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Showing posts from November, 2008

Mumbai Terror: Pointing fingers

analysis: Pointing fingers — Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
Daily Times, november 30, 2008

The blame game between India and Pakistan serves the political agendas of both hard-line Hindus and hard-line Muslims, who have always opposed normalisation of India-Pakistan relations

The Mumbai terrorist attacks, the worst suffered by India, have drawn attention to, once again, the growing menace of terrorism against state and society in South Asia. The magnitude of this attack was far greater than the suicide attack on the Marriott in Islamabad on September 20. These attacks have shaken India just like the Marriott blast jolted Pakistan, and have spread insecurity throughout India. They have also embarrassed the Indian government for the security lapses that made it possible for a group of terrorists to launch such a coordinated attack.

The Mumbai attacks do not fit into the pattern of terrorism witnessed since 9/11. Normally, militant Islamist groups planted or lobbed bombs, sent suicide bombers, or lau…

India-Pakistan Cooperation in Mumbai Investigations?

Pakistan U-turns on sending spy chief to India
By MUNIR AHMAD – AFP, November 29, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan demanded evidence Saturday for Indian charges it was involved in the Mumbai attacks and reversed its decision to send its spy chief to aid the probe, muddying efforts to avert a crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Deep mistrust between the South Asian rivals, who have already fought three wars, endangers efforts by the U.S. and its Western allies to battle al-Qaida and Taliban, thought to be hiding out along Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan.

Rising tensions on Saturday prompted Pakistani security officials to warn that the government would pull its troops from the antiterror fight along the Afghan border in order to respond to any Indian mobilization.

But Washington, which is fighting an increasingly deadly insurgency in Afghanistan, issued a reminder of Pakistan's failure to eliminate militant strongholds in its lawless northwest with a missi…

Impact of Mumbai attacks on India-Pakistan Relations

Mumbai attacks inflame India-Pakistan tensions
Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: November 28, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — India on Friday charged that militants with links to Pakistan were involved in the terrorist attack on major tourist sites in Mumbai, in which more than 160 civilians died. Pakistan denied the allegations but agreed to send an intelligence official to discuss them.

The rapidly rising tensions could scuttle a tentative peace process between the two nuclear-armed countries and even lead to a military confrontation, and some experts said they thought this might've been the aim of the terror operation.

"Preliminary reports point towards Karachi," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told his Pakistani counterpart, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Gilani's office said in a statement.

"Preliminary evidence indicates elements with links to Pakistan are involved," Indian foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee said. He added, however: "Proof cannot be…

Behind Mumbai by Robert D. Kaplan

Behind Mumbai by Robert D. Kaplan
Atlantic Monthly, November 2008

Robert D. Kaplan offers insight into the Hindu-Muslim tensions festering within India

Heavily armed, hooded gunmen have killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 300 in Mumbai in coordinated attacks against two five-star hotels, the city’s largest train station, a movie theater, a hospital, and a Jewish center. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a televised address that the attackers had “external linkages,” an indication that Pakistan and perhaps al-Qaeda, too, would be blamed for the attack. It is clearly possible that the terror rampage had its origins outside India, aimed as they were at international rather than Hindu targets. But in a least one sense it doesn’t matter. For the attacks will aggravate a growing fault line between Hindus and Muslims within India itself.

India is home to 154 million Muslims, the third largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan. Tolerable inter…

Mumbai Terror Attacks - Who is behind it?

Mumbai terror attacks: Who could be behind them?
Some of the groups possibly behind the strikes
Maseeh Rahman in Delhi guardian.co.uk, Thursday November 27 2008

Deccan Mujahideen
Some six hours after the attack on Mumbai began on Wednesday night, Indian media organisations received an e-mail from an unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the deadly, well-planned operation. "We want to warn the Indian government that they must stop the injustice against the Muslim community," the email warned.

Security experts however remained sceptical about the existence of the Deccan Mujahideen. Such emails have been issued in the past by other jihadi outfits that have attacked Indian cities. What was unusual this time was the fact that the message was written in Hindi, and not, as on all previous occasions, in English.

For complete article, click here

Also See:
Experts, western media points finger towards Indian Mujahideen - Online
Behind the Mumbai Massac…

Thank God for Justice:Renewing the Spirit in Uncertain Times - By Dr. Robert Crane

Thank God for Justice:Renewing the Spirit in Uncertain Times
by Dr. Robert Dickson Crane

A Thanksgiving Day Talk at Temple Solel
sponsored by The Bowie Clergy Association's
Annual Interfaith Worship Thanksgiving Service 2008
Bowie, Maryland - November 26, 2008


Bi ismi Allahi al rahman al rahim.
In the name of God, Who is both the essence of mercy and the most merciful

Every Muslim, at the beginning of whatever one does or intends to do, asks for the blessing of God by invoking His name in this way.

One might call this the Islamic invocation of the trinity. God, the Father is the essence of power, God the Son is the essence of mercy, and God the Holy Spirit is the essence of wisdom. Like Meister Eckhart, who succeeded St. Thomas Aquinas in the chair of theology at the University of Paris, we understand this as honoring the attributes of God Who is beyond number, beyond existence, and even Beyond Being.

My Thanksgiving Day talk today is entitled ‘‘Thank God for Justice’’ because…

Scores killed in Mumbai rampage: Highly Condemnable

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Picture source: Mumbai’s Taj Hotel, the scene of one in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. (Photo: Pal Pillai/AFP/Getty Images)

Scores killed in Mumbai rampage
CNN, November 26, 2008

(CNN) -- In a brazen series of coordinated attacks, gunmen struck 10 sites Wednesday night across India's financial hub, killing scores of people and taking hostages in two luxury hotels frequented by Westerners, officials said.

Mumbai police spokesman Satish Katsa put the death toll at 87 and another 185 wounded, with nine of the attackers killed.

More than six hours after the attacks, fighting was still reported in the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Hotel Oberoi and Colaba Market, site of a number of restaurants, he said.

Vilasrao Deshmukh, chief minister of Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, told reporters that a total of 10 locations were attacked, including a railroad station. Watch a witness describe the chaos »

A Mumbai police spokesman, Satish Katsa, said gunmen took over the Taj Mahal Hotel …

Role for Pashtun intelligentsia

Role for Pashtun intelligentsia
By Khadim Hussain, Dawn, November 26, 2008

DIVERSE and usually contradictory approaches have been adopted by different actors, both national and international, in their response to the radicalisation, isolation and Talibanisation that is taking place in the Pashtun belt.

There are some who believe that Pashtun culture is inherently militant, violent and aggressive and that Talibanisation and radicalisation in the region is the expression of Pashtun nationalist sentiment.

This approach assumes that all Pashtuns have a Taliban mindset ideologically and that the Taliban are a violent bunch of Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists who need to be carpet-bombed without any consideration for the lives of the millions affected by this kind of attack.

There are others, such as individuals and political parties like Qazi Hussain Ahmad of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the JUI, Imran Khan of the Tehrik-i-Insaaf and Mian Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N, who are of the…

The Water Crisis in Pakistan

analysis: The Hydra has a fourth head — William B Milam
Daily Times, November 26, 2008

Excerpts:
Last week, at the Wilson Centre, the Hydra of Pakistan’s crises reared a fourth ugly head, one that, I think, not enough of us are thinking about. It is Pakistan’s water crisis, the forgotten crisis that, in the long run, could prove as fatal to the state as the three we think about all the time. This was laid out in 8 excellent presentations during a one-day conference that kept the audience there and listening intently until the end.

The organisers asked, for example, if we knew that Pakistan spends, on average, 47 times more on its military budgets than on water and sanitation; that more residents of Karachi die each month from contaminated water than all the soldiers killed in wars with India since 1947; that water availability declined from 5000 cubic meters per capita in 1951 to 1200 now (and 1000 is the threshold below which no country can sink without severe consequences)? The water cr…

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's Speech at Harvard Law School - November 19th, 2008

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Speech Transcript: November 19, 2008: Cambridge, MA

Madam President,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen:

It is a singular honour to be awarded the Harvard Law School Association's Medal of Freedom on behalf of 170 million Pakistanis who continue to stand for rule of law, independence of the judiciary, equality, freedom and justice for all.

This the 19 th day of November , and I stand 10,816 km from my hometown. I stand in one of this planet's largest reservoirs of law: America's oldest law school. And I stand here as a humble representative of all those Pakistanis who continue to defy autocracy, repression and oppression in all their forms.

I stand here for all those Pakistanis who have risen against despotism, dictatorship, brutality, tyranny and injustice. I also stand here for all those Pakistanis who stand for the principle that no one is above the law and all those Pakistanis who agree with Thomas Paine that "in absolute governments the king is law, so in fre…

Pakistan's Ex-Army Officers' Group Recommends Pakistan to Cut off NATO Supply Lines: How popular is this line of thinking?

Ex-Army Officers for cutting supply line to allied forces, expulsion of US Ambassador
Online News Agency, November 25, 2008

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society has demanded of the government to cut supply line of NATO and US forces based in Afghanistan and to raise the issue of violation of Pakistani territory by US drones on the platform of the United Nations.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Monday after a meeting of Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, former DG ISI General (retd) Asad Durrani and Admiral (retd) Fasih Bukhari have underlined that Pakistan is providing 90 percent logistic support to NATO Forces and it can be stopped.

The meeting of Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society was attended by former DG ISI General (retd) Hameed Gul, General (retd) Saleem Haider, former Governor Gul Aurangziab, Brig (retd) Khalid Usman, Brig (retd) Khadim Hussain, Brig (retd) Slam Akhtar, Major (retd) Islam-ul-Haq, Captain (retd) Dr. Babar Zaheer-ud-Deen.

Former DG ISI General (retd) Asa…

Pakistan's Fear of the U.S

Ringed by Foes, Pakistanis Fear the U.S., Too
By JANE PERLEZ, New York Times, November 22, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A redrawn map of South Asia has been making the rounds among Pakistani elites. It shows their country truncated, reduced to an elongated sliver of land with the big bulk of India to the east, and an enlarged Afghanistan to the west.

That the map was first circulated as a theoretical exercise in some American neoconservative circles matters little here. It has fueled a belief among Pakistanis, including members of the armed forces, that what the United States really wants is the breakup of Pakistan, the only Muslim country with nuclear arms.

“One of the biggest fears of the Pakistani military planners is the collaboration between India and Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan,” said a senior Pakistani government official involved in strategic planning, who insisted on anonymity as per diplomatic custom. “Some people feel the United States is colluding in this.”

For complete artic…

A Night of Bravery and Defiance

COMMENT: The day the music died — Ayeda Naqvi
Daily Times, November 25, 2008

On Thursday night I sat at the World Performing Arts Festival along with thousands of others, mesmerised. Abida Parveen had just finished singing. It was past 1 am. And yet we continued to sit in the biting cold, smiling, warmed by the afterglow of her rousing performance.

This was the Pakistan I so loved — vibrant, diverse and defiantly alive. This was the Pakistan that made me proud, the one that I was always trying to share with my non-Pakistani friends.

Like all other singers that night, Abida Parveen had started her performance by thanking the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop for its tireless efforts to preserve our culture. And then she continued to make a point our government would rather ignore. “A nation which abandons its music and its arts has no soul,” she said. “If you want to kill a country, then kill its culture.”

Just to make sure people understood, she followed up with a thundering version of “Aray log…

Kabul 30 Years Ago, and Kabul Today. Have We Learned Nothing?: Robert Fisk

Kabul 30 Years Ago, and Kabul Today. Have We Learned Nothing?
'Terrorists' were in Soviet sights; now they are in the Americans'.
by Robert Fisk
November 23, 2008 by The Independent/UK

I sit on the rooftop of the old Central Hotel - pharaonic-decorated elevator, unspeakable apple juice, sublime green tea, and armed Tajik guards at the front door - and look out across the smoky red of the Kabul evening. The Bala Hissar fort glows in the dusk, massive portals, the great keep to which the British army should have moved its men in 1841. Instead, they felt the king should live there and humbly built a cantonment on the undefended plain, thus leading to a "signal catastrophe".

Like automated birds, the kites swoop over the rooftops. Yes, the kite-runners of Kabul, minus Hollywood. At night, the thump of American Sikorsky helicopters and the whisper of high-altitude F-18s invade my room. The United States of America is settling George Bush's scores with the "terror…

For Obama to Consider: Joint Experts' Statement on Iran

Among the many challenges that will greet President-elect Obama when he takes office, there are few, if any, more urgent and complex than the question of Iran. There are also few issues more clouded by myths and misconceptions. In this Joint Experts' Statement on Iran, a group of top scholars, experts and diplomats - with years of experience studying and dealing with Iran - have come together to clear away some of the myths that have driven the failed policies of the past and to outline a factually-grounded, five-step strategy for dealing successfully with Iran in the future.

Joint Experts' Statement on Iran
American Foreign Policy Project
by Ali Banuazizi, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Juan R.I. Cole, Ambassador James F. Dobbins, Rola el-Husseini, Farideh Farhi, Geoffrey E. Forden, Hadi Ghaemi, Philip Giraldi, Farhad Kazemi, Stephen Kinzer, Ambassador William G. Miller, Emile A. Nakhleh, Augustus Richard Norton, Richard Parker, Trita Parsi, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Barnett R. Rubin…

The Pakistan test?

The Pakistan test
By Nicholas D. Kristof, International Herald Tribune, Sunday, November 23, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Barack Obama's most difficult international test in the next year will very likely be here in Pakistan. A country with 170 million people and up to 60 nuclear weapons may be collapsing.

Reporting in Pakistan is scarier than it has ever been. The major city of Peshawar is now controlled in part by the Taliban, and this month alone in the area an American aid worker was shot dead, an Iranian diplomat kidnapped, a Japanese journalist shot and American humvees stolen from a NATO convoy to Afghanistan.

I've been coming to Pakistan for 26 years, ever since I hid on the tops of buses to sneak into tribal areas as a backpacking university student, and I've never found Pakistanis so gloomy. Some worry that militants, nurtured by illiteracy and a failed education system, will overrun the country or that the nation will break apart. I'm not quite that pessimistic, …

Defiant artists in Lahore say blasts can’t scare them

Defiant artists say blasts can’t scare them
The News, November 24, 2008
By our correspondent

LAHORE: “Come what may, we will continue this journey of love and peace and the unprecedented show of solidarity among the peace-loving artists of Pakistan and the rest of the world so that peace and love could be promoted among the people of the world.”

This was the statement of the artists, the organisers and the people at the World Performing Arts Festival at the Alhamra Cultural Complex here on Sunday evening. This message was conveyed at a special candlelight vigil held to express the sentiments of the artists and the participants of the festival in a collective response to the perpetrators of Saturday night’s bomb blasts.

In the message, the artists said: “We have been here from all over the world to receive the love and warmth of the people of Lahore for the last 10 days. It has been wonderful. There is no doubt about the fact that art connects people in a way that nothing else does.

“A fes…

No first Use Nuclear Weapons Policy in South Asia

Zardari suggests accord to avoid nuclear conflict in S. Asia
By Jawed Naqvi, Dawn, November 23, 2008

NEW DELHI, Nov 22: President Asif Ali Zardari dispatched Indian strategists scurrying to the boardrooms as he announced a new no first use nuclear weapons policy on Saturday, overturning years of Pakistan’s deterrence doctrine.

Mr Zardari, who addressed a videoconference with invited guests hosted annually by The Hindustan Times, made interesting conciliatory gestures towards India and won applause in Srinagar from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), which thought his remarks on the way ahead for Kashmir were pregnant with possibilities.

Asked why Pakistan would not accept any doctrine against the first use of nuclear weapons, Mr Zardari replied: “We will most certainly not use it first. I don’t agree...to nuclear weapons. I hope we never get to that position.”

There were tense moments at the start of his address when the camera ambled on him without a sound link.

Mr Zardari quoted f…

UK terror suspect was linked to Masood Azhar of Jaish

UK terror suspect was linked to Masood Azhar
The News, November 23, 2008
By Amir Mir

LAHORE: A high-level probe ordered by the Pakistani authorities into the 2007 dramatic escape of the British terror plot suspect Rashid Rauf from police custody had concluded that he had fled with the collusion of the police and some Jaish-e-Mohammad-linked militants while he was being transported to the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi after a court appearance.

Rashid Rauf, who is reported to have been killed in the North Waziristan area on Friday in a US missile strike along with four other al-Qaeda-linked militants, was arrested on August 9, 2007 from a Jaish-e-Mohammad-run seminary, the Madrassa Madina, situated in the Model Town area of Bahawalpur. He was arrested a couple of days before the British crackdown and arrests of the main plotters in London. Rashid Rauf became the focus of world attention after being named by the British intelligence as the main plotter of a terrorist plan to blow up the US-bound …