Sunday, February 22, 2015

Music Video - Paul McCartney - Hope For The Future

Music Video - Rihanna And Kanye West And Paul McCartney

Oscars promise a night of anticipation and suspense

Hollywood’s awards season reaches its apogee on Sunday at the 87th Academy Awards, where “Birdman” and “Boyhood” will battle for best picture and veteran actors are likely to grasp their first golden Oscar statuettes.

The film industry’s biggest night will serve up its share of suspense as three top honors - best picture, best director and best actor - are proving hard to predict, even for the most seasoned experts.
But those nail-biters will come at the tail end of the three-hour ABC telecast from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, where first-time host Neil Patrick Harris will guide a show heavy on humor, magic and music from big artists like Lady Gaga.

In a sign of how the Oscars might be split, the Film Independent Spirit Awards for small-budget movies on Saturday crowned show business satire “Birdman” as best feature and its star Michael Keaton took best male lead. Richard Linklater won best director for his coming-of-age tale “Boyhood,” made over 12 years with the same actors.
“I am proud to belong to this species in extinction,” said “Birdman” director Alejandro G. Inarritu, of the smaller films that are proving hard to make in a Hollywood bent on big film franchises.

While both Linklater and Inarritu have been nominated before for Oscars, they have never won.
Together, “Birdman” and “Boyhood” have made $62 million at the North American box office, compared to $310 million for the most commercially successful of the eight best picture nominees, Iraq war drama “American Sniper” from director Clint Eastwood.
The dearth of blockbuster movies at this year’s Oscars could diminish the number of people who tune in to watch the biggest non-sports televised event in the United States.
Last year with host Ellen DeGeneres and her selfie that broke Twitter, the Oscars pulled in its largest audience in 14 years.
Around 40 percent of Americans plan to tune in to the awards telecast, according to the annual Reuters/Ipsos Oscars poll. Forty-five percent said they most enjoy seeing who wins, followed by 22 percent who like to see their favorite celebrities.
Keaton comeback?
The Oscars are also one of the world’s biggest fashion moments as Hollywood’s leading ladies parade down the red carpet in elaborate gowns and jewels in a fierce competition among top designers and fashion houses.
But the famously fair Los Angeles weather may not make things easy. Oscar organizers ordered that plastic tarps be placed over the arrivals area on Saturday and the forecast Sunday pointed to rain at red carpet time.
The Oscars are determined by 6,100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a body that has taken its knocks this year for nominating no actors of color in the acting races.
Civil rights groups have called a boycott of the Oscars to protest the lack of diversity and will demonstrate before the ceremony.
But experts believe the Academy, where actors are the largest voting bloc, will ultimately reward performers with long careers with their first Oscars.
Keaton, coming back from a sagging career, could beat best-actor favorite Eddie Redmayne, who has swept up awards for his painstaking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.”
Julianne Moore should take best actress for her role as a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice” and Patricia Arquette is favored to win best supporting actress as the struggling single mother in “Boyhood.”
J.K. Simmons, a character actor with a long resume, is set to win the best supporting actor trophy for his monstrous music teacher in “Whiplash.”

Kuwait Sentences Opposition Politician Mussallam Al Barrak to Two Years in Jail for “Insulting Ruler”

By Amira Al HussainiKuwait sentenced leading opposition politician Mussallam Al Barrak to two years in jail for “insuting the country's ruler.” The former member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament)is charged for a speech he gave in October 2012, in which he threatened to depose the Amir of Kuwait Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, telling him that the people of Kuwait would not allow him to practice “autocratic rule.
He was arrested on October 29, and released on bail four days later pending trial. In April 2013, he was sentenced to five years in prison, and a Kuwaiti appeals court reduced the sentence to two years yesterday.
When Al Barrak was first arrested in 2012, Amnesty International issued thefollowing statement, describing his arrest as “outrageous”:
“The arrest and prosecution of Musallam al-Barrak, on account of his peaceful criticism of Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, is outrageous and is yet another manifestation of the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in Kuwait,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“He did not incite violence or hatred but was engaged purely in exercising his right to peaceful freedom of expression – the Kuwaiti authorities must drop the charges against him and against anyone else facing similar charges for peacefully expressing their views.”
For many, the charges are aimed at silencing Al Barrak, 59, an outspoken Popular Action Bloc member, who has been an MP since 1996.
According to Kuwaiti blogger Mohammed Almutawa:
Appeals court sentences former MP Musallam Al-Barrak to two years in prison for remarks deemed to undermine the Amir
He explains:
Al-Barrak has a large following and is considered to be leading the opposition front in , now sentenced to 2yrs in jail…
The sentencing of Al Mussallam for his views,
Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab explains to his 260K followers on Twitter:
إن بسبب أراء تبناها او صرح بها هو انتهاك صارخ لحقوق الانسان وحريته في التعبير ويبين إن مستمرة في تراجعاتها الحقوقية
The jailing of Mussallam Al Barrak for views he holds or views he expressed is a stark violation of human rights and his right to free expression. It also shows that Kuwait is regressing in its human rights record
In another tweet, he adds:
في هو إنتهاك للمواثيق الدولية لحقوق الانسان وكل النشطاء الحقوقيين والسياسين بمن فيهم المختلفين معه مطالبين بإذانته
The jailing of Mussallam Al Barrak in Kuwait is a violation of international human rights accords and all activists and politicians, including those who disagree with him, should condemn it
And Kuwaiti university professor and columnist Dr Bader Aldaihani explains to his 17K followers on Twitter:
سجن مسلم البراك هو سجن سياسي فقضيته قضية سياسية من ألفها إلى يائها والقضايا السياسية من المفترض أن تحل سياسياً وليس جنائياً
The jailing of Mussallam Al Barrak is a political sentence as his case is political, from its start to finish, and political problems should be solved politically and not through criminal cases
In another tweet, he notes:
People can't believe how an activist who has lived his life fighting corporate corruption is in jail while those who steal public money and are lead corruption are free
Many Kuwaitis took to Twitter to raise alarm about the jailing of Al Barrak under the hashtag #سجن_ضمير_الأمة, which translates to “the jailing of the nation's conscience” as Al Barrak is referred to by his supporters.
According to Suhail Al Yamani:
A living conscience is a big and concerning problem.. this is why some countries get rid of its conscience so that corruption can continue

Peaceful anti-regime protests held in Bahrain

Anti-regime demonstrators have taken to the streets in Bahrain, calling for the release of political prisoners.
Saturday’s peaceful protests were held on the Island of Sitra, the northern village of Daih, and the al-Musalla village located west of the capital city Manama.
The protests come following weeks of demonstrations calling for the release of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of Bahrain's main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014, after Manama accused him of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers.    
Bahrain, a close ally of the United States in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

Fascist Morality police detain men for dancing in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s morality police detained a group of young men for dancing at a birthday party and referred them to prosecutors, according to a state-linked media report.
The news website Ayn al-Youm reported yesterday that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice raided a private property in the city of Buraydah, arresting the men inside for “loud music and inappropriate dancing”.
Buraydah is the provincial capital of Qassim province, which is home to some of the kingdom’s most conservative clerics, who observe a strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism.
An unnamed official told the website that when members of the morality police raided the private property, they found the young men in “a comprising situation in their dance and shameful movements”.
The official said there was also a cake and candles to celebrate one of the men’s birthdays.
No details were released about how many men were arrested or their ages.
The official did, however, say that the young men’s hairstyles and dress were not traditional and urged parents to monitor behaviour “because it can lead to immorality and even homosexuality”.
A hashtag on Twitter quickly went viral about the arrest, with many Saudis ridiculing the raid and pointing out that the men were not caught drinking alcohol or partying with women – both crimes in Saudi Arabia.
Others shared photos of Saudi royals performing a traditional men’s sword dance, though supporters of the raid claim that form of dance is socially acceptable and “masculine”.
Wahhabi clerics view western music as sinful and birthday celebrations as un-Islamic.
The morality police are empowered to enforce Islamic law as practised in Saudi Arabia, including enforcing dress codes.
Shortly after King Salman ascended to the throne last month, he relieved Sheikh Abdullatif al-Sheikh – seen as a reformer – as head of the religious police and appointed Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sanad to lead the force.

Turkey’s intervention in Syria unjustified: Iran official

A senior Iranian official says there is no justification for Turkey’s military operation inside the Syrian territory.
"Military action by a neighboring country on Syria's soil is by no means justified,"  Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Fars news agency on Sunday. 
“Military intervention in Syria by [its] neighbors will further complicate the situation and will bear no results but causing more insecurity in the [Middle East] region,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey should promote common political approaches for resolving problems in the region.
“Hiring irresponsible armed groups triggers a vicious cycle that will increase terrorism and make regional countries more insecure,” he said.
Turkey’s military operation in Syria
Turkish ground troops supported by warplanes entered the Syrian territory late Saturday in an alleged attempt to evacuate the garrison guarding the Ottoman tomb of Suleyman Shah, which was surrounded by the ISIL Takfiri militants.
The tomb was located just over the border near the Kurdish town of Kobani, which was recently liberated from the ISIL.
Around 40 soldiers, including 20 elite troops from the Turkish special forces, were said to be guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
Reports said 700 elite Turkish troops were involved in the Sunday offensive.
The Syrian government on Sunday denounced the Turkish army’s incursion into the Syrian territory as an act of “flagrant aggression” and held Ankara responsible for the repercussions of the operation.
Speaking in a news conference later on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country had already informed its allies in the so-called anti-ISIL coalition of the operation.

U.S.-Turkey Agreement to Arm Syrian Rebels a ‘Disaster in the Making’


The agreement between the United States and Turkey to arm moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State [ISIS] is a “disaster in the making”, according to experts who say that Washington and Ankara have different motives for doing so.
After several months of negotiations, the U.S. embassy in Ankara confirmed on Thursday that both countries would train and equip rebels, after they have been vetted using information from government databases and the intelligence of regional powers, at a base in the city of Kirsehir, south east of the capital.

Plans for three more training bases are being finalised in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a U.S. official told the Associated Press. Turkish foreign ministry under-secretary Feridun Sinirlioglu said the agreement was “an important step” in the country’s strategic partnership with Washington. However, there are divisions between Ankara and Washington over the target of the newly trained Syrian rebels with Turkey hoping the programme will strengthen them in the fight against president Syrian Bashar al-Assad.
However, Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northwestern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations, says the decision to arm rebels in the war-torn country is a “disaster in the making” as the Syrian opposition have ulterior motives to Washington’s.
“I understand the attraction to the notion of having Syrian rebels do the work, but in practice, their political interests are not perfectly aligned with our own,” he warns. “Most of the rebels are primarily motivated to topple Assad and that position is becoming more discordant with Washington’s position on Syria.”
“I think these rebels are going to act in ways that embarrass the United States,” he adds.
Another major risk that the agreement poses to the region is transporting a large amount of weaponry into an area occupied by a variety of radical Islamist groups, who would be attracted to any armaments funded by Washington, says Gonul Tol, executive director at the Center for Turkish Studies at the Middle East Institute.
“I think the Syrian rebels are not effective. That is the main problem. The bigger risk is the situation on the ground is really fluid. There are many radical groups in Syria and they are really difficult to identify,” Tol says in reference to the vetting process. “For Turkey, the main problem and major source of instability is the Assad regime. Turkey and the U.S. are not on the same page.”
The U.S. has already screened approximately 1,200 Syrian rebels with the aim of training them to fight against ISIS in northern Syria, Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told a press conference Wednesday.
"We're working our way through the screening process now. Again, that we've initially identified this 1,200, that screening process for those 1,200 is still ongoing," he said. "We're going to be very deliberate about this. And it's going to be individual by individual. And so, that's going to take some time."
Last October, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected criticism that Ankara was not helping Syrian-Kurdish fighters defeat ISIS in the city of Kobane, situated on the Turkish border. He asserted in comments to the BBCthat Turkey would only become begin military operations against ISIS is the coalition also took action against the Syrian government, which is seen as the major destabilising force in the region, says Tol.
Therefore, Turkey has faced strong international disapproval for refraining from a more proactive role in the US-led coalition’s military campaign against ISIS, particularly because of the country’s proximity to the terror group’s self-proclaimed caliphate and the use of Turkey’s porous 900km-long border by foreign jihadists to join the group’s ranks.

Syria - Turkey’s transgression into Syrian territory proves its connection with ISIS

Turkey transgressed into the Syrian territory and relocated the tomb of Suleyman Shah from the northeastern Raqqa province where it exists in a “suspicious” act that reveals the Turkish government’s close connection with terrorist organizations operating in the area.
An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement to SANA Sunday that Turkey did not await the Syrian consent to move the tomb after the Turkish Foreign Ministry informed Syria’s consulate in Istanbul of its intent to carry out the relocation on the eve of the transgression act.
Turkey did carry out the move without Syria’s consent contrary to procedures usually followed according to the 1921 agreement signed between Turkey and the French occupation authorities back then.
The Foreign Ministry source described the Turkish move, which took place at dawn Sunday, as no less that an act of aggression against Syria, dismissing it as “suspicious” inasmuch as it unmasks the reality of the Turkish intentions and Turkey’s relationship with the terrorist organizations of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“Turkey went far beyond providing all forms of support to its tools of the gangs of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations to carry out a blatant aggression on the Syrian territory,” the source said in the statement.
The suspicion lies in the fact that this reputed tomb has been all along spared the acts of ISIS, which, on the other hand, has been destroying mosques, churches and tombs in various areas across Syria, according to the statement.
This “confirms the deep connection between the Turkish government and this terrorist organization,” the source added.
It concluded the statement by saying that the Turkish authorities, by breaching the aforementioned agreement, will be responsible for any possible repercussions of this aggression.

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Video - West & Arab countries fueling proxy war in Libya for oil contracts -Middle East researcher

The spiraling chaos in Libya and the recent beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) have led to calls for a new military intervention in the country. And while the international community mulls the option of arming various factions, groups like IS are expanding their foothold. What can be done to stop Libya's slide into anarchy? Oksana is joined by Jason Pack, Middle East researcher at Cambridge University, to unravel these issues.

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Dacoits loot worth of millions belonging of worshipers and Church in Pakistan on gunpoint

Three armed dacoits entered into a Our Lady of Queen of Angels Church located at Multan Road, Bhai Pheru District Kasur and made the Church staff hostage including Re. Fr. Ijaz Bashir assistant Priest on Thursday about 09:00 am. The Church officials said that the dacoits have looted about worth of two million Pakistani Rupees million and took away Mobiles, cameras and seven Silver Crown with them.

Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender was informed by the Church staff and immediately reached the scene and assisted the Church in lodging police complaint. The FIR No.48/2015 has been registered under section 392 PPC at City police station Bhai Pheru against the three unknown dacoits. The fingerprints also have been taken and the Concerned DSP Pattoki made assured to arrest the culprits within a few days. “We have started the investigation and soon we will be able to arrest the culprits,” he said. 

Rev. Fr. Leopold Evans OFM Cap who is missionary from Belgium and serving in this parish from last more than 26 years, was fell ill and admitted in doctor hospital two weeks ago where now he is fighting for life. He told that there were Eleven thousand Euros which also the dacoits took away with them.

Gill met with other staff and sisters of the Church, Sr. sister Marriam Hakam told that they had trust in God and they did not know who could be the instrument in the hands of culprits to do such incidents. She further added that there were not any satisfactory security arrangements but she looked satisfied from Government's initiative regarding counter terrorism.

“The dacoity looks similar to the way which was used in previous robbery in which Rev. Fr. Leopold forgave the dacoits after their arrest,” Catechist Shahbaz Anjum said. He added that the dacoits came to pretend to get admission in School for children. He further added that if this robbery happened in Broad-day then act of terrorism could be happened anytime because of lack of security arrangements.

Pakistan - Healing our sectarian divide

Pervez Hoodbhoy

SHIKARPUR on Jan 30, Peshawar on Feb 13, Rawalpindi on Feb 18. In less than three weeks, suicide bombers have targeted three imambargahs packed with worshippers. Outside of Syria and Iraq, Pakistan is the world’s deadliest country for Shia Muslims. Hazara are fleeing Balochistan, and barricades surround segregated Shia urban neighbourhoods. The government said yesterday it will issue gun licences for imambargah defenders. But even high security often fails: a suicide bomber made it through to Abbas Town in Karachi with a carload of explosives, leaving dozens of broken apartments with flesh and body parts hanging from balconies.
Unsurprisingly, Pakistan’s Shias see themselves as victims of religious persecution. Some speak dramatically of a Shia genocide. This is surely an exaggeration. But the irony should not be lost: Mohammad Ali Jinnah, without whom Pakistan might not have been possible, was a Gujrati Shia Muslim. He mobilised millions stating that Muslims and Hindus could never coexist but Muslims, irrespective of sect, could. He was partly correct. Pakistan’s early years were largely peaceful, except for occasional flare-ups around Ashura time. Intermarriages were fairly common, and Shias had joined orthodox Sunnis into enthusiastically supporting Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 1974 decision to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim.
But, in a curious flip of history, a 2012 Pew Global Survey shows that 41pc of respondents in Pakistan believe that Shias are non-Muslim. A popular explanation of this blames Gen Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation. His policies distinguished between different sects and indeed did promote discord. However, the massive ongoing fratricide across the Middle East suggests that religious tensions would have anyway boiled over.

The question of what constitutes the truest form of faith is seen as ever more important.

What changed and why? At the core of a rapidly increasingly globalised conflict is the relatively recent insistence, equally by Shias and Sunnis, that religion must fuse with political power. Shia Muslims were led towards political Islam by Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Sunni Muslims, on the other hand, were inspired by Egypt’s Syed Qutb and Pakistan’s Syed Abul Ala Maudoodi.
Sizeable fractions of today’s Sunnis and Shias demand a political system that goes beyond an individual’s contemplation of God. Both say that true justice is possible only when religious law replaces secular law and religious practices are enforced in society. Both see the secular West as their mortal enemy. But thereafter the agreement grinds to a halt. With irreconcilably different versions of early Islamic history, different choices of exemplars, and different religious rituals, it is only the Holy Quran upon which they can fully agree.
But here comes the rub. The Quran does not prescribe any kind of political system. On matters of state and politics, the Holy Book is silent. In fact, as various scholars have pointed out, the Arabic language had no word for “state”. That which came closest was dawlah. But the word acquired its current meaning only after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia which led to the emergence of geographically defined nation-states in Europe.
Crucially, the Quran is silent on how a state’s ruler is to be chosen and what might be legitimate grounds for his removal. Revealed for the purpose of separating right from wrong rather than politics, the Book does not specify the limits of the ruler’s power or that of the shura’s (consultative body). Also unmentioned is the manner in which the shura, which could potentially appoint or remove a ruler, is to be chosen. Would there be an executive, judiciary, or government ministries and what should their functions be? Islam’s other source of definitive authority, the Holy Prophet (PBUH), did not outline the process for selecting future leaders of the faithful. Whether he actually specified his immediate successor remains deeply contentious.
Let’s fast forward to the 21st century: the Iranian revolution of 1979, the promotion of jihadism in Afghanistan by the United States, and the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. These have created a brand new reality and an uncertain world. The West must deal with the consequences of its former policies of conquest, and Muslims with ancient animosities that time has failed to bury.
In 2015, the Shias of Pakistan, though better off than Ahmadis of Pakistan, must contend with three principal threats to their physical security. These are similar, but also different, from those faced by most Pakistanis who also feel embattled.
First, as religious faith takes a firmer grip over the lives of ordinary citizens, the question of what constitutes the truest form of faith is seen as ever more important. Since a substantial portion of Pakistan’s population sees Shias deviating from mainstream Islam, sympathy for victims of mass killings, or individual assassinations, is limited. This, in turn, gives licence to the killers.
Second, a plethora of militant organizations flourish across Pakistan. Some remain within the control of the state. Others have turned rogue and violently anti-Shia. Earlier this week, Gen Pervez Musharraf confirmed the widely suspected fact that, with the aim of damaging India in Kashmir, and destabilising Hamid Karzai’s government in Afghanistan, the ISI and military had helped create a variety of extra-state actors. The Sipah-i-Sahaba, an anti-Shia organisation, was tolerated because of its participation in the Kashmir jihad. Having morphed into Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, it now claims credit for attacks on Pakistani Shias. Malik Ishaq, its operational leader, is a man considered too powerful for Pakistan’s courts to touch. His family enjoyed support of the ruling PML-N party while he was in jail.
Third, state policy insists on seeing all its citizens through the prism of religious affiliation. For example, security clearance forms in many government organisations, including PAEC and SPD, require one to state his sect, name of murshid (religious mentor), name of mosque usually prayed in, as well as zat (tribal affiliation). But, as primal identities are reinforced, citizenship is proportionately weakened.
More razor wire, guards, and gun licences cannot assure the safety of Pakistani citizens. Whether Sunni, Shia, Christian, Hindu, or Ahmadi, they all live in fear. Real protection can come only by educating Pakistan’s upcoming generations that all faiths are entitled to equal respect, moving firmly and equally against all militant groups, and giving every Pakistani citizen exactly the same legal rights and privileges as any other.

Pakistan - Pulling the plug on terror funding

A large number of suspicious accounts and transactions in commercial banks detected by the FIA expose a pattern of financing activities of extremist groups operating in the country and abroad.
Among the 20 points of National Action Plan NAP, the sixth point focuses solely on terror financing — “Choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations”.
Hawala and hundi are the main lifeline of terror fuelling and foreign exchange companies are providing the services at the doorstep of these non-state actors.
Last year during October, Adnan Rasheed’s Ansar-ul-Aseer planned to break the Karachi Central Jail. An intelligence agency thwarted the plot by a sting operation along with Sindh Rangers. To make this plot successful, huge amount of money was kept at the disposal of the gang. A top level intelligence source revealed that “massive investment was made to finance the plot. During a catch related to the jailbreak, security officials recovered 90 million rupees from KPK”.
The executioners of the plan were withdrawing the money from an automated teller machine (ATM) in Karachi while the account was being operated from Peshawar.
During the course of investigation of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) corruption case, several fake accounts were unearthed. It came on record that some commercial banks were directly or indirectly involved in money laundering by facilitating in opening benami (fake) entity accounts. These banks were also found engaged in arranging sale and purchase of US dollars, other foreign currencies and hawala and hundi.
The Karachi Crime Circle of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) started a comprehensive inquiry, number 1/2014, against these fictitious accounts. During the investigation, it was found out that hawala and hundi are being used to finance terrorism in the country. The national identity card copies used for opening these bank accounts were either fake or the card holders were not aware of the misuse of their cards.
Most of the accounts were opened in Peshawar.
An FIA source disclosed that some currency exchange companies of Dubai are involved in the business. According to the source, initially the elements involved in terrorism establish contacts with the currency exchange companies in Dubai dealing in hawala and hundi to Pakistan. They hand over a certain amount of money in foreign currency to these companies. The Dubai-based companies remain in touch with their business partners in Pakistan via phone, telex, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Tango or email, who at an appropriate time deliver the requested amount in local currency to local handler/s of terrorism in Pakistan. Their clients or handlers maintain benami accounts in various banks across Pakistan. These local handlers may be a member or leader or kingpin of any terrorist outfit involved in sabotage activities in Pakistan.
Despite no physical movement of money from Dubai to Pakistan, it lands in the desired hands. The million dollar question is how this process works?
Here is how. The Pakistani business community and importers who evade taxes, duties by ‘mis-declaring’ goods move their money abroad with the help of local foreign exchange companies. The bureaucrats, politicians, criminals and corrupt elements always seek shifting their illegally earned capital in the shape of kickbacks, bribes or coercion to foreign islands. These crooked players are in constant touch with hawala and hundi mafia. Here the same cycle repeats.
For transferring illegal local currency of powerful quarters, these exchange companies communicate with their counterparts in Dubai by using the same mode of phone call, telex, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Tango or email. The exchange companies in Dubai maintain accounts all over the world and while sitting in their offices, can transfer funds online to any country in the world.  Pakistani companies provide the details of the bank accounts of the country as desired by the local senders. Sometimes individuals as indicated by the sender collect the amount themselves and that is how this trust business offers smooth service to thousands of clients without any tangible movement of cash.
According to the FIA inquiry initiated after the TDAP case findings, 42 benami accounts were opened in three commercial banks. Transactions involving a hefty amount of Rs32 billion were detected in these 42 fictitious accounts. All the bank accounts were operated between January 23, 2011 and December 6, 2013. When FIA began its inquiry in December 2013, 14 accounts in two of these banks were active. Most of the accounts were functional for six to eight months. In 12 different accounts, heavy cash of Rs1 billion to Rs3.5 billion were transacted.
FIA Crime Circle Karachi’s investigation of one such account spills the beans.
According to the investigation report, Rs320 million were transferred online during two and half months from the bank’s main branch in Karachi to its Khyber Bazar Branch in Peshawar. The title of the account maintained in Peshawar was M/S Gulab Tyre Dealer.
Later, 10 different accounts were opened in Shoba Bazar Branch of another bank in Peshawar. In each account, Rs2.5 to Rs3 million were deposited from M/S Gulab Tyre Dealer account.
The investigation further revealed that the money was transferred in 10 different accounts in the conflict zones of Pakistan — Fata, KP and Balochistan. The report revealed that Rs0.5 to Rs1 million were deposited online from Account No. 207466609 to six different accounts in the bank’s branches of Bannu, Bhakkar, Miranshah, Darra Adam Khel and Swat. Account No. 207222939 transferred almost similar sums of money to five different accounts in Miranshah, Kohat, Karak, Bannu and Swat.
Likewise, Account No. 208051338, credited Rs500,000 to Rs10,00,000 online in the bank’s branches operated in Zhob, Dir and Swat.
Further, Account No. 209186299 of the bank’s Shoba Bazar Branch in Peshawar deposited the same amounts of money to the accounts maintained in Bannu, Tank, Zhob and Dera Ismail Khan.
Due to its limited resources, FIA was unable to expand its investigation; otherwise 450 to 500 such accounts were detected in commercial banks which were operated during 2011 and 2013, and showed transactions of huge sums.
These figures can be just the tip of the iceberg. Although Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) is entrusted to keep a vigilant eye on suspicious transactions, it is the State Bank of Pakistan’s responsibility to check and regulate transactions to and from the country. In fact, NAP will not see success until all institutions of the country are driven collectively and coherently towards ending the menace of terrorism.