Archive for the ‘Pakistani State and Terrorism’ Category

PAK-ISI using the Haqqani network for a proxy war: US

September 22, 2011

Haqqani network is a “veritable arm” of ISI: Mullen

Agencies |Shawwal 23, 1432 | Thursday 22nd September 2011 

WASHINGTON: The US military’s top officer bluntly accused Pakistan on Thursday of “exporting” violent extremism to Afghanistan through proxies and warned of possible US action to protect American troops.

In a severe indictment of Pakistan’s links with terror groups, top US military commander Thursday said the ISI provided support to the Haqqani terror network in carrying out the recent attack on the country’s embassy in Kabul.

“The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency. With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy,” Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations,” he said.

“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan — and most especially the Pakistani Army and ISI — jeopardises not only the prospect of our strategic partnership, but also Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence,” Mullen said.

He said Pakistan may believe that by using these proxies they are hedging their bets, or redressing what they feel is an imbalance of regional power but in reality, they have already lost that bet.

“By exporting violence, they have eroded their internal security and their position in the region. They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being.

“Only a decision to break with this policy can pave the road to a positive future for Pakistan,” Mullen said.

The Admiral added, “As you know, I have expended enormous energy on this relationship. I’ve met with General Kayani more than two dozen times — including a two-and-a-half hour meeting last weekend in Spain.

“I’ve done this because I believe in the importance of Pakistan to the region, because I believe that we share a common interest against terrorism, and because I recognise the great political and economic difficulties Pakistan faces.”

Referring to his meetings with Pakistan Army chief in the past two years, Mullen said some may argue he have wasted his time, that Pakistan is no closer to US than before… and may now have drifted even further away.

“I disagree. Military cooperation is warming. Information flow between us and across the border is quickening. Transparency is returning, slowly,” he noted.

“With Pakistan’s help we have disrupted al-Qaeda and its senior leadership in the border regions and degraded its ability to plan and conduct terror attacks.

“Indeed, I think we would be in a far tougher situation today, in the wake of the frostiness which fell over us after the bin Laden raid, were it not for the groundwork General Kayani and I had laid — were it not for the fact that we could at least have a conversation about the way ahead, however difficult that conversation might be,” Mullen said.

He said what matters most right now is moving forward.

While the relationship must be guided by clear principles to which both sides adhere, Mullen said “we can no longer focus solely on the most obvious issues.”

“We should help create more stakeholders in Pakistan’s prosperity, help the Pakistani people address their economic, political, and internal security challenges, and promote Indo-Pak cooperation on the basis of true sovereign equality,” Mullen said.

Courtesy : Dawn | DNA | Reuters.

Top Al Qaeda suspect arrested in Pakistan.

September 6, 2011

Younis Al Mauritani, Top Al Qaeda Suspect, Arrested In Pakistan

CHRIS BRUMMITT and ADAM GOLDMAN   09|5|11 – 02:50 PM ET   AP 

ISLAMABAD — A battered al-Qaida suffered another significant blow when Pakistani agents working with the CIA arrested a senior leader believed to have been tasked by Osama bin Laden with targeting American economic interests around the globe, Pakistan announced Monday.

Younis al-Mauritani’s arrest – made public six days before the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – also point to improved cooperation between two uneasy anti-terror allies after the rancor surrounding bin Laden’s killing.

Al-Qaida has seen its senior ranks thinned since bin Laden was killed May 2 in a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan without the knowledge of local authorities. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the terror network’s No. 2, was killed in a CIA missile strike last month.

Pakistan’s unusual public announcement of close cooperation with the U.S. spy agency appeared aimed at reversing the widespread perception that ties between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency had been badly damaged by bin Laden’s death. The Pakistanis accused the Americans of violating their sovereignty with the raid, while Washington was angry the terror leader had been found in a house in a military garrison town.

The Pakistani military said the arrest of al-Mauritani and two other Qaida operatives took place near the Afghan border in the southwestern city of Quetta, long known as a base for militants. It did not say when. The arrests were carried out in the past two weeks, according to a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

The capture of an al-Qaida operative inside Pakistan has become rare in recent years: most targets of CIA operations in the country have been killed by drone aircraft in a relentless series of operations that started to increase in 2008. His capture is likely to create chaos within al-Qaida: even if he does not reveal compromising information, that possibility is almost certain to force the network to alter plans, move operatives and make a variety of other sudden changes, damaging its ability to carry out attacks.

“This operation was planned and conducted with technical assistance of United State Intelligence Agencies with whom Inter-Services Intelligence has a strong, historic intelligence relationship. Both Pakistan and United States Intelligence agencies continue to work closely together to enhance security of their respective nations,” the military said in a written statement.

Al-Qaida’s center of operations is believed to be in the lawless tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, many hours from Quetta, a large city that is home to both the Taliban’s ruling council and a significant Pakistani military presence.

The statement said al-Mauritani was mainly responsible for al-Qaida’s international operations and was tasked by bin Laden with hitting targets of economic importance in America, Europe and Australia. It said he was planning attacks on gas and oil pipelines, power generating dams and oil tankers that would be hit by explosive-laden speed boats in international waters.

It named the other two detainees as Abdul-Ghaffar al-Shami and Messara al-Shami. In its statement, the Pakistani army also described them as senior operatives.

“This action has dealt yet another blow to al-Qaida and is an example of the longstanding partnership between the United States and Pakistan in fighting terrorism,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “We applaud the actions of Pakistan’s intelligence and security services that led to the capture of a senior al-Qaida operative who was involved in planning attacks against the interests of the United States and many other countries.”

The U.S. has said it doesn’t know of any specific al-Qaida plot to attack the U.S. ahead of Sept. 11.

The U.S. provided “critical lead information and technical assistance in working with Pakistan” against al-Mauritani, another American official said on condition of anonymity, in order to discuss intelligence. Al-Mauritani is considered “a seasoned, senior operative” trusted by the group’s top leaders, who the U.S. believes “played an absolutely central role in planning and coordinating al Qaeda’s operations in Europe,” with plots that targeted both European and American interests, the official said.

Since the 2001, attacks, Pakistan’s spy agency has cooperated with the CIA to arrest scores of al-Qaida suspects, most of whom were handed over to the United States.

“This reflects how Pakistan and the United States working together can deal an effective blow to the terrorists,” said Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani. He said the intelligence cooperation had been restored almost to levels prior to a series of U.S.-Pakistan diplomatic clashes.

Many top al-Qaida commanders are still believed to live in Pakistan, and getting Islamabad’s cooperation in cracking down on the network has been a top American goal since 2001. But there have been persistent suspicions that the country was protecting militants. The fact that bin Laden was killed in an army town close to the capital, Islamabad, led to fresh doubts over Pakistan’s commitment.

Michael Vickers, the Pentagon’s under secretary of defense for intelligence, told The New York Times in a recent interview there were perhaps four important al-Qaida leaders left in Pakistan, and 10 to 20 leaders over all in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Courtesy to the sources.

Karachi violence is still intensifying for a big hit and Islamic hatred.

June 15, 2011

 

Death toll in Karachi unrest rises to 20

GULF TODAY || Wednesday 15th June 2011, Rajab 12, 1432 || KARACHI: The death toll in a fresh wave of violence blamed on political and ethnic tensions in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi rose to at least 20 on Wednesday, an official said.

Renewed tensions between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP), which represent different ethnic communities, have triggered serious fears that the violence could spill over on a wider scale.

“The death toll has risen to 20 with eight more targeted killings overnight in different areas of Karachi,” provincial home ministry spokesman Sharfuddin Memon said.

The violence erupted late on Monday.

The government in Sindh province said it had stepped up police and paramilitary patrols in the troubled western and central neighbourhoods to avert further killings.

Memon gave no specific reason for the renewed violence in Karachi but analysts believe conflicting interests of political forces and poor governance trigger routine flare-ups.

“Karachi is a big city where crime and corruption is rampant and targeted killings is convenient cover for criminal mafia to continue their activities,” analyst Imtiaz Gul said.

“While political parties fight to retain their clout in the city, criminal gangs, involved in organised crimes take advantage of the situation.”

Both MQM and ANP have accused each other of killing their supporters, fanning tensions within Karachi that reverberate to the capital Islamabad, where both factions are also members of the federal governing coalition.

In 2010, political violence in Karachi was dominated by flare-ups in August after an MQM lawmaker was shot dead and in October on the eve of the election for his successor.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 748 people – 447 political activists and the rest civilians – were killed in targeted shootings in the city last year. 

Targeted killings in 2009 claimed 272 lives.

 Courtesy: Agence France-Presse

|| Role of Talibans behind Karachi killing ||

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SEE : Who are Responsible for Karachi Carnage ??

Four top Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) further accused in 26/11 Mumbai Mayhem.

May 13, 2011

US charges 4 Pakistani terrorists in 26/11 Mumbai attack

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Tue, Apr 26, 2011 | Late Post

Chicago, April 26 (IANS) US federal prosecutors have added four top Pakistani terrorists tied to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as accused in the case against Pakistani-Canadian LeT operative Tahawwur Rana for helping to plot the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The four identified as Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal and ‘Major Iqbal’ were charged Monday in US District Court in Chicago, though none of them is in US custody. All four are charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim in India, while Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal additionally are charged with conspiracy to bomb public places in India.

They also face six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India, which carry maximum sentences of death or life imprisonment.

The revised indictment comes three weeks before the scheduled May 16 trial of Rana, a Canadian citizen who is accused of using his First World Immigration Services business to provide cover to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, to scout targets for the Mumbai attack.

Headley, the son of an American mother and Pakistani father, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 criminal counts including aiding and abetting the murder of Americans in Mumbai and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution in a plea deal to escape the death penalty.

Mir, also known as ‘Wasi,’ aka ‘Ibrahim,’ and ‘Sajid Majeed’, who reportedly joined the Pakistan based terror outfit LeT at age 16, allegedly worked as Headley’s handler for two years.

The new indictment says that ‘during the course of attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with defendants Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, all of whom were then located in Pakistan.’

‘More specifically, during the course of the attacks, the attackers were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages, set fires and throw grenades,’ the indictment said.

‘Sajid Mir also sought to arrange the release of a hostage in exchange for the release of a captured attacker.’

It also accused Mir of working with Headley to plan a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper, which in 2005 published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed touching off

There is also a warrant for Mir’s arrest in India. During the Mumbai attack, Indian police intercepted phone calls between Mir and his terror teams in Mumbai.

Terrorist group Harakat ul Jihad al Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri and retired Pakistani military man Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed also were charged in a previous indictment but their whereabouts are unknown.

Rana faces life imprisonment if convicted on the charges he provided material support to the Mumbai attackers.

Courtesy : IANS | AFP .

Ethnic violence continues unabated in Karachi; 12 more killed

March 21, 2011

Karachi hit by fresh wave of killings,arson

KARACHI, 2oth March 2011 : Demonstrations were held in different areas of Karachi on Sunday in protest against a new wave of killings across the city, mainly on political and ethnic grounds, claiming over a dozen lives on Sunday.

The protesters turned violent at a few places where exchanges of fire between armed men and law-enforcement personnel left one person dead. Three vehicles were set on fire.

The protests began when dozens of people, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, staged a sit-in for about half an hour on Shahrah-i-Pakistan near Liaquatabad during the funeral of Shahzad Hussain, a party activists killed on Sunday. They set tyres on fire and chanted slogans against the killing and the ‘extortion mafia’.

Violence intensified when armed men opened fire near Teen Hatti Bridge, prompting law-enforcement personnel to act.

“There was a group of armed youngsters who were firing shots into the air and attacked a Rangers vehicle parked there,” Jamshed Town SSP Amir Farooqi said.

 

Desolated roadways in Karachi with heavy police patrolling. Photo - The International News.

“The firing elicited retaliation from the law-enforcers that left a man dead, but it’s not yet clear whose bullet had hit him,” he added.

There was no official version from the Sindh Rangers on the incident.

Demonstrations were also held in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Burns Road and Federal B. Area.

Parts of Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Qasba Colony, Nazimabad, Lyari, Kharadar and Site areas were paralysed by incidents of intense gunfire.

A passenger coach was set on fire in Nazimabad and a truck and a bus in Safoora Goth near Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

By the time a ministerial committee of the PPP and MQM decided to meet to discuss the incidents of violence, the guns had fallen silent, although tension and fear kept the residents of the strife-hit areas indoors and business suspended.

Despite repeated attempts, the newly-appointed city police chief Saud Mirza avoided to say anything about the situation.

Sindh Home Minister’s Adviser Sharfuddin Memon said a meeting of the ministerial committee had been called to discuss the Karachi situation and law-enforcement agencies had been placed on high alert.

He said suggestions from leaders from both sides always helped to stem violence. “We have seen that workers from all parties have been targeted in recent killings.”

He said a positive result of law-enforcement measures would be evident soon.

Mr Memon said the Rangers had special powers and its action had always proved effective in such situations.

Courtesy : All sources and Agencies.

Is Pak authority tightening over militants to save the situation ?

March 6, 2011

Three suspected terrorists arrested in Lahore

Three suspects were arrested from Makkah Colony in Lahore. – AFP

Dawn News || Lahore : Police on Sunday (6th March 2011) arrested three suspects in Lahore and also seized two suicide jackets and numerous mobile phone SIMS from their possession, Dawn News reported.

On a tip-off from security agencies, the raid was inducted in Makkah Colony and the suspects belong to Waziristan and reported to be members of the banned organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban.

Apart from the 18 mobile SIMS and suicide jackets, two pistols have also been recovered from the suspects.

Five militants killed in Mingora skirmish

The Nation  News || Islamabad : At least five militants were killed in skirmish with the security forces near Mingora late on Saturday ( 5th March 2011) , report said. Officials said the battle took place near Mingora when a group of insurgents associated with banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan attempted to enter Swat. “The security troops stopped them at a checkpoint but the Taliban opened fire,” an official said. In retaliation by the army, he said, five of them were killed while many others wounded, adding that a soldier also suffered bullet injuries in the fight with militants.

Kurram: Security forces kill six militants

The Nation  News || Lahore : At least six militants were killed and several others were wounded as security forces attacked militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region on Saturday ( 5th March 2011), report said. The hideouts were situated in central Kurram’s Chanarak region and surrounding areas. At least two significant militant hideouts were destroyed in the army action. The Pakistani military had launched an operation in the tribal region and had managed to clear most regions in central Kurram of militants. However, militants continue to operate in areas surrounding central Kurram and in lower Kurram.

Courtesy : Dawn News || The Nation News || APF.

Sign of Islamic Peace during Ramazan in Pakistan. 31 killed and 281 injured in Lahore Triple Blast.

September 2, 2010

A man reacts over explosions as protesters burn vehicles in Lahore, Pakistan on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. – AP

Lahore mourns triple bombing as death toll rises

Thu, 02 Sep, 2010 | Ramazan 22, 1431

LAHORE: The death toll from suicide attacks that targeted a busy procession in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore rose to 31 on Thursday as six people succumbed to their injuries, officials said.

Three suicide bombers targeted a Shia mourning procession made up of thousands of people on Wednesday at the moment of the breaking of the fast in the holy month of Ramazan, wounding hundreds.

It was the first major attack in Pakistan since devastating floods engulfed a fifth of the volatile country over the past month in its worst disaster yet.

“Thirty-one people have died and a total of 281 were injured,” Fahim Jehanzeb, a spokesman for Lahore’s rescue agency told AFP, adding that he feared more would die from their injuries.

Sajjad Bhutta, a senior local administration official, also confirmed the new death toll.

A mass funeral was hastily arranged for later in the day with police and paramilitary providing tight security, while local authorities announced a day of mourning with all public and private institutions closed.

An AFP reporter said that all markets were closed and the roads were quiet on Thursday, after the attacks provoked an outpouring of fury in the city a night earlier, with mourners trying to torch a nearby police station.

Police fired tear gas to force back the surging crowd as furious mourners beat the bodies of the suicide bombers with sticks and shoes, while others beat their own heads and chests at the site of the attacks in frustration.

The emotional crowd chanted slogans against the police and the provincial government over their failure to protect the Shia procession, an AFP correspondent on the scene said.

Lahore, a city of eight million, has been increasingly subject to Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked attacks in a nationwide bombing campaign that has killed more than 3,600 people in three years.

The procession hit by the blasts was being held to mark the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hazarat Ali, who is revered by Shia Muslims and is the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed.

Shias account for around 20 per cent of Pakistan’s mostly Sunni Muslim population of 160 million.

Religious violence in Pakistan, mostly between Sunni and Shiite groups, has killed more than 4,000 people in the past decade, and it is not the first time Lahore has seen bombers target religious gatherings.  – AFP

Courtesy : AFP, AP and Dawn.

Al-Qaeda Top Mustafa Abu al-Yazid Dead ??

June 1, 2010


Al-Qaeda’s No.3 leader, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid. –File Photo

Al-Qaeda No. 3 believed killed in Pakistan

Tue, 01 Jun, 2010 | Jumadi-us-Sani 17, 1431

ISLAMABAD: Al-Qaeda’s third-in-command, whose role spanned from operations to fundraising, is believed to have been killed last month in a US missile strike in Pakistan.

Sheikh Sa’id al-Masri, also known as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, was believed to be killed along with members of his family in a strike by a pilotless CIA-operated drone attack.

Al-Qaeda confirmed his death in a statement on a website earlier on Monday.

“We have strong reason to believe…that al-Masri was killed recently in Pakistan’s tribal areas,” a US official in Washington said on condition of anonymity. “In terms of counterterrorism, this would be a big victory.”

A Pakistani security official said Yazid was most probably killed in a missile strike in North Waziristan on the night of May 21.

“We had a report at the time that one Arab was killed in that strike with some of his family members and I think it was probably him,” said the official, who declined to be named.

The attack targeted a house owned by a tribesman some 25 km west of Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants that borders Afghanistan.

Intelligence officials at the time said six militants were killed but residents said 12 people, including four women and two children, were killed. Six women and two children were wounded and treated at a hospital in Miramshah, residents said.

“He was known as Mustafa in the area. His wife was killed in the strike,” a resident of the village where attack took place said on condition of anonymity.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites, said earlier on Monday that al-Qaeda announced al-Masri’s death in an Internet posting.

In addition to al-Masri, the announcement stated that his wife, three of his daughters, his granddaughter and other men, women and children were killed, according to SITE.

The CIA has stepped up the pace of unmanned aerial drone attacks, targeting not only high-level al-Qaeda and Taliban targets but largely unknown foot soldiers as well.

A US official said al-Masri was widely seen as al-Qaeda’s No. 3 figure and its main conduit to leader Osama bin Laden.

As al-Qaeda’s chief operating officer, he had a hand in everything from finances to operational planning, the official said.

Capacity damaged, commitment remains

Analysts say his death will be a major loss for al-Qaeda but there would be no weakening of the group’s fighting resolve.

“Definitely it will have an impact because it was their important figure, it’s a big loss for them but there appears to be a generational change taking place in al-Qaeda where new ones are replacing old ones,” said Rahimullah Yusufzai, a newspaper editor and expert on militant affairs.

“Al-Qaeda’s capacity to operate and strike has been badly damaged because of their losses in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq but we have not yet seen any weakening of their commitment.”

A senior intelligence official in Islamabad said al-Qaeda’s No. 3 position was “the most dangerous” rank in the group.

Five other al-Qaeda leaders considered third-in-command have been killed or captured since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, but al-Masri may be the most difficult to replace.

“They’re not getting enough people of the right calibre that they require as they were getting earlier,” the intelligence official said, crediting pressure from the drone strikes, Pakistani military actions in the tribal areas and stepped-up intelligence actions in the rest of Pakistan.

Yazid served as al-Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan and as well as al-Qaeda’s “chief financial officer,” according to the US 9-11 commission.

As chief financier, he was responsible for disbursing al-Qaeda funds, making him one of the most trusted and important leaders of the group.

He was a founding member of Ayman al Zawahiri’s branch of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, one of the original groups that merged to form al-Qaeda. Following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, al-Masri was implicated in the killing along with Zawahiri and others, and they spent time in jail together.

He also served as a top propagandist for al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

In March, US officials said a drone strike in Pakistan killed a key al-Qaeda planner.

Courtesy : DawnNews.

Death toll in Karachi target killings reaches 28 :: Islamists’ instigation suspected.

May 20, 2010

A plain-clothes policeman fires a tear gas shell towards demonstrators during a protest against alleged target killings in Karachi.—AFP

KARACHI: The toll in the ongoing target killings rose to 28 on Thursday as eight more people became victims in different parts of Karachi. Reports said that five vehicles were also torched.

Agha Shahi, President ANP Sindh, said that some hidden hands are orchestrating the incidents of violence in a systematic way.

Addressing a press conference, he regretted that culprits involved in the incidents of target killings have never been arrested.—Agencies

Police officers check documents on the killings near a body at a mortuary in Karachi.—AP/File

Karachi Target killing claims 18 lives; hurts 21: police

Thu, 20 May, 2010 | Jumadi-us-Sani 05, 1431

KARACHI: Eighteen people became victims in renewed start of target killings in the city on Wednesday.

Police said the incidents of target killings took place in Sir Syed Town, Kuti Pahari, North Karachi, Abul Ispahani road and other areas.

Meanwhile, President Awami National Party Shahi Syed, heading a delegation, called on Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to discuss the issue of target killings.

The chief minister took strict notice of the killings started during the last 24 hours and called for effective steps to maintain law and order.

He assured the ANP delegation that killers involved in target killings would soon be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment.

He directed the law enforcing organisations and administration to bring the criminals to book.

The news.com.pk reports that the number of deaths in separate incidents of target killing in capital city Karachi has mounted to 18 while as many as another 21 sustained injuries, Geo reported Wednesday.

A total of four vehicles were torched in reaction of target killing incidents, witnesses said.

Markets and shops were closed early in the city on account of target killing reports.

According to police, armed men barged into a shop and opened firing, killing some persons and injuring three others. They were rushed to the Jinnah Hospital.

A severely bruised and bullet-riddled body of an identified man was found dumped near Katti Pahari area in North Nazimabad area.

In another incident, unknown gunmen shot and killed one person near Qaba Morr in Orangi Town. While two persons sustained injuries.

One person was killed in Landhi Town.

In different acts of violence, four persons were gunned down in Shah Faisal Colony, Gulistan-e-Johar and Sir Syed Town.

Karachi is now under the insurgent threat perceptions. Concerned opined a suspected instigation of  rebellion Islamist groups are leading towards a civil war like situation in Pakistan.

Police and Paramilitary forces tightened the security and vigilance in and out  around Karachi.

Courtesy: —DawnNews/APP/Agencies.

Lesson of intolerance in Pak educational curriculum : How the anti-Indian, inhumane venom are injected in the student minds.

February 22, 2010

Many public-school students in Thoha Bahadur, Pakistan, use old textbooks with xenophobic passages. Scholars blame government underfunding. (Jan. 15, 2010) ||RICK WESTHEAD/TORONTO STAR

Public schools not always tolerant in Pakistan

The Star finds incendiary passages common in outdated textbooks studied by Pakistan’s secular students

By Rick Westhead South Asia Bureau||Sunday 21 Feb 2010

THOHA BAHADUR, PAKISTAN–When towns and villages in a stretch of verdant Punjabi farmland had the chance to have cable TV installed in every home earlier this year, most jumped at the offer.

But elders in this village of 7,000 a few hours south of Islamabad said no. They weren’t interested in watching death and despair play out on 24-hour news channels.

So it’s interesting to hear how students in this village of wheat and rice farmers perceive their country and its neighbours. Most everything they’ve learned comes courtesy of textbooks and teachers.

On a recent afternoon, one of the 250 students who attend one of Thoha Bahadur’s public schools, shared his views about India, Pakistan’s neighbour and archrival.

What’s good about India?

“Its natural minerals,” said 12-year-old Ashir Hussain.

What’s bad? “The way they have stolen Kashmir from us. It’s their wrongdoing that they are there. They are our enemy.”

Asked why he believes this, he cites his teachers and textbooks.

Hussain’s attitude highlights a protracted debate in Pakistan over how religious extremists are made.

While some political leaders here and abroad have ratcheted up warnings about madrassas, charging the religious schools fuel Islamic militancy and stoke hatred for the west, some scholars say the real problem is Pakistan’s underfunded public schools and their often incendiary textbooks.

Consider Hussain’s sixth-grade Punjab provincial textbook called “Social Studies 6.”

In one chapter it explains the forefathers of Hinduism “were fond of gambling, drinking and dancing … the foundation of Hindu set up was based on injustice and cruelty.”

Another textbook used by students throughout Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous state, is called “Social Studies for Class V.” It begins: “Islam gives women a high position of respect whereas Hinduism gives a very low place to women.” The same book outlines the concept of jihad.

Texts for older students offer more of the same.

“Social Studies for Class VIII” describes how during the 19th century, “the Hindu racists were not only against Muslims but also against all other minorities …” The book charges Hindus and Sikhs practised ethnic cleansing during partition in 1947 when India and Pakistan were carved out of British India and became independent states.

While the Pakistani Ministry of Education in 2006 said it would remove some of the incendiary language, several educational experts say that hasn’t happened.

A researcher in Islamabad with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Ahmad Salim says he’s been battling the government over textbooks for years.

Sitting on a bright orange couch in his living room in a quiet residential neighbourhood of Pakistan’s capital, Salim said he’s collected evidence that shows public-school texts are littered with anti-India, xenophobic passages that promote contempt for non-Muslims.

“It’s supposed to be that schools are liberal and secular,” he said. “We used to say religion has nothing to do with the state and education.”

But that ideology began to change in 1971, he said, when Pakistan battled an uprising in East Pakistan. Pakistan lost – thanks in part to India’s decision to send in troops – and the territory became independent Bangladesh. From that point on, textbooks began dropping references to non-Muslim historical characters, promoting heroes of Islam and excoriating India.

Nearly 40 years on, the curriculum remains controversial and even as the government promises change, some experts say the pledge rings hollow.

Dr. Haroona Jatoi, a former official with the education ministry who was in charge of Pakistan’s public-school curriculum, said ministry officials aren’t interested in modernizing. “The textbook boards are a group of conservatives,” she said. “They couldn’t care less about gender issues. They want to promote Islam in a rigid way.”

For instance, Jatoi said the textbook board recently told the World Bank and other funding agencies that a section quoting Surah At-Tawba, a section of the Qur’an, had been removed from ninth- and tenth-grade textbooks.

“Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the last day,” the Qur’an reads. Of Jews and Christians, it adds, “Allah’s curse be on them; how they are deluded away from the truth!”

“They said it was removed, but really it was just moved to Grade 11 and 12 books,” Jatoi said.

Aurangzeb Rehman, the education ministry’s policy and planning advisor, declined to comment while a ministry spokesperson didn’t return repeated calls.

One of the hurdles educators face is simply keeping pace with Pakistan’s surging population.

When the country was carved out of British India in 1947, it had roughly the same population as Iran, said Abid Qayyum Sulehri, an Islamabad economist.

Today, Iran has 66 million citizens to Pakistan’s 171 million. “That’s a huge issue,” Sulehri said. “Iran has a successful family planning program. We don’t.”

More than 20 million students attend public schools in Pakistan, compared with the 1.5 million who go to madrassas. Yet instead of buttressing social programs such as education, Pakistan still pumps roughly one-third of its $29 billion (U.S.) budget into the military.

And as the country’s security situation deteriorates, even more money is being re-allocated to the military, Sulehri said, noting Pakistan now spends less than 2 per cent of its GDP on education.

Textbooks are supposed to be issued by provincial boards each year, but several schools visited by the Star were using undated battered texts full of hand-written notes and torn pages.

In Thoha Bahadur, a teacher said he couldn’t recall the last time textbooks were replaced.

“We have 250 students and we get 50,000 rupees ($621) a year from the government,” he said. “It all goes to maintenance.”

Courtesy : Toronto Star.