Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Osama bin Laden breathed last on Pakistan soil.

May 2, 2011

Full text of Obama’s speech confirming bin Laden’s death

Yahoo! India News – Mon, May 2, 2011 10:49 AM IST

Washington D C || 1st May, 2011 : Good evening. Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky, the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon, the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. 

And yet, we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world, the empty seat at the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father, parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. 

On September 11th, 2001 in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. 

On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. 

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocence in our country and around the globe. 

And so we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies. 

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. 

In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. 
And around the globe, we’ve worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot. 

Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network. 

Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. 

It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. 

I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. 

And finally last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. 

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. 

After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. 

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

 Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. 

I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam, because bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. 

So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. 

Over the years, I have repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. 

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates. 

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. 

After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander-in-chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded. 

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet, as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. 

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done. 

Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work or know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. 

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they’re a part of the generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day. 

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores. 

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things, not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

Thank you. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. 

Peshtakhara Bala Mosque blast on Friday.11 killed 30 injured in two terror attacks in Pak.

October 24, 2010

Officer, soldiers among 11 killed in two terror attacks in Pak, one upon paramilitary convoy and one upon mosque.

ANI REPORT

Peshawar: A lieutenant-colonel, five soldiers and five civilians were killed in bomb attacks on a paramilitary convoy in Orakzai Agency as well as a mosque near Peshawar.

Lt-Col Mohammad Yousaf and five soldiers were killed, while two were injured in the convoy attack, the Dawn reported.

Although the area was cordoned off and a search operation was carried out, no arrest could be made.

In another incident, at least five people were killed and thirty injured in the bomb attack on the main mosque of Peshtakhara Bala near Peshawar. Most of the injured were young men and children.

Peshawar Police Chief Liaquat Ali Khan told reporters that the explosive device was placed beside a pillar in the veranda, and was detonated by a remote control.

He noted that while security had been beefed up around all the mosques in bazaars and congested areas, securing such places in villages was almost impossible.

He said that the attacker apparently entered the mosque when worshippers were gathering for Friday prayers. The explosion took place at about 1.55 pm when people had started leaving. In view of the situation, people should set up local peace committees, keep an eye on suspicious people and provide information about their movement to police, he added.

Senior provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour said that terrorists, who were in disarray because of action taken against them, had started attacking innocent people in places of worship.

The government was determined to continue to mount pressure on terrorists till their elimination, he said, while announcing a compensation of 300,000 rupees for each deceased and 100,000 rupees for the injured.

Cantonment Circle SP Shafiullah Khan disclosed that a search operation had been launched in the area close to Khyber Agency.

ANI

Courtesy : AP||ANI||DAWN.

Tortured Hindu Minorities in Pakistan :: The Cruel Face of Islam.

May 11, 2010
Students recite lines at a Madrassa in Pakistan to learn persecution upon non-muslims. -File Photo.

Hindu Girl Held in Madrassa and Forced to Convert to Islam

By Antony Thomas ||The Chakra News

Islamabad, Pakistan (CHAKRA), Tuesday, May 11th, 2010( This report is published on the basis of news received late) – A Punjabi Hindu girl from Pakistan has been kidnapped and is being held in a madrassa where she is being forced to convert to Islam.  This has been brought to attention by leading Pakistani activist Ansar Burney. 

Burney’s rights organization has learned that 15-year-old, Gajri who is daughter of Meghna Ram was abducted from her home in Katchi Mandi on December 29th 2009 by a nearby Muslim neighbour.  This took place in the Liaquatpur in the Rahim Yar Khan District.

According to Burney, Gajri’s parents later found out that she was being held in a madrassa where she has been forcefully married off to someone in addition to being forced to convert to Islam.

The local administrator of the madrassa is refusing to speak to anyone regarding the abduction and Gajri is not being allowed to leave the madrassa resulting in not being able to speak to her parents or family members.

Burney, a former human rights activist openly condemned the forceful act of conversion in addition to the kidnapping.  He has demanded her immediate release.

“Pakistan is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which oblige authorities to protect religious minorities under international law,” he said.

After Gajri disappeared on December 21st from southern Punjab, on December 26th the local police station received a letter from the madrassa administrator stating that Gajri had embraced Islam and had married her neighbour Mohammed Salim.  However, the letter was not enclosed with a marriage certificate.

The police failed to immediately inform Gajri’s parents of the letter they had received even though her parents had attempted to file a report when she first went missing.  The parents were discouraged from filing a report, according to Burney.

After feeling helpless, Gajri’s parent’s went to Ramesh Jay Pal, the vice president of the National Peace Committee For Interfaith Harmony, asking him for his advice on the matter.

With Pal’s help, Gajri’s parents met the priest, Maulana Abdul Hafeez, in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur.  He told them that their daughter had embraced Islam and that she was not allowed to meet her parents.

Related Posts

Courtesy : The Chakra News.

Pakistan is still dane of Global Terrorism against the world Peace : Indian Home Minister

March 28, 2010

Pakistan must close terror camps: Chidambaram

Hasan Suroor|| The Hindu ||London, March 25, 2010||Published by Alertpak on March 28, 2010

Union Home Minister of India P. Chidambaram on Thursday urged Pakistan’s “friends” like Britain and the U.S. to put pressure on it to shut down terror camps operating from its soil.

Warning that Pakistan-based groups posed as much threat to the West as they did to India, he told the BBC, “The camps must be closed. Training must come to an end.”

Mr. Chidambaram, who discussed counter-terror measures with his British counterpart Alan Johnson during a visit to the U.K. earlier this week, regretted that Pakistan had failed to respond to India’s persistent plea for it to rein in terror groups

“Nothing so far,” was his reply to a question whether there had been any progress.

Asked how could Pakistan be persuaded, he said: “The U.K., the U.S. know the answer to that question better. Certainly, we have not been able to persuade Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s friends, mutual friends, who would have to bring pressure on Pakistan.”

He said it would be “naïve” for Western countries to think that terrorists operating from Pakistan posed a threat to India alone.

“Once you allow these terror groups to train, recruit and build capacity to strike, they can strike in India, they can strike in the U.K., they can strike in Denmark as they were planning out of the Karachi project,” he said.

He added: “No country is truly safe…Don’t think that India alone is under threat. Every country is under threat from these groups and the Lashkar-e-Taiba today is like the Al Qaeda, a multi-country group.”

Security lapse

Answering questions about the recent terror attack in Pune, the Home Minister admitted that there was a security lapse.

“Pune was a case where it slipped through the cracks. Pune was a target. There was specific intelligence shared by the Central government with the Maharashtra police and the government. The area, Koregaon Park, was under a security cover. Three times advisory was given to German Bakery and its managers acknowledged the advisory on every single occasion, but they did nothing. They did not even take the minimum security precautions. So, it is an unfortunate case that I would say slipped through the cracks.”

Describing it as “a blot,” he said the lesson to be learnt from the Pune case was that “when there is intelligence, pointed intelligence and advisories are issued, people must cooperate…shops, establishments, hotels, malls must take minimal security precautions.”

About the Pune bombing’s alleged Pakistan connection, he said: “Nothing so far has been brought to my notice.”

Courtesy : The Hindu News PaperInternet Edition.

Pakistan Christian “Burnt”, Wife “Raped”, For Refusing Islam. The Christian Man died later.

March 22, 2010

PAK NEWS ALERT: Pakistan Christian “Burnt”, Wife “Raped”, For Refusing Islam

Saturday, March 20, 2010 (12:06 pm)

By BosNewsLife Asia Service reporting from Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian man was fighting for his life in Pakistan’s Punjab province Saturday, March 20, after Muslim leaders backed by police burnt him alive for refusing to convert to Islam, while his wife was raped by police officers, Christian and hospital sources familiar with the case told BosNewsLife.

Arshed Masih was burnt Friday, March 19, in front of a police station in the city of Rawalpindi near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, following apparent death threats from his Muslim employer Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, an influential businessman, and religious leaders, said the Rawalpindi Holy Family Hospital.

His wife, Martha Arshed, was allegedly raped by police officers. Their three children — ranging in age from 7 to 12–  were reportedly forced to witness the attacks against their parents.

“Both [Masih] and wife were rushed to the Holy Family Hospital and are under treatment,” the hospital said.

He was listed in serious condition with about 80 percent of his body burnt.

POLICE INVESTIGATION

Local police officials said they were “aware” of the attacks carried out by Muslim leaders and apparently at least some officers and added that an investigation was underway. No arrests were reported yet late Saturday, March 19.

Sheikh Mohammad Sultan could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not clear whether he had been in contact with police Saturday, March 20.

Before tensions emerged about their Christian faith, Masih worked as a driver and his wife as a maid for the Muslim businessman since 2005, Christians said.

The couple apparently lived with their children in the servant quarters of Sultan’s estate in Rawalpindi, a key trade and tourist destination. In January, religious leaders and Sultan allegedly asked Arshed to convert to Islam with his whole family.  After he refused, the group reportedly threatened him with “dire consequences”.

DEATH THREAT

Arshed offered to quit his job, but the businessman allegedly said he would “kill” him if he were to leave.

He apparently also told Christian mediators that he would never allow the Christian family to live somewhere else.

This week tensions rose after Sultan reported a theft of 500,000 Pakistani Rupees (5,952$), according to a document seen by BosNewsLife.

The Christian family members were not named as suspects in the so-called ‘First Information Report’  from police.

Sources familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, told BosNewsLife that the businessman had offered the couple to drop the case if they convert to Islam or “else that both would not see their children again.”

However, “Arshed refused to convert and stood firm in his faith. Arshed`s wife was raped by the police and he was burnt alive,” Friday, March 19, local Christians said, speaking on condition of anonimity.

The case comes at a time when church groups have complained about growing attacks against minority Christians by Muslim militants, often with the alleged support by local law enforcement officials and other authorities. (BosNewsLife Asia Service includes BosNewsLife correspondents often working in difficult circumstances. In some cases, including this report, their names are not mentioned due to security concerns. With editing by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).

Christian burned alive dies, Christian community calls for justice

A True Sing of Islamic Peace… Arshed Masih burnt alive, died later. Amen.

by Fareed Khan||AsianNews.it
Arshed Masih, a 38 year-old Pakistani Christian, died yesterday (22.03.10) evening at 7.45 from his very serious injuries. The family requests that an autopsy is performed before the funeral. Christian associations and human rights activists demonstrate outside the hospital. Catholic leaders: the federal and provincial government do not punish the guilty. Read here details……….

Courtesy : BosNewsLife‘s Stefan J. Bos, AsianNews.it & The Religion of Peace.

101 Mumbai-like incidents=successful year for offensive against Taliban :: The New Equation of Success in Pakistan

January 28, 2010

Pakistan has faced 101 Mumbai-like incidents: Pakistan PM

IANS||28 January 2010, 03:03pm IST

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism with “101 Mumbai-like incidents” having taken place, Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has said and asked India to resume dialogue as both the countries “cannot afford war”.

“There are 101 Mumbai-like incidents in Pakistan after that. Dialogue is the only answer. We are both responsible nations. We can only move forward. We cannot afford war. The only way forward is talks,” Gilani said in an interview to a television channel broadcast on Thursday.

India had stopped all dialogue with Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, with the Indian government alleging that the terror conspiracy was hatched on Pakistani soil.

Gilani referred to the joint statement issued after the meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt, on the sidelines of the non-aligned leaders summit in 2009.

“That was a very good meeting. We discussed all issues. And we had understanding that we both are suffering from terrorism,” Gilani said.

The Pakistani leader said that “1.25 billion (people) should not be made hostage to one incident”.

“So (if) we are hostage to this incident, then the beneficiary is the terrorist. Therefore, we should move forward.”

“Certainly we condemn terrorism and we always believe that neither Pakistani nor Indian soil (should) be used against each other. We are the victims of terrorism. You know how we are fighting the war on terrorism,” asserted Gilani.

“What we really need is capacity building,” Ambassador Khan (R) said, adding that no other nation could do a better job than Pakistan’s forces on its own soil. “We, however, need help with capacity building in the areas of infrastructure, night vision equipment, communication gear, helicopters, and aircraft.” –APP (File photo)

‘2009 successful year for offensive against Taliban’

Thursday, 28 Jan, 2010||Safar 12, 1431

BEIJING: Terming 2009 a “successful year” in its offensive against the Taliban network in Pakistan, Islamabad Ambassador to Beijing Masood Khan said that beefing up military presence is just part of the “two-track” means to eradicate terrorism in central Asia.

Troops alone don’t work; what war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan urgently need is capacity building and development, said Ambassador Khan in an interview published in China Daily on Thursday prior to the start of an international conference in the UK to discuss measures to eliminate terrorism in Central Asia.

“What we really need is capacity building,” Khan said, adding  that no other nation could do a better job than Pakistan’s forces on its own soil. “We, however, need help with capacity building in the areas of infrastructure, night vision equipment, communication gear, helicopters, and aircraft.”

The international community should also invest in the “development track” in the region, Khan urged. “And should do so aggressively.”

“I would say that the allocation of resources for the economic development of these affected areas is only a small fraction of what is being spent for military means,” the country’s senior diplomat said, noting that Afghanistan and Pakistan are desperate for investment. “I hope this conference will prove to be beneficial in this regard,” he said.

Apart from the host nation, Britain, representatives from the International Security Assistance Force, Nato, UN and Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours are to attend the conference. Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi is representing Pakistan.

In the half-an-hour interview in Beijing with China Daily, Khan discussed Pakistan’s experience eight years after joining the anti-terror campaign, commented on the US strategy under US President Barack Obama, and shared his concerns about the regional situation.

“It’s a war we have to win,” Khan remarked.

Other than beefing up the military and development, he said Islamabad is “trying to reach out to all levels of the Taliban to wean them away from violence and integrate them into the political mainstream”.

Khan said that Islamabad joined the war as it was “in its national interest” since Pakistan could not stay immune to the violence in the neighbouring state.

Islamabad’s envoy to Beijing pointed out that his country’s forces have killed more than 7,000 terrorists and apprehended about 9,000, including 901 Al-Qaeda operatives with the help of US intelligence.

The killing of Baitullah Mehsud, former head of the Pakistani Taliban, in August last year, is considered a major success for Pakistan. “I think we have dismantled the network of militants. They are scattered now,” Khan said. Read more details here.….

Courtesy: Times of India, Dawn News, APP & Others.

Pak Taliban video indicates cross-border links : Special Representative of US

January 18, 2010

Commenting on Pak-India ties, Holbrooke said that easing tensions between India and Pakistan would help western efforts in Afghanistan. However, he said it was up to Islamabad and New Delhi to find their own path towards better ties. – Alertpak  photo

TTP video indicates cross-border links, says Holbrooke

KABUL: A video of a Pakistani Taliban leader with the bomber who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan indicated cross-border links between Afghan, Pakistani and Al Qaeda militants, the US regional envoy said on Sunday.

Special Representative Richard Holbrooke said in an interview in Kabul that “shadowy but unmistakable” links between groups exposed by the video helped explain why the United States and its allies were fighting in Afghanistan.

The video released this month showed the Jordanian suicide bomber posing with Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, before carrying out the Dec 30 attack which killed seven CIA employees, the deadliest strike on the agency in decades.

“When people say to us, ‘why are you fighting in Afghanistan when the goal is to destroy Al Qaeda and

they are in Pakistan?’ I think this incident highlights the explanation for what we are doing, because there are some shadowy but unmistakeable connections here,” he said.

The video could show “the very close links between the Haqqani group, Mehsud, Al Qaeda, and it underlines the rationale for our strategy”, he said. “That was a horrifying tape.”

“They’ve all claimed credit for it,” he said of the various militant groups with some possible hand in the CIA attack.

Asked whether he had put more pressure on Islamabad to do more in border regions to rout insurgents, Mr Holbrooke said Pakistan’s military was stretched “very thin”.

“I think they are well aware of the fact that the presence on their soil of the Afghan Taliban and its leadership is not in their own security interests. They know how important this is. They are our allies,” he added.

Pak-India ties

Easing tensions between India and Pakistan would help western efforts in Afghanistan, said Mr Holbrooke. However, it was up to Islamabad and New Delhi to find their own path towards better ties.

He said Washington would welcome better relations between Islamabad and New Delhi, but he had no plans to act as a mediator between the two rival countries. “President (Barack) Obama has said publicly that if India and Pakistan improve their relations, he would welcome it,” he said before leaving for New Delhi.

“But it’s up to them to do it for themselves. We are not intermediating between Islamabad and New Delhi.

“Every time I go to India people say: ‘Are you working on this problem? Are you a messenger? Are you an envoy between the two countries?’” he said. “The answer is ‘no’.”

He described his visit to India as a “consultative trip, it’s not a negotiating trip”, unlike his stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

His aim was mainly to explain US regional strategy to Indian officials, on his first visit since Mr Obama announced 30,000 extra troops for Afghanistan in December.

Asked if better India-Pakistan ties were necessary to resolve the Afghan conflict, Mr Holbrooke said: “Is it necessary? … It would be useful.” Asked why, he said: “For obvious reasons.”

“In this extraordinary strategic context, every country has a legitimate security requirement which has to be acknowledged if we are ever going to get to a resolution of this 30-year process,” he said of the three decades of war in Afghanistan.

“The Pakistan-India relationship is unique because of its origins on the same day in August of 1947 and the unresolved issue of the territory on their common border, which has been so disputed,” he said.

“Pakistan has legitimate security interests like any nation, based on its … geo-strategic position,” he said. “I am not going to get specific about India’s strategic interests. They will speak for themselves.”—Reuters

Courtesy : Dawn, Reuters & Google.

Pak terrorists are not changed, even in detention.

November 26, 2009

Jailed militant’s hoax calls drove India, Pakistan to brink of war

By Azaz Syed
Thursday, 26 Nov, 2009|| http://www.dawn.com

ISLAMABAD: Omar Saeed Sheikh, a detained Pakistani militant, had made hoax calls to President Asif Ali Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a bid to heighten Pakistan-India tensions after last year’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai, investigators have told Dawn.

‘Omar Saeed Sheikh was the hoax caller. It was he who threatened the civilian and military leaderships of Pakistan over telephone. And he did so from inside Hyderabad jail,’ investigators said.

The controversy came to light after Dawn broke the story, exactly one year ago, that a hoax caller claiming to be then Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee was making threatening calls to President Zardari.

Omar Saeed Sheikh, a detained Pakistani militant, had made hoax calls to President Asif Ali Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a bid to heighten Pak-India tensions after last year’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

It was on the night of Nov 26 last year that Saadia Omar, Omar Sheikh’s wife, informed him about the carnage in Mumbai. The sources said that the information was passed on to Omar in Hyderabad jail through his mobile phone, which he was secretly using without the knowledge of the administration.

All but one of the attackers who India alleged were Lashkar-i-Taiba terrorists were shot dead by security personnel.

Saadia kept updating Omar about the massacre through the night and small hours of the morning. On the night of Nov 28, when the authorities had regained control over the better part of the city, Omar Saeed, using a UK-registered mobile SIM, made a phone call to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

He told an operator handling Mr Mukherjee’s calls that he was the President of Pakistan.
Indian officials started verification as part of security precautions and, after some time, the operator informed Omar Saeed (who was posing to be Pakistan’s president) that the foreign minister would get in touch with him soon. Omar now made a call to President Asif Ali Zardari and then the Chief of Army Staff.

He also made an attempt to talk to the US secretary of state, but security checks barred his way.

The presidency swung into action soon after Mr Zardari’s conversation with the adventurous militant.

President Zardari first spoke to Prime Minister Gilani and informed him about the happenings. He also took Interior Minister Rehman Malik into the loop.

In Rawalpindi, Gen Kayani immediately spoke to the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence, Lt- Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

According to sources, not only President Asif Zardari was taken in by Omar’s audacity but the COAS was also baffled by his cheekiness.

Gen Kayani, sharing his thoughts with close associates, said he had been bewildered by the caller’s threatening tone.

But Maj Gen Athar Abbas, the military spokesman, finds the report unbelievable. ‘I am not his (Army chief’s) operator. I don’t know who puts calls through to him, but I think this can’t be true,’ said an incredulous Athar Abbas.

Interestingly, when Omar Saeed Sheikh was making these hoax calls, the Lashkar-i-Taiba (LET) chief was also in Karachi, but it is not known whether Omar Saeed was acting under the guidance of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi or on his own.

INVESTIGATIONS: On the other hand, investigators got into the act without wasting time, coming up with their findings within hours.

Their conclusion was that the phone call which came from the Indian external affairs ministry was actually their (Indians’) check.

They said the calls to President Zardari and the army chief were made from a Britain-registered SIM.

Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, in his autobiography, had alleged that Omar Saeed was an agent of MI6, the British intelligence agency.

The very next morning, Nov 29, Hyderabad jail was raided by intelligence agencies and over a dozen SIMs were recovered along with two mobile sets. Majid Siddiqui, the jail superintendent, was suspended.

‘I don’t know much but it is true that some mobile SIMs and mobile sets were recovered from Omar Saeed Sheikh when he was in Hyderabad jail.

I got him transferred to Karachi jail because that is a far better place for such high-profile terrorists,’ Allauddin Abbasi, DIG Prisons, Hyderabad, told Dawn over phone.

The authorities had a word with Saadia Omar too. She was advised to ‘control’ herself. The matter was then placed in the files of secret agencies marked as ‘secret’.

The Federal Investigation Agency never interrogated Omar Saeed about the Mumbai attacks. Dawn’s efforts for getting the viewpoint of Tariq Khosa , the FIA chief, drew a blank.

HIGH PROFILE: Omar, currently confined in a high security cell of Karachi Jail, has a long record of militancy, from kidnapping foreigners in Mumbai in 1994 to kidnapping Daniel Pearl in Jan 2002.

Omar Saeed Sheikh was freed by India in Dec 1999 as part of a deal that saw New Delhi agreeing to release a number of militant leaders in exchange for the freedom of hostages on board an India plane hijacked to Kabul.

Soon after his release from Indian captivity, Omar Saeed developed close relations with the LET leadership, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi.

He was invited to a training camp in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, where he spent a couple of days delivering lectures to recruits.

Sources said Lakhwi wanted Omar to join LET and give the organisation an international face.

In Feb 2002, Omar was arrested for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Talibanisation & Musharraf. How Pakistan is changed as Terroristan.

May 6, 2009

The more they go against India, Pak will face more Terrorism – USA.

musharraf-608

The Taliban crisis is a direct result of Pervez Musharraf’s rule.

By Shehryar Mazari
Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 09:56 AM PST |

http://www.dawn.com

While most people rightly blame Ziaul Haq for the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan, Musharraf’s role in bringing about Talibanisation in the country has been greatly overlooked.

Three decades ago Zia Haq chose the Hezb-i-Islami leader, Gulbadin Hikmatyar, as his favoured successor to Soviet rule in Afghanistan. After Zia’s death, the security establishment disenchanted with Hikmatyar’s lack of success replaced him in 1994 with the recently discovered Taliban. The Taliban’s seizure of Kabul in 1996 provided a boost for Pakistan’s security establishment. It provided Pakistan a foothold in Afghanistan and much-desired strategic regional depth to counter India.

Following the 9/11 attack in the US by Al Qaeda which was being sheltered by the Taliban Musharraf was forced to disown the Taliban regime. However, within days he announced on TV ‘I have done everything for the … Taliban when the whole world was against them….We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban.’

Shortly afterwards, when the Taliban were ousted by the US-led invasion, Musharraf allowed tens of thousands of Taliban to enter Pakistan’s tribal belt, believing that opposing them would sideline Pakistan from the regional power game in Afghanistan. What was not revealed then was that a large number of Al Qaeda militants had used this opportunity to stealthily move into Pakistan as well. However, fearing direct US intervention, Musharraf vocally denied their existence within Pakistan.

Perhaps he imagined that the extremists would remain quiescent in Pakistan’s mountainous borderlands, but this was not to be. The military dictator’s personal agenda soon came in the way: Having flouted the constitution by coup d’état, Musharraf, like previous military dictators, became desperate for legal protection. This legal cover could only be provided by a compliant parliament.

Misusing his powers as army chief, Musharraf used his agencies to ensure that the 2002 election was rigged in Sindh and Punjab against the PPP and PML-N. This led to a rise of a motley bunch of politicians under the façade of the PML-Q. However, real damage was done in the NWFP and Balochistan, where the security agencies ensured the success of the religio-political alliance of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. As part of an understanding, Fazlur Rehman ensured that the MMA’s newly elected members of parliament united with the PML-Q to pass the 17th Amendment, legitimising all Musharraf’s unconstitutional acts.

Perceiving the two popular political parties — the PPP and PML-N — as a threat to his power, Musharraf became an inadvertent hostage to the MMA’s blackmailing. His backtracking in 2006 on repealing the Hudood Ordinances was just one example. The seats MMA ‘won’ in the National Assembly gave it serious clout in national affairs. Worse was that it also dominated the NWFP and Balochistan governments. The MMA government of NWFP moved quickly to impose a Taliban-like agenda. In a short space of time, the MMA produced a fertile environment for the spread of religious militancy throughout the NWFP and parts of Balochistan.

While the Taliban were perceived as essential to future Afghan policy, similar leniency was also applied to militant groups habitually infiltrating the Kashmir ceasefire line. The post-9/11 international crackdown on terrorism had given Musharraf much cause for worry. Initially he went on the offensive, proclaiming these militants valiant freedom fighters — in other words ‘good jihadists’ vs Al Qaeda, the ‘bad jihadists’.

However, the international pressure became too much to bear. Consequently, many of these groups were officially banned by Islamabad, and thus were forced to go underground and operate under different names. It became a game of smoke and mirrors. Every now and then a militant leader would be placed under house arrest and then released a few days later. Militant groups would be officially condemned on television while their workers continued to collect donations under different guises. While the Musharraf regime kept up appearances with the West, it felt impelled to maintain a working relationship with the MMA for its political survival. It also continued its linkages with the numerous politico-religious militant groupings in pursuit of its strategy for Afghanistan and India.

The MMA’s policy of providing succour to religious militancy, combined with Musharraf’s strategy of benign indifference, at best, towards the Taliban and Kashmiri militants, led to a perfect jihadi storm. Provided freedom, the militant groups gained momentum and developed linkages with each other and in some cases with Al Qaeda itself.

Soon the Taliban, with its new allies, spread its tentacles from Waziristan to the rest of Fata and later to Swat and beyond. Moreover, some of the militant groupings active in Kashmir had by now joined up with these transnational jihadist forces. Talibanisation had begun in earnest.

The Taliban crisis is a direct result of Musharraf’s legacy. For self-preservation he deliberately weakened the secular political structure, replacing it with a political environment which proved extremely conducive for religio-political militant groups that now threaten the existence of Jinnah’s Pakistan — ironically created as a refuge for the subcontinent’s Muslims.

It is time for a rethink. In this post-Musharraf scenario one can appreciate our security establishment’s preoccupation with external threats; that is their job after all. Nonetheless, why relentlessly pursue a policy to defend Pakistan externally which may, in itself, ultimately lead to the country’s destruction from within? Yes, hostility from neighbouring countries is a disturbing reality. But need we continue with a bungled policy which has led to destruction from within and failure without; Afghanistan remains a troubled dream and Kashmir a hopeless mirage.

It is time for an open discourse between parliamentary leaders and the security establishment to find a better solution to our problems. The protection of Pakistan’s river resources from encroachment is of vital importance; the survival of millions depends upon these rivers. However, this begs the question: if Pakistan disappears under the onslaught of religiosity, what use will all this water be? So, no matter how serious the water issue may be, it should, along with Kashmir, yield to a more pressing concern.
 
Obviously today’s most burning issue is the Talibanisation of large swathes of our country from where it appears to be spreading day by day, night by night. There is little point in berating the culprit. Recently in a foreign interview Musharraf offered his presidential services to save Pakistan from ‘self-destruction’. He is obviously delusional.

And the solution? All civil society can do is raise its voice as loudly as possible; the best the parliamentarians can do is pass sensible legislation; and the best the government can do is issue prudent instructions (which may or may not be obeyed). In the end, the answer can only lie with the army. Let us hope it now fulfills its primary responsibility to the people of Pakistan.

Foreign militants yearn for Pakistan’s training camps

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By William Maclean
Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 02:30 PM PST |http://www.dawn.com

LONDON: Turbulent Pakistan has replaced Iraq as the place to go for militants bent on striking the West, but the threat of US attacks means al Qaeda recruits may spend more time out of sight in a classroom than on an assault course.

Long a favoured destination of British militants of Pakistani descent, Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas are now attracting Arabs and Europeans of Arab ancestry who three years ago would probably have gone to Iraq to fight US forces.

With the Iraq war apparently winding down, security sources say, the lure for these young men is to fight US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan or to gain the skills to carry out attacks back home in the Middle East, Africa or the West.

One consequence: Western armies in Afghanistan increasingly face the possibility of having to fight their own compatriots.

These foreign militants are likely to feature in Wednesday’s meetings between US President Barack Obama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Obama wants to end the use of Pakistan’s tribal zones as a staging area for al Qaeda activities in support of the hardline Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as their role as a training ground for new attacks around the world.

Dennis Blair, Obama’s national intelligence director, said in February the primary threat from Europe-based extremists stemmed from members of al Qaeda and its affiliates ‘who returned from training in Pakistan to conduct attacks in the West.’

‘We remain concerned about an influx of Western recruits into the (Pakistani) tribal areas since mid-2006,’ he said.

Western officials estimate there are several hundred non-Afghan foreign militants training in the tribal areas at any one time. That is probably more than three years ago, although the foreigners are outnumbered by Pakistanis and Afghans undergoing similar training at the same, or similar, facilities.

Little detailed information is known in the West about the training operation, and analysts differ on whether the inflow of militants has risen or just held steady in recent months.

But the assumption among many Western officials is that US success in Iraq since 2006 has diverted some recruits for the anti-Western cause to the Pakistan-Afghan theatre.

Military training or adventure holiday?

US General David McKiernan told Reuters in October 2008 that intelligence had picked up the presence in Afghanistan of Chechens, Arabs, Uzbeks, Punjabis and even Europeans.

Some were old-time residents of neighbouring Pakistan’s rebellious border regions, but others were new arrivals.

Richard Barrett, coordinator of the US’s al Qaeda-Taliban monitoring team, said that the number of foreigners going for training in northwest Pakistan appeared to be rising, but might not exceed ‘a few hundred all told.’

‘Training over the last couple of years has typically taken place in small compounds which you find throughout the area of northwest Pakistan, rather than in large purpose-built camps,’ he said. ‘I have also heard of it taking place in apartments or houses in places like Karachi. It is hard to spot and quantify.’

Of Britons, Barrett said: ‘It seems that a fair proportion of the UK volunteers return home, which may reflect their attitude towards the training as only half-serious — an adventure holiday or bragging rights back home.’

‘But it is very hard to distinguish between the serious and the less serious, and of course to identify people who go with one intention and return with another.’

Western officials say the move to more discreet locations has been prompted by a series of missile attacks by US unmanned aircraft on suspected al Qaeda bases in recent months, which have killed about 350 people over the past year.

The content of training may also be changing, with as much or more emphasis on suicide bombing as on guerrilla war, curbing the need for assault course-style camps, some analysts say.

In Berlin, security analyst Berndt Georg Thamm said the flow of militants to Pakistan ‘has grown over the past few years.’

He cited German officials as saying that since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, about 140 people from Germany had gone to training camps in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Some 60 to 80 of them had come back to Germany.

Raphael Perl, Head of the Action Against Terrorism Unit at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said risks remained even if trainees did nothing on returning home.

‘If I had to give a gut per centage, I’d say 60 per cent do nothing with the training. They just come home. But at some point they may be contacted to do a favour for somebody.’ — Reuters.

Somalia to Thailand, the same story of Pak-Afghan Terrorism

April 29, 2009

Terrorists moving from Pak-Afghan border to Africa

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Lolita C Baldor, Associated Press || Washington, April 28, 2009 (First Published: 11:02 IST(28/4/2009)

Evidence is growing that battle-hardened extremists are filtering out of havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and into East Africa, bringing sophisticated terror tactics that include suicide attacks. The alarming shift, according to US military and counterterror officials, fuels worries that Somalia increasingly is on a path to become the next Afghanistan, a sanctuary where al-Qaida-linked groups can train and plan their threatened attacks against the West.
So far, officials say the number of foreign fighters who have moved from southwest Asia and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region to the Horn of Africa is small, perhaps two to three dozen. A similarly small cell of militant plotters was responsible for the devastating 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And the cluster of militants now believed to be operating inside east Africa could pass on sophisticated training and attack techniques gleaned after seven years at war against the United States and allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. “There is a level of activity that is troubling, disturbing,” U.S. Gen. William “Kip” Ward, head of U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press. “When you have these vast spaces, that are just not governed, it provides a haven for support activities, for training to occur.”
Ward added that American officials already are seeing extremist factions in East Africa sharing information and techniques. Several military and counterterror officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters, cautioned that the movements of the al-Qaida militants does not suggest an abandonment of the ungoverned Pakistan border region as a haven.
Instead, the shift is viewed by the officials more as an expansion of al-Qaida’s influence, and a campaign to gather and train more recruits in a region already rife with militants. Last month, Osama bin Laden made it clear in a newly released audiotape that al-Qaida has set its sights on Somalia, an impoverished and largely lawless country in the Horn of Africa. In the 11-minute tape released to Internet sites, bin Laden is heard urging Somalis to overthrow their new moderate Islamist president and to support their jihadist “brothers” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and Iraq.
Officials said that in recent years they have seen occasional signs that sophisticated al-Qaida terror techniques are gaining ground in East Africa. Those harbingers include a coordinated series of suicide bombings in Somalia last October.
In the past, officials said, suicide attacks tended to be frowned on by African Muslims, creating something of an impediment to al-Qaida’s efforts to sell that aspect of its terror tactics. But on Oct. 29, 2008, suicide bombers killed more than 20 people in five attacks targeting a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate, the presidential palace in Somaliland’s capital, and two intelligence facilities in Puntland.
The coordinated assaults, officials said, amounted to a watershed moment, suggesting a new level of sophistication and training. The incident also marked the first time that a U.S. citizen, a young Somali man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, became a suicide bomber. The foreign fighters moving into East Africa complicate an already-rising crescendo of terror threats in the region. Those threats have come from the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist Islamic faction and from al-Qaida in East Africa, a small, hard-core group also known by the acronym EEAQ.
While not yet considered an official al-Qaida franchise, EEAQ has connections to the top terror leaders and was implicated in the August, 1998, embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 225 people. The bombings were al-Qaida’s precursors to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a plot spawned by a small cell of operatives as far back as 1992. Four men accused as al-Qaida plotters were later convicted in federal court in New York for those bombings. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and several other EEAQ members remain under indictment in the United States for their alleged participation in those bombings. Mohammed is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list with a reward of up to $5 million on his head. Al-Qaida has the skills while al-Shabab has the manpower, said one senior military official familiar with the region. The official said that EEAQ appears to a small cell of a few dozen operatives who rarely sleep in the same place twice and are adept at setting up temporary training camps that vanish days later.
What worries U.S. military leaders, the official said, is the fear that EEAQ and al-Shabab may merge in training and operations, with the potential of spreading al-Qaida’s more extremist jihadist beliefs to thousands of clan-based Somali militants, who so far have been squabbling in their own internal struggles.
The scenario could become even more worrisome, the officials said, if the foreign fighters transplant their skills at bomb-making and insurgency tactics to the training camps in East Africa. Africa experts, however, said it will not be easy for Islamic extremists to win many converts in East Africa.
Francois Grignon, Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research group, said in an interview that al-Qaida faces a challenge gaining recruits in Somalia. Many clan members, he said, generally practice a more moderate Islam, and militants are not inclined to join a fight they do not see as their own.
The United States, he said, needs to encourage the new government there to deal with the growing terror threats and to marginalize the jihadists so that they are not able to sustain their activities in Somalia.
Ward said the U.S. Africa Command is working with a number of nations to build their ability to maintain security. He said commanders are less able to do much in Somalia, where the new government is still fragile.
Meanwhile, he said, officials continue to watch as the ties between the terror groups grow.
“I think they’re all a threat,” said Ward. “Right now it’s clearly a threat that the Africans have, but in today’s global society that threat can be exported anywhere with relative ease.”
nHindustantimes/28-04-2009

Islamist militant attacks intensified in Thailand

 
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BBC News || 07:36 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 08:36 UK

Nine people have died in the past 24 hours in a wave of attacks by suspected Islamic militants in southern Thailand.
The latest violence coincides with the fifth anniversary of an attack on the Krue Se mosque, which marked a sharp escalation in the separatist conflict.
It was the first big clash between the security forces and militants, and more than 100 people died in just one day.
About 3,500 people have died since then and successive governments have made little progress in stemming the unrest.
Thailand annexed the three southern provinces – Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani – in 1902, but the vast majority of people there are Muslim and speak a Malay dialect, in contrast to the Buddhist Thai speakers in the rest of the country.
Insurgents target people they perceive to be collaborating with the Bangkok government – using bomb blasts, beheadings and shootings.
They also try to force Buddhist residents from the area, with the aim of ultimately establishing a separate Islamic state.
High alert
Gunmen stormed into a house in Yala province late on Monday, opening fire on a Muslim family and killing four people.

Two men were later found dead outside a nearby mosque.
In other incidents, a Buddhist government official was shot dead in Pattani province, a Muslim man was fatally shot while watching a football match in Yala and another man was killed nearby in a drive-by shooting.
According to the BBC correspondent in Bangkok, Jonathan Head, there is nothing remarkable about the attacks of the past 24 hours.
Now in its sixth year, the renewed war in Thailand’s south continues to exact a heavy toll on the local inhabitants with relentless regularity, our correspondent says.
Early on Monday there were 11 co-ordinated attacks on schools and electricity substations. On Saturday a bomb blast injured 15 people.
The bloody assault on the Krue Se mosque by Thai security forces on 28 April 2004 is seen as an important point in the long-running conflict, leading to a marked escalation in the violence.
Security forces stormed the mosque and killed 32 Muslims who had barricaded themselves inside. More than 70 others died in separate incidents on the same day.
“Security forces are taking special precautions and are on high alert on the [Krue Se] anniversary,” army spokesman Parinya told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Human rights groups argue that the government’s failure to punish any members of the security forces for abuses against civilians has alienated the population in Thailand’s deep south.
But other analysts believe the militants, who operate in small cells affiliated with Islamic schools, are not interested in negotiating with the government, whatever concessions it makes.

The authorities in Thailand are very much anxieted to the numbers of increasing Islamic Institutions supported by the foreign Islamist Organisation closer to the Pak-Afghan origins. The Islamic education institutions funded by the middle-east or Pak-Afghan sources never submit the reports of their activities after repeated strictures. Now, a stringent vigilance is imposed upon the Muslim clerics who are frequently visiting Thailand from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan.