Saturday, November 9, 2013
Famous actress Veena Malik has called on Pakistani politician Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad not to issue any statements against her or she reserves the rights to reply in equal measure.
Talks to curb Iran's nuclear programme end without agreement, as France is believed to have taken a tough stance on conditions.Talks in Geneva aimed at reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme have failed. Western diplomats had earlier warned a deal was looking increasingly unlikely between six world powers and Iran over concerns the country is enriching uranium for use in atomic weapons rather than in a civilian nuclear energy programme, as it claims. The talks are rumoured to have stalled over the French and possibly USA request that Iran reduce its stockpiles of 20% uranium by oxidising it, putting it further away from being weapons grade material but still usable in a fuel programme.Tehran has always insisted its programme is for energy and other civil purposes, not military. There was also a demand by at least one country that Iran will not fully open its plutonium plant at Arak next year. France was believed to have holded-out for tougher conditions to be placed on Iran in return for the possible lifting of some sanctions, At a press conference, Mr Fabius said: "From the start, France wanted an agreement to the important question of Iran's nuclear programme."The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed." European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: "We're not going into the details of our discussions but I pay tribute to all the ministers, including Laurent Fabius' attempt to try and help support this process." Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the talks were "very good" describing them as something to build on. "It was natural that when we start dealing with the detail there will be differences," he said. "If we agreed then we would not need to be here. We are all on the same wavelength and that is important. We had a very good three days, a very productive three days, and it's something we can build on."Optimism about a potential breakthrough in the decade-long dispute were raised when senior politicians - including US secretary of state John Kerry and Foreign Secretary William Hague - joined the talks. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and a Chinese deputy foreign minister also flew in to take part. Fabius had earlier told France Inter radio that Paris could not accept a "fool's game". His pointed remarks hinted at a rift within the Western camp. A Western diplomat close to the negotiations said the French were trying to upstage the other powers."The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively together for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations," the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Sky's Foreign Affairs editor Tim Marshall said: "I really think they were close. The Iranians were slightly less disappointed but I think Laurent Fabius is going to take some heat from this. "The US and Britain have led the toughest line against the Iranians in the last five years but France has been as tough as anyone, if not tougher." Asked whether it was French objections which scuppered any deal, Baroness Ashton said the country's foreign minister Laurent Fabius "came determined to try to help this process". France had "played an important role as they do in every negotiation", she told reporters. Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said the atmosphere at the talks was "completely different" from a few months ago. "We must continue to apply ourselves in the coming weeks, building on the progress that has been made," he said. Baroness Ashton announced that senior political officials would meet again on November 20 to try to clinch a deal.
An estimated 10,000 people might have been killed in the central Philippine province of Leyte alone, which was almost completely destroyed by the powerful typhoon Haiyan, local authorities said. The typhoon has devastated up to 80 percent of the Leyte province area as it ripped through the Philippines, Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria told Reuters.
Editor’s note: We can’t confront Yazidiat if we are reluctant to openly condemn Yazid. We can’t overcome terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan unless we clearly mention Deobandis. Is there a single Pakistani columnist other than Ayaz Amir who explicitly mentions common Deobandi identity of TTP-ASWJ-LeJ terrorists? Ayaz Amir writes: “In shape of Deobandi madressahs and networks of sympathizers, Taliban can project power, carry out deadly actions across Pakistan.” ******************
by Ayaz AmirBy mid-2014 what many Pakistanis have been crying themselves hoarse about will have happened: most of the Americans in Afghanistan will have gone and we will be alone with our terrorist problem. If a residual American presence remains there may be some drones flying around. But we can be reasonably certain that the intensity of the present drone war will subside. Taliban leaders in North Waziristan will heave a sigh of relief. When the Soviets were in Afghanistan they were afraid of one thing above all: Stinger missiles which made their helicopters vulnerable. The tide of war in Afghanistan changed with the arrival of the Stingers. The one thing for which the Taliban have no answer is drone technology. They will be counting the days when that is gone, or most of it is. Pakistan was unprepared for post-Soviet Afghanistan. Is it any better prepared for post-American Afghanistan? Some of the nonsense emanating from the political class can be easily dismissed. Despite all the heat and noise peace talks is a non-starter, not least because no one has been able to define the basis of a peace settlement with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Some other illusions can also be put to rest. Once the Americans pack their bags and leave the Taliban will not descend from the mountains and lay down their arms before the Pakistani authorities. The sources of militancy will not dry up. Taliban ardour, far from diminishing, will be on the rise. Just imagine what the Taliban around their campfires will be saying: Islam and faith defeated one superpower; this combination has now defeated the superpower which remains. The soft state of Pakistan now beckons. The dynamics of the situation in Afghanistan may be different, either the country again descending into civil war or some attempt being made at power-sharing…if Afghanistan is lucky, that is. But over here, given what we know of the TTP, naked ambition will be on the march. The TTP has tasted power and no one gives up power voluntarily. We have to understand the social transformation that has been wrought: small-time mullahs, village maulvis, have come to wield power and authority, the lower orders of tribal society riding to the top, guns in their hands and fighters at their command, and revelling in the freedom of the mountains, and the previous tribal hierarchy gone, the old order of Maliks eliminated at the point of the bullet. People with nothing before, now having all this…would they want to give it up? It’s like – just try imagining this – your neighbourhood maulvi suddenly becoming a leader of society, dictating orders and laying down the law. Take this as a test: if anyone thinks that matters can be settled with the TTP, he should first try his hand at discussing something, anything, with his local preacher. If he succeeds then only let him visualise talking to the Taliban. This is not to run these people down but only to point out that we are dealing with a different set of people and a different worldview. Most of the Taliban figures, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, are either unlettered or products of madressah education. We have a whole population of madressah students in Pakistan, but the difference is that those who have joined the Taliban have a gun in their hands and are mostly battle-hardened. Primitivism is one thing but add a Kalashnikov or a rocket launcher to it and it becomes a deadly combination. Consider also another aspect of this situation. The Taliban have their mountain fastnesses. The army cannot reach them, or can reach them with considerable difficulty. But the Taliban are free to come down to Peshawar, to the plains of Punjab, and mingle with the population. A whole criminal industry has developed since the onset of our terrorism war, car-lifting, extortion and kidnappings being masterminded from the tribal belt – anarchy at the service of the Taliban. The Pakistani state can remain where it is, and the Taliban can remain where they are, but the kind of power the Taliban now enjoy they would not like taken away. If my MQM friends would forgive my saying so, the MQM has also wrought a social transformation in Karachi, a powerless stratum organising itself and rising to a position of power. If the MQM is not going to cede authority in Karachi – the smallest thing happens and gunmen are on the loose and the city is made to shut down – the Taliban are not going to cede authority where they exercise it. There’s a difference too: MQM power is confined largely to urban Sindh. In the shape of Deobandi madressahs and networks of sympathizers, the Taliban can project power and carry out deadly actions across the country. Mehran, Kamra and GHQ attest to this Taliban capability. The purpose of this explanation is simply to show that whether we like it or not, we have a fight on our hands. We can close our eyes to it, as we have been doing for a long time, we can bury our heads in the sand, an activity at which we also excel, but this problem is not going away. It’s no use saying that the American presence in Afghanistan has brought this militancy about or has exacerbated it. This is now a futile discussion, of academic interest perhaps but of no practical relevance. Even if we prove to ourselves or to others that it’s all America’s fault how does it help us? We have this problem. What do we do about it? Before we go on to what we should do, or what choices we have, there is another piece of nonsense that we can nail to the mast: the cliché much beloved of the Pakistani political class that war is no solution to anything. The world as presently constituted, the map-lines we see, all of it is a product of strife and conflict. Throughout history, through the rise and fall of empires, power and its application, blood and iron to use Bismarck’s phrase, have shaped the destiny of nations. If this is putting it crudely, you can sugar coat the words but the underlying reality would remain the same. A de Gaulle quote is apt: “The sword is the axis of the world and its power is absolute.” Power of course doesn’t mean its crude application. What did Horace say? “Brute force bereft of reason falls by its own weight. Power with counsel temper’d even the gods make greater…” That’s it: power with counsel tempered, power balanced by reason. But against the problem we are facing we are showing neither power nor reason…we are just mumbling stupidities, and sometimes shouting these same stupidities from the housetops. Nobody wants to be harsh on the political class, we are all great democrats and we are all for democracy, but the political class, as heaven is our witness, seems to have given up on thinking altogether. Do we see any analysis, rigorous or not, about the situation facing us not in the remote future but the next six months? Can anyone take the proceedings of parliament, both houses, seriously? The army is supposed to be great at analysis. At least that is the carefully cultivated myth. But has the army, after all its Afghan travails, discarded its notions of Taliban assets and seeking influence in Afghanistan? Or is it still stuck in the old grooves? We could have made good use of these six months and pressed the Taliban against their havens, drones in the sky and our forces on the ground. But this is not going to happen. From what we can judge, this opportunity, the only that remains before the Americans are gone and the shape of the horizon changes, will be frittered away. To no one’s surprise really given that both the political class and the military are torn betwixt platitude and irresolution. - See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/289363#sthash.PiiRIwSc.dpuf
Last Sunday Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of Bahrain’s main opposition group, the Al Wefaq Society, was charged with insulting authorities. The move signals deepening repression from the regime, which has generally tolerated Al Wefaq over other opposition groups. The regime is supposed to be engaged in talks with Al Wefaq, which advocates non-violent methods as it seeks a constitutional monarchy with a government chosen by a democratically elected parliament. If Salman is put on trial, it could open up new rifts in the country. According to his lawyer, Salman received a summons for questioning from the public prosecutor’s office on November 3 and was interrogated for six hours regarding Al-Wefaq’s launch of an art exhibition last week. In his speech, Salman said “in this modest exhibition I think that those who come and visit will leave understanding what the Bahraini people have experienced as has been recreated artistically and simplistically.” The exhibit depicts torture and protesters gunned down by security forces, and includes samples of riot-control munitions and tear gas canisters. Riot police raided the museum-style hall two days after the opening and said the displays incited “hatred” even though most of the abuses depicted have been reported in international media or in the government-commissioned Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report on the unrest. The public prosecutor ordered confiscation of the artwork. Bahraini government spokeswoman Samira Rajab said that Sheikh Salman was investigated on charges of insulting a statutory body, namely the Ministry of Interior, as the artwork “alleging policemen’s systematic use of inhuman practices and human rights violations” were an affront to the police. She continued that at the opening ceremony Sheikh Salman, along with other members of the society “delivered instigative speeches packed with lies and allegations.” The summons comes just over a week after Al-Wefaq’s deputy leader, Khalil Marzooq, was released from jail at the opening of his trial for inciting terrorism, now postponed until November 18. Al Marzooq’s arrest prompted Al Wefaq to suspend its participation in talks with the government. In another signal that the Bahraini government is tightening its already firm grip on freedom of expression and association, the Justice Ministry recently announced that all contacts between political societies and diplomatic missions, consulates or foreign organizations or representatives of foreign governments must be done in coordination with the foreign ministry. Under the decision, all meetings should be held in the presence of a representative from the Bahraini government, the foreign ministry or any other party the ministry selects. The United States remains a supporter of Bahrain’s leadership, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. But the tough measures against protesters and widespread arrests have raised concern in Washington. In his annual U.N. address in late September, President Obama lamented Bahrain’s intensifying sectarianism. The U.S. government should apply pressure on the Bahrain government to engage with peaceful political leaders both in and out of jail and to meet with opposition figures openly.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Unidentified gunmen on Saturday attacked Shia Muslims at two different mosques in eastern Pakistan and killed a prayer leader and two other worshippers, police and witnesses said. The attacks occurred at a time when Shia Muslims have started holding religious gatherings across Pakistan during the holy month of Muharram, Xinhua reported. Police said gunmen entered Shia mosques at two different places and sprayed bullets at the worshippers during morning prayers in Gujranwala, a city nearly 60 km east of Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab. The attackers, riding motorcycles, fled after the incidents. A police officer said that the gunmen forced their way into a Shia mosque and fired at the prayer leader, killing him on the spot. The gunmen also attacked another mosque in the city, sprayed bullets at the Shia Muslims during morning prayers and killed two of them. Shia mourners and residents protested against the terrorist attacks and demanded that authorities ensure security at their gatherings in the coming days. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, authorities blame banned sectarian groups.
By Sohaila Weda KhamoshChild labour is rampant in Afghanistan. Many children are forced by circumstances to do hard labour for a trifling wage. They risk long-term health problems, even death. For most children, a normal childhood and school are distant dreams, according to an Independent Media Consortium (IMC) investigation*.
By David S. Cloud As the United States withdraws combat forces from Afghanistan, Afghan police and army units are suffering a sharply higher casualty rate and in some cases, have negotiated local non-aggression pacts with insurgents to avoid coming under attack, according to a new Pentagon report. Afghan Army and police casualties have soared by 79% this year, while casualties from the international coalition have fallen by 59%, according to the congressionally mandated report, which covers developments in Afghanistan from April to September. The casualty shift has emerged as Afghan troops have taken the lead in combat operations. U.S. forces, other than special operations units, in most cases no longer join combat missions as the clock ticks down toward a full pullout by the end of next year. About 39,000 U.S. troops are now in the country. The Pentagon report paints a mixed picture of Afghan security after 12 years of war. It warns that the Afghan police and armed forces could be overwhelmed by Islamist insurgents unless Washington and its allies provide financial support and training after their troops leave. Afghan forces “will be at high risk” without foreign aid and military assistance, including advisers, the report concludes. With such assistance, it adds, they “will remain on a path toward an enduring ability to overmatch the Taliban.” The White House has been trying since last year to negotiate an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for some U.S. troops to remain after 2014. The top commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, has privately pushed the Obama administration to keep as many as 12,000 troops there after 2014 and has drafted plans to bring the numbers down gradually in later years, officials familiar with his thinking say. But White House officials are divided on how many troops should remain. Some advisers have argued that none should stay, while others have advocated for keeping 6,000 to 9,000, which the Pentagon says is the minimum force necessary for training, force protection and limited special operations raids. In what appeared to be an argument to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the report warns that Al Qaeda “maintains a limited presence” in mountains near the Pakistani border. The Pentagon long has downplayed the terrorist network’s presence in Afghanistan. Although only a few dozen Al Qaeda operatives are believed involved, “their presence continues to demonstrate their intent to maintain the region as an alternate safe haven to their sanctuaries in Pakistan,” the report says. In a sign that security has worsened since the pullout began, the report says some Afghan military units are negotiating deals with local insurgent commanders not to attack one another. The deals are “localized, often personality-driven, and largely influenced by tribal dynamics,” the report says. Most have occurred in southern Afghanistan, particularly in northern Helmand Province, a longtime Taliban stronghold that U.S. Marines turned over to Afghan troops in the last year. In some areas, the report adds, the arrangements stem from fears by Afghan forces “of being isolated and overwhelmed by what they perceive as a superior insurgent force.” The insurgency remains potent outside major cities, but the report concludes the Taliban has failed so far to capitalize militarily on the U.S. pullback. The Taliban continues to battle for control in some sparsely populated areas, particularly in the south and east. But Afghan troops “have proven to be a resilient and capable force, and have largely been able to defend against direct insurgent attacks,” the report said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office, acting as ISI media cell, hides the common identity of Deobandi terrorists
http://lubpak.com/ Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad and its envoys in the UK, EU, United States, Australia and Canada are deliberately obfuscating the extremism debate with regards to Pakistan.
Although publicly Pakistan condemns drone strikes, privately it has often asked the United States to use the weapons to eliminate Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders, says Islamabad’s former ambassador in the US capital, Husain Haqqani. Baitullah Mehsud, former TTP chief who was killed in a drone strike in 2009, was among those targeted following such requests, he says. In his latest book “Magnificent Delusions,” Mr Haqqani also claims that in 2009 US President Barack Obama secretly offered to nudge India towards negotiations on Kashmir if Pakistan stopped supporting Lashkar-i-Taiba and the Afghan Taliban. Mr Haqqani describes General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as “personally always agreeable to civilians” but claims that the Pakistan army “still remained a long way from accepting the right of civilians to debate, let alone define, national interest.” The 350-page book provides an informed definition of Pakistan’s relations with the United States since the very beginning but fails to give much information about events that happened during Mr Haqqani’s tenure as ambassador, such as the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, the Raymond Davis affair and the so-called Memogate scandal. While talking about America’s drone policy, Mr Haqqani recalls that in the summer of 2008, then chairman US Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, travelled to Pakistan to demand action against several specific groups, including the Haqqani network. In one of the meetings, “the Pakistan army put in its own request for US drones to target Baitullah Mehsud, whose Pakistan Taliban group threatened the Pakistani military directly.” Following the request, “US officials added Pakistani Taliban to their list of targets … and a hellfire missile fired from an American Predator subsequently killed Mehsud.” The memogate affair In a brief description of the so-called Memogate scandal, Mr Haqqani does not name Mansoor Ejaz who wrote an op-ed article in The Financial Times on October 10, 2011 that led to the controversy. Mr Ejaz wrote that Ambassador Haqqani had asked him to deliver a memo to Admiral Mullen, seeking US help in thwarting a military coup against then president Asif Ali Zardari. Mr Haqqani writes that to prove his “fidelity to Pakistan,” he returned to Islamabad and resigned from his position as ambassador. Several months after he was allowed to leave Pakistan, a commission of inquiry set up to probe the affair alleged that “I had acted against Pakistan’s interests and had authorised the memo. Pakistani hard-liners claimed I was an American agent of influence, with access in Washington’s power corridors,” Mr Haqqani writes. Refuting allegations that he had insider contacts in the US, Mr Haqqani adds, “Were that true, there would have been no reason for me to seek help — certainly not from a disreputable businessman — to deliver a message to the US government.” The former ambassador fears that the commission’s report “could lead to charges of treason, a conviction that carries the death penalty.” Obama’s Kashmir offer Mr Haqqani says that since the 1950s Pakistan had wanted an American role in South Asia but was not prepared for it when Mr Obama offered to play a role in resolving the Kashmir dispute. “At least now the American president was saying that he would nudge the Indians toward those negotiations," says the former Pakistani ambassador while writing about a secret letter President Obama sent to then president Zardari, hand delivered by his then National Security Advisor Gen (retd) James Jones. Mr Haqqani writes that in November 2009, Mr Jones travelled to Islamabad to hand deliver a letter written by Obama to Zardari. In this November 11, 2009 letter, Mr Obama offered Pakistan to become America's "long-term strategic" partner. The letter "even hinted at addressing Pakistan's oft-stated desire for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute", he writes. "President Obama wrote that the United States would tell countries of the region that 'the old ways of doing business are no longer acceptable'. He acknowledged that some countries — a reference to India — had used 'unresolved disputes to leave open bilateral wounds for years or decades. They must find ways to come together'," Mr Haqqani writes. "But in an allusion to Pakistan, he (Mr Obama) said, 'Some countries have turned to proxy groups to do their fighting instead of choosing a path of peace and security. The tolerance or support of such proxies cannot continue'”. Mr Obama wrote that he was “committed to working with your government to ensure the security of the Pakistani state and to address threats to your security in a constructive way”. Mr Obama also “asked for cooperation in defeating Al Qaeda, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-i-Taiba, the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban and the assorted other militant groups that threaten security”. The American president then wrote of his 'vision for South Asia', which involved 'new patterns of cooperation between and among India, Afghanistan and Pakistan to counter those who seek to create permanent tension and conflict on the subcontinent'," Mr Haqqani says.
The Express Tribune NewsProtests broke out in Gujranwala after the death of three people in separate incidents of firing at Imam barghas in Gujranwala, Express News reported on Saturday. In one of the incidents the Imam of the Imam bargha in Shahrukh Colony was killed. Two worshippers were killed in a separate firing incident the same morning at an Imam bargha in the Mominpur area. Unidentified men entered the Imam Barghas on motorcycles and started firing, resulting in the casualties. Enraged relatives of the victims protested by placing the dead bodies on the streets. These incidents occurred on the fourth of Muharram, a few days after the Punjab government had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Penal Code (CrPC) for one month, starting from the first of Muharram. Security Measures The Punjab government on November 5 had imposed Section 144 CrPC. According to the home department, the home secretary had imposed section 144 CrPC to maintain law and order during Muharram throughout the province. The government banned brandishing of firearms, distribution of hate material, wall chalking and propagated speeches during the month of Muharram. Any violator of the restriction will be booked under relevant laws. The law enforcing agencies were also directed to observe strict imposition of Section 144. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while chairing a high level meeting on November 5, had directed authorities to take all necessary measures for ensuring religious harmony during Muharram.
Opposition members in the National Assembly (NA) staged a walk out from the House in protest against the absence of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the session on Friday - ARY News reports. According to details, the session of the Assembly was presided by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, during which the opposition members walked out from the House after Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, failed to appear in the Assembly meeting and against the attitude of the Federal Government.Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, leader of Opposition in National Assembly, stated that the PM has appeared in the assembly only twice during the period of four months at which Javed Abbasi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, replied that the PM will take part in the NA session on Monday. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Member of National Assembly, claimed that the Federal Government has no interest in the proceedings of the House and the peace talks with Taliban were just a story for it. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, on the occasion stated that Opposition is not playing its due role in the Parliament. He added that the nation is suffering from inflation but no one is worried about this. Opposition parties in NA claimed that the walk out will continue until the PM takes the Opposition into confidence on the issues. Later, the session of the assembly was postponed till 4pm on Monday.