Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pakistan: State against minorities

BY: Chaudhry Faisal Hussain
THE concept of a Muslim state vis-à-vis its minorities, as envisaged by those that oversaw the creation of Pakistan and the members of the first Constituent Assembly, is hardly understood today. In his Aug 11, 1947 speech, Mohammad Ali Jinnah delivered a message of freedom to not just Muslims but also the minorities living in the country.
Assuring them of equal status, he said famously: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.… We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.” Following this vision, the first Constituent Assembly adopted the Objectives Resolution which said that “adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures.”
It added that there would be “guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality”. There were meant to be “adequate provisions … to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes”. Was it sufficient to merely pass a resolution and include the rights of minorities in the constitution while doing little to actually put such ideals into practice? What steps did the state take to make the nation aware of the rights of those who are in fewer numbers? The hard fact is that constitutions or laws cannot change societies or deliver on intentions unless they have social acceptance and the full backing of the state. This is what has led Pakistan to the current pass in terms of its minorities. The bitter reality is that the state machinery has, since its creation, miserably failed to protect minorities’ rights. While on the one hand governments have been enacting rosy-looking legislation, on the other they have failed in practice to create a consensus policy agenda on minorities’ status within Pakistan that would create a more conducive national mindset. In fact, they have remained involved in painting and treating minorities as unequal. Article 5 of the constitution states that loyalty and adherence to the constitution is the basic responsibility of every Pakistani citizen. Not only does the constitution extend equality to citizens regardless of caste or creed, under Article 36 it also imposes upon citizens and the government the responsibility of safeguarding the legitimate interests of minorities. This includes due representation in the federal and provincial services as well as social and economic justice and equality for minorities in the eyes of the law. Practically, however, minorities are disempowered. Contrary to the Quaid-i-Azam’s vision and constitutional bindings, the state has been unable to ensure minorities’ vibrant participation in state affairs. How many non-Muslims have been promoted to higher bureaucratic posts? How many non-Muslim police chiefs or chief secretaries and secretaries have there been during the past 65 years? How many members of minority communities have been inducted into the Pakistan Army and promoted to top ranks? What additional qualities do our Muslim politicians possess so that the prime minister and president of Pakistan can be chosen from amongst them, and amongst them alone? At the moment, there is not one judge from the minorities amongst the superior judiciary in any of the four provinces, the Islamabad High Court or the Supreme Court. Does Article 36 of the constitution not apply to the courts? Pakistan needs reminding that its proud judicial history includes people such as Justice A.R. Cornelius and Justice Dorab Patel. The buck doesn’t stop with the state. A lack of tolerance of other sects and belief systems has seeped into not just the minds of state functionaries, but also of private citizens. The extent to which most of the population is discriminatory towards minorities is nothing short of amazing. The electronic, print and social media, too, particularly in Urdu and the regional languages that most of the citizenry taps into, have by and large served to entrench intolerance and foment religious hatred. Cases involving minorities or religious matters, especially allegations of blasphemy, are often misreported or reported with sensationalist overtones. An issue as serious as sectarian killings is treated as newsflashes to be followed by spice-laden gossip masquerading as informed analysis. The sum effect of such influences was encapsulated in the murder in broad daylight of a governor in office by a man on his own security detail. Where does the answer lie? A reasonable place to start is the education sector: everyone should have access and the curriculum should be cleansed of anything that gives rise to prejudice against religious or other minorities. Religious and sectarian tolerance needs to be taught as a school subject and in military and judicial academies. Concurrently, Pakistan needs strict state action whenever cases of forced conversions come up and in incidents of religious and sectarian hatred. The state must adopt basic measures and teach people how to live in harmony in the true sense with people belonging to other castes and creeds.

'Afghan Taliban comeback will be bad for Pakistan'

South Asian News Agency (SANA)
United Kingdom High Commissioner in Pakistan Adam Thompson has said that the return of Taliban in Afghanistan will be a bad news for Pakistan. He said that the point of view of UK on drone strikes clear, adding that this is matter between Pakistan and US and UK want to see good relations between Pakistan and US. In an interview with a private TV channel, Thompson said Afghan people had experienced Taliban atrocities in the past and if Taliban make a comeback there, it would be bad for them and for Pakistan as well. “Pakistan is a key partner in Afghanistan peace and we would like to contribute in a political settlement of Afghan issue in a positive way,” he said. To a question he said United States had its own stakes in the region and its own policies and priorities. Though we are allies but we have our own priorities, he added. Emphasizing the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan he said Pakistan can play a key role in it. “We cannot claim to understand Afghans as closely as Pakistanis can,” he said, adding UK would love to contribute in the process of Afghan peace positively. He said UK forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014. Dispelling the impression of UK involvement in Balochistan he said it was a fantasy. When asked some Baloch separatist leaders were living in UK and operating from there, he said all kinds of foreigners live in Britain and British government has nothing to do with their political affiliations. He categorically said that Britain would never like to harm Pakistan in any way. “Impression that UK is associated with Balochistan separatists is only a fantasy,” he said. Thompson said United Kingdom was helping Pakistan in various sectors. He strongly rejected the impression the UK was in anyway linked with Balochistan unrest. He said he always tried to convince the British community that Pakistan was not as scary a place as portrayed in the international media. Thomson said United Kingdom was helping Pakistan in education sector more than any other country, both on primary and higher education level. “We prefer Pakistan in education to any other state,” he said, adding there is research collaboration between UK and Pakistan universities.

Islamic conspiracy theory revealed in Rimsha Masih blasphemy case
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have paid homage to Hafiz Mohammad Zubair on takeing a very daring step to come forward to reveal truth in Rimsha Masih blasphemy case to upheld true Hafiz Mohammad Zubair to told media after recording his statement before area magistrate “The Imam of a Mosque in Mehrabad, a slum of capital city Islamabad, Khalid Jadoon, manipulated the evidence against Rimsha Masih case of blasphemy”                                                                                                  The Imam of mosque in Mehrabad slum of Islamabad urged Mohammad Ammad to lodge a complaint in Ramna Police Station on August 17, 2012, that a Christian girl have set on fire pages of Holy Quran and committed blasphemy, The Ramna Police Station Islamabad, lodged a report under Section 295 B PPC against minor disabled girl Rimsha Masih. The complainant Mohammad Ammad with collaboration of Imam Khalid Jadoon, announced on mosque loudspeaker to punish blasphemer Rimsha Masih on which area Muslim women attacked Christian girl and his mother and tortured them while Muslim men started burning homes of Christians and a Church on which hundreds of Christians fled from area to save their lives.
Minor disabled Christian girl was rescued by Police and charged under blasphemy on report of Islamic cleric and sent to Adiala jail Rawalpindi on 14 days judicial remand. Hafiz Mohammad Zubair (Who teaches Quran in mosque to children) told media “Ammad, the complainant in the case, handed over the ashes of Quranic verses to the Imam of the mosque Khalid Jadoon, who also added more verses to it and put in trash where Rimsha Masih have thrown her home garbage” The Ramna Police arrested Imam Khalid Jadoon today after statement of Hafiz Zubair and other eye witnesses and a new turn took in Rimsha Masih blasphemy case in Pakistan. The eyewitness further said in his statement that he himself along with two more Motakif protested against the manipulation of the evidences. He said that he and other eyewitnesses had asked Khalid Jadoon to present the real evidences against Rimsha. Meanwhile, the religious scholar Tahir Ashrafi has asked the Ulema as to what kind of punishment Imams like Khalid Jadoon deserved. Dr. Nazir Bhatti urged Pakistan government to immediately announce procedural amendment in lodging FIR in blasphemy cases as this Islamic law is being widely misused to settle personal scores in Pakistan against Christians and Ahamadiyya communities.

President Zardari: Govt can no more afford persistent load shedding

Radio Pakistan
The President has directed concerned departments to take coordinated steps to end electricity and gas load-shedding
President Asif Ali Zardari has urged Ministries of Petroleum‚ Finance and Water and Power to work in unison and take concerted and coordinated steps to end electricity and gas load shedding in the country. He was chairing a meeting in Karachi on Sunday to review current energy situation and the progress on various measures being taken to overcome the power shortage in the country. The President said the government can no more afford persistent loashedding as it was adversely impacting the country's economy. The President directed that he should regularly be updated about the power situation adding that the government accords high priority to improve energy situation before up-coming elections. He said local bodies elections will be held this year at all cost before general elections. He said a bill relating to local body system will be passed by the Sindh Provincial Assembly within two months. President Zardari said PPP will form alliance with the allied parties to contest the up-coming general elections hoping that it will again emerge as the majority party and form new government at centre and the provinces. He said PPP has given sacrifices for democracy and it will continue policy of reconciliation to further strengthen it. Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar briefed the meeting about the latest power situation in the country and said that various immediate measures taken by the government resulted in reducing the supply and demand gap. He informed the meeting that the power situation is steadily improving and expressed the hope that with the rising water levels in reservoirs as a result of recent rains‚ the situation will improve further. Chairman WAPDA briefed the meeting on various hydel power projects. The meeting was briefed about the progress made so far in the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam and the efforts being made to garner finances for the project. The meeting was informed that Tarbela Dam was likely to be filled soon while Mangla Dam has been filled to a level of over 1180 feet against a level of 1230 feet. Advisor to PM on Petroleum‚ Dr. Asim Hussain briefed the meeting about the availability of gas and fuel for the power generation.

Obama leadership saved auto plants
Vice President Joe Biden
mounted the Democratic counterpoint to the Republican presidential ticket Friday, drawing attention to the Obama administration's rescue of the auto industry and portraying GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney as a foe of government efforts to save jobs. Laying out President Barack Obama's indictment of Republican polices, Biden said that Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, has voted in Congress for measures that caused massive federal debts, including two wars, a prescription drug benefit and tax cuts for the wealthy that were not paid for. "They call their plan new, bold and gutsy," Biden told about 200 supporters in a union hall. "There is nothing gutsy about giving another trillion dollars in tax cuts to millionaires; there is nothing bold about turning Medicare into a voucher system. There is nothing bold about kicking 19 million kids and elderly off of Medicaid with no place else to go." Biden spoke about two miles from the sprawling GM plant in Lordstown in an event meant to emphasize the importance of the auto bailout to Ohio. The recoveries of GM and Chrysler have been recurrent themes in Obama's re-election campaign, particularly in states such as Michigan and the battleground of Ohio. Biden criticized Romney for opposing a taxpayer rescue of GM and Chrysler. "What they didn't acknowledge is Governor Romney's position was 'let Detroit go bankrupt,'" he said, quoting the headline on a 2008 Romney opinion piece in the New York Times. Ryan campaign spokesman Brendan Buck responded that Obama inherited a troubled economy but has made it worse. "Like many towns across America, Janesville, Wis., is still waiting for the recovery the president promised," Buck said, referring to Ryan's hometown, where a GM auto plant was idled in 2008. Biden's remarks came as Romney and Ryan left their Republican National Convention in Tampa seeking the votes of former Obama supporters who have grown disenchanted with his presidency. Obama traveled to Texas on Friday, where addressed military families on the second anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq.

How world opinion kidnapped by West's 'int'l community' rhetoric

Since the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the self-centered way of thinking that long formed in Western powers has been swelling with the constantly consolidated powers. One of the performances is that some Western politicians often make improper comments in the name of "international community" when they talk about the international affairs or in the Western media reports. In their eyes, they are the "international community." For example, the European and American media including the French media often make speeches on behalf of the international community, suggesting implementing more stringent sanctions on the Syrian authority, and criticize Russia and China who have a different stance on the Syrian issue in the name of "international community" for their "running counter to the international community" and "failing to join them to manage the world." In their opinion, China and Russia which have a population of over 1 billion are not included in the "international community." Moreover, Western media always criticize and attack China in the name of "international community." The author of the article has worked in Europe for more than 20 years and can often see and hear how the Western media accuse, distort and even demonize China for no reason. They criticize any things that they think "offending, untrue and disobedient" in the name of "international community." As what a very popular word in France has said, "It does not need to consider the facts and justices to criticize China because it is the 'right politics' to do so." Due to such misleading opinions, many innocent Westerners began misunderstanding China and giving birth to a bias against the state, regarding it "an oddity in international community". Thereby, some people certainly will get anxious and question about the rapid development of China. Now, the Western media dominates the international opinion, so the phenomenon of deceiving and misleading the world public opinion in the name of "international community" may have to continue for some time and is difficult to be corrected. Therefore, we must keep a clear mind about the "international community" quoted by Western media and distinguish the true "international community" from the false one.

Stop the terrorists, Pakistan tells Kabul

The Times of India
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has told the Afghan government to stop terrorists from entering Pakistan, a media report said on Sunday. Stressing that terrorists had again started their activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Quetta and Karachi after Eid, Malik said Saturday that forces wanting to destabilise Pakistan would never succeed. The Dawn newspaper quoted him as saying that attempts were being made to instigate sectarian violence in Pakistan by killing innocent people. The minister said the Taliban come into Pakistan from Afghanistan, and urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to take effective steps to stop them from crossing over. The Taliban even had the capacity to carry out a major terrorist act in Islamabad.

Pakistani imam accused of framing Christian girl

Deutsche Welle
Police in Pakistan have arrested a Muslim cleric on charges of planting evidence against a young Christian girl detained under the country's anti-blasphemy law. The girl is accused of burning verses from the Koran. Pakistani police on Sunday said that Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti had been arrested after his assistants turned him in for allegedly trying to frame the young Christian girl.Chishti supposedly added pages from the Koran to the pages that the young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, allegedly burned. He filed the original evidence against Masih and serves as the imam at the mosque in her poor Islamabad suburb, Mehrabad. "Witnesses complained that he had torn pages from a Koran and placed them in her bag which had burned papers," police official Munir Hussain Jafri told the Reuters news agency.
'Conspiracy, not a mistake' Chishti claims that he originally received reports from villagers that Rimsha had burned Koranic verses and subsequently turned the girl in to police in order to avoid a violent incident. "People were demanding to burn their house," he said. "But I went to police and called them to avoid a major incident." Chishti has claimed that Rimsha was aware of what she did and had confessed. "She did it knowingly, this is a conspiracy and not a mistake," he said. "She confessed to what she did." Anti-blasphemy law Rimsha was arrested on August 16 on blasphemy charges after she was allegedly caught holding burnt pages of Koranic verses in public. There are conflicting reports regarding Rimsha's age and mental state. She is reportedly between 11 and 14 years old. Some media reports say she has Down's Syndrome. Under Pakistan's blasphemy law, anyone who defames Islam or the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and can face the death penalty. Convictions under the law are common, but the death penalty has never been used in a blasphemy case. Critics of the law say it is often used to settle personal vendettas. Interreligious tension The reports that Rimsha had violated the anti-blasphemy law sparked anger among Muslims in Mehrabad, leading to public demonstrations demanding her punishment. Many Christians initially fled the suburb for fear of reprisals. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari had previously said that he took "serious note" of the case and called for the interior minister to submit a report on it. Zadari's government has been criticized by Western nations for not reforming the anti-blasphemy law. Pakistan's population of 190 million people is 95 percent Muslim, with a small minority population of Hindus and Christians.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu the 'moral compass'

Nelson Mandela once called Archbishop Desmond Tutu 'South Africa's moral compass' and he is. The other day he refused to share platform with Tony Blair, Labour Party's longest-serving prime minister - if that is a credit anymore - accusing him of prompting illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq in 2003. Blair's support for the US-led invasion was basic on doctored information, therefore "it would be inappropriate and untenable for the Archbishop to share a platform with Blair, according to Nobel Prize-winning priest". Ironically, however, the one-day conference was on 'leadership which could not be separated from morality'. Indeed, Blair's participation as speaker was a joke with history, for he was the principal inciter of the campaign to dislodge Saddam Hussain accusing the Iraqi leader of possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). That was never the case as after destruction in a surprise attack by Israeli airforce Iraq had permanently jettisoned its nuclear ambitions. But the oil-thirsty and pro-Israel governments in the West were out to capture Iraqi oil by hook or by crook. Having failed to convince international opinion that a minor explosion near Baghdad was 'incident in one of the Iraqi nuclear facilities' they led Saddam Hussain on to invade neighbouring Kuwait and then punished him for the adventure. But a clear victory over Saddam was required, hence the Blair's conspiratorial role and his fabricated information over Iraqi WMD stockpiles - so eagerly lapped up by the then US military chief General Colin Powell. And for the hypercritical gloss over invasion touted as a move to bring democracy to the people of Iraq, how much of it is on the ground at the cost of a quarter of a million lives and lingering instability and insecurity. One would have expected Blair was not invited to the moot given its high-sounding rubric of moralising the world leaderships. No other country in modern history has suffered at the hands of colonial oppression as of Archbishop Tutu's South Africa. And the natives' struggle against the notorious 'apartheid' policy of the colonial masters was perhaps the longest. But it was also a saga of human endurance and tolerance; it produced men like Mandela and Tutu who decided to overlook the gloomy past for a better future both for the South Africa's European and non-European segments of population. But for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission created by Bishop Tutu and others on both sides of the racial divide the 'apartheid' would have been still there taking its bloody toll. So sincere the effort on his part was that the sinners walked in without shame and embarrassment to confess their crimes and helped obtain a people at peace with their conscience. That moral compass of South Africa is the need of the hour in many parts of the world where ethnic, racial and sectarian conflicts are now raging in full fury causing immense human pain and misery. Instead of coming to the leadership conference Blair should have come to Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and confessed his crime of consigning millions of innocent Iraqis to unending war - that may have lost its military dimension but not of the Blair mischief that tends to foment insecurity and violence. Iraq today has a semblance of democracy, but it's definitely more volatile and unsafe than under the undemocratic rule of Saddam Hussain. And what kind of that war was that in the end removed from the scene one of the United States' strongest allies against its regional nemesis, Iran. Archbishop Tutu has indeed deserved world's praise for his frank 'no' to what was once known as 'Bush's poodle'.

Peshawar: Failed administrations

The thugs have struck Peshawar for the umpteenth time and yet again lethally, exacting a heavy toll on innocent lives as before. At least 11 people lay dead on the spot while another 17 were wounded, several of them critically. But where is the administration and what its security apparatus is doing? The wicked terrorists carried their deadly arsenal of explosives on a double-cabin vehicle. Obviously, that combustible vehicle had not travelled through some underground tunnel. Irrefutably, it had plied on the city's public thoroughfares in the full public view. And yet quite appallingly it went undetected and without being intercepted all the way when most of the city roads are cluttered with check posts and security barricades.This speaks volumes how meanly are the administrations failing in facing up to the monstrosity of terrorism and how culpably are their security apparatuses putting up a demeaning show of incompetence and feebleness in meeting the challenge of terrorists. After every terrorist strike, you hear the top echelons of the administration making a brave talk. Never ever would they bow down before the terrorists, they chant. But who wants them to bow down. The citizens want them to stand up and take firm steps to deal with the thugs, which they do not. They merely talk, not act. Almost the whole of the country is in the lap of terrorism and extremism and the state is virtually at war with the practitioners of this vile thuggery.But from the act of all the administrations, both the federal and the provincial, you don't get the sense if they are feeling to be in a condition of war. No strategies have they evolved to fight out this menace, even as it palpably makes up the biggest internal threat to the nation's security and the country's stability. No action plans have they put in place to take on the terrorist thugs proactively and aggressively, to snuff out the extremist outfits operating freely and finish off their lairs and sleeper cells in the urban centres. Karachi has veritably become a killing field, where no less than half a dozen people minimally are done in brutally every day in targeted killings and terrorist attacks. Quetta knows not when it would be free, if at all, from the butchery of roaming thuggish guns and the murderers for pleasure. Punjab has become the huge den of extremist and sectarian outfits, while the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa lives on in the lengthening shadows of terrorism perpetrators and suicide bombers unremittingly. But as yet none of the provincial administrations has an answer to this rampaging monstrosity of terrorism and extremism. The only answer they have is that they would not bow down before the terrorists. But the people give a damn if they bow down or not. They want riddance from a monstrosity which is bloodying them horribly. And they are flabbergasted as much at the inertness of these administrations as at the ineptitude and incompetence of their subordinate security apparatuses. If the top echelons of these out-of-the-depth administrations are entertaining the citizens with a brave talk hogwash, their security apparatuses are amusing them with their own theatrics. After every terrorist assaults, they appear on the scene to cordon off the hit spot and harass the innocent citizens instead of going after the thugs. And instantly they start giving out the weight of the explosives used as if their task is only to give this information, not to prevent the terrorist strike.Certainly, the time has come that the administrations should get out of their stupors and get their acts together. Visibly, terrorists are in ascendancy, feeling no inhibitions at all in striking whatever they want, wherever they want and whenever they want. Palpably, they fear no resistance from the administrations and their security apparatuses; they indeed meet no such challenge in carrying out their devilish tasks. If it continues like this, the state will be in retreat everywhere and they will be on the offensive everywhere. The ultimate consequences of this nerve-wrecking phenomenon can well be imagined. The military cannot fight terrorists everywhere. Urban terrorism is fought out primarily by the civilian administrations and their security apparatuses everywhere the world over. And so has it to be here in this land, too. For a change, the civilian administrations have to pull up their socks and get cracking on their security apparatuses to do this fighting. Otherwise, we will have a Peshawar, Quetta or Karachi every other day to the nation's ultimate great gore.

Balochistan killings: Death toll rises to 8, strike observed

Another victim who was admitted in hospital in the aftermath of a firing incident that killed seven Hazaras succumbed to his injuries, taking the death toll to eight, Express News reported Sunday. A shutter-down strike is being observed in Quetta against the targeted sectarian killings carried out in different parts of Balochistan. The strike was called by Hazara Democratic Party, chief of the Hazara tribe Sardar Saadat and Azadari Council. Different political and trade unions also backed the strike. Special security arrangements have been done in order to avert any untoward incident. On Saturday, seven members of the Hazara community were killed in two apparently coordinated drive-by shooting incidents on the outskirts of the provincial capital. Gunmen riding on motorcycles had fired a volley of gunshots at a bus stop in the Hazar Ganji neighbourhood near a vegetable market, while in a separate incident, two intending pilgrims from the Hazara community were killed, while they were waiting at the bus stop to catch a bus for the Pak-Iran border town of Taftan. Soon after the first attack, a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Frontier Corps cordoned off the area and mounted a manhunt for the killers. The senseless killings sparked violence in some neighbourhoods of the city where members of the Hazara community took to the streets. Protesters went berserk, allegedly barged into houses and harassed residents.

US halts some Afghan forces training after attacks

The U.S. military has halted the training of Afghan government-backed militias for at least a month in order to redo the vetting of new recruits after a string of attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on their international allies, officials said Sunday. There have been 34 insider attacks this year — at least 12 in August alone — that have killed 45 international troops, throwing doubt on the ability of Afghan and coalition forces to live and work together during a key time in the transition to Afghan control of security. One of the pillars of the international troop drawdown is for allied forces to hand over responsibility for the country's security to Afghans by the end of 2014. Lt. Col. John Harrell, a spokesman for U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan, said the pause in training affects about 1,000 trainees of the Afghan Local Police, a militia backed by the government in Kabul. "The training of the ALP recruits has been paused while we go through this re-vetting process, to take a look at this process to see if there's anything that we can improve," Harrell said. "It may take a month, it may take two months, we don't know." Afghan Local Police forces that have already been trained will continue to operate, and the government will continue to recruit new members, Harrell said. Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan, also said there was no set date for the training of the local police to resume. The pause in training for the government-backed militias was first reported by the Washington Post. Harrell said the Americans last month also put a two-week pause on operations by the Afghan special forces last month to re-vet those soldiers for any potential ties to insurgents. He did not say whether any suspicious links were uncovered. The international forces in Afghanistan have been revisiting both security for their forces and re-examining the backgrounds of the Afghan forces in the wake of the recent attacks on international troops. The Post also reported that training of special operations forces had been halted, but a spokesman for the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, or NTM-A, which oversees this training said there has been no such pause. "There has been no halt in training with NTM-A assets as they relate to special forces," said Maj. Steve Neta of the Canadian military. He also said no other training programs involving the traditional military or police have been halted for re-vetting. The head of the Afghan special operations forces said there has been no pause to the training of his forces. The program to train Afghan special operations forces had already been on break for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and had been scheduled to restart in mid-September. "It will continue. It is not ended at all. After the 15th of September we restart," Brig. Gen. Sayed Karim said. The most recent insider attack attack took place last week when an Afghan army soldier turned his gun on Australian soldiers, killing three of them. Over the weekend, the U.S.-led NATO coalition traded barbs with President Hamid Karzai over a joint operation carried out by Afghan and Australian troops to catch the insurgents responsible for the shooting in Uruzgan province. In the attack, an Afghan soldier opened fire on Australian soldiers, killing three and wounding two, according to the Australian military. He later fled. In a statement issued late Saturday, Karzai's office condemned an operation by international troops to go after the shooter, describing it as unilateral and saying it resulted in the deaths of a 70-year-old man his 30-year-old son. Karzai's office said the operation took place without the coordination or approval of provincial authorities and violated an agreement that calls on Afghan troops to lead night raids. The U.S.-led international coalition responded by saying that Afghan officials approved and supported the strike. Prior to the two most recent attacks, coalition authorities said they believed that 25 percent of this year's attacks had confirmed or suspected links to the Taliban, which sometimes has infiltrated the ranks of the Afghan army and police and in other cases is believed to have coerced or otherwise persuaded legitimate members of the Afghan forces to turn on their coalition partners. ___