Friday, September 12, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for joint efforts to fight extremism and internet terrorism among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). "Currently, (we) should focus on combating religion-involved extremism and internet terrorism," said Xi when delivering a speech at the 14th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. He suggested the SCO members launch consultation on an anti-extremism convention and initiate studies on a mechanism for actions against internet terrorism. "(We) should take it as our own responsibility to safeguard regional security and stability, enhance our ability to maintain stability, continue to boost cooperation on law enforcement and security, and improve the existing cooperation mechanisms," said Xi. The president also called on the SCO members -- China, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- to grant the group's Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) new function to combat drug trafficking at an early date. "(We) should make concerted efforts to crack down on the 'three evil forces' of terrorism, extremism and separatism," Xi said.
A slow-motion revolution is in progress. It has been building, steadily but surely, since the start of the year, fuelled by a desire for change and a backlash against those still ordering Scotland about like a bellhop. George Osborne's refusal to entertain a formal currency union with an independent Scotland? It produced an upsurge in the polls for Yes. Treasury warnings of economic collapse in spite of mind-boggling oil reserves offshore? More advances in the polls for Yes. David Cameron, whose job and place in history depends on a No vote, prophesying mortgage spikes, pension doom and EU gridlock? The Yes vote grew regardless. Through all those scare stories and thou-shalt-nots the people of Scotland listened, learned, reflected and came to their own decisions. They have not been hurried or pushed around or felt obliged to vote in a party-political herd. Almost one-third of those who supported Labour in the 2011 Scottish election say they will vote Yes, for all the growls of Gordon Brown, while one-fifth of those who supported the SNP will reject Alex Salmond's pleas and vote No. It is democracy in action and a stirring, inspiring sight. Now we have seen the first poll to show the Yes campaign ahead of Better Together. The pro-union campaign no longer talks dismissively of "wavy lines" in the data, as if the electorate were essentially fixed in favour of the Union. Last week, after YouGov recorded a jump in Yes support, the Unionists finally woke up to what the Yes camp had been trying in vain to tell them for months: that Scotland is on the move. As we also report today, a new Panelbase poll shows buoyant support for Yes, rising most sharply among female voters hitherto resistant to it. The fostering of a grass-roots operation and the appeal to voters' better nature rather than the stoking of their fears is paying dividends. Momentum is wholly with the Yes campaign. That can not only inspire campaigners on the ground, it can snowball into further momentum. And this is before Nigel Farage holds a Ukip rally in Glasgow next Friday and the Orange Order holds a march in Edinburgh the day after. However, if Scotland is to become independent, as this paper firmly believes it should, this is no time for mis-steps of our own. The failure of four SNP MPs to attend a key Commons vote on the bedroom tax on Friday was one mistake the Yes campaign could have done without. It was a mistake which must not be repeated. The late Roy Jenkins famously said Tony Blair approached the 1997 election "as if carrying a Ming vase across a polished floor". The hopes carried by the Yes campaign are far more precious. But it should remember Jenkins's image. Independence is tantalisingly close, but it is certainly not yet secure. Alistair Darling is right in one thing: this is a campaign that will be fought down to the wire. It may be hard to see how the Westminster establishment can stem the tide now lapping its chin, but it should not be underestimated. Now the Unionists have been shaken from their complacency, an ugly fightback is inevitable. The Labour bruisers touring Scotland this week did not earn that nickname by chance. John Prescott, Ed Balls and Gordon Brown will be doing their utmost to cow Labour voters. There will be scare stories galore. The end will be nigh, no doubt. There may, if they howl enough, be jitters in the financial markets, which they may enjoy. Liberal Democrat politicians and the odd Conservative will join them at the klaxons. And the country, on current form, will listen, reflect, and come to its own decision. It is independent-minded already. The next step is obvious.SOMETHING more than autumn is in the air.
Scotland's pro-independence leader Alex Salmond said the eyes of the world are on a momentous referendum next week, as the latest poll suggested voters will narrowly choose to remain in the United Kingdom.Many nations with separatist movements are following the campaign closely -- including Spain, where the government has ruled out a referendum for Catalan independence or devolution. Salmond said on Thursday that the September 18 poll would be "a process of national empowerment", as new figures came out showing a record 4.3 million people had registered to vote -- higher than for any previous elections in Scotland. "Scotland is on the cusp of making history. The eyes of the world are upon Scotland," Salmond, Scottish First Minister and the head of Scotland's current devolved government, said in an Edinburgh speech. "On September 18, we the people hold our destiny in our own hands." British media said new figures meant 97% of the electorate had now registered to vote, including many 16- and 17-year-olds who are allowed to take part under referendum rules. But a new poll showed voters could narrowly reject independence, putting the "No" side four points ahead of the pro-independence camp -- with 52% against independence and 48% in favour when "don't knows" were excluded. It was the first time the "No" campaign had gained ground in a YouGov poll since early August, when surveys began to show the pro-independence side receiving a surge of support. The previous YouGov poll on Saturday put the pro-independence side narrowly ahead. The vote would bring to an abrupt end a 307-year-old union between England and Scotland and create Europe's newest state since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. 'Huge pressure on Madrid' Around 100 journalists from around the world were present at Thursday's press conference, with many asking about what Scotland's relation to their country would be -- including journalists from Catalonia. On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Catalan nationalist demonstrators, some waving the blue and white Scottish flag, filled the streets of Barcelona in a mass rally to demand a vote like Scotland's. "A 'Yes' vote would put a huge pressure on Madrid. Scotland is not a remote country somewhere in the world. It's just next door," said Carles Costa from TV3 public television in Catalonia, who was at Salmond's press conference. "Even with a 'No', people in Catalonia will say, 'Why is this not possible in Spain?'" But Shuhei Nakayama, from Japanese broadcaster NHK, said most people in Japan had "a confused idea of the situation". "Most don't know Scotland is already a region with many powers. Some think it's a country already as they have a football team," he said. "It's very interesting to see a nation that might break away without any violence," he added. The campaign -- and the promise of greater devolution if the "No" camp wins the vote -- has also bolstered demands from local authorities for greater powers within England and Wales. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is on Friday expected to launch a report calling for a major programme of devolution within England after the next general election in May 2015. Meanwhile, British opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband will lead an anti-independence rally alongside former prime minister Gordon Brown in Glasgow, while anti-European firebrand Nigel Farage also plans a demonstration in the city. 'Responsible and prudent' The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned that a vote for independence would raise "complicated issues" and could upset financial markets. "While this uncertainty could lead to negative market reactions in the short term, the longer term will depend on the decisions being made during the transition," IMF spokesman Bill Murray said. The Royal Bank of Scotland has said it would relocate its registered offices in case of a "Yes" vote, saying this was the "responsible and prudent thing to do", but underlining it would not mean moving jobs south. RBS was bailed out by the British government following the 2008 financial crisis and its announcement came after London-based Lloyds Banking Group also said it had plans for possibly switching key operations from Scotland to England. Edinburgh-based RBS is 81% owned by the British state, which also retains a 25% stake in bailed-out Lloyds. Big business leaders have mostly lined up against independence, although the chief executive of Scotland's largest fund manager, Aberdeen Asset Management, has said that an independent Scotland would be "a big success". - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/scotland-ready-to-make-history-independence-leader/article1-1263141.aspx#sthash.t5eU3Qyk.dpuf
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the nine Party martyrs who laid down their lives during MRD movement in Khairpur Nathan Shah this day in 1983. These heroes of democratic movement were martyred in ruthless firing on the protesting workers from different villages in Khairpur Nathan Shah by dictator Gen Zia’s martial law forces to quell the struggle led by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Bhutto for restoration of democracy. He said these innocent Party workers carried no weapons or batons during their struggle for democracy yet they were targeted by roaring guns of the dictator Zia and embraced Shahadat for the cause of the nation and democratic order. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saluted each martyr of Khairpur Nathan Shah including Aziz Lakhair, Shahnawaz Khoso, Ghulam Nabi Khoso, Nizamuddin Naich, Habibullah Leghari, Deedar Khokhar, Allah Warrayo Langah, Abdul Ghani Abro and Zamir Jagirani. Pakistan Peoples Party is observing the 31st Martyrdom Day of MRD Martyrs in Dadu district and PPP MNA Imran Leghari has organized a programme to pay homage to them. Chairperson said PPP would never forget the martyrs, both leaders and workers, as they continue to inject strength in the continuing struggle for democracy. Instead of avenging these martyrdoms, the PPP chose the Democracy to be the Best Revenge because we are waging Jehad for the rights of downtrodden, oppressed and poverty-ridden people of Pakistan and their bright future. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also asked the Sindh government to look after the families of our martyrs as he would never tolerate any complaint of the martyrs’ families.
The highest rate of child marriage is in Bangladesh (where two out of every three girls marry before age 18), followed by India, Nepal and Afghanistan.India had the highest number of unregistered children under age five between 2000 and 2012 and the second-highest number of child marriages, according to a U.N. report which said the country still needs to improve immunisation coverage and stop gender-based sex selection. The report “Improving Children’s Lives, Transforming the Future — 25 years of child rights in South Asia” by the United Nations’ children agency, Unicef, analyses the progress made over the last quarter century on key issues that directly affect the lives of children in the region. At 71 million, India had the largest number of children under the age of five whose births were not registered between 2000-2012. The report said that birth registration levels in South Asia have increased since 2000, but progress has been slow. India, along with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives, has been recording “significant improvements” in birth registration but about 100 million children in the region are still not registered at birth. India has the greatest disparity between the poorest and richest households, with children in the poorest households being three times less likely to be registered than those in the richest. Religion also appears to play a role as Muslims have the lowest level of birth registration in India (39 per cent) followed by Hindus (40 per cent) while the Jains have the highest (87 per cent). 46% of South Asian girls marry by 18 Almost half of all girls in South Asia marry before the age of 18. One in five girls are married before the age of 15. These are the highest rates in the world. “These figures confirm that child marriage is rooted in gender norms and in expectations about the value and roles of girls,” the report added.
The members of Afghanistan' national cycling team face frequent criticism and even violence from men who consider their behavior to be un-Islamic. But that hasn't deterred them from training hard, competing abroad, and encouraging other young women to exercise their hard-won freedoms.
In eastern Khost many teachers and students have raised concerns on the lack of school buildings in the province to properly teach children in an appropriate school ambiance.More than 60 percent of the schools in Khost are taught in open fields; no site of physical buildings and proper equipment for teaching. The pupils and their teacher are outside in the various weather conditions, under the scorching sun, heavy rain and strong winds, learning their lesson of the day. Khost Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi has responded to the calls of many parents, provincial officials and students' explaining that work is underway to solve the issues quickly. "We have accelerated efforts in the education sector and have seen positive outcomes," Naeemi said. "We will further extend our rapid pace of work to solve the current and ongoing issues in the education division." Officials of the local education department have promised to look into and solve the problems. "A large number of students continue to pursue their education in open air under the unforgiving sunlight, which can be distressing, and we are struggling to overcome the issue in the next few years," Khost Deputy Head of the Education Department, Matifullah Fazli, said. Millions of U.S. dollars have been donated to Afghanistan's education section, but focus on the sector is not seen illuminated throughout the country, as schools in provinces like Khost physically do not exist creating a rough and unbearable learning environment.
The Pakistani army said Friday it had arrested the gunmen who tried to kill schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai in the country's restive northwest in 2012. The teenage activist was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen but recovered and went on to earn international plaudits for her fight for the right of all children to an education.
India appears to be waiting for Pakistan to blink on Kashmir.India’s new government has sprung two back-to-back surprises on Pakistan: the first was inviting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; the second was the about-face on foreign secretary level talks upon the resumption of dialogue. The first of these was seemingly couched in Indian regional diplomacy, but was mainly directed at Pakistan. The message was that with a new right-leaning government in New Delhi, Pakistan could expect bolder movement on the outstanding issues between the two. However, the second stemmed from the new government’s reluctance to be brought to the negotiating table under Pakistani pressure. There were an estimated 95 incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) this summer, with 25 on the international border (or “working boundary,” according to Pakistan). A strategic view of the increase in action along the LoC is that it is the Pakistani military’s attempt to get India to engage meaningfully. A political view is that it was intended to position the military favorably within Pakistan, to first gain credibility for the talks by pushing India to the table, and second to caution the Pakistani government against any “sell out.” In this event, the Pakistani high commissioner’s meeting with Kashmiri separatists, something traditionally acceded to by India, provided the pretext for the cancellation. It was India’s message to Pakistan’s “miltastablishment,” to use former Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi’s phrase, that force will not work, particularly on a new government with a “tough” self-image. India’s outstretched hand in the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Residence) forecourt appeared promising for the peace constituency in Pakistan, which comprises liberals and the business lobby. It is a longstanding Indian policy to expand the peace constituency by holding out economic benefits as an incentive for Pakistan to go beyond the Kashmir question. Cancelling talks was unhelpful in empowering the peace lobby relative to India-skeptics in Pakistan. It is apparent that India’s strategy does not rely on this constituency’s ability to marginalize hardliners. The cancellation and the manner it was done together suggest India’s intent to bring about change through other means. In a speech to troops while in Leh, Modi pointed out that the Pakistani military’s shift to a proxy war was due to India’s conventional advantages. Obviously these advantages have not been so overwhelming they could deter a proxy war. The ability to administer military punishment was found wanting when it was tested during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Even though India has had a conventional doctrine for the nuclear age, called Cold Start, since the attack on India’s Parliament in December 2001, the military’s wherewithal to execute its policy could not keep pace given the strained economic circumstances during the later part of the last decade. Deterrence deemed insufficient, India is now attempting to compel. India is expected to import $250 billion in arms over the next ten years. It is filling in the gaps in its conventional inventory, such as artillery, to remove any doubt of credibility about its conventional deterrence. The amount of foreign investment allowed in defense manufacturing has been upped to 49 percent. Since assuming office, the prime minister has visited Jammu and Kashmir twice, addressing troops on both occasions. Additionally, keeping the defense portfolio without a full-time minister has allowed Modi to keep a closer eye on it. Three warships have been commissioned in close succession, although two of them are reportedly not quite ready. The buildup on the Chinese front, reviewed most recently by the part-time defense minister in August when he visited the mountain strike corps forming there, could prove useful on the western front too. Carte blanche has been given to the Army and the Border Security Force by respective ministers to administer a “befitting reply” on the LoC and international border. Within this flurry of activity is couched a message for Pakistan. Thus far, Pakistan has been upping the ante in the hope of getting India to move on Kashmir. This time around, India hopes to increase pressure to get Pakistan to forget Kashmir. Will this strategy succeed? Pakistan, for its part, has a counter-strategy of ensuring that it is always in a position to credibly show itself in conflict with India. All it needs to do to win is to avoid losing. Further, its moves on the nuclear front are meant to convey the threat of escalation. This places India’s conventional threat in question, as it is based on keeping any conflict non-nuclear. Indeed, a paradox emerges in that the more successful India is in its armament program, the greater is the probability of Pakistan’s proxy war challenge heightening at the lower end of the conflict spectrum, and the nuclear shadow lengthening at the upper end. In Rawalpindi’s perception, with the U.S. set to exit Afghanistan and “good behavior” on Kashmir over the past decade not having “worked,” it may be back to business. Besides, it might be better for Kashmir to act as a sink for surplus Islamist energy than Pakistan’s cities and Punjab. The spike in firing incidents since talks were cancelled suggests as much. India could also undertake a proxy war itself, an accusation Pakistan has made before, most notably at the Sharm-el Sheikh joint statement in Egypt. The appointment of an intelligence czar as India’s national security advisor is an indicator. Afghanistan readily lends itself as a suitable site for such an endeavor. Any such conflict would certainly spill-over into Pakistan. In India’s calculation, placing Pakistan on its back foot could make it less adventurous in Kashmir. A strategy of overawing Pakistan is dangerous. Four potential proxy wars threaten: in Afghanistan, its spillover into Pakistan, in Kashmir, and in Islamist terror in India; this last heightened by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahari’s latest video. At the same time there would be conventional and nuclear muscle-flexing by both sides. Given such dangers, India and Pakistan would do well to restart the peace process at the earliest opportunity, during the two prime ministers’ appearances at the U.N. at the end of next month. At the least, it would reinsert a buffer between crisis and conflict. Realistically, this may not be on the cards. India, set on upping the ante, may have decided to hold course no matter what. In this game of chicken, it hopes Pakistan’s army will be the first to blink. This is a touching, if entirely unfounded, faith in Pakistan’s army.
By Anurag Tripathi On Sep 6, 2014, a 28-year-old Sikh man, identified as Harjeet Singh, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A few days earlier, on Sep 3, a member of the Sikh community was stabbed to death inside his shop in Shaheedan Bazaar of Mardan Town (Mardan District). Prior to that, Aug 6, a Sikh shopkeeper, identified as Jagmohan Singh, was killed and two of his friends, one identified as Paramjit, were injured when unidentified armed assailants opened fire at them at Khushal Bazaar in Hashtnagri area of provincial capital Peshawar. Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities has been shabby since its birth in 1947 on communal lines. It has become increasingly unsafe for minorities. In recent years, minorities who make up 3% of Pakistan’s 180 million people, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shias, and Ahmadis have become the target of ongoing violence and persecution across the country. The sporadic rise in the killings of minorities in Pakistan is a manifestation of the perpetual anarchy that has gripped the ‘land of the pure’ – Pakistan, with no hope of refuge for the targeted community. Militant outfits, like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its extremist allies, along with subtle State support, and ideological backing from religious elites, forms the militant troika that has encouraged and thereby sustained the killing of the minority community. According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report titled ‘Violence towards Religious Communities in Pakistan’, published in August 2014, over the one-year period from July 2013 to June 2014, at least 430 people were killed in a total 122 attacks against minorities in Pakistan. These include 222 Shias in 54 attacks; 128 Christians in 22 recorded incidents; 10 Ahmadis in 10 such attacks; and two Sikhs in three attacks. There are four attacks recorded on the Hindu community in this period, with no fatality reported; 68 victims belonged to other religious/sectarian groups, in 29 attacks. In the corresponding period of the preceding year, a total of 567 people were killed in a total of 150 religiously motivated attacks, including 514 Shias killed in 54 attacks; 17 Ahmadis in 40 attacks; seven Christians in 32 attacks; two Hindus in 10 attacks; and one Sikh in two attacks. 26 ‘others’ were killed in another 12 incidents. As is well evident from the above mentioned data, the targets in these cases of violence are mostly minorities both within and outside the realm of “Islam” often preached by the clerics to instigate and cause divide in the already fragmented Pakistani society. Incidents of violence against the Sikhs in Pakistan have a long history. In 2010, TTP terrorists exhibited their barbarism by beheading two Sikh men, identified as Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh in the Khyber and Orakzai Agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and sent their heads to the Bhai Joga Singh Gurudwara (Sikhs place of worship) in Peshawar. Two of their companions, identified as Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh, were held captive by the terrorists. This spine chilling incident came after repeated threats to the community to convert to Islam. In April 2009, in a painful case of history repeating itself, TTP started levying ‘Jaziya’ (tax) on minority Sikh families in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Taliban militants in their first-ever attack on the Sikh community, resorted to forcible occupation of ten of their houses in Samar Ferozkhel area of lower Orakzai Agency. The militants also took their leader Sardar Kalyan Singh as hostage and demanded PKR 60 million as ransom. The incidents triggered an exodus by the Sikh community from the area. A media report on April 15, 2009 from Hangu said Sikh families living in Orakzai Agency left the area after the TTP demanded PKR50 million as ‘Jaziya’ from them. On April 30, 2009, TTP in Orakzai Agency of FATA banished 50 Sikh families from the agency for not paying Jaziya and even auctioned their goods to recover a fraction of the PKR12 million taxes originally demanded. Meanwhile, on the recent incidents on Sikh minorities, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak while strongly condemning the gruesome target killing of a Sikh trader and rendering of his two companions injured near Hashtnagri has termed it a heinous terror attempt and conspiracy of the anti-state and anti-nation elements in the pretext of Waziristan operation. The chief minister said the Sikh community is part and parcel of our entity and their services for the nation and country are an open secret. Global Minorities Alliance Chief Executive, Manassi Bernard, lamented the Pakistan government’s inability to protect minorities who continue to face all forms of violence, intimidation and persecution under one pretext or another. He expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and demanded that the Pakistan government punish the culprit as soon as possible. He further added: “Sikh communities are the peaceful citizens of Pakistan who are working hard to feed their families through the sweat of their brow. The Pakistan government should ensure that protection be provided to its own citizens.” Despite these often repeated and brazen threats, the government, both at the centre and in the Province, has initiated no corrective measures. Conspicuously, the State’s inaction in mounting effective resistance against the militants is suggestive of collusion and collaboration, each serving the interest of the other. Pakistan has become the operational base for various sectarian militant outfits. The killing of Sikhs is a manifestation of the existence of an embedded militant troika – where three crucial players – religious heads, militant operators and the State, work in tandem in massacring the fraught community.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan today alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif owned a property in a posh area of London and had invested millions of dollars in Europe. Mr Khan claimed that Mr Sharif had made nearly $320 million worth of investments in Europe, against which there were no official record of receipts. "I ask you Nawaz Sharif, where did you get this money from," asked Mr Khan. The PTI chief further called for accountability for the Hyde Park property worth Rs. 800 million in London, owned by Mr Sharif through Flagship Investments in the name of his son Hussain Nawaz.
"Nawaz will never be held accountable for this in the National Assembly, no one will raise this question since those in the opposition are also corrupt," Mr Khan was quoted by the Pakistan Tribune as saying.
Mr Khan also pointed towards four sugar mills owned by the Sharif brothers and how their governance was used to further personal business interests.He claimed that according to a 2005 report by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, the Sharif brothers had taken money to supply sugar. "Nawaz owes TCP Rs. 510 million," he said. Mr Khan also vowed to continue demonstrations till Mr Sharif steps down, alleging he came to power last year through rigged elections.
The Paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan has started digging 480-kilometre-long trenches along the border with Afghanistan in order to curb incursions across this border into Pakistan. Soldiers have completed digging roughly 235 kilometres of the trench and the remainder is expected to be completed by October 30. An estimated Rs260 million has been spent on the work on these trenches to date. “We want to check incursions of terrorists and smugglers into Pakistan and the trenches will help control the situation along the Afghan border,” said Colonel Faheem Babar, Commandant Qila Saifullah Scouts. The trenches are eight feet in depth and 10 feet wide. A 111-kilometre-long trench near the Afghan border had been cleaned and repaired by soldiers recently. Hundreds of soldiers from Zhob militia, Qila Saifullah Scouts, Naushki militia, Taftan Rifles, Makran Scouts and Dalbandin Rifles are taking part in digging the trenches. At least 70 excavators, dumpers and other heavy machineries are engaged in digging. According to the FC, there is no ‘frequent route’ along the 1,270-kilometre-long Pak-Afghan border which also includes the rough terrain of mountains. Terrorists and smugglers often take advantage of these infrequent routes to enter Pakistan illegally. “They easily smuggle goods into Pakistan without paying taxes and custom duties,” an FC official said. The smuggled items include drugs, arms and ammunitions. The FC official said that in recent weeks around 60 to 70 terrorists intruded into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan near the Murgha Faqirzai area of Balochistan in order to carry out attacks but FC soldiers foiled their attempts. “There was a heavy exchange of fire which also killed an FC soldier while two terrorists were also killed,” the FC spokesperson said.
Police have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning Quran and a chart of Quranic verses.
According to details, Police arrested school custodians Javed Masih, a Christian, and Anand Lal, a Hindu, hours after Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah, senior headmaster of the Government Excellence High School in Satellite Town, Bahawalpur District, filed a First Information Report (FIR) about charred Quranic verses at the institution. The FIR did not mention Masih and Lal, but police picked them up on the basis of a later supplementary statement by Shah.Javed Masih’s wife said that soon after the arrests, a mob – led by Allama Shafqat al-Rehman and Maulana Muhammad Ishaq Saqi gathered near their house. The leaders made inflammatory speeches, calling on the mob to burn down the house and kill the “blasphemer’s children.” However, Javed’s family and attorney, said Islamist groups have falsely accused the two men in response to an increasing number of Hindus converting to Christianity in southern Punjab Province. - See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/a-christian-man-accused-of-blasphemy-in-bahawalpur/#sthash.VhE2aRs7.dpuf
Ahmadiyya TimesThe Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, ended-up in Rabwah today because his helicopter could only land at the Rasheed Rice Mills grounds owned by an Ahmadi, right next to the Ahmadiyya Flood Relief Camp. The Chief Minister was in the area to attend a political gathering for flood victims at a village near Dawer, about 10 Kilometer from Rabwah, it was reported.
Pakistan's Shia Genocide: Eleven Shia doctors target killed by Deobandi militants during Jan-Sep 2014
The systematic target killing of Shia doctors in Pakistan is a part of systematic massacres of Sunni Sufis, Barelvis and Shia Muslims in Pakistan at the hands of the Wahhabi influenced Deobandi militants.Two banned Deobandi terror outfits, namely Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ aka LeJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are known for hate speech and violence against Sunni Sufis, Barelvis and Shia Muslims. According to an esimate, more than 10,000 Sunni Sufis, 22,000 Shias and hundreds of Ahmadis and Christians have died at the hands of Deobandi ASWJ-TTP militants. Ruling PMLN party of PM Nawaz Sharif is known for political and ideological sympatheis with Deobandis while provincinal government of PPP in Sindh has failed to take action against ASWJ Farooqi Group known for hate speech and violence against Shias, Sunni Sufis and other non-Deobandi communities. On 30 May 2014, Dr Hassan Ali was ambushed near Fatima Bai Hospital, Hussainabad area of District Central Karachi and sprayed with bullets. He died on the spot. Ali Abbas Taj, a well-known Human Rights Campaigner based in Los Angeles, condemned the systematic target killing of Shia doctors who serve fellow human beings without discrimination. Taj also urged media and rights activists to clearly mention that Shia and Sunni Sufi identity of vcitims and Deobandi identity of perpetartors of violence. On the evening of 13th May, unknown masked men gunned down Dr Faisal Manzoor, while he was standing outside his hospital on Grant Trunk (GT) Road, Hassanabdal. The deceased was a famous social and political personality of the area. He also served as the general secretary of Abdalians Old Boys Association for some time. Dr Babar Ellahi, a cousin of the Dr Faisal Manzoor, was also shot and killed on March 18 when he was returning from the same hospital. Hassanabdal is small town, 40 km northwest of Rawalpindi and has a population of about over 50,000 yet the police failed to apprehend the culprits. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan took notice of the target killing of two health practitioners and formed a special probe team to investigate the case and arrest the target killers but any result is yet to been seen. Dr Syed Haider Raza, 50, Dr Qasim Abbas, a 45 years old homeopath, were targeted and killed in Karachi. On April 9th, after performing his duty in the outpatient department, Dr Raza left the Darul Sehat Hospital in his car for his residence in Gulshan-i-Iqbal. Three suspects riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets intercepted him, said Karachi East SSP Syed Pir Mohammed Shah. They fired at him at point-blank range in the temple and fled, the police added. The victim died within seconds on the spot. The deceased, father of two, was a surgeon and head of the emergency section of the hospital. While Dr Qasim (8 April) along with his driver, Kaleemuddin, came out of the clinic to go somewhere, “two unidentified men on a motorcycle intercepted their car and opened fire on Abbas and his driver, Kaleemuddin, sustained several bullet wounds. They were shifted to a nearby hospital where Abbas succumbed to wounds.Police Officer Muhammad Irfan revealed that several empties of 9mm of pistols were found from the site. Dr Ghulam Mustafa, an owner of the Shakir Medical Centre in Khanpur (Rahimyar Khan, Punjab), was on his way home when unidentified men on a motorcycle shot at him and fled on January 28. His son Farhan Mustafa told media that his father was receiving threats calls from unidentified persons and he had no enmity in the area. The incident was followed by several protest rallies organized by members of the Shia Muslims community. The protesters gathered in front of Mustafa’s house and shouted slogans against the police. Shia Ulema Council tehsil president Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah said the assault was a target killing and part of the Shia genocide in the country. 16 Jan: Dr Asif Hussain arrived in a car at his clinic in Sector 15-A-1 of Buffer Zone, Karachi, and was walking towards his clinic after parking the car when two armed pillion-riders, who were already waiting for him there, fired at him and fled. The wounded doctor was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. Police said, “The murder appeared to be an outcome of sectarianism.” Demonstrating their presence in South Punjab, the unidentified target killers, believed to be Deobandi militants, shot twice 59-year-old Dr Azhar Hussain as he arrived at his residence on January 05. When he fell off his colleague’s motorbike, the target killers shot him eight times at point blank range before escaping. Dr Hussain served as executive district health officer Rajanpur and in 10 other executive medical positions in different districts of Punjab. Residents of the district Rajanpur and blocked the Indus National Highway in protest, refusing to bury the body. Around 15,000 people participated in the demonstration chanting slogans against the government for allegedly supporting militant outfits. Systematic massacres of Shia Muslims and Sunni Sufis by Deobandi militants Shia Muslims are considered infidels or kafir based on their sect by the extremist Deobandi militants groups such as Tahreek-e-Taliban (TTP), Sipah –e-Sahaba (SSP)/ Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), Jundullah, Jaish-e-Muhammad and other splinter groups belonging to Salafi/Wahhabi and Deobandi Islam. These very Deobandi terror outfits have also attacked Sunni Sufi shrines in Lahore (Data Darbar), Karachi (Abdullah Shah Ghazi), Balochistan (Jhal Magsi and Zikris), Islamabad (Bari Imam) and Peshawar (Rehman Baba) murdering more than 10,000 Sunni Sufis. In the most recent incident, at least 10 Zikri Sufi Muslims were killed by Deobandi militants in Awaran, Balochistan on 28 August 2014. These formally banned but practically un-banned organizations have given public pledge to rid the Shia Muslims and Sunni Sufi Muslims off the country. Hence their violent campaign has been persistent in the country targeting Shia and Sunni Sufi communities. The ASWJ, the urban arm and face of TTP, is known to be a political ally of ruling PMLN party of PM Nawaz Sharif government. The targeted elimination of prominent and professional members of the Shia Muslim community is now a norm in Pakistan. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, police officers and other professionals have been targeted amid at installing fear in the remaining community members, forcing them to cut-short their activities, change their faith or leave their country. In a recently released report, Human Right Watch said, “since 2008, Pakistan’s Shia Muslim community has been the target of an unprecedented escalation in violence as militants have killed thousands of Shia Muslims across the country. ” The HRW clearly identified Deobandi outfits LeJ, ASWJ and TTP as perpetrators of violence against Shias. It may be noted that Sunni Muslims in general have rejected Deobandi outfits and their terrorism against Sunni Sufis and Shias. “The Pakistani government’s response to this violence suggests incompetence, indifference, or possible complicity by security forces and other state personnel with the extremists. Authorities have failed to apprehend or prosecute members of militant groups. While Pakistan authorities claim to have arrested dozens of suspects linked to attacks against Shia since 2008, only a handful have been actually charged with any crimes,” said Phelim Kine, Deputy Asia Director, Human Rights Watch. “Until the Pakistan government takes all necessary measures to stop that campaign of violence, the slaughter of Shia Muslims community will continue with a vengeance,” He said further. - See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/321803#sthash.pR3awUKo.dpuf
The Express TribuneAgainst the backdrop of escalating violence against religious minority communities, at least five Sikh families have left Pakistan for India, citing financial woes, a family elder revealed on Thursday. Baba Amarjit Singh, a community senior in Peshawar, said that migrating families traded in commodities including textiles with India and had moved to seek better business opportunities. “I don’t like going to India as our Guru was born and buried in Pakistan. The Indian government is always suspicious of our presence,” he said, expressing displeasure over their decision. Members of the community have to meet stringent visa requirements for a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, in Amritsar, India. Most pilgrims are allowed to visit India after they submit a written undertaking that they would not seek asylum and would return to Pakistan within 30 days. “We have to make a group of at least 200 people to visit the Golden Temple and our visas are limited to just one week,” Amarjit said. Narrating the ordeal, he said, there is no respect for Sikhs travelling from Pakistan and it’s not easy for us to visit Amritsar, he added. Sikhs form a tiny community in the country, with a sizeable number of them concentrated in Punjab and Peshawar. Despite efforts by Islamabad, the current wave of migration seems to be continuing as most minority communities leave the country bearing tales of discrimination, mistreatment and widespread uncertainty. Citing financial difficulties, Baba Gurpal Singh, another elder in the area, said that several Sikh families have migrated to Hassanabdal and Nankana Sahib. “There are a variety of reasons for leaving Pakistan but the main problem is financial uncertainty and the deteriorating law and order situation,” he said. Despite Lahore being a larger city, he said that lack of security and the atmosphere of fear stalks minority communities, even in urban areas. “Some people have gone back to Tirah in search of better business prospects and the number of Sikh families which was 700 has fallen to 450,” he explained. “We are a peaceful community but the unrest in Peshawar is forcing us to leave, despite the attitude of general public towards Sikhs in the area being very supportive,” he added.
On the first anniversary of the Karachi operation, launched amidst much hope and expectation, the police released a report claiming that target killings in the city had gone down by as much as 59 percent. The timing was unfortunate to say the least, given that Karachi is in the midst of another bout of target killings. Just a couple of days before the report was released, Allama Ali Akbar, the son of the Jafaria Alliance Pakistan chief Allama Abbas Kumaili, was killed. Around the same time, a policeman was shot dead in Kharadar and the son-in-law of the Jaamia Binoria SITE superintendent was also killed. The progress report issued by the police was obviously in the works before this recent wave of violence but its findings are massively undermined by the resurgence in target killings. In a new spell of violence that began around the end of August, some 50 people have already been killed. They add to the 850 or so killed in the city earlier during the year, according to records kept by monitoring bodies. Over 3000 died in terrorist or targeted attacks in Karachi in 2013, making it one of the most deadly cities in the world. It is obvious the much touted security operation in Karachi has not really worked. It was started with a lot of fanfare but in recent months information about it has dried up. We no longer know how many people are being arrested or if the Rangers are the forefront of the operation. These and many other target killings are at times believed to be the work of a strengthened TTP presence in Karachi. The fact is that extremist groups, as well as criminal political gangs have long made Karachi their base. They could be linked to each other, or perhaps they work as different entities. The violence in Karachi is usually tackled as a law-enforcement problem and while it is true that better police work could reduce the killings the solution has to be political. Everyone from target killers to extortionists can operate at will because they have political patronage and protecting. Tragically, political violence often takes on an ethnic and sectarian dimension because of how support for political parties is distributed in Karachi. Vague attempts at deweaponisation have led nowhere with the problem linked in to political affiliations and to backing by political groups. To combat it, this patronage has to be put an end to and the major sectarian outfits operating in the city demolished. This can happen only as part of a wider drive against militancy, terrorism and violence. The city and its people have suffered too long. They need to be relieved of their pain as rapidly as possible through effective political and security actions.
This is taking longer than what was expected, perhaps by all players. The PTI and the PAT thought that the government would be gone by now. The government believed that the two parties would be unable to sustain their sit-ins for more than a week. It’s almost a month now since the sit-ins in Islamabad began and the deadlock is very much intact. The PTI-PAT duo, having allied themselves for all intents and purposes, find themselves running out of cards to play. Their populist rhetoric of change and revolution has failed to resonate with the masses, leaving them less power than required to send Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif home. For now, they can only boast about holding the ground, having failed to emerge victorious by any margin. The military, although sympathetic as evident from statements issued by the ISPR and PTI President Javed Hashmi’s startling revelations, has for now decided against intervening directly in support of the protestors. Behind the scenes, however, it is business as usual. With the amout of time rhat has passed with either party stagnating in its endavours, the nation is bored and analysts are at a loss. But what is even more clear is that these polititians are at a loss and have all got their backs up against the wall. It may not be pride and ego pushing the story, but sheer inefficiency to negotiate and talk themslelves out of a tight spot. Whether it be Imran’s team, team N or Qadri’s one man army. The government, having survived the initial onslaught owing to critical support from almost all parties in the Parliament, is now navigating ways to move forward. The sit-ins have exposed its vulnerability and lack of control on affairs, and as long as they continue, it will have no choice but to sleep with one eye open. Being distracted from issues concerning governance and economy is not going to help in any way either. Negotiations with the PTI and the PAT are moving slowly, with little hope for an early and decisive breakthrough. Imran and Qadri continue to make fiery speeches, promising their supporters of no return until Nawaz’s resignation, casting serious doubts on the future of talks. Whether they are keeping up the ante to maintain a strong position on the negotiating table or they are simply insincere about the whole exercise, even more time shall reveal.