Friday, October 3, 2014

Video Report - Cameron meets with troops, new government on unannounced Afghanistan visit

Video Report - Kurdish fighters, battling Islamic State, warn of possible massacre in Kobani

Video Report - Biden: 'Ebola is a crisis at our door'

Video - Jon Stewart Reacts To Narendra Modi Visit To USA - America's Top Modi

Video Report - Donetsk airport carnage: Runway littered with destroyed tanks, plane wreckage

Pakistan : Brother of PM’s aide appointed AIOU VC

Even as the ruling party is under fire for their ‘nepotistic’ style of governance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has picked the younger brother of his adviser on national affairs to head the leading distance-learning university of the country.
President Mamnoon Hussain, on the advice of the prime minister, on Thursday appointed Professor Dr Shahid Siddiqui, the younger brother of Irfan Siddiqui, as Vice Chancellor of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU).
In addition, the president also appointed Professor Javed Ashraf as the VC of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai as the Rector of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).
Speaking to Dawn, Irfan Siddiqui said his brother was selected purely on merit. “He is a competent person and was selected on merit, not because he is my brother,” he added.
The prime minister selected the three educationists from a list of nine (three against each post) sent to him by a search committee headed by Education Minister Mohammad Balighur Rehman.

Pakistan : Rehman Malik wants parliamentary committee to investigate Arjumand sacking

Pakistan People’s Party Senator Rehman Malik has requested the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate the termination of Arjumand Hussain, the man who filmed the video of angry airline passengers forcing two lawmakers, including Malik, off a Pakistan International Airlines flight on September 17.
“I would like to draw your kind attention to the recent social and electronic media reports wherein a false allegation has been levelled that I got Arjumand Azhar terminated from his job by using my political pressure,” reads the letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, sent by Malik to the Senate chairman on Friday. Both local and international media have reported that Hussain was fired from his job due to his involvement in PK-370 protest against VIP culture in Pakistan.
Gerry’s International, the company Hussain got fired from, in a statement on Tuesday confirmed that Hussain had been sacked, but ‘purely on merit’ and not for his involvement in the PK-370 incident.
A message posted on the company’s Facebookpage stated the decision had been in the pipeline for some time.

Pakistan - Zardari, Siraj discuss political situation

Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday evening held a meeting with Ameer Jamaa-e-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq and discussed prevailing political situation in the country, Geo News reported.
Speaking to media after the meeting held at Mansoora, Sirajul Haq said democracy is a blessing, however, the common man was not getting fruit of it.
Siraj said Asif Zardari is the first PPP leader to visit JI headquarters in Mansoora in 32 years. He added that it was the need of the hour to think for the country and the nation regardless of party personality.
JI chief further said he wanted political parties and their workers to remain in contact.
PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari said all the parties had to work together for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. He said he would hold meetings with all the politicians in Pakistan to resolve the issues of masses.
The former president stressed on the talks, saying that “dialogues, dialogues and only dialogues.”

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Fears that Islamic State will use Yazidi families as 'human shields'

The Islamic State has returned dozens of detained Yazidi families back to their houses located in the district of Sinjar in the Nineveh province of northern Iraq, in a move which was described by one Yazidi commander as a "frightening" development because of the likelihood that they would be used as human shields, Anadolu news agency reported.
Nawaf Khaddida Sinjari, the commander of a Yazidi combat patrol, told Anadolu that: "We have received information from several sources confirming that Islamic State terrorist gangs have brought more than 80 Yazidi families who had previously been detained in the areas south of Mosul back to the Sinjar area."
He added, "The majority of them are women and children under the age of 12 years."
Nawaf, who is hiding with his fighters on Sinjar mountain, described such a step as "frightening", saying that "it is very likely that the Islamic State wants to use those families as human shields after the violent aerial bombardment and the strikes that have targeted the organisation in the Rabia' area, 120 kilometres west of Mosul over the past three days, which resulted in the expulsion of Islamic State remnants from the area."
The terrorist organisation invaded the Sinjar district, 124 kilometres west of Mosul, on 3 August, an area that is inhabited by a majority of Yazidi Kurds.
Anadolu cited Yazidi activists who said that the Islamic State has committed heinous crimes, including the murder and the kidnapping and captivity of thousands of Yazidi civilians.
It is usually not possible to get an official comment from the Islamic State because of the restrictions imposed by the organisation in dealing with the media.
The Yazidis are a religious group, most of whose members live near Mosul and the Sinjar mountain region in Iraq. Estimated to number about 600,000, smaller groups of Yazidis live in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Georgia and Armenia.
According to researchers, the Yazidi religion is one of the ancient Kurdish religions, with the Kurdish language used in all its rituals and religious rites.
The international US-led coalition, which involves many European and Arab countries, launched air strikes on Islamic State camps in Syria and Iraq in an attempt to curtail its progress into wider areas of these two countries.
Since the beginning of this year, forces from the Iraqi army have been fighting fierce battles against armed groups, led by the Islamic State organisation, in most areas of the Anbar province, which has a Sunni majority. Those battles became even tougher about two months ago after armed groups seized control of the western districts of the county, including 'Ana, Rawa, Al-Qai'm and Al-Retba, in addition to the province's eastern regions of Falluja and Al-Karma, as well as parts of the city of Ramadi.
The turmoil prevails in the areas of the north and west of Iraq after the Islamic State, along with other militias allied with it, took over large parts of the Ninoi province in the north on 10 June 2014, after the withdrawal of the Iraqi army from the area without any resistance, leaving large quantities of weapons and gear behind.
The same scenario happened in other provinces in the north of Iraq. A few months ago, this also happened in the cities of Anbar province in the west of the country.
The Iraqi forces, backed by armed allied groups as well as the Peshmerga forces, the Kurdish army of northern Iraq, have since managed to kick out the militants and regain control of a number of cities and towns after heavy fighting over the past few weeks.

‘Extremism prevention’: Austria to amend century-old law on Islam

Just two years after a lavish ceremony to celebrate the centenary of Austria’s “model” law on Islam, the law is set to be overhauled to ban Muslims from receiving foreign funding and pave the way for a standardised German language version of the Koran. Muslim groups in Austria have expressed disappointment that their government was bowing to “blanket suspicion and mistrust” of the Muslim community. Muslims make up 6 percent of Austria’s population, and are the second largest religious grouping, after Roman Catholics, in Vienna. Until recently the community enjoyed good relations with their neighbours, but governmental reports on the rise of Islamic militancy have caused nationalist parties to gain ground in the polls in recent months. Around 140 Austrians are understood to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight as jihadis, according to Reuters.
“The clear message should be that there is no contradiction between being a faithful Muslim and a proud Austrian,” Foreign Affairs and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz has told reporters. “If you don't have orderly legal regulation ... this can always bring dangers (of extremism). In this sense, if you like this is maybe a part of prevention.” Sharia law has “no place here,” he added.
The amended law will prohibit Muslim organisations from receiving foreign funding. One-off grants, such as money left in a will, will be allowed but only if the management of assets is handled in Austria, The Local has reported.
Living subsidies, such as those given to Imams to fund their work will be outlawed. 65 of Austria’s approximately 300 Imams are currently employed by Turkey. They will either have to cease work or find alternative funding.
Muslim organisations will be compelled to teach at least one lesson in German, and community leaders will be dismissed if they have a criminal record. According to the BBC, 60,000 children take part annually in Muslim religion classes in Austria, which are taught in German.
All state-recognised religions, of which Islam is one, will have to offer a standardised German-language version of their doctrines and holy texts, including the Koran. This presents a particular problem for Islam as the draft law bundles together the Sunni, Shi-ite and Alawite traditions. Further issues are created by the fact that Muslims believe the Arabic version of the Koran is the literal word of Allah in Islam, and that any translation constitutes an interpretation.
“If a version of the Koran (in German) comes along as the codified, ultimate (version), then this would contradict the self-conception of Islam,” said Carla Amina Baghajati, spokeswoman for the Islamic Community of Faith in Austria (IGGIO), one of two officially recognised Austrian Islamic organisations.
Speaking more generally about the proposed bill, she said “Among the Muslim base, the law is not seen as a gift for the Eid holiday," referring to the upcoming holiday of Eid-al-Adha.
"(The bill) mirrors in its overtone the spirit of the times we currently perceive, which is marked by blanket suspicion and mistrust against Muslims,” she added, although she is also optimistic that the draft legislation might still be amended.
However, Kurz was dismissive, pointing out that it had been possible to create unified teaching material for Islamic religious studies in Austrian schools. Last month he told an Austrian radio station that countless translations of the Koran had been created, and that it was in the interest of the Muslim community to eliminate possible misunderstandings. German translations of the Koran have previously been made.
Austria’s 102 year old Law on Islam had previously been seen as a symbol of religious tolerance, as it awarded Muslims in Austria the same rights as those given to Christians, Jews and Buddhists, amongst others, making Islam a state-recognised religion. Speaking in 2012 at a ceremony held to celebrate the law, Omar Al-Rawi, a Vienna City councillor, praised the law for integrating the Muslim community into Austrian life, saying that it made them feel accepted.
“Austria is a model in Europe in dealing with Islam, but the Austrian Muslims are also a European model,” he said. “The Muslims know that with rights there are also obligations and duties. And if you have a lot of rights and benefits, you also have something to lose.
“Austrian Muslims go all over the world saying we are Austrians, we belong to this country that gave us respect and recognition and gave us a lot of benefits that even some Muslim countries don't enjoy. And that is why they are very proud saying that they are Austrians.” Austria’s President Heinz Fischer called for peaceful and respectful relations, saying that, thanks to their legal status, Austria’s official religions were obliged to “respect and accept the laws of the state”.

US Vice-President Joe Biden blames US allies in Middle East for rise of ISIS

US Vice-President Joe Biden has accused America’s key allies in the Middle East of allowing the rise of the Islamic State (IS), saying they supported extremists with money and weapons in their eagerness to oust the Assad regime in Syria.
America’s “biggest problem” in Syria is its regional allies, Biden told students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University on Thursday.
“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” he said, explaining that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad,” that in a sense they started a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” by pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” towards anyone who would fight against Assad.
“And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them,” said Biden, thus disassociating the US from unleashing the civil war in Syria.
“The outcome of such a policy now is more visible,” he said, as it turned out they supplied extremists from Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda.
All of a sudden the regional powers that sponsored anti-Assad rebels awakened to the dawn of a major international security threat in the face of ISIS – now called Islamic State. After being essentially thrown out of Iraq it found open space and territory in eastern Syria and established close ties with the Al-Nusra Front which the US had earlier declared a terrorist group.
Now Washington needs a coalition of Sunni states to fight the Islamic State because “America can't once again go in to Muslim nation and be the aggressor, it has to be led by Sunnis, to attack a Sunni organization [the IS],” Biden said, acknowledging that it is for the first time that the US uses a geopolitical strategy.
“Even if we wanted it to be, it cannot be our fight alone,” Biden said. “This cannot be turned into a US ground war against another Arab nation in the Middle East.”

Video Report - President Obama: "America is a story of progress."

An excerpt from President Obama's remarks on building a new foundation for the American economy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois on October 2, 2014.

China - Critics lash out at protestors for jeopardizing Hong Kong's future

Critics of different countries have denounced the illegal gatherings of the Occupy Central movement and criticized protestors for resorting to violence and jeopardizing Hong Kong's future.
The protests in Hong Kong's busiest areas since Sept. 28 have led to serious traffic disruption, temporary closure of schools and banks, and slumps in the benchmark Hang Seng Index, impacting the region's economic prosperity and social stability.
Martin Jacques, a Guardian columnist, wrote a commentary titled "China is Hong Kong's future - not its enemy" on Wednesday.
He said in the commentary that it should be remembered that for 155 years until its handover to China in 1997, Hong Kong had been a British colony, forcibly taken from China at the end of the first Opium War.
All its 28 governors under the colonial rule were appointed by the British authority, Jacques said, adding that democracy was actually introduced to Hong Kong by the Chinese government.
In 1997, the latter adopted the Basic Law, which included the commitment that the chief executive of Hong Kong will be elected by universal suffrage in 2017.
Over the last 17 years since the handover, China has honored its commitment to the principle of "one country, two systems."
Pierre Picard, an expert on China from the University of Paris-VIII, told Xinhua on Wednesday that some Western countries used double standards on the Occupy Central movement and interfered in China's internal affairs, which was "astonishing."
What should be concerned about is that why the Occupy Central happened three years before 2017 and who use it to undermine the democratic process of Hong Kong and the stability of China, Picard said.
He stressed that people should be wary of the real motives of the Occupy Central organizers.
Fang Yan, a critic in New York, said the Occupy Central organizers oppose to list "love China, love Hong Kong" as a requirement for Hong Kong's chief executive candidates.
These organizers intend to get rid of the leadership of the central government with the support of foreign powers and try to turn Hong Kong into a certain kind of independent political entity.
Fang said since Hong Kong's return to China, the mainland and Hong Kong have been closely linked, sharing weal and woe. Hong Kong not only needs support and assistance from the central government, but cooperation with other provinces and municipalities in various areas.
If one who does not love China were elected as Hong Kong's chief executive, the very first victim would be Hong Kong itself, Fang added.



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Pakistan : Asif Ali Zardari to celebrate Eid in Lahore

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari will arrive here in Lahore on Friday afternoon and will celebrate Eid-ul-Azha in the city as well, ARY News reports.
According to party sources, Zardari will stay at Bilawal House in Lahore for a week and will celebrate the joyous occasion in the city.
He will also meet the party leaders and activists during his stay in Lahore.
Sources further said that a series of party meetings are scheduled in which the former and present party officials will be present. The party strategies will be discussed in the party sessions as well.
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In Historic Homeland, Pakistan's Sikhs Live Under Constant Threat

Every time someone walks into his pharmacy in the volatile Pakistani city of Peshawar, Amarjeet Singh prepares for the worst.
"I don't know if it's a customer or an assailant who will reach out for his gun," Amarjeet, a member of Pakistan's tiny Sikh minority, told Reuters.
Easily recognized because of their colorful turbans, members of Pakistan's Sikh community say they have been singled out and attacked increasingly in the South Asian nation where radical Islamist militants see them as infidels.
Their plight highlights a growing atmosphere of intolerance in a country long plagued by sectarian violence. Like Shi'ite Muslims, Christians and other minorities, Sikhs live in a paranoid and hostile world where every stranger is assumed to be an attacker.
Many Sikhs see Pakistan as the place where their religion began: the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469 in a small village near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
Wearing a large pink turban and sitting cross-legged in his shop, Amarjeet, 40, said the community was so afraid that most people stopped showing up for prayers in the traditional Sikh place of worship - the Gurdwara, or the gateway to the guru.
"I have run this business for last 22 years. Never in my life have I experienced such insecurity," he said. "Around 60 percent of our shops are closed due to security concerns. Many parents are not sending their children to schools."
Last month, Harjeet Singh, another Sikh shopkeeper, was shot dead at his herbal medicine shop in Peshawar, near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan which is home to most of the country's 40,000 strong Sikh community.
Peshawar, a sprawling and chaotic city of 3.8 million lies in a conservative region awash with radical Islamist ideology. Pamphlets praising Islamic State, a group fighting to set up a global Islamic caliphate, have recently appeared.
According to police, at least eight Sikhs have been killed in the past year and a half - the first ever recorded sectarian killings of Sikhs in Pakistani history.
Sikhs have a long and colorful history in Pakistan. Originally persecuted by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century, they fled to the remote mountains on what is now the Pakistan-Afghan border and settled among Pashtun tribes.
Sikhs have praised their Pashtun hosts for allowing them to hide in their lands thanks to the tribal principle of sanctuary but growing instability in the region has changed the picture.
At least 500 Sikh families have recently migrated to Peshawar due to a military operation against Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border.
"They were forced to leave their established businesses ... They were also doing well in Peshawar until the latest wave of attacks," said Haroon Sarab Diyal, chairman of the All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement, a group advocating Hindu and Sikh rights.
"Sikh are not sending their children to schools, especially boys who stand out due to their head dress."
A multi-story shopping mall in Peshawar, Orakzai Plaza, where Sikhs own a range of shops, stands abandoned after Sikhs closed their businesses for security reasons.
Senior police officer Najeeb-ur-Rehman said police were regularly patrolling Sikh areas and were deployed at the main temple, its facade, painted in a light golden color, shining gently in the sun above a narrow maze of dusty alleys.
"Pakistan is land of the pure for us, it is the birth place of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. It's our mother land, we love this soil. Why are we being targeted here?" asked Sardar Charanjit Singh, a Sikh elder.
"People are very frightened, it's a time of sorrow for us."
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Bombing in Pakistan and a Wave of Attempts Point to a New Drive by Militants

Amid a wave of bombing attempts in this northwestern Pakistani city on Thursday, a bomb rigged to a timer exploded inside a passenger van, killing seven and wounding six, the police said.
Although the attack was the only one of eight attempted bombings to succeed here, the police said, the mass of attempts pointed to a concerted effort by militants to intensify their attacks on government targets.
“The bombs were intended to destroy an electrical tower, and to target police and a convoy of the law enforcement agencies,” said Shafqat Malik, the head of the Peshawar bomb disposal unit, noting that the bombs all had “a level of sophistication.”
“The bomb that went off was to target civilians. Imagine what would have happened, had they all gone off,” he said. “Today was the worst day in my professional career.”
The van that was bombed was set to carry passengers to Parachinar, the main town in the Kurram tribal region.
In an interview, a policeman investigating the case, Ejaz Khan, said that a man had left two bags in the van, then asked the driver to wait for him while he went to bring more passengers. The bomb, with roughly 10 pounds of explosives, went off after he left.
Although Kurram has in the past been a center of sectarian violence between Sunnis and minority Shiites, police officials said it was more likely that the bombing was a randomly chosen terrorist act rather than a targeted killing.
“People are heading home for Eid holidays,” Mr. Khan said, referring to the Eid al-Adha festival this weekend. “There is a lot of rush. No one could have known which passenger was heading where.”
A senior police superintendent, Najib Bhagvi, suspected that Pakistani Taliban militants were behind the attacks. That organization, along with some of its allies and splinter groups, has come under increasing pressure since the start of a military offensive against militant bases in North Waziristan in June.
“Peshawar is heating up, and this is the blow back of the operation in Waziristan,” Mr. Bhagvi said. “All the terrorist outfits, including Al Qaeda, have joined forces and are hitting back.”
Peshawar has seen a surge in militant attacks this year, particularly against the police. Twenty-five policemen have been killed since January, including a police inspector who was shot dead outside his house on Thursday.
Mr. Malik, the bomb squad commander, worried that more attacks were sure to come. “Tough days are ahead,” he said.

The Islamic State's Potential Recruits in Pakistan

By Kiran Nazish
There is evidence that the terrorist outfit is actively recruiting fighters in the troubled country.
Tanned, green-eyed, long-bearded Pashtun crossing the border from Afghanistan have never been so feared in Peshawar, the capital city of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Through history this region has been one of the busiest in Central Asia, connecting travelers, traders and storytellers to India and beyond. But the recent decade has been agonizing for local Pashtun, with their identity and geography appropriated by militant groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as their various factions in the region. This week brought the biggest blow yet, when the formidable Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL) was discovered openly recruiting in the city.
Local fighters in Peshawar and FATA were seen to be showing around about a dozen men who had crossed over from Afghanistan to Pakistan to promote the cause of the caliphate. These men in turn distributed hundreds of pamphlets in Peshawar and its environs.
For fighters and militant commanders in Pakistan, the Islamic State is an object of awe. Most militants, individually and in groups, romanticize the idea of Islam and sharia spreading across the world. In essence, the idea and ideals of a unified caliphate has aroused jihadists everywhere, multiplying the Islamic State’s following in Pakistan and Afghanistan much more rapidly than was achieved even by heavyweights like the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Amanullah Khan, a former professor at Peshawar University who worked for many years trying to de-radicalize youth, said that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an appealing figure for young followers with a jihadi mentality, with his background as an Islamic scholar playing a stronger bonding role for impressionable youth. Unlike Osama Bin Laden and Aymen al-Zawahiri, respectively an engineer and doctor, jihadists who were less immersed in knowledge of Islam, Baghdadi offers both a traditional Islamic education and an abundant jihadist resume. “That legitimacy can definitely turn a lot of al-Qaeda and Taliban supporters in the region, and in fact it is already happening,” says Khan.
With at least 48 known jihadist groups in Pakistan, IS would seem to have plenty of potential to grow within the country.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned militant group that wants to establish Pakistan as a Sunni Muslim state, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and offshoots of al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network are just a few of these groups. The Pakistan military has long been accused of providing opportunities, logistics and sponsorship to these groups in exchange for their proxy services. With the popularity of right-wing religious parties swelling in every city, Pakistan has become a hotbed for new recruits. IS is now tapping these resources, and given Pakistan’s porous borders with its neighbors, it could give the group the foothold it needs to establish a presence in South Asia.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the military operation in North Waziristan, has displaced more than one million local civilians from the region, yet the army has still not been able to decisively defeat the militants it was targeting. In fact, recent reports suggest that most top commanders of both Haqqani and Pakistani Taliban left Waziristan prior to the operation. Some crossed the border and escaped into Afghanistan, while others scattered to relocate in the north of the country in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or in Karachi in the south.
The Pakistani military recently claimed that had 901 militants had been killed in the Waziristan operation, but these figures are refuted by local sources as well as militant groups themselves, who claim to have escaped the operation. And in fact the government has not been able to identify the militants it says it has killed.
At any rate, the Pakistan Taliban has been able to re group. More disturbingly, Omar Khalid Khorasani – a former Pakistan Taliban leader who has strong links with both al-Qaeda and its leader Zawahiri – has apparently now established a new group called Jamat-ul-Ahrar, which he insists is the “real Taliban” in Pakistan. According to Khorasani, more than eighty percent of Taliban fighters and commanders from different regions and militant groups across the country have joined his new outfit, which is a staunch supporter of the Islamic State.
Recent weeks have offered Pakistan’s militants a unique opportunity, with the country in the grip of political instability. The struggle between elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and politician Imran Khan – a former cricketer best known these days for his ability to orchestrate mobs – has shaken this fragile democracy. Both the media and state shifted their focus from jihadist developments, allowing the militants to regroup.
According to at least a dozen sources in Peshawar, including fighters who say they have returned from Syria, IS has been recruiting in Pakistan for some time. Many fighters from anti-Shia militant groups in Pakistan sign up, and were initially tasked to fight the Assad regime.
In Sistan and Dasht, two regions in Balochistan bordering Iran – Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province with its own ongoing separatist movement – locals have found wall markings with similar messages. According to a few local Baloch, there are more than a hundred militants from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other anti-Shia groups in these areas.
Although evidence of these activities was present before, they passed largely unremarked until IS began to advertise publicly. Local reporters who might have been familiar with the recruiting avoided reporting out of fear for their lives.
All this now means that collaboration is possible between some of the most hardline and unbending regional groups in Pakistan and IS in the Middle East. And the most striking and high-profile support that IS may be able to count on in Pakistan comes from Jamat-ul-Ahrar, the newly formed group. Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesperson for Jamat-ul-Ahrar, is clear on the group’s plans to fight along with the Islamic Caliphate, “We consider every mujahid (fighter for Jihad) as our brother.” He added, “Islam is a religion of peace. We want implementation of this system. We’ll continue our armed struggle until we implement Shari’ah in Pakistan.”
With hardline groups in Pakistan offering safe haven for the Islamic State in this region, while simultaneously pursuing their own local goals, and with younger fighters and groups inspired to join the cause of the caliphate, the security situation looks set to deteriorate not just in Pakistan but throughout the region. The Pakistani military has failed five times since 2007 to crush the jihadist groups. Now, commanders who say they have left al-Qaeda and sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may form a force that is beyond the military’s ability to contain.

Pakistan : PML N's government targeting Christian asylum seekers in South and South East Asia: A Report

The Central Secretariat of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC has issued a press note here today condemning conspiracy of ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group PML (N) in federation and Punjab Province to target Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand who fled from Pakistan for safety of their lives after Muslim mob attacks on their life and property in Punjab.
There are more than 9 thousand Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand and 2-3 thousands in Malaysia and Sri Lanka respectively.
The government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz PML (N) hatched a conspiracy and engaged one Christian Federal Minister who was selected on PML (N) in parliament to participate in every official function of High Commission of Sri Lanka in Islamabad which can be witnessed on viewing official website of Sri Lankan High Commission.
The Pakistan government provided logistic support to Sri Lanka to defeat Tamil Tigers and establish writ in Tamil majority areas. With support of Pakistan, hundreds and thousands of innocent Tamils were killed by Sri Lanka army.
As Pakistan and Sri Lanka are not signatories of International Criminal Court ICC, therefore one super power used Pakistan to transfer deadly weapons to Sri Lanka to kill Tamil innocent population to avoid any charges of genocide and crime against humanity.
The gathering of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Sri Lanka and their applications to UNHCR was never appreciated by government of Pakistan and government of Punjab which are of PML (N).
PML (N) Christian federal Minister was provided huge funds by Intelligence Bureau IB to send delegates of some Bishops and NGO,s to Colombo to collect data of Christian asylum seekers in Sri Lanka to prove that Pakistani Christian asylum seekers were not oppressed or persecuted in Pakistan.
After collection of data of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, the government of Pakistan found that cases submitted with UNHCR by Christians are genuine, the government of Pakistan pressed upon Sri Lankan government to end entry on arrival for Pakistani nationals and to impose visa requirements in return of its support to kill innocent Tamil population.
There for in June 2014, Sri Lanka impose Visa requirements on Pakistani nationals revoking entry on arrival but still it fell short on demand of deportation of Pakistani asylum seekers. On which Sri Lankan government started arresting Pakistani asylum seekers on health issues blaming that these asylum seekers are spreading malaria diseases.
Another Christian Minister in Punjab Government which is also led by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group PML (N) also played role against Christian asylum seekers in South and South East Asia.
It is learned by Pakistan Christian Post sources that profiles collected by PML (N) government of Christian asylum seekers have been forwarded to UNHCR with fake documents prepared by Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan to prove that cases submitted are not true.
The Christian asylum seekers sold their properties to flee from Pakistan for safety of life which Christian Federal Minister, Christian Provincial Minister, some Christian NGO workers and few Christian religious leaders want to target and their deportation to Pakistan from those respective states in which they have applied for asylum with UNHCR.

Pakistan's Shia Genocide - SUC Leader Warns Govt. Over Release Of Takfiri Terrorists
Allama Shahenshah Naqvi, central leader of Shia Ulema Council, has warned the government that Shiites would not accept the release of the takfiri terrorists involved in Shia genocide.
“Government, it seems, to have surrendered to the takfiri fanatics’ demand for release of their terrorist comrades but we alert the government not to release a single terrorist,” he said speaking at a press conference. Allama Jafar Subhani, Allama Abid Raza Irfani, Maulana Roohullah and Maulana Karamuddin Waziri were also present.
He said that government banned takfiri terrorist groups and now held talks with the banned group’s ringleaders. He asked if it would help establish rule of law. He condemned the timidity of Sindh government against the ferocious terrorists.
“Should the rulers accept the pressure of protest and sit-in by takfiris for release of the terrorists, then we make it clear to the government that we too shall come out on streets and stage sit-in to pressure the government not to release the terrorists,” he maintained.
Allama Shahenshah Naqvi demanded that Operation Zarb-e-Azb should be expanded to every nook and corner of the country. He urged the Sindh Government to crush terrorist network through security agencies instead of striking deal with them.

UK: Celebrities urge PM to help mentaly ill man jailed in Pakistan for blasphemy

CELEBRITIES have added their voices to calls for Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene in the case of Edinburgh grandfather Mohammad Asghar, who was shot in a Pakistani prison.
The Leith grocer – who is being held after being sentenced to death on blasphemy charges – now has backing from Stephen Fry, Frankie Boyle and David Morrissey.
Campaigners are urging the UK Government to do all it can to help bring the 70-year-old, who suffers from severe mental illness, back to this country.
Mr Asghar was shot in 
Adiala prison in Rawalpindi last week, reportedly by a police officer or prison guard.
He is currently in intensive care, but concerns have been raised for his safety by legal charity Reprieve after it was revealed the Pakistani authorities planned to return him to the jail.
Reprieve said people accused or convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan face a high level of risk from attacks by religious extremists.
Mr Asghar’s daughter, Jasmine, has called on Mr Cameron to help ensure that as soon as he is well enough to travel, he is brought back to the UK.
That call was echoed by Stephen Fry, who tweeted: “Govt must not let mentally ill Brit Mohammad Asghar be returned to prison. They must do all they can to get him home.”
Comedian Frankie Boyle tweeted: “70yo Scotsman Mohammad Asghar shot, under death sentence for blasphemy, surely government should get him home.”
Al Murray urged his followers to sign a 38 Degrees petition for the Prime Minister to bring Mr Asghar home, saying it “means a lot to me”.
And in a newspaper article, David Morrissey wrote: “It is surely not too much to ask that the British government exert every political sinew to protect him at this desperate stage.”
Scottish External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf said ministers at Holyrood were “extremely concerned” and were doing all in their power to ensure Mr Asghar’s health, safety and security.
He said First Minister Alex Salmond had “directly intervened in this case” and had held face-to-face talks with Muhammad Sarwar, the governor of the Punjab, the region of Pakistan where Mr Asghar is being held.

Pakistan : 2,000 political activists killed in the last eight years in Balochistan

The ongoing crisis — that in effect is a low-intensity war — in Balochistan continues to take lives on all sides. There are estimated to be around 2,000 political activists killed in the last eight years. Some of that number have simply ‘disappeared’ and are presumed dead, others are found by the roadsides riddled with bullets whilst yet others turn up in gunny sacks, sometimes dismembered, at others decomposed beyond the point of easy identification. One such instance occurred on September 24 when two sacks containing human remains were found near Rakshan Nadi in the western Panjgur district. Nationalist party workers quickly proclaimed the remains to be of party workers.
The blame game started immediately, and as there is never any conclusive investigation of the killings in Balochistan, nor a successful hunt for the killers and consequently no prosecution, blame is hurled indiscriminately with or without foundation. Baloch nationalists invariably blame the government agencies and entities, and in places where the insurgency is hot — such as Panjgur — there are frequent clashes between security forces and Baloch nationalist and separatist groups. The government has commented that some neighbouring countries are involved. Rival groups also clash between themselves, adding much confusion as to who is doing what to whom and why. Inasmuch as anything is clear the entire province is touched by violence and decades of distrust — indeed outright betrayal on occasion — and virtually nowhere can be considered safe and secure. Sectarian killings are common, and doctors and teachers regularly gunned down. Innocents are caught in the crossfire or die as ‘collateral damage’ in bombings. Both the provincial and federal governments are unable or unwilling to get a grip of a resolution to the many and complex disputes that can be owned by all stakeholders, and it is difficult not to conclude that there is an artificial state of ‘managed instability’ in the province.
Express Tribune

Pakistan : Zardari, Sirajul Haq likely to meet in Lahore today

Sources have revealed that former President of Pakistan and co-chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is likely to meet with Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq today at his headquarter in Mansura, Lahore.
Sirajul Haq has confirmed that there has been an initial contact between the two leaders. However, the meeting has not been finalized yet.
Asif Ali Zardari is traveling to Lahore to meet with Sirajul Haq today in the evening. Both leaders are expected to discuss the current political crisis in Pakistan whereas would also review the administrative activities.

Pakistan's 2013 Election - Probe finds irregularities in NA-125 ( Khawaja Saad Rafiq ) polls: report

A commission appointed to examine polling bags and other records in NA-125, Lahore, has found several irregularities in the election, which was won by Khawaja Saad Rafiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, a local media report said on Friday.
Hamid Khan advocate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, who was the runner-up in the constituency, had challenged the result before an election tribunal and sought to inspect the polling record. The hearing of the petition was transferred to Faisalabad after the PTI candidate showed distrust in the presiding officer of the Lahore election tribunal. The Faisalabad tribunal appointed a retired district and sessions judge, Sheikh Mohammad Tareef, as head of the commission, which submitted its report to the tribunal on Sept 29.
The petitioner’s side will carry out cross-examination on Saturday (Oct 4).
The head of the commission said in his report: “After examining each and every polling bag and minutely viewing the state of affairs carried out in this constituency, there is gross mismanagement and the polling personnel carried out the election process clumsily for reasons best known to them.
“The polling bag of each polling station shows that the process of the election carried out is the result of gross mismanagement.
“There were 265 polling stations and for each station one polling bag was assigned, but assistant returning officer (ARO) produced 253 polling bags out of that a number of them were related to provincial assembly constituency. Thereafter 179 more polling bags were produced before the commission making a total 432 polling bags.
“The available polling bags contained waste and litter having a smeary dirt and mixture of disagreeable to the sight that reflected carelessness of polling personnel.
“In fact each polling bag of entire constituency is in the condition of such a mess that it can be said to be a trash and rubbish for reasons best known to the polling personnel.”
On close examination of bags, the report said, the commission found worthless things in a heap of litter and nothing was left for inspection.
It said that the polling staff failed to record what sort of articles were received from the returning officer (RO) and which articles had been consumed on the day of election. Polling bag of each polling station did not carry the essential record. The RO had not performed his duty regarding issuance of the inventory of articles to each polling station.
The report said that in the absence of inventory record, the evaluation of the ballot papers counted by the polling officer could not be held. Since everything had been done clumsily, no record was recovered from the dirt and litter of each polling bag as the polling personnel did not perform duty properly.
“Even voter list was not found from a large number of the polling bags. And where voter list was found the ballot papers were not tallied with the number of votes.
“The record of invalid votes was not found in any polling bag of the constituency, therefore, the question of recording any finding about rejection of votes did not arise.”

Soaring numbers: Dengue patients in Pindi surge to 65

The Express Tribune
There has been a 48 per cent increase in the number of dengue patients in the Rawalpindi District as compared to the numbers recorded last year till October.
Data collected by The Express Tribune from the allied hospitals and the District Health Department reveals that till October last year, there were 44 confirmed cases of dengue whereas this year the number of patients has soared to 65.
District Dengue Surveillance Coordinator Dr Ehsan Ghani stated that the majority of cases reported this year are residents of the cantonment area.
“Almost 80 per cent out of the total number of cases reported from Rawalpindi are from the Cantonment area; a part of the city that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the health department,” he elaborated.
He further stated that the majority of the rest of the cases—from places that do fall under the department’s jurisdiction—23 have been reported from Rawal Town.
“Even last year the majority of dengue fever cases were reported from the union council of Rawal Town. Discrepancies in numbers
Though the number of dengue patients has considerably risen, reports from the allied hospitals and health department are contradictory.
According to a consolidated report complied by Holy Family Hospital (HFH) In-charge Infectious Diseases Dr Javed Hayyat, 65 patients have been confirmed for dengue in three public hospitals of the city this year.
In contrast Ghani says 56 cases have so far been confirmed.
In this regard, Hayyat said he has “complied the data of the patients that have been registered in three public hospitals along with three other patients who do not fall under the district”.
Whereas, Dr Ghani asserts that they have been compiling the records and the latest count of patient add up to 56. Another possible case in capital
A patient suspected of having contracted dengue has been admitted to the Polyclinic hospital.
According to Dr Tanveer Malik, emergency in-charge of the hospital, the patient was brought in two days back with high fever, bleeding and acute muscular ache.
“His medical report is due within a day or so,” said Malik, adding that his case would become clear only after the results come in. Currently, one person has been confirmed to have contracted the disease in the capital.

Pakistan - go Nawaz go - A day In The Zoo

Where and when it has numbers, the PTI crowd can quickly transform from an ‘educated and disciplined’ one to an unruly mob; verbally and physically assaulting journalists and policemen, storming into Red Zone, wreaking havoc in the Lahore High Court, infighting and so on. Most recently, the party has been successfully demonstrating its ability to adapt the tactics of a flash mob. It is no coincidence that several ceremonies and functions hosted by the government or the PML-N have had a handful of people chanting “go Nawaz go”. Contrary to what some may hope or believe, we are neither witnessing a spontaneous, widespread grassroots movement nor is the ‘go Nawaz go trend’ one of its many manifestations. There are some people who crash the party with the sole intention of wrecking it. What the PTI, the PAT and other anti-government forces have been doing is not all that different. By causing planned disruptions, they are attempting to give the false impression that the masses are revolting against the government. Excellent sales pitch, but no one’s buying it.
Of course, there is no law against experiencing periodic fits of revolution even in the most inappropriate and unwelcome of settings. Then again, there is no law against stupidity either, but that doesn’t mean it has to be embraced or encouraged. While an argument may be made for protesting during functions hosted by the government, irrespective of their political or apolitical nature, the practice of breaking into ceremonies arranged by any political party cannot be endorsed. No party will be able to conduct its meetings and other activities, local or national, if this trend continues. It is a recipe for disaster, as it increases the chances of direct confrontation manifold and promotes hooliganism while adding nothing substantial or meaningful to the political theater.
And leave it to the PML-N to take the bait. Both Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz have been reminding the people of their pedigree. We’re lions, they claim, perhaps offering a justification for actions unbecoming of reasonable human beings. The Prime Minister’s daughter and PML-N leader by default, Maryam, is proud of what transpired in Wazirabad and has owned the actions of PML-N MPA Taufeeq Butt, who assaulted protestors chanting “go Nawaz go”, as the PM’s motorcade left the event. Apparently, ‘the future’ is stuck in the past. Perhaps the seasoned Shehbaz Sharif could set a better example for those who are yet to grow up. Unfortunately, he too was found issuing warnings, threatening the PTI with “Allah’s lions”, who are self-admittedly with Shehbaz. Chief Minister Punjab should not forget what happens when blood-thirsty animals are unleashed on innocent people; the Model Town tragedy. Taufeeq Butt should be taken to task for his shameful, unlawful actions. It would be wise of the PML-N to refrain from openly threatening people with violence and act patiently.

Pakistan : Jet fighters kill 15 suspected militants in Khyber

At least 15 militants were killed early on Friday in jet strikes in the Jamrud and Bara areas of northwestern Pakistan's Khyber tribal region, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
Sources told Dawn that three militant hideouts were also destroyed in the strikes when jets bombed suspected militant positions in Sipah, Malakdinkhel and Chapri areas of Jamrud.
The information could not be independently verified as journalists have limited access to the restive tribal region.
Khyber is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws and lies near the Afghan border. The Taliban and other Al Qaeda-linked groups, who stage attacks in both countries, are known to have strongholds in the zone.
The latest strikes are part of the ongoing military operation named Zarb-i-Azb, initiated on June 15 against anti-state militants hiding in the North Waziristan Agency.
The operation was launched after the Taliban and their ethnic Uzbek allies both claimed responsibility for the attack on Karachi airport and peace talks failed between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan negotiators.

Pakistan's Price of inaction

PAKISTAN’S drift towards international isolation is only matched by the state’s denial of this truth.
On Wednesday, the joint US-India statement issued at the end of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington D.C. contained direct language seemingly focused on Pakistan.
It is worth reproducing the relevant part of the text: “The [US and Indian] leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company and the Haqqanis. They reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.”
On the same day, the US Treasury department announced sanctions against three Pakistanis, including Fazlur Rehman Khalil, and two Pakistan-based entities for links to the LeT and Harkatul Mujahideen, the foremost of the Kashmir-orientated militant groups in the country. Certainly India has its own reasons for trying to build an anti-Pakistan alliance, but our refusal to address militancy concerns has created more space for Delhi’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric.
Take the official reaction by the Foreign Office yesterday in which the FO spokesperson focused on a UN terrorist watchlist and denied that the US move is “binding” on Pakistan.
Therein lies the problem: while Pakistan continues to baulk at acting against certain militant groups, the countries under threat from those organisations are moving closer to each other in order to counter the threat.
Consider that the joint US-India statement also refers to “dismantling” terrorist safe havens: is that an ominous sign that however remote the possibility at the moment, the US and India have begun contemplating the possibility of targeted counterterrorist operations on Pakistani soil at some point in the future?
Surely, that would be nothing short of a catastrophe for Pakistan with unknowable consequences for peace and security in the region. Yet, the country’s national security and foreign policy apparatus remains indifferent to or unaware of the storm that appears to be brewing.
In truth, many of Pakistan’s problems are self-inflicted. The best that has ever been managed when it comes to pro-Kashmir militant groups is to put the state’s sponsorship of jihad in cold storage, as was done by Musharraf in the early part of the last decade. But, a decade on, the security establishment seems bent on continuing the policy of politically mainstreaming the leadership of groups such as the LeT, HuM and now even the Punjabi Taliban.
That is what allows Hafiz Saeed and Fazlur Rehman Khalil to address rallies, appear routinely on TV and to go on organising their ranks and developing their organisations with a brazenness and confidence that has the rest of the world looking on with alarm. Truly, the outside world can legitimately ask why the Mumbai-related Rawalpindi trials are stuck in limbo. The signals from D.C. are clear: if Pakistan doesn’t act, others will.

Pakistan : PPP strengthening under Bilawal Bhutto’s leadership
Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is the largest party of the country, adding that the party is gaining strength under leadership of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Dunya News reported.
Gilani also made it clear that PPP will not support PTI’s dissident former president Javed Hashmi in NA 149 by-polls.
Addressing a corner meeting as part of campaigning for by-poll of NA 149 constituency, Gilani said that those who used to call members of assemblies corrupt are supporting those who changed parties, adding that those who change loyalties cannot bring change.
Criticizing Hashmi, former prime minister said that Javed Hashmi is contesting elections in Multan as an independent candidate but with the support from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).
Gilani said PPP’s slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto was representative of the people’s wishes, adding that Bilawal will lead the rally on October 18 in order to complete Benazir’s mission.