Saturday, November 1, 2014
Basil Hassan, a Dane of Lebanese extraction, is accused of attempting to murder Lars Hedegaard, a writer with anti-Islamic views, in Copenhagen. He was caught on April 16th by Turkish police at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after a tip-off. The row erupted when it emerged that Mr Hassan had been freed by the Turks despite Danish demands for his extradition.Some speculate that Mr Hassan was part of a hostage swap for the 46 Turks kidnapped by IS from the Turkish consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul in June and released on September 20th. Others claim that Mr Hassan vanished before the deal. Turkey’s justice ministry refuses to comment. It is not clear if three IS fighters arrested over the murders of a policeman, a soldier and a member of the public in southern Turkey in March remain in custody.
Denmark’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, insists Turkey must face repercussions for its behaviour, though “taking the issue to the EU now would be out of place.” But a Social Democratic rival, Mette Gjerskov, says EU membership talks must be frozen and Danish troops in Turkey on a NATO mission be pulled out. The EU has also condemned the recent intrusion of Turkish ships into Cyprus’s territorial waters. “I see a genuine concern across the political spectrum as to where Turkey stands,” warns Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.Turkey’s hopes of joining the EU were already dented after the government’s response to last year’s Gezi park protests left at least nine dead. Worries over efforts to quash corruption probes against the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his inner circle, to muzzle the press, to censor the internet and to stack the judiciary were all aired in the EU’s recent annual progress report on Turkey’s accession talks. Yet the government is proposing new laws granting the police sweeping powers, including the right to detain suspects for 24 hours without seeking prosecutors’ consent.
David Cohen, an American treasury official, dropped another bombshell by announcing that IS earns as much as $1m a day from illicit oil sales involving “Turkish middlemen”. Turkish officials retort that Turkey sees IS as a threat to its own security and that since the start of this year, 60m litres of contraband fuel have been seized and 65 kilometres (40 miles) of illegal pipelines ripped out. Yet until Turkey “unequivocally joins the coalition against IS,” warns Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Ankara, doubts over its place in Europe and the West “will only grow.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping was the first foreign leader to embrace Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's visit, a clear indication of the importance that Beijing has attached to its relations with its neighbor. While China is currently the world's second largest economy and an emerging global power, its neighbor Afghanistan remains plagued by the Taliban-induced violence and terrorism causing the country' s economy and stability to suffer. The visit, therefore, of Ghani to Beijing was propitious and largely beneficial to Kabul not only in terms of enhanced bilateral trade relations but also in promoting peace and stability in the region. The highlight of Ghani's four-day state visit to Beijing was his meeting President Xi and the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two countries. Ghani also met with Premier Li Keqiang and other top Chinese officials. The Afghan leader was accompanied by top officials of the newly-installed unity government in Kabul and several Afghan businessmen. As part of his China visit, the Afghan president attended on Friday the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process. This year, the edition of the conference was hosted by China. Aimed at boosting regional cooperation and strengthening security and development in Afghanistan and its neighbors, the Istanbul Process, also known as Heart of Asia process, was launched in Istanbul, Turkey in November 2011. The Istanbul Process has been trying to resolve the blame game between Kabul and Islamabad on the issue of the Taliban and other insurgent groups operating in the mountains that separate Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kabul has oftentimes claimed that the Taliban have used their sanctuaries in Pakistan in launching attacks in Afghanistan, indicating that the Islamabad government has prior knowledge of the attacks, a charge that has been repeatedly denied by Pakistani authorities. Since China is both friendly to Kabul and Islamabad, analysts say Beijing can be relied upon to use its influence and vast resources to resolve the long-standing feud. One of the more tangible results of Ghani's visit to Beijing was China's grant of 500 million yuan (81.8 million U.S. dollars) to Afghanistan for 2014 and a further 1.5 billion yuan for the next three years from 2015 to 2017. Availing of the opportunity in the post-Taliban Afghanistan, China has invested in the mega economic project of Aynak Cooper Mine and Oil and Gas Field that has benefited both countries. China, as a big power, can help Afghanistan achieve lasting peace and economic stability, said Samimullah Samim, an Afghan legislator. The Afghan media have attached great importance to Sino-Afghan relations as shown by their extensive coverage of Ghani's visit to China and his meetings with Chinese leaders. Needless to say, China, as super economic power and good friend of Afghanistan and Pakistan, can use its political clout and economic influence in curbing militancy and stabilizing Afghanistan. The centuries-old strong ties between Afghanistan and China have endured through the years because of their shared goals in prompting peace and prosperity in the region.
With rising concerns in Beijing on the spread of terror from Pakistan hitting its frontier Xinjiang region, China has appeared to rethink its long-held reluctance to discuss regional concerns â€” particularly in New Delhi and Kabul â€” on cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, according to officials present at Friday's key regional meet on Afghanistan. Indian and Afghan officials present at the fourth "Istanbul process" foreign ministerial Afghanistan conference being held in Beijing told India Today that there was a discernible shift in China's stand on terrorism, in the wake of a string of attacks in its western Muslim majority frontier region, blamed by the authorities on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), some of whose members are thought to be hiding out near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Terrorism received prominent attention at Friday's consultations. And unusually for a meeting being hosted in Beijing, Afghan officials were outspoken about their concerns on extremist groups operating close to the Pakistan border. Speaking after the conference, Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani said to a question from India Today about cross-border terror that "the reasons for the existence and presence of terrorism in the region has to be identified". "One of the issues that was under discussion at this conference was the presence of Taliban in Afghanistan," he said. "The reason for their presence has to be identified," he added, alluding to Afghan concerns on Pakistani support for groups in border regions. Osmani said, speaking through a translator, that the regional effort would not only need international cooperation, but also an effort to address factors "outside and inside Afghanistan" that "provide a situation for (militant groups)" to exist. Asked by India Today if China was prepared to take steps to address Afghan and Indian concerns on terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, "I am happy to tell you that among the confidence building measures we agreed today, the first is on counterterrorism". "We believe that the international community should not accept any forms of terrorism," he said. "During the conference we have had an extensive exchange of views on the topic." An Indian official present at Friday's meet said that it was striking that the terror issue took centre stage. "At one point this was as sensitive for China as [raising] the South China Sea" considering Beijing's "all-weather" ties with Pakistan, the official said. India was represented at Friday's meet by Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (retd) VK Singh. Speaking to the Indian media following his meeting with Foreign Minister Wang, he said China was "concerned on the spread of terrorism", which was also concern shared by India. "We had a convergence of views on this particular issue," he said. "Afghanistan should not again become a safe haven for terrorism. China said India should continue to play an important role for security issues in Afghanistan". Gen. (retd) Singh, who is also Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region, said India and China were working on taking forward the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor project, which could have a bearing on the Northeast's economy. He said the first priority was to boost infrastructure for the eight northeastern states, with the new government increasing allocations, such as a 58 per cent rise in the railway budget. "Our projects were in hibernation in the last 15 years," he said, "including the road network". India is also beefing up air connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh. "For Itanagar airport, the land problem has been sorted out, at Pasigath the runway has been lengthened," he said. For strategically significant Tawang, located near the China border, he said he was hopeful "one day Tawang will take an aircraft". "The availability of land is not there, and we have to look at it differently," he said. "We have to put people to study [the possibility]." Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/afghanistan-meet-china-india-pakistan-terror-concerns-border-taliban-terrorism/1/398565.html
Cyclone Nilofar has lost much of its intensity and is unlikely to cause much damage in the coastal areas along the Arabian Sea, but a lack of disaster preparedness in India and Pakistan has raised many serious questions.From a "severe tropical cyclone," Nilofar abated to "severe" by Friday, October 31. The Arabian Sea storm is moving north-eastwards towards the western Indian state of Gujarat and the southern coastline of Pakistan with a wind speed of 70-80 kilometers per hour. The cyclone is expected make landfall by Friday night. The Indian authorities had shifted thousands of people out of the way of cyclone by Wednesday, October 29, whereas Pakistan, too, geared up for potential large-scale evacuations. "We have identified more than 30,000 people who will be shifted from coastal areas to safer places by this evening," M. S. Patel, an official in Gujarat's Kutch district, told the news agency AFP on Wednesday. Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said it had ordered local officials to prepare for evacuations in villages along the coast. "We have estimated some 50,000 people who might be evacuated if the need arises," said Ikhlaque Qureshi, a PDMA official. The cyclone's eye will pass around 250 kilometers from Karachi, Pakistan's most-populous city with over 18 million people. "The sea conditions along the Pakistan coast are likely to remain rough to very rough from today (Friday) till Saturday, and the fishermen of Sindh and Balochistan (provinces) are advised to keep their activities suspended," said Aleemul Hassan of the Pakistan Meteorological Department. Authorities clueless But DW Karachi correspondent, Rafat Saeed, says that the authorities were simply not prepared to cope with a potential disaster: "The PDMA is a non-functional body. The issue is not whether Cyclone Nilofar had subsided or not; the main problem is that nobody was ready to deal with a possible devastation." If there were a massive cyclone, or an earthquake in Karachi, the catastrophe would be of an unimaginable magnitude, because in Pakistan the disaster management body does not exit, Saeed adds. Gahanwar Brohi of Insan Dost Welfare Organization, a disaster recovery and relief organization, told DW that Pakistan's readiness for natural calamities had slightly improved in the past few years. "The government is a bit more active than before. But that doesn't mean that it is capable of mitigating the effects of a large-scale disaster," Brohi said, adding that the recent floods in Pakistan's Punjab province proved once again the incompetence and inefficiency of the country's authorities. Need for better coordination In September, massive floods ravaged large parts of India and Pakistan. The heavy rain in the Himalayan region caused the swelling of the rivers, ensuing floods that destroyed thousands of houses, roads and fields on their path. According to an Indian official, more than 200 people were killed in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation in the Pakistani part of Kashmir and in the Punjab province was not very different. The PDMA put the figure of victims around 280. About two million people were displaced by the floods. Murali Krishnan, DW's New Delhi correspondent, says that India did well to evacuate people from coastal areas during the recent Cyclone Hudhud in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, but more efforts are needed to improve the country's disaster management, recovery and relief programs. "This year's flashfloods in Kashmir claimed hundreds of lives and caused huge damage to infrastructure and properties. It certainly raised questions about India's disaster preparedness," Krishnan said. "The monsoon showers were expected - they happen every year - but the administration was neglectful like always," he added. Muzaffar Ahmad, an Indian official, admits that there is a need for capacity building and better coordination to deal with floods and cyclones. "Our early warning systems are good but our state disaster relief forces are hampered by lack of human resources," Ahmad told DW. Experts say that Cyclone Nilofar could have wreaked havoc in both India and Pakistan. These are the nature's warnings, they say, but it seems that nobody is ready to pay heed.
Pakistan: Asia Bibi Writes A Letter To Pope Francis Saying, “Pope Francis, I am your daughter Pray For Me”
A Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi who has been convicted of committing blasphemy and charged of death sentence under Pakistan’s blasphemy law has pleaded to Pope Francis upon her death sentence.In her earnest plea she declared, “Pope Francis, I am your daughter, Asia Bibi. I implore you: pray for me, for my salvation and for my freedom. At this point I can only entrust (myself) to God Almighty who can do anything for me.” She writes, “ In her letter to the Holy Father. I am holding tightly onto my Christian faith and trust that God my father will defend me and give me back my freedom. I also trust in you, Holy Father Francis, and in your prayers.” She added, “Pope Francis, I know you are praying for me with all your heart. I know that thanks to your prayer, I could be set free. In the name of the Almighty Father and his Glory, I thank you for your support in this moment of suffering and disappointment.” “My only hope is that I will one day be able to see my family reunited and happy again. I believe that God will not abandon me and that he has a plan of happiness and wellbeing for me which will come into being very soon. I am grateful to all Christians across the world who are praying for me and doing everything to help me,” Asia wrote. - See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/desperate-asia-bibi-writes-a-letter-to-pope-francis-saying-pope-francis-i-am-your-daughter-pray-for-me/#sthash.eCYaWd1l.dpuf
Pakistan's Shia Under Attack - Takfiri terrorist planned to hit 21 Pakistani Shia scholars, politicians and Iranian envoy
The police Tuesday warned of possible terrorist attacks on Shia religious and political personalities in the country on occasion of 9th and 10th of Muharram. According to a private TV channel, a letter in this regard has been sent to the Ministry of Interior. The police informed that the terrorists had prepared their plan to attack key Shia religious and political personalities and political figures. Those on the hit list include: Iranian ambassador to Pakistan, former interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, religious scholar and chief of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Allama Nasir Abbas Jafari, Shia Ulema Council Allama Sajid Naqvi, PMLN’s Mushahid Hussain Syed, PPP’s former Senator Faisal Raza Abedi and intellectual Dr Ghazanfar Mehdi. The police said the (takfiri nasbi) terrorists (of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, ASWJ aka outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba) had planned to specifically carry out foul plays in Rawalpindi and Islamabad during the Ashura.
The Express TribuneThe European Union has once again urged Pakistan to abolish death penalty by retaining a moratorium on the capital punishment. It has also asked the country to review its blasphemy laws. During a meeting with a group of Pakistani lawmakers at the Parliament House on Tuesday, an EU delegation expressed hope that Pakistan by continuing the moratorium on execution and reviewing blasphemy laws could get free access to European markets. “The delegation said if Pakistan reviews its blasphemy laws and keeps the moratorium intact, the EU will consider Pakistan for duty-free access under its Generalized System for Preferences (GSP) Plus program,” a senior lawmaker who attended the meeting told The Express Tribune. “We, however, said Pakistan cannot abolish the death penalty following its Islamic and constitutional rules,” he added. Continuing the ban on the capital punishment imposed by the previous government in 2008, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the interior ministry last year to halt executions till further orders. Since 2008, Pakistan executed only a couple of prisoners while more than 8,000 prisoners are on death row in more than five dozen jails of the country. The foreign affairs ministry has also recommended the government avail the GSP-Plus by extending the moratorium. EU Special Representative to Pakistan for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis also expressed deep concerns over growing violence against minorities in Pakistan. Senator Farhatullah Babar informed the observers that Pakistan was a signatory to different human rights conventions. “We may not be a champion of human rights –but, yes we have made extraordinary progress by introducing forcing fresh legislation into practice in Pakistan,” he added. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed urged the EU to extend its maximum support to Pakistan for acquiring status of the GSP-Plus. Issues of human rights are high on our agenda and the government is making all-out efforts to address them, he added. “Pakistan is the freest Muslim democracy in the Muslim world,” Mushahid remarked, adding that smooth transition of power from one elected government to the other was a manifestation of the fact that Pakistan strongly believes in democracy and rule of law. Pakistani lawmakers also urged the EU to take notice of human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir. Senator Mushahid, who chaired the meeting, also asked the visiting guests to take strong notice of the gross violations of human rights and atrocities of the Indian forces in Indian-administered Kashmir. Senator Babar pointed out that violation of rights by Indian forces in the disputed Himalayan state needed to be looked into immediately. Senator Mushahid said negative narrative against Islam and racism in the West was creating inconvenience for Muslims in Pakistan. However, he expressed his satisfaction over collaboration between Pakistan and the EU on different issues and expressed hope that bilateral relations between the two would grow further in future. Stavros Lambrinidis also conveyed his felicitations to the government and people of Pakistan for Malala Yousafzai on wining the Nobel Peace Prize. The EU delegation also included Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.
It is interesting that Imran Khan is trying to bring down the government, while Nawaz Sharif is trying to prevent the no-confidence vote in KPK. The PMLN is only saving itself and its government in the center by not stirring the hornets' nest. If the KPK government dissolves, PTI will quit the National Assembly and elections will be a certainty. Imran Khan has to be very careful to dispel the perception that he is trying to destabilize the country while the other is trying to keep it stable. In his own house, things are breaking apart as the Jamat-i-Islami sees no immediate gains in being a coalition partner. Imran Khan is in deep waters and nobody wants to be associated with him right now. They might be back when he is on a stronger wicket, maybe once the elections are announced. JI chief Siraj ul Haq recently said that the PTI was the same as the PMLN; both are insincere to the people. There were remarks that hurt Imran deeply. But Khan has to realize that there is only so much mileage he can get from his rhetoric of being “clean”. It is not he alone that has to run a government or a country. He is not and will not be a benevolent monarch. The JI has clout, whether anyone likes how they are ruling in KPK or not. They have been diplomatic where national politics is concerned and forceful when it’s a matter of KPK. And while Haq spoke out publicly against the PTI, his party has taken the words back; politics as usual. PTI would be wise to take signal from this and leave the “Go Nawaz go” chanting, form a plan B to keep their place at least in KPK. The other interesting development that we might see is PMLN slowly taking back Punjab. Imran has been facing a lot of criticism, and now from a coalition partner too. While MQM and PPP squabble over Sindh, and JI and PTI over KPK, Punjab might still be firmly in the hands of the Sharifs. Time heals all wounds and political memory is short term. PTI needs to have something new up its sleeve to mess with the Sharifs, because it is fast losing ground. JI has been in regular contact with Maulana Fazalur Rehman, who is a known adversary of the PTI. The Maulana has been publicly trying to move a no-confidence vote against the KP government until the Prime Minister talked him out of it. At least they are talking and not resorting to intimidation and violence. Small mercies.
Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira, PPP central secretary information, applauding the role of media as watchdog to ensure transparency has called upon the media entities to ensure authenticity of the news before breaking it, as it could prove fatal to many social and diplomatic affairs. Kaira was addressing to the participants at a seminar on ‘Role and Challenges of Free and Responsible Media’ organised by PINFO-CR in collaboration with PFUJ here at National Press Club. Secretary Information Mohammad Azam, representing the government, called upon media to introspect and develop institutional structures and mechanisms to address the arising challenges for playing a constructive role as a vital organ of society. Speaking at the seminar President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) announced that PFUJ would specifically highlight the issues and challenges faced by the journalist working in far-flung areas, focusing on the conflicts zones of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/ Federally Administered Tribal Areas where journalists are working under the most dangerous circumstances. “Media has been victimised for years to state the truth and play the role of watchdog. The PFUJ is committed to raising voice for the protection of journalist and freedom of speech on the relevant forums”, said President PFUJ Afzal Butt. Highlighting the need for regulating media, Mohammad Riaz Ahmed, member executive council PFUJ, said, “Pakistani media should develop an acceptable code of conduct for addressing the emerging challenges of transparency and responsible behaviour.” His views were echoed by the President National Press Club Sheheryar Khan.
Through the course of his protest Imran Khan has managed to alienate friend and foe alike. The one remaining ally he had left was the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is now the PTI’s only coalition partner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But even that relationship has frayed in recent days. The impetus for the dispute between Sirajul Haq and Imran were remarks attributed to the JI chief claiming that Imran and Nawaz were different sides of the same coin. Although the JI has denied Siraj ever said this, Imran took great offence and launched a broadside accusing Siraj of playing on both sides of the wicket. The origins of this dispute can be traced back to Siraj’s negotiation efforts as part of the opposition jirga to end the protests in Islamabad. It was widely believed that Siraj represented a pro-PTI faction of the opposition but now the interests of the two parties may be aligned with difficulty. In recent days, Siraj has urged the government not to accept the PTI’s resignations from the National Assembly. The JI has decided that it wants to be part of the system rather than following the PTI’s lead in overthrowing it and that has caused a rift which may prove irreparable. The silent factor in this tension is the future of the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI controls 46 seats in the provincial assembly which, should it lose the JI, would not be sufficient to continue ruling the province. Siraj must now be worried that the PTI will take its protest to the logical end and resign from the KP Assembly too. This would explain his pleading with the government not to accept the NA resignations. The JI has other options though. It has been trying to mend ties with the JUI-F and the two, along with the PML-N, hold enough seats to displace the PTI. And if Imran does end up ordering his MPAs to resign it would likely lead to defections from his own party. Ideologically, PTI members would fit in the JI. All of this should in theory be worrying for the PTI but Imran is playing a different game right now. His entire protest is based on the rejection of politics and he seems not to worry about any damage. The JI is more interested in self-preservation and may have decided Imran is too much of a loose cannon.
thenews.comA blast occurred when a police armoured vehicle was passing through Frontier Road in Peshawar on Saturday morning, Geo News reported. According to SSP Operations Peshawar Najeeb-ur-Rehman, a blast occurred on Frontier Road that apparently targeted the police vehicle but fortunately it remained safe in the attack and no loss of life was reported. The explosion occurred near Aziz Market in Peshawar, he added. Further details about the nature of the blast are yet to be ascertained.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief, Altaf Hussain said on Friday that the Islamic State (IS) or ‘Daish’ as it is referred to in Urdu is the new threat to Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi via telephone from London, the MQM Chief said, that Taliban militants are joining ‘Daish’ (IS) ranks. He added that their flags are visible from the south of Punjab all the way till the Federal Capital, Islamabad. He said that the IS, which has been formed by its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by merging different militant groups, was far more dangerous than the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Altaf Hussain told journalists, that America asked Pakistan to create the Taliban following the Cold War, adding that Pakistan, United States, Saudi Arabia along with many other states supported the Taliban Mujahideen fighting against the Soviet Union. Hussain said, he had voiced his concerns about rising Talibanization in Karachi. He also highlighted that while Imran Khan and Dr. Tahirul Qadri are speaking about empowering the middle-class and lower middle-class voters, it was MQM that empowered the middle-class sending representatives from these strata to the assemblies.
Prisons are parallels of the world in which they exist; its evils, its injustice, its inequities are all magnified and underscored in miniature and microcosm in the world behind bars. The dark recesses of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail constitute such a place where a Pakistan mired in lawlessness makes its pretenses of justice and punishment. In this barred and locked up representation of the country, a condemned man is king, judge, arbiter of right and wrong. Mumtaz Qadri is also a killer. In 2011, employed as a guard, he gunned down Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer. His victim’s crime, Qadri the killer proudly proclaimed while blood still stained his hands, was to visit and speak up for a poor, imprisoned Christian woman who had been accused of blasphemy. That was three years ago, but from inside Adiala prison, Mumtaz Qadri continues to dole out death sentences, of which he is still sole judge and jury. So complete appears his control, so unquestioned his elevation to punisher rather than punished that it seems he can use the prison guards to carry out the punishments he decides must be doled out. As an internal investigation revealed this week, Mohammad Yousuf, a guard who had been deployed to watch over Qadri became the latest tool with which this prison king wielded his wrath. In this case, it took just two weeks to wash over any qualms Yousuf may have had. At the end of two weeks, Yousuf, a guard, and a member of the Elite Force walked into the barracks where blasphemy convict Mohammad Asghar and blasphemy accused Pastor Zafar Bhatti were being housed. They were his appointed targets. Once inside, Yousuf shot Asghar, a 70-year-old man with paranoid schizophrenia. Frail and in ill health, Asghar was the perfect victim, easily vanquished. It was Asghar’s insanity that had landed him in prison; his senseless ramblings collected and provided as proof of blasphemy. In a country, without empathy, there is no room for insanity. Asghar lived despite being shot by Yousuf. There were reports that Pastor Zafar Bhatti had also been hurt, but the news from the darkness within the barracks where accused and convicted blasphemers are kept comes slowly and uncertainly. What is known, and is clear is that Mumtaz Qadri rules in prison. It was not the first time he had incited an attack, goaded a guard to do his bidding. The world in prison, where a blasphemy accused can be killed before trial, reflects the world outside. According to the Center for Research and Strategic Studies in Islamabad, blasphemy cases are on the rise with vigilante mobs and armed assailants all meting out death sentences on the streets of Pakistan. This world beyond the prison walls is also Qadri’s world; caught in the same pangs of hatred that point, accuse, convict and kill without proof and without procedure. While Qadri was busy coaching Yousuf to kill Asghar, Shakeel Auj, the Dean of Islamic Studies at Karachi University was gunned down by unknown assailants. He, too, had been harassed by allegations of blasphemy contoured to condemn for his dissent against extremism. A few months before that in May, Rashid Rehman, a lawyer who had represented blasphemy victims in court was also killed. Between these tales of dead lawyers and scholars are the tales of property takings, business disagreements, vengeance and revenge, all lubricated by an allegation whose very mention is in Pakistan, a death sentence. Mumtaz Qadri, the prison king, the arbiter of death sentences rules inside prison, but beyond the walls of Adiala is another prison, equally repressive, equally unable to deliver freedom or justice, ruled also by prison kings.
First about the drone strike this morning, the Government of Pakistan condemns the US drone strike that took place on 0200 hours at Azam Warsak, South Waziristan on 30 October 2014. Pakistan has consistently maintained that such strikes are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government of Pakistan is itself taking decisive action against terrorist elements and therefore believes that such strikes are unnecessary and need to be stopped. Condemnation of the US campaign to kill members al Qaeda and other jihadist groups that pose a threat not just to the West, but to the Pakistani state, isn't the first. Pakistan routinely denounces US airstrikes as "a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity." The Pakistani government even denounced a US strike that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis. [See Threat Matrix report, Pakistan condemns drone strike that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud.] But more often, the Pakistani government gets upset about the strikes that killed members of the so-called "good Taliban," or the Taliban that don't openly advocate jihad against the Pakistani state. For instance, when a US drone strike killed three Haqqani Network leaders, including a top commander who is said to be a senior financier and aide to the group's operational leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Foreign Affairs Ministry was quick to respond. [See Threat Matrix report, Pakistan 'strongly condemns' drone strike that killed Haqqani Network leaders.] It doesn't seem to matter much to the Pakistani government and military that the good Taliban, such as the Haqqani Network or those loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadar, aid, shelter, and support al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a host of other jihadist groups. What does appear to matter to the Pakistani decision makers is that the good Taliban wage jihad in Afghanistan and serve as strategic depth against India. Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/10/pakistan_condemns_drone_strike_1.php#ixzz3Hn06X2Xf
At a meeting held in the PPP Central Secretariat under the Central Coordinator Chairperson Dr Nafisa Shah, the PPP Human Rights Cell members condemned the violence against the OGDCL workers in Islamabad, and resolved against the privatization of OGDCL. The meeting attended by Fateh Mohammad Hasni, ShahJahan Sarfraz Raja, Asif Khan, Yasmeen Rehman, Akhundzada Chatan, Shazia Tehmas, Shah Fahad, Farhan Shaikh passed a resolution that “We the human rights cell members strongly condemn the police aggression and subsequent arrest of OGDCL workers who were protesting for their right of livelihood. It is ironical that while the government watched helplessly as ‘Azadi’ and ‘Inquilab’ marchers attacked state buildings with impunity, they came down hard on the poor workers and did not allow them to protest peacefully. We demand that cases against the workers are withdrawn forthwith. We strongly oppose privatization of OGDCL which is both a profitable institution and one of immense strategic value. We demand that the government halt the process immediately.” The Cell Members further resolved to highlight the aggression committed by Indian Army on the LoC and vowed to stand up and fight for the Kashmiri peoples historical right of self-determination in line with Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s vision and UN resolutions. The PPP Human Rights Cell members further congratulated Malala Yusofzai on winning the prestigious Nobel Prize and applauded Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit to Birmingham to congratulate her.