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Found 114 results

  1. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/236192.html At least ten Shia Muslims have been killed in separate attacks by unknown gunmen in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, Press TV reports. Armed masked men opened fire on a passenger van in Barori road area of Quetta -- the provincial capital of Balochistan province, killing at least seven Shia men and wounding four others on Saturday. The gunmen opened fire on another vehicle moments later on Sabzol road area of Quetta, wounding two other Shia Muslims. The rest were killed in two separate attacks. Meanwhile, in another incident, the militants shot dead a policeman in Qali Chaltan road area. The assailants fled the scene of incident. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet. The offensive came amid reports of massive protests of Shia Muslims against the killings of Shia people in the volatile country. About 2,500 people held a sit-in outside parliament in Islamabad on Friday, calling on the government to take immediate action against the forces involved in the sectarian killings. Demonstrations were also held in the cities of Multan, Muzaffarabad, and Quetta, where protesters chanted slogans condemning the Shia killings. Anti-Shia militant groups have been engaged in a violent campaign against Shias over the past few years.
  2. The Rise of New Bloody War in the Middle East The advent of democracy and equality of citizens in the Middle East is not only a bad news for the current dictators of the Arab world, Al Qaeda and its Wahhabi affiliates are equally worried. Also in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Wahhabi share one common characteristic with the current Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia, i.e., acute hatred for Shia who they consider infidels. The events of the Arab Spring have heightened long-standing tensions in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. Just three days after large-scale protests started in Bahrain on 2011, protests began in the Eastern Province, which is a 30-minute drive across the causeway from Bahrain. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Saudi interior ministry vowed to crush the protests with an "Iron Fist" and has unleashed a media-smear campaign against protests and the Shiites in general. While protests subsided over the summer, they started again in October and have become larger ever since, leading to an ever more heavy-handed response from the security forces. The Eastern Province is home to virtually all of Saudi Arabia's oil and to a sizeable Shiite majority, or around 30 percent of Saudi Arabia's citizen population. The Wahhabi creed of Salafi Islam that the state sponsors in Saudi Arabia has developed a special hostility toward the Shiites. Saudi Shiite citizens in turn have long complained of discrimination in religious practice, government employment, and business, and overall marginalization. For decades, opposition groups formed by Saudi Shiites, both leftist and Islamists, as well as hundreds of petitions by Shiite notables, have had the same demands: an end to sectarian discrimination in government employment and representation in main state sectors including at the ministerial level; more development in Shiite areas; the strengthening of the Shiite judiciary; and an end to arbitrary arrests of Shiite for religious or political reasons. None of these demands would significantly undermine the position of the royal family, or otherwise threaten the integrity of Saudi Arabia. They would rather cement the current political system and buy the allegiance of two million people living on top of the kingdom's oil. The perception of systematic discrimination has led some Saudi Shiites to embrace revolutionary ideologies over the decades. While pro-Iranian groups still exist amongst Gulf Shiites, they are not the most powerful amongst Saudi Shiites and had largely renounced violence as a political tool since at least the mid-1990s. But Saudi Arabia's repressive response to the protests and the zero-concessions policy are providing fertile breeding ground for future opposition groups. A repetition of post-1979 Shiite politics, when hundreds of young Shiites left Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province to become active in regional revolutionary movements, seems possible. As the protests in Bahrain and particularly in Qatif receive only limited attention on Gulf-owned channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, local Shiites are forced to watch the Iranian-sponsored Arabic-language Al Alam channel, Lebanese Hezbollah's Al Manar, Iraq's Ahlul Bait TV, or increasingly other pro-Assad channels to receive updates on the situation in their areas. The new cold war in the Middle East has turned into a fully-fledged media war, in which media outlets are either with the protests in Bahrain and Qatif and for Assad's regime, or with the protests in Syria and against the allegedly sectarian protests in Bahrain and Qatif. The situation for Saudi Shiites in the Eastern Province is no secret. The U.S. State Department's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom for the second half of 2010, the period immediately predating the Arab Spring, records arbitrary detentions, mosque closures, and the arrest of Shiite worshippers. U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks revealed that U.S. diplomats, and particularly the staff at its consulate in Dhahran, have an incredible amount of information on the local Shiite communities and seem almost obsessed with grievances they deem legitimate. But the specific problems of the Saudi Shiites almost never come up at high-level meetings with Saudi officials. This is not only due to the close Saudi and U.S. alliance. Americans sometimes share the suspicion of the Gulf Shiites, which permeates some of its allied regimes. This suspicion is partly to do with Iran, but also has its roots in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, which killed 19 U.S. servicemen. Nine Shiite prisoners have been incarcerated since 1996 for their alleged membership in Hezbollah al-Hijaz and their involvement in the bombings. They were indicted in the United States in 2001, but as U.S. foreign policy priorities changed after September 11 they became "forgotten," the name they are known by amongst Saudi Shiites. The indictment hints at the involvement of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran but no evidence has ever been made public. At the time some Americans called for retaliation against Iran as a response to this bombing. But after September 11, fingers began to point toward al Qaeda as involved in the attack, raising questions about the guilt of these prisoners. The Shiite prisoners cannot hope ever to be "rehabilitated" in one of the government's much advertised de-radicalization programs. It seems to be justified to at least ask for a public trial, a move repeatedly endorsed by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. But such a trial does not appear to be on the foreign-policy agenda of the United States. The behavior of the Saudi leadership only allows the conclusion that repression of the Shiites is a fundamental part of Saudi political legitimacy. The state does not want to change the position of the Shiites and Shiite protests are used by the state to frighten the Sunni population of an Iranian takeover of the oilfields with the help of local Shiites. Similar narratives have been propagated in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) media for months, at the cost of further deepening the sectarian divide in the Gulf States. The GCC intervention in Bahrain has severely worsened sectarian relations in the Gulf and beyond to levels not seen since the Iranian Revolution. But this open Saudi sectarianism has already had negative repercussions in Iraq, as well as in Syria, Lebanon, and Kuwait. Bahrain looks set for years of sectarian conflict, community relations have broken down completely, and the state is conducting a campaign of what Shiite activists call "ethnic cleansing." Rather than completely alienating the Shiites, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain should negotiate a social contract with them. Failing to do so will lead to years of instability with uncertain outcomes. And it is far from certain that other Saudis will not be encouraged by the Shiite protests, as a recent statement by liberal Saudis from all over the kingdom denouncing the crackdown in Qatif has shown. The West should press its allies, above all Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, to stop simply shooting and arresting their Shiite citizens and brandishing them as Iranian agents and traitors. The alienation of Shiite youth foments a perfect breeding ground for a new Gulf Shiite opposition movement. Even without external help for the local Shiite protesters, the area looks ripe for a return to the tense sectarian politics of the 1980s. The United States should in its own, and in the Gulf States', interest push for a real reconciliation between the Shiites of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and their governments. Otherwise, sectarianism will come to dominate the Gulf, to the detriment of all.
  3. Second militant faction opts out of negotiations Stalled peace efforts in Afghanistan have suffered another setback when a second militant faction one that has squared off against both the U.S.-led coalition and the Taliban announced it was suspending formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, as the Taliban did earlier this month. The group, Hezb-i-Islami, or Islamic Party, has been an increasingly minor presence on the battlefield in recent years, pressured by coalition forces and chased from strongholds in central and eastern Afghanistan by its Taliban rivals. Its military weakness left it far more willing to talk with the U.S. and the government of President Hamid Karzai, which includes many members of a breakaway political wing of the group. The militant wing of Hezb-i-Islami said on Thursday it would continue unofficial talks. But the fact that a group whose current relevance stems largely from its willingness to engage has decided to distance itself from formal negotiations underscored the fragility of the peace effort in Afghanistan. Unlike the Taliban, who have yet to engage in any substantial talks, Hezb-i-Islami delegations have repeatedly travelled from havens in Pakistan to Kabul since 2010. Hezb-i-Islami representatives also met U.S. officials in Afghanistan in recent months. But on Thursday, Qaribur Rahman Saeed, a representative of Hezb-i-Islami in Europe, said his group was suspending formal talks because neither Afghan nor U.S. officials would seriously consider the group's 15-point peace proposal. The plan calls for the withdrawal of coalition forces in six months, holding new elections and possibly rewriting the Afghan constitution. Hezb-i-Islami calls it the National Rescue Agreement. It is a nonstarter for Kabul and Washington. For now, that means Hezb-i-Islami's leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, once a powerful warlord and a former Afghan Prime Minister, is not willing to take part in formal talks, said Mr. Saeed in a telephone interview from Norway, where he is based. Because the Afghan and U.S. governments “don't have any practical and acceptable approaches for the solution of the crisis, the negotiation is going to be suspended,” Mr. Hekmatyar was quoted as saying in a rambling essay written by Mr. Saeed, who provided a copy of the document and asked to be identified as the “head of the Afghan Nation Peace Council” in the European Union. The critique offered by Mr. Hekmatyar in essence, that neither the Afghan government nor the U.S. leadership was ready to make the compromises needed to end the militancy was similar to the one voiced by the Taliban when it announced this month that it was suspending its nascent talks with the U.S. Mr. Hekmatyar rose to prominence as a mujahedeen leader during the fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. He was a particular favourite of ISI Directorate, which managed the militancy against the Soviets. After Afghanistan's Soviet-backed government collapsed in the early 1990s, Mr. Hekmatyar went on to become Prime Minister. He then gained notoriety for bombarding his own capital as the country descended into civil war. Now he operates from Pakistan, where his faction is based. Though he is fighting the U.S.-led coalition, his faction has repeatedly clashed with the more powerful Taliban in recent years, losing ground to them. Despite its military weakness, Hezb-i-Islami remains an intriguing peace partner for both Mr. Karzai and the U.S. The group's political wing includes Mr. Karzai's chief of staff, a number of Cabinet Ministers and numerous members of Parliament. U.S. officials say bringing Hezb-i-Islami's militant wing into the fold would signal to Taliban moderates that giving up the fight is a viable option. Less clear is whether Mr. Hekmatyar would personally be welcomed back to Afghanistan, where he is despised by many for the destruction wrought by his forces during the civil war. In Kabul on Thursday, Afghan officials said a NATO supply convoy had come under heavy attack by Taliban insurgents in western Afghanistan, with 37 dead reported in the firefight and NATO airstrikes that ensued. The victims included seven private security guards with two companies guarding the convoy, according to an official at one of the companies. Two Afghan National Army soldiers and numerous Taliban fighters were also among the dead. Fayaz Jailani, the regional operations manager for GFI Security, said the convoy was attacked on Wednesday by 70 to 80 insurgents with heavy machine guns and other weapons. The attackers killed one guard from his company and six from a second company, Aria Security, Mr. Jailani said. The victims were all Afghans, he said. The attack took place in the Gulistani District of Farah province, and the convoy was en route from Herat province to a NATO base in Helmand province, Mr. Jailani said. The head of security for the Farah provincial police, Muhammad Ghus Mayaar, said the fighting began on Wednesday afternoon and continued for eight hours, with 28 Taliban attackers killed by the time it ended. A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Master Sgt. Russell Bertke, said that the coalition had made two airstrikes against the attacking Taliban in support of Afghan forces, but that no civilians had been killed. “Numerous insurgents were killed, and several vehicles and motorbikes were damaged or destroyed,” Sgt. Bertke said. A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed that only five Taliban fighters had been killed by airstrikes, and that the insurgents had killed 40 guards and Afghan soldiers guarding the convoy. In other violence, two people were assassinated on Wednesday because of government connections by unknown gunmen in Kandahar City, according to Zalmai Ayoubi, the spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province. One was an official of the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence service, and the other was the father of a security guard in the governor's office, Mr. Ayoubi said. courtesy - New York Times News Service
  4. CNG is made by compressing natural gas (which is mainly composed of methane [CH4]), to less than 1% of the volume it occupies at standard atmospheric pressure. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of 200–248 bar (2900–3600 psi), usually in cylindrical or spherical shapes. Pakistan currently has the highest number of vehicles running on CNG in the world followed by Argentina, Brazil and Iran. Pakistan also has the highest number of CNG stations in the world. Majority of private vehicles have converted to CNG because of cheaper price as compared to petrol. Only luxury cars and official vehicles now run on petrol. Almost all car manufacturers in Pakistan (except Honda) now produce company fitted CNG kit versions. The genie of CNG has been strengthened, if not created, by the present government by adopting a policy of making Diesel more expensive and levying more taxes on it than petrol. In almost all economies of the world, Diesel is kept cheaper than Petrol due to the obvious reason of its use in the public transport system. It also shows how quickly the market adapts to the price signal. Public transport system appears to have converted itself to the CNG, Diesel having been made expensive both due to taxation policies and as well as due to higher international market prices. It is not, however, easy for government to absorb the loss in revenue, keeping in view the already low receipts and budgetary deficits. It finances the subsidies on Electricity, partly, from the oil taxation and levies. Petroleum taxation has been considered desirable in most countries as a source of revenue. It has been classically considered taxation on luxury, pollution and road user charge. This has worked earlier when international oil prices were low. In that regime, sometimes importing countries’ governments earned more revenue than oil producing and exporting countries. No more, today oil prices affect the lives of the poor more than any body else. In the longer run scenario, barring transitional periods such as those prevailing these days, it may be advisable to adopt zero-energy taxation, whereby for example, oil taxation income balances subsidies elsewhere, say in electricity and perhaps vice versa. It may be worthwhile to have a fresh look at the petroleum pricing policy. Taxes and levies on Diesels may be reduced and eliminated making it cheaper. Also a seasonal pricing policy making Diesel further cheaper in winters than in summers. One may have to revert to quarterly or half yearly revision of petroleum pricing as opposed to the monthly one, in order to implement a seasonal policy. There are limits to the enhancement of CNG tariff, as the recent CNG strikes and later negotiations have shown, as a result the CNG tariff enhancement had to be halved.CNG business interest would, however, resist reduction in margin which would decrease their market share. On the other hand government’s right and role of making public policy in the interest of larger good cannot be done away with under political pressure. Political conditions may be different next time. However, quick reversal in an entrenched market is neither feasible nor politically advisable. Long term signals should be recognized by the CNG business interests and refrain from bribing their way into getting more licenses despite a ban. Ban in fact increases the margins of the graft. CNG sellers should see the writing on the wall. At current prices they enjoy a gross margin of 100%; natural gas is sold to them at Rs 651 per Million Btu , which they sell at Rs 1384 per Million Btu. If imported LNG is sold to CNG stations , it would cost the latter around Rs.1600/- per Million Btu. Assuming a gross margin of 100%, CNG price would be Rs.3200/- per Million Btu, as against the current retail price of Diesel at Rs.2739/-,16.8 % higher than Diesel. If by some magic, their gross margin is kept constant at Rs 650/- per MBtu, CNG price would come down to be Rs.2250/- per million Btu, 17 % lower than Diesel. Practically, there would be no CNG-Diesel price differential, as the gross margin would go up. By the same token, LPG may not be able to acquire a reasonable market share at the prevailing price differential, unless Auto-LPG chain becomes more efficient. It appears that LPG has been successful in Europe due to high taxation on Gasoline and Diesel, making LPG attractive. Due to low income of consumers, high taxation on Petroleum should not be expected or recommended. In India also, high taxation on Gasoline and cross subsidies have, perhaps, made LPG viable. Also, GOP may have to develop an Exit policy for CNG stations. For example, CNG stations which have already worked for ten years may be delisted from supplies, so as to give opportunity for newer investments to recoup their money. Such stations may be given licenses for Auto-LPG, if it becomes viable. CNG businessmen, however, have a valid point. They argue that CNG sector would accept its share of burden and difficulties as other users would in case of hire prices and lesser availability. It should be done proportionally and that CNG sector should not be closed down arbitrarily. Investments have been made on the instance of the government policy. It may, however, be noted that only a few countries have followed the CNG band wagon in a low price and abundant gas regime and most of the world has stayed away from it .In fact ,countries like New Zealand have opted out of it. There is, however, a redeeming and legitimizing feature of CNG which falls in the domain of public transport in urban areas. CNG is a clean fuel. Under subsidies, it can be a vehicle for organizing an affordable and pollution free public transport. Eventually CNG appears to be surviving in that limited role.
  5. Doesn't take much to get the Pakistanis excited... :rolleyes:
  6. Iran gas deal to be completed irrespective of foreign pressure: Pakistan FM ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan’s sovereignty should be respected and that no decision would be made against national interest. Speaking to reporters, Khar said that gas pipeline and other projects with Iran would be pursued and completed irrespective of any foreign pressure. “The projects are in the national interest of Pakistan” Khar said. Khar added that Parliament would decide on resuming Nato supplies and the status of future relations with the US, ISAF and Nato would be decided by the parliamentary committee. TheNews.com.pk
  7. From time to time, I read about condemnations of Islam coming from non-Islamic groups, especially concerning the all-too-common violence perpetrated in the name of religion. Indeed there is plenty to condemn. Salafi fundamentalist despite verbally professing a desire for peace and justice in the world, are actually pro-war, pro-homicide and pro-violence in practice (or they may be silent on the subject, which is, according to moral theology, the same as being pro-violence). I use the term fundamentalist in the sense that the religious person, who ascribes to a fundamentalist point of view, believes, among other dogmatic belief, that their scriptures are inerrant and thus they can find passages in their holy books that justify homicidal violence against their perceived or fingered enemies, while simultaneously ignoring the numerous contradictory passages that forbid violence and homicide and instead prescribe love, hospitality, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Behind the scenes, of course, there are hidden elites — amoral, politically and financially motivated operatives who are embedded in their religious organizations — who, through the strength of their political power, can easily manipulate the followers into clamoring for sectarian war. Though history has long since been forgotten or ignored, the true followers of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), rejected violence, tried to return good for evil, fed the hungry, did acts of mercy and unconditional love and tried to make friends out of their enemies (by caring for them, feeding them, praying for them and certainly refusing to kill them or pay for somebody else to kill them). Soon after the death of Prophet, Islam became a religion of justified violence, contrary to the teachings and modeling of Prophet, and it remains that way until this very hour. The followers of that very Salafi Muslims should be courageously “going to the streets” and saying “NO” wherever and whenever fear and hatred raise their ugly heads and try to provoke violence — no matter if it is coming from anywhere – or from within the local Sheikh. Thank You, Raza Mehkeri Houston, Texas
  8. Shia Killing And Salafi Fundamentalist From time to time, I read about condemnations of Islam coming from non-Islamic groups, especially concerning the all-too-common violence perpetrated in the name of religion. Indeed there is plenty to condemn. Salafi fundamentalist despite verbally professing a desire for peace and justice in the world, are actually pro-war, pro-homicide and pro-violence in practice (or they may be silent on the subject, which is, according to moral theology, the same as being pro-violence). I use the term fundamentalist in the sense that the religious person, who ascribes to a fundamentalist point of view, believes, among other dogmatic belief, that their scriptures are inerrant and thus they can find passages in their holy books that justify homicidal violence against their perceived or fingered enemies, while simultaneously ignoring the numerous contradictory passages that forbid violence and homicide and instead prescribe love, hospitality, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Behind the scenes, of course, there are hidden elites — amoral, politically and financially motivated operatives who are embedded in their religious organizations — who, through the strength of their political power, can easily manipulate the followers into clamoring for sectarian war. Though history has long since been forgotten or ignored, the true followers of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), rejected violence, tried to return good for evil, fed the hungry, did acts of mercy and unconditional love and tried to make friends out of their enemies (by caring for them, feeding them, praying for them and certainly refusing to kill them or pay for somebody else to kill them). Soon after the death of Prophet, Islam became a religion of justified violence, contrary to the teachings and modeling of Prophet, and it remains that way until this very hour. The followers of that very Salafi Muslims should be courageously “going to the streets” and saying “NO” wherever and whenever fear and hatred raise their ugly heads and try to provoke violence — no matter if it is coming from anywhere – or from within the local Sheikh. Thank You, Raza Mehkeri Houston, Texas
  9. Our nation is the strongest military force in the history of the known universe. For the past century, we have been waging wars all over our tiny planet. The Great War, WWI was followed by WWII a war that many believe was even greater. Both world wars catapulted our nation into the leading role of all the nations on earth. We are the richest, the most respected, the most reviled, the most envied, the most powerful nation among nations. We are the most warlike nation. We must, therefore, be the most warlike people ever to have populated this planet. Over the past decade, our nation has prosecuted wars in the Middle East. A war of vengeance against Afghanistan. A war of cupidity against Iraq. Both wars have gone badly for America. While the final combat forces departed Iraq last week, more than 100,000 of our troops are still waging a twilight war in Afghanistan. But it is really worse than that, for our press, television and mainstream media do not reveal the truth to our people. We are already engaged in a third major land war in the Middle East, a war against Iran. Throughout it all, we are being assured by our government that Iran is culpable of violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but we are given no conclusive evidence that this casus belli is any more credible than the risible case Colin Powell presented to the United Nations in February 2002 stating that Saddam Hussein posed a threat because of his vast and powerful arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. With the pace of war against Iran now thundering in all its fury, it is time to mobilize once again to demand peace. Raza Mehkeri Houston, Texas. AMERICAN SHIA (Shiite) MUSLIMS
  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhRIbxD20I8&feature=related
  11. Protect Mourners of Imam Hussain(as) In the wake of recent increase of incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan, the American Shia Muslims urge the government of Pakistan to provide protection to the Mourners of Imam Hussain(as) and hold accountable those responsible for targeted killings. The targeted killings of Shia are a barbaric attempt at sectarian and ethnic cleansing. “The government’s failure to break up the extremist groups that carry out these attacks calls into question its commitment to protect all of its citizens.” Wahabbi militant groups such as the supposedly banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi operate with impunity even in areas where state authority is well established, such as Punjab and Karachi. the military, law enforcement agencies and the Frontier Corps (FC) are responsible for the security of the people and they should safeguard the lives of the people belonging to a community under attack by the extremists. National and provincial authorities should make all possible efforts to quickly apprehend and appropriately prosecute those responsible for the attacks and other crimes targeting the Shia population. President Zardari needs to understand that the will of the government to protect ordinary people is measured by action, ”As far as protecting the Shia is concerned, Pakistan’s government has been all talk and no action.” We will hold government of Pakistan, responsible for any future attacks on our processions and on congregations in Pakistan, so please respect our holidays. Thank You and Regards, Raza Mehkeri American Shia Muslims
  12. The third annual Conflict Intensity Index, released by risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft, rates 12 countries at ‘extreme risk.’ These include Libya and Syria, which are ranked joint 1st alongside Afghanistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Iraq, Pakistan and South Sudan. At equal 8th are Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, while Egypt and India round off the category. Read more here:http://maplecroft.com/about/news/conflict_intensity_index.html
  13. A good read, how ISI played a very negative role in the region, how Shias been always the victims of powers and politics and how ISI is trapped now. Anyhow, the conditions are set for Pak-Iran ties, even Afghanistan to cooperate and maintain peace in the region. Send Arab Jihadists with all Saudis dirty money and fundings to Libya, Egypt and Tunisia and ask the Western selfish partners not to provoke them against their neighbors and against their own citizens anymore. The Persian connection Wajahat S Khan Monday, October 31, 2011 In 2006, a leaked British defence ministry report said it. In June 2008, Afghan officials furious about an attempt on Hamid Karzai’s life said it. The next month of the same year, the Indians, angry about the attack on their own embassy in Kabul, said it repeatedly. In May 2009, then US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said it very smoothly on CBS’s 60 Minutes. In July 2010, tons of leaked Wikileaks cables said it without the veneer of diplomatic parlance. The London School of Economics said it in a well-circulated discussion paper published last fall. The Brookings Institute and the New York Times said it just a couple of weeks ago. And before he said it in September to the US Senate, Admiral Mike Mullen also said it in April, 2011, on his 25th (or was it 26th or 24th) visit to Pakistan, but not as seriously. Now, a recently aired BBC documentary titled Secret Pakistan – Double Cross is saying it to worldwide audiences: Gather your arms! Sound the alarm! Mount your horses! For the Directorate of Inter-Service Intelligence, that 10,000 man strong group of shadow warriors has ‘ties’ to the Taliban. And/or the Haqqani Network. And/or the Sandman. And/or the Martians. And/or whoever else is responsible for the all trouble in Afghanistan. It’s a charming narrative, one that never fails to make global headlines. The counter narrative, however, gets lost, tangled up in its own spin even when it comes from important corners. Last week, Secretary Clinton professed her inadvertent respect for the ISI, admitting to a platoon of Islamabad’s TV anchors that there was no hard evidence of the Pakistani spy agency’s linkage with the recent US embassy attacks. Even cutely disclaiming Admiral Mullen’s “veritable arm” accusations by acknowledging that “every intelligence agency has contacts with unsavoury characters”. But that just made the local news. No fancy documentaries were commissioned there. Too bad. So let’s change things around. Let’s turn the tables. How about a narrative, on the narrative, about Pakistan’s fabled spies, by Pakistan’s fabled spies? “It’s propaganda. Our media can make hundreds of such type interview movies. Regards”. That was the message received upon pinging a ranking ISI official on the day the BBC’s revelations made the news this week. Not an earth-shattering, paradigm shifting response. In fact, it was the expected reply from an intelligence professional, with more counter-intelligence nuance than the ISPR, which had made a longer but similar statement (“highly biased...”) and less passionate than the foreign office’s take (“rubbish...purely a fabrication...”) the same day to rebut the documentary’s claims. So I pushed forward for more. Same agency; different sources; different ambits. Why now, I asked? Aren’t we “back to business” again with the Americans? Hasn’t the “talk-talk” approach won some “operationalised” ground against the “fight-talk” doctrine? We are supposed to be “90-95 percent on the same page”, aren’t we? Heck, aren’t we trading with the Indians now? So why persist with targeting Aabpara? Why play nice with Pakistan, while remaining tough on the ISI? Why separate the agency from the centre? Why the difference? “This is the ISI they [Americans] used in Afghanistan. This is (the) ISI that they deployed to bury the Soviets. Now, the ISI is becoming larger than life for them. They’ve done the same thing to Iran. They declared Iran’s [intelligence] agency rogue after 1979, because it was not reporting to them, but to Iran itself. Same thing is happening now.” Interesting. It’s not often that you hear the ISI compare itself to the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI), formerly known as SAVAMA, the bureau which replaced that old, feared shadow police of the Shah’s regime, the SAVAK. But how is Iran, that lukewarm entity Pakistanis admire but don’t really understand, all of a sudden figuring prominently into Islamabad’s security narrative? The intelligence official’s take was self-evident. “America has forced us for a while [about ties with Iran]. Over years, they have created an unannounced tension between us and Iran. They forced us to remain in the Saudi camp for decades. The “Shia kaafir hai” slogan (“Shi’ites are Infidels”) that created tensions, unannounced tensions, with Iran was raised here in Zia’s time with American approval. Since then, America has wanted us to hurt Iran. No more. Not with our borders and our role in the region. No more.” This is critical. Though it’s debatable how much America “forced” Pakistan, what is for certain is that the self-obsessed, India-centric and America-focused lot that we are, Pakistanis tend to get lost in a narrative of ‘Af-Pak’ that crucially misses out on Iran. But clearly, there is a Persian connection with Pakistan in this strategic conflict. And by the looks of things, it’s getting very sophisticated, much to America’s chagrin. Evidence indicates that the unexpected spike of recent high-level visits between Islamabad and Tehran has put the two neighbours on the same page on several security and economic matters. Iran’s rare recognition, just last week, that there have been no attacks in the last 10 months from the Pakistani side by the separatist group Jundallah, which is known to operate out of Balochistan, is a pat on Islamabad’s back that Tehran has not conceded in a long time. Looking at the list of Jundallah leaders recently nabbed or delivered with Pakistan’s help, it is clear that the ISI has seriously clamped down on its Farsi-speaking neighbour’s Baloch detractors. Additionally, as Jundallah is also reputed to be America-backed, the ‘forced evacuation’ of US intelligence operatives working in this country (in a post-Raymond Davis/post-OBL Pakistan), thus mitigating American potential to covertly threaten Iran, has had a big role to play in the newly invigorated Islamabad-Tehran nexus. Just the very fact that Tehran maintained decorum and silence instead of screaming bloody murder after Burhanuddin Rabbani’s recent assassination, despite close ties with the former Aghan president – unlike Kabul, which outright blamed Islamabad for the killings – shows that Pakistan and Iran, after a while, might finally have strategic congruence in their separate Afghan policies. The cornerstone of which, for both countries (one nuclearised, the other definitely interested in that status), is a quick and comprehensive US/Nato withdrawal from the region. Thus, America is in trouble. In Iraq, the US lost its prospects for a permanent or long-term military presence as the Shi’ite political elite, entrenched in Iran’s corner, didn’t give way. In Afghanistan, the Persian factor, this time delicately gift-wrapped in Pakistan’s khaki cotton, threatens to dismantle the US plans for a permanent military berth in the region. Thus, as the Afghan endgame draws to a close, expect to hear more on this narrative, that the Iranians and the Pakistanis have much to gain from each other. Fighting for its own rights, Pakistan can be inspired by Iran’s famous strategy of loud defiance and discrete regional diplomacy. Iran, on its part, must learn from Pakistan’s shrewd and multilateral dynamism: Keep talking to everyone, and keep everyone else guessing. The writer is former Shorenstein Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and a broadcast/online journalist. @wajskhan on Twitter.Email: wajahat_khan@hks.harvard. edu TheNews
  14. Is it a good time for Pakistan to leave the ranks of puppets (Saudi, Bahrain, Emirates etc..) and join countries like Iran and Turkey or after it's invaded and its nuclear arsenals looted? Act more independent and less harmful to its neighborhoods and Muslim countries? The sooner, the better~~~~~~~~~! Once invaded, the entire puppet circles will stand by the masters, not the fellow ex-puppet. Pakistani Threat Escalates as Imams Call for Jihad The United States' strained relationship with Pakistan has grown more tense after 50 influential imams and religious leaders there threatened a jihad if the U.S. attacks the nuclear-armed country. The threat came as Pakistan seemed to speak from both sides of the mouth. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar insisted to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the government is part of the solution in Afghanistan. "Pakistan is willing to do its best with the international partners and, most notably, the governments of Afghanistan and the United States, to acquit itself of this high responsibility (in Afghanistan)," she told the 193-nation assembly. But her remarks came after Pakistan warned the United States to stop accusing it of playing a double game with Islamist militants and as it showered praise on China. Now the U.S. must deal with the threat of a jihad that security analysts warn would create serious problems for the U.S. as it tries to end violence originating in Pakistan -- and the Pakistani government can't be trusted, even if there's no alternative. The religious leaders threatening jihad are associated with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a coalition of local groups. According to Pakistani news reports, the council issued a press release declaring that it is illegitimate to call the U.S. a superpower because only Allah deserves the title. The scholars urged the Pakistani government to end the country’s role in the war on terrorism and to try to establish a new international bloc made up of China, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. An analyst told FoxNews.com that the threat should be taken seriously. “This must not be discounted,” the analyst said. “This is 50 very influential Imams and religious leaders who want a holy war against the U.S. …and they call for scholars, religious leaders to start urging the military rank-and-file to participate or prepare for jihad or holy war against the U.S. Use of Trojan horses or insiders like we have seen with the CIA will likely increase. “ Walid Phares, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Middle East history, told Fox News that the call by so many clerics is unusual, which means that a significant political force is behind this open call. He said that the fatwa is linked to attacks on Pakistan, which could mean that figures in intelligence circles could be behind it, too. He noted that it comes as jihadi and Taliban attacks are escalating, which could show coordination between cells on the ground and clerics. Last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, linked the Haqqani network, the most violent faction among Taliban militants in Afghanistan, to Pakistan. “The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s internal services intelligence agency,” Mullen said. Pakistan officials have pushed back at allegations their intelligence service was behind the June attack on Intercontinental Hotel and, three months later, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. U.S. defense officials, however, told Fox News they found the cell phones of the Haqqani network attackers who kept the Embassy under siege for 20 hours, and those phones showed the attackers were connected to the ISI. The U.S government has stopped short of calling these incidents acts of war but the State Department is considering whether to list the Haqqani network on its terror list. “Obviously, if the Pakistani government chooses not to take action, we would carefully have to consider how to proceed,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “But it is in our strong interest, we believe, and it is in Pakistan’s strong interest, and we will be most effective, if we can tackle this problem together.” Instead, Pakistani officials invited the Chinese public security minister to Islamabad, sending a message to Washington that if the U.S. pulls back and cuts off aid, estimated at $5 billion a year, others will fill the vacuum. Khar said that current tensions between Pakistan and its partners stemmed in part from the challenges they are all facing in their fight against terrorism. "Given the volatility of the situation, it is perhaps understandable that there is a high level of anxiety and emotions," she said. "But we must not lose sight of the goals," Khar added. "We must work closely and as responsible partners in a cooperative manner and not rush to judgments or question each other's intentions." FoxNews
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