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Showing posts from August, 2006

Assimilation of American Muslims: A Viewpoint

America 's Muslims Aren't as Assimilated as You Think
By Geneive Abdo
Washington Post, August 27, 2006

If only the Muslims in Europe -- with their hearts focused on the Islamic world and their carry-on liquids poised for destruction in the West -- could behave like the well-educated, secular and Americanizing Muslims in the United States , no one would have to worry.

So runs the comforting media narrative that has developed around the approximately 6 million Muslims in the United States, who are often portrayed as well-assimilated and willing to leave their religion and culture behind in pursuit of American values and lifestyle. But over the past two years, I have traveled the country, visiting mosques, interviewing Muslim leaders and speaking to Muslim youths in universities and Islamic centers from New York to Michigan to California -- and I have encountered a different truth. I found few signs of London-style radicalism among Muslims in the United States . At the same time,…

Iran's Centrifuge Program: Defiant but Delayed:ISIS

Iran's Centrifuge Program: Defiant but Delayed
By David Albright and Jacqueline Shire
August 31, 2006: The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)

Despite Iran failing to meet U.S. Security Council demands to halt enrichment, progress at Natanz is slower than expected.

Iran has made limited progress at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant, installing and operating fewer gas centrifuges than expected. Senior Vienna-based diplomats have confirmed to ISIS that Iran may be either delaying deliberately the pace of its work while diplomatic efforts are underway, or is experiencing technical problems with its centrifuge program. It continues to conduct small experiments, and to operate a 164-machine cascade with uranium hexafluoride, but it is not operating this cascade consistently over a sustained period. ISIS has reported previously that Iran appears to be operating the cascade at reduced efficiency and output, yielding smaller quantities of low enriched uranium.

Iran has a…

Pakistani intelligence services and their contributions!

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Intelligence reports hurting careers of civilian bureaucrats
By Ansar Abbasi
The News, August 30, 2006

ISLAMABAD: Reports by intelligence agencies continue to cast a shadow over the careers of civilian bureaucrats, the latest evidence of which was provided by the recent high-powered promotion board meetings that recommended supersession/deferment of different officers, who slipped in the eyes of the spies.

Sources said that during its two days (Aug 28-29) consideration of high-level promotions, the Central Selection Board (CSB) superseded or deferred officers on the basis of intelligence reports.

In certain cases, where one or more members of the CSB on the basis of their personal knowledge challenged the credibility of the agencies' reports on officer(s), the board ignored the intelligence stories and recommended the concerned officers' elevation to higher grade.

In some cases, where there was division in the board about the authenticity of the intelligence report, the CSB reco…

Consequences of Bugti Murder: Ahmed Rashid's Analysis

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Extracts from
Rebel killing raises stakes in Pakistan
Ahmed Rashid
BBC August 30, 2006

Senior politicians say that Mr Musharraf's lack of understanding about the Baloch issue, his underestimation of the growing sense of alienation in all the smaller provinces and the attack on his ego when his helicopter was fired upon by Baloch rebels last December, all contributed to his helping him take the decision to kill Bugti.

The army argues that millions have been spent in development, but projects such as the building of the Gawadar port, the building of cantonments and even new roads do not necessarily benefit ordinary Baloch.

The projects are defined by the army and its national security needs, rather than through consultations with the Baloch or even the Balochistan provincial assembly. Then the projects are carried out by outside companies who give few jobs to the Baloch.

There is an ever-deepening political crisis in Pakistan which the death of Bugti will only exacerbate.

Many people s…

Future of Pakistan?

Extracts from
WASHINGTON DIARY: A murder foretold? —Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, August 30, 2006

We were sharing the experiences of an expert from an international organisation who has recently visited Pakistan and some areas of Afghanistan. When someone broke the news of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing, it seemed to be part of his presentation to be fully revealed to the audience after a prologue. As if it was to prove his point that Pakistan’s map may go through changes in the not-too-distant future.

He disclosed that he had been to several seminars where international speakers mentioned Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as part of Central Asia and Sindh and Punjab as part of Indian civilisation. He was asked about a recent article by Peter Ralph that discussed new alignments in the region, however he had not heard about it, and emphasised that he was not referring to a single person or a single seminar but an emerging pattern of thinking which indicated that, sooner o…

A Patriotic Act

Nasim Zehra's Statement Declining Acceptance of Sitara-i-Imtiaz

To protest the dreadful act of the killing of a Pakistani political leader Sardar Akbar Bugti by Pakistan's security forces, I decline to accept the Sitara-i-Imtiaz for which I was nominated by the President of Pakistan on August 14. It is with deep personal regret that I take this decision since national awards are a symbol of honor and a matter of immense pride and gratitude. At this juncture protesting the State's proclivity to opt for use of force to settle complex political problems, must take precedence over matters of personal consideration.

Unfortunately in the latest round of a two year long Baluchistan-Centre crisis those elements finally won on August 26 who all along believed that force was the way to settling the current crisis. The militaristic elements trumped those within the system who were pushing for a political resolution through the Parliamentary Committee on Baluchistan.

Clearly our foremost…

Fiction from the Frontlines of War on Terror

Fiction from the Frontlines
Newsline, August 2006
Journalists cashed in on the demand for sensational stories during the US-led war in Afghanistan by interviewing fake Taliban and Al Qaeda members and quoting "anonymous" sources.
By Amir Zia

Islamabad 2001: A Pakistani journalist was urging a retired army officer on telephone to pose as a serving Inter-Services Intelligence official and give an interview to the bureau chief of a leading western wire agency as an anonymous source. After arguing with the retired official for several minutes in a mix of Urdu and Punjabi, the journalist finally called out to his bureau chief saying that his ISI source was on the line.

An hour after the telephone interview, the western agency filed a sensational story about the divide within the ranks of Pakistan's military establishment and ISI's opposition to President Pervez Musharraf's decision to withdraw support to the Afghan Taliban.

The story was a hit - and so was the stringer who …

Gen. Abiaid should inform his hosts how the US military is subserviant to its democratic leadership

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Picture source: www.centcom.mil

Pakistan, US to improve military cooperation
Online: August 29, 2006

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan and the US decided on Monday to take defence and military cooperation to another level.

The decision was made at a meeting between General John P Abizaid, commander of the US Central Command, and Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Saleem Hayat. Sources said that both sides had agreed to bolster defence relations. Gen Abizaid held out his assurance that the US would train the Pakistani military. He acknowledged Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Gen Abizaid will meet President General Pervez Musharraf today (Tuesday). online

India and Pakistan palying their Great Game in Baluchistan

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India, Pakistan playing their ‘Great Game’
Josy Joseph
Daily News and Analysis; August 28, 2006

A DNA Analysis

NEW DELHI: For long, Pakistan has accused India of fuelling rebellion in Baluchistan. India has vehemently denied any involvement, though it has in recent past and on Monday made statements against Pakistan’s suppression of the rebels.

Pakistan accuses India of using its missions in Afghanistan to train Baluch rebels and arming them. India has reasons to fuel trouble in Pakistan’s biggest province: in the short-run it would keep Pakistan engaged and troubled, and would stymie its ability to focus further on Kashmir. It looks perfectly like the South Asian dog-eat-dog world of counter-intelligence and covert operations.

There has never been any credible evidence to prove Pakistan’s claims, but there is no reason to believe Indian agencies are not interested in Baluch rebels. It is a fact that India for long has been closely watching the situation in Baluchistan due to its strategic …

"Kashmir on the Thames": British - Pakistanis in Focus

Kashmir on the Thames: London Broil
by Peter Bergen & Paul Cruickshank
August 25, 2006: The New Republic

London, England
In New Year's Eve in 1999, Islamist militants had plenty to celebrate. At the Taliban-controlled Kandahar airport, a planeload of hostages was being swapped for terrorists held in India. The hijackers--Kashmiri militants--had managed to secure the freedom of three key allies. Two, Maulana Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, were Pakistani; but the third, a man named Omar Sheikh, was the scion of a wealthy British Pakistani family and had studied at the London School of Economics.

That a British citizen figured so prominently in the Kandahar hostage crisis was disturbing but far from anomalous. The eleven people charged this week with conspiring to blow up planes using liquid explosives are all British citizens. So were the terrorists who attacked London in 2005, almost all of the plotters who allegedly conspired to detonate a fertilizer bomb in England i…

"Bugti’s killing is the biggest blunder since Bhutto’s execution"

Extracts from Daily Times Editorial: August 29, 2006

Whoever in the national security establishment decided to eliminate Nawab Bugti physically is clueless about the force of politics, history and nationalism. Clearly, this was a politically inopportune moment for it. Most of what the opposition will say about the killing of Mr Bugti is going to gibe with what leading PMLQ politicians have felt: that the deadlock in Balochistan should not be resolved through military action. The ruling party is already bedevilled with rifts that President Pervez Musharraf is hard put to control. With the barrage of violent statements that are bound to come from the opposition these rifts are going to be more difficult to paper over. Nawab Bugti, already 80 plus, wanted a heroic death for many personal, provincial and extra-provincial reasons. Whoever took military action against him has granted him his wish to be a martyr. This is a political nightmare that the PMLQ will find hard to handle here and no…

US General Abizaid says Pakistan Not Aiding Taliban

Abizaid says Pakistan not aiding Taliban
Online News, Islamabad

KABUL: A coalition air strike in southern Afghanistan killed a Taliban commander and 15 other militants, the U.S. military said.

A top American general, meanwhile, said insurgents are still using neighboring Pakistan as a base for infiltration.

Insurgents killed a NATO-led coalition soldier in southern Helmand province Sunday, NATO said. It did not provide the soldier’s nationality or details of the clash. Another NATO soldier and six Afghan troops were wounded when mortars hit their base in neighboring Kandahar province Sunday, NATO said.

Two French soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in the volatile east on Friday, while at least 13 other insurgents were killed in clashes with police and NATO in the south, the U.S. military said.

On Saturday, Canadian troops in the south mistakenly killed a policeman and wounded six other people, including two civilians, according to NATO.

Afghanistan is experiencing its worst bou…

Crisis in Baluchistan

August 28, 2006 Christian Science Monitor
A rebel's killing roils Pakistan
By David Montero

QUETTA, PAKISTAN – For years, Nawab Mohammed Akbar Khan Bugti battled the Pakistan Army. The 80-year-old renegade hidden in the mountains of Balochistan became a legend in his fight for greater autonomy against what he saw as colonial brutality.
Bugti was both hated and revered. But as a former federal minister and governor, he symbolized a political as well as a violent struggle. And his death this weekend, during a fierce three-day battle that left more than 30 dead, could prove a serious blow to Pakistan's stability.

"This is not a good sign," says Samina Ahmed, South Asia director of the International Crisis Group. "Just a few years ago [Nawab Bugti] was talking to the government. Keeping that door open was the way to go. Now that door has been slammed shut."

Bugti's death could also reverberate in the region, some analysts say. The Balochis are spread across se…

Bugti Killed in a military operation: This is pure murder and blood is on Musharraf's hands

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BBC - August 26, 2006
Pakistan says key rebel is dead

Tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti has been killed in a battle between tribal militants and government forces in Balochistan province, Pakistan says.
The battle near his mountain hideout in south-west Pakistan also caused heavy casualties on both sides, reports say.

More than 20 soldiers and at least 30 rebels died, officials say.

The octogenarian has been at the head of a tribal campaign to win political autonomy and a greater share of revenue from Balochistan's gas reserves.


"It is confirmed, Nawab Bugti has been killed in an operation," Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani told Reuters news agency.

The battle reportedly took place near the town of Dera Bugti, not far from Mr Bugti's hideout.

One report said government forces had targeted between 50 and 80 rebel fighters, after being led to the area by an intercepted satellite phone call.

Mineral-rich

Balochistan is Pakistan's biggest province, and is said …

Pakistan's balancing act

Excerpts from
Pakistan's Awkward Balancing Act on Islamic Militant Groups
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service; August 26, 2006; A10

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- For the past five years, Pakistan has pursued a risky, two-sided policy toward Islamic militancy, positioning itself as a major ally in the Western-led war against global terrorism while reportedly allowing homegrown Muslim insurgent groups to meddle in neighboring India and Afghanistan.

"The conundrum for the military still persists," said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani army general. "The question always is, should we totally ban these organizations or keep them for later use?" Although the government has "selectively" prosecuted extremist groups, he said, "at the conceptual level, it has deliberately followed an ambiguous policy."

The basic problem for Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is that he is trying to please two irreconcilable groups. Abroad, the leade…

"Army or Armed Mob"?: A Point to Ponder

Discipline in the army, as I knew it
Kamran Shafi
The News, August 26, 2006

Or shall we call it the 'rule of law' that I saw as a young officer in this same army, in which these days if a traffic policeman issues a ticket to a young officer he risks being thrashed by a truck-full of troops which the young lout will have whistled up from his unit lines (this happened to a motorway policeman some years ago). When, indeed, witnesses who might cite an officer for a breach of the law will themselves be dealt with in a harsh manner such as the Multan shopkeeper whose shop was declared out of bounds for all ranks in military parlance just because he sided with a traffic policeman who tried to stop two young officers from riding their motor-cycle up a one-way street.

I was commissioned in May 1966 and because of the just-ended 1965 war found myself promoted to lieutenant within six months, in which lofty rank I very soon found myself the senior subaltern of my battalion, a venerated old…

An intriguing idea: Redrawing the Muslim World Map!

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Redrawn map for Muslim world
By Khalid Hasan
Daily Times, august 26, 2006

WASHINGTON: Muslim circles have expressed alarm and disgust at the publication of a redrawn Muslim world in a journal closely linked to the US armed forces.

The Armed Forces Journal, which has published the redrawn map of the world of Islam, along with a long explanatory article, is published by the Army Times Publishing Company, a part of Gannett Company, Inc, the world’s largest publisher of professional military and defence periodicals.

The proposed scheme places Pakistan on the chopping block. According to the plan, “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Balochistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan — a region with a historical and linguistic affinity for Persia. Iran would, in effect, become an ethnic Persian state again, with the most difficult question being whether or not i…

Does the India-Pakistan peace talks have a future?

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Does the India-Pakistan peace talks have a future?
From www.moneycontrol.com; August 24, 2006

Has the Mumbai bomb blasts torn apart whatever progress was made with the peace process with Pakistan? Or has it just been derailed for a bit and will soon be back on track? At the best of times, the relationship India and Pakistan share is patchy and stormy in parts. So, when terrorist attacks start getting exported to far corners of India, and all fingers of suspicion point at Pakistan, it seems like the peace process may have been damaged yet again. But Pakistan keeps claiming that the terrorism is something that India keeps playing up to a resolving the Kashmir issue. Even the US sides with them and says that there is no proof that Pakistan is involved in the blasts.

But India does have a legitimate grievance whether Pakistan or the United States choses to acknowledge that. Predictably, Pakistani MP, Minu Bhandara says that these accusations are unfounded and that Pakistan is always the fir…

Reflection of a Dangerous Trend & Islamophobia of Muslims

Daily Times, August 25, 2006
Attempted murder of Ghamidi’s magazine editor: Cops say street crime, others disagree
By Shahnawaz Khan

LAHORE: Police officials investigating the attempted murder of Ishraq Editor Manzoorul Hassan have been trying to establish that the incident was a routine street crime, but sources have told Daily Times that this might have been part of a larger ploy to bring down proponents of moderate Islam like Hassan and Al-Mawrid Institute President Javed Ahmad Ghamidi.

Two unidentified individuals shot Hassan outside the Al-Mawrid building in Model Town, Lahore on Thursday, and Hassan is reported to be in critical condition. Ghamidi’s family and others close to Hassan have refused to divulge any details about his condition or disclose the name of the hospital he is being treated at.

However, police officers investigating Hassan’s attempted murder were still trying to establish whether this was an attempted assassination or a bungled robbery, sources told Daily Times on…

Manmohan Singh and his brother!

An obsession with opulence
Kamila Hyat
The News, August 24, 2006

There was an astonishing piece of news recently from India. No, the small news item, buried within the inner columns of most newspapers, did not concern miraculously sweetened sea water, or any other such event. The item reported on the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's brother had arrived at his official residence in a smoke-belching New Delhi rickshaw, and unassumingly told security men on duty at the gates that he wished to see his brother.

Still more bizarrely, at least for those of us living in Pakistan, after being informed, the prime minister himself had rushed down to the gates barefoot, greeted his brother warmly and rather than dismissing or at least berating the security staff, apologised to them for failing to inform them of the guest's expected arrival.

It later transpired that Mr Manmohan Singh had forgotten to send a car to collect his brother from the rail station, where he had arrived on boa…

Honoring Justice Rana Bhagwandas

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Hindu Judge is Pakistan's acting chief justice
Indo-Asian News Service : August 23

Justice Rana Bhagwandas, a Hindu, took oath here on Wednesday as acting chief justice of Pakistan in the absence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who left on a foreign tour.

Justice Bhagwandas, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after the chief justice of Pakistan, had held this temporary charge in September last year too.

Born Dec 20, 1942 in Sindh, Justice Bhagwandas joined the Pakistan judicial service in July 1967.

He was elevated to the Pakistan High Court in 1994 and joined the Supreme Court in 2000.

Justice Bhagwandas is the second non-Muslim judge in Pakistan to reach the top position in the judiciary.

Justice AR Cornelius, a Christian , had served as the chief justice during 1960-68.

He is considered an expert on constitutional law . Besides graduation in law, he has also done his masters in Islamic Studies.

Breakthrough in Waziristan?

Dawn, August 23, 2006
Breakthrough in Waziristan
By Ismail Khan

PESHAWAR, Aug 22: The government and militants in the restive North Waziristan agency are close to signing a peace agreement on Friday, according to credible sources. “August 25 will be like a red-letter day; both sides are keen to sign the peace agreement on Friday”, the sources said.

Militants in the volatile tribal region confirmed the development but said that some details needed to be worked out. “We hope to be able to get the deal on Friday,” a militant said requesting not to be named.

Administrator of North Waziristan, Dr Fakhr-i-Alam and members of the inter-tribal grand jirga would be the signatories to the peace agreement, with the latter standing in for the militants, the sources said.

Incidentally, the unilaterally extended one-month ceasefire announced by militants also expires on Friday. Earlier, militants had indicated their willingness to extend the ceasefire for another two months to allow the tribal jirga more…

Dr AQ Khan diagnosed with prostate cancer

The News, August 22, 2006
Dr AQ Khan diagnosed prostate cancer

ISLAMABAD: Pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan on Tuesday was diagnosed with prostate cancer, reports said.

The cancer was detected during a routine medical test in early August and confirmed by a detailed examination at the Khan Research Laboratory hospital near Islamabad, the statement said.

"The results have unfortunately indicated adino-carcinoma (cancer) of prostate. Further investigations are being conducted by a board of doctors," it said.

"Keep Pakistan on Our Side"

August 20, 2006
Keep Pakistan on Our Side
By RICHARD L. ARMITAGE and KARA L. BUE
Washington

IN the wake of the foiled terror plot in London involving British Muslims with Pakistani connections, all eyes are again on Pakistan as the breeding ground for terrorists. While the arrests may serve as proof to some that the country cannot be relied on as an ally in our fight against Islamic extremism, we would argue that the recent events should harden our resolve to support it.

On Sept. 12, 2001, the United States gave Pakistan a stark choice — be with us or against us. Understanding the dangers and opportunities of this choice, President Pervez Musharraf chose to stand with America, and since then he has taken tremendous steps to fight Islamic extremists and move Pakistan toward enlightened moderation.

Pakistan has worked closely with the United States, sharing intelligence and capturing and handing over many terrorists, including top Al Qaeda leaders. It has sent more than 70,000 troops to the A…

"Its the Policy Stupid": Political Islam and the US Foreign Policy

It's the Policy, Stupid Political Islam and US Foreign Policy
John L. Esposito is University Professor of Religion & International Affairs and Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. He is the author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and co-author with Dalia Mogahed of Can You Hear Me Now? Listening to the Voices of 1 Billion Muslims (forthcoming).

US foreign policy and political Islam today are deeply intertwined. Every US president since Jimmy Carter has had to deal with political Islam; none has been so challenged as George W. Bush. Policymakers, particularly since 9/11, have demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to distinguish between radical and moderate Islamists. They have largely treated political Islam as a global threat similar to the way that Communism was perceived. However, even in the case of Communism, foreign policymakers eventually moved from an ill-informed, broad-brush, …