Sunday, September 22, 2013

China: Bo verdict shows power of law is real

Yesterday, Jinan Intermediate People's court in East China's Shandong Province, handed down a verdict in the widely tracked trial of Bo Xilai. Bo was sentenced to life imprisonment, deprived of political rights for life, and relieved of all his personal property. Although Bo is not the first former senior public servant to be tried and sentenced, his trial has captured the scrutiny of public opinion, and sent a warning signal to society. Some claims, allegedly based on so-called experience, presumed that Bo would get a fixed-term imprisonment, a decade or so, and the details of his trial proceedings would not be open to the public. These statements, however, attached some non-legal elements to Bo's case, such as his former high-ranking position in the central government. The facts have proved that the proceeding of Bo's trial was not plotted, but strictly followed the law. Since last year when Neil Heywood's case was reinvestigated, China's judicial system has been run in rigid compliance of the law in the cases of Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai. All people are equal in the face of the law. This principle is the most highlighted voice cried by civilians for social justice. The will of the people has been responded to in Bo's trial, the spirit of law also being upheld. Exaggerated rumors and baseless speculation flooded public opinion when Bo was exposed one and a half years ago. Now the public trial has made the dust settle down, and has been approved by public opinion. Bo was ushered into the spotlight in his trial, in which his charges and attitudes toward these charges were clearly shown to the public. Although different opinions about the measurement of punishment were expressed after the verdict, they are just normal social responses to the trial. China's anti-corruption campaign is now being pushed by all walks of life, but it can only be run on the basis of Chinese law. Fighting corruption in accordance with the law needs rigid efforts, and Bo's trial and its verdict have greatly increased the authority and prestige of the law in Chinese society. Some people believed that Bo would never fall because of his stature and position. There were also some people convinced that Bo would receive a wild conviction. But the truth has dealt a blow to these assumptions. Bo's trial has sounded the alarm for corrupt officials, showing the resolve and confidence of the central government to carry forward the anti-corruption campaign. Such a campaign will not become empty talk.

Saudi women call new day of defiance against driving ban

Saudi women activists have called for a new day of defiance next month of the longstanding ban on women driving in the ultra-conservative kingdom. An online petition entitled "Oct 26th, driving for women" had on Sunday gathered more than 5,800 signatories, as activists try again to push authorities to end the unique ban. "I will drive on October 26," activist Nasima al-Sada told AFP on Sunday, saying that some 20 women are going to take part in the campaign in the kingdom's Eastern Province. "Many women are enthusiastic about learning to drive, or to teach other" women how to drive, she said, as many Saudi women have obtained abroad the driving licences they are denied in their homeland. "There is not a single text in the Sharia Islamic law that prevents us (from driving). Any pretexts used to do that are based on inherited customs," said the online petition. "Just as revered women (at the time of the prophet) rode horses and camels, it is our right to drive cars -- the mode of our modern age, unless you want us to go back to mules and horses," the petition said. The last day of of defiance against the ban was on June, 17 2011, when few women answered a call to drive, with some stopped by police and forced to sign a pledge not to take to the wheel again. "I can't drive because of the pledge I signed," said Najla al-Hariri, who took part in the protest in 2011, expressing strong support for the new campaign. In addition to the driving ban, Saudi Arabia imposes other major restrictions on women, including a requirement to cover from head to toe when in public. The 2011 call, which spread through Facebook and Twitter, was the largest mass action since November 1990, when 47 Saudi women were arrested and severely punished after demonstrating in cars.

50,000 Bangladeshi garment workers strike over ‘inhuman’ wages
4 million employees work in the country's $20-billion garment export industry – 60 percent goes to Europe – and earn about $38 a month. They are demanding a raise to $103 a month. Earlier, the Bangladeshi government agreed to a 20 percent increase, but the workers called the raise “inhuman and humiliating.” “Our backs are against the wall, so we don’t have any alternative unless we raise our voice strongly,” Nazma Akter, president of the United Garments Workers’ Federation told protesters. “We will not hesitate to do anything to realize our demand. We are not the object of mercy, the economy moves with our toll,” Reuters reported her as saying. The rally lasted four hours and has been the largest gathering of its kind to realize their demand for raising wages,” according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police Chief Habibur Rahman. Over 300 factories near the capital closed as employees staged a walk-out, blocking a highway and damaging a few cars. The highway was blocked by at least 10,000 employees, according to local police. Several nearby factories were also vandalized by the protesters, which caused a halt in production. Meanwhile, the country's leadership has been negotiating with the demonstrators and the factory owners. The factory owners are strictly against the raise, because their Western customers are used to buying cheap clothing from them. The last time the government increased the minimum salary was in 2010, when they almost doubled it. In July, Bangladesh gave a boost to workers' rights, after a factory building collapse three months earlier leaving over 1,100 people dead. Furthermore, In June, hundreds of workers were rushed to hospital after drinking contaminated water. Bangladesh is also facing pressure from the EU, which threatened the country with sanctions, unless workers' safety standards are improved.

Honoring Navy Yard Victims, Obama Asks: ‘Do We Care Enough’ to Change?

President Obama on Sunday eulogized the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting and lamented what he called a “creeping resignation” in America about the inevitability of gun violence. In remarks to service members and their families who packed the bleachers in the barracks about two and a half blocks from where the killings took place last week, Mr. Obama vowed that he would not accept inaction after the latest in a string of mass shootings during his presidency. But the president appeared exasperated with the political system that he leads, admitting that changes in the nation’s gun laws “will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington.” He acknowledged that his previous effort to pass new gun laws had failed, but he did not specifically call for a new political battle, saying change would come only when Americans decide they have had enough. The question is not, he said, “whether as Americans we care in moments of tragedy. Clearly we care. Our hearts are broken again. The question is do we care enough?” “It ought to be a shock to all of us, as a nation and a people,” he said. “It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation.” In his remarks to about 4,000 people, Mr. Obama called the Navy Yard shooting “unique,” and he remembered by name each of the victims, offering small memories from family members and friends of those who died: a volunteer, a Bible study leader, a Navy architect, a grandmother, a soccer coach, a car lover. “These are not statistics,” he said. “They are the lives that have been taken from us.” But he said the Navy Yard shootings were part of a pattern of gun violence that set America apart among advanced nations. Together, he said, they represented a kind of tragedy that has become accepted as “somehow just the way it is.” Before the ceremony, Mr. Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, met privately with family members of the victims. It has become an all-too-familiar role for Mr. Obama, who has presided over similarly grim services for the victims of shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Tucson; Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Fort Hood, Tex. At each event, the president has sought to find the right balance between the sadness of a nation and the anger of its citizens. But past memorial services have also served to provide Mr. Obama with the emotional power to fuel his efforts to curb gun violence. During each event, the president has urged the nation to pass laws that would keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill people. That message reached a fever pitch after the service for the 20 children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, when Mr. Obama declared that it was time for Washington to take action. “In the coming weeks,” he said at the Newtown memorial, “I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” That promise led to an effort by the administration to push through aggressive gun restrictions, including an expanded background-check system that would have closed loopholes that allowed guns to be sold without a check. But months later, that effort failed when the Senate could not pass a compromise background-check bill amid fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association and lawmakers who favor gun rights. The president on Sunday did not specifically pledge to try again, noting that “the politics are difficult, as we saw this spring.” But he sought to reassure supporters of gun control measures that they would be successful, eventually, because of the grief that tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting produce. “It may not happen tomorrow and it may not happen next week and it may not happen next month,” he said. “But it will happen, because it’s the change we need. “Our tears are not enough,” he added. “Our words and our prayers are not enough.” If Americans want to honor the 12 men and women who died at the Navy Yard, he said, “we’re going to have to change. We’re going to have to change.” Mr. Obama quoted from Robert F. Kennedy’s speech in the hours after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. In that speech, the president said, Mr. Kennedy quoted a poet who wrote that “even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart” until later comes “wisdom through the awful grace of God.” Mr. Obama ended his remarks by urging that “in our grief, let us seek that grace. Let us find that wisdom.” The United States Navy Band played somber music as the guests quietly filed in ahead of the speakers, who included Vice Adm. William Hilarides, the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, where the shootings took place. Also speaking were Vincent Gray, the mayor of Washington; Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations; Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy; and Chuck Hagel, the secretary of defense. Mr. Gray echoed Mr. Obama’s frustration with the refusal to pass new gun laws, saying that “this time it happened within the view of our Capitol dome and I, for one, will not be silent about the fact that the time has come for action.” Mr. Hagel declared that “together, we will recover.” The memorial wound down with a reading of the names of the 12 people who were killed at the Navy Yard, and then a long, sad rendition of taps.

Noor Jahan remembered on her 86th birth anniversary

Legendary singer and actress Noor Jahan remembered on Saturday on her 86th birth anniversary. Noor Jehan was the greatest film and music personality in the history of showbiz in Pakistan. Madam Noor Jahan was born on September 21, 1926 at Qasoor, Punjab. She started her film career in the age of just nine years old and became super star as baby artist and then a top singer and actress in Indian movies. After the partition, she moved from Bombay and started her film career in Pakistan as actress, since 1959 she became playback singer and dominated in more than 35 years. She sung appropriately more than six thousand songs in Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi films. She legendary playback singer Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan was an equally proficient ghazal singer. With rigorous training in classical music, Noor Jehan employed the essential features necessary to present the ghazal in an exceptional manner. After partition, she moved from Bombay and started her film career in Pakistan as actress, singer and the first female film director with film Chann We in 1951. Her last film Ghalib was released in 1961. Since 1959 she became playback singer and dominated in more than 35 years. She sung appropriately more than six thousand songs in Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi films. She received many awards, including the highest Pakistani honour in entertainment, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (The Pride of Performance) in 1966. She also sang Many Patriotic songs during 1965 India-Pakistan war which became very popular. Madam Noor Jehan was born in a very poor family on September 21, 1926 at Qasoor, Punjab and died on December 23, 2000 at Karachi. Pakistan Post has issued a commemorative postage stamp of 8 rupees denomination on the occasion of her 86th birth anniversary.

Pope calls Pakistan church attack act of hate, war

Pope Francis has led several thousand people in a special prayer for the victims of the church attack in Pakistan. Francis was wrapping up a daylong visit to Sardinia on Sunday when he took the microphone and told throngs of young people about the scale of the attack in Peshawar.
He said those who carried out the attack ''took the wrong choice, one of hatred and war.'' He urged the young Sardinians present to instead work for peace, a message he has repeated in recent weeks amid escalating tensions in Syria. Sunday's suicide bombing outside the historic All Saints church killed dozens in the deadliest-ever attack on Pakistan's Christian minority, officials said.

Muslim Suicide bombers kill 77 Christens at Pakistan church

A blast at a Protestant church in northwest Pakistan killed 77 people and wounded more than 120, a local official said. The attack took place at the All Saints Church of Pakistan, in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country's capital, Islamabad. Two attackers struck right as services concluded, according to the Peshawar Diocese. "Suicide bombers entered the church compound from the main gate and blew themselves up in the midst of the people," a statement posted on the diocese website read. Choir members and children attending Sunday school are among the dead, they said. The outside of the church was peppered with debris, and crowds of men and rescue officials covered in blood. The Rev Humphrey S. Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, expressed condolences and called for prayers, but also struck a defiant tone. In a statement, Peters condemned the local government, calling the attack a "total failure" of official efforts to protect minorities. Christians make up less than 3% of the population in the South Asian nation of 193 million. No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack.

Zardari, Bilawal, Shujaat condemn Peshawar church attack

Former President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the suicide attack inside a church in Peshawar killing scores of innocent people including women and children and injuring many more. In a message the former President said that no words were strong enough to condemn the barbaric and cruel attack on peaceful citizens professing a faith different from that of the majority and whose only fault was that they were offering their prayers. He said the latest suicide attack should serve to open the eyes of those who still believe in appeasing the militants. The militants cannot be appeased, they must not be, he said. Our values, our way of life and our very survival is threatened by the militants. This threat cannot be wished away, it has to be fought back with courage, conviction and resoluteness of the entire nation. The former President also prayed for those who lost their lives, expressed sympathies with bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of the injured. He also directed ppp workers to assist the victims families in rehabilitation. Patron-In-Chief of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned the bomb blast in a Church in Peshawar killing several innocent people this morning. In a statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that almost every segment of Pakistani society, which wants peace is being targeted by terrorists. From schools to hospitals and bazars to the places of worship, the terrorists seem to be unrestricted in mounting attacks, he said. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Senator Ch Shujat Hussain and senior central leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Ch. Parvez Elahi have expressed their heartfelt grief and sorrow over heinous incident of attack on a church in Qissa Khwani Bazar of Peshawar. Both the leaders contacted the Bishop of Lahore Rev. Irfan Jamil on telephone and expressed their solidarity with the Christian community over the incident. In their message, they said that they share the grief and sorrow of the Christian community, strongly condemn the incident and demand protection of places of worship of the Christian community.

Bilawal Bhutto strongly condemns inhumane attack on Peshawar Church, announces to raise funds to rebuild the Church
Patron-In-Chief of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned the bomb blast in a Church in Peshawar killing several innocent people while injuring many others this morning. In a statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that almost every segment of Pakistani society, which wants peace is being targeted by terrorists. From schools to hospitals and bazars to the places of worship, the terrorists seem to be unrestricted in mounting attacks, he said. Bilawal Bhutto further said such barbaric attack that contradicts all religious teachings, had again jeopardised the peace talks with terrorists. He urged the provincial and federal governments to provide adequate security to put an end to all terrorist attacks aimed at degrading Pakistani people, irrespective of their religious affiliation, and defiling sacred places. PPP chief directed the party’s provincial leadership and workers to visit the victims at the earliest and provide them all the relief possible. He also announced that PPP will be raising money to rebuild the church. The PPP leader sympathized with the grieved families of the innocent killed in the blast and said that entire PPP and entire Bhutto family stand by them in this hour of need. He demanded adequate and free medical treatment to all those wounded in the attack.

Peshawar Chruch Attack: Govt has no policy over terrorism: ANP

Leader of Awami National Party (ANP) and former provincial minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that attack on church is the mistake of government because it has no clear policy on terrorism.
Media reports said, Mian Iftikhar expressed solidarity with the wounded persons of Pakistan Church suicide attacks in Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). Talking to media he said people are dying while government is seen nowhere. “At the moment government performing its duty should have call the doctors back on duty immediately, there are no coffins present here, government should arrange coffins immediately, all such negligence will raise the fury amongst people”, he added. He said it is the matter of worry ness that minority community needs security just for the 1 day in a week, then why it was not provided to them. “We were with the people before and are with them now; we will live and die with our people,” he said.

VIDEO: Eye Witness of Peshawar Church Blast-22 Sep 2013

Eye Witness of Peshawar Church Blast-22 Sep 2013 by GeoNews

VIDEO: ANP leader Mian Iftikhar condemns Peshawar Chruch Blasts by islamist fanatics

Mian Iftikhar condemns Blasts-22 Sep 2013 by GeoNews

Dialogue with Taliban? Deobandi militants of TTP-ASWJ massacre at least 70 Christians in Peshawar

At least 70 people, most of them Christians, were killed and more than 60 were injured in a suicide attack by Deobandi militants near Kohati Gate, Peshawar on Sunday. The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) has confirmed that were two suicide bombers. In the past, Deobandi militants belonging to Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (currently operating as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat Deobandi ASWJ) have attacked several churches in Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi etc.
The latest incident of Deobandi attack on Christian community occurred outside St John’s church in Peshawar after the Sunday service came to an end. Sources said suicide bomber blew himself up outside Kohati gate near the Pakistan Church. Two blast were heard in the areas.
- See more at:

Drone strike kills six in South Waziristan

Six people were killed and three others injured in drone strike in South Waziristan on Sunday, Geo News reported. Sources said the unmanned jet fired two missiles at a house in Makeen area near the border. As a result, six people were killed and three others injured. The house was badly damaged in the strike, the sources added.
The drone continued hovering over the area after the strike, sources said.

Peshawar Church attack: Bilour arrives on the spot to express solidarity

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who himself is facing severe threat from the terrorists, lost no time to reach the Church attacked by two suicide bombers for expressing his sympathy and solidarity with the mourning Christian community on Sunday here, Geo News reported. However, he had to return soon as the environment over there was highly charged, while some enraged persons started voicing slogans. It may be recalled that at least 56 persons have lost their lives and over 70 wounded in this horrible suicide bombings till the filing of this report.

Blast at Pakistan church kills more than 60

A blast at a Protestant church in northwest Pakistan killed at least 61 people and wounded more than 120, authorities said Sunday. The attack took place at the All Saints Church of Pakistan, in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country's capital, Islamabad. Witnesses told CNN affiliate Geo News that at least one suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded bazaar near the church entrance as crowds of worshipers were leaving a Sunday morning service. Some of the victims were children, the witnesses said. The outside of the church was peppered with debris, and crowds of men and rescue officials covered in blood. Christians make up less than 3% of the population in the South Asian nation of 193 million. No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack. But Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, of which Peshawar is the capital, is rife with Islamic extremists and has been the site of clashes between Pakistani security forces and militants. Earlier this month, a roadside bomb in the province killed a top Pakistani general, just a day after officials announced plans to withdraw troops from the region and pusue peace talks with Taliban militants. ATaliban spokesman said then that there is no ceasefire with the Pakistani government, warning that such attacks will continue. "We have killed them," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, "as they are killing us."

Bilawal Bhutto Condemns Attack on Peshawar Church
Patron-In-Chief of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned the bomb blast in a Church in Peshawar killing several innocent people this morning. In a statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that almost every segment of Pakistani society, which wants peace is being targeted by terrorists. From schools to hospitals and bazars to the places of worship, the terrorists seem to be unrestricted in mounting attacks, he said. The PPP leader sympathized with the grieved families of the innocent killed in the blast and demanded adequate and free medical treatment to all those wounded in the attack.

Deaths in Peshawar church bombing rise to 55

At least 55 people were killed and 70 others including women and children were injured in twin suicide blasts outside church in Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar. Sources said suicide bombers blew themselves up outside Kohati gate near the Pakistan Church. Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have cordoned off the area after the blast. Sources said 35 injured have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital. More causalities are feared in the blast. The eyewitnesses said the worshipers were leaving the Church when the blast occurred. More than 500 people were present in the Church at the time of suicide attack. Commissioner Peshawar Sahidzada Anees has confirmed the death toll in the suicide blast, adding 45 people were also injured. The condition of some is said to be critical, he said. SSP City Police said a policeman was martyred and another wounded in the attack. Bomb disposal squad chief Abdul Haq said two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the church when people were coming out after Sunday mass. Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Zaheerul Islam said "Six hundred people were inside the church when the blast took place".

Suicide Blast at Church in Pakistan's Peshawar Kills 50 INNOCENT Christens
At least 43 people, including women and children, have been killed in a suicide bomb blast near a church in Peshawar. A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Pakistan Church in Peshawar's Kohati Gate area, the reports said. At least 55 people have been injured, some critically. Security officials have cordoned off the area and the injured have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital. The blast occurred as more than 500 Sunday worshippers started to leave the church, Pakistan's News International reported, citing eyewitnesses. "We have received nine dead and more than 30 wounded," a spokesman for Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital told Agence France-Presse. No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack.

ANP's peace committee member gunned down in Buner

A local Awami National Party (ANP) leader was gunned down by unknown gunmen in Balu Khan village's Peer Baba area in Buner district on Sunday. Anwar Khan was also a member of a local peace committee which had formed a lashkar to resist the Taliban militants when they had taken control of the area in 2009.

Pakistan: 3 Ahmadiyya mosques vandalized by Punjab police personnel

Ahmadiyya Times
In their odd attempt to pacify the angry mob, Punjab police personnel themselves defaced the property by erasing Kalima (Islamic faith creed) and Quranic verses from the three Ahmadiyya mosques the police assumed were intended in the mullah action.
Three Ahmadiyya mosques in Sialkot, a town about 80 miles north of Lahore in the Punjab province in Pakistan, were vandalized by the police personnel themselves - not a mob, it is clarified by several sources in Pakistan. The rumors in the social media that an Ahmadiyya mosque was besieged by a large mob in Sialkot were put to rest by Mr. Saleemud Din, the national Ahmadiyya spokesperson in Pakistan. “There has been no mob attack on any Ahmadiyya Bayut Ul Zikar in Sialkot,” Saleem-ud Din wrote through Twitter in social media. An Islamists’ rally organized by Khatima-e Nubuwwat extremists did get started towards the Ahmadiyya locations in Sialkot city but, Mr. Din has confirmed, it was stopped from reaching the intended locations by the local police. In their odd attempt to pacify the angry mob, Punjab police personnel themselves defaced the properties they assumed were intended in the mullah action. Police erased Kalima (Islamic faith creed) and Quranic verses from the three Ahmadiyya mosques, Saleemud Din said. “The Bayut ul Zikar had small decorative minarets on the outer wall and doors that were damaged by the police,” Saleemud Din said. Mr. Saleemud Din says these events are a direct result of “the record number of anti-Ahmadiyya conferences allowed” recently by the authorities to spread anti-Ahmadiyya hatred across Pakistan The conferences and rallies are being convened by Islamists to commemorate the passing of 1974 anti-Ahmadiyya constitutional amendment. Saleemud Din reiterated that the police has a responsibility to protect Ahmadis - not appease the mullahs and lie down in front of their demands and comply. “Breaking few minarets are no means to deter Ahmadis from performing their spiritual duties,” Saleem ud Din wrote angrily in his twitter post. “Let me make it clear that no action what-so-ever can deter our faith & stop us from worshiping our Almighty Allah.”

Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif agreed to massacre more Shias by releasing senior Taliban commander

Ahlul Bayt News Agency
Pakistan released its most senior Afghan Taliban detainee, Abdul Ghani Baradar on Saturday, a senior official of the interior ministry told AFP. “Yes Baradar has been released,” Omar Hamid, a spokesman for interior ministry told AFP, without elaborating. In order to further facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, the detained Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, would be released on 21 September 2013, the Foreign Ministry had said in a statement issued on Friday. Moreover, Pakistan’s top official on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz had earlier said that Baradar would be released as soon as this month. “Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be freed into Pakistan and he will remain in the country until he decides himself to move anywhere he deems necessary to initiate the peace process,” Aziz told on Monday. Aziz, however, added that the former Taliban second-in-command will not be handed over to Afghanistan. “Handing over the key Taliban commander to Afghanistan will sabotage the purpose behind the decision of releasing him,” he said. Born in 1968 in the southern province of Uruzgan, Mullah Baradar fought the occupying Soviet forces in the late 1980s before becoming one of the founding members of the Taliban movement. When the Taliban took over in Kabul in 1996 after years of civil war, the young Baradar was a trusted friend of Mullah Omar and rose to become the movement’s top military strategist. After the fall of the Taliban, senior militants fled across the border to rear bases in Pakistan, where Mullah Baradar became a member of the so-called Quetta Shura, the movement’s ruling council. He was arrested in the country's southern port city of Karachi, reportedly in a secret raid by CIA and Pakistani agents, in an operation that was described as a huge blow to the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Afghan government had earlier welcomed Pakistan's announcement regarding release of Abdul Ghani Baradar, saying the move would help peace efforts after 12 years of war. “We welcome that this step is being taken,” Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Afghan president Hamid Karzai had told AFP. “We believe this will help the Afghan peace process. This is something we have been calling for a long time. It was on the agenda when the president visited Pakistan, so we are pleased.” Karzai made a two-day trip to Pakistan last month in a bid to overcome a series of public rows that have hampered efforts to end the war in Afghanistan as US-led Nato combat troops withdraw. During the visit, the Afghan president had urged Pakistan to help arrange peace talks between his government and the Taliban. Elements of the Pakistani state are widely accused of funding, controlling and sheltering the Taliban, but Islamabad says it will do anything to stop the fighting in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's Incompetent Govt: Blast Near Shia Mosque Kills 3, Injures 15 in Karachi
At least three people were martyred and at least 15 injured when a hand grenade exploded near a Shia Imambargah (place of worship) in Karachi’s Landhi neighbourhood late on Thursday night. Police officials confirmed that the target of the attack was Imambargah Sajjadia located in Landhi’s Majeed Colony. The blast was so loud it was heard from far distances, said Nasir Aftab, a senior police officer. “Imambargah building among other nearby houses was partially damaged by the blast,” he said. Aftab said those injured in the attack were all Shia Muslims who were attending a religious ceremony. Three of them were in critical condition, he added. Karachi Police chief Shahid Hayat, confirming the incident, told the media that unidentified attackers hurled a hand grenade at the Imambargah, adding the attacker fled away from the scene immediately after the bast. Police and Rangers have cordoned of the area and launched an initial investigation into the incident. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Karachi, a city of 18 million people which contributes 42 per cent of Pakistan's GDP, is rife with murder and kidnappings and has been plagued for years by ethnic, sectarian and political violence. We the Ahlul Bayt News Agency condemn the Killings of innocent civilians in Peshawar. We strongly urge the incompetent government of Pakistan to resolve this matter and save innocent lives.

Security Essential to Avoid Hindu Exodus From Balochistan

The Baloch Hal
Interview by Muhammad Akbar Notezai
Professor Aziz Mohammad Bugti is a renowned Baloch author, intellectual and analyst. He has authored several books in Urdu and Balochi languages about the Baloch people and Balochistan. He has also a great contribution toward Balochi Literature. Our correspondent Muhammad Akbar Notezai spoke to him about the history of Hindus based in Balochistan, their contributions and contemporary challenges. Excerpts:
How did the Hindus settle in Balochistan?
It is exactly unknown how the Hindus settled in Balochistan. But it is said that the Hindus lived in the adjacent areas of Karachi, like Hub and Lasbella before the invasion of Mohammad Bin Qasim (712 AD). Besides, traces of the Hindus settlement are also found in Kalat and Sevi (Presently known as Sibi). The name of Kalat city has also been taken from a Hindu ruler, the Kalat Seva. But after the arrival of the Arabs and Balochs, Hindus’ influence and domination dwindled gradually and slowly. In Balochistan, how do you trace back the history of sacred places of Hindus?
In Balochistan, the sacred places of Hindus are located in Bella, Kalat Seva (Kali Mata Temple) and Sevi, which are very old. These sacred places have been existing in these districts since Hindus’ domination in the areas of Balochistan. The Hindu people’s hub, Deybal, where they ruled, is near the Bella. The Hinglaj Mata temple is situated there. It signifies, the Hindus have ruled once over here too. Still, Hindu devotees come from all over Pakistan to visit Hinglaj Mata temple of Balochistan. How do you describe the plight of the Hindus in Balochistan?
Historically, the Hindus lived in Baloch populated districts. But they were also lived in Pashtun districts, such as Lorlai, Hindu Bagh (now named as Muslim Bagh) and Chaman, before the Partition days in 1947. They, after the Partition, migrated from these districts due to religious tumult. Now, a small number of Hindus lives in Pashtun-majority districts. However, the Hindus are fleeing Balochistan due to insecurity. They are migrating to Sindh and India. What are the reasons behind it?
Well, they are deprived of the local people’s security and support which they enjoyed in the past. They have become strangers on their own indigenous land. The government is also not taking measures to address the challenges faced by the Hindu community. How would the Baloch elders, especially Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, treat the Hindus community of Balochistan? The Baloch elders, especially Nawab Akbar Bugti, have been very sympathetic to the Hindu community of Balochistan. They would never isolate the Hindus from themselves and their people due to their religion. Very interestingly, Baloch and the Hindus were treated equally by the Baloch elders. They were given all kinds of freedom. Presently, it is pertinent to say that the Baloch elders cannot safeguard their rights because their tribal influence is diminishing due to the intervention of establishment in the tribal affairs. What sacrifices have they tendered for Balochistan?
In Balochistan, Hindus have been tendering sacrifices from the day first. They have been side by side with the Baloch people in the struggles for rights. They have also been with each other at the time of happiness and sorrows. There have been 65 Hindus killed in Dera Bugti District of Balochistan in the military assault against Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in March, 2005. And in that assault, many more sustained serious injuries. How can the Hindus overcome these sufferings?
Hindus cannot get rid of these all sufferings until or unless they are ensured safety. It can also stop them from migrating. But if this is not done, then Hindus’ migration process may never stop.

“بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی صورت میں پاکستانی قوم کو ایک اور ذوالفقار علی بھٹو مل گیا”
شہید محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو اور جناب آصف علی زرداری کے صاحبزادے جناب بلاول بھٹو زردارری کی 25ویں سالگرہ کے موقع پر آج بلاول ہاؤس میں لاکھوں تہہ نیتی اور مبارک باد کے پیغام موصول ہوئے۔ ساری دنیا سے نوجوانوں نے اپنے پیغامات میں اس یقین کا اظہار کیا ہے کہ بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی صورت میں پورے پاکستان، عالم اسلام اور دنیا بھر کے لوگوں کو ایک اور “ذوالفقار علی بھٹو” مل گیا ہے۔ دنیا بھر سے موصول ہونے والے یہ پیغامات بلاول ہاؤس کراچی، بلاول ہاؤس لاہور، نوڈیرو ہاؤس، زرداری ہاؤس اسلام آباد، زرداری ہاؤس شہید بے نظیر آباد، پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کے مختلف سیکریٹریٹ اور میڈیا دفاتر میں موصول ہوئے۔