Tuesday, September 3, 2013

VIDEO: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala opens UK library

Khyal Mohammad Awaz Mung you da Khybar

Pashto song dedicated to DIEHARD PASHTUN/AFGHAN DR.NAJIB

Tribute to Ahmed Rushdi (FULL SHOW) Biography & Songs


persian song- Gul Pari

Pak military plotted to kill Asma Jehangir in India: US intelligence report

Pakistani military officials plotted to kill prominent human rights activist Asma Jahangir while she was on a visit to India, according to new US intelligence disclosures arising from the Snowden affair. The plan was evidently aborted after she learned of it and went public. But it is just one incident in a pattern of extrajudicial killings orchestrated by Pakistani military and intelligence leaders, according to classified documents given by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, which reported some episodes and extracts to protect perceived US interests vis-a-vis Pakistan. US spy agencies have for years reported senior Pakistani military and intelligence leaders were orchestrating a wave of extrajudicial killings of terrorism suspects and other militants, the paper said. It added in July 2011, an assessment of communications intercepts and other intelligence by the NSA concluded that the Pakistani military intelligence had continued over the preceding 16 months a pattern of lethally targeting perceived enemies without trial or due process. The killings, according to the NSA, occurred ''with the knowledge, if not consent, of senior officers''. The disclosure is important in the context of Pakistan's persistent denials of its use of terrorism, both domestically and against India. New Delhi alleges attacks against India, on the border and inside the country, are carried out by the Pakistani military intelligence. But Islamabad insists it is done by ''non-state actors,'' and on occasions has even gone to the extent of claiming India conducts terrorist attacks on itself and blames Pakistan. The US assessment of Pakistani behavior in this regard, particularly in its domestic context, is blunt, stark, and even self-incriminating. In fact, the Post report says, US officials repeatedly sought to keep evidence of Pakistani human rights abuses out of the public eye. A classified diplomatic cable sent from the US Embassy in Islamabad to officials in Washington in September 2009, raising concern about the extrajudicial killings of militants by Pakistani army units, advised against public disclosure of the incidents. It said it was more important to maintain support for the Pakistani armed forces. But while US publicly portrays Islamabad as an ally, the 178-page summary of the US intelligence community's so-called ''black budget'' reveals an intense focus on Pakistan as a toxic swamp of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. ''Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical US intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells. And fears about the security of its nuclear program are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else,'' the Post report says, alluding to the fact that despite such concerns, Washington has lavished $26 billion aid to the country over the past 12 years. The Snowden disclosures reveal the US is devoting tremendous amount of money, resources, and energy to assess Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and its safeguards. US agencies are focused on two particularly worrisome scenarios, the report said: the possibility that Pakistan's nuclear facilities might come under attack by Islamist militants, as its army headquarters in Rawalpindi did in 2009, and even greater concern that they might have penetrated the ranks of military or intelligence, putting them in a position to launch an insider attack or smuggle out nuclear material. Some success was reported in understanding the security of Pakistan nuclear arsenal. The black budget describes the creation of a Pakistan WMD Analysis Cell to track movements of nuclear materials. Agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Department, were able ''to develop and deploy a new compartmented collection capability'' that delivered a ''more comprehensive understanding of strategic weapons security in Pakistan''. Even so, ''the number of gaps associated with Pakistani nuclear security remains the same,'' the document said, and ''the questions associated with this intractable target are more complex''. The budget documents indicate US intelligence agencies are also focused on the security of the nuclear program in India, the report said, without providing details. Disclosure that India is also under US scrutiny in this regard should disabuse planners in New Delhi that Washington treats it as an ally in such matters.

One Indian woman killed on average every hour over dowry

Dowry-giving remains a widespread practice in India despite having been outlawed in 1961
A woman dies an average of nearly once an hour in India over dowry disputes, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, despite the fact that the practice has been outlawed since 1961.
The statistics bureau said last year, 8,233 women were killed across India because of crimes related to dowry payments given by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. The conviction rate, however, in dowry-related crimes remained a low 32 percent, the bureau published last week. Women's rights activists and police said that loopholes in dowry prevention laws, delays in prosecution and low conviction rates have led to a steady rise in the crimes. Suman Nalwa, a senior New Delhi police officer dealing with crimes against women, said dowry practices extended to all classes of society. "Even highly educated people don't say no to dowry," she said. Dowry demands have also become more insistent and expensive since India's economic boom, said Ranjana Kumari, a women's rights activist. On Tuesday, the Times of India reported that actress Sweta Mishra, who featured in several movies in her childhood, had been "tortured" by her husband for dowry. The Times said "she was not only 'forced' to sleep on the floor in freezing temperatures in Switzerland, where her husband works, but also beaten up by him, she has alleged." Last month, the Times reported that a young married woman living in a rural village "not only severely bashed up but also hanged and killed ... allegedly due to her failure to bring more dowry." In October 2012, a dowry-related crime was reported in international headlines when an Indian woman and her baby were set on fire in their sleep over a dowry-dispute. Family members said that the husband had been angry not only because dowry demands were not met, but also because their first child was a daughter instead of a son.

Top-secret U.S. intelligence files show new levels of distrust of Pakistan

By Greg Miller, Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman
The $52.6 billion U.S. intelligence arsenal is aimed mainly at unambiguous adversaries, including al-Qaeda, North Korea and Iran. But top-secret budget documents reveal an equally intense focus on one purported ally: Pakistan. No other nation draws as much scrutiny across so many categories of national security concern. A 178-page summary of the U.S. intelligence community’s “black budget” shows that the United States has ramped up its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, cites previously undisclosed concerns about biological and chemical sites there, and details efforts to assess the loyalties of counter­terrorism sources recruited by the CIA. Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical U.S. intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells. And fears about the security of its nuclear program are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else. The disclosures — based on documents provided to The Washington Post by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden — expose broad new levels of U.S. distrust in an already unsteady security partnership with Pakistan, a politically unstable country that faces rising Islamist militancy. They also reveal a more expansive effort to gather intelligence on Pakistan than U.S. officials have disclosed. The United States has delivered nearly $26 billion in aid to Pakistan over the past 12 years, aimed at stabilizing the country and ensuring its cooperation in counterterrorism efforts. But with Osama bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda degraded, U.S. spy agencies appear to be shifting their attention to dangers that have emerged beyond the patch of Pakistani territory patrolled by CIA drones. “If the Americans are expanding their surveillance capabilities, it can only mean one thing,” said Husain Haqqani, who until 2011 served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. “The mistrust now exceeds the trust.” Beyond the budget files, other classified documents provided to The Post expose fresh allegations of systemic human rights abuses in Pakistan. U.S. spy agencies reported that high-ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officials had been aware of — and possibly ordered — an extensive campaign of extrajudicial killings targeting militants and other adversaries. Public disclosure of those reports, based on communications intercepts from 2010 to 2012 and other intelligence, could have forced the Obama administration to sever aid to the Pakistani armed forces because of a U.S. law that prohibits military assistance to human rights abusers. But the documents indicate that administration officials decided not to press the issue, in order to preserve an already frayed relationship with the Pakistanis. In a statement, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council said the United States is “committed to a long-term partnership with Pakistan, and we remain fully engaged in building a relationship that is based on mutual interests and mutual respect.” “We have an ongoing strategic dialogue that addresses in a realistic fashion many of the key issues between us, from border management to counterterrorism, from nuclear security to promoting trade and investment,” said the spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden. “The United States and Pakistan share a strategic interest in combating the challenging security issues in Pakistan, and we continue to work closely with Pakistan’s professional and dedicated security forces to do so.” The Post agreed to withhold some details from the budget documents after consultations with U.S. officials, who expressed concern about jeopardizing ongoing operations and sources. A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment. Critical ‘intelligence gaps’ Stark assessments of Pakistan contained in the budget files seem at odds with the signals that U.S. officials have conveyed in public, partly to avoid fanning Pakistani suspicions that the United States is laying contingency plans to swoop in and seize control of the country’s nuclear complex. When Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. was asked during congressional testimony last year whether Pakistan had appropriate safeguards for its nuclear program, he replied, “I’m reasonably confident they do.” Facing a similar question this year, Clapper declined to discuss the matter in open session. But the classified budget overview he signed and submitted for fiscal 2013 warned that “knowledge of the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and associated material encompassed one of the most critical set of . . . intelligence gaps.” Those blind spots were especially worrisome, the document said, “given the political instability, terrorist threat and expanding inventory [of nuclear weapons] in that country.” The budget documents do not break down expenditures by country or estimate how much the U.S. government spends to spy on Pakistan. But the nation is at the center of two categories — counterterrorism and counter-proliferation — that dominate the black budget. In their proposal for fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, U.S. spy agencies sought $16.6 billion to fight al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and asked for $6.86 billion to counter the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Together, the two categories accounted for nearly half of the U.S. intelligence community’s budget request for this year. Detailed spreadsheets contain dozens of line items that correspond to operations in Pakistan. The CIA, for example, was scheduled to spend $2.6 billion on “covert action” programs around the world. Among the most expensive, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, is the armed drone campaign against al-Qaeda fighters and other militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt. U.S. intelligence analysts “produced hundreds of detailed and timely reports on shipments and pending deliveries of suspect cargoes” to Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Multiple U.S. agencies exploited the massive American security presence in Afghanistan — including a string of CIA bases and National Security Agency listening posts along the border mainly focused on militants — for broader intelligence on Pakistan. Anxiety over nuclear program After years of diplomatic conflict, significant sources of tension between the United States and Pakistan have begun to subside. The pace of CIA drone strikes has plunged, and two years have passed since U.S. leaders infuriated Islamabad by ordering the secret raid inside Pakistani territory that killed bin Laden. Although Pakistani anger has abated, Haqqani said the fallout from the raid had broader consequences than widely understood. “The discovery of bin Laden [in Pakistan] made the Americans think that the Pakistani state’s ability to know what happens within the country is a lot less than had been assumed,” said Haqqani, who is an international-relations professor at Boston University. That realization may have ratcheted up a long-standing source of concern: Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its nuclear materials and components. U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on two particularly worrisome scenarios: the possibility that Pakistan’s nuclear facilities might come under attack by Islamist militants, as its army headquarters in Rawalpindi did in 2009, and even greater concern that Islamist militants might have penetrated the ranks of Pakistan’s military or intelligence services, putting them in a position to launch an insider attack or smuggle out nuclear material. Pakistan has dozens of laboratories and production and storage sites scattered across the country. After developing warheads with highly enriched uranium, it has more recently tried to do the same with more-powerful and compact plutonium. The country is estimated to have as many as 120 nuclear weapons, and the budget documents indicate that U.S. intelligence agencies suspect that Pakistan is adding to that stockpile. Little is known about how it moves materials among its facilities, an area that experts have cited as a potential vulnerability. “Nobody knows how they truly do it,” said Feroz Khan, a retired Pakistani military officer and director of arms control who lectures at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “Vehicles move in a stealthy manner and move with security. But it’s not clear whether the cores are moved to the warheads or the warheads are moved to the core locations.” Concerns persist that extremists could seize components of the stockpile or trigger a war with neighboring India. Pakistan also has a track record of exporting nuclear technology to countries that are on Washington’s blacklist. Pakistan has accepted some security training from the CIA, but U.S. export restrictions and Pakistani suspicions have prevented the two countries from sharing the most sophisticated technology for safeguarding nuclear components. U.S. anxiety over Pakistan’s nuclear program appears to be driven more by uncertainty about how it is run than specific intelligence indicating that its systems are vulnerable, according to the budget documents. A lengthy section on counter-proliferation starts with a single goal: “Make Quantitative and Qualitative Progress against Pakistan Nuclear Gaps.” A table indicates that U.S. spy agencies have identified at least six areas in which their understanding of Pakistan’s weapons programs is deficient. U.S. agencies reported gaining valuable information through “extensive efforts to increase understanding of the transfer and storage of the associated materials.” The budget describes the creation of a Pakistan WMD Analysis Cell to track movements of nuclear materials. Agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Department, were able “to develop and deploy a new compartmented collection capability” that delivered a “more comprehensive understanding of strategic weapons security in Pakistan.” Even so, “the number of gaps associated with Pakistani nuclear security remains the same,” the document said, and “the questions associated with this intractable target are more complex.” The budget documents indicate that U.S. intelligence agencies are also focused on the security of the nuclear program in India, ­Pakistan’s arch-rival. Other fields under scrutiny U.S. surveillance of Pakistan extends far beyond its nuclear program. There are several references in the black budget to expanding U.S. scrutiny of chemical and biological laboratories. The country is not thought to be running a rogue chemical or biological weapons program, but U.S. intelligence officials fear that Islamists could seize materials from government-­run laboratories. Even American interdiction operations targeting other countries have stumbled into connections with Pakistan. In one case, a U.S. effort to block an Iranian shipment through a Turkish port “proved to be even more successful when aluminum powder destined for Pakistan was also discovered and detained,” according to the documents. Aluminum powder can be used to increase the power of explosives. The budget documents don’t disclose CIA payments to its Pakistani counterpart, the Inter- Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, which former officials said has totaled tens of millions of dollars. The documents do show that the CIA has developed sophisticated means of assessing the loyalties of informants who have helped the agency find al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan’s tribal region. Those measures, which The Post has agreed not to disclose, have allowed the CIA to “gain confidence in each asset’s authenticity, reliability and freedom from hostile control.” Extrajudicial killings Other classified documents given to The Post by Snowden reveal that U.S. spy agencies for years reported that senior Pakistani military and intelligence leaders were orchestrating a wave of extrajudicial killings of terrorism suspects and other militants. In July 2011, an assessment of communications intercepts and other intelligence by the NSA concluded that the Pakistani military and intelligence services had continued over the preceding 16 months a pattern of lethally targeting perceived enemies without trial or due process. The killings, according to the NSA, occurred “with the knowledge, if not consent, of senior officers.” The NSA cited two senior Pakistani officials who “apparently ordered some of the killings or were at least aware of them,” read a summary of the top-secret NSA report, titled “Pakistan/Human Rights: Extrajudicial Killings Conducted With Consent of Senior Intelligence Officials.” The report summary did not provide an estimate of how many people had been killed or their identities. But it generally described the targets as people whom the Pakistani security forces viewed as “undeniably linked to terrorist activity” or responsible for attacks on Pakistan’s armed forces. The killings “seemed to serve the purpose of dispensing what the military considered swift justice,” the intelligence assessment stated. Pakistani authorities “were conscious of not arousing suspicions. The number of victims at a given time tended to be very small. Furthermore, the military took care to make the deaths seem to occur in the course of counterinsurgency operations, from natural causes, or as the result of personal vendettas.” Although Pakistan has been engaged for years in open warfare with Taliban factions and other domestic insurgents, the NSA placed the extrajudicial killings in a much darker category. Pakistani police forces “were reluctant to carry out the killings,” the report said. The NSA compiled its report shortly after the public exposure of other alleged Pakistani atrocities. In June 2010, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan charged that Pakistani forces had carried out more than 280 summary executions during an offensive against Taliban fighters and other militants, mostly in the Swat Valley. Five months later, a video surfaced on the Internet showing Pakistani soldiers executing six blindfolded men with their hands tied behind their backs. An international outcry over the latter incident prompted the Obama administration to withhold aid — but only to a handful of low-level Pakistani army units thought to have been involved in such incidents. At the time, Pakistani officials dismissed the video and other reports of summary executions as Taliban propaganda, but they later reversed course and launched an internal investigation. Pakistan’s military leaders insisted publicly that they had zero tolerance for such incidents. Human rights abuses It was not the first time that U.S. officials sought to keep evidence of Pakistani human rights abuses out of the public eye. A classified diplomatic cable, sent from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to officials in Washington in September 2009, also raised concern about the extrajudicial killings of militants by Pakistani army units. But the cable — originally released in 2010 by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks — advised against public disclosure of the incidents, saying it was more important to maintain support for the Pakistani armed forces. U.S. intelligence officials have kept quiet about other signs of human rights abuses by the Pakistani military, even though their classified reporting on the subject underscores persistent concerns. In September 2011, the summary of a top-secret report from a Defense Intelligence Agency task force cited the “systemic practice” of unlawful killings by Pakistani security forces in the tribal regions of western Pakistan. Pakistan had recently passed a law allowing the military to detain insurgents indefinitely and make it easier to convict them in civilian courts. But the DIA concluded that because extrajudicial killings were “condoned by senior officials” in Pakistan’s security establishment, the new law was unlikely to significantly reduce the number of deaths. Other U.S. intelligence documents indicate that Pakistani officials weren’t targeting just suspected insurgents. In May 2012, U.S. intelligence agencies discovered evidence of Pakistani officers plotting to “eliminate” a prominent human rights activist, Asma Jahangir, according to the summary of a top-secret DIA report. Jahangir had been a leading public critic of the ISI for years. The DIA report did not identify which officers were plotting to kill Jahangir, but it said the plan “included either tasking militants to kill her in India or tasking militants or criminals to kill her in Pakistan.” The U.S. agency said it did not know whether the ISI had given approval for the plot to proceed. Although the report speculated that the ISI was motivated to kill Jahangir “to quiet public criticism of the military,” the DIA noted that such a plot “would result in international and domestic backlash as ISI is already under significant criticism for intimidation and extra-­judicial killings.” News of the alleged plot became public a few weeks later when Jahangir gave a round of interviews to journalists, revealing that she had learned that Pakistani intelligence officials had marked her for death. The plot was never carried out.

President Zardari stresses national unity

President Asif Ali Zardari has called upon all the political forces to work together to further strengthen democracy and democratic institutions of the country. Delegations from KPK and Balochistan separately called on President Zardari here on Tuesday.
President Asif Ali Zardari mentioned that smooth and peaceful transition of power from one democratic government to another reflects that democracy has gradually taken roots in the country. Talking separately to delegations‚ the President said that policy of reconciliation have helped to strengthen democracy. The delegations appreciated President Zardari for his policy of reconciliation.

Syria: Debating the Case for Force

President Obama made the right decision to seek Congressional authorization for his announced plan to order unilateral military strikes against Syria for using chemical weapons. There has to be a vigorous and honest public debate on the use of military force, which could have huge consequences even if it is limited in scope and duration. If he is to win Congressional support, Mr. Obama and his top aides will have to explain in greater detail why they are so confident that the kind of military strikes that administration officials have described would deter President Bashar al-Assad of Syria from gassing his people again (American officials say more than 1,400 were killed on Aug. 21) rather than provoke him to unleash even greater atrocities. They will also have to explain how they can keep the United States from becoming mired in the Syrian civil war — something Mr. Obama, for sound reasons, has long resisted — and how military action will advance the cause of a political settlement: the only rational solution to the war. There is little doubt that President Obama wants to take military action. As Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday of Mr. Obama, “He believes we need to move. He’s made his decision. Now it’s up to the Congress of the United States to join him in affirming the international norm with respect to enforcement against the use of chemical weapons.” On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from Mr. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On Monday, Mr. Obama got tentative support from Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has been pushing for even broader military action and arming the rebels. Mr. McCain said Congressional rejection of military action would be “catastrophic” and would undermine the credibility of the president and the United States. It is unfortunate that Mr. Obama, who has been thoughtful and cautious about putting America into the Syrian conflict, has created a political situation in which his credibility could be challenged. He did that by publicly declaring that the use of chemical weapons would cross a red line that would result in an American response. Regardless, he should have long ago put in place, with our allies and partners, a plan for international action — starting with tough sanctions — if Mr. Assad used chemical weapons. It is alarming that Mr. Obama did not. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council, which has the responsibility to uphold treaties outlawing chemical weapons use, has failed to act in any way following the August attack, largely because of the opposition of Russia, Mr. Assad’s chief ally and arms supplier, and China. It is appalling that Russia and China have not been the focus of international outrage and pressure. The Arab League, representing some of the world’s most anti-Assad governments, on Sunday toughened its previous position when it called on the United Nations and the international community to take “necessary measures” against Syria’s government. But, feckless as ever, the League did not specify what measures it supported and, on Monday, the League’s secretary general said there should be no military action without a green light from the United Nations.

Kerry opens door to 'boots on ground' in Syria, then slams it shut

Secretary of State John Kerry briefly opened the door on Tuesday to authorizing U.S. ground troops in Syria, but quickly slammed it shut and told Congress that any resolution approving military force would prohibit "boots on the ground."
The exchange during the first public hearing in Congress on possible military action in Syria highlighted the worries of many lawmakers about authorizing U.S. military strikes to punish the Syrian government for using chemical weapons on civilians. Kerry initially told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he would prefer not to bar the use of ground troops in Syria to preserve President Barack Obama's options if Syria "imploded" or there was a threat of chemical weapons being obtained by extremists. "I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country," Kerry told the committee. But when Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the committee, told Kerry he "didn't find that a very appropriate response regarding boots on the ground," Kerry quickly, and repeatedly, backtracked. Kerry said he was simply "thinking out loud" and raising a hypothetical situation, but he did not want to leave the door open to sending ground troops to Syria. "Let's shut the door now," Kerry said. "The answer is, whatever prohibition clarifies it to Congress or the American people, there will not be American boots on the ground with respect to the civil war." The exchange came as Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Capitol Hill as part of the administration's push to persuade Congress to back Obama's plan to launch limited strikes on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons last month. Obama has asked Congress, which does not return in full from summer recess until next week, to authorize action in response to what the administration says was a sarin gas attack by the Syrian government that killed more than 1,400 people, hundreds of them children, near Damascus on August 21. Significant opposition to military force remains in Congress, where many lawmakers, including Obama's fellow Democrats, have said they are concerned the president's draft resolution is too open-ended and allow possible use of ground troops or eventual attacks on other countries. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday showed Obama has failed to convince most Americans of the need for a military strike in Syria. Some 56 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria, while only 19 percent favored action, the online poll found. The hearing was interrupted several times by shouting protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink who were escorted away by Capitol police. NO SUPPORT FOR 'BOOTS ON THE GROUND' "I don't think there are any of us here that are willing to support the possibility of having combat boots on the ground," Corker said. The resolution proposed by the administration authorizes Obama to use military force as necessary to "prevent or deter the use or proliferation" to or from Syria of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons One of the leading hawks on Syria in Obama's cabinet, Kerry assured lawmakers it would be easy to word a resolution on military force to reassure Congress and the public that the door in Syria was not open to ground troops. But Kerry also urged senators not to limit U.S. authority to strike Syria to "one specific moment," saying the military had follow-on strike options should Syria's government use chemical weapons again. Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said he hoped the writing of the resolution authorizing force would be written by the end of Tuesday so the panel could vote on Wednesday. He said the resolution would ensure it was not an open-ended engagement and "specifically not with boots on the ground, American troops on the ground." CREDIBILITY During their appearance, Kerry and Hagel told the committee that any military operation would be limited and specifically designed to degrade President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons capability. Hagel added that a failure to punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons would damage U.S. national security interests and American credibility. "A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America's other security commitments - including the president's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said. "The word of the United States must mean something." As Kerry and Hagel pressed their case for limited military strikes in Syria, Obama won support for action from two top Republicans in the House of Representatives - Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "Only the United States has the capability and the capacity to stop Assad and to warn others around the world that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated," Boehner told reporters. "I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action." The House, however, is seen as the more difficult chamber from which to win support. Kerry, Hagel and Dempsey are due to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Obama gets key support for Syria strike

Pakistan: Christian fear forced conversion to Islam in jail of Asia Bibi

Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC, Dr. Nazir S Bhatti in a statement released here today has feared that Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of 5, sentenced to death under blasphemy, serving in Multan jail can be enforcedly converted to Islam. Asia Bibi was arrested in June 2009, under charges of blasphemy Section 295 B and C PPC, subject to capital punishment on drinking water in cup of Muslim women when working in farm in his native village Ittan Wali in District Sheikhupura of Punjab province of Pakistan. As Christians are treated as infidels in Pakistan, the Muslim women coworkers of Asia Bibi claimed that she have made their drinking water cup as Unclean on which arguments aroused among them on which Muslim women blamed that Asia Bibi have defiled name of Prophet Mohammad. A Muslim mob attacked home of Asia Bibi and tortured her in her own home when area police arrived on scene and arrested her on charges of blasphemy. Asia Bibi was sent to District Jail Sheikhupura where she was kept in solitary confinement cell. In November 2010, Muhammed Naveed Iqbal, a judge at the court of Sheikhupura, Punjab, sentenced her to death by hanging. Additionally, a fine of the equivalent of $1,100 was imposed. An appeal was filed in Lahore High Court against death sentence to Asia Bibi by her husband Ashiq Masih which is still pending to hearing. Pope Benedict XVI and other international human right organization called for clemency for Asia Bibi on which fundamental Muslim elements created uproar and demanded death for Asia Bibi. The Islamists reaction was so furious that a “Fatwa” religious decree was issued by Muslim clerics to award 5 lacks of Pakistani rupees who will assassinate Asia Bibi. According to reports published in PCP after interview with some human right activists who succeeded to meet Asia Bibi in his Cell in District Jail Sheikhupura in year 2012, revealed that they found Islamic literature in her cell which Asia Bibi told that jail administration have provided her and one woman jail warden talks with her on Islam frequently. In June 2013, Asia Bibi was transferred to Multan Jail from Sheikhupura jail without any notice to her husband and attorney. Multan City is 183 miles from Sheikhupura city and transfer of Asia Bibi to Multan jail was to create problems of visitation for her family. Dr. Nazir Bhatti said “Higher Courts in Pakistan take Suo-Motto notices every day but have not time to hear appeal of Asia Bibi which creates doubts among Pakistani Christians that there are not any interests in urgent issues of them” Asia Bibi is in jail since 2009 and waiting for her appeal hearing till filing this report and no one knows when Pakistani Judges will spare time to listen voice of this voiceless Christian mother of five. Dr. Nazir Bhatti said that it seems that Punjab administration will brain wash Asia Bibi in Multan jail and force her to accept Islam as her religion and present her in any court for decleration. PCC Chief urged Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan to take note on situation of Asia Bibi in Multan jail and order to hear her pending appeal against her conviction.

Pakistan: Time to tackle North Waziristan

Editorial: Daily Times
Nine army and Frontier Corps soldiers have been killed in North Waziristan (NW) by an Improvised Explosive Device planted on a roadside. Many soldiers are still critically injured. Ansarul Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it revenge against the drone strike that had killed four suspected militants on Friday. The army’s efforts to catch the culprits failed as they had dispersed comfortably in the forbidding terrain of NW. This is not the first time that military personnel have been attacked and killed in the area. Therefore trying to justify it as an act of revenge for the drone attack does not wash. Since 2007, such attacks have become a constant feature of the asymmetrical war we are engaged in with the militants with no sign so far of winning or making an effort to bring it to an end. So far the government has made several plans to combat terrorism without giving any policy framework on how to go about this daunting task. The PML-N government initially stuck to its election slogan of peace talks with the insurgents and terrorists. However, its changed tilt to clamp down on terrorists is shaping up visibly as it is gaining information about the real situation on the ground. The efforts to engage the terrorists in talks may have started, though these have been denied by both the government and the terrorists, reflecting perhaps the sensitivity of the matter. Only time will tell whether this approach succeeds. In this policy formulation stage, the government has adopted different initiatives to combat terrorism in all the four provinces. Karachi is being prepared for a grand operation; Punjab is refurbishing its counter-terrorism effort; the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments have been given assurances of full support by the federal government. This is all to the good, but it is time to take NW as well by the horns. It makes little sense to attempt cleansing the rest of the country of terrorism while leaving its main base area intact. It is no secret that NW is the main ‘manufacturing’ base of terrorism. It is a safe haven that gives the terrorists ample time to plan their evil designs for Pakistan and elsewhere. If we are shying away from acknowledging the fact because of our concerns about Afghanistan and we want NW to protect and produce more jihadi proxies after 2014 when the US pulls out of Afghanistan, then we are indeed planning many more doomsdays for Pakistan. Pakistan’s 40 years of adventurism with jihadi proxies have yielded it nothing but international isolation and a country that cannot live in peace with itself or others, the result of which is a virtually moribund economy, faltering trade, diminishing business and spiralling inflation. The proxies have now become a force unto themselves that we try to define as good and bad Taliban, according to the manner in which they deal with us. It is not in Pakistan’s interests to carry on with the philosophy of gaining a stronghold in Afghanistan by having our choice of government there. It is also of no use to Pakistan to train jihadis for the Kashmir insurgency as the predominance of these extremist forces has adversely affected the Kashmir cause. The only viable, workable and beneficial premise is to make Pakistan mind its own business without getting into the headache of determining how other countries manage their affairs, especially Afghanistan. Presently, Pakistan requires economic resurrection, for which peace and regional harmony are indispensible. The impression that Pakistan nurtures, harbours, sponsors and protects terrorists should be reversed. However, unless the nexus between the intelligence agencies, military establishment and the militants is broken, this reversal cannot be achieved. The proof of this pudding lies in attacking the terrorists in NW. Consensus or no consensus, this area begs a military operation without delay, admittedly a difficult task for the government and more for the military establishment for the protective cover it had given to the militants there so far. But then Pakistan’s future is connected with our ability to break through this cobweb that has held the fate of the country hostage now for over four decades.

PPPP, ANP move Senate against hike in oil prices

Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) on Monday submitted separate adjournment motions in the Senate protesting phenomenal hike in prices of the petroleum products. The PPPP’s adjournment motion was signed by Senators Raza Rabbani, Saeeda Iqbal, Saeed Ghani, Maula Bux Chandi and Syeda Sughra Imam, while all ANP members in the Senate signed the motion submitted by Senator Zahid Khan. The motion stated that increase in petroleum products’ prices would further enhance prices of commodities. Following the approval of increase in POL prices, different opposition parties and religious groups rejected the hike, declaring it an anti-people act of the PML-N government. The adjournment motions call for a thorough debate on the issue of public importance.

Militant groups should be targeted at their roots: Rehman Malik

The Express Tribune News
Former interior minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday that militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi needed to be targeted at their “roots”.
Addressing the media in Karachi, he said that if the federal government wants to make any efforts towards curbing terrorism, they should consider its basic parameters. “I invented the term ‘targeted’ operation,” said Malik, adding that an operation needs to be carried out in south Punjab and Quetta. He asserted that there was no sectarian divide in Karachi. “The Shia-Sunni conflict has been deliberately created,” said Malik, explaining that the city was being targeted so that the entire country could be harmed. He said that this plan was hatched by separatist forces who didn’t want Balochistan to be part of the country. Bringing his address to a close, former interior minister said that this is the time when the people should not be thinking like a Punjabi or Balochi but as a Pakistani.

Malala Yousafzai : Books 'can fight terrorism'

A teenager who was shot by the Taliban after campaigning for women's rights declared herself an honorary Brummie today as she officially opened a new £188 million civic library. Malala Yousafzai was warmly applauded by a 1,000-strong crowd outside the Library of Birmingham as she thanked the people of the city for their support during her ordeal.
The 16-year-old schoolgirl was flown from Pakistan to the UK for emergency treatment last October after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Hailing pens and books as "weapons" that can defeat terrorism, Malala began a speech outside the library by addressing the crowd as her "fellow Brummies". Speaking clearly and loudly, the teenager, who now attends a school in Birmingham, said: "It is an honour for me to be here in Birmingham, the beating heart of England. "Birmingham is very special for me because it is here that I found myself alive, seven days after I was shot. "It is now my second home, after my beloved Pakistan. "The doctors and nurses of this town worked hard to help me recover. "The teachers of this town strived to rehabilitate my educational career, and the great people of this city gave me great moral support." Malala, who unveiled a stainless steel plaque marking the library's official opening, informed the crowd that she had challenged herself to read thousands of books. The teenager added: "Pens and books are the weapons that defeat terrorism. "I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through educating not only our minds, but our hearts and our souls." Malala, who was given a library membership card after finishing her speech, was targeted by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' right to attend school. Surgeons who treated Malala said she came within inches of death when a bullet grazed her brain. Malala, who is also due to receive the International Children's Peace Prize later this week in recognition of her dedication to children's rights, used her seven-minute speech to call for peace and development in Nigeria, Syria and Somalia. "We must speak up for the children of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan who are suffering from terrorism, poverty, child labour and child trafficking," she said. "Let us help them through our voice, action and charity. Let us help them to read books and go to school. "And let us not forget that even one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world." The Library of Birmingham, located in Centenary Square, has a distinctive skin of metal hoops and replaces the city's nearby Brutalist Central Library, which opened in 1974. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey also attended the ceremony to take the wraps off the 333,000 sq ft library, which is covered in interlocking metal circles. More than three million people are expected to use the library - designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo Architecten - in its first year. Speaking shortly before Malala addressed the crowd gathered outside the library's main entrance, Mr Vaizey described the new building as an "ode" to the book, the 21st century, and Birmingham itself. The Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward, said the structure, which has a 3,000-tonne steel frame, represented the UK's largest public sector cultural project. "With his building we have a new iconic image," he said. "This is a very special moment for Birmingham and its people." The library's architect, Francine Houben, regards it as a "People's Palace" which will stimulate knowledge and support self-development. "Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe, it has a rich history and many identities," she said. "This building is inspired by these qualities." Housing Birmingham's civic archives and more than a million books, including 128 volumes printed before 1501, the library is encased in a metal filigree facade. The 10-level library also links up with the adjoining Birmingham Repertory Theatre and has an outdoor amphitheatre providing a performance space for music, drama and poetry readings. Other unusual features include two garden terraces on the third and seventh floors designed to provide visitors with space to unwind, socialise and learn.