Sunday, February 17, 2013
http://www.mashaalradio.orgپه بلوچستان کې د شیعه کانفرانس مشر اشرف زیدي د اتوار په ورځ مشال راډیو ته ویلي چې دوی به د احتجاج په ډول د تیرې ورځې په چاودنه کې له منځه تللي پنځه اتیا کسان خاورو ته نه سپاري. بل پلو، د بلوچستان ګورنر نواب ذوالفقار علي مګسي هم ویلي چې د کویټې په هزارګانو ترهګر برید د پاکستان د امنیتې ادارو ناکامي ده.نوموړي دا خبري د اتوار په ورځ د کویټې د هزاره ټاون د چاودنې متاثره شوې هزاره ګانو سره د لیدو روستو کړې دي. دسیاسي چارو کارپوهان هم وايي چې بلوچستان کې امنیتي وضع د ورځ په تیریدو سره مخ په خرابیدو ده، کارپوه اسد منیر وایي ، د پاکستان اولس په دوو برخو کې تقسیم شوی ، او زیاتره ډلې د مذهب په نوم خپلې ګټې ترسره کوي او د مذهب څخه په غلطه توګه استعمال کوي. (( په پاکستان کې خلک په دوو حصو کې تقسیم شوي ، مذهبي ډلې چې څه هم کوي څوک ورته هیڅ نه وایي او نه یې څوک پر ضد خبره کولی شي ، پاکستان کې چې کله چاودنه یا څه بله پیښه وشي نو موږ یې تور د نورو هیوادونو په استخباراتې ادارو لګوو ، خو اصل کې دا هر څه زموږ خلک پخپله کوي او تر څو چې زموږ خلک په دې نه وي پوه شوي چې دا ترهګر فعالیتونه نور موږ لپاره خطر دي نو بیا به هله پوځ او نورې امنیتي ادارې د ترهګرۍ پر ضد څه کولی شي. )) بلخوا د پاکستان د بشري حقونو د کمیشن یو مشر غړی شیر محمد خان وایي ، په ټولنه کې له اقلیتونو سره ښه سلوک نه کیږي او حکومت هم ورته پوره حقونه نه دي ورکړي. ((شیعه ګان او سنیان دواړه مسلمانان دي خو موږ ته داسې تاثر راکړل شوی چې د بلې فرقي خلک مسلمانان نه دي ، په نورو هیوادونو کې د ګڼو مدهبونو خلک دي خو هلته خلکو کې برداشت هم وي . بل که ځه سني یم نو دا خو زما د مور پلار د وجې ځه یم ، دغسي شیعه ګانو ته د هغوی مذهب په وراثت کې ملاو شوی ،نو د فرقه واریت په بنیاد د چا وژنه ډیر بد کار دی.)) په پاکستان کې د شیعه لږکیو خلاف په دې وروستیو کې بریدونه زیات شوي دي.
In an apparent move to try the largest Islamic party which allegedly collaborated with the Pakistani forces in 1971 to prevent an independent Bangladesh, the South Asian country's parliament Sunday adopted amendment to a law. This means two war crimes tribunals, set up to try those allegedly commiting war crimes during the country's nine-month liberation war, are now in a position to try and punish an organization for committing crimes against humanity in 1971. The amendment which was adopted in the absence of ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) also brought some other changes to International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 to pave the way for plaintiffs to appeal to the apex court against verdicts delivered by the tribunals. Previously the law allowed only the convicts to appeal against any conviction. In the wake of a mass movement in Dhaka's Shahbagh Square, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government brought the amendment to the act. The bill got the parliament nod hours after Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said "the government is looking at options" to ban Jamaat-e-Islami Party, one of the key demands of Shahbagh rally. After visiting house of a slain blogger in Dhaka on Saturday, Hasina said Jamaat and its students wing -- Islami Chhatra Shibir - - have no right to practise politics in Bangladesh as they do not believe in democracy and are engaged with politics of terrorism. Ahmed Rajib Haidar, an activist of ongoing Shahbagh movement, was stabbed near his house on Friday night. Since then Shahbagh protesters, who point fingers at Jamaat for killing Rajib, have intensified demand to ban Jamaat, which denied any involvement in the murder. Jamaat Saturday called hartal on Monday as part of its countrywide protest at what it termed the "government-sponsored" rally at Shahbagh Square. Adamant on their demands including capital punishment on war criminals, thousands of people thronged Shahbagh Square Sunday, chanting slogans that have reverberated the iconic place of Dhaka since Feb. 5. Frustrated by a war crimes verdict, scores of youths imbued with the spirit of the country's nine-month liberation war first gathered at Shahbagh Square on Feb. 5 under the banner of " Bloggers and Online Activist Network" hours after the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of Jamaat, to life imprisonment for his war crimes. The demonstration soon transformed into a people's movement which already spread across the country and among Bangladeshis living abroad. Apart from eight Jamaat high-ups, a few leaders of BNP are also facing trials. Both BNP and Jamaat had earlier dismissed the courts as a government "show trial" and said it is a domestic set-up without UN oversight. Jamaat threatened to escalate the armed struggle if Hasina's government does not immediately free its leaders and cancel the tribunals. Hasina told the parliament Sunday that she would extend all possible support to try war criminals. She also thanked the youths for raising voice against the 1971 war criminals. Jamaat is a key ally of Khaleda's main opposition alliance which has also announced to gear up its movement demanding restoration of a non-party caretaker government system to oversee next parliament election slated for early 2014. After returning to power in January 2009, Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh's independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost forty years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan.
The White House is planning to tackle illegal immigration by allowing undocumented workers a path to permanent residence within eight years of passing government requirements, according to reports. A leaked copy of the draft bill, first reported by USA Today, contains provisions that would allow the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented workers to seek a "lawful prospective immigrant" visa that would allow them to live and work freely in the country. Prospective visa holders would have to pass a criminal background check and submit to biometric tests, according to the document. Eight years after receiving the visa they would be eligible to apply for a green card, which allows permanent residency. Green card holders are able to apply for full US citizenship five years after being granted residency. The White House declined to comment on the details of the report. But in a statement, White House spokesman Clark Stevens said: "The president has made clear the principles upon which he believes any common-sense immigration reform effort should be based. We continue to work in support of a bipartisan effort, and while the president has made clear he will move forward if Congress fails to act, progress continues to be made and the administration has not prepared a final bill to submit." The proposal seemed unlikely to win cross-party support despite containing elements from a bipartisan plan now being drawn up by senators including Florida Republican Marco Rubio, seen as a 2016 presidential hopeful. "Presidents #immigration plan repeats 2 many of mistakes of past. bipartisan plan being developed in Senate will be better,fair & responsible," Rubio said on Twitter. In a statement his office called the plan "half-baked and seriously flawed" and declared that "if actually proposed, the president's bill would be dead on arrival in Congress". President Barack Obama addressed immigration reform in his state of the union speech last week. "Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally," he said. "And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy." Eight senators have been working on a framework for immigration reform and last month released a blueprint that was praised by Obama. The senators called the proposals "tough but fair". Undocumented workers seeking temporary legal residency would have to pay a fine and undergo background checks. They would not be able to pursue permanent residency until the US border is more secure. The definition of security has Democratic reformers worried that the bill will face long delays. "If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away," Obama said in Las Vegas last month. Speaking Sunday, Denis McDonough, the new White House chief of staff, told ABC's This Week: "We've got a bill, we're doing exactly what the president said we would do last month in Las Vegas, which is we're preparing. We're going to be ready." Any major bill on immigration reform will be the first since 1986, when president Ronald Reagan legalised nearly 3 million immigrants.
Caught between alleged state incompetence and complicity in attacks, the war against Balochistan's Hazaras has hit home.Despite a sustained, targeted campaign of killings against them, Pakistan's Hazara Shias have been left out in the cold, fending for themselves against an armed group whose fighters were once allied to the Pakistani state, researchers, analysts and members of the Hazara community have told Al Jazeera. On the evening of January 10, a suicide bomber targeted a snooker club frequented by Hazaras in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. The initial blast killed several people, but, ten minutes later, as people rushed to the aid of those wounded in the attack, a car bomb exploded just outside the club, killing dozens more. When the dust settled, 96 people, mostly Hazara Shias, were dead. The attack was only the latest in two years of sustained gun and bomb attacks against the community, and on that cold January night, Hazara community leaders told Al Jazeera, something snapped. To protest the government's inaction in protecting them, members of the community refused to bury their dead, staging a sit-in on Alamdar Road, the site of the latest attack. "It was very cold - it was -7 degrees Celsius, and there were mostly women, even mothers with one-month old babies. We sat under the open sky on the road: the young, the old, women, even children, for 76 hours," Qayyum Changaizee, the chairman of the Hazara Qaumi Jirga and one of the lead organisers of the protest, told Al Jazeera.The protesters demanded that the provincial government be dismissed, and that security in Quetta be handed over to the army. "I told [government negotiators] that your other choice is that you should just open fire on us. Kill us all, all 150 of us [at the sit-in]. We'll all die together, rather than dying one-by-one, every day," Changaizee said. Even so, the protesters had little expectation that the government would cede to their demands. "No-one felt that the protest would do anything," said Saleem Javed, a 28-year-old Hazara rights activist from the city. "But what else could they do? There is no space left in the graveyards." The Quetta sit-in, however, sparked similar protests in other major Pakistani cities, and in cities around the world. Sit-ins were held in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and as far away as Washington DC, Toronto, Stockholm and Melbourne. Protesters refused to end their demonstrations until the voices of the 150 bereaved families on Alamdar Road were heard. Eventually, they were. More than three days after the Hazara brought out their dead, the Pakistani government dismissed the provincial government, appointing the Balochistan governor to run the province for two months, and the Frontier Corps (FC) paramilitary force to formally take over law enforcement responsibilities. A life under siege Quetta's Hazara have been living in a state of siege for years, activists and community members told Al Jazeera. Over the past two years, many have been forced to shut their businesses in non-Hazara parts of the city, confining themselves to two areas: Alamdar Road, where Thursday's attack took place, and Hazara Town. Researchers say that over the past year, Hazara attendance at Balochistan University's Quetta campus dropped by 95 percent, while attendance at private colleges dropped by 83 percent. Numerous business owners in the city's main markets, meanwhile, have been shot dead in their shops. Pilgrims going to Iran by bus have been killed by roadside bombs, while ordinary citizens have been offloaded from local buses and shot dead by the side of the road. "Hazara professors and teachers have now almost all left […] now they're either sitting at home, or some doctors, people who have done PhDs, have migrated to Australia and are working as gardeners there now," said Abdul Khalique Hazara, the chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, who went on a three-day hunger strike after the latest attack. The situation is so bad, he said, that Hazaras no longer feel safe even buying basic supplies at the city's main vegetable market. "Often we have to get someone else to buy them for us," he said, citing several examples of attacks on the road that leads to the market, where Hazara Shias were shot and killed at point blank range. Javed, the rights activist, says that the Hazaras, who are an ethnically distinct group and easily recognisable by their physical features, are "paralysed", are unable to leave their home districts for fear of being killed. "Anyone who tries to leave these areas and go to other areas, for anything, for jobs, to buy something, to vegetable markets, they try not to go. When they are forced to, they are not sure if they will come back." Javed is well-experienced in living under that kind of intimidation - after receiving a series of death threats for his work as a rights activist and doctor at the city's main hospital, he was forced to flee the country. He is just one of approximately 50,000 Hazaras to have done so since 2001. "When I had to go to my job, until I was back at home, my family was always worried about whether I would return alive. I experienced it myself. Every person I knew had the same situation," he told Al Jazeera from Stockholm, the Swedish capital, where he has been living since July. Today, however, the war has come to Alamdar Road. A year ago, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an armed Sunni group, issued a letter threatening all Hazara Shias in Quetta with death, warning them to leave the city by the end of 2012 - or face death."It is our religious duty to kill all Shias, and to cleanse Pakistan of this impure nation... It is our mission in Pakistan that every city, village and other place, every corner be cleansed of the Shia and the Shia Hazara," read the letter. "And, as before, in all of Pakistan, especially Quetta, we will continue our successful jihad against the Shia Hazara and Pakistan will become a graveyard for them." It was no empty threat - throughout the year, an average of three attacks took place each month, with a total of 125 people killed, said Khalique. They were ordinary Hazaras, not political or religious leaders, he told Al Jazeera: students, schoolteachers, small business owners, government servants. "We endured these attacks for 20 years," said Changaizee. "But in this attack, the significance was that it was at our doorsteps… So our fear was: 'What will happen next? Will they now enter into our homes?'" State 'incompetence or complicity' Ali Dayan Hassan, the Karachi-based Pakistan director for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that there had been a "steady increase" in attacks against Shias in general, and the Hazara in particular, during the past two years. "This violence is one-sided. It is essentially Sunni militant groups, chiefly the Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, targeting Shias, and they are targeting ordinary Shias going about their daily lives. These are not members of militant groups… it's regular people who are being targeted," he said. In 2012, more than 400 Shias were killed in target killings and bombings, making it "possibly the bloodiest year in living memory for the Shia population of Pakistan". The Hazara, he said, are being specifically targeted as a result of the fact that they are ethnically distinct. Also a factor, despite the fact that most of Quetta's Hazaras migrated to the city in the mid-1800s, is Afghan Hazaras' history of involvement with the Northern Alliance armed group against the Taliban in the 1990s. "The LeJ is an offshoot of the SSP, and the actors that constitute the SSP and LeJ fought in that theatre of operations against the Hazaras and were part of [a massacre in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif]. And so there is a specific history of massacre and persecution that these groups have engaged in against the Hazara, both in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan," he said. As for how groups such as the LeJ were able to strike at the Hazara with apparent impunity, Hasan pointed to the LeJ fighters' "historical alliance" with Pakistan's military establishment, when they were used as instruments of a policy of supporting the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Moreover, there is also a lack of capacity to deal with such groups, given the state's continuing war against groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which are directly targeting it, argued Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, an Islamabad-based security and policy analyst. "The preference of the Pakistani state is to first go after those groups that challenge the Pakistani state, and just ignore the other groups. And that gives [groups such as the LeJ] enough space," he told Al Jazeera. Moreover, he argued, the "extremist Islamist ideology" has "become so powerful and entrenched, with roots in society", that it is now difficult to eliminate such groups, particularly given the establishment of numerous Islamic madrassas in Balochistan and elsewhere that preach such an ideology. "The kindest explanation [of government inability to curb such attacks]," says HRW's Hasan, "is that the state and its security agencies are criminally incompetent and incapable of providing basic security to their own citizens. "The more cynical explanation is that the state - meaning the security establishment, intelligence agencies and paramilitaries - is complicit." The provincial government denied all allegations of complicity or incompentence before it was dissolved. The problem, said Hasan, is deep-rooted in both society and state policy."The Pakistani military's default reaction has been that, instead of challenging and seeking to curb militancy and extremism, they seek as a matter of policy to appease and accommodate extremists. Also, because these militant groups have been allies of the state, within the security establishment there are large numbers of sympathisers or people who are tolerant of these groups and their activities." In interviews with Hazara activists, allegations of Frontier Corps complicity in the killings were repeatedly made by all who spoke with Al Jazeera. Several cited examples of attacks - including the offloading of Hazaras from buses, to be shot at point-blank range at the side of the city's main international highway - having occurred within metres of FC checkposts. The provincial government had pointed towards casualties among police and security forces inflicted by armed groups in Balochistan as evidence of their resolve. Most of those casualties, however, were linked to a separatist struggle by Baloch nationalists, not to the sectarian LeJ. While the allegations of state complicity, ubiquitous as they are, remain unconfirmed, what is clear is that there has been a failure of the state to prosecute those involved in the killings. "It is a one week job, if the army chooses to do so. They are a handful of people … but we cannot say anything to them, when they are protected and supported by the government. What are our people supposed to do?" asked Khalique, the HDP leader, pointing to cases where those involved in attacks have been caught by Hazaras at the scene of the crime, and have subsequently been released by the authorities. Hasan, the HRW director, holds Pakistan's normally activist judiciary responsible for displaying a lack of will in pursuing those involved in the violence. "Deterrence comes from accountability - and nobody but nobody has been held accountable, either within the security agencies or in the militant groups, by the judiciary," he said. The lack of accountability leads to an "erosion in the writ of the state", he added. "It is time the state started addressing that challenge, and it is time the security agencies understood that appeasing militants, being tolerant towards murder and bigotry and massacres is not an option… Your argument cannot perpetually be that 'we don't have the capacity, so people will die'. "Because that makes the state untenable, if you cannot offer your citizens basic security. If your citizens cannot make themselves believe that you are even trying to protect them." Meanwhile, in Quetta, the paramilitary FC has now taken over law enforcement responsibilities, in a move that is more a formalisation of what has been the reality for several years, according to residents of the city.It remains unclear as to whether, with the nationwide protests and the dismissal of the provincial government, anything will change on the ground. Hazara leaders insist that they will remain peaceful, no matter what the cost. "Our people are educated, we are liberal people," said Khalique. "We will never go towards violence. But our demand is this: 'Tell us what our crime is. Why are you killing us? Why are people coming into our neighbourhoods [and murdering us]?'" What is clear is that the LeJ does not intend to stop its campaign. After making good on its promise of launching attacks within Hazara neighbourhoods if they did not flee the city by the beginning of 2013, they have now vowed to redouble their campaign against them. "If it is the will of God, in 2013 Lashkar-e-Jhangvi will not allow any Shias to remain living in Quetta [...] we will carry out such attacks that the enemy will, with the will of God, not have any escape. [...] Our message to the Shias is simple: be prepared to kill, or be killed," read the statement in which the group took responsibility for the Quetta attack. Regardless of government action, for the Hazaras, the cold reality of impending death continues to loom in 2013.
Shia Muslims in Pakistan have called on the government to take decisive action after a bombing by a Sunni group killed 84 people in Quetta, even as the country’s interior minister assured better security for the beleaguered minority. "We want to register our protests. We demand that the Pakistani army and judiciary take notice of the blasts and launch targeted operations against those responsible for such acts of terrorism," Fida Husain Sadiq, a Shia leader, told Al Jazeera on Sunday. Rahman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, told Al Jazeera: "We are taking every possible measure to provide full security to the Shia community." "We really feel sorry for the victims. Obviously those who are trying to destabilise Pakistan through sectarianism, I think that they have a plan… We have been handling it, and we will handle it further."On Sunday, the government issued a $1m reward for information leading to the attackers. The latest attack comes barely a month after nearly 95 Hazara Shia community members were killed in a terrorist attack in Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an armed Sunni group, claimed responsibility for both the attacks. The provincial government was sacked after the January attack, which led relatives of the victims to refuse to bury their dead while they held a 76-hour protest sit-in. The governor has said the blast was the result of a failure of the provincial security and intelligence agencies. "Officials and personnel of these institutions are scared [of the terrorists]. Therefore they don't take action against them," Zulfiqar Magsi said in comments that were broadcast on local television. 'Hunt for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi' But Malik, the interior minister, assured that action was being taken by the government to allay fears in the region. "I have in fact instructed this afternoon to Frontier Corps [paramilitary force] and the police that they should hunt those Lashkar-e-Jhangvi guys wherever they are." Aziz Hazara, vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party, said government was responsible for the killing of Hazara community. "We are giving the government 48 hours to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of our people and after that we will launch strong protests," he said. The families of some of the victims have said they will not bury their dead until the army steps in to protect Shias, said Hasnain Zaidi, a spokesman for an alliance of Shia groups called Majlis Wahdat al-Muslimeen. The violence touched a chord among Pakistanis elsewhere in the country, with small-scale protests being held in Islamabad, Karachi and at least 12 other cities. At the Islamabad rally, hundreds of Shias and various civil rights groups demanded the government crackdown on Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a group that has been linked to al-Qaeda in the past. Unpopular government The unpopular government, gearing up for elections expected within months, faces growing anger for failing to deliver stability. Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Quetta, said: "It's after all a government that nobody takes seriously and [an]interior minister that nobody takes seriously, either, because he has been claiming that he would bring the situation under control and then it spirals out of control. "The situation here in Quetta is once again becoming dangerous." Last year was the deadliest so far for Pakistan's Shia Muslim community, which accounts for about 20 percent of the population, with more than 400 people dead in targeted killings. Violence has been especially intense in Balochistan, which has seen more than 200 deaths in the last 35 days.
As the death toll of Saturday’s bombing in Quetta rose to 80, local Shia Hazara leaders said that the government’s support to militant outfits was resulting in the systematic elimination of the country’s minority religious communities. They also said that the Pakistan army was supporting such outfits “because it needs them in its operations against India and other countries.” On Sunday, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, which is closely associated with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Jaish-e-Muhammad group of Maulana Masood Azhar took responsibility for the attack where a water tanker packed with explosives was detonated in a market area. Quetta city police chief Zubair Mehmood said the water tanker, which officials said was packed with some 800 kilograms of explosives, was placed near a pillar of a two-storey building, which collapsed in the blast. “We fear that several people have been trapped inside. Rescue work is ongoing but I see very little chance of their survival,” Mehmood told the media. In January, a similar attack on the Shia Hazara community in which two bombs were detonated killed 92 people. At the time, the community members refused to bury the dead and demanded that army be handed control of Quetta. This did not happen but PM Raja Pervez Ashraf imposed Governor rule in the province. Governor Zulfiqar Magsi said the attack had resulted because of an intelligence failure. He said as governor he had given a free hand to the security forces but despite this an attack of such a magnitude had taken place. “The nexus of religious militancy continues to grow in Pakistan,” said a spokesman of the Majlis-e-Wehdat-e-Muslameen, a Shia organisation.
SHIA GENOCIDE Genocide acts spurred by bigotry Of sick minds and hatred’s idolatry So many fine men become martyrs As Shias face mayhem and slaughter Genocide it is and no sectarian war Those who deny the truth we abhor Apostatizing labels and other slurs Harden hearts and the reality blurs This genocide cannot be defeated Unless majority’s efforts are accreted To stop misguided souls propelled by delusion Unite to face this war, it is not an illusion That sects have been a part of our history Since Prophet’s demise, is not a mystery Sunnis, Shias and all did always coexist The idea of incompatibility is absurdist
Shia leaders present their demands as sit-in continues After yet another tragedy on 16 Feb 2013 in which 110 Shia Muslims (including 25 non-Hazara Shias and 85 Hazara Shias) were killed in Quetta by Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah-e-Sahaba (aka ASWJ-LeJ) and almost five weeks after a similar tragedy (10 January 2013) in Quetta in which over 100 Shias and more than 10 Sunnis were killed by Deobandi militants, Shias of Pakistan are currently staging a sit-in protest for indefinite period in all major cities of Pakistan and also abroad. A big number of women and children are also participating in these protests. These are unprecedented times and call for unprecedented measures. The following objective and list of demands has been prepared in consultation with Shia Hazaras, non-Hazara Shias, progressive and faith-based Shia groups in Pakistan and abroad. Objectives: (1) Stop Shia genocide in Pakistan. Government must acknowledge that the atrocities against Shia Muslims are tantamount to genocide. (2) Outlaw apostatizing of Shia Muslims (including Kafir Shia slogan) by an Act of Parliament. (3) Army must take targeted action against Takfiri Deobandi militants of ASWJ-LeJ /Sipah-e-Sahaba. In order to achieve the above three objectives, it is important to address the following issues: Army must be made directly responsible and accountable for the law and order situation including safety of all people including Shias in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. Full enforcement of the legal ban on Sipah-e-Sahaba which currently is allowed to operate freely under new name ASWJ. Arrest ASWJ leaders (namely Ahmed Ludhianvi, Malik Ishaq, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Qazi Nisar) and punish them for inciting hate speech against Shia Muslims; Carry out targeted military operation in the notorious areas of the Balochistan province known for being the training camps and hide outs of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Sipah Sahaba – ASWJ) terrorists, most importantly, Saryab Road in Quetta, Kanak and Mastung. All leaders and militants of ASWJ-LeJ must be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment after summary hearings; Urgently implement death sentence to ASWJ-LeJ militants already sentenced to death by the court including Akram Lahori and other dangerous terrorists; Outlaw publication of threats to Shia community by the ASWJ-LeJ in local newspapers and TV channels. Stop providing air time to Ahmed Ludhianvi, Malik Ishaq and other ASWJ-LeJ leaders in the media; Financially compensate all Shia victims (Rs. 1 million per victim), and provide Rs.0.5 million plus free medical facilities to the wounded; all those injured in terrorist attacks be treated on Government expenses in Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi and other reputable and trustworthy hospitals Provide jobs to a member of of every victim family who lost their guardians or male members; Release innocent Shia Muslims arrested in false cases; Provide protection to the Shia businessmen, transporters, vendors, officers, school, college and university students; Set up security check posts of police in areas where Shias have been regularly targeted. In particular, set up permanent check posts in and around Alamdar Road and Hazara Town; Provision of free of cost licensed weapons for self defence, X-Ray scanners, training to Shia volunteers to defend their life, property, family. Allow Shia scouts and volunteers to set up private security in Shia areas; End of apartheid in the Balochistan University and other institutions against the Shia Hazaras, and all Shias; Resettle the Shia Hazara families who were evicted from Khuzdar and Machh and protect and compensate them; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and all High Courts should take suo moto action on Shia genocide and persecution Full and accurate coverage of Shia genocide by Takfikri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ-LeJ) in the media; provide full protection to media persons from LeJ-ASWJ terrorists; media must not obfuscate as Hazara specific ethnic or Sunni-Shia sectarian violence. Pakistan government, in particular Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority PEMRA, must take action against those media channels and newspapers which misrepresent Shia genocide as Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence or present it as Hazara specific ethnic violence. Set up high-level judicial commission, also including members of the UN, HRW, Amnesty and HRCP, to investigate allegations of collusion between militant groups and military intelligence and paramilitary forces. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “The Pakistani government’s persistent failure to protect the Shia Muslim community in Pakistan from sectarian attacks by Sunni [Deobandi] militant groups [Sipah Sahaba Taliban aka LeJ-ASWJ], is reprehensible and amounts to complicity in the barbaric slaughter of Pakistani citizens. The government should immediately hold accountable those responsible for ordering and participating in deadly attacks targeting the Shia across Pakistan and particularly the Hazara Shia in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.” کوئٹہ یکجہتی کونسل کا اعلان شہر کو فی الفور فوج کے حوالے کیا جائے فوج دہشتگردوں کے خلاف فی الفور آپریشن کا آغاز کرے حکومت میں شامل وزراء ، فوج اور آئی ایس آئی کے افسران جو دہشتگردوں سے ملے ہوئے ہیں اور ان کی سرپرستی کر رہے ہیں ان کو فورا” بے نقاب کر کے ان کے خلاف عدالتی ٹرائل شروع کیا جائے۔ مطالبات کی منظوری تک شھداء کی تدفین نہیں ہوگی اور جنازوں کے ساتھ کوئٹہ اور پورے پاکستان میں احتجاجی دھرنا جاری رہے گا
Pakistan’s restive city of Quetta is in mourning. The minority Hazara community has been targetted once again — and this time it is burying at least 80 more killed in a bomb blast on Saturday. A similar attack had claimed more than 100 lives a month ago, which led to the dismissal of the provincial government as a retribution. Such daredevil acts of lawlessness have now become a modus operandi across the country, coupled with rise in militancy in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. So is the case in the country’s largest metropolitan, Karachi, which is witnessing target killings on a daily basis. The state machinery is either in a fix or unable to assert itself over unscrupulous elements for reasons beyond comprehension. That is why Balochistan’s Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi was apt when he squarely laid the blame for unrest on the intelligence agencies and law-enforcement machinery, which for long had neither made any inroads in the terror network nor preempted such attacks. The country and, especially, Balochistan is passing through a difficult phase and none seem to have a clue as to what would be the fate. Magsi, who had been empowered by the federal government to take stringent actions against the miscreants, nonetheless, believes that the state doesn’t seem to be effective. Many tend to agree with his synopsis. The reason is that the government of President Asif Ali Zardari owing to its pathetic political compromises with allies and adversaries is in a confused state of mind, and all its synergies are diverted at coalition hobnobbing. The army, which had successfully dealt with militancy in Swat and the tribal areas, has taken a back seat and has been waiting in the wings of political administrations to dispense its duties — as and when ordered. That is evident from the fact that Balochistan administration didn’t call in the army to aid the civil administration for reasons of political exigency. This is an alarming situation. Until and unless vested patronage to disgruntled elements comes to an end and an across the board operation is carried out against militants, things would only get from worse to worst. It’s time for apolitical action in Balochistan and elsewhere.
The killing of at least 84 people of the Hazara community, by the bomb blast on Saturday in Kirani Road in Quetta, which also left 180 injured, represents not just a horrific tragedy, but also a total failure of Governor Zulfiqar Magsi. Governor’s Rule had been imposed on the province on January 13, just over a month ago, after the Alamdar Roads blasts killed 86. The Governor, who was entrusted the government of the province after the dismissal of the Raisani government, was supposed to end the bloodletting of the Hazara community, for whom the Alamdar Road blasts had by no means been the first. Instead of bringing peace to his provincial capital, Nawab Magsi has been forced to say that there had been an intelligence failure. This will not wash, and it is unlikely to find any favour not just with the Hazara community, which had crossed the limits of its endurance with the Alamdar Road blasts, but with the country as a whole, which is deeply concerned about what is happening in the country’s largest province. With the perpetrators confident enough to claim responsibility, there does not seem simply to have been an intelligence failure, but a full-fledged dereliction of duty. Nawab Magsi is responsible to the extent that he failed to detect this. Either he must obtain a free hand in dealing with the problem, or the federal government must find someone who can deliver. There has not been a revival of the demand voiced after the Alamdar Road blasts, that the Army intervene. That may be repeated, though it does seem that this would not solve matters. Elections are around the corner, but the problem is too urgent to allow any waiting for that election to throw up a government to tackle the problem. There has been much harm caused, not just to the Hazara or Shia communities, or to Balochistan, but to Pakistan as a whole. This is not the time when Governor Magsi or the intelligence agencies can absolve themselves of blame or responsibility, or attempt to assuage the outrage by only announcing rewards for information or compensation for victims. Instead, he must make clear how he plans to make the province safer for what the victims of Saturday’s blast were doing: going about their everyday lawful occupations. It must not be forgotten that this was what the Balochistan government was sacked for failing to do, and why Nawab Magsi was given the government. If he fails to achieve that purpose, it would not mean that the province has become ungovernable, as much as that the PPP is incapable of governing it. It would appear that the province is ripe for an election, because any permanent solution can only be achieved by a government with a mandate.
The wounds of the attack that killed 93 Hazara Shias, the subsequent four-day sit-in accompanied by the deceased in the dead of winter in Quetta that created nationwide sympathy and blew away the indifferent Balochistan government are still so fresh, so raw. And now the beleaguered community has been made to relive the horror. With 83 dead, people still buried under the debris and the number of critically wounded so high, the death toll is likely to rise. With Governor Magsi at the helm, the government acted with much alacrity, providing prompt succour to the injured to the extent of drafting the C130 military planes to airlift the injured, and a million rupee compensation to the heirs of the dead. But the failure of the law-enforcing and intelligence agencies in preventing the tragedy twice in a month and a bit remains far too pronounced, and raises the oft-asked questions again. Yet again Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has accepted responsibility – as if the gruesome atrocity was a badge of honour. What emboldens LeJ? The fact that there are many in our polity society who subscribe to the fanatical bent weaned in the infamous Zia years when a certain brand of religion was promoted, giving sanction to all sorts of extremism, including wanton killing. There are groups known to have been created by the deep state in the 1980s (the genesis of LeJ incidentally dates back to 1985), and some consider that this motley collection despite the mayhem they have caused the county and opprobrium that they have earned worldwide still continue to operate under the watchful gaze of the very same sponsors who created them. The questions indeed are many. Why sectarian outfits continue to play a role in national politics? Why organisations such as the Defence of Pakistan Council and others hold such value to the national political parties for them to act coy in their condemnation? How their influence in local level electoral alliances can be condoned for short term political gain? How and why have the sectarian killers and militants of all hues have access to such vast quantities of explosives with such consummate ease? Why have the extensive state apparatus and the otherwise ubiquitous intelligence agencies remained so unaware of their shenanigans despite such a heavy footprint in Balochistan? But the question that trumps them all, indeed the most fundamental one that has remained unanswered for so long, relates to the relationship between the deep state and the sectarian groups. What and how can the lack of action against violent sectarian outfits be explained? And why two key members of the LeJ escaped a high security prison in Quetta just before the upturn in attacks on the Hazara Shias? In this backdrop, the most important question haunting every right-minded Pakistani remains: Will the Pakistani state change tract? The world and more importantly the deeply scarred Hazara Shia community are watching.
The Baloch HalAs protesters hit the streets of all major towns and cities of the country against Saturday’s bloodbath in Quetta, the Shia Hazara community refused to bury their dead once again until the army took control of the Balochistan capital. On Sunday, Quetta mourned the victims of the deadly bomb attack with a shutter-down strike as the death toll soared past 80. Many more, among them women and children, are still fighting for life at the major hospitals of the city. The Hazara community had staged a four-day protest vigil with bodies of their loved-ones on their side following a vicious twin suicide bomb attacks in the Alamdar Road neighbourhood of Quetta on January 10. They called off the protest and buried the dead after President Asif Ali Zardari imposed governor’s rule in the province in an effort to stem the tide of violence targeted against the Hazara community. Sunday was also the chehlum of the victims of Alamdar Road bombings. The Hazara community staged separate protest sits-in on Alamdar Road and Hazara Town neighbourhoods. They demand the army take control of the city and launch a targeted operation against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the outlawed sectarian militant group that has claimed responsibility for most violence against the Hazara community. The community leaders faulted the government for unabated attacks and set a 48-hour deadline for authorities to arrest the perpetrators of the Hazara Town carnage. “We are giving the government 48 hours to arrest the culprits involved in the killings of our people, or else we will launch as massive protest,” Aziz Hazara, the vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), told a news conference. “The government is responsible for terrorist attacks because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups,” he added. Aziz accused the government of turning a blind eye to what he called genocide of Hazaras. “The government had promised us protection against sectarian killers after the Alamdar Road blasts – it has not followed up on its promise.” Attacks like Saturday’s could have been averted, had the government cracked down effectively on sectarian terrorists, Aziz said and warned that the spiraling violence could push the country towards “civil war”. Seventy bodies have been shifted to an Imambargah in Hazara Town to protest the government’s apathy, Idrees Ahmed, a Hazara community member told The Express Tribune. Arrangements had been finalised for a mass burial on Saturday night. However, it was put off on the call of a Shia representative organisation, Majlis-e-Wahadatul Muslimeen (MWM). The president of the Balochistan Shia Conference, Daud Agha, claimed the burial was postponed due to the nightfall, but MWM leader Syed Hadi told The Express Tribune that the bodies would not be buried until the community’s demands were met. Deathh Toll Soars Overnigth On the other hand, DIG Operations Wazir Khan Nasir confirmed that the death toll from Saturday’s bombing has risen to 84. “Another 180 people are being treated for their wounds at Quetta’s hospitals,” he added. Another police official feared that the count could go up because nearly two dozen injured have life-threatening wounds. At the blast site, people continued to sift through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Sunday to search for survivors or casualties. Relatives of the victims responded to an appeal for blood donations from the city’s hospitals. “The government knows who is behind all this,” said Mohammad Imran, a local trader. “If the government wants (to prevent it), no one can take even a kitchen knife into any market.” Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, however, held the intelligence agencies and security forces responsible for the deadly blast. “The terrorist attack on the Hazara community is a failure of the intelligence agencies and security forces,” he said while visiting the victims at a hospital.
http://www.washingtonpost.comNewly-minted White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Sunday reiterated that President Obama will be prepared to offer his own immigration reform proposal if a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill falls short. McDonough’s comments came on the heels of a USA Today report that said the White House is drafting a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to seek permanent legal residency within eight years. “The fact of this report … I think all it says to me is that we are doing exactly what we said we would do,” McDonough said on NBC News’ “Meet The Press.” “Which is we’ll be prepared in the event that the bipartisan talks going on the hill — which by the way we’re very aggressively supporting — if those do not work out, then we’ll have an option that will be ready to put out there.” Some high-profile Republicans expressed immediate concern about the proposal the White House is reportedly drafting. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is part of a bipartisan Senate group working on immigration reform, said in a statement that “the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that “leaking this out does set things in the wrong direction.” The former vice presidential nominee added that “putting these details out without a guest worker program, without addressing future flow, by giving advantage to those who cut in front of the line for immigrants who came here legally, not dealing with border security adequately, that tells us that he’s looking for a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution.” McDonough said on “This Week” that the White House has “not proposed anything to Capitol Hill yet.” He added that the White House has been working with members of Congress, and pressed them to act so that the president does not have to offer his own plan. “We’re going to continue to work with Sen. Rubio and others on this,” McDonough said on ABC News. “But he says it’s dead on arrival if it’s proposed. Well, let’s make sure that it doesn’t have to be proposed. Let’s make sure that that group up there, the gang of eight, makes good progress on these efforts, as much as they say they want to, and that’s exactly what we intend to do, to work with them.”
http://www.shiitenews.comPakistani nation has many questions for the three eminent figures who outlawed terrorist group Taliban trusted as guarantors. Can they justify the unjustifiable inhuman and unjust actions and reactions of the notorious Taliban? First, what Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for notorious takfiri nasbi terrorist group outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has said in the latest video message? He said that PMLN Chief Nawaz Sharif, JUIF Chief Fazal ur Rehman and JI Chief Munawar Hassan should guarantee on behalf of Pakistan army and government would for future agreement with them. He has demanded that five Taliban terrorists arrested and jailed in Pakistan should be freed and they would hold parleys on behalf of their notorious outfit. Among them are: Haji Muslim Khan, Molvi Umar and Maulana Mehmood. Maulvi Umar, a TTP spokesperson and a close associate of Hakimullah’s predecessor Baitullah Mehsud, was captured by security forces in August 2009. Muslim Khan, the spokesman of the infamous Mullah Fazlullah, the TTP chief in Swat, was arrested a month later following a major military operation in the region in September 2009. These notorious Taliban had publicly called for massacre of families of Pakistan army personnel and they also claimed responsibility for the massacre of people in Taliban’s suicidal attacks. The holy shrines of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, of Shah Abdul Latif alias Bari Sarkar Islamabad, Baba Farid Ganj Shakar in Pak Patan, Rehman Baba in NWFP and shrines of great Islamic saints in Balochistan came under ferocious attacks of Taliban terrorists. Mufti Sarfaraz Naeemi, a Sunni Bralevi scholar, Khuwaja Khan Mohammad, a Deobandi scholar, Allama Saqlain Kazmi and Aftab Haider Jafri, Shia scholars were also murdered by Taliban and their offshoots. Taliban are responsible for genocide of Shia Muslims across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Suicidal attacks on Shia pilgrims and beheading of Shiites and armed forces personnel are also among the heinous crimes of Taliban and their offshoots. Pakistan army, air force and naval forces have also been attacked by these terrorists. Ehsanullah Ehsan admitted that Pakistan armed forces are the biggest force in Pakistan but General Headquarters, the most power institution of Pakistani armed forces was also attacked by Taliban. Nawaz Sharif, Fazal ur Rehman and Munawar Hassan have to clarify their positions on these terrorist attacks of Taliban. When Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister, Afghan Taliban-trained notorious terrorist Riaz Basra attacked Nawaz Sharif in which a bridge on Raiwind road was damaged. Shahbaz Sharif, then chief minister had on record said that Taliban-trained terrorists were involved in target killings of people in Punjab. He had launched operation against them and police killed them. Munawar Hassan should not forget what Qazi Hussain Ahmed, his predecessor said about Taliban. They were so rigid that they hit TV sets with tanks to destroy the TV sets. These are a few examples of the terrorist acts of notorious Taliban. These three Pakistani leaders have also to clarify their position on Abdullah Mehsud and his successors up to Hakeemullah Mehsud who attacked Pakistani interests and worked as proxy for United States in Pakistan. They murdered Chinese Engineers. Abdullah Mehsud was an Afghan national and he committed suicide fearing arrest in Balochistan. He was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2004 and we witnessed why he was released and sent to Pakistan. Haji Muslim Khan lived in Boston, United States. These merciless terrorists involved in genocide of Pakistani Muslims and attacks on interests of Pakistan and Pakistan’s friendly countries should not be allowed amnesty. They are terrorists and insurgents and they deserve capital and exemplary punishment. Pakistani nation wants guarantee from Nawaz Sharif, Munawar Hassan and Fazal ur Rehman if they would stand shoulder to shoulder to Pakistani nation and back this legitimate demand.
An Iranian lawmaker condemns the recent bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims in a market in southwestern Pakistan, blaming extremists for such acts of terror. On Sunday, member of the Majlis Presiding Board Alireza Monadi Sefidaan expressed regret for the deadly attacks on Pakistan’s Shia communities, and said the promotion of Wahhabi-inspired anti-Shia ideology poses a serious challenge to both the Islamabad government and the Muslim world. He added that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has targeted Shia Muslims across Pakistan over the past few years, and is pursuing its long-term goal of exterminating Shias using religious excuses. Monadi Sefidaan also criticized senior Pakistani officials for their failure to protect Shias from recurring sectarian attacks. "The negligence of the Pakistani central government in providing security for the Shia in the country has caused these terrorist groups to kill Shias easily and without any concern [as part of efforts] to change the demographic population of Pakistan through the massacre of the Shias," he pointed out. The Iranian lawmaker criticized the silence of international organizations over attacks against Pakistani Shias, calling on the United Nations and international humanitarian foundations to take effective measures and stop the violence. Dozens of people were killed in a bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, located 700 kilometers (435 miles) southwest of the capital Islamabad, on Saturday. According to the police, most of the victims were Hazara Shias. Burnt school bags and books of schoolchildren were scattered everywhere, witnesses said. Nearly 200 people were also wounded in the attack. According to Human Rights Watch, the Pakistani government has failed to stop violence against Shias, who account for around 20 percent of the 167-million-strong population of the country. The pro-Taliban militants have been involved in a violent campaign against Shia Muslims in Pakistan over the past years.
Saudi forces have arrested a young woman in the capital, Riyadh, for driving after her car crashed, local sources reported. According to Qatif news agency, the driver was a university student and she was accompanied by two other women at the time of the accident. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving. The ban is not enforced by law but is a religious fatwa imposed by the country's Wahhabi clerics. If women get behind the wheel in the kingdom, they may be arrested, sent to court and even flogged. In 2011, a Saudi woman was jailed after she posted a video of herself driving in the Saudi city of Khobar on YouTube. Saudi women have mounted several campaigns to try and overturn the ban in recent years. In June 2012, hundreds of Saudi women petitioned the Kingdom’s ruler King Abdullah to reconsider the ban on women driving and allow them to get behind the wheel. "We only want to enjoy the right to drive like all women all over the world," said the petition. They also called on King Abdullah to "establish driving schools for women and (begin) issuing licenses," saying that 5,000 Saudi women have applied for driving licenses in 2012.
EDITORIAL: DAILY TIMESIn what may well be Pakistan’s darkest hour, another sectarian attack has taken place, turning the tide on any hopes there may have been for peace and coexistence. Some 80 people have been killed and scores more injured after a remote controlled bomb went off in Hazara Town, which is a Shia-dominated locality situated on the outskirts of Quetta. The attack was particularly deadly because a huge quantity of explosives were used — 800 kilogrammes packed inside a water tanker near a market place thronging with men, women and children. A building collapsed in the explosion, adding to the toll of people wounded and killed. The extremist sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has taken responsibility for this cold-blooded attack. This heinous act comes on the heels of the January 10, 2013 double suicide bombing on Alamdar Road in Quetta in which some 100 people were killed, most of them Hazaras. To say that we are moving steadily and surely towards all out genocide would be a mere stating of the facts; the battle lines have clearly been drawn by fundamentalist militants who are hell-bent upon eliminating a minority group that consists of 20 percent of Pakistan’s population. In response to the attack in January, relatives of those Hazaras who had been brutally wiped out took to the streets with the dead bodies of their loved ones. Their heartbreaking protest was so profound that it resulted in changing the political structure in the province with the dismissal of the Balochistan government and imposition of Governor’s rule. On Sunday, the families of the victims of this latest massacre once again refused to bury their dead. What will the authorities do now? What protest can be bigger or more tragic than the one they have already staged and are again staging? Their lot has not changed and, hence, neither has that of the country. There is dire need for change in the way our intelligence and security agencies are handling the situation. Sectarian war is being waged in the country and the intelligence network has proved itself as inefficient and incompetent when it comes to protecting the citizens, particularly the Hazara community, which has seen too much of its blood spilt recently — from deadly suicide and remote controlled bomb attacks to gunmen routinely gunning down busloads of Hazara passengers. The fact that these attacks continue unabated should have served as an eye-opener to our intelligence agencies a long time ago but we still see gruesome crimes like the one on Saturday. The ‘banned’ LeJ has proudly taken ‘credit’ for the attack, fully endorsing this bloodshed in the name of some warped religious ideology. Then how is it that the leader of LeJ, Malik Ishaq, is still out there, a free man? Why has he not been hauled up when his organisation openly claims responsibility for these atrocities? This is the state of the country we live in. Extremist groups and radical individuals were already targeting the Ahmedi community, Hindus and Christians in Pakistan and now it is time for the Shias to bear the torture of what it means to be a minority in Pakistan. It is high time our security and intelligence agencies cut out the nonsense that disguises itself as strategy, planning and securing the citizens. It is time these agencies atarted working for the good of their people, particularly those who are in a minority in what is fast becoming an extremist society. How many more people have to die before a change is seen?
Young street seller and teenage Afghani actor to get Hollywood treatment as stars of nominated film.Fawad Mohammadi has spent half his life peddling maps and dictionaries to foreigners on a street of trinket shops in Kabul. Now the 14-year-old Afghan boy with bright green eyes is getting ready for a trip down the red carpet at the Oscars. It will also be his first time out of the country and his first time on a plane. Mohammadi was plucked from the dingy streets of the Afghan capital to be one of the main stars of Buzkashi Boys, a coming-of-age movie filmed entirely in a war zone and nominated in the best live action short film category. The movie is about two penniless young boys, a street urchin and a blacksmith's son, who are best friends and dream of becoming professional players of buzkashi, a particularly rough and dangerous game that somewhat resembles polo: Horseback riders wrangle to get a headless goat carcass into a circular goal at one end of the field. It is also part of an American director's effort to help revive a film industry devastated by decades of civil war and by the Taleban, an Islamic fundamentalist movement that banned entertainment and burned films and cinemas during its five years in power.Sam French, a Philadelphia native who has lived in Afghanistan for about five years, said his 28-minute movie was initially conceived as a way of training local film industry workers, the first instalment in his non-profit Afghan Film Project. "We never dreamed of having the film come this far and get an Oscar nomination," French, 36, said in Los Angeles where he is preparing for the February 24 Academy Awards and raising money to fly the two young co-stars in for the ceremony. The two boys playing the main characters - Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz - can barely contain their excitement about going to the Oscars. "It will be a great honour for me and for Afghanistan to meet the world's most famous actors," said Mohammadi, whose real-life dream is to become a pilot. The farthest Mohammadi has travelled was to the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Mohammadi's father died a few years ago, leaving him with his mother, five brothers and a sister. He started selling chewing gum when he was about 7 years old and soon expanded his trade to maps and dictionaries. He learned to speak English hustling foreigners on Chicken St, the main tourist area in Kabul with shops selling multi-coloured rugs, lapis bowls and other crafts and souvenirs, and gained a reputation for being polite, helpful and trustworthy. He was even able to enroll in a private school, thanks to the generosity of some other foreigners unrelated to the film project. In the movie Mohammadi plays the blacksmith's son, Rafi, whose father wants him to follow in his footsteps. "His life was so much harder than mine," Mohammadi said. "The blacksmith made him go out on the streets. I came myself here [to Chicken St]. My family didn't make me come. I wanted to make money to feed myself and to feed my family. He didn't have a home. They lived in the blacksmith shop." Ironically it is not Mohammadi but Paiz, the youngest son of a well-known Afghan actor, who plays the homeless boy Ahmad. Paiz, also 14, already was an experienced actor: He has appeared in films since the age of 5 and has gone to the Cannes Film Festival. Paiz and Mohammadi had a lot to learn from each other and became friends. Paiz gave Mohammadi tips for acting and handling himself in interviews, whileMohammadi taught Paiz about life outside his sheltered surroundings. "When I saw Fawad was such a good actor even though he was a street boy and he was so brave in acting, I was very surprised and I said to myself, 'Everybody can achieve what they desire to do'," Paiz said. French, who co-wrote the script and produced Buzkashi Boys with Martin Roe of the Los Angeles-based production company Dirty Robber, launched a fundraising drive that has raised almost US$10,000 ($11,800) so far to help bring the boys to Los Angeles for the ceremony. Any extra money will be placed in a fund to provide for Mohammadi's education and help his family. The boys will travel with an escort and will stay with the extended Afghan family of one of the film's producers, French said.
http://www.telegraph.co.ukShia leaders and the governor of the south-western Pakistani province of Baluchistan said not enough had been done to tackle the threat from Sunni terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta. More than 160 people were also injured in the blast on Saturday, when a bomb in a water tanker ripped through a busy market in the provincial market. Human rights organisations accused the government and military of turning a blind eye to sectarian violence after a double bombing in the city last month killed 92 people, mostly from the Shia Hazara community. Aziz Hazara, vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party, said on Sunday: "The government is responsible for terrorist attacks and killings in the Hazara community because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups." The two attacks suggest 2013 is going to be every bit as bloody as 2012, when more than 400 Shias were killed.Angry demonstrations in January – when dozens of bodies remained unburied for days in protest at the attacks - saw the provincial government suspended and Islamabad take control through its governor, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi. "The terrorist attack on the Hazara Shia community in Quetta is a failure of the intelligence and security forces," he said.
The death toll in Saturday’s bomb blast near Hazara Town in Quetta climbed to 84 and triggered another wave of protest across the country against sectarian violence and the inability of the powers that be to round up the terrorists unleashing such carnage with regular impunity. Most of the dead were Hazara Shias; a community that has been repeatedly targeted over the past couple of years. The dead included many women and children; some of whom were charred beyond recognition because of the fire that followed the massive explosion heard all over Quetta. The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack and said the target was the Shia community of Hazara Town. Along with their dead, members of the Hazara Shia community picketed a thoroughfare of Quetta on Sunday demanding action against LeJ and refusing to bury those killed until those responsible were rounded up. A similar protest in January – following serial blasts in Quetta targeting the Hazara Shias – saw the federal government dismiss the provincial government and declare Governor’s Rule in Balochistan. Since Governor’s Rule and more powers to the security forces in the province has had little impact on sectarian violence, the Hazara Shias this time round have become more vocal in demanding action against LeJ despite the inherent risks in naming the organisation that wants Shias to be declared infidels in Pakistan. Even as protests spread to different parts of the country – including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi – mass graves were dug up in Quetta for the burial of those killed in the blast. Emotionally drained by the unrelenting attack on their community, the Hazara Shias lamented that they now had no burial space for their dead; such is the rate at which they are being killed.
A day of mourning is being observed in Sindh and Balochistan over the killing of 80 people in Quetta on Saturday, our sources reported. Mourning day is being observed in both the provinces on government level. The national flag will remain half-mast in Sindh and Balochistan. Meanwhile, Hazara Democratic Party has appealed for shutter down strike in Quetta against the blast. Political and religious parties have supported it. Karachi Goods Transporters Association and Oil Tankers Association have also announced to halt supply of goods across the country. President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Governor Balochistan Zulfiqar Magsi and directed him to monitor relief operation himself besides providing security to Hazara community. Meanwhile, announcing compensation for the bereaved families of Quetta blast victims, Governor Balochistan, Zulfikar Magsi, Saturday night pinned the rampant terrorism on the intelligence agencies' failure to do their job, our sources reported. "Seemingly, the agents are either too scared to go after the terror-mongers or too clueless to even know who they are dealing with", said he talking to media here after visiting Combine Military Hospital (CMH) to inquire after the health of victims,. They have no idea whatsoever, what's going on, which is alarming, Magsi added. "It's their job to preempt such attacks. That's what they are paid for. Alas! They failed all these innocent people who died in this catastrophic bomb blast", the governor said further. Magsi also announced a compensation worth Rs100,000 for the bereaved families of each fatal victim of the Quetta blast.
Angry residents on Sunday demanded government protection from an onslaught of attacks against Shiite Muslims, a day after 81 people were killed in a massive bombing that a local official said was a sign that security agencies were too scared to do their jobs. Saturday's blast at a produce market in the city of Quetta also wounded 160 people and underlined the precarious situation for Shiites living in a majority Sunni country where many extremist groups don't consider them real Muslims. Most of the dead and wounded were Hazaras, an ethnic group that migrated from Afghanistan over a century ago. Shiite Muslims, including Hazaras, have often been targeted by Sunni extremists in the province of Baluchistan where Quetta is the capital, the southern city of Karachi and northwestern Pakistan. At the blast site, members of the Hazara community helped authorities dig through rubble to find the dead or survivors. Most of their efforts were focused on a two-story building that was completely destroyed. More than 20 shops nearby were also demolished. Clothing and shoes were scattered through the concrete rubble, broken steel bars and shattered wooden window frames littering the streets. One of those helping, 40-year-old Qurban Ali, was instructing young people to be patient and careful while removing the rubble, lest they hurt themselves or survivors still buried in the debris. His cousin Abbas was still missing after the blast. Like many Hazaras, he lashed out at the people who perpetrated the violence. "Who are these people who made us Hazara so grim and sad? Why are they after us?" he asked. "Not one month or week passes here without the killing of a member of the Hazara community ... Why is the government — both central and provincial — so lethargic in protecting Shiites?" Near the rubble, a group of more than 50 women were wailing and beating their heads in mourning. On the road to the neighborhood where the attack occurred, Hazara youth burned tires and chanted for the arrests of the killers. A number of Shiite groups also staged a sit-in and were demanding the immediate removal of the chief secretary of Baluchistan and the top police official, said Rahim Jaffery, who heads a Shiite organization called the Council for the Protection of Mourning. "We are demanding the city (protection) be handed over to the army so that the killing of Hazara Shiites can be stopped," he said. Jaffery said a mass funeral for the victims had been planned for Sunday afternoon but all Shiite groups were meeting to decide whether to stage a protest similar to one in January when they refused to bury their dead for four days. That protest led the prime minister to sack the chief minister of the province and his cabinet and put Governor Zulfiqar Magsi directly in charge of the region — a move that many Shiites thought would help protect their community. But the governor's comments revealed his frustration at a job growing ever more difficult. Magsi said the blast was the result of a failure of the security and intelligence agencies in the province. "Officials and personnel of these institutions are scared (of the terrorists). Therefore they don't take action against them," he said in comments that were broadcast on local television. A militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi called one local television station to claim responsibility for the attack. Pakistan's intelligence agencies helped nurture Sunni militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the 1980s and 1990s to counter a perceived threat from neighboring Iran, which is mostly Shiite. Pakistan banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 2001, but the group continues to operate fairly freely in their war against Shiites. Last year was particularly deadly for Shiites in Pakistan. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 were killed in targeted attacks across the country. The human rights group said more than 125 were killed in Baluchistan province, most of whom belonged to the Hazara community. Human rights groups have accused the government of not doing enough to protect Shiites.
By Reuters/http://tribune.com.pkPakistan’s unpopular government, which is gearing up for elections expected within months, faced growing anger on Sunday for failing to deliver stability after a sectarian bombing in the city of Quetta killed 81 people. The country’s leaders have done little to contain hard-line Sunni Muslim groups which have stepped up a campaign of bombings and assassinations of minority Shias. On Saturday, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), seen as the most ruthless Sunni sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, which deepened suspicions among Shias that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were turning a blind eye to the bloodshed or even supporting extremists. “The terrorist attack on the Hazara Shia community in Quetta is a failure of the intelligence and security forces,” Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, governor of Balochistan province, said while touring a hospital. Leaders of the ethnic Shia Hazara community called on the government to take decisive action, and Pakistanis warned that sectarian violence was spiraling out of control. “The government is responsible for terrorist attacks and killings in the Hazara community because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups,” said Aziz Hazara, vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party. “We are giving the government 48 hours to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of our people and after that we will launch strong protests.” The death toll from Saturday’s bombing rose overnight, with most of the casualties in the main bazaar of the town, capital of Baluchistan, near the border with Afghanistan. Most of the dead were Hazaras. A senior security official said the figure could rise as 20 people were critically wounded. On Sunday, people searched for survivors under blocks of cement torn off buildings by the blast. A large blood stain could be seen on a wall near the site. Many shops and bazaars were closed. Relatives of the wounded responded for an appeal for blood made by hospitals. “The government knows exactly who is doing what and who is behind all this,” said Mohammad Imran, a local trader. “If the government wants (to prevent it), no one can take even a kitchen knife into any market.” In the capital Islamabad, about 400 people, including some Sunnis, staged a protest demanding the government to stamp out extremism. “There is a law of the jungle, but in this country I think there is not even a law of the jungle,” said Syed Abbas Naqvi, a Shi’ite. “A person who is extremely helpless, vulnerable and powerless is always made the target of barbarity whereas all brutal people like the terrorists, Taliban and others who carry out these merciless acts, roam free all over the country.” Protests were also held in other cities, including the commercial capital Karachi, and in Quetta. Poverty, corruption, power cuts Public anger has been growing over a host of other issues in the run-up to elections, from widespread poverty to power cuts to corruption. But waves of major sectarian attacks have highlighted its poor track record on security. Critics say Pakistan’s intelligence agencies previously supported groups like LeJ to fight against Indian forces in Kashmir and failed subsequently to control them. Now Shias in Quetta and other cities say they are under siege. “We have grown tired of picking up the bodies of our loved ones,” said Nasir Ali, 45, a government employee. “I have lost three family members so far in such blasts.” LeJ has also said it was behind a bombing last month in Quetta which killed nearly 100 people, one of Pakistan’s worst sectarian attacks. After that incident, Shia leaders called on Pakistan’s military to take over security in Quetta and take on the LeJ. Sectarian violence is piling pressure on the US backed administration, which already faces a Taliban insurgency, to ensure stability. “Unless we decide to unite, we will continue to get killed, said Malik Afzal, a Sunni student. “Today they (Shias) have died. Tomorrow we (Sunni Muslims) will die. The next day, others will get killed.” Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by LeJ, want to destabilise the nation through sectarian violence and pave the way for a Sunni theocracy. More than 400 Shias were killed in Pakistan last year, many by hitmen or bombs.
At least 72 persons, including women and children, were killed and 177 others wounded in a massive explosion here in Hazara Town at Kirani road on Saturday, police said. Official sources confirmed the number of casualities, and said the explosives were fitted in the hidden cavities of a water tanker which went off at around 5:30pm. Police said the blast took place in Aliabad bazaar in Hazara Town when people were busy in their routine shopping. This resulted in the death of as many as 65 people on the spot, most of them from the Hazara Shia community. The other persons died after they were shifted to hospital, sources said. All the injured, some of them in a precarious condition, were rushed to different hospitals in the city, where an emergency had been declared. A large number of people also rushed to hospitals to inquire about the victims. The blast caused suspension of the electricity supply to the area. It was the second largest bomb attack to have hit the city. The Alamdar road blast of January 10, was the largest ever bomb explosion. Police experts said that more than 800kg explosives were used in the bomb. Police and law enforcement agencies reached the area, but the angry mob did not allow them to reach the spot. Later, Chief Secretary Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad directed Inspector General Police Balochistan Tariq Omer Khitab, Commissioner Quetta Kambar Dashti and Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mir Zubair to reach the spot and supervise the rescue operation. The blast created a 10-foot long and four-foot deep crater, said official sources. Eyewitnesses told The News that a large amount of smoke rose at the site after the big bang of the explosion which forced the people to run for safety. A man injured in the explosion, Shah Hussain, said he saw nothing but darkness. “When I opened my eyes in the hospital I was being treated.” Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi in his condolence message expressed deep concern over the Hazara town bomb explosion which claimed the lives of over 65 people. He directed the law enforcement to enhance the security and safety measures in the city. He directed the shifting of all the seriously injured to Karachi’s hospitals for the best medical treatment. Meanwhile, the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), JUI-F and others strongly condemned the blast. The HDP gave a shutter down strike call for today (Sunday) to protest against the explosion. Our correspondent/ agencies add: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf have strongly condemned the Quetta blast which resulted in the loss of precious lives and property. In their separate messages, they directed the concerned authorities to provide the best medical assistance to the injured. They expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and reiterated the resolve of the government to continue its fight against terrorism undeterred till its logical conclusion. Quaid-e-Millat Jafariya Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi, TNFJ chief Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi and Secretary General Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) Allama Nasir Abbas Jaffery also strongly condemned the blast in Quetta and demanded of the government to arrest the culprits behind the brutal act. In their separate statements, they said the elements behind such acts should be unmasked. The Shia Ulema Council also announced a three-day mourning throughout the country.
Editorial:The Baloch HalMore than 60 people, mostly members of the Hazara community or the followers of Shia Islam, were killed on Saturday in Quetta city. Activists linked to the “banned” Sunni-militant organization, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, have accepted responsibility for the attack which was carried out in Hazara Town area, an economically poor Hazara-majority neighborhood. Considering the impunity with which the Lashkar carries out these terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, one often sounds incorrect to describe it as a ‘banned’ organization. On the contrary, the so-called banned organization remains in the news more regularly than most other political and religious organizations because it keeps carrying out attacks after attacks. Yesterday’s massive bombing comes only a month after the extraordinary bombings on January 10 which killed more than 100 people, mostly Shias and Hazaras. That said, nothing has changed in the troubled province even after the imposition of the governor’s rule. Since the Balochistan government was sacked because of its failure to establish peace in the province, the government has not made a single public statement against sectarian groups nor has it come forward with a clear policy to grapple with the menace of terrorism employed in the name of religion. People should not be fooled by the mere statements of condemnation from the President, the Prime Minister and other important political figures. Because these statements are already prepared and saved in official computers. The staff of political figures issue these statements to the media with minor changes in the existing template as soon as they come across a breaking news on the television channels. Politicians mean their publicity. When a political leader ‘condemns’ an act of terror, it should only be treated as political rhetoric. Rulers should be trusted only when their actions speak louder than their words. Sometimes, their statements of condemnation are printed or put on air even before they hear about a tragedy. So, let’s stop debating which leader condemned a terrorist attack. What we should be asking as the real question is what the government and these political parties have done to truly address the issue of sectarian attacks. Unfortunately, the answer is ‘nothing’. Since the imposition of the governor’s rule, the government has not detained even a single Lashkar activist which clearly gives credence to the speculations that the religious extremist groups enjoy the support of the Pakistani security establishment. When the Human Rights Watch (H.R.W.), a globally respected human rights watchdog, accused the security forces of having ties with these extremist groups, the Pakistani military reacted furiously and refuted the statement. Instead of taking the H.R.W. statement seriously and reviewing its flawed policies and connections supportive of Islamic extremist groups, the military described the H.R.W. statement as a ‘pack of lies’. By now, we should be clear: The killing of 80 innocent people is not a ‘pack of lies’. It is the sad reality of our times. The country’s security establishment and political leadership should stop their double game. Whatever support is offered to the Lashkar and other religious groups by the security establishment it should not end. We have caused enough damage to our populations by playing politics in the name of religion and the s0-called ‘national interest’ While Saturday’s attacks was more powerful but less deadly as compared to the one that took place on January 10th, the official response has been relatively more positive and encouraging. Unlike Balochistan’s indifferent former chief minister Nawab Raisani, Govenor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi demonstrated better leadership on Saturday. He has announced a day of official mourning; pledged a reward of Rs. ten million against anyone with information about the terrorists involved in Saturday’s killings and, above all, the governor visited the hospital to speak to the victims of the blast. Governor Magsi’s caring gesture is deeply reassuring for the aggrieved families although much more is expected of him and the government he leads in order to end the cycle of attacks against the Shias, Hazaras. Governor Magsi has held the failure of security agencies and intelligence agencies responsible for Saturday’s carnage. Since Balochistan currently lives under governor’s rule, Mr. Magsi is not separate from the government. As the chief executive of the province, he cannot get away from his responsibilities by only blaming the security apparatus. It is his responsibility to ensure good governance and transparency in the affairs of the government. The threat of the Lashkar has increased significantly in the recent times which has also resulted in the killing of several police officers. That said, the Lashkar, just like the Pakistani Taliban, are rapidly getting out of the government’s control. Within the government, the blame game should stop and authorities should cooperate with each other to make sure that more such attacks do not take place in the future. We need a grand strategy to get rid of these deadly attacks. Besides the government, religious scholars and members of the community should assist with authorities to bring the religious extremists to justice.
The Baloch HalThe banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an underground Sunni militant group that accepted responsibility for Saturyday’s deadly bomb blast in Quetta which killed around 80 people, has said it would continue its anti-Shia operations despite the governor’s rule or even if the military takes control of Balochistan. Abu Bakar Siddiq, a spokesman for the underground organization, told the local media on the telephone that government should not live under any illusions that his organization would stop its activities after the imposition of the governor’s rule. According to him, Saturday’s was a suicide blast carried out by “our friend Omar Farooq”. “We wish to warn the government that the governor’s rule cannot deter us from our obligation [to kill the Shias] and we want to tell the Shias that they should not consider themselves safe under the governor’s rule. Until Islamic rule, as guided by the companions of Prophet Mohammad, is enforced, Shias should not feel safe. We will attack them even if the army is called in Balochistan” The spokesman said it was the second attack his organization had carried out against the Shias this y ear (2013) but they possessed at least twenty more similar “ready trucks” such as the one used in Saturday’s attack on the Shias. All twenty of its “prepared suicide bombers” only await instructions from the top leadership of the organization. “We do not fear the governor rule or the military regime. We love to embrace martyrdom. Inshallah [god willing] we will attack the Shias inside their homes on Alamdar Road, Marri Abad Road and Hazara Town. We urge all the Sunnis to support us. They should attach bombs to their bodies against the Shias and ‘support’ the LeJ. The spokesman said, “either we or the Shias will live in Quetta.” He dispelled the impression that some elements in the government were supporting his organization. “We have never needed anyone’s help nor will we require that. We are solely fighting this war in Allah’s name which will end in making Balochistan a graveyard for the Shias.”
The death toll of Kerani Road bombing has reached 80, bringing the number of injured down to 173 as more of the critical victims succumbed to their wounds, Geo News reported. DIG Wazir Khan Nasir was reported by a foreign news agency as saying that all the dead belonged to Hazara community and the death toll might rise. A large number of women and children are among the victims of the mega blast that hit Quetta on Saturday. CCPO Quetta said the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) the terrorists planted in a watertank was armed with around 800-1000 kilograms of high-grade detonable material. He said people with critical injuries would be flown to Karachi through military aircraft C-130. According to reports the explosion demolished several markets in the area. More casualties were feared as many of the injured were in critical condition. Adjacent areas reverberated with intense firing following the blast while heavy contingent of police and Frontier Corps (FC) rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area. They were not allowing people including media men to reach the spot. Rescue sources said plumes of smoke were seen shortly after the huge blast. Many vehicles were also damaged due to the blast. Enraged people took to the streets and protested the blast, pelting vehicles with stones and blocking roads. Most of the people were busy in shopping as the blast hit market. Various religious and political parties have announced to mark day of mourning over the tragic incident. Victims will not be buried until demands are met The Majlis-e-Wahadat-ul-Muslimeen said Sunday that the sit-in of the Hazara community would continue and victims would not be buried until their demands were met. The demands include calling in the army to take control of Balochistan and taking action against those involved in such horrific acts. HDP gives 48 hour ultimatum Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) has given a 48-hour ultimatum to authorities concerned for the arrest of miscreants involved in Kerani Road carnage. Addressing a hurriedly called press conference here on Sunday, vice chairman HDP Azizullah Hazara said they had given a 48-hour ultimatum to the authorities for the arrest of elements involved in the Kerani carnage, adding if the culprits were not brought to book, protests would be held outside BHC on daily basis. Mourning in Sindh, Balochistan The governments had Sindh and Balochistan observed a day of mourning over the killing of 80 people in Quetta on Saturday. Meanwhile a shutter down strike on the call of the Hazara Democratic Party was held in Quetta. Karachi Goods Transporters Association and Oil Tankers Association also announced to halt supply of goods across the country.