Wednesday, December 18, 2013

U.S. Senate passes two-year gov't budget bill

A two-year budget plan crafted by bipartisan negotiators and sailed through U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the Senate on Wednesday, eliminating the possibility of a government shutdown in the next two years. The approval by the upper chamber of Congress on a 64-36 vote sends the measure to U.S. President Barack Obama for his signature into law. The modest accord sets spending levels for the federal governmental departments slightly above 1 trillion U.S. dollars for each of the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, eliminating 63 billion dollars in the ongoing automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester. The 2014 fiscal year of the federal government starts on Oct. 1. Increase in the outlays would be offset by a variety of spending savings and revenue generators, including requiring federal employees to contribute more to their pensions and raising some government fees, which would total 85 billion dollars in a decade. In all, the deal would lower the budget deficit by more than 20 billion dollars over a decade.

Obama to meet with moms on health care
Continuing efforts to promote his new health care law, President Obama meets Wednesday with a specific group of interested parties: Mothers. The president and first lady Michelle Obama will "discuss how health care could help their families," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "Moms are a key part of our ongoing outreach and enrollment efforts and have an important role to play in helping their adult children, family members, and peers to sign up for coverage," Carney said. Congressional Republicans and others have criticized the health care law on items ranging from canceled policies to a malfunctioning enrollment website. The Obama organization has long made women a key part of its political coalition, and that outreach appears to be a part of its renewed health care push. Reports Yahoo News: "The Obama administration has been courting women for months, emphasizing that adult children can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26 and that insurance companies can no longer deny kids coverage because of pre-existing conditions. "Winning over women would have another benefit: Democrats are relying on them in the 2014 midterm elections that will decide control of Congress. Recent polls and analysis suggest the White House faces an uphill fight. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in November found that 49 percent of women have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, compared to 33 percent with a favorable view. "So top Obama aides, including adviser Valerie Jarrett, White House Domestic Policy Council director Cecilia Munoz, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have reached out through media that traditionally reach women, including magazines like Woman's Day, Parents, Cosmopolitan, Cosmo Latina, Marie Claire, Glamour, Health, Latina and Ebony.

Pakistan's Ghazala Javed murder: Ex-husband to hang for killing singer

The former husband of popular Pakistani singer Ghazala Javed has been sentenced to death for her murder last year.
Jehangir Khan was convicted by a court in Swat of killing the singer and her father in a gun attack in Peshawar in June 2012. Khan says he will appeal.
Born into a family of musicians, Ghazala Javed was popular across Pakistan, Afghanistan and among Pashto-speaking communities around the world.
Correspondents say her music fused eastern and western traditions. She was born in Swat valley, a region which has produced some of the finest Pashto singers and actors, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan reports from Islamabad.
Swat was overrun by Pakistan Taliban militants in 2007.
Ms Javed fled Swat in 2009 when the Taliban started persecuting singers and dancers, and went to live in Peshawar. During her stay in Peshawar, she continued to sing, often about peace and tolerance. But there were times when she had to restrict her movements due to threats from the Taliban, our correspondent reports. In 2010 the singer, who was in her mid-20s, married Jehangir Khan, a Peshawar businessman, but she filed for divorce six months later. She was killed before the court could decide the case. There were differing accounts of how she was killed.
Her sister, who was injured in the attack, said that armed men broke into the singer's house and killed her and their father.
But according to other accounts, they were killed when gunmen on a motorcycle opened fired on the street. Two others accused of taking part in the attack are still being sought by police. Khan's lawyer indicated they will appeal against the verdict in Peshawar High Court. There is a temporary moratorium on death penalties being carried out in Pakistan.

Two tales of brutality to women in Afghanistan

Women's rights may have moved up the agenda in Afghanistan over the last decade, but violence against women has increased sharply, rights groups say. Two recent cases of brutality have shocked the nation, as the BBC's Mahfouz Zubaide and Yo Haniewicz in Kabul report. Readers may find some of the details in these accounts distressing. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has said that the number of cases of violence against women in 2013 has risen by 24.7% compared with last year - an increase it describes as "staggering". Some of these reports will be the kind of everyday violence that a number of Afghan women face at home. Many women are too afraid to seek justice because, campaigners say, more often than not their cases are ignored. But others are cases of brutality meted out in areas under Taliban control such as the case in 2010 where a couple were stoned to death in a village in the northern province of Kunduz. Over the last week, there have been two shocking examples of women's treatment in Afghanistan. The first also comes from Kunduz - but three years after that couple were stoned to death, the police managed to rescue one woman from a similar fate. The second case focuses on the sad tale of Sutara, who says her husband sliced off her lip and nose because she refused to hand him her jewellery to buy drugs.
Rescued from stoning in Kunduz
In a remote northern village, a woman was about to be stoned to death after her husband accused her of adultery.
It is all the more remarkable for being a case where the police managed to rescue the woman from the Taliban - there have been few examples of such cases.
The militants put her into a fenced compound for two days before the police swooped in and plucked her to safety. She told the BBC about her ordeal. "After my husband divorced me, I went to my father's home where the Taliban would come day and night as unpaid guests. Unfortunately the whole area is controlled by the Taliban. "When my father, along with other villagers got fed up with this because they were concerned that the government forces would quiz them on why they were feeding and supporting the Taliban, they told them to go to the mosque and they would provide food for them there," she said. According to her, this angered the Taliban who, she says, "seized the opportunity to turn on me". In this case, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sidiq Siddiqi said that the police fought hard against the Taliban for two hours in order to rescue the woman and took her to a safe house where she will remain with her children. "I have decided to fight for my rights against my husband. Of course, I can't fight the Taliban - the government should deal with them but I will do what my husband did to me, I will fight him but I will do it via the courts."
Sutara: Engaged at 11, mutilated at 30
Thirty-year-old Sutara spoke to the BBC from her hospital bed in the western city of Herat after being subjected to a savage knife attack by her husband. She became engaged to her husband when she was 11 and claims that he became addicted to heroin while working in Iran. On Friday, 13 December, she says that her husband insisted that she hand over her jewellery to him so he could sell it to buy some drugs.
She refused - so her husband hit the back of her head with a stone and she lost consciousness, she says. While she was unconscious, her husband stabbed her head several times, she says, and then he sliced off her top lip and cut off her nose. Sutara's four daughters, who range in age from three to 12, were at home at the time of the attack. She was taken to hospital and the children were taken to her mother to be looked after. Meanwhile, Sutara's husband ran away and he is still in hiding. Police are looking for him. Sutara says that once her husband is found, she wants some justice
Interior ministry spokesman Sidiq Siddiqi said: "We have plenty of evidence against her husband so when he is found, and after the police have carried out a complete investigation, he will be handed over to the court and will end up behind bars. "Meanwhile we will send Sutara overseas to receive more medical treatment but sadly her children will have been traumatised to witness such a horrific attack."
For many observers, the problem is that women are afraid to report violence because they know the law and its practice favours men.
Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, MP says that this year there have been more instances of violence against women
"This trend continues because the men know they can get away with it due to the incomplete implementation of the 'Evil Law', which was designed to protect women.
"In addition, the Supreme Court in Afghanistan is male-dominated which filters down to the lower courts so women don't have a strong voice to get them justice. It's worrying because we have no clear definition of what will happen to women after 2014," Ms Naderi says.
But these are just two recent cases that have come to public knowledge - many more go unreported and campaigners say the unfortunate truth is that the first case is all the more remarkable because the woman was rescued.

Taliban Targeted U.S. Parking at Torkham Port

A number of suicide bombers early Wednesday morning attacked U.S. forces parking in Torkham port border area in Nangarhar province, local officials said. Noor Akbar, the Torkham police chief, said the incident occurred around 05:00am local time when four Taliban suicide bombers attacked a U.S. forces parking in Torkham port border area at Nangarhar province. The clash between U.S, Afghan forces and suicide bombers continued for four hours and ended around 08:30am local time, with smoke and fire coming from the parking, Akbar said.
"All four suicide bombers were gunned down by joint forces," Akbar said.
"One Afghan public protection police was killed and two were wounded," Akbar added.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released to the media. The statement claimed that the attack had resulted in the destruction of supply vehicles as well as the deaths of dozens of foreign troops and "puppets," the name the Taliban often uses to describe members of the Afghan security forces. In a statement, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed the attack and said that no NATO personnel were killed.
This is the second attack by the Taliban on U.S parking in the Torkham area near the Pakistan border.
The first attack was when a group armed insurgents attacked a U.S. parking in the Torkham area four months ago on September 2. The attack involved a suicide bomb, rocket attacks and a protracted gun-battle that left the three attackers dead, dozens of fuel tanks and a supply vehicles destroyed and the Kabul-Jalalabad road closed for six hours. The attack took place three days after a suicide bomber targeted the National Directorate of Security (NDS) building in Torkham port on Sunday morning, wounding three NDS soldiers. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Torkham is one of the major border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan, located on the Durand Line border. It connects Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan & China: Gilgit: Time for Chinese drones before it is too late

by Laleen Ahmad
The Chinese buried in this graveyard did not die as a result of an act of terrorism. They died in the line of duty while building the famous Karakorum Highway. But it appears that soon there will be Chinese graveyards inside China where Chinese will be buried as a result of Taliban terrorism.
The history of the ISI-Saudi Arabian attempts to dismember China goes back to the so-called Afghan jihad of the 1980s. During the rule of General Zia (1977-88), the ISI smuggled weapons into China hidden in stationery boxes. The Chinese found that out and the Chinese authorities immediately sealed Pakistan-China border till Pakistan promised to punish the people responsible for smuggling the weapons.
But now it appears the things are going to change. China will soon feel the heat of the Taliban presence in Gilgit. Because of the American drone attacks in North Waziristan, the ISI has shifted its Talibanic asset in Gilgit. In Gilgit, the Taliban have been killing the Shias with impunity. This is good for the ISI intention and propaganda: Kill two birds with one stone. The Taliban will continue to kill the Shias in Gilgit, and the Shias will continue to protest it. But behind this, another ISI-Saudi Arabian handiwork will be set in motion: Sabotage in Xinxiang. The Taliban will train Uyghur terrorists to stir discontent in Xinxiang, which, in the ISI-Saudi calculation, will lead to the creation of a Salafi Caliphate there. Thus, the ISI-Saudi Arabia are trying to dismember China.
گلگت بلتستان کی امن ومان خراب کرنے میں کس کا ہاتھ ہے ایک غیرملکی ٹی وی رپورٹ ضرور دیکھیں اور فیصلہ کریں کہ کس کی لڑائی کون لڑ رہا ہے ہم کو کس کے ہاتھ کا کھلونا بنا ہوا ہے۔اس ویڈیو کو شیر کرنے کا مقصد صرف عوامی اگہی ہے تاکہ عوام فرقہ واریت کے اصل ذمہ داروں کو سمجھ سکے۔اس ویڈیو کو دیکھنے کے بعد ہم سب کو یقین ہونا چاہئے کہ یہاں کوئی مسلکی اختلاف پر لڑائی نہیں۔ دیکھیں سوچیں اور شیر کریں۔۔۔
It is obvious that the Chinese authorities are aware of the ISI-Saudi conspiracy. They seem to be aware that being an arm of the Saudi Islamofascist ideology, the ISI wants to stoke emotive issues like “Islam in danger” and “an Islamic homeland for Muslims” in China. As late as September 2013, China closed its border with Pakistan on the eve of its independence day. The Nation, a pro-ISI daily, reported it thus:
“The Chinese government has decided to close the Sino-Pak border for ten days as part of extra-ordinary security measures being taken ahead of independence day celebrations. Hunza Nagar police said they received a notification from Chinese government that Khunjrab border will remain closed from September 28 to October 7. Trade and traffic between the two countries will remain closed during this period. They said that the Chinese government has been expressing concerns about the threat of terrorist infiltration through Khujerab border. Such measures are routinely taken to guard the country against the elements involved in subversive activities in the ‘Xinjiang’ autonomous region, where sections of the ‘Uighur Communities’ have been involved in a struggle against the government.” (Ref:
Marks the words “struggle against the government”. This speaks of how the ISI views the Uyghur terrorists: Freedom fighters. But just closing the border with Pakistan will not suffice. China should emulate the American example. It should destroy the Taliban terrorist networks in Gilgit by using its drones. The video below shows how the ISI-trained terrorists can play havoc in China:
China is a strong country and its leadership is very patriotic. They will certainly not let their country be dismembered by terrorists like the Taliban.
- See more at:

Karachi: Taliban, criminals extort schools, hospitals
Karachi's militant and criminal networks, caught in the middle of a major security crackdown, are setting their sights on the vulnerable.
Desperate to keep their networks alive as Karachi security forces continue to decimate them, Taliban militants and criminals are increasingly extorting schools and hospitals, according to officials.
Karachi police have arrested 9,944 alleged criminals, including 61 extortionists and 102 terrorists, since they launched a targeted operation September 5, according to a December 7 performance report. But to keep financing their designs, militants and criminals are trying to extort private school owners and doctors. In response to the city's sharp increase in attacks on schools and hospitals, the provincial government has ordered law enforcement agencies to better protect the vulnerable entities, Sharaffudin Memon, an advisor at Sindh Home Department, said. And the increased security seems to be tamping down the problems.
Such attacks, meanwhile, have drawn broad condemnation.
"Targeting innocent schoolchildren, doctors and patients reflects the brutality of the terrorists," William Sadiq, a leader of Karachi-based Action Committee for Human Rights said, adding that the targeting schools and hospitals was a continuation of Taliban militants' hatred of education and humanity.
"Terrorists have no regards even for the sacredness of educational institutions and hospitals," said Karachi Pakistan Peoples Party spokesperson Latif Mughal said.
Attacks on schools and educators
Schools, especially those in Pashtun-populated areas, have been targeted through violence and extortion, school owners say. Extortionists October 28 attacked the Al-Mehran School, a private school in Orangi Town, for allegedly not paying extortion money, and on October 22 targeted Prince School, another Orangi Town private school. Militants and criminal groups also have attempted to extort at least 10 private schools in Korangi Town, Faisal Bukhari, a private school owner in Korangi, told Central Asia Online. Money, however, is not the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) only motive in school attacks; rather, the militants are just trying to hold down future generations by depriving them of education, said Latif Khan, new principal of Naunehal Academy, which he said has received an extortion letter demanding Rs. 5,000,000 (US $46,000) and threats because the school educates girls. Indeed, militants have bombed more than 1,000 schools in KP and FATA since 2007, according to the Pakistan Security Report 2012, an annual publication by the Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). Bukhari, however, said extortion cases are declining as a result of stepped-up security. "Although it is not possible to provide all schools with security, patrols and deployment of police and Rangers have been increased outside the schools where deemed necessary," he said.
Targeting hospitals and doctors
Militants and extortionists are also targeting doctors and hospitals. TTP militants October 13 attacked a private clinic in the Muzafferabad Colony area, killing one woman and injuring six other people, including children, all of whom had come to the clinic for treatment. The TTP attacked the clinic because it refused to pay Rs. 2m (US $18,600) in extortion, Quaidabad Police Station officer Nazar Mangrio told Central Asia Online. Extortionists October 3 carried out a similar attack on the Khatri Clinic in the Gulistan-e-Johar area. Fortunately, extortion is starting to decline, according to doctors' groups. "Law enforcement agencies have arrested several extortionists belonging to the TTP in Sohrab Goth who were threatening doctors and hospital owners," said Dr. Saeed Shah, owner of a private hospital in Sohrab Goth, referring to an October-November targeted operation.

Defender of Pak traditions: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
The heir to Pakistan’s grandest political dynasty has seized on kite-flying, livestock races and Valentine’s Day concerts in a bid to stake out an identity for himself as a defender of traditional culture against the rising tide of religious extremism in the country. The activities are among more than a dozen events that will form part of a two-week cultural festival in February organised by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 25-year-old son of the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The Sindh festival is being seen as the first major initiative undertaken by a young politician who until recently was little more than a symbolic figurehead for a party that reveres the Bhutto name. Plans for the festival were announced at a glitzy event in Karachi on Monday night that owed more to a Silicon Valley gadget launch than the traditional rallies and campaign speeches that have made the Bhutto family’s Pakistan People’s party (PPP) a power in the land since his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, set it up in 1967. He warned that the growing influence of hardline Islamic sects originating in the Middle East was leading to people “passively accepting the Talibanisation of Pakistan”. The opening ceremony will take place at Mohenjo-Daro, the ancient ruins of one of the world’s first cities.

PTI, PPP boycott NA session, demand apology from Nisar

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have announced to boycott National Assembly (NA) proceedings till Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan tendered an apology over his remarks, Geo News reported.
On Wednesday, the use of word “Tamasha” by interior minister angered the opposition.
Speaking to media outside the parliament, Khursheed Shah called the word, used by Chaudhry Nisar, as ‘non-parliamentary’. PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi also criticized the statement issued by Nisar Ali Khan. Earlier, over the issue of verification of votes, the opposition and interior Chaudhry Nisar exchanged heated words. Nisar said a political party has blown the issue of thumb verification. He termed it a “Tamasha” (drama).

Pakistan: Chaudhry Nisar & Bangladesh: ''' Crying foul'''

Chaudhry Nisar is one person in the government who is enormously upset over the hanging of Abdul Qadir Molla and has pleaded with the Bangladesh government to desist from opening up old wounds and inculcate a spirit of forgiveness, especially towards the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. He chastised his colleagues in the National Assembly, especially the PPP, for not supporting the resolution condemning Molla’s hanging. In the same breath that the minister was asking Bangladesh to let bygones be bygones, he acknowledged that we have not learnt anything from the Fall of Dacca 42 years ago. Whatever Chaudhry Nisar meant by that, it is true that we have never seriously discussed what mistakes were made then and have been condemned therefore to repeat them. He asked the house to analyze and weigh the successes and failures the country has accumulated since the parting of the ways with East Pakistan. Imran Khan, while supporting the resolution, has asked the government to declassify the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report. MQM wanted other issues, such as the extradition of Biharis stranded in Bangladesh, added to the resolution. The resolution, saying that Molla was hanged for his loyalty to Pakistan, was adopted with the house divided over it. This reflects the gnawing feeling within about the inhuman and shameful treatment we meted out to the Bengalis. Having reduced them to a virtual colony to fulfill the development needs of West Pakistan, the Eastern wing had been deprived of a life worthy of decency and political participation. Molla and his like are being persecuted not for battling for Pakistan but for their activism to instigate massacre and genocidal killing of the Bengali intelligentsia and citizens. Forty two years after these events, we still lack the moral strength to face the truth. It is ridiculous that we should be waxing indignant to condemn Bangladesh without so much as a nod in the direction of our own responsibility and culpability. This lends weight to the argument of the PPP that we should not interfere in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, on principle and for our hollow ‘morality’. Even if the government finds it hard to bring into the open the Hamoodur Rehman report, it could at least apologize for the atrocities of 1971 instead of feeding the rage over the hanging of someone who had been found guilty of the mass murder of our Bengali brothers and sisters.
Molla was not a hero, but Chaudhry Nisar and the Jamaat-i-Islami seem bent upon proving him one. Bringing the resolution into the National Assembly and then dissecting it threadbare was wrong. Similarly our penchant for blaming India for aiding the secession of East Pakistan is a convenient way to shut our eyes and close the door on our unacceptable deeds. The facts would not disappear by such gimmicks. The only appropriate way forward is to own up to the atrocities that the state committed against its own people in East Pakistan. Pakistan’s relative political stability is a recent phenomenon. We have 66 years of tumultuous history dotted with disharmony between the Centre and the provinces, barring Punjab. We turned our heroes into villains. Those who were the flagbearers of Jinnah’s ideology grew disenchanted with this state because the power that be considered them second class citizens. We did this to Sindh, to Balochistan and to East Pakistan. Even today our blame game stops at India. So much for the desire to learn from history. The Fall of Dacca, as we commemorated the failure of our military crackdown December 16, was turned more melancholy due to Molla’s hanging. The two issues were linked and raised to the same intensity, which shows our lack of acumen. Groping in the dark, we cling to anything marked Pakistani, be it religion or even the mistakes of our own making, without critically going beyond the surface of things.

Hooliganism: Karachi Press Club slaps ban on PTI

The Express Tribune
The Karachi Press Club (KPC) has banned the coverage and entry of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its leaders following rowdy attitude of the party workers who not only harassed the KPC members but also tortured a joint secretary of the club on Tuesday. The incident occurred when some PTI workers protesting against drone attacks attempted to enter the club premises. The PTI workers lost their temper when security of the ‘exclusively members’ club prevented the crowd from entering. The workers brandishing sticks misbehaved with KPC members and manhandled KPC Joint Secretary Shams Keerio.

Former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari Condemns bomb blast in Budhber
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has condole the death of four Bomb Disposal Unit’s personnel and paid rich tributes to the martyred who were targeted in a roadside bomb explosion Monday in Badhber near Peshawar.
Condemning the incident as brutal and barbaric, the former President also paid homage to them as ” brave sons of soil who laid down their lives in the cause of fighting militancy and to protect the lives of others”. He said that the nation salutes the brave sons for their dedication to duty and putting their lives in danger to save their fellow countrymen from the brutalities of terrorists. Nation will not forget them and will remember them as true heroes who sacrificed their lives for the security and safety of others. He said that incidents of terrorism and militancy have not and will not weaken the resolve to fight the militants to the finish.
Former President instructed Pakistan Peoples Party local leaders and workers to reach out to the bereaved families and extend every support to them. He said that although no financial assistance can compensate the victims’ families it was important that the government looked after the families of the martyrs. He also prayed to Almighty Allah for the eternal peace to the souls who lost their lives and strength to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

Pakistan says no to military action against Taliban

Pakistan ruled out military action against the Taliban on Tuesday and promised to pursue peace only through talks, but the insurgents immediately rejected its call for negotiations. Mullah Fazlullah, the Pakistani Taliban's new hardline leader, says peace talks are meaningless and has pledged to step up attacks as part of his campaign to topple the central government and establish Islamist rule in Pakistan. The emergence of Fazlullah has prompted speculation that Pakistan might have to ditch hopes for a negotiated ceasefire and resort to military action against militants holed up in lawless ethnic Pashtun areas on the Afghan border. But on Tuesday, the government said the Taliban's tough rhetoric did not mean negotiations had failed. "Their public posturing is different from what's going on in the background," said Tariq Azeem, a senior official in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's team. "They want to appear tough but back channels show that they are also interested in talks."
The Taliban immediately dismissed the concept of peace talks. "Like previous governments this one is a puppet of the United States. It's powerless and dollar-hungry," said Shahidullah Shahid, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman. He told Reuters the Taliban had information that plans were already under way for a state military operation, saying the Taliban were ready for battle. "They should happily launch a military operation against us. We have seen their military operations in the past and would like them to start this long-awaited operation," he said defiantly. Under Fazlullah, Taliban fighters took over Pakistan's Swat valley in 2009, imposing austere Islamic rule and eventually prompting the army to launch a major offensive to flush them out of the strategic region just 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Islamabad. Sharif chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Security on Tuesday where officials confirmed their commitment to talks rather than military action. "The Committee deliberated upon the government's strategy to engage various groups of Pakistani Taliban to address issues of extremism and militancy," Sharif's office said in a statement. "The Committee reaffirmed (the) government's commitment to the strategy of negotiations with TTP (Pakistani Taliban) and consider the use of other options only as a last resort." Nicknamed "Mullah Radio" for his fiery broadcasts in Swat, Fazlullah is best known for ordering the assassination of teenage female education activist Malala Yousafzai. She survived the attack and now lives in Britain. Fazlullah has now promised a new campaign of shootings and bombings against the government, particularly in the densely populated Punjab province - Sharif's political powerbase. But, a month after he took over as the Taliban chief, there have been no major attacks in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban are allied with the Afghan Taliban but Afghan Taliban militants are intent on expelling foreign forces from Afghanistan and do not fight the Pakistani government. Fazlullah, who fled to Afghanistan after the 2009 operation, has now returned to his homeland to lead the insurgency. He was named the leader last month after his predecessor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on November 1. Unlike Fazlullah, Mehsud had been more open to idea of talks.

Imran Khan’s Balochistan Lies

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan’s recent remarks during his visit to India regarding the latter’s support for the uprising in Balochistan are not only regrettable but also totally misleading. Mr. Khan followed the oft-repeated propaganda manufactured by the Pakistani military establishment about the alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan without backing his allegations with any evidence. His statement is a clear diversion from the actual ground situation and an attempt to provide a cover-up to the atrocities of the Pakistani army and security forces against the Baloch people.
While the Pakistani rulers, both civilian and military, barely have reproduced any evidence of a foreign country’s involvement in Balochistan, the Baloch people, on the other hand, have hundreds of eyewitnesses to prove the involvement of the Pakistani troops and and intelligence agents in forced disappearance of Baloch people, military operations and the torture of young political activists. The Baloch version of the story has even been authenticated by the Pakistani Supreme Court and numerous international human rights organizations such as the Human Rights Watch and the Amnesty International.
It is true that the Baloch see ‘foreign involvement’ on their land but that ‘foreign’ force, according to the Baloch, is none other than the Pakistani army and the Frontier Corps, which almost entirely comprise of troopers from the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The Balochs want an immediate end to such ‘foreign involvement’ from their land they do not blame the United States, India or Afghanistan for the wounds inflicted upon them. If the Baloch consider the conflict absolutely homegrown and can also identify their ‘enemy’ within Pakistan, why should Mr. Khan feel the need to go to India to find the murderers of the Baloch people? We know that Balochistan’s culprits roam inside Pakistan, sometimes with uniforms and sometimes in plain clothes, with unquestionable impunity.
Considering Mr. Khan’s dramatic rise as the country’s third major political force during this year’s general elections, one expects him to at least demonstrate more maturity while speaking on critical issues like Balochistan that involve the lives of millions of people. He should craft his statements responsibly and accurately. It is unfortunate that Mr. Khan has has become sort of a spokesperson for the Pakistani military establishment on drones; an apologist for the Taliban and demagogue to promote hatred against the United States among an apolitical generation of young Pakistanis. He has to understand that Balochistan is a different place where the people would not easily subscribe to his demagogy and conspiracy theories. Balochistan may be the country’s least educated province but it is politically very conscious. It is this reason that Mr. Khan’s party failed to win even a single seat from Balochistan during the general elections of May. Maybe Mr. Khan is playing dirty politics on Balochistan to punish its people for not voting for his party.
Mr. Khan has remained absolutely indifferent to the plight of the Baloch people whereas he has emerged as a crusader against the drone strikes that have killed the top leadership of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. Instead of squandering his time in support of the Taliban, Mr. Khan should pick up holier causes such as Balochistan where excessive use of military force has jeopardized the integrity of the federation. If leaders like Mr. Khan lie about Balochistan, they will only deepen the crisis in Balochistan and give the Baloch separatists a reason to ask for separation.
As far as the Baloch position on the alleged Indian support is concerned, there is every reason to be disappointed with New Delhi for not even uttering a word in support of the Baloch people. Every single day, the Balochs are brutalized by the Pakistani military and the security forces for allegedly receiving funding from India. On its part, the Indian parliament, media and civil society have never passed a parliamentary resolution or issued a media statement to express support for the Baloch. As the world’ largest democracy, India has a moral obligation to stand with the people who believe in democracy, secularism and human rights in South Asia. Even Pakistan does a far better job than India when it comes to speaking up on the rights of the “oppressed Muslims” anywhere in the world starting from Palestinian to the Burmese Rohingya Muslims.
Balochistan is a homegrown issue but the Balochs do feel that the international community, including the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and India, have done nothing to help them during these hard times. Do the Balochs need international support? Yes, why not? Are they receiving any foreign assistance right now? No; only Iman Khan knows about it. Would they welcome foreign assistance if ever offered to them? Well, why shouldn’t they?

Balochistan: Second phase of VBMP Long March for release of abducted Baloch enters its 5th day
After walking 700km from Quetta to Karachi the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons team rested in Karachi for around 20 days. They convened a successful conference on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013. Several journalists, human rights activists and families of abducted Baloch persons spoke at the conference and strongly criticised Pakistan military and intelligence agencies for their atrocities in Balochistan.
They families of abducted and martyred Baloch victims narrated their pain and sufferings as result of absence of their loved ones. Farzana Majeed older sister of Zakir Majeed Baloch, a student leader abducted in 2009 from Mastung Balochistan, said: “The blisters of my feet have not fully healed from the Long March from Quetta to Karachi but it seems some people have already forgotten the main reasons behind the March. That is why we have decided to arrange this follow up conference to remind the government and you that we do not give up. We are not tired, neither hopeless nor afraid of raising our voice for freedom and justice.”
The Pakistan government, media and judiciary has failed to hear their plea for the release thousands of Baloch political prisoners. They set off for another longer march towards Islamabad. On 13.12.2013 they launched the second phase of their long march from Karachi Press Club and walked till Malir town near Karachi International airport. They are adamant to continue their March till Islamabad and protest in front of the office of United Nations.
On the second day they started their march from Malir and the entire population of Malir including aged men, women and children of tender age rallied behind the VBMP Long March. Activists and leaders of different parties of Sindh warmly welcomed the team as they entered Razaqabad area of interior Sindh on Saturday evening. Qadeer Baloch, vice chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, addressing the well-wishers said that they are marching for the safe and early release of their loved ones.
He said no country in world has ever disappeared and killed people in the manner that Pakistan is disappearing and killing Baloch. “Even if our loved ones have done anything wrong they must be brought to courts and punished according to the law of land,” he said, adding that he will continue this march and go as far as Geneva at UN headquarters if he had to. On Sunday the VBMP Long March has left from Razzaqabad and walked all the way to Khatore area of Sindh. The convoy of the marchers was greeted by Sindhi and Baloch Nationalists and Welfare organisations at different places. Hundreds of Sindhi and Baloch youth joined the caravan of walk for justice. The leader of the convoy Mama Qadeer said they will present a memorandum to United Nations headquarters after they reach to Islamabad.
He said: “We will ask the UN why it has continuously been ignoring human rights violations, especially, enforced-disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Balochistan. He claimed that eighteen thousand two hundred thirty-six (18236) people have been abducted by Pakistani security agencies and army.
He added: “The victims of enforced-disappearances and extra-judicial killing include Baloch students, lawyers, teachers, political activists and other highly conscious member of Baloch society.” He expressed these views with media persons while on his way from Khatore to Dahbigi, where they stayed for the night. The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons long march has left from Dahbigi on Monday morning. The convoy of the marchers was again warmly greeted by Sindhi and Baloch Nationalists as well as members of Baloch community living in Sindh. Leaders of different Sindhi nationalist parties and Baloch Qaumi Movement assured the resilient and steadfast Baloch marcher their full support and cooperation. The foot march continued to gain momentum as it passed from different areas of Sindh. People have been welcoming the marchers with chains of flowers and great love and passion. They reached in Gharo on Monday evening and stayed at the house of a Sindhi nationalist. Tuesday morning they started their walk from Gharo and by the dusk they reached to Gujjo city in district Thatta area of Sindh. Hundreds of Sindhi Nationalists and members of Sindhi community and Baloch Qaumi Movement welcomed and joined the march. Charged activists chanted slogans for release of thousands of Baloch and Sindhi activists from the custody of Pakistan military and intelligence agencies. March has called it a day in a Goth ten kilometres away from Thatta city. It is expected that the support for the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons march will increase as they enter in main cities and strong hold of Sindhi nationalists. Talking to Balochwarna News Mama Qadeer Baloch said that the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons is the representative organisation of the families of abducted and extra-judicially killed Baloch activists. He said they were marching to demand the release of thousands of Baloch and bring the perpetrators of human rights violations in Baluchistan to justice. “We have no faith in federal government in Islamabad and powerless provincial government and Balochistan,” Mr Baloch said.
He also said that the government of Dr Malik has failed to trace abducted Baloch persons and deliver justice to their families, adding that: “We are also deeply disheartened by the helplessness of Pakistani judiciary, prejudice of Pakistani media and silence of civil society.”

Pakistan's Shia Genocide: 3 Shiites, a policeman martyred in a suicide attack near Imam Bargah in Pindi
Three Shia azadars and one Sunni policeman embraced martyrdom when a suicide bomber detonated him outside of an Imam Bargah in Gracy Lines, Rawalpindi on Tuesday night.
Shiite News reported that the CCPO Rawalpindi Akhtar Umar Lalika, said the blast caused by a suicide bomber left 5 including himself dead.
The bomber reached near Imam Bargah on a motorcycle and was stopped at the first police check post for a physical search where he blew himself up.
The first cordon, manned by police officials and supervised by the area SHO himself, was located 30 feet from the Imam bargah. There is at least one other check post where visitors are physically searched before being allowed to enter the building.
Martyrs were identified as Sub-inspector Amanat Ali of the Airport Police Station, Hassan Abbas, Ghulam Shabbir and Waseem Zaidi. At least 16 persons including SHO Rab Nawaz and 7 police officials were injured, six critically. The critically injured have been transferred to the Benazir Bhutto hospital for treatment. Three bodies were also brought to the hospital. Coffin of the martyr Waseem, Zaidi is being taken to Karachi where his funeral will take place on Wednesday.
Police and other security agencies have cordoned off the area and are collecting evidence. The bomb disposal squad has also reached the site and is collecting evidence. The blast damaged at least two cars and almost a dozen motorcycles and also caused damage to nearby buildings.
The Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Shia Ulema Council and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria condemned the suicide attack. They demanded stern action against the Yazidi nasbi takfiri terrorists of outlawed Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba. They also denounced the Punjab government for its failure to protect the Shia Muslims against terrorist attacks. Gracy Line is located in a very sensitive part of Rawalpindi, situated between military residential buildings, the Benazir airport and Chaklala air base.

Pakistan's Shia Genocide: Attack on Karachi imambargah foiled

Security guards deputed at an imambargah near Karachi's Khalid bin Waleed Road foiled an attack as two explosive-laden women tried to enter the place of worship on Wednesday, DawnNews reported. One of the women was shot dead whereas the other was critically injured as the guards opened fire as when the burqa-clad women tried to force their way inside. Security and rescue teams reached the site of incident and cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway.
Police officials later confirmed that both women were equipped with explosives.
Moreover, the husband of the explosive-laden women who was killed was taken into custody by authorities. The body and the injured woman were shifted to a hospital where sources said both were related.

Bangladesh grills Pakistan envoy over Molla resolution

Bangladesh on Tuesday sought an explanation from Pakistan’s envoy in Dhaka regarding a resolution adopted by the Pakistani parliament condemning execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla for his involvement in war crimes of 1971. Bangladesh's foreign ministry, in a statement, said that Molla’s trial and punishment was the country’s internal affair and the resolution adopted by Pakistan’s National Assembly in this regard was uncalled for. Pakistan’s high commissioner in Dhaka, Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi was summoned to explain the matter in this regard, it said. The 65 years old Jamaat-e-Islami leader was hanged on Thursday for his involvement in war crimes during Bangladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. The lower house of parliament in Pakistan on Monday blew hot and cold over the execution, ending up with just an expression of “concern” by a divided house at what Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said was “judicial murder.” The government and its allies as well as the opposition Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan tried hard for a show of parliamentary consensus on the 42nd anniversary of “fall of Dhaka” as they supported a resolution proposed by the opposition Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) seeking to condemn the execution of Bangladeshi Jamaat-i-Islami’s Abdul Quader Molla. But the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) refused to sign the draft and openly opposed it for different reasons in speeches before the house passed a toned down resolution by voice vote. Contrary to a mild comment made by the foreign ministry on Friday, Chaudhry Nisar used some tough language in the house, saying Mr Molla’s hanging had “opened old wounds again.” The original JI draft had wanted the house to “strongly condemn” the hanging, but an amended draft that was moved by a party member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, only “expressed concern” of the house over the hanging of Molla for what it called “supporting Pakistan in 1971.” It urged the Bangladesh government to “not revive the issues of 1971” and “terminate all cases registered against the leaders of Jamaat-i-Islami, Bangladesh, in a spirit of reconciliation.” Country-wide protests and funeral prayers in absentia were held by the activists and supporters of the JI in Pakistan following the hanging in Dhaka. Pakistan’s armed forces are alleged to have carried out war crimes in1971 and the Bangladesh government has been seeking a public apology from Pakistan which is yet to abide by the demand of its South Asian neighbour officially.

‘Expel Pakistani envoy from Dhaka’
Students of Dhaka University have demanded expulsion of Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka after that country’s national and provincial assemblies passed a resolution expressing concern over the execution of war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla.
They made the demand after taking out a torchlight procession on the campus on Tuesday night.
The protesters also burned the effigies of Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami leader and National Assembly member Sher Akbar Khan, who had tabled the resolution, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and the country’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. The Pakistan national and provincial assemblies on Monday adopted the resolutions expressing concern over the hanging of war criminal Molla and terming him “a supporter of the undivided Pakistan". The Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami was executed last Thursday night for his crimes against humanity including genocide during the War of Independence against Pakistan in 1971. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s Chairman Imran Khan said Molla was “innocent” and charges against him were “false”. Nisar Ali Khan in a statement had expressed “deep grief” and concern over the execution of one of the war criminals of Bangladesh. Newspaper ‘Dawn’ reported that the minister said, “Till the very end before creation of Bangladesh, he (Molla) remained a supporter of a united Pakistan and today every Pakistani is saddened and grieved by his death.” A Tuesday night’s demonstration at Dhaka University, former President of the university’s Student Union Manabendra Dev told “Passage of this resolution in the Pakistani National Assembly has once again established Jamaat’s loyalty towards that country.” “They [Pakistan] should apologise and seek forgiveness for their policy and role towards Bangladesh. People’s hatred toward Pakistan has increased after the passage of this resolution.” He said the Pakistan assemblies have interfered in an internal matter of Bangladesh by making this move. “No state has the right to interfere with another independent state’s law and trials. Pakistan has misbehaved. Bangladesh government should expel the Pakistani High Commissioner immediately.” Meanwhile, earlier in the evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi and lodged ‘a strong protest’ against the resolution. The ministry’s Secretary (bilateral) Mustafa Kamal conveyed the government’s protest and handed the High Commissioner an “Aide Memoire”.

Bangladesh: Anger over Pakistani interference

Thirty-six eminent citizens including professors, writers and journalists are frothing with anger over Pakistan’s interfering with Bangladesh’s execution of war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla.
They expressed their outrage in a statement on Tuesday, a day after Pakistan’s national and provincial assemblies passed a resolution expressing concern over the execution, terming him “a supporter of the undivided Pakistan".
The statement, signed by prominent fiction writer Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, said, “The events after war criminal Abdul Quader Molla’s hanging have surprised and frustrated us.”
“Bangladesh is an independent and sovereign state with its own Constitution and law. Any foreign states or their diplomats in Bangladesh or governments, organisations and ministers should not forget that.”
“This kind of act from any state or its representative, international organisations or their representatives is tantamount to hurting the emotion of Bangladesh’s people. This can weaken the bilateral understanding and respect. We believe nobody wants this,” read the statement.
Among the signatories were Professor Anisuzzaman, Barrister Rafique-Ul Haque, Kamal Lohani, Sultana Kamal, Justice Golam Rabbani, Ferdousi Priobhashini, Shyamily Nasrin Chowdhury, Syed Shamsul Haque, Nirmolendu Gun, Shahriar Kabir, Muntasir Mamun and Prof MM Akash. Journalists who signed the statement included Golam Sarwar, Abed Khan, Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Mozammel Babu, Shyamal Dutta, Munni Saha, JE Mamun, Jayedul Ahsan Pintu, Porbhash Amin, Shamsuddin Haidar Dalim and Julfiqar Ali Manik. The statement was also signed by Dr Shahdin Malik, Dr Sarowar Ali, Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu, Ali Zaker, Dr Yasmin Haque, Nur Safa Julhaz, Prof Abdul Aziz, Prof Zia Rahman, Prof Dr Baytullah Kadri, Prof Dr Hakim Arif, Prof AZM Saiful Alam Bhuiyan and Supriya Chakrabarty.
Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan in 1971 after nine months of bloody war. The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami of which Abdul Quader Molla was a leader had sided with Pakistan during the war.
Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami earlier opposed the execution saying Molla was hanged to death because “he was loyal to Pakistan and supported Pakistan army during the 1971 war”. It took to the streets following the execution of Molla on Dec 12. The resolution was moved by the Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami. Its National Assembly member Sher Akbar Khan on Monday tabled the resolution. Reacting to this, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu earlier on Tuesday said Bangladesh government would formally lodge a protest. Senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta also urged the government to lodge a formal protest with Islamabad over the resolution passed on Monday.
“Our foreign ministry should tell the whole world that this verdict was delivered after a prolonged hearing and by following all judicial proceedings and through the Appellate Division,” Suranjit said.
Later in the evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka Mian Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi and lodged ‘a strong protest’ against the resolution.
The ministry’s Secretary (bilateral) Mustafa Kamal conveyed the government’s protest and handed the High Commissioner an “Aide Memoire”.