Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shakib and Laili Zahidi - Dilam Afghan Music

Saudi Arabia attempts to silence NGO at Human Rights Council

Saudi Arabia repeatedly interrupted an American NGO at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, as the organisation read out a statement criticising their imprisoning of a man on charges of atheism and running a liberal online forum.
The Center for Inquiry, a US non-profit advocating secular and humanist values, was stopped from speaking on three occasions by the delegation from Saudi Arabia who protested against their raising of specific incidents of alleged human rights abuse.
The case raised was that of Raif Badawi, co-founder of the Saudi Arabian Free Liberals website, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a $266,000 fine in May. He was convicted of violating Islamic values and slurring Saudi Arabia’s religious symbols, which drew the ire of Amnesty International who described the ruling as “outrageous”.
The Center criticised Badawi’s conviction at the Council, saying “Mr Badawi is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression,” which prompted the Saudi delegation to interrupt the statement.
“We believe that what is being said by this organisation is completely outside of the mandate of this report,” said a Saudi delegate, adding “we request that they stop their intervention.”
Four member states, including the United States, then responded to the intervention, supporting the right of NGOs to raise specific human rights cases during Council sessions.
“The United States firmly believes that accredited NGOs must be permitted to speak in the Council, though member states including the United States, may occasionally disagree with the content of NGO statements,” said an American representative. “It is essential that civil society voices be heard in an atmosphere of open expression,” they added.
The Irish, French and Canadian delegations added support to the American statement, which allowed the Center for Inquiry’s spokesperson to continue speaking and call for Badawi’s conviction to be quashed.
“We call on Saudi Arabia, as a newly elected member of this council, to release Raif Badawi immediately and unconditionally, and drop any pending charges against him and others for ‘blasphemy’, ‘insulting Islam’, or ‘apostasy’,” the spokesperson said. “As an elected member of this Council, Saudi Arabia is obliged to ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights’ and ‘fully cooperate with the Council’,” they added.
A second interruption from Saudi Arabia brought a brief halt to proceedings, with the representatives saying they had to “insist” on silencing the NGO because “the accusations…vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia are unacceptable and we…absolutely refuse this object being addressed”.
Vice-President of the Council Katerina Sequensova rejected the delegation’s request and “encouraged Saudi Arabia to use the right of reply to address the statement”, which they subsequently refused.
The session was brought to an end with a third interjection, with the Saudi delegation responding to questions about its credibility as a Council member by saying it had been elected with 160 votes.
On Tuesday Director of Public Policy at the Center for Inquiry told MEE the incident has backfired on Saudi Arabia and proved a good time for his organisation to raise their human rights concerns.
“It doesn’t look good for Saudi Arabia,” said Michael De Dora. “By trying to silence us, and looking a bit desperate in doing so, they have actually caused more attention to be given to the statement we were delivering.”
“The timing of this incident couldn’t have better because we have been trying to attention not just to Raif’s case but to his lawyer’s, Waleed Abu al-Khair, who will be put on trial this Thursday facing charges of disobeying the King in relation to his human rights work,” he added.
Waleed Abu al-Khair is a well-known human rights advocate and lawyer who was arrested on 15 April for running an unauthorised rights organisation, the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, which he founded in 2009.
Dora questioned the motivation for Saudi Arabia to join the Human Rights Council, to which it was elected for a two-year term in November last year.
“Saudi Arabia’s membership of the Council is in no way indicative of their commitment to upholding human rights and nowhere has their government expressed that they really care about human rights,” he said.
The oil rich Gulf State has recently stepped up a crackdown on political activity in the Kingdom. Anti-terror legislation that came into effect in February controversially banned all forms of dissent, declaring atheism to be an act of terrorism and banning all calls for political reform.
Saudi officials were unavailable for comment on Tuesday, after attempts to reach their UN delegation went unanswered.
- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabia-attempts-silence-ngo-human-rights-council/2072814924#sthash.HuhiDvKl.dpuf

Red Card: President Obama mistaken for England soccer player Chris Smalling on souvenir mug

A bumbling souvenir company deserves a red card after mistaking Obama for the English player on a memento mug. There are now 2,000 of the blotched mugs selling for £2,000 (or $3,401).
Maybe the Leader of the Free World might have improved our chances?
A bumbling souvenir company deserve a red card - after mistaking Barack Obama for England player Chris Smalling on a memento mug.
The unnamed company - they're embarrassed - were keen to go top of the league with a range of merchandise for the World Cup.
But when they unpacked the 2,000 mugs featuring the faces of our brave - and underperforming - heroes, it was clear someone's footballing research skills were strictly non-league. They turned to Dorset-based expert clearance resellers Wholesale Clearance UK to try and shift the stock that could have easily appeared in an Only Fools and Horses episode.
Karl Baxter MD for Wholesale Clearance says the company contacted him with the hope of off-loading the stock. He now believes a junior member of staff could be facing demotion after being trusted with picture research. Karl explains: "The Dorset company in question (whose blushes we shall protect for now....maybe!) was given the seemingly easy job of sourcing royalty free pictures of each England squad player to use on the England mugs - along with other accompanying items such as England coasters, England mouse mats etc. "They passed this onto their young, bright eyed and bushy tailed new apprentice. The designs were proofed and signed off by their Boss, who had clearly had a heavy night with the lads playing poker and before he'd had his first vat of coffee the following morning.
"They immediately contacted us and 2,000 of the England items was dispatched to our warehouse. We eagerly unpacked them and, indeed it turned out that the Chris Smalling cup had Barack Obama's head on instead of Chris's." Wholesale Clearance is now trying to sell the mugs for £2,000 ($3,401). Karl says: "This is your chance to snatch up a piece of World Cup history. Who would ever believe that Barack Obama ever played for England? Hang on to this England cup and you'll have a great story to tell your grandkids."

U.S. Intelligence Sees Iraqi Militants Gaining Strength

By Terry Atlas and David Lerman
Sunni militants are consolidating their hold on a swath of Iraq and now threaten the integrity of the Iraqi state, U.S. military and intelligence officials said.
The main insurgent group, an al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is gaining strength through a Sunni uprising against the Shiite-led government, according to an intelligence official who briefed reporters by phone today on the condition of anonymity to to discuss intelligence matters.
ISIL now controls most of a “central swath” of Iraq, is “solidifying gains” and poses “a legitimate threat to Baghdad,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Defense Department spokesman, told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon.
The militants “are killing and maiming, but they’re also grabbing ground,” Kirby said. “They are behaving like an organized force.”
The dire assessments point to the challenge that the Iraqi government faces -- even with potential U.S. airstrikes -- in trying to defeat a few thousand ISIL fighters bolstered by thousands more disaffected Sunnis, captured weapons and money from looting banks and extorting businesses. ISIL’s advance threatens Iraqi military control of the large Balad air base northwest of Baghdad, the intelligence official said.
Potential Overreach ISIL, though, may jeopardize some of its gains if it overreaches by advancing to Baghdad and beyond, Shiite-majority areas hostile to the Sunni insurgency, the intelligence official said.
A small contingent of U.S. forces has arrived in Iraq to gather intelligence for possible U.S. airstrikes and establish an operations center in Baghdad, Kirby said. Forty troops already stationed at the U.S. embassy have begun the new assessment mission, and 90 more from the Middle East region have arrived in Baghdad, bringing to 130 the number of personnel involved, Kirby said.
The U.S. began conducting regular surveillance flights over Iraq with both manned and drone aircraft on June 13 at the request of the Iraqi government, according to the Pentagon. Now 30 to 35 such flights are conducted daily. Intelligence Warnings While the crisis has escalated quickly, the U.S. intelligence community has warned officials over the past year about the deteriorating security situation, including the weaknesses in the Iraqi military and the sectarian political strains, the intelligence official said. More recently, the intelligence agencies provided tactical warning before ISIL’s takeover two weeks ago of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, the official said.
Those comments may fuel questions in Congress and elsewhere about whether President Barack Obama, for whom ending the Iraq war is a legacy matter, has been slow to react to a terrorist group whose advance jeopardizes a decade of U.S. efforts to build a stable democracy following President George W. Bush’s invasion in 2003.
The intelligence official wouldn’t comment on assessments about U.S. military options, such as the airstrikes sought by Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. The official also wouldn’t comment on whether ISIL has obtained weapons that would threaten U.S. warplanes conducting airstrikes.
The U.S. has said that ending the insurgency depends on Iraqi leaders reaching agreement on a unity government that addresses the complaints of minority Sunnis and Kurds. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Baghdad and Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital, this week to press for a political solution.
Political Solution U.S. airstrikes alone won’t change the outcome, Kerry said in a BBC interview today. “There may be military action, but there has to be a political solution that deals with empowering the people in the communities where ISIL is today to be prepared to take them on,” he said.
His remarks reflect the intelligence official’s assessment that a core group of about 3,000 ISIL fighters would not be so successful were it not for the anger among many Iraqi Sunnis who don’t necessarily share ISIL’s declared goal of establishing a strict Islamic caliphate.
Amid the continuing turmoil in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, Brent crude for August settlement increased 34 cents, or 0.3 percent, to end the session at $114.46 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. West Texas Intermediate for August delivery slipped 14 cents to settle at $106.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. Treasury sold $30 billion in two-year notes at the highest yield since May 2011 as investors begin to price in interest-rate increases next year. Civilian Casualties The United Nations human rights office said yesterday that at least 1,075 noncombatants have been killed in Iraq from June 5 to June 22. At least 757 Iraqis were killed and 599 injured in the northern provinces of Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the office, said in Geneva.
The death toll “includes a number of verified summary executions and extra-judicial killings,” according to the UN, which is receiving reports of abuses by both ISIL and Iraqi forces. More than 300 people died in Baghdad and the country’s south, the UN said.
Obama has authorized as many as 300 troops to be sent to Iraq as advisers, while ruling out a ground combat role. It will take two to three weeks to complete initial assessments of the Iraqi military’s capability to combat the Sunni militants, Kirby said. Military Assessment The U.S. military advisers are being sent to assess the strength of the Iraqi army, whose troops in some cases fled from advancing militants, and which units are salvageable, according to a U.S. military official familiar with the mission’s planning who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.
They also are determining whether U.S. airstrikes are possible, including whether targets provided by the Iraqis can be trusted and aren’t aimed at settling scores in the country’s sectarian feuds, the official said. In addition, the advisers are trying to determine whether ISIL units can be distinguished from civilians, tribal militias and Iraqi government forces accurately enough to permit the use of air power.
CIA Relationships In particular, the official said, the U.S. wants to avoid hitting Sunni tribesmen who now are fighting alongside ISIL but previously were allied with U.S. forces during the “Sunni Awakening” against Islamic extremists. Any hope that the Central Intelligence Agency, which once paid some of the tribal leaders for their support, can rebuild its relationships with them would be lost if U.S. airstrikes hit the wrong targets, a second U.S. intelligence official said. In Iraq, battles continued to control a key refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad, the site of almost two weeks of fighting, and clashes occurred along Iraq’s borders with Syria and Jordan.
The first intelligence official said ISIL’s military capabilities have improved dramatically as the group has captured advanced weapons from military stockpiles in Iraq and in Syria, where the group is fighting the Syrian government as well as moderate Islamic groups opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
ISIL is largely self-financing through criminal enterprises including extortion, kidnapping and shaking down businesses for protection payments, the official said. Legal Hurdle The official said the U.S. doesn’t consider ISIL an affiliate of al-Qaeda. That presents a potential legal hurdle to ordering airstrikes against the group, said Christopher Swift, an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s security studies program and an international lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP.
The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against terrorists “wouldn’t cover such strikes because ISIL isn’t part of al-Qaeda and wasn’t involved in planning, authorizing or committing the 9/11 terrorist attacks” as the authorization law requires, Swift said.
Instead, he said, “the president would be forced to rely on his authority as commander-in-chief without the benefit of Congress’s formal backing.” Under the War Powers Act, Obama would have 48 hours after ordering any strikes to notify Congress and 60 days to continue them until Congress could intervene, he said.
Two leading Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, told reporters after a closed-door briefing by administration officials today that Obama has all the authority required to take military action in Iraq.
“The president doesn’t need our approval to make these decisions,” Graham said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Terry Atlas in Washington at tatlas@bloomberg.net; David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

Putin sends clear message: no intention to invade Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has proposed that the upper house call off the March 1 resolution allowing the head of state to use the armed forces on the territory of Ukraine. And while the media is speculating what lies behind the move, which comes ahead of leaving on official visit to Vienna, Radio VR's political analyst Dmitry Babich says it certainly does not mean a change in Russia's policy, but a clear message to the world that Russia has no intentions of occupying Ukraine./
Dmitry Babich stressed that there is a civil war going on in Ukraine, but the West does not view it as such. It is clear even from the recent conversation President Putin had with his American counterpart.
"If we look at the words that Obama used – stop supporting the separatists, stop the violence – Obama, just like the majority of the Western leaders, believes that there is no civil war in Ukraine, there is just Russian intrusion, there are some Russian agents who are making life hard for Ukrainians living in the east of Ukraine, most of whom speak Russian as their native language," he said. "And this is not true. But the problem is that the Western correspondents have left the region, Western media is losing interest in it and this wrong stereotype which the Western media had ingrained in the mass conscience in the West is still working. A lot of people view the situation in a simplified way: it is like Ukraine wants to become European and democratic and Russia intruded from the East to stop it on these good ways." So, Dmitry Babich is convinced that Putin's move is aimed to show that Russia does not want to invade Ukraine. "We are even removing a legal possibility for the use of military force in Ukraine," he said, But Dmitry Babich, however, noted that Crimea was a special case, and by no means it could be referred to as invasion. "Crimea became formally a part of Ukraine just in 1954 for purely political and technical reasons," he explained. "It has never been Ukrainian region before. This area is populated by ethnic Russians, by Crimean Tatars. Ukrainians had never considered Crimea as their ethnic turf. So, Crimea was a special case". "And Donetsk and Lugansk are different things. First, these are huge regions with population about 11 million people unlike Crimea, which has less than 2 million. And Russia has absolutely no desire to annex them or to make them some sort of a grey zone between Russia and Kiev," he said.
What comes to the local residents of the above regions, there is a whole array of opinions and desires. But huge majority does not want to live under the government which is now ruling Ukraine from Kiev. The majority of these people do not like the Ukrainian nationalists from the West of Ukraine who dominate in the current government, Dmitry Babich explained "Another issue is how these regions are going to develop: some people want to join Russia, some people just want more autonomy from Kiev," he said, "I think the majority wants to elect their own governors. Unfortunately, Poroshenko's new peace plan does not give them such an opportunity, the candidates are still to be approved by Kiev." But the political analyst says, it is 99 per cent an inner Ukrainian problem – how do they live together with each other. And Russia has just shown that an intrusion is not an option. Russia is not going to militarily occupy Ukraine even if a lot of people, the majority of people in Donetsk and Lugansk would like Russia to come and help them to defeat the troops sent by Kiev to subdue them.
He then reiterated once again that Crimea was a different story.
"There the share of the Russian population is huge and mentally it had never become a part of Ukraine," he said. "Under the Soviet Union it basically had no importance whether you were a part of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or Russian Soviet Socialist Republic – it was purely an administrative problem. And people living in Crimea did not feel any inconvenience of being formerly a part of Soviet Ukraine."
"But after 1991 it became a huge nuisance for them. And until Ukraine was a democratic country, Crimea was needed by Moscow because it was a sort of an anchor that held Ukraine away from joining NATO, from going 100 per cent West." When this coup d'etat happened in Kiev, he explained, it destabilized the balance in the Ukrainian society. And Ukraine can exist as a unified state only balancing between East and West. If Ukraine goes 100 per cent West, the East becomes restive. If Ukraine goes to Russia, the West and even Kiev are going to react negatively. So, when it became clear that Ukraine stopped to be a democratic country, elections do not matter there, power is in the hands of the violent group, then Russia decided to take Crimea back. But it does not mean that Russia wants to tear up Ukraine. It is a problem for Ukrainians to solve - to restore some kind of balance. Even Poland had inner problems when it joined the EU and NATO as an active member. Not all the Poles are happy with this state of affairs. And in Ukraine there is a very big part of the population which is not ready to go to the EU and to bid farewell to Russia forever.
But the longer the war continues, the more difficult it is to find the balance.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_06_24/Putin-sends-clear-message-no-intention-to-invade-Ukraine-political-analyst-9678/

Video: President Obama Speaks at the Working Families Summit

Video: The First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the Working Families Summit

Bill Clinton on Hillary and wealth: 'She's not out of touch'

Bill Clinton says his wife, Hillary, is “not out of touch” despite her recent comments that drew negative attention to their personal wealth.
The former president defended his wife’s commitment to the poor and working class Americans during an interview with NBC’s David Gregory conducted in Denver on Tuesday as part of the Clinton Global Initiative America conference. Clinton suggested the focus shouldn’t be on his family’s personal wealth, but on “the central challenge of our time, which is the demise of the American dream.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton has been criticized by Republicans and even some Democrats for saying during an interview with ABC News earlier this month that she and her husband were “dead broke” after he left the White House in 2001.
Then she told The Guardian that voters “don’t see me as part of the problem” with income inequality in the United States “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through the dint of hard work.”
The Republican National Committee has mocked Clinton in an ad for what it describes as her “whining about being broke,” and even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — a former political director in the Clinton White House — teased the once-and-maybe-future presidential candidate.
In his Tuesday interview, Bill Clinton said it is “factually true” that his family was several million dollars in debt — largely from legal bills stemming from the Whitewater investigation and impeachment – when he left the White House. Financial records show they paid off their legal bills by 2004.
A CNN analysis showed Clinton earned $106 million by making speeches from the end of his presidency through January 2013. Hillary Clinton has defended her own paid speeches, reportedly earning as much as $200,000 a pop, saying it is a “better thing than getting connected with any one group or company.”
Bill Clinton said in his interview: “Everybody now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic. I’m shocked that it’s happened. I’m shocked that people still want me to come give talks. And so I’m grateful.”
Clinton’s interview will air Sunday on Meet the Press, moderated by Gregory.

Pakistan: Firing on plane kills woman at Peshawar airport

A firing incident on a plane arriving from Riyadh has left at least two people, including a woman and a flight steward, injured at Peshawar’s Bacha Khan airport, DawnNews reported late on Tuesday night.
Initial TV reports suggest that the incident took place as the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing PK-756, with 178 passengers onboard, was landing at the airport.
The injured woman has succumbed to her bullet wounds.
Police and security forces have cordoned off the airport premises and launched a search operation to arrest the culprits behind the incident.
Inured flight steward Ijaz Chaudhry has been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
Police officials and PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar have confirmed the incident and the casualties.
The suspected attack follows a major Taliban assault on Karachi airport earlier this month that killed at least 32 people including all 10 attackers.
The security was put on a high alert around the area amidst Pakistani military's ongoing operation Zarb-i-Azb against militants in North Waziristan Agency, one of the country's seven semi-autonomous tribal agencies next to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of which Peshawar is the capital.

ISIS captures biggest oil refinery in Iraq - reports

Pakistan: Opposition leader urges PM to appoint CEC

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Tuesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding pending appointment of Chief Election Commission.
According to a statement issued by the opposition leader’s office, Shah said he was being asked by media and political parties about the reason for delay in appointment of CEC.
He reminded that the post was lying vacant after former CEC Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim resigned on July 31.
He hoped that Prime Minister Sharif would soon start consultation on this important issue.

Pakistan: WHO fears rise in Polio due to internal migration

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that due to internal migration of displaced families from North Waziristan, the risk of Polio spreading to other areas of Pakistan has starkly increased.
Speaking to journalists in Islamabad the WHO’s representative in Pakistan Dr. Nima Saeed said, the highest number of polio cases have been witnessed in North Waziristan, and the mass migration of people from the vulnerable area has increased the risk of the polio virus spreading further.
Dr. Saeed added that migrants are being administered polio vaccines along the routes to keep the virus from spreading.
Meanwhile the WHO is also taking steps to prevent Malaria, Diarrhea and other ailments from spreading at IDP camps, where 36,000 emergency kits have already been distributed.
Polio, Travel Restrictions
Pakistan is already facing restrictions due to the Polio endemic, with travelers from Pakistan required to present a certificate of vaccination prior to travel. The restriction began on the 1st of June 2014 in light of recommendations by the World Health Organization in May.

Bilawal Bhutto: PPP parliamentarians to donate one month salary for Internally Displaced people (IDPs) of Waziristan

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman, Pakistan Peoples Party after consultation with the senior party leaders announced that all senators, MNAs, and MPAs of the PPP will donate one month salary for Internally Displaced people (IDPs). Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari requested all party office bearers and workers to assist IDPs and provide support and facilitate the IDPs so they feel at home in this tough time.
“The internally displaced persons are our heroes who are undergoing untold sufferings and miseries in the nation’s drive against militants and they must not be left alone in their hour of need”, said Chairman PPP. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that it is the time the all political parties should be united and stand with the armed forces of Pakistan for the stability and protection of country.
Chairman PPP also requested Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah to look after & supervise the relief and rehabilitation activities for IDPs. Syed Khursheed Shah is heading the committee comprised of parliamentarians and senior party leaders.
The Committee will look after the needs and provide all possible help for the relief and rehabilitation of the IDPs. The Committee members include Khanzada Khan, President PPP Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (Focal Person of committee from KPK), Manzoor Wattoo, President PPP Punjab, Sadiq Umrani, President PPP Baluchistan, Zamrud Khan Ex-MNA (Focal Person of the committee from Punjab), Dr. Sikandar Mandharo Sindh Parliamentary affairs Minister, Senator Usman Saifullah Khan, Senator Rubina Khalid, Nawazish Pirzada (President PYO South Punjab).
Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also advised Prime Minister Azad Jammu & Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed and Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltitstan Syed Mehdi Shah to support the Committee in ensuring best possible relief and rehabilitation for the IDPs.

Pakistan: Two FC personnel martyred in suicide attack in N.Waziristan

At least two Pak-army personnel were martyred and several others were injured when a security forces check post was attacked with a suicide blast in Spinwam, North Waziristan here on Tuesday. The suicide blast targeted security check post in Spinwam area of NWA. According to the ISPR, a truck laden with explosives tried to ram the Spinwam hospital. However, security personnel deployed at the check-post outside opened fire at the suspicious vehicle forcing the bomber to detonate the explosives. Security forces has coordoned off the area and started search operation in the area. The injured were shifted to the nearby hospital for treatment.A nearby building also collapsed due to the explosion.

Pakistan: Zarb-i-Azb: 47 militants killed in NWA, Khyber blitz

At least 47 suspected militants were killed and 23 hideouts desroyed in air striked carried out on Tuesday by the military in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal region, according to statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations. Jet strikes carried out by the military in Mirali area of North Waziristan Agency killed 27 suspected militants and destroyed 11 hideouts including a huge cache of arms and ammunition. The ISPR statement also claimed that 20 militants were killed and 12 hideouts were destroyed during the air blitz in Khyber tribal region.

Why famous and only christian news anchor “Sara Alfred” flee from Pakistan

It all started when Sara made a documentary on the occasion of Christmas,She made a documentary on Christians in Pakistan , where she prayed in church and made sign of cross ,, it was onaired at aaj tv and that was the reason Talibans started to prosecute her and wanted to earn heaven killing or converting one more Christian!
But she did not stop n kept promoting the christian community which was not appreciated by the extremists,after which Sara Alfred was being threatened continuously , followed, Her brother was beaten by unknown,her’s and her family’s activities were monitored minute to minute, threatening letters from unknown, untraceable phone calls, attack on her car, attack on the channel where she was working and the documentary was on aired (AAJ TV) and most of all abduction of her daughter which actually made her to find protection away from home (Pakistan).
Sara Alfred was continuously forced by extremists to convert to Islam , was given a tough time at her work places , which made her switch different channels thinking she would get saved from the butchers but nobody helped her, nobody had a solution for her and she and her family was at the risk of death and the only reason was that she was a christian,a true follower of Christ!
Some unknown gunmen also opened fire at her home at midnight
They wanted to do the same what they did with Shahbaz bhatti and hundreds n thousands of other Christians in Pakistan.
But God provided her the way , protected her because God is our shelter and prayers of millions of Pakistani Christians helped her survive! Lets all pray that God protect her and her family and she comes back on screen soon to glorify the name of God! Amen.

Pakistan: Fomer CJ’s son appointed vice chairman Balochistan Investment Board : A Facebook Discussion

by Shahram Ali
Congratulations to Honda Civic Society and Sipah Sahaba in their Joint Struggle to Restore Grade 22 Bureaucrat PCO Chaudhary. The Liar’s, ooops, Lawyer’s movement has finally bourne fruit! “Doctor” Arsalan Ibne Iftikhar, son of Hazrat Iftikhar Chaudhary PCO has been appointed to an important, cushy and financially lucrative job in the PML N government of Balochistan.
Anyone who dares to critisize this appointment is an opponent of Noora Democracy! Noora Democracy is a particular Pakistani brand of Democracy that revolves around the ideological family of General Zia ul Haq Shaheed. For Noora Democracy, any criticism is like Kryptonite. So, to the Non-Jang/GEO media: SHUT UP! Or PCO Judges will gag you.
In other related News, the biggest Danger to Noora Democracy, the Terrorists of Minhaj ul Quran have been “neutralized”. Congratulations to Good Liberals on identifying the threat from the Anti-Taliban faction lead by Tahir ul Qadri. We need Good Liberals to continuously connect Mumtaz Qadri to Tahir ul Qadri but to deliberately ignore and obfuscate that the Blasphemy Law was passed by Nawaz Sharif. Shahbash
The Mullah Omar Weekly called the MuQ faction as the most deadly terrorist force in Pakistan after the LoL Brigade (Google Lyari o Larkana Brigade) and the Al Zulfiqar Faction of the 1970s. The Yazeed Group recently highlighted the stockpile of Qurans and State of the art 3×4 bricks weaponary current in possession of the TuQ “militias”.
The Ludhainvi Malik Ishaq “Peace” Movement (aka ASWJ-LeJ) who also supported the “embattled” Lahore police in its latest “standoff” with the TuQ militias, has highlighted the TuQ as the most deadly anti-Taliban movement in Pakistan, followed closely by the SIC-MWM lead Sunni-Shia-Christain- Hindu -Sikh alliance under the “Shuhda Conference. Similarly, the DPC “Peace Corps” has also come out against TuQ.
We must all join hands in protecting Noora Democracy from the vicious barbs of Tahir ul Qadri Canadvi. The idea of mass peaceful protests is anathema to the Fragile Noora Democracy which only has the Judges in its pockets and the media and Police in its payroll and the Jeffersonian Monarchal Democracy of Saudia Arabia as its primary backer.
To all Good Liberals, please lets hold hands and lets back our Police and Judges in squashing dissent. For Dissent is against the spirit of Good Liberalism and Noora Democracy
MD : Did you noticed the latest revelation coming from Pakistani media? Lawyers movement was actually funded by ISI, says former Dy attorny Gen of Pakistan in an interview to Matiullah Jan.
SRAMH to MD : as per some analysis that makes a lot of sense, the “anti-establishement” Lawyer’s movement was supported by then D G ISI General Kiyani who went on to replace General Musharaf as the COAS. the movement not only weakened Musharaf but also the efforts to hold elections and allow Benazir to stand in planned elections. The Lawyer’s movement opposed the 2008 elections that finally got rid of Musharaf the Constittutional way. The funding of the Lawyer’s movement was allegedly done by the “anti-establishment” Nawaz Sharif who was the biggest beneficiary of this movement and now has Pakistan’s Judiciary pretty much in his pockets. The street power was mostly supplied by the Jamaat Islami, Sipah Sahaba, deluded civil society aka Honda Civic Society, Good Liberals, Tonga Commies and some activists who genuinely regretted being used in this movement.
MD : well, as I said, Dy attorney said it on record and claimed, he made cases against major media personalities and ISI facilitated all this both with finances and material. Kiyani was heading it, so he had to be involved. But then…thats Pakistan for you….wheels within wheels.
SRAMH to MD : on whose pressure do you think that PCO Chaudhary was finally reinstated in 2009? It was none other than General Kiyani who had become COAS by then. The “anti-Establishment” “Democrat” Nawaz Sharif and Good Army General Kiyani used the Judiciary to free the most dangerous Deobandi and Salafi terrorists (including Hafiz Saeed) and to concoct politically motivated cases against a leading Sunni Barelvi leader, Hamid Saeed Kazmi. Hamid Saeed Kazmi was appointed to a top post in the cabinet of Yousuf Raza Gillani and was part of the effort to reduce the influence of the powerful Deobandi clerical establishment from which the Taliban, ASWJ-LeJ and JeM are drawn. The Judiciary, based on the spurious “evidence” of a pro Taliban Lota (turncoat) politician (Azam Swati) had Hamid Saeed Kazmi thrown in jail.
In fact, the “anti-establishment” Nawaz Sharif was the first one who barged into the Supreme Court, unhindedred to launch a Pro-Army Petition against his political rivals. The petition was promptly accepted by the Judiciary. You must have read about this under “Memogate”. The same Nawaz Sharif and Judiciary are regularly valourised and praised by many of Pakistan’s Good Liberals
- See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/315484#sthash.P8EWnfNr.dpuf

Pakistan: PPP opposed to govt moves against free media: minister

Media persons covering the proceedings of the Sindh Assembly’s ongoing budget session staged a walkout in protest from the press gallery of the Sindh Assembly on Monday against the suspension of licence of the ARY News and illegal curbs on other news channels in the country.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon rushed to the press room of the Sindh Assembly to express solidarity with protesting journalists, who had staged a walkout from the press gallery of the provincial assembly.
Sharjeel said the Pakistan People’s Party Sindh vehemently condemns the autocratic tendency of the federal government against free functioning of the media.He said the PPP and its provincial government fully sided with protesting newsmen and their media institutions and would completely support them in all their testing times.
He urged the cable TV operators to do their business freely without coming under coercion, influence, or threats from any of the quarters. He said that suspension of licence of the private news channel and blockage of its transmission should be cancelled at once.
Earlier, speaking on the floor of the provincial assembly, Sharjeel said the transmission of the private news channel was being closed for its live coverage of violent incidents at the Model Town, Lahore last week. He said the federal government should review its conduct and policies for the sake of democracy in the country.
Speaking on the same issue, Parliamentary Leader of the PML-N in the Sindh Assembly Irfanullah Khan Marwat said private news channels should avoid settling their personal and mutual business scores and instead discharge their telecast with solemn obligations regarding informing and updating audiences about events around them.
He said the way some of private TV news channels had been acting in the irresponsible manner would take away the benefits of freedom of expression from them.Parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement in the Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed said that transmission of private TV news channels were being unduly shutdown as such acts of the government should not have taken place in a democratic dispensation.
Leader of the opposition in the provincial Assembly Shaharyar Khan Mahar said the manner TV news channels were being shut down one after the other, it seemed that scores were being settled at official level as such acts should be avoided at all costs.
Samar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that media being the fourth pillar of state should act responsibly while there was no reason for shutting down any TV news channel in the country. He said that media should be given liberty and freedom it deserved.

Pakistan: Khyber Agency air strikes kill 13 more terrorists

At least 13 terrorists were killed as Pakistani jet fighters targeted 6 militant hideouts in Khyber Agency. According to security sources, terrorist hideouts in Raj Gull area of Tehsil Jamrud were targeted and 13 terrorists were killed while 6 hideouts were destroyed.

Pakistan: PML-N shoots itself in the foot again

Mess after mess
The PML-N has again displayed total inefficacy in handling a situation politically. Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) was within its right to hold protest as long as it did not break any law. Heavens would not have fallen if PAT had been allowed to march from Islamabad to Lahore. The government acted in a way that indicated a state of panic. It relied on extreme administrative measures to stop the party from holding the protest. It should have instead held talks with the PAT soon after the Model Town incident to bring the temperature down. Subsequently it should have held parleys to ensure that there was no untoward incident after Qadri’s arrival. It opted instead for measures reminiscent of dictatorial regimes, like blocking of roads in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, closure of the airport, arrests, baton charges and tear gassing by police and the weirdest of all, the diversion of the Emirates’ international flight from Islamabad to Lahore. That mediation by Governor Sindh brought to a peaceful end the hours-long standoff at Lahore airport indicates things could have been resolved through talks much earlier.
The PML-N in fact created a crisis out of a non-event. The brutal police attack on PAT office in Model Town, conducted without any provocation and which led to the killing of nine party workers put the government on the defensive while it created a wave of sympathy for the PAT. Unless the PML-N government learns to resolve political differences through talks, it might end up antagonising the entire opposition before long.
Tahirul Qadri has declared that he has finally returned to Pakistan to take part in politics. He must have realised by now the futility of calls on army. What he is yet to understand is that real change can be brought only through elections, and not through any other method. What is more, parliamentary democracy requires give and take rather than an inflexible attitude.

Pakistan: Tahir-Ul-Qadri Labels Sharif Brothers As ‘Terrorists’

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has labelled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as ‘terrorists, saying both brothers will behind the bars soon. Addressing his party workers and supporters at Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) secretariat here, PAT chief said that he has returned to Pakistan to fight the war of the poor people of country. He described the deviation of his plane to Lahore from Islamabad ‘another act of terrorism’ by the government, saying the day is not far away when the sun of revolution will dawn and rulers will be held accountable for their misdeeds.
Dr. Qadri commended the role of electronic and print media and dubbed it as his “revolutionary army”. He said the world has witnessed several revolutions but now it will see revolution in Pakistan. PAT chief said the rulers will attempt to flee now but their bid will be foiled. He said that he can be killed by government but his mission to bring peaceful revolution will continue.
Dr. Qadri asked his followers to be prepared for revaluation, saying he will soon give the final call for it after holding consultations with likeminded political forces. He said the system will change after revolution and he himself will hold general elections. Earlier Dr. Qadri visited Jinnah Hospital to inquire about the health of PAT workers who had sustained injuries during the Model Town clashes. Speaking to media outside the hospital, the cleric termed the Model Town incident as ‘worst example of state terrorism’, stating the blood of those who scarified their lives won’t go in waste. A large number of PAT workers welcomed their leader at the Airport. Foolproof security arraignments had been made on this occasion. In morning, flight carrying Dr. Qadri was diverted to Lahore after it hovered over the airspace of federal capital for almost 20 minutes. The flight EK-612 of Emirates Airline landed at the Allama Iqbal International Airport at 9:35 but the cleric refused to disembark till his security is guaranteed by the military. However, after several hours of much-speculation and suspense, he withdrew his demand of provision of military security and he agreed to leave for his residence under his personal security.
- See more at: http://www.pakistantribune.com.pk/16349/tahir-ul-qadri-labels-sharif-brothers-terrorists.html#sthash.OQfcUs2G.dpuf

Lahore Massacre: Seven days later, death toll from Model Town tragedy continues to rise

The Express Tribune
Seven days after the bloody clashes in Lahore’s Model Town, a man succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, taking the death toll to ten, Express News reported.
Twenty-year-old Shahbaz was shot in the neck during the June 17 clashes between Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers and the police in which dozens more were also injured.
He was taken into surgery soon after the incident but his doctor had said at that time that his chances of survival were low.
Sources said that the PAT worker succumbed to his wounds at 6am today, however, hospital sources have not confirmed his death. His body will be sent for post-mortem analysis and will be released to his parents after his medico-legal report is complete. The victim’s parents said that he was an active PAT supporter and was dedicated to his party.

Pakistan: Scenes of chaos

IN the end, perhaps all too expectedly, it was a forlorn hope that better sense would prevail. The Canada-based Tahirul Qadri’s return to Pakistan was marked by scenes of chaos, violence, near-comical grandstanding by Mr Qadri and a thorough overreaction by the PML-N. Mr Qadri is back in Pakistan and, while his true political relevance is still minimal, he and his supporters have taken centre stage and seem determined to milk their second round in the limelight for everything it is worth. Even now, with his purported and so-called ‘revolution’ seemingly under way, it is difficult to make sense of Mr Qadri’s politics or his demands. In essence, it appears to boil down to the following: remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government and replace them with a pro-establishment, undemocratic set-up simply so the real decision-makers in this country remain unelected, anti-democratic forces. Beyond that, there is little on grounds of policy that appears to so agitate Mr Qadri against the PML-N.
Amusing too is the presence of Mr Qadri’s newfound allies. Former chief minister of Punjab Pervaiz Elahi was prominent yesterday among the cohort defending Mr Qadri and lashing out against the government. And yet, those with memories longer than what Mr Elahi would perhaps like Pakistanis to have will recall what his government in Punjab did when Shahbaz Sharif attempted to return to Pakistan after years in exile in 2004. Like yesterday, much of Lahore was shut down and barricaded and an overwhelming show of force by the Punjab administration and police forced the younger Sharif brother to leave Pakistan a couple of hours after returning. What apparently was perfectly acceptable for Shahbaz Sharif in 2004 is not palatable for Mr Qadri in 2014, at least if Mr Elahi’s claims are to be paid any attention to. Somehow, while farce repeats itself in Pakistan every few years, the principals who once stood on one side of history try to wriggle across to the other side of history with a scurrilous disregard for propriety and consistency.
Yet, for all the patent self-serving theatre and faux threats individuals like Mr Qadri would like to serve up, there is also a separate fundamental reality that cannot and should not be forgotten: if anti-democrats are out to destabilise the country’s politics, it is really the government that should rise above such challenges and reinforce its democratic credentials and regard for the democratic project. Unhappily, the PML-N appears to have failed spectacularly in this area thus far. Prime Minister Sharif and the PML-N are not just the country’s elected leadership in present times, they are also the principal custodians of the democratic project and transition to democracy. Condemnable as the anti-democrats’ assault on democracy may be, democracy will only be strengthened if democracy’s custodians demonstrate restraint and unflinchingly adhere to the law and the Constitution.

Pakistan: Air Emirates to seek damages over Qadri episode

he Emirates airline plans to file a suit over the damages caused to its reputation by the enforced diversion of its plane carrying Dr Tahirul Qadri on Monday.
Official sources told Dawn that the airline had told the Civil Aviation Authority that it had been upset by the diversion of its flight EK-612 Dubai-Islamabad to Lahore, causing a great deal of inconvenience to passengers on the plane and those waiting at the airport to fly to Dubai. The plane was scheduled to reach Islamabad at 8am on Monday and return to Dubai at 9.30am after picking passengers.
But the government did not allow the aircraft to land at Islamabad to foil Dr Qadri’s plan to go to Lahore by road to demonstrate his political strength.
“The Emirates pilots were shocked to receive the ‘order’ to take the plane to Lahore because there was no issue of weather or airport occupancy,” sources said.
Because of the diversion of the plane, it missed its scheduled departure to Dubai from Islamabad.
After it left for Islamabad in the evening, the Emirates administration informed the CAA that it intended to file for damages.
The sources said the airline was also considering to “blacklist” Dr Qadri.
“An airliner blacklists a person who puts the lives of other passengers in jeopardy or causes them inconvenience by his action,” a CAA official said.
The PIA blacklisted some 10 people for their behaviour leading to diversion of its flight from Manchester to Stansted Airport last year.
The official said he believed that the Emirates would not consider suspending its flight operation to Pakistan because it had good business here.
However, CAA spokesperson Abid Kaimkhani said he was not aware of any warning by the Emirates. “The airline might have contacted the local (Lahore-based) administration of the CAA. But I have no knowledge of it,” he said.

Pakistan: Qadri and the ensuing circus

From the look of things, the PML-N government is not creating a lasting legacy for itself. It is losing itself in folds of paranoia, insecurity and bad decisions as can be seen by the latest episode to hit the Sharif government. Tahir-ul-Qadri is back in the political circuit and is up to his usual tricks. It is these antics of his that seem to be nudging the PML-N into making one bad decision after another. Showing once again that he has plenty of nuisance value, Tahir-ul-Qadri boarded a plane and made his way to what he thought was Islamabad to jumpstart a ‘revolution’ against the sitting government. However, his plane was not allowed to land in Islamabad by the federal government, citing security concerns but, even though Qadri’s supporters had stormed through the barricades erected in Islamabad’s airport, one doubts the Sharif’s genuine concern for the man’s safety. Instead, the flight was diverted to Lahore from where Qadri refused to disembark, spewing vitriol such as fearing for his life at the hands of the Sharif brothers. He stayed on board the international carrier — Emirates — for more than five hours in Lahore until his demand to be escorted out via a team of intermediaries including the governor Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar. His first stop was Jinnah Hospital where he visited the workers of his party, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), who were injured when the police opened fire on them outside Tahir-ul-Qadri’s residence a week ago. Needless to say, throughout this whole saga there were many protests and agitations by PAT workers in Islamabad and Lahore.
What is wrong with the PML-N? Does it not see how ill thought throuigh its reactions are? Even if the Sharif government panicked at the idea of another rally and long march by Qadri — he staged one two years ago against the PPP government — in which he may have been able to gather the support of some opposition parties, does that give it the right to divert and disrupt an entire nation’s flight schedule on any particular day? It certainly looks like the PML-N is not willing to learn any lessons from its previous mistakes. Why is the government shivering in its boots at the mere thought of this man? Such insecurity led to the tragic deaths of 11 PAT workers in Model Town last week at the hands of the police, when they shot at them at point blank range. That was the kind of move that can lead to a sitting government being dislodged. The Sharifs should know by now that Qadri is an attention seeker who makes maximalist demands and then backs down. He launched a sweeping tirade against the PPP government during his last agitation but later closed himself off in his container and accepted government conditions to back off. There was no need to panic at the shenanigans of the same man this time around. If the government is fearing that the gossip mill is true, whereby speculators are saying that the army is using Qadri to serve its own goals, Nawaz Sharif need only look around and understand that the army is stretched fighting a war against the militants in North Waziristan; it cannot concern itself with politics at the moment.
And what does one say about how this episode has affected our international image except hang one’s head in shame? Emirates, one of the few international carriers willing to regularly fly in and out of Pakistan, has threatened to discontinue its services. Cathay Pacific, the US carrier, has stopped all its flights here after the Karachi airport incident. The PML-N government’s way of ‘resolving’ issues is not doing itself, the country, its people and its image any good.

Pakistan: PM Nawaz himself ordered diversion of flight

Political compulsion and security scare were the two reasons that got Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Islamabad-bound flight from Dubai diverted to Lahore, while orders to this effect came from the ‘highest office’, it has been learnt.
While the top aviation managers remained tight-lipped over who ordered the diversion of the Emirates plane to Lahore, informed sources told Daily Times instructions were issued by none other than Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself. Aviation Secretary Muhammad Ali Gardezi, when contacted, refused to share details on who ordered the diversion of the flight but contended that the decision was taken in the ‘best interests of passengers’.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the decision to divert the flight was taken by the federal government after thoroughly considering the matter. “You cannot say that the PM alone took this decision. The matter was taken up with the top aviation and security officials including the officers and the federal ministers before an agreement was reached on the course of action,” he told Daily Times.
After landing at the Lahore airport, Qadri refused to disembark unless his demands were met. Aviation sources say the Emirates management was planning to officially launch a complaint against Qadri. “In such cases, the proceedings against any passenger can attract the intervention of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that may result in initiation of hijack proceedings. Hijacking is a very serious offence that may result in heavy penalty and jail term,” officials said.
Background discussions with senior aviation officials suggest that as per standard operating procedure, director general of the CAA is empowered to order the diversion of any domestic or international flight scheduled to land at a Pakistani airport.

Pakistan: Qadri, Federal Govt's ‘Drama’ at Lahore airport

Sindh Minister for information, archives and localgovernment Sharjeel Innam Memon said he would personally condemn Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Prof Dr Tahir Ul Qadri for keeping the Emirate Airliner plane as hostage for 9 hours. He said the air traffic was already reduced in Pakistan while the whole drama staged by Dr Qadri in which he had held a foreign airliner’s plane as hostage for over 9 hours was tantamount to ruining image of Pakistan internationally.
The Minister equally alleged federal government for being part of that drama at Lahore airport and said that federal govt had failed to show signs of serenity in its attitude and had utterly failed to deal with such situations amicably.
He said Pakistan People’s Party had dealt with a more serious situation in Islamabad during a 5-day long sit-in by Dr Qadri and his followers and the PPP had amicably resolved the situation politically. He said the country was passing through drastic hostile situation of terrorism and could not affird such blunders and dramas and hence the federal government and Dr Qadri should avoid staging such dramas in future.
He said PPP would never become part of any adventurous move against democracy and the mandate of Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz should be respected. All the disputes and issues should be resolved through political dialogue.
The Minister said that whatever was screened in Islamabad on Monday morning was owing to the federal government and Dr Qadri and both were responsible for the panicking situation in the country, which deserved due condemnation.
In reply to a question, Memon said that it was not necessary for Muttahida Qaumi Movement to follow the footsteps of PPP and vice versa.

The importance of the North Waziristan operation

The Express Tribune
By Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Finally the much-awaited military operation against militants in the troubled North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has been launched. There was never any doubt that a ‘military operation’ was the only viable option and the only genuine solution available with the civilian government to root out terrorism. Why was then the operation being pended and delayed?
The political reason is too obvious as all politicians want to avoid any ‘scandalous activity’ that may cost them the votes that win them elections and keep them in power. It’s the military reason that has counted the most here and has really stood out. All military academies in the world teach ‘military commanders resolve’ as an outstanding military principle to achieve military successes. No doubt General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and General Kayani were top line generals of our army but they belonged to the same league. Together sharing the military leadership of Pakistan Army for 14 long years, they represented a military mindset that shared and believed in the ‘sacred doctrine of strategic depth’ that possibly was the reason that tied their hands behind their backs as the army continued fighting a ‘stalemated war’ that was being characterised more by ‘firefighting acts’ than any military actions of substance.
General Raheel Sharif, from the outset, vouched to respond to every terrorist act with a military action. Air strikes on the militant hideouts became a norm and it was generally being perceived that the new military commander was pushing his civilian bosses to agree to the initiation of a ‘military operation’ as the most-favoured option. All military commanders know that ‘the success of half of any military operation is reaching there, the other half is its execution’. If anything, the beginning of the military operation suggests that the army may also have reached a conclusion. It will no more guard and protect the ‘ideological frontier’ which it created and sustained and of which the Taliban were an essential part. A frontier, within which the Taliban once trained, nourished, housed and were even protected. If there ever is going to be a ‘responsible end’ to this war, it will come only if the army has finally decided that it no more recognises and accepts the notion of strategic depth and will meet all ‘ideological crusaders’ with a singular treatment.
Addressing the National Assembly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced that the “the Zarb-e-Azb operation will not end till all terrorists are eliminated”. The people of Pakistan must own and rally around this mission statement given by the prime minister. Winning this war will not be easy. Nobody is even clear at this stage what really the definition of winning this war is. Surely it can’t only be the successful culmination of tactical operations in the battlefield zone. It has to be something more strategic. Something wider in scope — a single unanimous will of an entire nation, which should, in fact, act as a much ‘wider team’ to execute the prime minister’s given mission statement. In this dreadful irregular war that we fight across the length and breadth of the country, the complete nation will have to stand together to achieve this difficult but not impossible victory.
The real worry that the security establishment faces now is, how to counter the blowback and the retaliatory strikes by the Taliban in the country’s heartland? The Taliban spokesperson has already threatened and reminded the government that ‘our response will be tough’.
The war engulfs the entire country. Pakistan, today, is a war zone and the Taliban will fight this war where it will hurt the government and the army the most. Not in the mountains, gorges and deep valleys of North Waziristan. There these local and foreign militants will lie low or withdraw through the porous border into the neighbouring provinces in Afghanistan. It’s their vanguards who will retaliate — the likes of the group of terrorists that recently attacked the Karachi airport. These small groups of terrorists harbouring in the urban centres in the country are the real part of the Taliban’s response force. They have the capacity and the capability to create the nightmare that all custodians of safety and security of this country dread and fear. It is against these likely ‘violent and destructive’ militant actions in the urban centres by the death squads of the Taliban, that Pakistan is least prepared. The soft underbelly of Pakistan in the war on terror is its weak ‘second tier security apparatus’.
The example of Karachi — the port city and hub of Pakistan’s business and commercial activity — clearly illustrates why Pakistan’s mega cities may be the choice targets of Taliban’s ‘retaliatory strikes’. A city of over 25 million people, Karachi boosts a police force of only 35,000 men. Most of these men were recruited by the ruling parties on mutually agreed and shared quotas without meeting the required standards of recruitment. Highly unprofessional and corrupt, this is hardly a force that can be relied to put up a defense against the stealth techniques and sneaky and covert operations of the Taliban insurgents. As if their unprofessionalism was not enough — the police force that is highly politicised is mostly involved in serving and protecting the VIPs. According to a rough estimate, over 18,000 men are deployed to protect and serve only the city elite. No wonder the chief minister of Sindh deputed and tasked the military to guard the sensitive installations in the city. Except the odd IED attacks or small hit-and-run operations, I don’t see any likelihood of the Taliban raising their head in the operational area to meet the challenge that the Pakistan Army has thrown at them. Not under the lurking eyes of the ‘reconnaissance drones’ that the Pakistan Army now flies in the battlefield zone or the cobra helicopters that hover in the skies or even the fighter jets that will now target them day in and day out. The boots on ground will also be deeply relieved and now highly motivated as for them ‘the push has finally come to shove’. The army has enough troops on ground to clear and hold the nerve centres and vital tactical grounds in the operational area. Even if the Afghan Army does not shield its border and prevent the retreating ‘terrorists’ from infiltrating, the Pakistan Army will continue to flush out these terrorists towards the Afghan border.
The procrastination in the decision to launch a military operation by Pakistan’s military and civil elite gave Taliban tremendous military leverage. This all is about to change. The commencement of the military operation is no guarantor of ultimate success against the Taliban, but it surely is the most vital tool now being used by the state from its ‘options tool-kit’ to tip the balance in favour of the state.

Over 450,000 people displaced in northwestern Pakistan

More than 450,000 people have been displaced in North Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan since the army began an offensive against militants a week ago, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here Monday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) has been informed of the Pakistani government estimates of displacement, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.
"Some 73 percent are women and children," he said. "People are continuing to leave the area."
"Most of the displaced are staying with relatives or in rented accommodation: as of Sunday, only 18 families have moved into Bakakhel Camp that has a capacity for 200,000 people," he said. " Humanitarian organizations are supporting the government response, with health activities including vaccinations, food distributions that started on 22 June, as well as water and sanitation activities."
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing North Waziristan, a mountainous region bordering Afghanistan, after the Pakistani army launched an offensive against militants a week ago.
The Pakistan military said last Monday that 177 "terrorists have been killed" in major military operation against the local and foreign militant groups in North Waziristan tribal region over the past two days.
Last week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated that more than 46,000 people have crossed into Afghanistan to seek safety.

Pakistan needs regional, global alliances to fight extremists

Muqtedar Khan
Pakistan on Sunday launched another military operation – Zarb-e-Azb – against the extremists in Waziristan. The name of the operation means sharp and cutting or surgical.
This is not the first such operation and perhaps will not be the last of its kind.
This operation was inevitable given the public outrage at the dastardly attacks on Jinnah International airport in Karachi, which not only killed 26 military personnel and civilians but also underscored the dangerously fragile condition of security in Pakistan.
The military hopes to seriously damage the many extremist groups that operate out of this area. The peril As Americans have discovered in Iraq and elsewhere popular insurgencies are hard to suppress. It is difficult to separate the civilian from the enemy; the innocent from the malignant and every misstep increases the intensity of the insurgency and undermines public support for use of force. Counter insurgency strategies, specially when employed at home also destroys the infrastructure of the nation, causes unemployment, slows the economy, exacerbates sectarianism, frightens away foreign investors and destroys internal and international trade.
Prolonged use of force also generates internally displaced refugees who will move away from the battle areas, towards Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in search of safety. They will provide cover for fleeing militants and will bring the war to the very cities whose protection is the impetus for the military operation.
There are two fundamental problems with this operation. One, it assumes that the problem is geographically confined to Waziristan. The militancy has now infiltrated into urban areas and according to some reports a significant section of Karachi has been Talibanized. Action in Waziristan alone will not contain or roll it back.
Secondly, Pakistan has undertaken this operation unilaterally. While Pakistani army has perhaps the best intelligence on the militants and most experience dealing with them and the power to hurt them, it will be much better if Pakistan works to developing a regional and a global coalition to fight this insurgency. Groups such as the Taliban (all varieties of them), Boko Haram, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Al Qaeda are all manifestations of the same cancer that is eating away at the moral core of Muslim societies. While the damage they cause is local they do present a global threat an must be fought in concert rather by host states alone.
A global coalition That Pakistan has America's support is obvious. The U.S. has been pushing Pakistan to launch such a measure for quite sometime now. Military and economic aid will flow and with it will come electronic intelligence and the inexorable reach of the dreaded drones. But limited international support will make it appear as if the Pakistani military is doing this for the US and will undermine the legitimacy of the operation and provide more ammunition for Taliban sympathizers to divert public anger towards the U.S.
But a global alliance that also includes EU, China and maybe even Turkey can strengthen the hand of the Pakistani government and impress upon the extremists and their supporters that they have the world to contend with and not just the weak political will of Nawaz Sharif. Many of these nations share Pakistan's interest in curbing Muslim extremists everywhere and will not hesitate to support. A little diplomacy from Islamabad and a quiet word from Washington can crystallize such a coalition to help Pakistan.
Taliban threat
The Waziristan region in Pakistan has become a watering hole for extremists who threaten many countries. Besides Pakistan, India, Iran, and Afghanistan have strong interests in eliminating threats that emanate from this area. The problem is that most countries in the region feel that Pakistan is hunting with the hound and running with the hare at the same time.
Pakistan's intelligence is suspected of nurturing many of the same groups for geopolitical reasons even as they threaten its own stability. This perception prevents Pakistan from developing closer relations with its neighbors who have the resources, the will, and the interest to help Pakistan become terror free.
A regional coalition will make the struggle against extremism more potent, more durable and less expensive, but it will take more than deft diplomacy to achieve. Pakistan must convince its neighbors that the alleged ties between the Pakistani state and the Taliban have been severed irreparably.
Perhaps the current operation will achieve that first step and help build the coalitions necessary to make the region safe.