Archive for June, 2009

Indo-Pak dialogue about Pak Terrorism. Zardari Mischievous?

June 17, 2009

Pak must stop terrorism against India: Manmohan tells Zardari

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Amit Baruah, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Yekaterinburg, June 16, 2009 | www.hindustantimes.com
Moments after shaking hands, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday that his mandate was simple: to tell Pakistan that it must end all terrorism against India.

As soon as they sat down, Singh said he was happy to meet Zardari.

And then, within earshot of reporters, the PM spelt out the post-26/11 agenda for Zardari — that Pakistan must implement the assurances given to India on terrorism.

Singh, as usual, spoke in his low tone at the Silver Room of the Hyatt hotel in this central Russian city, but his remarks were audible to journalists, before they were ushered out of the meeting room.

Singh and Zardari had last met on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly session in New York last September.

On Tuesday, they had a 45-minute one-on-one conversation.

Later, foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon said the “primary issue of terrorism will be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries” before the leaders of the two countries met again in mid-July on the sidelines of an international conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Zardari’s spokesman, Farhatullah Baabar, said in a statement that the stalled peace process between the two countries had got a “fresh lease of life”. The president, he added, had reiterated Islamabad’s desire to punish the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage.

There is no resumption of the composite dialogue yet, but the reset button on the relationship appears to have been pressed by the two countries.

Menon emphasised that the foreign secretaries would discuss what Pakistan had done to tackle terrorism against India and then report to the leaders. The rest, he said, was “astrology”.

It is clear that for the moment only the issue of Pakistani action against India-specific terrorism is on the bilateral agenda, but once Singh and Zardari take stock of the situation in Egypt, opportunities for enhanced dialogue could open up.

Aware of political sensitivities back home, the government seems to have gone along with a limited resumption of talks with Pakistan which would focus directly on Islamabad’s actions to curb terrorist attacks against India.

Asked for a response to the “tough language” used by Singh on terrorism, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi downplayed the issue. “I would look at it differently,” he said. “The fact that this (Zardari-Manmohan) meeting is happening is a positive development.”

About the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba leader Hafiz Saeed by the Lahore High Court, he said, “The courts in Pakistan are independent and we, like you, have to respect their decisions.”

Would the Pakistani government file an appeal in the Supreme Court against Saeed’s release? “We’re contemplating such an appeal,” said Qureshi.

Singh reiterates commitment to Indo-Pak dialogue

source : www.dawn.com

NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated Wednesday that he wanted to try again to make peace with Pakistan, but stressed Islamabad needed to take ‘strong and effective’ action to end terrorism, PTI reported.

The comments came a day after Singh met with Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of a regional summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, their first face-to-face talks since the deadly Mumbai attacks.

In this meeting, the two sides agreed that their foreign secretaries would meet on ‘mutually convenient dates’ to be followed by another meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt in July.
 

‘The two foreign secretaries will meet at mutually convenient dates and discuss the steps to be taken on either side to deal with extremism and terrorism and from those discussions the political leadership will re-engage at Sharm-el-Sheikh (Egypt),’ Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after the meeting.

The one-to-one meeting between President Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which began with a ‘warm handshake’ lasted for about an hour. Singh said Zardari had told him that Pakistan was sincere, but had stressed the difficulties his government is facing and had sought ‘some time.’

‘It is essential that strong and effective steps are taken by Pakistan against the enemies of peace,’ Singh was quoted as telling journalists accompanying him on his way back from Russia.

Singh said if the Pakistani leadership shows ‘courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet it more than half the way.’ He added that he has ‘spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan,’ the Press Trust of India quoted him as saying.

Earlier in Russia, Mr Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and National Security Adviser N.K Naraynan joined the two leaders for a photo session.

Mr Qureshi replied in the negative when asked if the engagement between the two foreign secretaries was part of the composite dialogue process, but said, ‘it is a positive step forward.’

He termed the meeting between the two leaders a ‘positive development’ and said ‘the only sensible course was to talk to each other’. He said the people of South Asia wanted peace, security and development and wanted the two nations to live in harmony.

The Foreign Office in a statement issued after the talks said ‘the two leaders among other things discussed the question of resumption of the composite dialogue. Pakistan believes that the resumption of composite dialogue, and addressing seriously and with sincerity, a range of issues, is the only way forward.’ Asked if Pakistan would raise the water dispute with India, the foreign minister said that all contentious issues could be raised when the talk process began.

‘The president reiterated the desire of the government of Pakistan to cooperate with India in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. It is imperative that the Pakistan-India joint anti-terrorism mechanism be re-activated.’

The president expressed the hope that Pakistan’s relations with India would enter a new era and the existing outstanding issues and disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, would be resolved. The statement said that Pakistan remained committed to friendly and good neighbourly relations with India.

‘My mandate is to tell you that Pakistani territory should not be used for terrorism against India,’ the Press Trust of India quoted Prime Minister Singh as telling President Zardari.

It said that after Mr Singh’s comments Mr Zardari immediately asked journalists to be escorted from the room so the meeting could be continued in private.

PTI reported that Mr Singh was also understood to have conveyed India’s ‘unhappiness’ over Pakistani inaction against terrorism aimed at India. Mr Singh also expressed disappointment over the release of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed suspected by India of being among the masterminds of the Mumbai attacks.

The two countries have already completed four rounds of the composite dialogue, but the fifth round was halted by India after the Mumbai attacks in November last year.

President Zardari and Prime Minister Singh were in Russia to attend as observers the summit of SCO that groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The two leaders last met in Sept 2008 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.—Agencies

PM’s wishlist: Peace with Pak, end of terrorism

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 1608 hrs IST| www.indianexpress.com

 On Board Prime Minister’s Special Aircraft:Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that India wanted to try again to make peace with Pakistan but Islamabad should take “strong and effective” actions to end terrorism against his country like it has done with regard to Taliban.

 A day after he met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg, Singh said if the Pakistani leadership shows “courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet it more than half the way”.

 Singh said Zardari had told him that he was sincere in fighting terrorism but he talked about difficulties his government is facing in tackling the menace and sought “some time” in this regard.

 “I have spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan. But for this regard.

“I have spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan. But for this, it is essential that strong and effective steps are taken by Pakistan against the enemies of peace,” Singh told journalists accompanying him on his way back after attending two multilateral summits.

 

Heavy Fight between Pak Military and Taliban Militants. Tribal People made Resistance against Talibans.

June 17, 2009

Clashes kill 28 Taliban in Upper Dir, Swat

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Tribesman in Upper Dir formed a tribal lashkar in response to the bombing of a mosque in the area. — Reuters (File Photo)

Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009 | 04:25 PM PST | www.dawn.com

ISLAMABAD: Tribesman seeking to avenge a deadly mosque bombing killed six Taliban, while 22 suspected militants died in an ongoing military offensive, the army and police said.

Pakistan’s security forces are locked in a seven-week battle to expel militants from three northwest districts, a push informally joined by thousands of local tribesman in Upper Dir district this month.

As many as 3,000 villagers took up arms in early June, forming a militia — known locally as a lashkar — after 38 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the district, which was blamed on the Taliban.

‘According to information we received, the tribal lashkar have killed six Taliban and destroyed their hideouts,’ Ijaz Ahmad, district police chief in Upper Dir, told AFP by telephone.

‘Some 3,000 armed tribesmen calling themselves tribal lashkar have launched an operation in the area. A total of 25 militants have been killed so far while some 12 to 13 were wounded in the tribal offensive,’ he added.

Local residents said about 20 militant hideouts have been destroyed and dozens of houses demolished during the ten-day revenge campaign, with Taliban fighters currently surrounded on a mountaintop in the Ghazigai area.

The government has in the past encouraged the formation of lashkar to help the official armed forces in their fight against militants, and say they want to build up and arm such community forces in the northwest.

The military launched its northwest push after the Taliban advanced to within 100 kilometres of Islamabad in early April, violating a deal to put three million people under sharia law in exchange for peace.

In a statement Wednesday, the army said they had killed 20 suspected militants in the last 24 hours in Lower Dir, while two more — including a militant commander — were killed in Swat district.

‘Elders of the area have decided and volunteered to organise defence committees for guarding against resurgence of terrorists,’ it said.

Pakistan’s army claims to have killed about 1,475 insurgents since the campaign began, however their tolls are impossible to verify independently.

The offensive enjoys broad popular support among Pakistanis exasperated by worsening Taliban-linked attacks, which have killed more than 1,995 people since July 2007.

 

Lahore police claims arresting accused of SL team attack

June 17, 2009

Police arrest mastermind of attack on Lankan cricket team

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DawnNews Report
Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009 | 07:17 PM PST |www.dawn.com

LAHORE: Police have arrested the mastermind of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, DawnNews quoted CCPO Lahore Pervaiz Rathore as saying.

Naik Muhammad, alias Zubair is described as the mastermind behind the gruesome attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March which led to abandonment of all international cricket in Pakistan, including the 2011 World Cup.

The terrorists are described as being members of the Punjab group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and may have been trained directly by terrorist kingpin Baithullah Mehsud.

According to Rathore, the initial intent of the attackers was to take the cricketers hostage, but that they obviously failed to do so.

Lahore police claims arresting accused of SL team attack

Updated at: 1945 PST, Wednesday, June 17, 2009| www.thenews.com.pk

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LAHORE: CCPO Lahore Pervez Rathor Wednesday claimed arresting one of seven men accused of plotting the deadly attack Sri Lankan cricket team at Liberty Chowk in Lahore in March.

The CCPO said the arrested man, identified as Aqeel alias Dr. Usman, is an ex-sepoy of Army Medical Store and that he is associated with a banned organization.

“The police has succeeded in identifying the group involved in masterminding the Liberty Chow attack,” he claimed. However, he said, no further arrests have so far been made.

He said the arrested disclosed during interrogation that Punjabi Tehreek-e-Taliban was behind the Liberty Chowk attack in Lahore and that it is headed by a man named Farooq.

The other accused are Rana Hanif, Zubair alias Naik Muhammad, Smaiullah alias Aijaz, Adnan alias Sajjad and Umer alias Abdul Wahab.

The CCPO said that the arrested Aqeel alias Dr. Usman was also involved in

Seven people including six police guards and the driver of a Sri Lankan team bus were killed when gunmen ambushed the team as it drove to a cricket stadium for a match on 03/03/09.

Security forces pound militant hideouts in Mohmand, Bajaur || A Success Story of Pak Military against Terrorism

June 15, 2009

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Security forces pound militant hideouts in Mohmand, Bajaur

Monday, 15 Jun, 2009 | 01:03 PM PST |www.dawn.com

BAJAUR: Pakistani security forces have killed dozens more suspected militants in tribal areas, officials said on Monday.

Jet planes and helicopter gunships bombarded militant hideouts in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand on Sunday, as the military opened up a second front in the seven-week offensive in the insurgency-hit northwest.

Security officials in the region said that about 30 militants were killed in Mohmand agency.

‘Airstrikes and shelling by gunships killed at least 31 militants. Ground forces are also active in the area,’ said a military official in the area.

Another security official based in Peshawar said the toll was slightly lower, telling AFP: ‘Air strikes and shelling by gunships killed 29 militants while 25 were wounded in Safi town of Mohmand tribal district.’

Similar action on Sunday hit the agency of Bajaur just north of Mohmand.

‘Eight militants including their commander were killed while a madressah used by militants and one hideout were destroyed,’ said a security official based in Bajaur’s main town of Khar.

Residents in Bajaur’s Charmang town, meanwhile, said paramilitary forces were announcing another assault and urging people to avoid security vehicles.

Ground forces in and around Charmang were seen clearing the roads Monday near the border with Afghanistan, residents said.

In the Jani Khel area in Bannu district militants fired rockets at a police station and an airport early Monday.

‘They escaped after suffering heavy losses,’ said Zahin-u-ddin, a local police official.

‘Seven militants were killed in the retaliatory attack.’

Friday prayers in Nowshera Mosque hit by blast Blast in DI Khan, Pakistan

June 15, 2009
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Friday prayers in Nowshera hit by blast
By the Correspondent, The Dawn Pk.
Saturday 13 Jun, 2009 | 07:09 AM PST | www.dawn.com
NOWSHERA, June 12: Four people ( At least 11 people : alertpak source) were killed and over a 100 hundred injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the wall of a military-run mosque in Nowshera during Friday prayers.

The explosion smashed windowpanes of several nearby houses and gouged cracks in walls and floors.

Several children and women were injured. The army and police carried out rescue work.

Law enforcement personnel cordoned off the area and started search operation.

Bodies and injured people were retrieved from the rubble hours after the explosion.

A worshipper told Dawn the explosion took place at the moment when the Pesh Imam was reciting last Rakat of the prayer.

The deceased were identified as sepoy Abdul Hameed of Multan, Jawad, Ahmed Gul and contractor Allauddin.

The injured were taken to the Cantonment Hospital, DHQ Hospital and Peshawar CMH.

A doctor at the DHQ hospital said 90 injured, 15 of them critical, were brought to the hospital.

Body parts, including the head and legs of the suicide bomber, recovered from the site of the blast and were sent for DNA test. Witnesses said blood stains and body parts were scattered all over the floor.

Several vehicles parked in front of the mosque were also damaged.

Taliban claim responsibility for Lahore, Nowshera, PC attacksTaliban claim responsibility for Lahore, Nowshera, PC attacks
 
By Our Correspondent
Saturday, 13 Jun, 2009 | 07:09 AM PST | www.dawn.com
 
WANA, June 12: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide attacks in Lahore and Nowshera and the bombing of Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar on Thursday.

9ine killed, 36 injured in DI Khan market blast

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www.dailytimes.com.pk

* Remote-controlled bomb detonated in bazaar during rush hour
* DCO says one suspect arrested from site of explosion
Staff Report

PESHAWAR: At least nine people were killed and 36 injured in a remote-controlled bombing in the Dera Ismail Khan district on Sunday, police and locals have said.A police official told Daily Times by telephone that a remote-controlled bomb had been planted in a cart in the Tijarat Gunj area. He said it detonated at around 12:15pm, adding most of the deceased were civilians. “The bomb was planted in a cycle-rickshaw and it was rush hour in the bazaar at the time of the blast,” Syed Mohsin Shah, the district commissioner officer (DCO) of DI Khan, told AFP.

Government official Inayatullah said five to six kilogrammes of explosives were planted in a fruit vendor’s pushcart. Police official Muhammad Iqbal put the death toll at eight, with 20 wounded, the Associated Press reported. He claimed the attack had to be in response to the Swat operation.

At a hospital where some of the wounded were taken, wails and cries filled the air. “It was crowded there when something big exploded,” said 30-year-old Ilyas Ahmad, whose legs were wounded. “It was a big noise. Everybody was crying. Bodies were lying there. People were lying around in blood.”

One suspect: A total of seven shops were destroyed as a result of the blast. A police official confirmed that two of the deceased were Afghans. The DCO told APP that one suspect had been arrested from the site of the explosion.

Meanwhile, sources told Daily Times the blast occurred in the Landa Bazaar area. They said a local had seen a man parking the pushcart and had tried to stop him but the bomb had exploded, killing both of them.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the blast, and have ordered an inquiry into the incident.

“We claim responsibility for these attacks,” a man identifying himself as Saeed Hafiz and claiming to be deputy of Hakeemullah Mehsud based in Orakzai tribal region told Dawn on telephone.

He said the TTP would soon release the video of the PC attack.

He said the suicide attacks on the Lahore seminary and Nowshera mosque were to avenge Thursday’s bombing in Hangu and military operations in Swat, Bannu and South Waziristan

Suicide bomber kills anti-Taliban cleric Allama Naeemi

June 15, 2009

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Security officials and rescuers gather at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa, an Islamic seminary and mosque, after a suicide bomb attack in Lahore. — AFP

At least three other people are killed in the attack at a seminary in Lahore.
By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:56 AM PDT, June 12, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A prominent Pakistani Muslim cleric who had been publicly condemning the Taliban and its reliance on suicide bomb attacks was killed Friday by a suicide bomber who detonated explosives inside the cleric’s office at a seminary in Lahore. At least three other people were killed in the attack.

Sarfaraz Naeemi, a national figure in Pakistani society and a renowned religious scholar, had spoken openly of his support for the ongoing military offensive to root out Taliban militants from the Swat Valley and surrounding regions. His death sparked immediate protests on the streets of Lahore by followers expressing rage against the Taliban and angered at the lack of security given by police to Naeemi and his seminary.

The bombing in Lahore was one of two devastating attacks in Pakistan today, as a wave of retaliatory strikes continued to hit the country in the wake of the government’s bid to crush the Taliban movement. In the city of Nowshera, 60 miles from Islamabad, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into a mosque at an ordnance depot, killing at least six people and wounding at least 90.

Experts have said the Taliban’s strategy is to cause enough mayhem throughout the country to erode public support for the six-week long offensive. The military has methodically cleared the Taliban out of most of the Swat Valley and nearby regions like Buner and Lower Dir, and has begun to direct its forces toward pockets of militants in the Bannu region just outside the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where pockets of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have entrenched themselves.

But as the Pakistani government has made substantial gains against Taliban fighters, it has struggled to cope with the outbreak of suicide revenge attacks that now are happening almost daily.

Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi’s profile
skneeyami

Saturday, June 13, 2009
By the Correspondent of The International News Pk, LAHORE.………………………………………....

DR Sarfraz Hussain Naeemi was born in 1948 in Lahore. He was the third child and second son among four sons and six daughters of Mufti Mohammad Hussain Naeemi, the founder of Jamia Naeemia Lahore.

His ancestors migrated to Pakistan from Muradabad (UP) in India. Dr Naeemi learnt Holy Quran by heart (HIfz) before completing his schooling and later passed Dars-e-Nizami and did M.A. (Islamiat). He went on to pass LLB and Ph.D. (Islamic Studies) from Punjab University. He also passed an Arabic teaching course from Al-Azhar University, Cairo. He was awarded a gold medal for his Arabic degree by Punjab University.

Well versed in Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages, he had been writing columns in newspapers on religious issues and remained editor of Monthly Arafat, Lahore.

He was a soft spoken and humble man who was loved equally by friends and foes, especially by a large number of his students. He had a dynamic personality leading a number of organizations and platforms like Tahaffuz Namoos-e-Rislat Mahaz (TNRM), a group of over 20 Sunni parties working for the cause of Shariah enforcement, Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris Deeniya (ITMD), an association of seminaries boards affiliated with different schools of thought, Naeemian Association. He was secretary of Tanzimul Madaris Pakistan, the seminary board governing all seminaries affiliated with Barelvi School of thought, just  opposite to Deobandees.  He remained member of Council of Islamic Ideology, Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen Committee Punjab, Muttahida Ulema Board and others.

He was known for a bold stance on global Muslim issues like victimization and suppression of Muslim movements and invasions on Muslim countries. He raised voice against Gen Musharraf’s decision to provide logistic support to US-led coalition in the war on terror for which he was first removed from his job as Khateeb in Auqaf Department and then arrested briefly. He was again arrested for protesting against the blasphemous caricatures by European press and served few months in prison.

Dr Sarfraz Neemi assumed the position of principal of Jamia Naeemia in 1998 after the death of his father Mufti Mohammad Hussain Naeemi. He has been survived by four daughters and one son, Raghib Hussain Naeemi, who will succeed him as principal of Jamia Naeemia. His funeral will be held on Saturday (today) at Nasir Bagh at 5 pm. He will be buried beside his father’s shrine inside Jamia Naeemia.

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A little finger pointed at a Pak Terrorist

June 11, 2009

devDisabled by bullet, child points finger at Kasabxz

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT|| www.telegraphindia.com

Mumbai, June 10: A 10-year-old girl permanently disabled by the bullets of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab today went up to the witness box and identified the Pakistani as the man who went on a killing spree at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on 26/11.

Reprimanded repeatedly for grinning during court proceedings, Kasab looked subdued for the first time. He avoided any eye contact with the child on crutches — who told the court she wouldn’t lie after taking oath in God’s name — and her father, among the first witnesses to narrate what happened at the terminus, where the four-day terror attack began.

Kasab and his partner Ismail Khan, gunned down later that night, are accused of slaughtering at least 72 people, 58 of them at CST alone.

Devika Rotawan, daughter of small-time dry-fruit seller Natwarlal Rotawan, walked into the heavily fortified special court at Arthur Jail on crutches helped by her father and elder brother Jayesh, 12.

Dressed in a red-and-orange frock, Devika, whose right leg is part amputated due to the bullet injury, remained composed and confidently began narrating the sequence of events as she sat in the witness box.

On 26/11, the girl had accompanied her father and Jayesh to the station to catch a train to Pune, where her eldest brother Bharat lives.

Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi objected to the testimony of the girl, who was not listed as a witness earlier, saying it was an attempt by the prosecution to emotionally charge court proceedings.

Judge M.L. Tahaliyani overruled the objection, saying: “Devika is a natural witness and her account would be a true deposition of her experience.”

Before recording her testimony, Devika took the mandatory oath with Tahaliyani asking her if she understood what that meant. “What happens if you take an oath and lie?” the judge asked in Hindi. She replied, in Hindi, that it is sinful to take God’s oath and lie.

The young girl, who lives in a Bandra slum, narrated how they heard a loud explosion when they were in the main waiting hall and saw two gunmen fire indiscriminately.

“We were at VT (the old name of CST) station as we were going to meet Bharatbhai when we heard the noise. My father said we should leave and began running. My brother (Jayesh) ran in another direction. One of the bullets hit my right leg, and I do not remember what happened after that,” Devika said in Hindi.

Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam then asked her if she could identify the gunman among the three accused: Kasab sat in a corner of the dock along with Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin, accused of facilitating the attacks.

Yeh is side mein baitha hai woh (He is sitting on this side),” a confident Devika said, pointing a finger at Kasab.

Kazmi objected to her testimony and accused her of deposing falsely.

Pat came Devika’s reply: “Bhagwan ki kasam kha kar main jhoot nahin bolti(I don’t lie after taking God’s oath).” Kazmi didn’t question her further.

Throughout Devika’s deposition, Kasab, wearing a grey T-shirt and blue track pants, remained seated with his head down. He did not look at either Devika or Natwarlal, whose testimony earlier brought out the pain of a helpless father.

The 45-year-old man narrated how he ran to safety clutching Devika, and later rushed her to adjacent St George’s and JJ hospitals.

With tears welling up, Natwarlal asked for Kasab to be hanged. “This scoundrel has shot my daughter, spoilt her life and killed so many others. Don’t keep him here. Hang him to death,” he screamed.

Judge Tahaliyani tried to calm Natwarlal, who, however, couldn’t control himself. “The bullet injury has broken my daughter’s leg. She can’t walk without crutches. Doesn’t Kasab have parents?” he asked, glaring and pointing at the gunman.

The prosecution also examined Farooqi Khaliluddin, who was injured in a grenade explosion at CST. “This tiny man was in a jovial mood while he fired,” said Khaliluddin, who, along with his son Razak, a medicine student in Moscow, received shrapnel injuries. Assistant police inspector Bharat Bhosale, who injured his hand during the CST firing, also deposed.

alertpak says :~ The Diseases of Terrorism has infected the Islamic Mind grossly, where the situation in Pakistan is so serious. Devika’s little finger is hinting about that. For the glorification of an absurd Pan Islam or the futile supremacy of Pakistan upon India, terrorists like Kasva unhisitatingly point their guns and grenades at thousands of Devikas like flowers full of joy.A turmoiled Pakistan tormented between Taliban -Jehadi Fundamental groups and International Pressure Group like USA & UK even allow to escape Hafiz Sayeed, the master mind of  26/11 Mumbai Mayhem. Not the State of Pakistan has the courage to stop any fundamental or terroist activities sponsored by LeT or JuD.

The seed of terrorism is lying in the very curriculum of Pakistani General Education, specially in Pak Madrasha and  Talban or Deoband Institutions. The misinterpreted or the over interpreted Quranic Dictum and its imposition are also equally detrimental for a terror free civil society in Pakistan. But the Super Authority of Pakistan , the Pak and Taliban nexus behind and the general people psyche still reluctant to throw out these barbaric Jehadi militants. The Brass Tacks and others in Pak Authority find an scope of carnage by Kasav or Hafiz Sayeed.

Awaiting changes to a syllabus of hate in Pakistan

Awaiting Changes to a syllabus of hate in Pakistan

The Hindu, Jun 09, 2009 || for original click below http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/09/stories/2009060955850800.htm

Nirupama Subramanian

All the focus is on madrasa reforms but Pakistan’s schools are also seen as encouraging extremism, while the government has shown little urgency about implementing a revised curriculum.

On a recent weekday afternoon, a small group of youngsters gathered at a meeting hall in Islamabad to discuss how to combat extremism, militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. Listed were top-notch speakers, including two members of Parliament and the well-known physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy.

Dr. Hoodbhoy, who teaches at the Quaid-e-Azam University in the Pakistan capital, spoke passionately and at length, on a theme that he has worked to highlight for years: the education imparted to Pakistani children is flawed and encourages extremism, intolerance and ignorance. He showed the group, mostly undergraduate students, slides from an illustrated primer for the Urdu alphabet he picked from a shop in Rawalpindi: alif for Allah; bay for bandook (gun); tay for takrao (collision, shown by a plane crashing into the Twin Towers); jeem for jihad; kay for khanjar (dagger); and hay for hijab.

This was not a prescribed textbook, but another set of slides he showed had excerpts from a 1995 government-approved curriculum for Social Studies, which stated that at the end of Class V, the child should be able to acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan; demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of Allah; make speeches on jehad and shahadat (martyrdom); understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan; India’s evil designs against Pakistan; be safe from rumour-mongers who spread false news; visit police stations; collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and National Guards; and demonstrate respect for the leaders of Pakistan.

“Instead of teaching our children about the nice things in this world like the colours of flowers, about the wonders of the universe, we are teaching them to hate,” he said. The school curriculum was one reason, he said, why Pakistanis were in denial that the militants and extremists now terrorising the entire country were home-grown products, and why many tended to externalise the problem with conspiracy theories about an “external” hand.

At the end of the discussion, which included a question-and-answer session, the group was asked how many thought Pakistan’s present problems were the consequence of an “Indian hand.” A quarter of the group put up its hands. Next, the students were asked how many thought the problems were the result of an American conspiracy to destabilise Pakistan and deprive it of its nuclear weapons: more than three-fourths of the group sent their hands up without a moment’s hesitation.

The irony was that this was the “youth group” of a non-governmental organisation, the Liberal Forum of Pakistan. The students had reserved their maximum applause for a speaker who projected the widespread line that Pakistan’s problems began only after 2001, and are the fallout of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

“Was there a single incident of terrorism before that? A single suicide bombing? No.” he said. The speaker was an official of the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

In the search for solutions to the crisis sweeping Pakistan and threatening to tear it apart, the international community has tended to focus on madrasas as “terrorist factories.” But for Dr. Hoodbhoy and others who have been fighting a long battle for urgent changes in Pakistan’s national school curriculum and the prescribed school textbooks, children getting a government-approved education in the public school system are at equal risk.

“Madrasas are not the only institutions breeding hate, intolerance, a distorted world view. The educational material in government-run schools do much more than madrasas. The textbooks tell lies, create hatred, inculcate militancy…” This was the damning conclusion of a landmark research project by the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

For three years, 30 scholars commissioned by SDPI pored over textbooks in four subjects taught for Classes 1 to 12: Social Studies/Pakistan Studies, Urdu, English and Civics. The startling findings of their labour came out in a 2004 publication, “The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan.”

The much-written about research unleashed a huge debate on what was being taught in Pakistan’s schools, and became the basis for a major revision of the national curriculum undertaken by the Musharraf regime in 2006. The new curriculum has made several big changes. There is a conscious move to teach tolerance and respect for diversity, and the open vilification of India is absent. It also does not insist on imposing Islamic religious teaching on non-Muslim students. Religion is to be taught in focussed courses, rather than being infused in Social Studies, Civics, Urdu and English.

Unfortunately, so far, no move has been made to introduce new textbooks that reflect the changes.

“The revised curriculum is a huge departure from the earlier one. But whether the changes it prescribes will be implemented at all is not clear to us. The more it is delayed, the less and less we are sure it is going to come,” said A.H. Nayyar, research fellow at SDPI and one of the initiators of the project.

The changes in the curriculum are up on the Internet site of the Ministry of Education. For Grades 4 and 5 Social Studies, the curriculum has dropped the learning outcomes prescribed by the 1995 and 2002 curricula, focussing instead on providing an “unbiased” education that aims to build informed citizens equipped with analytical skills and “values such as equality, social justice, fairness, diversity, and respect for self and diverse opinions of others.”

The SDPI recommendation that history be taught as a separate subject instead of being lumped into Pakistan Studies was accepted by the framers of the revised curriculum. So, for the first time, a curriculum has been framed for history as a separate subject from Grades 6 to 8.

In contrast to the earlier approach in the Pakistan Studies curriculum, in which the history of Pakistan begins with the day the first Muslim set foot in India, the revised curriculum includes a study of the Indus valley civilisation, of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and of the ancient Maurya and Gupta dynasties.

The curriculum appears keen to emphasise a composite South Asian history from which Pakistan took birth including the “joint Hindu-Muslim” efforts in the struggle for independence. The Pakistan Studies curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 wants children to learn about the multicultural heritage of Pakistan and “get used to the idea of unity in diversity,” a big no-no earlier.

The revised curriculum also has a component on “peace studies” and conflict resolution.

One reason new textbooks based on the revised curriculum have not come out yet, Dr. Nayyar speculated, may be that the 1998 national educational policy introduced by the shortlived Nawaz Sharif government, remains in force till 2010. The Pakistan People’s Party-led government could be waiting to introduce its own education policy, and usher in the changes to the curriculum and the textbooks along with this, he said.

Even the draft new education policy is ready, based on a two-year-old White Paper. It too reflects a major shift from the 1998 policy, which laid down that education should enable the citizens to lead their lives as true practising Muslims according to the teachings of Islam as prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah. It also made the teaching of Nazra Quran a compulsory subject from Grades 1 to 8, and the learning of selected verses from the Quran thereafter, in clear violation of the Constitution that Islam will not be imposed on non-Muslims.

By contrast, the draft new policy makes it clear that only Muslim children will be provided instruction in Islamiyat, while minorities will be provided an education in their own religion. The new policy will provide the framework for the implementing the new curriculum and introducing new textbooks.

The bad news is that in April, the federal Cabinet put off approving the draft indefinitely. Only after the Cabinet approves the policy can it be placed before Parliament. A report in Dawn newspaper said the Cabinet wanted the Education Ministry to make the policy “more comprehensive, covering every aspect of education sector which needs improvement along with an implementable work plan.” But no urgency is visible in the Ministry to get cracking on this task. Another concern is that the Education Minister is not known for his progressive views, especially on gender issues.

“My fear,” said Dr. Nayyar, a soft-spoken physicist who retired from teaching at the Quaid-e-Azam University some years ago, “is that the government may not have the political strength to bring in a progressive education policy. They may succumb to pressures of various kinds and end up bringing in a hopelessly muddled policy.”

Yet the need for reforms in education has never been as urgent and necessary as now. As Dr. Hoodbhoy has pointed out in several recent articles, while a physical takeover of Pakistan by the Taliban may be a far cry, extremist ideology has taken root in young minds across the country, thanks to a flawed education system.

Compared to the 1.5 million who study in madrasas, an estimated 20 million children are enrolled in government schools. Dr. Nayyar laments that in the five years since the publication of the SDPI report, children who were 11 years old at the time have completed their matriculation. They read the old textbooks, and learnt a way of thinking about themselves and the world that will prove hard to change.

“Another generation has been lost because the process has taken too long,” he said. And until the new textbooks are introduced, millions of children will continue to learn in their Urdu lessons in schools about the differences between Hindus and Muslims in a hatred-generating way, about “India’s evil designs against Pakistan” in their Social Studies, and that Bangladesh was a result of a conspiracy by India with assistance from “Hindus living in East Pakistan.”

In The Land of Peace and Sacredness i.e. Islamic Pakistan

June 9, 2009

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11 dead, 46 hurt as bomb goes off in Pak hotel

10 Jun 2009, 0040 hrs IST, AFP || www.timesofindia.com
PESHAWAR: A massive truck bomb ripped through a luxury hotel Tuesday killing eleven people and wounding 46 in Pakistan’s Peshawar city, capital of  a northwest province plagued by Taliban violence.he bomb was hidden in a delivery truck, police and officials said, and was driven up to the fivestar Pearl Continental hotel in the high-security Khyber Road area of Peshawar and detonated outside, causing massive devastation. It is the seventh deadly bombing to hit the troubled city in a month, as fears grow that Taliban militants are exacting revenge for a punishing six-week military offensive against them in three northwest districts.  “Eleven people have been killed,” provincial police chief Malik Naveed said. “The toll is likely to rise.”
 Hospital officials said foreign nationals were among the wounded.
 “We have received 46 injured people including five foreigners,” doctor Mohammad Rehan said at the main government hospital in Peshawar.
Senior police officer Abdul Ghafoor Afridi said: “It was a bomb brought in a vehicle in the garb of hotel supplies.”
It was not immediately clear if it was a suicide attack, but witnesses and a security official said they heard gunfire before the blast.

“There was a huge blast inside PC (Pearl Continental) hotel,” Afridi said earlier, adding that the explosion led to fire in building.

Tuesday’s attack on the Pearl Continental echoes a suicide truck bomb attack on the luxury Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September 2008 that killed 60 people.

 Pakistan has been hit by a string of devastating attacks in recent weeks, with markets and security targets hit in Peshawar and police buildings targeted in Islamabad and the cultural capital Lahore.

On Friday, a suicide bomb ripped through a mosque packed with worshippers, also in the northwest of the country, killing 38 people and wounding dozens more in the deadliest such attack in more than two months.

The Taliban in Pakistan have warned of more “massive attacks” in retaliation for the military operations against them in Swat, Lower Dir and Buner.

The current US-backed campaign centred on Swat was launched when Taliban fighters advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Islamabad, flouting a deal to put three million people under sharia law in exchange for peace.

There were signs Tuesday that the offensive was expanding outside the Swat valley, with residents and local officials reporting shelling near a Pakistan tribal area where the US alleges al-Qaida militants are holed up.

Residents and officials in towns in Bannu district, next to the tribal areas of Waziristan, said the military had begun shelling in their region and said “hundreds” of troops had arrived in some towns, claims denied by the military.

Pakistan claims to have killed more than 1,350 militants since the assault began on April 26, although the figures are impossible to verify.

“More than 500 kilograms of explosive material was used in the blast,” senior police official Shafqat Malik said.

pix courtesy : AFP

40 killed in Pak mosque blast

Press Trust Of India
Islamabad|| June 5, 2oo9

Pakistani troops on Friday consolidated their positions in the restive northwestern Swat valley and nearby areas in the wake of two attacks by Taliban fighters that killed 14 security personnel, even as militants retaliated by targeting a mosque, leaving 40 dead.

The security forces also killed 10 more militants and apprehended six terrorists, including three activists of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi in different parts of the Malakand division, the military said in a statement. Fourteen security personnel were injured in fighting over the past 24 hours.

At least 40 people were killed and dozens injured when a suicide bomber struck during weekly on Friday prayers at a crowded mosque in the restive Dir area of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

The powerful blast occurred when over 200 people were present in the mosque at Hayagai Sherqi in Upper Dir district, witnesses said.

Top district official Atif-ur-Rehman told reporters at least 40 people were killed and dozens injured.

Doctors in local hospitals described the condition of several of the injured as critical.

This was the ninth bomb attack in Pakistan since the army launched a campaign against the Taliban in nearby Swat valley. Local residents said the attack targeted a community that had resisted the Taliban in recent times.

A  police official   in the district told state-run APP news agency that militants targeted the mosque as local residents had stopped the Taliban’s activities and barred their entry into the area. This had annoyed the militants, he said.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives when some persons tried to prevent him from entering the mosque. The explosion damaged the mosque and destroyed 14 nearby shops.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which coincided with US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke’s visit to Pakistan.

Hours after army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday said the tide had “decisively turned” in Swat due to the military operation, militants shot dead 11 security personnel, including a paramilitary captain and three senior police officers, during a gun battle in Mardan district.

Militants on Thursday targeted a security forces convoy that was on its way to the restive Buner district with an improvised explosive device. Following the attack on the Rustam-Ambela road, reinforcements from the paramilitary Frontier Corps were sent to the site.       

Terrorists hiding close to the site of the ambush then attacked the Frontier Corps troops, killing a captain, three senior police officers and seven other security personnel. Twelve security personnel were injured in the gun battle that continued for several hours. Response by the security forces killed 10 terrorists in a fierce gun battle and cleared the area.

Three soldiers were killed in the troubled South Waziristan tribal region when a security forces convoy was targeted with an IED near Jandola, the military said.    

Security forces captured six terrorists, including three Afghan nationals and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi leaders Maulana Muhammad Alam, Amir Izzat Khan and Syed Wahab, during a raid on a madrassa in Amandarra, the headquarters of the TNSM. Grenades, arms and ammunition were seized during the raid, which was conducted after security forces received a tip-off that militatns were present in Amandarra.     

During a cordon and search operation at a compound in Mingora, the main city in Swat district, security forces seized 35 IEDs, 500 detonators, a large number of pistols and rifles, three Thuraya satellite phone sets, two FM transmitters and three long-range antennas. During a subsequent exchange of fire with militants, a soldier was injured.

Troops also cleared the strip running from Chakesar valley up to Aloch, Bazar Kot and Shell Qaser and established a link up with security forces north of Charbagh, a former Taliban stronghold. A militant was also captured during a search operation at Nat Kalakot.

Taliban abducted hundred  students in Pakistani tribal region for producing more jihadis.

1 Jun 2009, 2101 hrs IST, AP || www.timesofindia.com

ISLAMABAD: Taliban militants armed with rockets, grenades and automatic weapons abducted at least 400 students, staff and relatives driving away from a boy’s school in a northwest Pakistani tribal region on Monday, police and a witness said. ( Watch )

The brazen abduction came amid rising militant violence in Pakistan’s tribal belt, actions the military says are partly aimed at distracting it from its offensive against the Taliban in the nearby Swat Valley.

Police were negotiating with the Taliban via tribal elders to release of the captives taken in North Waziristan, said Mirza Mohammad Jihadi, an adviser to the prime minister. He said around 500 people were taken and that they were being held in the Bakka Khel area.

The staffer said the assailants carried rockets, Kalashnikovs, hand grenades and other weapons. He estimated around 400 captives were involved.

It was unclear how many were students, though they made up the majority of the group. Cadet colleges in Pakistan are usually run by retired military officers and educate teenagers. They also typically provide room and board.

Late Monday, reports were coming in that at least one other bus managed to get away and reach a police station. Jihadi said at least 29 students escaped, apparently in addition to the 17 at Sardar’s police station in the Marian area.

North and South Waziristan are major al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan. Clashes over the past three days in South Waziristan have killed at least 25 militants and nine soldiers. In the latest attack, reported by the army Monday, militants fired rockets at troops, killing two.

The fresh fighting is fueling speculation that a month after re-igniting its battle against Taliban militants in Swat, the military will widen the offensive to South Waziristan. But army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said that for now, troops on the ground were simply reacting to attacks, not opening a new front.

“This is all to divert attention,” Abbas said. With its hands full in Swat, opening a front in South Waziristan now would be risky for the military.

Known for its harsh terrain, reticent tribes and porous border with Afghanistan, as well as its history of limited federal government oversight, South Waziristan would likely be a stiffer test for Pakistan’s armed forces than Swat. The region also is the main base for Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

However, the US and other Western nations who have praised Pakistan’s strong-armed tactics in Swat would likely not want South Waziristan to stay untouched. It’s the tribal regions, after all, where al-Qaida and the Taliban have their key bases from which they plan attacks on Western forces across the border in Afghanistan.

The tribal areas also are the rumored hideouts of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Asked about a timeframe for clearing the area, Abbas simply replied, “A plan to go or not to go into South Waziristan, shouldn’t that be a highly classified matter?”

The army spokesman said major towns and cities in the Swat Valley will likely be cleared of Taliban fighters in a matter of days. It has already recaptured Mingora, Swat’s main urban center. But many of the estimated 4,000 militants in the valley are believed to have fled to the hillsides, and Abbas said clearing those rural areas could require months more work.

One other problem with tackling South Waziristan now is that it would exacerbate an already massive humanitarian challenge facing the country, that of up to 3 million people displaced by the fighting so far. Already, large numbers of families have begun leaving South Waziristan amid rumors of an imminent operation.

Journalists have limited access to the tribal belt and Swat, making it difficult to independently verify information provided by the Pakistani military or other sources.

Militants, including Mehsud loyalists, have threatened and carried out some revenge attacks over the Swat operation in major Pakistani cities, including an assault on police and intelligence agency offices in the eastern city of Lahore that left 30 dead.

On Monday, a blast at a busy bus terminal in Kohat town, an area near the tribal regions, killed at least two people and wounded at least 18 others, said local police officer Zafarullah Khan.       An AFP reporter at the scene said a deep crater was visible outside the four-story hotel, with smoke billowing around the damaged building and rescue workers rushing the wounded, including foreigners, to safety. Television footage showed ambulances and police cars streaming to the hotel, which is popular with dignitaries, officials and foreign visitors, and rescuers carrying out the injured on their backs.  

Plight upon Hindus & Sikhs in Pakistan by Jehadi-Talibani-Terrorist outfits

June 5, 2009

Shrinking Hindu community in Pakistan

June 7, 2009
Shrinking Hindu community in Pakistan
By N Krishna
The Hindu community in Pakistan, already reduced to an insignificant minority, is further dwindling. What happened to the Hindus there soon after Partition is continuing even now.
Unable to stand-up to the harassment by Muslim fanatics, more than 6,000 Pakistani Hindus have migrated to India in the recent past. Incessant pressure to convert to Islam and social alienation are driving the scattered Hindus to crossover to India. Lashkar Das, one of the Hindu migrants now settled in Haryana, echoes the feelings of many Hindus in Pakistan when he says: “I was constantly under pressure to convert to Islam. Some families budged and capitulated, but those who did not became targets for fanatics.” Another Hindu migrant says: “Local residents call us Hindu kafirs. Our children are discriminated against in schools and forced to read namaz.”
Kafirs! Interestingly, this epithet was used by one of the Pakistani terrorists who took part in the Mumbai massacre in November last. The heavily armed terrorist, on seeing a local resident, called the latter a “Kafir”. This supports the Hindu migrants’ contention that some Muslims in Pakistan call the Hindu neighbours as Kafirs.
No wonder Pakistan is now denuded of the once vibrant Hindu community. How did this happen? A note that the Indian government sent to Pakistan in December 1949 throws some light on the eviction, covert and overt, of Hindus from Pakistan. The note charged the Pakistan government with launching a drive against the remaining Hindus in Sindh. In the interior of Sindh, the note said, conditions were reported to be much worse. Owing to ceaseless “official’ harassment, Hindus were forced to embrace Islam.
Substitute ‘no-official’ for ‘official’ and you will get an idea of why the small Hindu minority in Pakistan is further dwindling. No less a Pakistani leader than the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto said, in June 2006, that served Hindu families in Larkhana in Sind had been threatened with dire consequences if they did not dissociate themselves from her Pakistan People’s Party. She cited cases in which one Hindu was killed by unidentified assailants in Larkhana and another youth, a son of a noted Hindu family of Warand Mal was shot and wounded.
In February, 2008, Hindus in two districts of Pakistan’s Balochistan province warned that the minority community would boycott the upcoming general elections if the authorities failed to trace three kidnapped Hindu traders, even as armed men abducted another business man’s son. Forced conversions to Islam, which began in the wake of Partition, continue unabated in Pakistan. In March 2007, as many as 79 Pakistani Hindus from the Bhaeel community were converted to Islam near Khapro. The converts included 28 men, 25 women and 34 children. The elderly Bhaeels reportedly told an online news agency that they had embraced Islam after being inspired by the teachings of Islam.
All this ties in with what happened recently in the Swat Valley. It looks as though the Hindus in Pakistan, who now number 20 lakh, are in for further truncation in future. This suspicion was confirmed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report for 2006. It says that the state promoted violence by failing to act against those attacking non-Muslims or their properties and their place of worship. The report also lists several cases of forced conversion to Islam, especially of Hindu women.
In September 2005, minority members of the Pakistan National Assembly said that Hindus were being hounded and humiliated to force them to leave Pakistan . They were taking part in a discussion on a call-attention motion on the abduction of a Hindu girl in Sindh and was latter converted to Islam. One member, Krishan Bheel, said many Hindu men were being kidnapped for ransom in Sindh. These incidents were engineered to force Hindus to leave Pakistan where they have been living for the past 5,000 years.
At the time of 1947 Partition, those belonging to Indian religions constituted about 20 per cent of the population in West Pakistan and 34 per cent in East Pakistan. The percentages have now dropped to a little less than two in Pakistan and to about ten in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan).
All this is in sharp and disturbing contrast to the religious demography in India. The Muslim population in India grew by 1.3 per cent while the Hindu population declined by 1.5 per cent during 1991-2001. The Muslims, comprised 13.4 per cent while the Hindus formed 80.5 per cent with the total population standing at 1.02 billion in the 2001 census.
The policy of the successive Pakistan regimes of turning a blind eye to the harassment and eviction of the remaining Hindu families in places like Sindh has resulted in the continual thinning of the Hindu minority. And this has given rise to Hindu fundamentalism in India. Fundamentalism is something alien to Hinduism, but the injustices heaped on the diminishing Hindu population by Islamic extremists has touched off a wave of resentment in the majority community in India.
There will be meaningful democracy in Pakistan only if its rulers strive to realise Jinnah’s ideal of secularism. It is now universally established that secularism is the bedrock of democracy.
(The writer can be contacted at 16-110, Mirjalguda… Malkajgiri, Hyderabad-47 (AP))

Updated as on June 7, 2009 || The Organiser, New Delhi, India.

Shrinking Hindu community in Pakistan

By N Krishna

The Hindu community in Pakistan, already reduced to an insignificant minority, is further dwindling. What happened to the Hindus there soon after Partition is continuing even now.

Unable to stand-up to the harassment by Muslim fanatics, more than 6,000 Pakistani Hindus have migrated to India in the recent past. Incessant pressure to convert to Islam and social alienation are driving the scattered Hindus to crossover to India. Lashkar Das, one of the Hindu migrants now settled in Haryana, echoes the feelings of many Hindus in Pakistan when he says: “I was constantly under pressure to convert to Islam. Some families budged and capitulated, but those who did not became targets for fanatics.” Another Hindu migrant says: “Local residents call us Hindu kafirs. Our children are discriminated against in schools and forced to read namaz.”

Kafirs! Interestingly, this epithet was used by one of the Pakistani terrorists who took part in the Mumbai massacre in November last. The heavily armed terrorist, on seeing a local resident, called the latter a “Kafir”. This supports the Hindu migrants’ contention that some Muslims in Pakistan call the Hindu neighbours as Kafirs.

No wonder Pakistan is now denuded of the once vibrant Hindu community. How did this happen? A note that the Indian government sent to Pakistan in December 1949 throws some light on the eviction, covert and overt, of Hindus from Pakistan. The note charged the Pakistan government with launching a drive against the remaining Hindus in Sindh. In the interior of Sindh, the note said, conditions were reported to be much worse. Owing to ceaseless “official’ harassment, Hindus were forced to embrace Islam.

Substitute ‘no-official’ for ‘official’ and you will get an idea of why the small Hindu minority in Pakistan is further dwindling. No less a Pakistani leader than the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto said, in June 2006, that served Hindu families in Larkhana in Sind had been threatened with dire consequences if they did not dissociate themselves from her Pakistan People’s Party. She cited cases in which one Hindu was killed by unidentified assailants in Larkhana and another youth, a son of a noted Hindu family of Warand Mal was shot and wounded.

In February, 2008, Hindus in two districts of Pakistan’s Balochistan province warned that the minority community would boycott the upcoming general elections if the authorities failed to trace three kidnapped Hindu traders, even as armed men abducted another business man’s son. Forced conversions to Islam, which began in the wake of Partition, continue unabated in Pakistan. In March 2007, as many as 79 Pakistani Hindus from the Bhaeel community were converted to Islam near Khapro. The converts included 28 men, 25 women and 34 children. The elderly Bhaeels reportedly told an online news agency that they had embraced Islam after being inspired by the teachings of Islam.

All this ties in with what happened recently in the Swat Valley. It looks as though the Hindus in Pakistan, who now number 20 lakh, are in for further truncation in future. This suspicion was confirmed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report for 2006. It says that the state promoted violence by failing to act against those attacking non-Muslims or their properties and their place of worship. The report also lists several cases of forced conversion to Islam, especially of Hindu women.

In September 2005, minority members of the Pakistan National Assembly said that Hindus were being hounded and humiliated to force them to leave Pakistan . They were taking part in a discussion on a call-attention motion on the abduction of a Hindu girl in Sindh and was latter converted to Islam. One member, Krishan Bheel, said many Hindu men were being kidnapped for ransom in Sindh. These incidents were engineered to force Hindus to leave Pakistan where they have been living for the past 5,000 years.

At the time of 1947 Partition, those belonging to Indian religions constituted about 20 per cent of the population in West Pakistan and 34 per cent in East Pakistan. The percentages have now dropped to a little less than two in Pakistan and to about ten in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan).

All this is in sharp and disturbing contrast to the religious demography in India. The Muslim population in India grew by 1.3 per cent while the Hindu population declined by 1.5 per cent during 1991-2001. The  Muslims, comprised 13.4 per cent while the Hindus formed 80.5 per cent with the total population standing at 1.02 billion in the 2001 census.

The policy of the successive Pakistan regimes of turning a blind eye to the harassment and eviction of the remaining Hindu families in places like Sindh has resulted in the continual thinning of the Hindu minority. And this has given rise to Hindu fundamentalism in India. Fundamentalism is something alien to Hinduism, but the injustices heaped on the diminishing Hindu population by Islamic extremists has touched off a wave of resentment in the majority community in India.

There will be meaningful democracy in Pakistan only if its rulers strive to realise Jinnah’s ideal of secularism. It is now universally established that secularism is the bedrock of democracy.

(The writer can be contacted at 16-110, Mirjalguda… Malkajgiri, Hyderabad-47 (AP)

Plight upon Hindus & Sikhs by Talibans in Pakistan beyond Imagination.

Pakistan

Buildings of Sikhs allegedly destroyed by Taliban in Pakistan

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Sikhs in Pak : Persecuted & Fleed in numbers.

Sikhs & Hindus in Pakistan agree to pay jazia to Taliban

Source:
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1261811

Amir Mir
Thursday, June 4, 2009

Islamabad: In May, dozens of Sikhs living in the Orakzai agency were forced to move out after the Taliban demanded Rs50 million as jazia, or security tax, from them. Locals said the families were impoverished and left the area to avoid any Taliban action.

Less than a month later, the tax net has spread wider, to the Khyber agency tribal area. The Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians there have been told by the Taliban-backed Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) to pay jazia in exchange for ensuring their security in the area.

Having already imposed the security tax on non-Muslims in the Orakzai agency in the tribal belt on the Afghanistan border, the Taliban forces in this area have empowered the LeI to charge the tax on their behalf, Khyber agency sources said.

The LeI commander has publicly announced that Sikhs and Hindus will be free to live anywhere in the area after paying this protection tax.

Reports suggest that most of the minority community members in the region have agreed to pay the tax instead of leaving the area, having lived there for decades.

Sources said several jirgas (meetings of elders) were held to settle the issue. One such meeting held last week, attended by the leaders and elders of the Sikh, Hindu, and Christian communities at Tirah Valley, resulted in the decision to pay up rather than move out.

Women, children, and handicapped persons have been exempted from paying the tax, which amounts to Rs1,000 per head annually.

The LeI militants have already started collecting jazia in Bara, Chora, Karamna, Bazaar Zakhakhel, and Tirah Valley of Khyber agency. Those refusing to pay, or not in a position to pay, are being forced to leave.

Indian Muslim leaders term Taliban’s treatment of Sikhs barbaric

Source : www.sikhsangat.org

http://sikhsangat.org/1469/2009/05/indian-muslim-leaders-term-talibans-treatment-of-sikhs-barbaric/

Amritsar, Punjab: Taliban’s treatment of Sikhs in Pakistan’s tribal areas is illegal and barbaric, said Indian Muslim leaders.

On seeing reports about Sikh families in Pakistan being driven out of their homes and being subjected to Jaziya and other such impositions, the religious, political and community leaders of the Indian Muslims in a joint statement issued here Sunday said: “The imposition of the so-called Jizya is nothing more than extortion by an armed and lawless gang which does not constitute a sovereign government or state or even an organ thereof.”

The Indian Muslim leaders said, “We regard this as an act of injustice incompatible with the letter and spirit of Islam and the international covenants accepted by all Muslim states.”

They demanded that the Pakistani authorities must take earliest steps to retrieve the extorted sums and pay them back to their affected non-Muslim citizens and facilitate their peaceful return to their homes and properties in their traditional homelands and give them all due protection.

Sikhs of Orakzai

It was extremely distressing to read about the horrendous predicament of the Orakzai Sikhs in your editorial titled “The Sikhs of Orakzai” (May 3). In any bad year, the Orakzais would put dozens of women and girls to death just for the sin of wanting to marry a man of their own choice; all in the name of honour. Here is a situation faced by Kalyan Singh and others, settled in the Orakzai tribal belt for as long as one remembers, and the collective tribal conscious does not move to help these poor souls just because one suicide bomber in a jirga has brought down their swagger to a whimper.

O people of Orakzai tribe, where is your Pakhtunwali, one may ask. Or was it all mere sloganeering only to change the name of the province? Get up, and have those blighted Sikhs and their families released from the clutches of these barbarians and shameless lot called the Taliban, whatever it takes. You know better there is no glory in your folklore for such cowardly acts by a few. Are you listening, the former governor of NWFP from Orakzai tribe?

Vice Admiral (r) Taj M Khattak
Karachi

Pak Sikhs, Hindus want India visas

Pakistan Sikhs and Hindus desperate, seek Indian visas

 

11 May, 2009, Asian Age, Correspondent, CHANDIGARH

May 10: Scores of Sikh and Hindu families who have been rendered homeless by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat territory want Indian visas to seek shelter with relatives living in Amritsar.

Essentially tradesmen, Sikh and Hindu families in Amritsar, Pakistan’s frontier provinces and further westwards in Afghanistan, have sustained mutual links despite being divided by political boundaries. The age-old trading in dry and fresh fruits, woollens and green tea has also helped keep these relations strong.

“We moved here from Peshawar during the tabaadla (exchange) of 1956. But many of our people stayed back in Pakistan and they have now landed in great trouble,” said Mr Anant Ram, a Sehajdhari Sikh who works at the local gurdwara at the Peshauri Mohalla in Amritsar.

The old Peshawar families of Amritsar say they are appalled at the persecution of their brethren, many of them blood relatives, in Pakistan. “I have many relatives who are suffering over there. The Pakistan government is doing nothing to help and they have been calling every day saying they fear even more persecution. My people have lost everything but the clothes they are wearing. There is simply no sense of security even though they have moved out of Swat,” said Mahant Lal Pishauri.

“These people are desperate to move out of Pakistan. Their homes were razed to the ground by Taliban and they can expect nothing from the government there. They are ready to come to Amritsar but say Indian visas are not easy to come by under the present circumstances,” said Mr Anant Ram who, like the others, is looking forward to host his Swat relatives.

Real Fight against Pak Terrorists is still Pending. Crush the Terrorists Hide-Outs in Mosques & Madrashas. Don’t release Islamic Fundamentalists.

June 2, 2009

Double Standard Pak Authority freed JuD & LeT Chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

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Image: Police escort Hafiz Saeed (in white cap), the head of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa and founder of Lashkar-e-Tayiba, as he leaves the Lahore court
Photograph: Mohsin Raza/Reuters

Amid applause, Lahore court frees Lashkar chief

http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/jun/02/slide-show-1-pak-court-sets-lashkar-chief-free.htm  ( Clik this link to have adetails about 1.Inside Pakistan’s terror schools 2.Jamaat-ud-Dawah has terror links, says US )
June 02, 2009 11:30 IST || PTI
Last Updated: June 02, 2009 14:25 IST
 A three-member bench of the Lahore [Images] High Court freed Saeed and Ahmed after hearing arguments by the JuD chief’s counsel A K Dogar, who claimed the detention of the two men violated Pakistan’s constitution and laws.Saeed was not present in the court today. The Deputy Attorney General of the federal government and the Advocate General of Punjab [Images] province rebutted Dogar’s arguments. The Advocate General said it was binding on Pakistan to implement Security Council resolutions as the country was a signatory to the UN Charter.

A Pakistani court today freed outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and his close aide Col (retired) Nazir Ahmed nearly six months after they were detained following the Mumbai terror attacks [Images].

The three-judge bench, hearing the case, said it will give a detailed order later. Dogar, who addressed the bench for about 45 minutes, said the UN Security Council had only sought a freeze on the JuD’s assets and a travel ban on its leaders and the world body had not demanded the arrest of JuD leaders. He claimed it was not binding under Pakistani laws to implement UN Security Council resolutions.  Saeed was put under house arrest on December 11 last year after the UN Security Council banned the Jamaat, declaring it a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed by India for November 26 Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 160 people.

After hearing both sides, the bench issued a brief order for the release of Saeed and Ahmed. A detailed order is expected to be issued by the High Court later.

JuD activists who gathered at the court began shouting slogans in support of Saeed on hearing the verdict.

A JuD spokesman hailed the courts verdict and said the organisation will continue its relief activities.

The court’s order was a “certificate” that the JuD was not involved in terrorism and the government had been unable to prove Saeed’s involvement in such activities, the spokesman said. Dogar, who shouted slogans like “Allah-o-Akbar (God is great)” along with Saeed’s supporters after emerging from the court, said the JuD chief had been detained on December 11 last year without any valid grounds or reasons.

Saeed’s house arrest was subsequently extended for “some vague” reasons, he said. He questioned why the Pakistan government had implemented the UN Security Council’s resolution against the JuD when India had not acted on 26 resolutions on the Kashmir issue. During an earlier hearing of Saeed’s petition challenging his detention, Pakistan’s Attorney General Latif Khosa had told the court that the government had evidence that showed the JuD’s “prima facie links” with Al Qaida.

This was the first time that Pakistan admitted that JuD has links with Al Qaida. Saeed and Ahmed had challenged their detention through a petition in the High Court.

Saeed and several other JuD leaders were placed under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks but most of them were subsequently freed.

A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court had recently extended the detention of Saeed, also the founder of the Lashker-e-Taiba, and Ahmed by two months till July 8. Five LeT activists, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, are currently being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi for alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Courtsey : Press Trust of India.

Pak Govt determined to counter militants’ backlash

By Syed Irfan Raza
Tuesday, 02 Jun, 2009 | 03:09 AM PST |www.dawn.com
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President Zardari and PM Gilani preside over a high level meeting to review the law and order situation. Federal Ministers for Information, Interior, Provincial CMs, Governor NWFP, President’s spokesman, Army Chief and the Chiefs of Intelligence Agencies are also present.–APP Photo
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said the war against militancy is a total war and each and every section of the society must rise to the occasion to ‘defeat the mindset that creates and nurtures militancy.’
President Zardari along with Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was presiding over a high level meeting here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr today to review the law and order situation.
The meeting was attended by the Federal Ministers for Information, Interior, Provincial Chief Ministers, Governor NWFP, Army Chief, the Chiefs of Intelligence Agencies, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Executive of Northern Areas, the Chief Secretaries and IGPs of all the provinces, Secretary General and senior officers of the relevant ministries of the federal government.
Talking to the media about the meeting Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the President expressed satisfaction over the success achieved in the war and said that the day was not far when militants would be so crippled that they would pose no threat to the people and the country.
He said that half of the war was to subdue and defeat the militants militarily and half of the war was to win the hearts and minds of the internally displaced persons.
The President said that the international community was more than willing to help Pakistan as was demonstrated in the recent meetings of the ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistan’ and leaders and law makers of the US, Britain, and France during his recent visit to these countries.
He said the people of Pakistan also, through the political parties, supported the ongoing operation against the militants in Swat, Malakand and other areas as has been demonstrated by the unanimous resolution adopted by the Parliament against militancy and the decisions of recently held All Parties Conference by the Prime Minister.
The combination of favourable domestic public opinion and the willingness of the international community to help had placed in the hands of government a great opportunity to eliminate the militants, mindset once and for all, the President observed.
President Zardari said that the nation cannot afford to lose this war for the sake of its own survival.
He said that while the government was determined to pursue fight to the finish, it was also working on a plan to strengthen the capacity of law enforcing agencies to win this war.
The President advised the government to step up implementation of the plan to strengthen law-enforcing agencies.
‘The will to fight must be strengthened with the capacity to fight,’ he said.
The President also underlined the need for strengthening the prosecution so as to bring the militants and criminals to speedy and efficient justice within the bounds of the existing legal frame-work and laws.
President Zardari said that the present fight against militants was also for the fight of ideas and ‘for winging this battle of ideas we need to carry out necessary reforms in the education system particularly in the Madrassa education so as to produce tolerant, moderate and forward looking youth who naturally detested militancy, extremism and intolerance.’
The President also praised the Armed Forces and the law enforcement agencies for the courageous fight they had put up against militants and for sacrifices they had made in the cause. He also praised the Prime Minister and the government for taking the militants head on.
The President said that an exit strategy with clear objectives be also devised that enabled the civil administration to take over the administration of the areas where the writ of the government had been established and from where the militants had been driven out.