#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – October 23 – Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the Pakistani-Canadian cleric whose supporters have overrun the government quarter of Islamabad in a protest against corruption, on Monday issued a darkly mysterious ultimatum.
Waving a burial shroud, Mr. Qadri, 63, who has twice left a quiet life of retirement near Toronto for the roiling cauldron of Pakistani politics, set a 48-hour deadline for the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister.
Failing that, Mr. Qadri told thousands of supporters his own life could be the price.
“I am giving this deadline today as I am ready to be martyred and I have taken the last bath today,” Mr. Qadri said in front of Pakistan’s parliament, raising fears protestors would storm the building, despite its military guard.
“I’m calling on people from across the country to come out and reject this corrupt and undemocratic government,” he told the Sunday Times.
“People saw what we could do before. This time we will not stop until the government is removed,” Mr. Qadri said, referring to the march he led last year, which ended with the arrest of the previous prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – BRITAIN – September 18
A MAJOR issue being debated in Britain today concerns the Muslims – men and women. It is what is termed the radicalisation of their youth.
Concerns were sparked off by the Islamic State (formerly Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) when its militants beheaded James Foley, an American journalist covering the war in Syria, and circulated a video of the bestial act. Even before this incident grabbed the headlines, media reports had been suggesting that authorities in London believed that as many as 500 Muslim men with British nationality had left the UK to join the IS ‘jihad’.
The last straw came when Foley’s killer was identified from his speech and accent as British. Writing for The Sunday Times, the foreign secretary summed up the widely felt sentiments: “It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain.”
Since then the police have been empowered to seize the passports of people if need be. The move has come too late in the day and two more hostages have been murdered since and one more is under threat.
Many young Muslims draw inspiration from websites with extremist content.
One had hardly got over the shock when came another bombshell. A couple having Pakistani roots made public their dismay at their daughter’s decision to leave home to join IS jihadis. In a statement released to the Glasgow press, they described her as a “bedroom radical” and termed her action as a betrayal of her family, her community and the people of Scotland. It would be upsetting for them as many migrate from Pakistan to give their children a better future, so bleak has life become for the youth in our own country.
Against the backdrop of these horrifying events is the fact that a number of young Muslims are drawing inspiration from websites notorious for their extremist content. At the same time, there have been reports in Britain as also other Western countries of an increase in racism and hate crimes against Muslims in the wake of 9/11. Publications such as Maybe we are hated: The experience and impact of anti-Muslim hate on British Muslim women by the University of Birmingham are cited in support of the claim that Muslims are being victimised for their beliefs.
What can one say about this perversity that is creeping into a section of the Muslim youth? It can under no condition be condoned even if this is viewed as a reaction to the perceived injustice to Muslims. Two wrongs do not make a right.
No Pakistani I met in Scotland justifies it. How the immigrants explain this extremism would depend on who you are talking to. Many who complain of personal experiences of racial discrimination might be immigrants who remain on the fringe of local society. Living in ghettoised conditions, many Pakistani women do not even want to socialise with people not from their own community. They shop for groceries at South Asian stores and thus manage to avoid interaction on a regular basis with the majority.
There are others — mainly employed professionals — who interact with the indigenous population who may have a different story to tell.
The problem is that the absence of awareness and knowledge of ‘the other’ leads to fear, alienation and prejudice. When people from different communities living together are inclusive in their approach and accept one another’s way of life, chances are there will be more harmony among them.
Much of the alienation in children comes from the identity crisis that is created. In order to preserve their identity as ‘good Muslims’ (even of the moderate kind) children are often indoctrinated in such a way that the message is that theirs is a superior faith. By implication other religions are berated. Many of these children whose parents are migrants fail to adjust in the society they grow up in because of the dichotomy between their home environment and outside surroundings. This makes them vulnerable to the influence of extremists scouting for recruits.
But the fact is that most Muslim youth do not end up as jihadis. The problem needs to be contextualised and rational analysis can help identify the factors that make some more vulnerable than others.
The key to promoting interfaith, inter-cultural harmony is how ‘the other’ is projected and interpreted, especially to young children. A social worker giving the leftist perspective pointed out that integration of communities is a mutual process that is hindered by the universal rise of racism in the West that puts immigrants on the defensive. The media is not helpful either given its penchant for sensationalism.
The real problem, she feels, is the crisis the youth face worldwide due to the vacuum created by societies. The vulnerable ones turn to violence. For Muslims it is ‘jihad’. Global conflict spurs them on.
Don’t we see that in Pakistan as well?
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2014
#AceNewsServices (Exclusive) – September 18 – NEW YORK: Pakistan-born neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui has become a rallying cry for militant groups demanding her release from a US prison. But in a little-noticed move she is trying to abandon her legal fight for freedom, saying the US court system is unjust.
Islamic militants in Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made Aafia’s release a condition for freeing certain foreign hostages. Islamic State, for example, proposed swapping American journalist James Foley for her, but he was executed after their demands, which also included an end to US airstrikes in Iraq, were not met.
A 42-year-old mother of three with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, Aafia is serving an 86-year sentence in a prison medical centre in Texas. A jury in 2010 convicted her of attempting to shoot and kill a group of FBI agents, US soldiers and interpreters who were about to interrogate her for alleged links to Al Qaeda.
Aafia, who during her trial interrupted proceedings repeatedly and at times was removed from the courtroom, wrote to US District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan on July 2 seeking to end her most recent appeal.
“I refuse to participate in this system of total injustice that has punished and tortured me repeatedly, and continues to do so, without my having committed a crime,” she wrote.
Aafia said she wanted to be sent home to Pakistan through diplomacy, not through the legal system. But her lawyer Robert Boyle told the judge he was concerned she did not fully understand that as a consequence of her request she might not have another opportunity to challenge her conviction.
US prosecutors were scheduled to respond to Aafia’s letter with their own letter by late on Wednesday. Aafia was likely unaware of the attempt by Islamic State to free her in a prisoner swap for Foley, Boyle told Reuters. Federal Medical Center Carswell severely restricts her contact with the outside world, he said.
Aafia already lost one appeal. In 2012, an appeals court rejected arguments that her trial was unfair and upheld her conviction.
Her latest appeal, filed in May, argues that Aafia received an unfair trial because she was not allowed to fire defence lawyers who were paid by the Pakistani government, and that US prosecutors failed to turn over important evidence.
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#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN (Lahore) – July 06 – Pakistani police say that a court has indicted five relatives accused of stoning to death a pregnant woman for marrying against the family’s wishes, AP reported.
The woman’s father, two brothers, a cousin and ex-husband pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and torture, according to the investigator in the case, Mian Zulfiqar.
The 25-year-old woman was killed on May 27 before a crowd of onlookers in the eastern city of Lahore.
#AceWorldNews – MUMBAI – May 08 – A Pakistani court released an American on bail Thursday that the US had identified as an FBI agent, AP reported, citing police.
The court ordered the man to submit a surety bond of 1 million rupees ($9,800) for his bail, according to police officer Rao Anwaar.
The police had detained the American on May 5 at an airport in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi after seizing ammunition and three knives from him.
Officials reportedly found the man also carrying electronic devices.
#AceBreakingNews – DUBAI – May 06 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it had uncovered an al Qaeda militant group with links to “extremist elements” in Syria and Yemen that had been plotting to assassinate officials and attack government and foreign targets.
The cell comprised 62 members, including 59 Saudi militants, a Yemeni, a Pakistani and a Palestinian, Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said in a televised briefing.
An investigation into social media postings “led security forces after months of hard work to pinpoint suspicious activities that unveiled a terrorist organisation through which the elements of al Qaeda in Yemen were communicating with their counterpart elements in Syria in coordination with a number of misguided people at home in various provinces of the kingdom,” he said.
#AceWorldNews – KARACHI – April 21 – (DWN) – Two Pakistani employees of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) who were abducted in Karachi four days ago were recovered on Monday, officials said.
Officers raided a house in the east of the city in the early hours of the morning after tracing mobile phone signals, senior police official Sultan Khawaja, told AFP, and found the UNICEF staff.
But there was no sign of the people suspected of kidnapping the pair, who went missing in the city on Thursday evening, said Khawaja.
“UNICEF is pleased to confirm that two of its national staff who were abducted on Thursday evening in Karachi are now safe and well,” the UN agency said in a statement.
#AceNewsServices – ISLAMABAD – April 18 – Police said on Friday they have arrested six men suspected of being behind a string of high-profile killings and assassination attempts linked to a banned sectarian group.
The arrests are a rare success for the police, who have a notoriously low detection and prosecution rate for such crimes.
Police said the six suspects are responsible for killing 16 people over the last two years and for four attempted murders.
Their victims are believed to include a lawyer, a well-known Pakistani journalist, and a prominent Shia doctor and his 12-year-old son gunned down on their way to school.
They are also thought to be behind an attack last month in which writer Raza Rumi, a vocal critic of the Taliban, was wounded and his driver killed.
The men are connected to banned sectarian group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, the police statement said, and have admitted receiving instructions from its leader Malik Ishaq.
“These cruel criminals are involved in these heinous crimes by pretending to be a religious group, including crimes like murder, attempted murder, kidnap for ransom, illegal armament and drugs,” the statement said.
The statement identified Abdul Rauf Gujjar as the main hit-man in the killings.
“He came to this direction through Malik Ishaq,” the statement said.
“He further revealed that he was a member of illegal and outlawed organization Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.”
Ishaq spent 14 years in jail on terrorism and attempted murder charges that were eventually dropped in 2011, partly due to witness intimidation, police said.
Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for killing hundreds of Shia’s, who make up about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s population.
The militant group wants to chase Shia’s out of Pakistan and establish a hard-line Sunni theocratic state in the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people.
The Pakistani government has often been accused of being soft on militants, and the largely poorly trained and under-resourced police usually struggle to investigate and arrest suspects.
Friday’s statement said that a special unit had discovered forensic evidence implicating the men, and that drugs and weapons had also been recovered.
Arrests do not always lead to convictions, however, and Pakistan’s courts have a very low conviction rate even for high-profile cases of militancy. Judges and prosecutors complain they are frequently intimidated by militants.
Reuters – Dawn – AFP – AP
#AceWorldNews – ISLAMABAD – April 18 – (DWN) – The Pakistani government is planning a fresh round of talks with Taliban negotiators at the weekend, officials said Friday, despite the militants’ refusal to extend a ceasefire called to help peace efforts.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in a statement that he has called a meeting with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) talks committee on Saturday to decide how to proceed.
He said only dialogue could overcome reservations and objections, but warned there was little chance of progress without a ceasefire.
“If Taliban have certain objections, we also have reservations,” he said, adding the government pushed forward the peace process against serious logjams.
“(But) I don’t think the talks process will move forward in the absence of a ceasefire,” said Khan, who has been an ardent supporter of the talks.
He will meet the TTP’s three-man talks committee, led by Maulana Samiul Haq.
Members of the government negotiating team are also likely to attend Saturday’s talks, a senior official told AFP.
#AceWorldNews – PESHAWAR April 14 – According to (DWN) the shura of the Pakistani Taliban is meeting at an unknown location in North Waziristan to discuss the fate of the peace talks and the extension in ceasefire.
Sources told Dawn that key Taliban leaders, including peace committee head Qari Shakeel and Azam Tariq, were attending the meeting while the TTP’s deputy ameer Khalid Haqqani was chairing.
Sources said the key issues being discussed during the meeting was of ceasefire extension and the exchange of non-combatants. Apart from these, infighting among two rival Taliban factions which has claimed scores of lives on both sides was also on the agenda.
In a statement issued on Sunday, TTP spokesman Shaidullah Shahid had said that the differences and clashes between the two groups had been blown out of proportion in the media, adding that these were not of much importance.
He had also said that the various groups of the TTP were united and on one page when it came to talks with the government.
On the other hand, independent as well as intelligence sources have said that the delay over the ceasefire issue was due to internal strife within TTP ranks.
#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – April 13 – (Reuters) – Gunmen stormed a village gathering in north-western Pakistan on Saturday and kidnapped around 100 men, Pakistani government officials said.
Officials said they suspected that the gunmen are Taliban who attacked because the villagers supported the government.
Three local government officials told Reuters that the gunmen had initially taken around 100 villagers from a gathering in the remote region on the border of Orakzai and Khyber tribal areas, both of which border Afghanistan, but had later released around 40 of them http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/12/us-pakistan-taliban-kidnapping-idUSBREA3B0GL20140412
The officials all asked to remain anonymous because negotiations for the men’s release were ongoing.
“The government has no writ in those areas between Orakzai and Khyber tribal region but we are hearing from the local people that tribal elders had sent (elders) to the Taliban to release the kidnapped villagers without any condition,” one official said.
Another official said that law-enforcement agencies had launched a search operation in the area for the safe recovery of the villagers.
“Yes they kidnapped over 100 villagers but later released some of them. I hope they will free others as well as the tribal elders have been working on,” the senior official said.
#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – April 06 – (KP) – The Pakistani officials claimed its bordering regions with Afghanistan came under mortar attack on Saturday.
The officials further added that as many as 12 mortar shells were fired from Afghanistan on Saturday that landed in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), local Pakistani newspapers reported.
In the meantime, another official said the shelling took place early Saturday morning and around 7 mortar shells were fired from across the Durland Line.
An official of the political administration of South Waziristan told The Express Tribune, “The shells exploded in Zoya-ba, a village on the Pak-Afghan border in Angor Adda Tehsil of South Waziristan Agency(SWA).”
The official confirmed that no casualties were incurred following the shelling as the mortar shells landed in non-residential areas.
Pakistan and Afghanistan regularly trade allegations of cross-border shelling. The interior ministry of Afghanistan said Saturday that several rockets were fired from across the Durand Line in eastern provinces of Afghanistan.
KP – NWA – SWA – Express Tribune
#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – April 04 – (ALJ) – The Pakistani Taliban has extended a March ceasefire until April 10, a spokesman said, following the release of a batch of low-level prisoners by the Pakistani government.
The government began negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) through intermediaries in February to try to end the group’s bloody seven-year insurgency.
“We announce to extend the ceasefire till April 10 and TTP directs all Mujahideen to suspend their actions against government and security forces,” spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement on Friday.
A day earlier, the Interior Ministry said 19 Taliban prisoners it described as “non-combatant” had been released, in a move designed to invigorate a peace process with the group.
A spokesman for the ministry, Danial Gillani, told Al Jazeera that the prisoners had been released between March 21 and 28 in South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan.
The detainees all belong to the Mehsud tribe, which dominates South Waziristan. They were arrested “on the basis of suspicion and intelligence reports,” Gillani said, adding that it was government policy that “innocent detainees be released after investigations”.
There was no indication whether the TTP would make reciprocal prisoner releases.
Courtesy of : Asad Hashim in Islamabad who contributed to this report.
#AceWorldNews – KABUL – April 04 – (KP) – Reports that Heavy clashes were reported among the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban militants in eastern Paktika province of Afghanistan on Friday.
Afghan intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) officials said the incident took place around 12:40 pm local time in Wana district.
The officials further added that a group of the Pakistani Taliban militants were looking to storm the election sites in Paktika province, however Afghan Taliban militants opposed with them which erupted heavy gun battle between the two sides.
#AceWorldNews – ISLAMABAD – (SANA): United Jihad Council Chairman and Hizbual Mujahideen Supreme Commander Syed Salahuddin has vowed to continue struggle on all fronts till the achievement of freedom from Indian illegal occupation.
He said that in the resolution of Kashmir dispute Indian ego, stubbornness, unrealistic approach, military power are main hurdles in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Ha said that India shows zero change in its s 60 year old stance over the Kashmir issue.
He added that Parvez Musharaf changed the 60 years old stance of Pakistan over the issues and introduced a new formula. He said that what is the logic behind the regular change in policy from Pakistani side while the India has shown no change in its polices.
#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN – March 27 – Pakistani and Afghan Taliban forces have formed an alliance to conduct joint operations in Afghanistan, Reuters reports citing militant chiefs and security officials.
The secret pact between two forces raises fears of escalation of attacks against the presidential election in the Afghanistan scheduled for April 5.
A one-month ceasefire with the government forces was announced by the Pakistan Taliban on March 1 prompting fighters to switch from home soil to Afghanistan.
#AceWorldNews – WAZIRISTAN – March 27 – The Pakistani government and the Taliban insurgency have held their first direct talks, Reuters reports.
The government’s newly-formed four-member committee has met with four members of the Taliban Shura (council) in the tribal region of North Waziristan on Wednesday.
“I am yet to see Shura members who held talks with the government team and I will share the details later once I have a meeting with them,” said Taliban spokesman Shanidullah Shahid.
“The peace process is progressing well,” said Pervaiz Rashid, Pakistan’s Information Minister.
An unnamed government official has also said that both sides were “expected to exchange a list of demands.
” A month-long ceasefire was announced last month by the militants, aimed at the restoration of dialogue with the government.
Pakistan has been plagued by a bloody insurgency since it joined the US ‘War on Terror’ in 2001.
More than 50,000 people have lost their lives since.
Reuters – Middle Eastern News
#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN – March 25 – A government team is en route to a secret location in the country’s north-west for the first-ever direct talks with the militants, AP reported, citing a cleric representing the Pakistani Taliban.
Ibrahim Khan said the face-to-face discussions are expected to take place later on Wednesday at an undisclosed place in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Islamabad team, headed by government official Habibullah Khan Khattak, is taking a helicopter flight to a “peace zone,” according to the cleric.
The two sides have so far held indirect talks through clerics sympathetic to the Taliban.
#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – 22 March – At least 35 people including women and children burnt to death in a multiple pile up, which involved two buses that were smuggling Iranian fuel across Pakistan.
A further 20 people are being treated for severe burns in Karachi, the Pakistani capital, according to Ahmed Nawaz, the police chief for the Baluchistan province.
The death toll was so high because sealed windows and automatic doors meant the passengers were unable to escape from the burning wreckage.
The first bus was in a head on collision with a truck, which was then hit by another truck and another bus. Pakistan has one of the worst road safety records in the world because of a combination of poorly maintained roads and vehicles, and reckless driving.
India News and Media Sources