Archive for the ‘The Last Phase of Pakistan’ Category

Death toll reaches 100 mark in Peshawar Car Bomb Blast.

October 28, 2009

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Car bomb blast kills 86 in Peshawar

Wednesday, 28 Oct, 2009

PESHAWAR: A car bomb tore through a packed market in Peshawar on Wednesday, killing 86 people and trapping casualties under pulverised shops, in one of Pakistan’s deadliest attacks.1

The explosion detonated in a crowded street in the Meena Bazaar of Peshawar, one of the most congested parts of the volatile northwest city, sparking a huge blaze and ending in carnage routine shopping trips for scores of people.

The attack underscored the scale of the militant threat in Pakistan just hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Islamabad for three days of talks with political and military leaders.

‘There was a huge blast. There was smoke and dust everywhere. I saw people dying and screaming on the road,’ witness Mohammad Siddique told AFP.

2Angry flames leapt out of burning wreckage and smoke billowed in the air as a building collapsed into dust and rubble. Police evacuated panicked residents from the smouldering wreckage and firemen hosed down the flames.

‘It was a car bomb. Some people are still trapped in a building. We are trying to rescue them,’ bomb disposal official Shafqat Malik told reporters.

‘We have received 86 dead bodies, 213 people were injured, we are facing a shortage of blood,’ Doctor Hamid Afridi, head of the Peshawar’s main Lady Reading Hospital told AFP as staff declared an emergency.

A hospital official outside the casualty wing made a public announcement, appealing on people to donate blood as doctors spoke of harrowing scenes.3

‘There are body parts. There are people. There are burnt people. There are dead bodies. There are wounded, I’m not in a position to count. But my estimate is that the death toll may rise to 70,’ said Doctor Muslim Khan.

Rescue workers and government officials had warned that casualties were trapped under collapsed shops at the bomb site, where a large blaze, a toppled building and the narrow streets hampered the relief effort.

‘I am counting the dead bodies, 86 are confirmed dead, the injured are more than 200, there are children and women among the dead,’ Mohammad Gul, a police official at the hospital, told AFP.

The area was one of the most congested parts of Peshawar and full of women’s clothing shops and general market stalls popular in the city of 2.5 million.

‘A building structure has collapsed… People are trapped in the fire and buildings. This is the most congested area of the city,’ Sahibzada Mohammad Anees, a senior local administrative official, told a private TV channel.

6Peshawar, a teeming metropolis, is a gateway to Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, where the military is pressing a major offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants blamed for some of the worst of the recent carnage.

Tensions have soared across Pakistan following a spike in violence blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in which more than 240 people have died this month.

Read More … 

95 killed, over 200 injured in blast in Pak’s Peshawar city

Courtsey:~ Dawn, IndianExpress, AP, AFP.

Pak has evidence about India’s involvement in Balochistan: Rehman Malik, What about the Solid & Pak evidence of Indian involvement with Talibans ??

October 21, 2009

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IS REHMAN MALIK AN ANTI-BALOCH INTERIOR MINISTER OF PAKISTAN ? 

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Rehman Malik speaks idiotic to bye-pass his failure to check Pak terrorism. Pakistan Authorities have to abandon this conventional Anti India Propaganda to solve our internal problems on our own. Killing of many MQM Leaders by Pakistani Force or the smashing a people’s movement in Balochistan fuels the Baloch movement without any Indian connection. A disable Rehman Malik now talks nonsense now.11baluch_600

Pakistan has “solid evidence” about India’s involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan province and is ready to share them with New Delhi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.

Islamabad has “solid evidence of India’s interference in Balochistan” and this material can be shared with Indian ministers or representatives at any forum of their choice, Malik told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the interior ministry.

“I invite their interior minister or anyone else (to come to Pakistan) and I will put on record all the material about India’s interference in Balochistan. I’ll prove it to the world,” he said.

Malik made the remarks in response to a question about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that a Mumbai-like attack was imminent in India.

pakistan-2009-4-12-12-20-31He said India should stop “issuing threats” every few weeks as Pakistan is capable of responding to any contingency.
 
He said Indian prime minister should share with Pakistan the information on the basis of which he had said a Mumbai-like attack is imminent.

“The prime minister of India made a statement six months ago that something similar to the Mumbai attacks will happen in India. Yesterday, he has made a statement that (an attack) is imminent. Prime Minister, I am sure you have the information or some intelligence ,” he said.pakistan-2009-4-12-12-20-27

Such a propaganda cannot solve the internal problems of  economy, civil security or the all round backwardness of Pakistan than India. The fore-runners of Pakistan made it clear that anti-Indian propaganda is the oxygen of Pak Politics. And out of this situation Pakistan  has made so many devils of the civil societies and the global humanities, now active as Taliban Frankenstein to destroy the Pakistan itself. Now, the Pakistan Interior Minister  Rehman Malik is trying to play same anti Indian card to save his face from all his iresponsibilities, fallacies and failures to restore the Pakistan’s peaceful civil life line from the vicious nexus of  Anti-Indian Terrorism and the Supportive Mechanism  in the Pakistani Adminstration and the Army. Undoubtedly, the people of  Balochistan has revolted for their reasons and sometimes very objectionable through a  Anti Pakistani Feeling which must be opposed vehemently.

But the solution never exist  in the process of absurd and  high raised propaganda against India. We may see a Rehman Malik as a research scholar with his new thesis with other solid evidence of Indian connection with the Talibans, too.

Are the above pictures of evidences carrying any potency relating to  Pak IM’s allegations against India ? If Rehman Malik tries to prove the Pro-People Baloch Movement is nothing but an Indian instigation, the Baloch people will resolute accordingly.

The Inferno… Call it Pakistan.

October 12, 2009

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Terror attack in Shangla : 41 dead, 60 injured NW Pakistan by human bomb.

By Khalid Khan
Monday, 12 Oct, 2009/ Dwan Pakistan.

ALPURI: At least 41 people, four soldiers and three policemen among them, were killed and 60 others injured when a teenage suicide bomber struck a military vehicle at 11am in a crowded market in Alpuri on Monday.

It is the latest in a string of attacks amid warnings of an imminent offensive against insurgents in South Waziristan. 

Security officials said that soldiers were patrolling in two pickup trucks in the main bazaar when the bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body, damaging the two vehicles. 

They said that 34 civilians, four army soldiers and three policemen were killed in the explosion, while 60 others, including 10 army personnel, were injured. Three of the bodies were badly charred and beyond recognition.

NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told media in Peshawar that 41 people had been killed in the attack.blastpak1_ap608

‘Such attacks cannot deter us from the offensive against the terrorists,’ Hussain said. ’We will continue our fight till the death of the last terrorist.’

Security officials said that a teenager hit the army vehicle in the busy market causing a loud explosion.
 
The scene of the blast was littered with bodies and severed limbs and moans and shrieks of the injured pierced the air.

The blast knocked out communication links of Alpuri with other parts of the province. Hospital sources said the death toll could go up because some of the injured were in critical condition.
 
Authorities imposed a curfew on Alpuri and other parts of Shangla district soon after the explosion.
 
Several shops were also damaged in the town. Local people and police started rescue operations and took the injured to the district headquarters hospital.

The sources said that the bomber targeted the military convoy as it passed a check post in the main square of Alpuri town around 11am.

Shangla is a neighbouring district of Swat, where security forces are conducting a military operation against insurgents.

Agencies add: A spokesman for the Swat Media Centre said that six soldiers lost their lives when the young suicide bomber struck a paramilitary convoy passing through a security checkpost in a crowded bazaar in Alpuri town.

‘When he blew himself up, some of the trucks carrying ammunition were also hit and the ammunition exploded, causing more human loss,’ the spokesman said.

The army says it is now ready for a full-scale offensive in South Waziristan.  Muslim extremist groups appear far from quashed, with an audacious raid on army headquarters over the weekend which left many people dead.

At least 116 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in a series of devastating blasts and attacks in Pakistan in the last four days.

The TTP movement, holed up in the lawless northwestern tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the day-long army headquarters hostage drama near Islamabad.

Pak troops kill 30 Taliban men ||Taliban suspended talks with Pakistani government

April 28, 2009

Pak troops kill 30 Taliban men ||Taliban suspended talks with Pakistani government

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27 Apr 2009, 1222 hrs IST, PTI || The Times of India || 27-04-2009

ISLAMABAD: Taliban on Monday suspended talks with the Pakistani government on the Swat deal to protest against the military operations in Dir, adjoining Swat Valley, in which so far 30 militants and an army officer have been killed.

As the Pakistani forces intensified the operations for second day today, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi spokesman Izzat Khan told reporters that no peace talks would be held with the government unless the security forces halted the operations.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan also said the militants will not lay down their arms at any cost. The Swat peace deal stipulated that the militants would lay down their arms once the demand for enforcing Islamic Sharia law in the once Pakistan’s famous tourist resort was implemented.

The security forces continued shelling militant hideouts at several places in Dir district.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said security forces had killed at least 30 militants during the operations, which was launched in retaliation to efforts by the Taliban to extend their influence outside Swat.

The Taliban confirmed that commander Maulvi Shahid was among the militants killed on Sunday. Gunship helicopters targeted militant hideouts, killing and injuring a number of them.

Two personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were also killed and a major was among five personnel injured in an ambush in Maidan, the hometown of TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad.

Army helicopters airlifted Frontier Corps troops to strategic hilltops in Dir while armoured personnel carriers were seen moving towards the area.

An indefinite curfew was imposed in Lal Qila, Islampura, Kal Kot and several other areas in Dir considered to be strongholds of the Taliban. Security forces yesterday took control of Lal Qila after clearing the key area of militants.

Reports from Swat this morning said the Taliban had occupied a telephone exchange in Bahrain town. Security forces arrested four militants with heavy weapons at Khwazakhela in Swat. Militants in Dir have also taken up positions on hilltops to resist the security forces.

The Inter-Services Public Relations said the operation in Dir was launched on the request of the North West Frontier Province government to rid the area of militants who were threatening peace in the area.

The situation in Maidan, the hometown of Sufi Muhammad, worsened after district police chief Khurshid Khan and local mayor Alamzeb Khan were killed and scores of people were kidnapped in the past few weeks.

Talibans plan to murder Gilani

April 24, 2009

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Gilani faces death threats from Pak terror groups

Posted: Thursday , Apr 23, 2009 at 1100 hrs IST || Agencies|| Indian Express

Islamabad:
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani faced a serious threat from three terror groups that could target him in suicide bombings in the federal capital, in Lahore or in his hometown of Multan, intelligence agencies have warned.

A report sent by the intelligence agencies to the government, including the Interior Ministry, was quoted by The News daily as saying that the premier could be targeted in a suicide bombing or a guerrilla attack similar to the one on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 in Lahore.

“Tribal area-based terrorists are planning to target Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani through a combination of explosion and a suicide attack, or guerrilla attack similar to the (ones on the) Sri Lankan cricket team and the Manawan police training centre,” the report said.
“Three teams of terrorists are reported to be working simultaneously at Islamabad, Lahore and Multan,” it added.

Meanwhile, the federal government has called in troops of the Northern Area Scouts, a paramilitary force under the army’s command, to aid the civil administration in countering terrorist threats to Islamabad.
The troops will protect important personalities and sensitive installations of the capital, sources said. “At least, 20 companies of the NAS are required to tackle any possible untoward situation,” a source was quoted as saying. The NAS will be deployed at sensitive installations and included in the motorcade of important personalities.

SSP (Security Division) Zubair Hashmi said: “A proposal to summon the NAS has been sent to the concerned authorities Police in Islamabad are hunting for an explosive-laden ambulance and a car bearing ‘Press’ stickers following reports from an intelligence agency that they could be used in terrorist attacks, sources said.

However, the search could also be part of a mock exercise, they added.

alertpak says : The history of Pakistan is made from conspiracy, murder and betrayal. The failure of Allaha himself registered the assassinations of Bhuttos and other Pak Primes. Now we can pray his success to save Gilani and Pakistan itself. Pakistan Zindabad.

Pakistan in Danger or Pakistan is Danger

April 23, 2009

Pakistan in danger : Clinton

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updated 12:10 a.m. EDT, Thu April 23, 2009|| CNN

From Elise Labott
CNN

I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state,” Clinton said in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.

“I don’t hear that kind of outrage and concern coming from enough people that would reverberate back within the highest echelons of the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan,” she added.

In her first congressional hearing since being confirmed, Clinton told the panel the chief goal of the Obama administration’s strategy is to defeat al Qaeda and prevent it from returning to Afghanistan.

Taliban militants, who implemented Islamic law in Pakistan’s violence-plagued Swat Valley last week, have now taken control of a neighboring district 60 miles (less than 100 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad. Watch as Taliban is emboldened »

But Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, told CNN that the situation is not as dire as Clinton seemed to describe.

“Yes, we have a challenge,” Haqqani said. “But, no, we do not have a situation in which the government or the country of Pakistan is about to fall to the Taliban.”

Taliban fighters moved into the Swat Valley as part of a peace deal with the government that has come under fire from U.S. observers. But Haqqani compared it to the deals U.S. commanders in Iraq made to peel insurgents away from Islamic jihadists blamed for the worst attacks on civilians there.

“We are open to criticism of that strategy, but to think that that strategy somehow represents an abdication of our responsibility towards our people and towards the security of our country and the region is incorrect,” he said.

Several members of Congress voiced concern about Islamic extremists gaining ground in Pakistan, including Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a California Democrat. He warned the United States cannot allow extremists to control Pakistan or operate with impunity along the border with Afghanistan.

Clinton said the international community is working closely to combat extremism in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, but Pakistanis themselves need to take responsibility. Watch Clinton express her concerns on Pakistan.

“Not only do the Pakistani government officials, but the Pakistani people and the Pakistani diaspora — many of whom are extremely successful Americans here, in academia, businesses, the professions and so much else — need to speak out forcefully against a policy that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents, to the Taliban, to al Qaeda, to the allies that are in this terrorist syndicate,” she said.

Last week, the Taliban imposed sharia law in the Swat Valley as part of a peace deal with the government, which appears unable or unwilling to stop the Taliban’s steady advance.

On other topics, Clinton said that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is an “imperative” for the Obama administration, which is taking a more active role in diplomatic efforts toward Iran.

“We are deploying new approaches to the threat posed by Iran, and we’re doing so with our eyes wide open and with no illusions,” she said. “After years during which the United States basically sat on the sidelines, we are now a full partner” in diplomatic talks on Iran.

She was vague in response to questions about how long it would take to get results on Iran, but said the process in place — under which the United States is interacting more directly with allies and reaching out to Iran — has potential.

“It is going to be a more successful engagement if our partners around the world understand they must work with us,” including the need to impose tougher sanctions on Iran if diplomacy fails, she said.

Clinton took part in several tense exchanges with committee members about President Obama’s decision to release classified memos detailing the Bush administration’s role in torture of detainees held in the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, asked the administration to release other classified documents that former Vice President Dick Cheney has said will explain the Bush administration’s position on interrogation.

Clinton responded that she didn’t consider Cheney “a particularly reliable source of information.”

Talibans march ahead to Islamabad

April 23, 2009

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Pakistan, Taliban Back on Collision Course…..
Taliban Terrors control over Buner…. Now nearer to Islamabad.

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By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent || Thu. Apr. 23, 2009 ||IslamOnLine.net

ISLAMABAD – Reports that Taliban militants are extending their wings to nearby districts and the deployment of government reinforcements brought the two sides back on a collision course and is clouding the future of the peace deal in restive Swat.
“Taliban have entered Buner and Shangla districts,” Umair Ahmed, a local journalist, told IslamOnline.net by phone on Thursday, April 23.

“They are fully armed and have captured a police check-post in Shangla.”

According to Umair, some 30 armed Taliban in three vehicles trickled into Shangla, a small town located some 40 kilometers from Swat, earlier Thursday.

“They are not harassing the people. It seems their target is to dismantle the security forces and establish their control.”

But a spokesman for the Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shari’ah Mohammadi (TNSM), the main Taliban group, played down the incident.

“Taliban have always been in the entire Malakund division,” Ameer Izzat Khan, a central spokesman of TNSM, told IOL by telephone from Swat.

Buner and Shangla were part of Malakand Division, a conglomerate of eight districts including Swat, until the reforms of 2000 abolished the third tier of government.

“I don’t know who has entered Shangla, but those who are in Boner are local Taliban. They have always been there.”

“They consider every bearded man a Taliban. If all the bearded men are Taliban, then every second person in the tribal and NWFP region is Taliban.”

The government deployed hundreds of paramilitary troops to northwestern districts to bring the deteriorating security situation under control.

Swat Deal

“Pakistan is a nuclear state. How can a militia capture its capital? That would be the biggest ever blunder even if Taliban think of that,” MP Wahab told IOL.
Izzat Khan, the Taliban spokesman, emphatically rejected the idea of creating a state within the state.
“After the implementation of Nizam-e-Adal regulation in Malakund division, there will be only one government,” he said referring to the Shariah reinforcement deal.

“And that would be the government of Pakistan. We totally reject the idea of a state within state,” contended the Taliban spokesman.

“We are not interested to set up our government in Malakand division, then why would we dream of Islamabad?”

Izzat Khan claimed this was a calculated conspiracy to foil the Swat peace deal.

“Those who have been spreading such misleading news want the peace deal to be scrapped,” he charged.

“These are aftershocks. We have to face them, because those who are against this agreement will try their level best to derail the whole process.”

The government signed a peace deal with TNSM on February 16 to bring an end to 18-month fierce fighting with the security forces.

The deal, approved by the parliament and endorsed by the president despite extreme US pressures, is aimed at making reforms in the judicial system in Malakund division.

Under the newly introduced judicial system, there will be Qazi courts in Swat, Dir, Chitral, Kohistan and other districts of NWFP, which borders war-stricken Afghanistan.

The government issued a stern warning to Taliban that if they do not abide by the peace deal and lay down their arms, it will have no option but to scrap the deal.

“The peace deal can survive only if there is peace,” Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani told reporters.

“Now it is their responsibility to maintain peace there, because their demand has been entertained.”

But Izzat Khan says that as a goodwill gesture the TNSM will not put a deadline for the setting up of Dar-ul-Qadha in Malakand division.

“This shows how serious and sincere we are compared to the dilly-delaying tactics used by the government.”

Far-fetched

But some analysts believe Taliban is strengthening its positions in the region taking advantage of peace deal.

“I had always been against such kind of deals because it only benefits the militants rather than the government,” Lt General Hamid Nawaz Khan, a former interior minister, told IOL.

“This deal has provided a golden opportunity to the militants who had suffered huge setbacks in the wake of recent military operations. They are regrouping again and are strengthening their positions in the region.”

Brigadier rtd Mahmood Shah, a veteran security analyst and a former secretary of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), agrees.

“Taliban will not restrain its. They will move ahead now.”

But Shah shrugs off reports that Taliban may capture the capital Islamabad.

“There are no such chances. Pakistan is a state and it cannot fall prey to a few thousands armed people,” he told IOL.

“They belong to the mountains and they can operate only there.

“Yes, they can terrorize the government and the people by carrying out terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, but they are not in a position to capture Islamabad.”

MP Fauzia Wahab, the information secretary of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), agrees.

“This can happen only in dream,” she told IOL, commenting about western media reports of a Taliban threat to the capital Islamabad.

“Pakistan is a nuclear state. How can a militia capture its capital? That would be the biggest ever blunder even if Taliban think of that.”

alertpak says : When the unholy spirit of Islam got the scope to get a free-hand out of the bottle of Swat and we signed a treaty with them for a Shariyati Law there, the entire situation of Pakistan will worsen day by day to enter a barbaric regime into the length and breadth of Pakistan. The Pakistani administration can think the use of nuclear weapon to control over the Talibani situation, but the Talibans also possess the dirty bombs to impose a dar-ul-taliban over the world. Pakistan is a very trifling thing to them. The Talibans want the entire world. Allah-ho-Akbar!


Taliban claims victory near Islamabad

April 22, 2009 — Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
By Ivan Watson
CNN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Taliban militants who implemented Islamic law in Pakistan’s violence-plagued Swat Valley last week have now taken control of a neighboring district.

Control of the Buner district brings the Taliban closer to the capital, Islamabad, than they have been since they started their insurgency. Islamabad is 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the district.

“Our strength is in the hundreds,” said Moulana Mohammad Khalil, as heavily armed men openly patrolled the roads in pickup trucks, singing Islamic anthems.

The militants had taken control of the area to ensure that Islamic law, or sharia, is properly imposed, Khalil said.

The government called the advance into Buner a breach of a recently-signed peace agreement. Watch as Taliban is emboldened »

“Now Taliban are violating the peace agreement, and if they continue the government will take strict action and not allow the Taliban to create a parallel government in that area,” said Mian Iftikhar, a spokesman for the regional administration in the North West Frontier Province, where Buner is located.

Last week, the Taliban imposed sharia law in Swat Valley as part of a peace deal with the government. Under the Taliban’s strict interpretation, the law prevents women from being seen in public without their husbands or fathers.

Earlier this month, the militant movement made forays into Buner and clashed with locals before withdrawing.

Now the Taliban appear to have returned in force — a move that indicates the recent government concessions may have emboldened the militants to expand their reach.

The Pakistani government appears unable or unwilling to stop the Taliban’s steady advance deeper into the territory of this nuclear-armed country.

In the days after the government’s April 13 decision to implement sharia law in Swat, pro-Taliban clerics have staged rallies in Swat and Islamabad. They have demanded the imposition of Islamic law across Pakistan and beyond.

Speaking before an audience of tens of thousands in the Swat Valley town of Mingora on Sunday, cleric Sufi Muhammed declared democracy and Pakistan’s judicial system “un-Islamic.”

A Taliban spokesman in Swat went a step further Tuesday, calling anyone opposed to his strict interpretation of Islam a non-Muslim. IReport:Should the U.S. interfere in Pakistan?

“Let the judges and the lawyers go to Islamic university,” Muslim Khan said. After “they learn Islamic rules, Islamic regulation, they can continue to work.”

The rise of the Taliban in Swat has alarmed and frightened some members of local civil society there.

“This is a time bomb for the country,” said Aftab Alam, the head of the lawyers’ association in Swat district.

Meanwhile, in another Taliban-run region called Orakzai, details emerged of militants forcing a small community of Sikhs to pay a jaziya, or “minority tax,” of 10.5 million rupees (roughly $130,000) earlier this month.

Khan said if his vision of an Islamic society is fulfilled in Pakistan, terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden will be welcome to travel and live openly here. “Sure, he’s a Muslim, he can go anywhere,” Khan said.

Khan added that he would like to see sharia law implemented beyond Pakistan, even in America, a country he knows intimately. For four years, the Taliban spokesman lived in the United States, working as a painter near Boston, Massachusetts.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that Pakistan is in danger of falling into terrorist hands because of failed government policies.

“I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear armed state,” Clinton said in Washington.

She added the international community is working closely to combat extremism in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, but Pakistanis themselves need to take responsibility.

The Talibani Age of Darkness in Pakistan under Islamist Gun Fire

April 20, 2009

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Taliban vow to enforce Shariah throughout Pakistan

Posted: Monday , Apr 20, 2009 at 1348 hrs IST
Islamabad:
A resurgent Taliban in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley on Monday vowed to enforce Islamic laws across the country while ruling out the possibility of laying down arms following the implementation of Shariah in the region.
The Shariah or Islamic law regime approved recently by President Asif Ali Zardari will not be confined to Malakand division, which includes Swat, and the Taliban wants the system to be enforced in other parts of Pakistan, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said on Monday.
“(Shariah) is not only for Malakand division, it is for all humanity, for all Muslims. So we will go more for implementation of Quran, Shariah-e-Muhammadi, not only in Malakand division (but) other parts of Pakistan also,” Khan told ‘Dawn News’ channel in an interview.
He was responding to a question on whether the Taliban believed they had achieved their goal following the federal government’s approval for enforcing Shariah in Swat.
Islamic laws were enforced in Swat, located just 160 km from Islamabad, after religious hardliner Sufi Muhammad initiated peace talks with Taliban on behalf of government.
Asked about Sufi Muhammad’s assurance that the Taliban in Swat would surrender their weapons once Shariah is enforced in the region, Khan replied: “We don’t know about that because we are Pashtuns and any Pashtun has a gun”.
He indicated that Taliban would lay down arms only if the Islamic courts in Swat asked them to do so. “If the Shariah regulation will call (on) us that Taliban you keep your arms, we will keep (them). If the order from Qazi courts is no, we will say no,” Khan, who spoke in broken English, said.

The Taliban spokesman questioned why no one was asking for the disarming of “US forces” who were allegedly in Pakistan and killing Muslims.
“We are Muslims. If somebody is coming to kill my brother, we will stay… in Afghanistan and the Pashtun areas.
You are asking me to lay down my arms and nobody (is) asking the Americans. Why?” he asked.
Khan said the implementation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, which envisages the enforcement of Shariah in Swat and Malakand, is the responsibility of Sufi Muhammad, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi.
The Taliban will keep an eye on the progress made in this regard, he indicated.
The militant spokesman also dismissed criticism of the Shariah regime in Swat by Western powers, including the US. “We don’t care about the reaction of the government in Pakistan, other foreigners and the international community. We don’t care (about) that,” he asserted.
Khan also said the Pakistani Taliban wanted all Muslims to work for the creation of a “caliphate” comprising all Islamic nations.
Asked if he had a message for Muslims, he replied, “For Muslims it is necessary to come and make a caliphate, one army, one Shariah-e-Muhammadi, one currency and make unity.
“Like the 52 states of America, we should be 56 states of Muslims and we have to make one unity,” Khan added.
Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah, the son-in-law of Sufi Muhammad, now control most parts of Swat, which till two years ago was a popular tourist destination.
The militants openly patrol roads in the area and have barred women from venturing out of their homes unless they are accompanied by male relatives.
The militants have directed men to wear skull caps and stop shaving their beards. They have also torched or blown up nearly 200 girls’ schools.
Fazlullah regularly issues edicts on his illegal radio station and Sufi Muhammad yesterday told a gathering of thousands in Swat that democracy is an “un-Islamic” system.
Source : Indian Express||20.04.2009

Taliban wrath on couple
– Militants gun down Pak duo on ‘adultery’ charges

Islamabad, April 18 (PTI): A man and a woman, who were accused of committing adultery, were gunned down by the Taliban in northwest Pakistan a few days ago.
The chilling video footage of the execution was sent to the Dawn newspaper yesterday. It shows a Taliban firing squad killing the man and woman, both apparently in their forties, after accusing them of adultery.
They were shot dead in the presence of their relatives. The newspaper quoted its sources as saying that the incident took place in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province. The execution comes just two weeks after a video of a teenage girl being flogged by militants in the Swat Valley sent shockwaves across Pakistan.
In the new video, the woman is heard appealing to the Taliban militants for mercy. “Have mercy on me, please have mercy. The charges against me are false and no man has ever touched me,” she is heard saying.
The militants first pumped several bullets into the woman’s chest and then fired a burst from their assault rifles at her and the man. Seeing that the woman was still alive after being shot, some militants are heard shouting: “She is alive, kill her.”
Pakistani leaders and rights activists had condemned the public flogging of teenager Chand Bibi in the Swat Valley. Her ordeal was filmed in a two-minute mobile phone video.
It showed the burqa-clad 17-year-old girl being held face down on the ground by three men while a fourth whipped her repeatedly. A large crowd of men watched the flogging, which reportedly occurred in the Matta area of Swat a few weeks ago.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered an inquiry into the matter and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the issue and sought regular reports from the government on the probe.
However, interior secretary Kamal Shah told a news conference at Saidu Sharief in Swat yesterday that an investigation team had concluded that the earlier video was fake.
The team, headed by a senior police official, had submitted a report on its probe that will be handed over to the apex court, he said. The team said no incident of flogging had occurred, Shah said.
Source : The Telegraph, Calcutta||19/04/09

Provincialism Perturbs Pakistan :: Growing Tension & Terrorism :: Pakistan before Partition

March 13, 2009

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Zardari fighting democracy, not terrorism: Sharif

13 Mar 2009, 1840 hrs IST, PTI // Times of India .

ISLAMABAD: Accusing Asif Ali Zardari of fighting democracy rather than terrorism plaguing Pakistan, former Premier Nawaz Sharif has claimed that the President had offered him a deal on the basis of “give and take” before the removal of his PML-N party-led government in Punjab.
Sharif, whose PML-N is backing the long march launched by the lawyers’ movement to pressurise Zardari’s ruling PPP to reinstate judges sacked during the 2007 emergency rule, however, said he is not trying to bring down the government.

“I am not trying to dislodge the government at all,” he told Dawn News channel in an interview, adding the PML-N wants to “restore the rule of law and to reinstate the judges who stood against” former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Charging Zardari with fighting democracy and not terrorism, the two-time former premier said that the power of the people will bring about a change in Pakistan. This would happen within a few days or a few years, he said.

A decision has to be made by the nation, which is at the crossroads, and this decision would be vital for the future of country, he said.

Sharif claimed that PML-N government in Punjab could have been saved if he and his brother Shahbaz, ex-Chief Minister of the province, “had come to terms with Mr Zardari and if we had accepted his so-called deal on the basis of give and take.”

Such a move would have also prevented the Supreme Court’s judgement barring him and his brother from contesting polls and holding public offices, he claimed.

“Mr Zardari said very clearly to Mr Shahbaz Sharif in the presence of (former) minister Raza Rabbani that let’s make a deal,” Sharif said, adding his conscience would not allow him to sacrifice principles for personal interests.

Both Sharif and Shahbaz have accused Zardari of influencing a Supreme Court order last month. Following the court’s verdict, Zardari imposed Governor’s Rule in Punjab.

The PML-N then decided to back the lawyers’ long march that is scheduled to culminate with a sit-in near Parliament here on March 16.

Sharif also said that he was not aware of any package being worked on by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for reconciliation between the PML-N and ruling PPP

Asked if he had unnecessarily raised the political temperature by calling for a revolution, Sharif replied: “I don’t think so. I think I have been talking the right things. I have no personal motive. I am not going to become the Prime Minister if the long march succeeds.”

The PML-N had wanted to usher in changes “without staging a long march” but the need for the protest “arose when Mr Zardari refused to honour his commitments (and) to fulfil his obligations,” Sharif said.

The PML-N had joined hands with the PPP to form the government after the general election in February last year. Within months, the PML-N pulled out of the coalition after accusing Zardari of reneging on promises to reinstate judges sacked by Musharraf.

Now a stage has come that nothing is happening and everything was still going peacefully till about two weeks ago when Mr Zardari got a judgement from these courts that the lawyers’ community and civil society is struggling against,” Sharif said, referring to the apex court’s verdict against him and his brother.

Noting that any violence will be “counter-productive”, Sharif said “they cannot prevent the long march. And even if they temporarily do, the long march will emerge again. I don’t think these people will (stop) unless and until the judges and the independence of the judiciary is reinstated.”

He criticised the government for launching a crackdown to thwart the long march. Lawyers and opposition political parties have said that over 1,000 people have been detained across the country since Tuesday.

Sharif also said a multi-pronged approach is needed to tackle extremism in Pakistan. Religious extremism needs to be addressed in a sensible manner and a “meaningful dialogue” should be held to defuse the sentiment supporting extremism, he said.

Pakistan’s Lockdown

EDITORIAL COMMENT // Times of India // 13 Mar 2009, 0008 hrs IST

The contrast couldn’t be more striking. On the one hand, the Pakistani Government readily acceded to a truce with the Taliban in Swat, allowing the state’s authority to wither in the face of organised banditry from the Taliban. Islamabad also responded to a compelling body of evidence linking 26/11 to terrorists on Pakistani soil with a mix of legalese and dilatoriness. But on the other hand, the government has cracked down swiftly on lawyers and opposition activists intent on taking out a ‘long march’ to Islamabad. It has placed hundreds of them under arrest and banned any gathering of more than four people in Punjab and Sind.

To be sure, Nawaz Sharif and other opposition leaders have been addressing rallies calling for a ‘revolution’ to dethrone President Asif Zardari. But Zardari’s tactics suggest uncomfortable parallels with Pervez Musharraf, who accumulated extraordinary powers around the presidency when he held the post. Presidential powers such as the ability to sack parliament are unconscionable in a parliamentary system and lead to systemic weakness and instability in Pakistan’s political institutions. Zardari promised to rescind those powers but hasn’t delivered. His government’s order banning rallies will also invite comparison with Musharraf’s imposition of emergency in 2007.

New Delhi has no leverage, whatsoever, in Pakistan. But the world, at large, must stand behind a return to constitutional and democratic processes in Pakistan. Although there are strong rumours of an army coup General Kayani, the current army chief, has stayed out of politics so far and may not be too keen to return as another Musharraf avatar so soon after Musharraf flamed out. In case he is keen, he must be severely discouraged from that line of thinking.

The world must also stop trying to pick winners in Pakistan. Sharif has poor relations with the army as well as with western powers. The US, in particular, sees Sharif as suspiciously close to the Islamist parties. But the Swat surrender is evidence Zardari hasn’t been strong either in terms of taking on fundamentalists. Anyone who comes to and retains power through a democratic process, on the other hand, would have to be accountable for public welfare, which provides the international community with enough pressure points to work with that person. Sharif, at this point, seems more popular than any other leader in Pakistan. But policy cannot be person-specific. It shouldn’t give the impression of playing favourites but engage whoever comes out on top through a constitutional process.

Amid crackdown, USA backs Pak freedom of speech

Sharif sees no coup

Press Trust of India // The Statesman.

ISLAMABAD, March 12: Former Premier Mr Nawaz Sharif, who was overthrown in a military coup in 1999, has said the chances of an army takeover of the country are “absolutely nil”. Pakistan police today baton-charged and arrested political activists and lawyers, who defied a ban on demonstrations to set-out on a long march to the capital Islamabad to force the government to reinstate the sacked judges. Among those arrested were Mr Ghafoor Ahmed, Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami and Mr Athar Minallah, leader of the local bar Association. At the worsening political situation in Pakistan, the USA said that political parties should refrain from violence but added that Islamabad must respect freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
Amid Pakistan’s crackdown on Opposition activists and ban on rallies, Mr Sharif, said his PML-N party will go ahead with its long march for restoration of the justices despite a crackdown launched by authorities. At an interview with CNN-IBN, Mr Sharif, who has locked horns with President Asif Ali Zardari over the issue of reinstatement of sacked judges, said that talks with President Zardari are possible only after he reinstates the judges as promised earlier. “There is a massive credibility gap and trust deficit between Zardari and us. By offering talks, the government is only buying time. The government has not done anything to undo what the ‘kangaroo’ courts have done,” he said.
Tensions between the former allies escalated after the Supreme Court recently barred Mr Sharif and his brother Mr Shahbaz from contesting polls and holding public offices, resulting in Mr Shahbaz’s removal as chief minister of Punjab province, where Governor’s rule was also imposed.
“The President got the Supreme Court to make me and Shahbaz Sharif ineligible to contest elections and further went ahead to impose Governor’s rule in Punjab when there was no breakdown of law and order in the state,” the two-time former premier told the channel. Meanwhile, Pakistan government today said former premier Mr Nawaz Sharif along with his brother Mr Shahbaz would be provided with VVIP-level security in view of “serious threats” to their lives, shortly after the Opposition PML-N chief accused the “high-ranking” officials of plotting to kill him. Vowing to join the marchers in Lahore, Mr Sharif accused the government of plotting to kill him, but said he won’t be deterred to bring back Pakistan on the road to democracy.
Asked if the deepening political crisis will open the door for the USA to intervene, he said “there is absolutely no need for international intervention and we are capable of restoring order in our house.”

Pak on edge, US tries for truce

The Telegraph, Kolkata : March 13, 2009

Islamabad, March 12 (Agencies): Opposition activists and lawyers today set off on a cross-country protest march in Pakistan amid a crackdown that stirred memories of the confrontation that eventually led to the ouster of former President Pervez Musharraf.
The latest showdown is threatening to destabilise the one-year-old Asif Ali Zardari government at a time of rising militant violence. If the crisis gets out of hand, the army could feel compelled to intervene, though analysts have little expectation that Pakistan would revert to military rule so soon.
Several layers of back-channel efforts, including one by the US ambassador, to break the deadlock have been reported and some hints of compromise have been dropped over the past two days. However, till late this evening, there has been little sign of a solution.
US ambassador Anne Patterson met Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bid to resolve the crisis. President Barack Obama’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke is also learnt to have spoken to Zardari.
The Pakistan government offered talks on Sharif’s key demands — restoration of independent judges and his brother’s government in Punjab — but the Opposition refused to relent till this evening.
The government fears that the protests are aimed at toppling Zardari because the march has brought together many of the same groups that helped push Musharraf from the presidency last September. The then protests built steadily after Musharraf, then both the President and the army chief, dismissed the chief justice.
The Opposition feels that Zardari has refused to reinstate former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as the judge could nullify an amnesty Musharraf granted the President and his late wife Benazir Bhutto.
The civilian government has banned public rallies, arrested hundreds of political workers and police clashed with some protesters.
But the government said it was not against the so-called “long march” that seeks to converge on Islamabad on Monday.
Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said the long march that set out from the cities of Karachi and Quetta would be allowed to go ahead.
Sharif’s spokesperson Sadiqul Farooq said ambassador Patterson was “trying to get things resolved” between the Opposition and the government. “It is not only the American ambassador, other friendly countries are in contact.”
As the march got under way, a coalition partner said Zardari had agreed to two Opposition demands, without giving details. In another sign of possible compromise, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said late yesterday, after meeting the army chief, the government wanted central rule in Punjab to end.
The protests are expected to gather strength as people in Punjab — Sharif’s political power base — setoff for the capital over the weekend.
A spokesperson for Sharif said the government had “hatched a plot” to kill him. Zardari’s spokesperson dismissed that as “political gimmickry” and said the Sharif bothers had been promised full security.