ulema duty-bound to promote mother, child health

‘That is why’ IDB is needed!

Jamaat announces fresh agitation programme

Iran Guards profiting from sanctions: Karroubi

Obama calls Abbas, asks for direct talks for peace

Zardari says no handing over Mumbai suspects to India

Pak, India civil society to move courts at the same time

'Palestinian-Israeli situation could lead to a holy war'

Human remains found on Saudi plane tyre

PDP not to attend Kashmir all-party meet

Bomb blast in Kandahar kills at least 1

Encounter in Kishtwar between troops, top LeT commander

Fresh warrants against Kasab, Ansari in Mumbai case trial

Army withdrawal to be considered after July 13: Omar

Farooq Meets PM; Delhi Sounds Alert

Pak To Soon Have First Transgender Doc

Restrictions and shutdown call in Srinagar

Nawaz Sharif tried to fool the nation: Awan

Turkish jets bomb targets in Iraq

Court asks to haul 735 Sadar BDR men

Israel warning as Libya aid boat eyes landing

Theatre festival on Liberation War begins

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Pakistani woman appointed to Canadian Senate

By Latafat Ali Siddiqui

11 Jul, 2010

“I’m delighted to hear the good news of my appointment as a senator,” said Salma Ataullahjan.—Dawn

OTTAWA: Salma Ataullahjan on Friday became the first Canadian woman of Pakistani origin to get into the Senate when Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed her to fill a vacancy from the province of Ontario.


“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Salma Ataullahjan to the Senate of Canada,” said Prime Minister Harper in a statement on Friday evening.


“A professional, artist, parent and strong activist for the South Asian community in the Greater Toronto Area, Ms Ataullahjan brings a remarkable dedication and energy to her new role as a senator for the province of Ontario,” he said.


The appointment comes into effect immediately. “I’m delighted to hear the good news of my appointment as a senator,” said Ms Ataullahjan, who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan 31 years ago, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1989.


She pledged to support the government in its efforts to make the Senate more democratic and accountable, including bringing in legislation to limit the Senate’s tenure and to allow provinces to elect senators.


Ms Ataullahjan, who belongs to the family of the late Khan Abdul Wali Khan, has settled in Toronto and is associated with the real estate sector for 21 years.


She has served several organisations, including as founder and chairperson of the Parent Council of David Lewis Public School, as member of the South Asian Regional Council and on the executive of the Pakistani Canadian Professionals and Academics.


She has also worked for the Toronto chapter of the Citizens Foundation, a charity that builds not-for-profit schools in poor districts of Pakistan. Ms Ataullahjan is an accomplished artist and paints in watercolours. She and husband Saleem have been married for 31 years and have two daughters.


24 ‘Ulema’ sent to judicial custody in Karachi

July 11, 2010

Judicial Magistrate Adam H Singhar sent 24 Ulema, who were allegedly involved in creating disturbances at a city mosque on the eve of Shab-e-Meraj, to judicial custody till July 24.


The Ulema including Maulana Ameer Fazal Khaliq, Maulana Umer Ameen, Moulvi Mohammed Feroz, Tariq Mehmood and others were arrested by the police after an alleged clash between two religious groups in Jama Masjid Noor late Friday night.


According to the prosecution, the arrested Ulema entered the mosque, beat up the Imam of mosque and roughed up worshipers on the night of Shab-e-Meraj. The Nabi Bux police registered an FIR against them.


Death toll in Pakistan attacks rises to 105, say officials

July 11, 2010

PESHAWAR: The death toll from a suicide bombing and car bomb attack that devastated a busy market town in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt has risen to 105, officials said on Sunday.


Two victims died overnight in hospital and a third body was recovered from debris as rescue workers in the town of Yakaghund continued to search rubble at the scene of one of Pakistan's deadliest attacks.


"We have recovered a body from the debris and two people who were critically injured has also died in hospitals in Peshawar," Mairaj Khan, a local official at the site, told AFP by telephone.


Local government official Rasool Khan confirmed the new death toll.


The explosions on Friday destroyed government buildings and shops and left victims buried under the rubble.


The attacks were the deadliest in Pakistan since a massive car bomb destroyed a market crowded with women and children in the northwestern city of Peshawar in October 2009, killing 125 people.


The Pakistani Taliban have already claimed responsibility for Friday's blasts, saying the target was a gathering of pro-government tribal elders.


A Taliban and al-Qaida-linked bombing spree across Pakistan has killed more than 3,500 people in three years since government troops besieged the radical Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad in July 2007.


Bangladesh set to start trial of main BDR massacre suspects

Sunday, 11 Jul, 2010

Bangladesh is set to begin the trial of the main suspected culprits of last year's BDR massacre in which 74 people including 57 Army officers were killed, with the chargesheet ready to be submitted by Monday. "We have already completed all formalities (and) the chargesheet will be submitted in next


24 hours" under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal, a senior official of Criminal Investigation Department told, preferring anonymity.

He said nearly 900 rebel soldiers and 34 civilians would be named in the chargesheet for the February 25-26 carnage at the Bangladesh Rifles Pilkhana headquarters.


Nearly 60 of the chargesheeted soldiers were found to have directly carried out the massacre.


The Speedy Trial Tribunal is obligated to complete the trial in 135 days awarding the convicts the highest death penalties under the civil penal code.


CID officials earlier said the suspected massacre culprits would also be charged with offences including attempt to murder, injuring the officers with dangerous weapons or means, holding officers and their families' hostage, looting the armoury and using firearms without authority and destroying evidence of murders by hiding bodies.


The civilian accused included Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, a controversial former lawmaker of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Torab Alim, a local Awami League leader, who is also a former BDR soldier.


CID officials earlier said they prepared an initial list of some 900 BDR soldiers out of around 2,100 detained border guards to be charged for their alleged involvement in killings and lootings, keeping army officers' family members hostage at their Pilkhana headquarters.


A CID official familiar with the investigation said the number of accused in the carnage case would be the highest ever in any criminal case in the country.


Investigators earlier said that initially 40 to 50 BDR men started the mutiny while most of the paramilitary soldiers took up weapons "voluntarily or reluctantly" and carried out the killings, destructions and lootings.


CID was tasked to investigate into the country's worst ever paramilitary mutiny 16 months ago.


The trial of the "ordinary mutineers" charged with lesser offences is already underway under six paramilitary courts in Dhaka and the battalion headquarters of the border guards across the country.


They are being tried under the relatively lenient BDR Act which prescribes the highest seven years of jail term for offences like breach of command or disobedience and so far 201 people have been jailed for different terms in five units.


Iran to review woman's stoning verdict

Sunday, 11 Jul, 2010

Iran's top human rights official says the death by stoning sentence for a 43-year-old woman convicted of adultery is under review.


The sentence to stone Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to death drew worldwide outcry after it was publicised by her lawyer, who had warned she was facing imminent execution.


British media reported late Thursday that the stoning would not occur, citing the Iranian embassy in London.


Mohammed Javad Larijani of Iran's human rights council told the state news agency Saturday that the "review and appeal of the verdict is on the agenda."


He added that converting sentences of stoning to alternative punishments is common.


While judges often hand down stoning sentences, they are rarely implemented.


Prajapati case: Top Gujarat policemen in CID custody

Sunday, 9 Jul, 2010

The Gujarat CID, which is probing the Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case, has taken tainted IPS officers D G Vanjara and Dinesh M N in custody. Both of them are currently in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and the alleged killing of his wife Kausar Bi in 2005. Vanzara was the Border Range IG in Gujarat while Dinesh was the SP of Udaipur in Rajasthan when Prajapati, a key witness in the Sohrabuddin encounter case, was killed in an encounter.


US terms Kashmir Valley protest India’s internal matter

Sunday, 11 Jul, 2010

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Saturday that it would like Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers to discuss the Kashmir dispute when they meet in Islamabad later this month.


US State Department’s deputy spokesman Mark Tone also told journalists that the current situation in Indian occupied Kashmir was India’s internal issue and asked protesters to conduct agitations in a peaceful manner.


“We always support dialogue between India and Pakistan,” Mr Toner said when asked if Kashmir should be discussed between the two countries.


“We regret the loss of life in this incident. It is an internal Indian matter. We respect the efforts of the government of India to investigate and resolve the current situation in Kashmir,” he said, adding that the United States had always encouraged India and Pakistan to resolve all its differences through dialogue.


“In terms of the protest, we would just urge everyone to refrain from violence and conduct protest in a free and peaceful manner,” said the US official.


Taliban attacks kill 14 Afghan police in Kabul

Kabul, July 11, 2010

At least fourteen Afghan police and a provincial official have been killed in three separate insurgent attacks across northern Afghanistan, government and security officials said on Sunday. The north has largely escaped the bulk of fighting which pits a resurgent Taliban insurgency against nearly 150,000 NATO-led foreign troops, mostly in the south.


Nine policemen died when their remote checkpost was overrun by insurgents in the Emam Saheb district of Kunduz province late on Saturday, provincial district head Ayub Aqyar said.

"Dozens of Taliban overran their post," Aqyar said.

A homemade bomb also killed head of Qaleh Zaal district police in Kunduz, along with his driver, provincial spokesman Mohboobullah Saidi said. Two others were also wounded in the attack.


In usually peaceful Badakhshan province, five police died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Kishim district, provincial police chief Aqa Noor Kintoz said.


Under-trained, poorly paid and ill-equipped Afghan police have borne the brunt of increasingly frequent Taliban attacks in both urban and rural parts of the country.


Newly appointed Afghan Interior Minister General Bismillah Khan last week announced plans to step up police training as local security forces prepare to take security responsibility from US and NATO troops within four years.


Kunduz, untouched by insurgents only a couple of years ago, is now experiencing attacks on an almost daily basis as insurgents push back against mostly German soldiers and the Taliban tries to prove its reach extends across the country.


Saturday was a particularly bloody day, with six U.S. soldiers killed in separate incidents and more than a dozen civilians dying, including 12 people gunned down in a bus near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.


Officials originally said the bus dead were Pakistani travellers taking a detour through Afghanistan, but on Sunday said they were Afghans.


Last week, Afghan security forces killed almost 70 insurgents, wounding another 36 and detaining around 140 during operations, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemari Bashary said on Sunday.


Insurgency-related violence killed 43 civilians and wounded 118 others, Bashary said. Afghan police lost 23 officers and around 70 were wounded in the same period.


Casualties among NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan hit a high in June and commanders expect violence to rise in parallel with the anti-insurgent offensive in coming months, raising questions about whether more can be done to protect troops.


Surge of attacks kills 6 US troops, 12 Afghans

July 11, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan: A wave of attacks killed six US troops and at least a dozen civilians Saturday in Afghanistan's volatile south and east, as American reinforcements moving into Taleban-dominated areas face up to the fierce resistance they expected.


Increased US-led military operations in the southern province of Kandahar are aimed at trying to break the Taleban's grip where they are strongest by delivering security and government services to win over Afghan people.


The hope is that once the tide begins to turn, more control can be handed to Afghan forces without fear that the Taleban might again seize power, bring back its harsh interpretation of Islamic law and resume sheltering Al-Qaeda terrorist leaders. Then US troops could begin withdrawing in July 2011, in line with a timeline set by President Barack Obama.


Senior US military officers have warned, however, that the fight in the Taleban's spiritual birthplace would lead to a rise in casualties for troops. June was the deadliest month of the nearly 9-year-old war, and July has kept pace.


On Saturday, two of the US troops killed died in the south in separate roadside bombings. In Kandahar city, a remote-controlled bomb on a motorcycle exploded, setting cars ablaze and shattering windows at a popular shopping center. The provincial government said one passer-by was killed.


The other American service members died in the east: One as a result of small-arms fire, another by a roadside bomb, a third during an insurgent attack and the last in an accidental explosion. Their deaths raised to 23 the number of American troops killed so far this month. Last month, 103 international troops were killed, 60 of them Americans.


In the spring, as NATO began stepping up patrols in the south, Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned reporters again that such a rise casualties would be inevitable. "I think we've been very clear for months now that this was going to be a very difficult fight in the south, and tried to set expectations, as tragic as it is, for these losses," said Mullen, who is Obama's top military adviser.


Progress has indeed proved slow, and the Afghan government is struggling to build trust, with many authorities seen as corrupt or unprofessional. Violence has also escalated as the insurgents work to sabotage Afghan authorities and kill foreign forces, sometimes with dramatic terrorist attacks, but most days with a steady flow of roadside bombs and small attacks.


In Saturday's deadliest attack, eastern border province of Paktia, unidentified gunmen killed 11 Pakistanis who had crossed into Afghanistan to buy supplies, according to Rohullah Samon, spokesman for the provincial governor.


Samon said 11 Shia minority Muslim tribesmen died and three people, including a child, were wounded in the ambush of their minibus in Chamkani district.


Elsewhere in Paktia, Afghan and international forces also said a combined commando unit killed a Taleban operative and captured eight others in an overnight raid, though local villagers later staged a small protest, saying the men were innocent civilians.

Another, larger protest in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif involved another night raid that killed two security guards near a market earlier in the week.


A crowd of more than 1,000 crowd chanted "Death to America! Long live Islam!" Protesters said the security guards were unjustly killed when combined Afghan and international forces landed by helicopter at the bazaar before dawn Wednesday.


NATO spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said the two guards were shot when they raised their weapons at the commandos and refused orders to put them down. He said the raid succeeded in capturing a Taleban-allied operative who supplied bomb-making material.


The international coalition has been aggressively stepping up such raids, trying to break up Taleban leadership and operations capability in a renewed push as 30,000 more American troops arrive to try to turn around the war.


The coalition say commando units have captured more than 100 senior and midlevel Taleban figures since April and killed dozens more. But the success rate has not made much of a dent in insurgent attacks.


On Saturday, an explosion tore through a NATO convoy traveling in the eastern province of Khost, though no one was killed. The German army later said two of its soldiers were slightly wounded by a roadside bomb in the northern province of Kunduz — the second homemade explosive attack on German troops in the area that day.


NATO's International Security Assistance Force has been in Afghanistan since shortly after the fall of the Taleban in 2001, when US-backed forces toppled the regime that sheltered the Al-Qaeda terrorist leadership following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.


Palestinian village to be encircled by barrier

July 11, 2010

WALAJEH, West Bank: Israel has started construction on a new section of its West Bank separation barrier that Palestinian residents say could sound a death knell for their hamlet.


The barrier, running much of the length of the West Bank, has already disrupted lives in many Palestinian towns and villages in its path. But it threatens to outright smother Walajeh: The community of about 2,000 on the southwest edge of Jerusalem is to be completely encircled by a fence cutting it off from most of its open land, according to an Israeli Defense Ministry map.


Walajeh old-timers are determined to stay, but doubt their children will feel the same way.


"We will cling to the village by our teeth," said Adel Atrash, a village council member. "But we don't know how the next generation will look at things. Maybe they won't be able to live with all the difficulties and decide to leave." Israel began building the barrier in 2002, saying it would be a temporary bulwark against Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed hundreds of Israelis. However, the barrier's zigzag through the West Bank brought allegations that Israel is unilaterally drawing a border and grabbing land by scooping up dozens of Jewish settlements.


Six years ago Friday, the International Court of Justice said in a nonbinding ruling that the barrier's path through occupied territory violates international law and that Israel should tear down what it has built.


Israel rejected the decision, saying the barrier is crucial for keeping Israelis safe, and denies it is drawing a border.


"In future negotiations (on Palestinian statehood), the route of the security barrier will not constitute a political factor," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.


Forces kill 15 extremists in Orakzai

July 11, 2010

PESHAWAR: At least 15 extremists were killed in security forces’ operation in various areas of Upper Orakzai Agency, Geo News reported


According to security sources, the forces’ operation is underway in different parts of Orakzai Agency.


Today, various suspected hideouts in Baliana, Torask and Torsamt were pounded in the fresh action by the forces, where at least 15 extremists were killed and five others injured.


Also, at least four hideouts of the extremists were destroyed.


Search operation is underway in the area as well and the suspected vehicles and individuals are being thoroughly searched.


Muslim University Campuses: A conspiracy against Muslims

July 11, 2010  Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: The Old Boys have come out into the open to fight the conspiracy to ruin the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia  and have vowed to wage a countrywide democratic campaign if their demands were not met, the representatives of AMU Old Boys’ Association, AMU Teachers’ Association, Non-teaching Staff Association and people associated with the movement of Jamia Millia said at a press conference on Saturday.

Rajya Sabha MP, Md Adeeb said that Sir Syed had established AMU for the spread of modern education among the Muslims. This shows that this institution was set up by Muslims for the Muslims. Nevertheless, the doors of this university had always remained open for other communities as well. He said that the Muslims were being cheated in the matter of the Aligarh Muslim University. The Congress manifesto of 2004 and 2009 elections recognised AMU as a minority institution and it was promised that the minority character of this institution would be reinstated. Md Adeeb said that the setting up of 4 campuses of AMU was nothing but a conspiracy. He said that until 50% seats were reserved for Muslim students, there was no guarantee that the Muslim students would get better opportunities. He further told scribes that most of the students passing out from the high schools run by the AMU join the graduate and post graduate courses of the AMU. The question bothering everyone of us is from where the 4 campuses in question will get students. He further said that Mulim University had always been a residential university. It was counted among the best universities in the world. He asked if Jawahar Lal University, Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University and Allahabad University did not have external campuses, why the AMU should have campuses. World famous universities like Oxford and Cambridge have not established their external campuses. Kaukab Hamid said that with the opening of external campuses, the minority character of the university will suffer. He said that the VC of the university, P K Abdul Aziz had been accused of financial irregularities and the Visitor of the university, the President of India, Mrs Pratibha Patil had even set up an inquiry committee to investigate into the allegations. This was the first time in 110 years of the university, that an inquiry committee was set up against a Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Mr Ilyas Malik, who has been fighting for the reinstatement of the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia said that Jamia was a minority institution from 1920 to 1985. Its minority character was revoked after it was granted the status of a central university in 1988. He said that the NDA government conferred minority status to Jamia Hamdard. So if NDA government could do this why the self-proclaimed secular government of the UPA and its minister for Human Resource Development Mr Kapil Sibal was fighting shy of giving Jamia Millia minority status, he wondered.


Economic experts call for overhaul of zakat system


Jul 9, 2010 BURAIDAH: A number of Islamic scholars and economic experts have underscored the need for an overhaul in the Kingdom’s zakat system in a way that would make it more effective and help realize the actual spirit and purpose of zakat in Islam.

The scholars and experts say that the proper collection and distribution of zakat would alleviate poverty, adding that there is a need to upgrade the entire system of collecting and distributing zakat using modern technology, and a revamping of the Zakat Department, which they said should be independent and be given more powers.

An estimated SR60 billion is collected in zakat every year in the Kingdom, which was among the first countries to introduce an obligatory zakat collection system over 60 years ago, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

Dr. Ibrahim bin Saleh Al-Omar, dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administration at Al-Qassim University, said it is important to discuss and review the Kingdom’s current zakat collection system.

“Zakat is the first known system in the history of mankind that has the potential to create social justice among all members of society. We need to revamp how we collect zakat to realize its purpose,” he said.

According to Dr. Ibrahim, the Kingdom’s current system of collecting zakat is one of the country’s oldest financial systems and was introduced some 60 years ago. He added that the system needs to be improved, as it is not effectively realizing its goals.

“This is mainly because the Zakat Department is a branch of the Ministry of Finance. It is high time to reorganize the Zakat Department and make it one of the Kingdom’s major financial organizations. It should either be an authority or corporation with vast powers to ensure individuals, firms and companies pay zakat without any exemption,” he said. He added that over SR60 billion in zakat money is collected in the Kingdom each year.

“Considering the robust growth that the Saudi economy has been seeing over the past few years, this amount could increase if zakat were collected properly,” he said.

Dr. Ibrahim further suggested the Zakat Department should be given further powers that would lead to the proper distribution of revenue to deserving people and investments that would generate more cash for the needy.

“This reorganized body should undertake a headcount of all citizens and foreigners as well as companies in the Kingdom. Then the system of zakat collection should also be reviewed in a way that takes into account the financial position of both individuals and firms,” he said.

choing the same view, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Shawi, associate professor at Al-Qassim University’s Shariah faculty, said that the new body should take advantage of modern technology to streamline collection and distribution. “The proposed new body can utilize advanced technologies to estimate the property and wealth of both individuals and firms,” he said.

He added that economists, experts and scholars could be consulted through conferences, seminars and workshops held in conjunction with universities, financial consultancy firms, and research centers within the Kingdom and abroad.

Shawi also underlined the need for a statistical report on the financial position and living standards of people in the Kingdom and a list of people who are eligible to receive zakat. He added that one of the primary goals of zakat is to ensure people are financially self-reliant.

“The reorganized zakat body should invest surplus amounts of money into mega-development projects. This would help the body play a vital role in the Kingdom’s development rather than just being a mere department that collects and distributes money.

Dr. Saleh Al-Tuwaijri, a lecturer at Al-Qassim University, spoke about the importance of transforming the Zakat Department into an independent body with vast powers that would be directly accountable to the Kingdom’s rulers.

Ibrahim Al-Moshaigeh, another professor at Al-Qassim University, echoed similar views. He said that zakat should not be individually distributed but needs to be distributed in conjunction with the Kingdom’s rulers.

“The proper implementation of zakat would lead to prosperity and the alleviation of poverty,” he said.

Al-Moshaigeh urged the authorities to bring all real estate owners under the purview of the zakat system. “The Kingdom is witnessing a boom in the real estate sector. However, many real estate owners are not paying zakat,” he said.

On his part, Saleh bin Ibrahim Al-Soraikh, director general of the Zakat and Revenue Department in Al-Qassim region, said that the department is working hard to introduce modern technology.

“An e-governance system has been introduced in all of the department’s branches across the Kingdom. We’re striving hard to establish a system that would lead to electronically linking everyone who needs to pay zakat to the department,” he added.


Protest against ban on Mulim religious channels

July 11, 2010  Age Islam News Bureau

Rampur: Social organizations have protested against the ban on Muslim religious channels by the central government. Minority Qaumi Movement convenor Asim Khan said that the Central government has banned the airing of religious channels of Muslims like Qtv, Madani TV, Haadi TV and Peace TV in India. It is an attack on the religious freedom which will not be tolerated. He said that first the columns of language, casted religion were struck off and now the government is showing its anti-Muslim mindset by banning Muslim religious channels. He said that if the ban was not lifted,  a nationwide movement will be launched.


Pakistani Islamic scholar gets a warm welcome in Deoband

July 11, 2010 Age Islam News Bureau

Deoband: The former Chief Justice of the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan and internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar Maulana Md Taqi Usmani received a warm welcome from the students and teachers of Deoband on his arrival in the town. Maulana Usmani wo is the author of countless Islamic books, is a native of Deoband. He had migrated to Pakistan with his parents at the time of Partition. He has visited Deoband earlier in 1980. He is said to be instrumental in introducing the Islamic banking system to the modern world.


Conference on Social   Reform and Women’s Education

July 11, 2010 New Age Islam News Bureau

Mawana: A one-day conference was held at Madrasah Jamiatus Salehat Girls’ Junior High School in Aklah Rasul Pur on Social   Reform and Women’s Education. The conference was presided over by the Pradhan Md Arshad and patronized by Maulana Wahiduzzaman. Speaking on the occasion, the President of All India Milli Council Maulana Abdullah Mughisi said that there was a need to establish girls’ schools on Islamic model and the girls should be encouraged to become doctors and engineers. He further said that modern education was necessary along with religious education. Mualana Zuber Muradabadi said that we should vow to equip our children with higher education to promote social awareness.




Pak channels banned in Indian held Kashmir

July 11, 2010


SRINAGAR: The telecast of Pakistani TV channels have been shut down in various areas of Kashmir, Geo News reported Sunday.


According to Kashmir Media Service, the local administration directed the cable operators in Baramulla and Sopore against showing Pak channels.


These channels include PTV, Geo TV, ARY, Dawn News, Express 24/7 and Nur TV.


Yemen arrests 8 Al Qaeda suspects, including Saudi

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SANAA: Yemeni authorities have arrested eight suspected Al Qaeda militants, including a Saudi fugitive, accused of plotting attacks on security installations, the defence ministry said on Sunday.


The arrests of the eight came days after two suspected members of the same al Qaeda cell were detained following a house raid in the remote Hadramout province that sparked clashes in which three soldiers were killed.


“Two Al Qaeda elements were arrested during a raid on a house where cell members were hiding, and eight others were caught in the following days,” the ministry said in its online newspaper.


Yemen, neighbour to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, has been a growing security concern for the West since a Yemen-based regional arm of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an unsuccessful attempt to bomb a US-bound plane in December.


Yemen’s Western and Saudi allies want Sanaa, also trying to cement a truce with northern Shi'ite rebels and quell southern separatist sentiment, to resolve its domestic conflicts and consolidate power so that it can focus on fighting al Qaeda.


Yemen escalated a crackdown on Al Qaeda this year, and further stepped up security measures after accusing Al Qaeda of a June 19 attack on the police intelligence building in the southern city of Aden that killed 11 people.


A security official said the group arrested in Hadramout was accused of preparing attacks on security and other vital installations in eastern province, but did not identify specific targets.


The defence ministry identified the Saudi who was arrested as Abdullah Faraj Mohamed Mahmoud al-Jawbar, who is on a list of 85 Saudis wanted by Riyadh. It added that authorities had found a suicide bomb belt during the house raid a week ago. – AFP


‘Ulema duty-bound to promote mother, child health

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It is the duty of every ‘aalim’ to promote and support the cause of mother and child health in Pakistan, Mufti-e-Azam Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, stated at the National Ulema Convention on the ‘Role of Religious Leaders in Ensuring Mother and Newborn Health in Pakistan.’


Organized by the Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (Paiman), in collaboration with the National Research and Development Foundation, the convention was held at the International Islamic University here on Saturday. More than 600 ulema from all over Pakistan converged in Islamabad to participate in a national initiative, which aims at promoting the role of religious leaders in advocating for mother and newborn health in their respective circles and communities. The convention ended with a collective prayer for the strength and well-being of the Mulsim Ummah and distribution of shields to participating ulema and guests.


Addressing the gathering, Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani added that we have failed in providing the due share to our women for ensuring their health, well-being and education, which he deemed as the most important challenge facing Pakistan. “The role of ulema is not restricted to religious issues only; it goes beyond and covers all earthly matters too,” he stated. He emphasized that it is the duty of every Aalim to play their due share in saving thousands of precious lives of mothers and newborns that die needlessly every year.


Fayyaz Ahmad Khan, Country Representative of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlighted the plight of thousands of mothers who are at risk of dying, mostly due to preventable and needless causes. He highlighted the fact that Pakistan has the worst indicators of mother and newborn health in the entire region, and only Afghanistan fares worst than Pakistan. He spoke at length about how thousands of lives can be saved through simple measures of birth preparedness, delivery by a skilled birth attendant and ensuring that both the mother and her newborn get medical examination soon after delivery.


Dr. Amanullah Khan, a child health specialist and Director Health at Save the Children-US, told the gathering that every year, around 20,000 mothers and 400,000 children die because of pregnancy-related complications that can be avoided through simple precautionary measures. He added that two-thirds of the children who die in Pakistan die in the first month of their lives, a proportion that can significantly be reduced by simple practices such as delayed bathing of newborn and early initiation of breastfeeding.


Other speakers on the occasion included Sheikh-ul-Hadees Maulana Zahid-ul-Rashdi of Nusrat-ul-Alum; Mufti Zameer Ahmad Sajid, Ameer Jamat Ehl-e-Sunnat; Professor Dr. Noor Ahmad Shahtaz, Director General Sheikh Zayed Islamic Center of the Karachi University and Allama Abdul Majeed Nadeem Shah, a prominent religious scholar. They urged ulema to bring issues of mother and newborn health into their discussion and religious sermons.


More than 800 senior Ulema have been networked through the Paiman project so far.


‘That is why’ IDB is needed!


Jul 10, 2010

JEDDAH: “That’s Why” is the name of a worldwide media campaign that the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has launched to raise public awareness about its economic and social development efforts around the world.


Nine short videos are being aired via CNN, France 24 and Al-Jazeera networks, coinciding with the 35th annual meeting of the IDB in the Azeri capital of Baku last month.


Each video focuses on an important social challenge and what it means to ordinary people, before describing — that’s why — the action that the IDB is taking by itself and jointly with other development financing institutions around the world.


The campaign is supported online through its presence on social media such as YouTube, flickr, Linked-in, Facebook, Vimeo, etc. The content of the videos covers the bank’s overall vision of human dignity for all, along with its efforts in bringing electricity to rural populations, eradicating famine and hunger, providing health care, improving literacy, establishing infrastructure projects, fighting poverty, providing safe drinking water and strengthening capacity of government ministries and organizations through capacity building.


This is the first time the bank is undertaking a communications campaign of this nature. The main objective is letting people know how the bank is inspired by its Vision 1440H (2020G) to improve the human condition, thus helping to bring meaningful change to people’s lives.


One of the aims of this campaign is to promote a better understanding of the bank as a world-class organization that provides assistance with a wide range of economic and social development activities to communities in both member and non-member countries. The IDB works with 56 member countries and Muslim communities in more than 100 countries worldwide.


Jamaat announces fresh agitation programme

11 July 2010

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami on Sunday announced a fortnight-long agitation programme from Tuesday on various issues, particularly demanding release of its three top leaders.


Jammat Acting Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam announced the series of programmes at a press conference at its central office Sunday noon.


The programmes include meetings and demonstrations across the country on Tuesday-Thursday (July 13-15) to protest 'oppression and repression' by the Awami League government and demanding unconditional release of party leaders and workers, including Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, Nayeb-e- Ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid.


The party will also hold rallies throughout the country on July 19 protesting the arrests and repression.


From July 20 to 26, Jamaat will hold opinion exchange meetings with people of various classes and professions to build up public opinion against the 'fascist and failed' government.


Replying to a question, Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Kader Mollah told reporters that they are keeping contact with BNP and “hope to get its support to our programmes.”


Reading out a written statement, Azharul Islam said so far over 800 leaders and workers of Jamaat have been arrested since the three top leaders of Jamaat - Nizami, Sayedee and Mujahid - were arrested on June 29.


He said nearly 500 leaders and workers of Jamaat and it student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir were injured in attacks by Jubo League and Bangladesh Chhatra League on its peaceful rallies in different parts of the country.


Replying to a question, Azharul Islam said Jamaat-e-Islami had never any connection with militancy.


Asked about the remarks of a state minister calling Jamaat politics illegal, he said how the politics of a party registered with the Election Commission could be called illegal. “The remark of the state minister is unlawful.”


Iran Guards profiting from sanctions: Opposition leader Karroubi

11 July 2010

TEHRAN — Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has said Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards back sanctions against Tehran as they make “astronomical profits” from the punitive measures, a website said on Sunday.


“I believe that part of the Iranian rule as well as the Revolutionary Guards are in favour of sanctions as they make gigantic and astronomical profits from them,” Karroubi was quoted as saying on opposition website


 The Guards regularly shrug off international sanctions imposed on Iran for its defiant nuclear programme, with some top commanders expressing willingness to take on projects abandoned by Western companies, including in the energy sector.


Karroubi, who steadfastly opposes the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, again blamed the hardliner for the latest sets of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States.


“Imprudence in (Iran’s) foreign policy and the lack of political sanity in the actions and political and diplomatic words of the man in charge of the government have imposed high costs on the country,” the reformist cleric said in a direct attack on Ahmadinejad.


“We should not give an excuse through shallow words and bungling actions and allow others to easily impose sanctions against Iran,” the website quoted Karroubi as saying on Saturday at a meeting with families of detained opposition members.


Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions for its sustained pursuance of the nuclear programme, all of which have been imposed since Ahmadinejad first became president in 2005.


Western governments suspect Iran’s nuclear programme is a cover for a weapons drive, something Tehran has repeatedly denied, maintaining it is aimed solely at power generation and medical research.


Karroubi, along with Iran’s other main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, continue to level accusations that Ahmadinejad’s re-election last year was the result of a massive vote rigging.


Obama calls Abbas, asks for direct talks for peace

Sunday, July 11, 2010

US President Barack Obama discussed the Middle East peace process, particularly progress made towards direct talks, during a telephonic conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


“He (Obama) and President Abbas reviewed ways to advance to direct talks in the near term, in order to reach an agreement that ends the conflict, and establishes an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel,” the White House said.


The development comes in the backdrop of Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early this week.


Obama expressed strong support for Abbas’ leadership on behalf of the Palestinian people and his commitment to peace, the White House said in a statement.


“The President noted the positive momentum generated by the recent improvements on the ground in Gaza and in the West Bank, the restraint shown by both sides in recent months, and progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks,” it said.


Obama noted that Special Envoy George Mitchell would travel to the region soon and meet with Abbas to build on this momentum to advance their common goals.


Early this week, the US President met Netanyahu at the Oval Office of the White House. Both the leaders emphasised on the need to start direct talks by September.


“Israeli Government, working through layers of various governmental entities and jurisdictions, have shown restraint, over the last several months, that I think has been conducive to the prospects of us getting into direct talks,” Obama had said in a joint-press meet with Netanyahu.


Zardari says no handing over Mumbai suspects to India

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BEIJING: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday ruled out handing over the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to India but said the "non-state actors" who derailed the Indo-Pak rapprochement will "hopefully" be brought to justice in his country.

Zardari, who concluded a five-day visit to China, told the state-run CCTV in an interview that Pakistanis involved in the Mumbai attacks cannot be handed over to India as there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.


"I do not think it works like that between two nations. There has to be bilateral treaties of that sort which do not exist between us. But we are trying those people in Pakistan. Hopefully we will bring the offenders to justice," he said.


He said the non-state actors who attacked Mumbai had succeeded in derailing the India-Pak peace process, but hoped India's "mature democracy" would show "foresight" in taking forward the resumed talks.


"I will remind you that when the incident of Bombay took place my Foreign Minister was in Delhi trying to sign a treaty with the Indians for a rapprochement, in that we had the concept of fighting terrorists together also," he said.


However, the "non-state actors" managed to stall it for some time, he said.


"Now I think it is back on track and hopefully will go forward," he said, insisting that Pakistan wants to be friends with all its neighbours.


"India is (our) neighbour, (a) large neighbour. We are from the same South Asia (background). Hopefully we both work it out in a mature fashion and come together," he said.


He said Pakistan, as a "younger democracy" was always willing to appreciate India's "mature democracy" and expects the latter to have "a mature posture and foresight better than ours".


"But in any case we will do our part to make sure that the future for the coming generations is better that the one we inherited," he said.


Zardari, however, refused to give a clear response on Pakistan's opposition to India having a more active role in Afghanistan.


He merely said Afghanistan is a sovereign country and "I am not in a position to encourage or discourage".


There has been concern in Pakistan over India's growing influence in Afghanistan.


Asked if Pakistan believed the US was adopting double standards in trying to have a relationship with both India and Pakistan and whether Islamabad was not comfortable with this, Zardari said: "we compliment that (triangular) relationship".


He pointed out that Pakistan did not oppose India's civil nuclear deal with the US.


Pak, India civil society to move courts at the same time

Release of detained fisherfolk

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The civil society organisations of both Pakistan and India would approach their judiciaries respectively to draw the judges’ attention towards the plight of hundreds of fisherfolk languishing in jails; most of them had completed their punishment period.


This was stated by Executive Director Piler, Karamat Ali and Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Mohammed Ali Shah at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Saturday.


Ali disclosed that on Saturday they visited the Landhi Jail to get signs of Indian fishermen for filing a petition before the Supreme Court. He hoped that the petition would likely be filed by July 15.


Ali said that similar petition would be filed by the Indian civil society activists for release of detained Pakistani fishermen in India.


Shah told The News on this occasion that there were 580 Indian fishermen in Pakistan jails. Out of which, 128 fishermen were languishing in Landhi Jail.


Shah said that there were 153 Indian fishermen whose imprisonment period had been ended but they were not being released.


Similarly, the PFF chief said that there were 150 Pakistani fishermen detained in India, out of which, around 40-50 fishermen had already suffered their imprisonment period but were not being released since years. Some of the prisoners were languishing there since last 15 years.


Shah said that they would argue in their petition that by not releasing such prisoners who had already suffered their imprisonment period was against the principles of justice and law.


Secondly, he said it was their considered view that fishermen of both countries cross territorial limits ‘unintentionally’ as there was no clear demarcation, thus the fishermen should be released on ‘humanitarian grounds’. —IA


'Palestinian-Israeli situation could lead to a holy war if not resolved soon'


Jul 10, 2010

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama assured Mahmoud Abbas by telephone on Friday of his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.


The call followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's White House meeting with Obama on Tuesday, in which the two leaders discussed a number of issues including Israel's stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.


Dr. Ziad Asali, the president and founder of the Washington-based American Task Force on Palestine, said it is important to keep focused on the efforts the president is making in outreach to both Palestinians and Israelis.


"Some people are critical of this week's meeting between the two leaders; but what we see, as we always must, are opportunities to move the ball forward to push for creation of a genuine two state solution," said Asali.


He said the president has been trying to move quickly from the current proximity talks to face-to-face negotiations.


"The news from the White House underscores the kind of commitment that the US and the president are making to encourage president Abbas to join in with direct negotiations in order to resume serious negotiations about final status issues," Asali told Arab News.


But first, Obama had to mend his relations with Netanyahu, which have been tense for the several months.


"There were two purposes for Netanyahu's visit, one was the public relations aspect and the other was substance," said Asali.


" The public relations aspect was well planned and executed - and a clear signal was sent that Israel and the US are strategic and solid friends and also that the president of the United States and prime minister of Israel are very good friends who trust each other and can very easily work together. They simply ignored or even denied that there was a problem in the past," said the president of the American Task Force for Palestine.


"A warm welcome was extended to Netanyahu by inviting him to stay at the Blair House, by having a working lunch at the White House and allowing extensive photo opportunities and exposure to the media.


"The PR strategy worked very well and the message was well delivered to the world."


As for the naysayers, he insisted that "it is a mistake to call the Obama-Netanyahu meeting a charade by only emphasizing the public relations aspect of it, because the US and Israel are strategic allies and the US is the only country that has leverage on Israel to deliver a negotiated settlement and it is important for the US to continue being engaged."


The second item, substance, was more difficult, said Asali, "Because the basic problems did not go away."


Asali, who twice has served as a member of the US Presidential delegation to the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem, said several diplomatic decisions were made ahead of the meeting, specifically regarding Gaza, which included decreasing the impact of the siege.


"This decision was wisely chosen to be delivered before the meeting - so it would not look like Obama had prevailed upon Netanyahu to do these things," said Asali.


Beyond that, there is the issue of Palestinians and Israelis moving from indirect to direct negotiations, which the president has begun earlier pushing through his conversation with Abbas, and by hosting Saudi King Abdullah to the White House last week and in his meeting with Netanyahu.


It was clear that there was some discussion about the steps that needed to be taken before the Palestinians return to negotiations, said Asali, "But there was no date, only the implications that 'things will happen' within the next few weeks. All these steps deal with security, quality of life and economics.


Asali, who has testified before the House and Senate on a variety of Palestinian issues and regularly meets with White House officials, believes that "more engaged and meaningful exchanges between the three parties" will soon start up. "We expect that the tradeoff between direct negotiations and freezing settlements is likely to occur before the September settlement deadline."


He emphasized the need for things to get moving quickly, "considering the politics of the timing by September in Israel and Palestine."


Asali is anxious about the future: "It is important to remember that the status quo is a downhill slope and if we do not arrive at a resolution that ends the occupation and the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel there will be a larger conflict closer to a holy war and much wider in its scope across the region and beyond."


"For those who want to throw up their hands in despair and not do anything - they need to be reminded that there's much work that needs to be done in order to prevent the situation from becoming much worse," said Asali, who is also member of the bipartisan and interfaith Leadership Group on US-Muslim Engagement.


Human remains found on Saudi plane tyre

10 July 2010


BEIRUT — Human remains were found on the tyre of a Saudi-owned Nas Air jet when it landed in Riyadh after a flight from Beirut on Saturday, a Lebanon airport official said, adding that a man had apparently tried to hitch a ride on the aircraft’s landing gear.

‘A man who has not yet been identified somehow managed to grab hold of a (wheel) of the jet in Beirut without the control tower noticing before takeoff,’ the official told AFP.


Nas Air Flight XY 720 took off from Beirut airport late Friday and landed Saturday morning in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where the remains were found during maintenance operations, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.


Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) said passengers on the plane reported seeing a man in a baseball cap with a backpack make a dash for plane as it prepared to taxi. He stumbled once and then continued towards the plane.


‘The passengers and flight attendants informed the pilot, but he did not take any action and continued takeoff without informing the Beirut control tower’ that anything was amiss, according to the NNA.


A Nas Air official in Riyadh said they were waiting for an official report on the incident from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation before commenting or providing any details.


PDP not to attend Kashmir all-party meet

Jul 11th, 2010


SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti stood her ground on Sunday and turned down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's request to her to attend the all-party meeting called on Monday by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over the violence in Jammu and Kashmir.


"It was very kind of the prime minister to call me. I have deep regard for the PM. He advised us to attend the meeting. But it was painful to convey my inability to attend the meeting," Mehbooba told reporters, a day after Manmohan Singh called her urging her to reconsider her refusal to attend the meeting.


She said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was "so bad that nothing at the level of the state government, that has been discredited, will help... unless there is a bigger initiative which will be taken seriously by the people who are caught in a prison like situation".


"I told the PM to excuse us. But we are looking forward to a bigger initiative from him," she said, but didn't elaborate.


She alleged that the Omar Abdullah government was trying to hide its "failures" by convening such a meeting after taking all the decisions that "he shouldn't have taken".


"They have used excessive force to suppress the anger. And he projects himself like the only nationalist (in Kashmir)."


The PDP chief said the meeting was a "damage control exercise" aimed to hoodwink the international community.


"I have requested the prime minister to intervene and put forward four points," she said, adding media curbs in the Valley should be lifted, the army should be recalled, and the crackdown launched by the state government should be put to an end.


Bomb blast in Kandahar kills at least 1

Kandahar, July 10, 2010

A motorcycle bomb exploded in the commercial centre of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Saturday, killing at least one person, police said. Cars were ablaze and windows shattered at a popular shopping centre in the aftermath of the blast. One bystander was killed when the bomb, concealed in


a parked motorcycle, exploded in the middle of the afternoon, said Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, the city's security chief.

Kandahar is the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban and the province surrounding it is the site of a US-led military operation to strengthen government control.


Insurgent attacks and coalition raids have intensified across Afghanistan as 30,000 more American troops arrive to try to turn around the 9-year-old war against the Taliban and stabilise the Afghan government.


Encounter in Kishtwar between troops, top LeT commander

Jul 11th, 2010


An encounter broke out between security forces and militants, including a top Lashker-e-Toiba commander, in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.


The gun battle started after the troops were fired at by militants during a search operation in Keshwan forest belt of the district, official sources said.


The terrorists lobbed grenades and fired from their AK rifles on the security personnel, they said adding that additional troops have been rushed to spot.


Nomaan, a top LeT commander from Pakistan, was trapped in the encounter, they said.



Fresh warrants against Kasab, Ansari in Mumbai case trial

Jul 11th, 2010

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Mumbai attack suspects on Saturday issued fresh arrest warrants for Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari even as prime accused LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi submitted an application for bail.


Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who is conducting the trial behind closed doors at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, heard arguments by the prosecution and defence including on Kasab and Ansari, who are currently in custody in India.


Army withdrawal to be considered after July 13: Kashmir CM

Jul 11th, 2010

Jammu and Kashmir Government will consider the option of withdrawing deployment of the army from the valley after the Martyrs' Day on July 13 and the situation as of now was well under control, state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Saturday.


"Even now the army has not been brought into the city. It is only in the periphery, that too it was deployed two days ago," he told PTI in an interview.


Conceding that it was the most difficult decision for him to seek the assistance of Army from the Centre, the 40-year-old Chief Minister, the youngest in the country to occupy the post, said that it was one decision that he would not like to repeat in his term in the office.


Asked when his government would consider withdrawing the Army, which was called out on Tuesday night after escalation in violence in the valley, Abdullah said that it would be done when the government has that level of confidence.

"The situation is being monitored on a daily basis. We will consider that option after July 13 and take a decision," he said in a reference to the observance of Martyrs' Day which is commemorated in memory of those who died fighting the Dogra rule.


Abdullah ruled out quitting the post and also dismissed speculation that his father and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah would step into his shoes.


"A host of people would like me to quit but I am not contemplating such a decision," he said when asked if he had at any time thought of stepping down.


Farooq Meets PM; Delhi Sounds Alert

Jul 11th, 2010


Union minister Farooq Abdullah met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P. Chidambaram here Saturday to seek assistance for the Jammu and Kashmir government headed by his son Omar. He later left for Srinagar.

The Centre sounded a high alert for security agencies, warning that Pakistan-based militant groups might try to disturb the Amarnath yatra.



Pak To Soon Have First Transgender Doc

A 23-year-old transgender is about to make history in Pakistan by becoming a doctor.

Sarah Gill, who is enrolled at Jinnah Medical and Dental College in Karachi, told a local daily, "Our community enjoyed tremendous respect in Islam as well as in the history of Muslim rulers...

"It was only after the British came to this continent that we were declared criminals by law and since then, our community is constantly facing inhuman discrimination and have become a symbol of shame."

She regretted that the law put in place by British rulers is still part of Pakistan's constitution.

"Due to discrimination and harassment, literacy rate among my community is very low and those who have some educational background fail to find a job," Sarah said.

She emphasised that despite the social injustice meted out to members of her community, they are hardly ever involved in any criminal activity.

Sarah, who had to enrol in the college as a male student, said her batch-mates were aware about her identity though it was never formally declared. Her parents insisted that she pose as a male.

"They insisted that I pose as a boy throughout my life despite knowing that I am not. They said that I am selfish and not considering the respect that the family would lose after I declare myself as transgender. Every transgender has to face the same situation," she said.

"The original Urdu word for a transgender is 'murat', that is a combination of 'm' from the Urdu word 'mard' and 'urat' from 'aurat'. We call each other by this name," she said.

However, as she comes to the end of her medical course, Sarah, who was in the federal capital to meet UN officials, decided to disclose her identity.

"My family warned me that if declare myself as a transgender, they will stop paying for my studies. Now I will have to arrange for my next year's fee on my own," she said.

Sarah rued the fact that despite a Supreme Court order, special identity cards have not been issued to her community.

"A majority of my community is illiterate and (they) do not know their rights. It is a shocker for government officials when they have to deal with an educated transgender," she said.

Sarah also admitted to attempting suicide a couple of times. "A normal person can never understand our state of mind. It is like a soul trapped in a wrong body," she said.

Sarah also runs the NGO Gender Interactive Alliance. "I am not ashamed of my sexuality and the best inspiration is that my community needs me," she said.


Restrictions and shutdown call in Srinagar



Authorities reimposed curfew-like restrictions in a few localities of Srinagar on Sunday even as a shutdown called by separatists paralysed life in the Kashmir Valley.


After a 24-hour long curfew break, restrictions were imposed again in the Old City and uptown Maisuma and Batmallo areas of the summer capital. State authorities moved heavy police and paramilitary reinforcements into the Old City to enforce the restrictions early morning.


Road intersections were blocked with barricades and wire coils. Security forces patrolled the sensitive Batmallo and Maisuma localities as well.


Restrictions were also imposed in the two south Kashmir towns of Pulwama and Kakpore to maintain law and order.


Curfew was relaxed Sunday in the north Kashmir Sopore town till 11 a.m. to enable people to buy essential commodities, said Mohammad Sayed Khan, special commissioner (Baramulla).


But when the curfew was relaxed, mobs indulged in stone-pelting in the market.


Restrictions apart, life in Srinagar and other towns was paralysed due to a protest shutdown called by the hardline Hurriyat Conference group led by Syed Ali Geelani.


Shops were shut and vehicles remained off the roads.


Authorities had relaxed curfew in the entire Kashmir Valley Friday evening to enable people to join the special prayers on the Muslim festival of Shab-e-Meraj (ascension of the Prophet to heaven).


During the relaxation, people thronged shops in various localities of the capital city and other towns to buy essential commodities.



Turkish jets bomb targets in Iraq


Sunday, July 11, 2010

ARBIL, Iraq: Turkish warplanes on Saturday bombed sites in northern Iraq, wounding one civilian and damaging property, Iraqi officials said.


A man was wounded in the remote village of Sidakan in Arbil province located near the borders with Turkey and Iran, Mayor Ahmed Qader told Reuters.


The bombing occurred at 3 am (0000 GMT) and hit five sites, according to PUK Media, the website of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.


“Turkish jetfighters violated Kurdistan region airspace ...and bombed border villages and hills,” it said. “The bombardment caused panic among the residents of the area and big material damage to citizens’ farms and livestock.”


Turkey has conducted a number of aerial raids on what it suspects are PKK sites in recent weeks after the rebels called off a 14-month one-sided truce on June 1 and stepped up attacks on army targets.


The strikes could not be immediately confirmed with the Turkish military. Witnesses in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir said they heard military planes take off about 2 am (2300 GMT).


Separately, two PKK fighters were killed in the Turkish province of Van late on Friday after they refused to surrender to security forces, Turkish officials said on condition of anonymity.


The PKK took up arms against Turkey in 1984 in a bid for an independent Kurdish homeland. They have since scaled back their demands to greater political and cultural rights for Turkey’s estimated 14 million Kurds. More than 40,000 people, mainly guerrilla fighters, have died in the conflict.


Most PKK fighters are based in northern Iraq, which is run by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The central government in Baghdad and the KRG have both protested the bombings as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.



Court asks to haul 735 Sadar BDR men


A special court formed to hold the trial of BDR mutiny on Sunday asked to produce all 735 accused of Sadar and its attached rifle battalions before it Monday morning.


The special court-6, led by BDR Director General Maj Gen Md Rafiqul Islam, started the trial proceedings at Pilkhana headquarters at about 10:00am, which continued till 1:00pm.


Of the total 735 accused, 298 are in different jails at present.


The court asked the authorities concerned to arrest the rest 437 accused, who are still in service at different units, and produced all the accused before it on Monday.


The other members of the court -- Lt Col Md Nurul Alam and Maj Gen Ali Mushtahin Khan -- were present.


Additional Attorney General Kazi Ijarul Akand was present in the court on behalf of the Attorney General.


Munshi Jahangir Alam, plaintiff of the case, read out charges against the accused BDR jawans before the court.


At least 74 people, including 57 army officers, were killed during the mutiny at BDR headquarters on February 25 and 26, 2009.


Israel warning as Libya aid boat eyes landing


11 July 2010: Israel vowed to prevent a Libyan aid ship from running the Gaza blockade after it appeared to be heading for the besieged enclave despite a flurry of diplomatic efforts to divert it to Egypt.

“Israel will not let the boat reach Gaza,” minister without portfolio Yossi Peled told Israel’s public radio a day after the 92-metre (302-foot) freighter set sail from the Greek port of Lavrio, south of Athens.


Allowing boats to reach the Hamas-run Gaza Strip without being checked would have “very serious consequences” for Israel’s security, he said.


There was confusion over the ship’s destination on Sunday — with organisers saying it was staying the course for Gaza, despite diplomatic reassurances from Greece that it was headed for the Egyptian port of El-Arish.


Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the attempt to reach Gaza, which has been subjected to an Israeli naval blockade for the last four years, was an “unnecessary provocation.”


“The goods can be transferred to the Gaza Strip through Ashdod port after being checked,” a statement from his office said late on Saturday.


“However, we will not allow the entry of arms, weapons or anything which will support fighting into Gaza. We recommend that the organisers either let the ship be escorted by navy vessels to Ashdod port (in southern Israel) or that is sails directly to the port of El-Arish” in Egypt.


Barak’s office had earlier said that the defence minister spoke with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and asked “if Egypt would agree to accept the boat at the port of El-Arish.”


It was not immediately clear if Egypt had acceded to Barak’s request but the ship’s agent and the Greek foreign ministry had on Saturday assured Israel that the Moldova-flagged vessel, chartered by a charity linked to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, was heading for El-Arish.


The Kadhafi Foundation, headed by Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of the Libyan leader, insisted however that the ship, loaded with 2,000 tonnes of foodstuff and medications and a crew comprising six Libyans, a Moroccan, a Nigerian and an Algerian, had not changed its course.


“The ship is heading toward Gaza as planned,” executive director Youssef Sawan told AFP by telephone from Tripoli, saying the mission was “purely humane.”


His comments were confirmed by Arab Israeli parliamentarian Ahmed Tibi.


“The ship is heading into Gaza as originally planned,” said the MP who is in touch with the charity.


“The foundation confirmed to me that the boat will try to reach Gaza’s port to unload its cargo” in a bid to break the blockade, he said.


Over the last few days, Israel’s top diplomat Avigdor Lieberman has been talking with his counterparts in Greece and Moldova in a bid to encourage the ship to call off its mission, a statement from his office said.


“The foreign ministry believes that due to these talks, the ship will not reach Gaza,” it said.


The Libyan mission comes six weeks after a disastrous Israeli naval raid on another aid flotilla which left nine Turkish nationals dead and provoked a major diplomatic crisis with Ankara.


Global pressure over the incident has since forced Israel to significantly change its policy on Gaza, and now it only prevents the import of arms and goods that could be used to build weapons or fortifications.


Israel had even approached UN chief Ban Ki-moon with a request asking the international community “to exert its influence on the government of Libya” to prevent the ship from going to Gaza, media reports said.



Theatre festival on Liberation War begins


A five-day theatre festival featuring plays on the Liberation War began on July 9 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Theatre Art Unit is arranging the festival, titled 'Shomoyer Proyojoney Muktijuddher Natyatshab 2010'. The festival also marks the 50th show of the troupe's production, “Shomoyer Proyojoney”.


The 50th show of the play was staged at the National Theatre Hall on the opening day. Nagarik Natyangan staged “Sheishob Dingulo” at the Experimental Theatre Hall as part of the festival.


Prior to the staging of the plays, an inaugural ceremony was held at the National Theatre Hall. Minister for Jute and Textiles Abdul Latif Siddiqui inaugurated the festival as chief guest. Theatre personalities Ramendu Majumdar, M. Hamid, Mamunur Rashid and Liakat Ali Lucky and lawmaker Hasanul Haque Inu were present as special guests.


Convenor of the festival committee Tarequl Islam also spoke at the inaugural. A group dance performance by artistes of Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts was held after the inaugural.


“Shomoyer Proyojoney” is based on Zahir Raihan's short story of the same title. Mohammad Bari has dramatised and directed the play.


The story was narrated from the writer's perspective. During the Liberation War, Raihan went to a camp of freedom fighters as a journalist. There he met the camp commander, who gave him a diary belonging to freedom fighter Mamun.


The story of the play is based on that diary, which reflects the hopes and dreams as well as the agony and uncertainties of the freedom fighters during the War.


Mohammad Bari plays the role of Zahir Raihan, while Selim Mahbub and Prashanta Halder play the commander and Mamun respectively. Among others, Saif Sumon, Chandan Reza, Ezaz and Shadhin Shah perform in the play.


Nagarik Natyangan's “Sheishob Dingulo” unfolds the war through the story of an upper middle class family. Written by Dr. Enamul Huq, the play is directed by Lucky Enam. Mahmudul Islam Selim, Rashed Imran, Suborna Shejuti, Sazzad Reza, Habibur Rahman Bahar, Ayesha Hamid and Lucky Enam play lead roles in the play.


Today Theatre will stage “Bolod” at the National Theatre Hall, while Aikik Theatre will stage “Thikana” at the Experimental Theatre Hall.


Apart from the plays, the festival also features a screening of documentaries on the Liberation War. A poster and photography exhibition is on the lobby of National Theatre Hall.


Everyday a freedom fighter is present as an honorary guest at the festival.