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Showing posts from July, 2010

Most Pakistanis want improved relations with America but want withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan: Pew Survey

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Public Opinion in Pakistan: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips

America's Image Remains Poor
Pew Research Centre, July 29, 2010

Overview

Pakistanis remain in a grim mood about the state of their country. Overwhelming majorities are dissatisfied with national conditions, unhappy with the nation's economy, and concerned about political corruption and crime. Only one-in-five express a positive view of President Asif Ali Zardari, down from 64% just two years ago.

As Pakistani forces continue to battle extremist groups within the country, nearly all Pakistanis describe terrorism as a very big problem. However, they have grown markedly less concerned that extremists might take control of the country.
Last year, at a time when the Pakistani military was taking action against Taliban forces in the Swat Valley within 100 miles of the nation's capital, 69% were very or somewhat worried about extremist groups taking control of Pakistan. Today, just 51% express concern about an extremi…

Point of Rupture

Point of rupture

by Nadeem F. Paracha, Dawn, July 30, 2010

If one is to pick a year from where Pakistan’s political and cultural slide towards a curious faith-based neurosis (and ultimately a socio-political nervous breakdown) began, that year is bound to be 1979.

The lead up to this decisive year was 1977’s military coup against the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government by his own handpicked General (Zia-ul-Haq).

In one of his initial addresses to the nation on PTV, General Zia-ul-Haq suddenly cut away from his written speech, looked up into the camera and claimed that he knew why most people had stopped watching Pakistan Television (PTV): “Mujhey pata hai log ab PTV kyon nahi daikhtay. Chirian jo urr gain” (I know why some people have stopped watching PTV. [It is because] All the birds have flown [from the channel])

While announcing one of his many promises of holding fresh elections, (none of which he would ever fulfill), Zia had persuaded the Jamaat-i-Islami and some conservative anti-Bh…

US Congressional Hearing: Options for reconciliation in Afghanistan

Options for reconciliation in Afghanistan

By Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), The Hill's Congress Blog, July 27, 2010
This morning, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) chaired a hearing on Afghanistan. This is the Committee’s twelfth oversight hearing on U.S. policy toward Afghanistan in the past year and a half. Below are his opening remarks as delivered:

I would like to make a few opening comments and then we’ll proceed with each of the other witnesses. Let me begin by thanking you for coming today to talk to the Committee. I think you can see from the membership today that this is obviously an important issue to the country and to the Congress. There are a lot of questions, which is entirely appropriate. Today’s hearing is really to try and focus on the issue of reconciliation and see what role that might play in achieving a political solution in the end. And I think we have a very thoughtful panel to consider those issues.

I might just comment that this …

Pakistan: An Ally of Necessity

An Ally of Necessity
Over the past nine years, more Pakistani than NATO troops have lost their lives fighting the Taliban.
By HUSAIN HAQQANI, Wall Street Journal JULY 27, 2010

The much publicized leaking of several thousand classified documents relating to the war in Afghanistan may have provided the war's American critics an opportunity to press their objections. It does not, however, make the case against military and political cooperation between the governments of the United States and Pakistan, made necessary by the challenge of global terrorism.

Under elected leaders, Pakistan is working with the U.S. to build trust between our militaries and intelligence agencies. In recent months, Pakistan has undertaken a massive military operation in the region bordering Afghanistan, denying space to Taliban extremists who had hoped to create a ministate with the backing of al Qaeda. Pakistan-Afghanistan relations have been enhanced to an unprecedented degree. And exchanges of intelligen…

Inside the WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks: More US documents coming on Afghan war
By Raphael Satter and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press Writers – Mon Jul 26, 2010

LONDON – The release of some 91,000 secret U.S. military documents on the Afghanistan war is just the beginning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised Monday, adding that he still has thousands more Afghan files to post online.

The White House, Britain and Pakistan have all condemned the online whistle-blowing group's release Sunday of the classified documents, one of the largest unauthorized disclosures in military history. The Afghan government in Kabul said it was "shocked" at the release but insisted most of the information was not new.
The documents cover some known aspects of the troubled nine-year conflict: U.S. special operations forces have targeted militants without trial, Afghans have been killed by accident, and U.S. officials have been infuriated by alleged Pakistani intelligence cooperation with the very insurgent groups b…

Know thy neighbour: good, bad, and ugly

Know thy neighbour: good, bad, and ugly Times of India, 24 July, 2010 The July 15 Islamabad Summit was a failure only for the supremely ambitious South Asian, says Mosharraf Zaidi

The anger that produced Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s press conference lambasting the Indian delegation led by SM Krishna, as Krishna was boarding a plane for New Delhi, comes from a very specific place. It is a place that doesn’t exist in the real world anymore, but is still vividly embedded in the minds of some within the Pakistani establishment. In that old place, Pakistan was the nimble and clever fox, and India was the large, clumsy elephant. That place is 1991.


In 1991, India’s GDP growth was a sorry 1.06 per cent, while Pakistan was chugging along at an impressive 5.06 per cent. This was not an anomaly, but the usual. Before 1991, Pakistan frequently outpaced India’s growth — even though India’s was more even, while Pakistan’s seemed to be on crack, vacillating wildly. Then in 1991, a bunch of retired and on-v…

Kayani, a man for many seasons ?

Kayani, a man for many seasons Shuja Nawaz, Foreign Policy, July 24, 2010 In a timely though perhaps overly dramatic move, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan announced last night on national television the extension of army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for another three years beyond November this year, when his first term was to end. Timely, since any further delay in announcing it would have led to further speculation and confusion about what was to happen. Dramatic, since the normal manner would have been a press release from the Inter Services Relations Directorate. But then this is Pakistan and anything to do with the army chief makes headlines. And this announcement further strengthens the view that the army continues to be a key player even as democracy struggles to establish itself in a country that has been ruled for more than half its life by the military. This is the first time a civilian government has extended an army chief for a full term. In the past, extens…

In New York: Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan
By JON PARELES, New York Times, July 22, 2010

Hands waved overhead. Voices shouted lyrics and whooped with delight. Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders. In the tightly packed crowd a few dancers made room to jump. T-shirts were tossed to fans from the stage.

Yet in the songs that Abida Parveen was singing, saints were praised. They were Islamic saints, the poets and philosophers revered by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam.

It was the first New York Sufi Music Festival, a free three-hour concert on Tuesday in Union Square, and it had music from the four provinces of Pakistan, including traditional faqirs who perform outside temples, Sufi rock and a kind of rapping from Baluchistan.
The concert was presented by a new organization called Pakistani Peace Builders, which was formed after the attempted bombing in Times Square by a Pakistani-American. The group seeks to counteract negative images of Pakistan by presenting a longt…

Protesting the mosque: A post Founding Fathers America

Protesting the mosque: A post Founding Fathers America
Jonathan Hayden, Salon blog, July 21, 2010

Last week protestors poured into the streets of Murfreesboro, TN to voice their displeasure at a proposed new mosque just outside of the city in central Tennessee. Some of the protestors were very clear on why they were opposed to a mosque in their neighborhood. “We’re at war with these people,” said one woman. Local political figures likewise did not mince words. Lou Ann Zelenik, a congressional candidate said Muslims aimed to “fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee."
In a television news report, local Channel 5 reported on a small Muslim community in a rural part of the state. The reporter seemed shocked to find the there were no signs of “anti-American activity” or “flag desecration”. Nor, he told us, were there “reports from neighbors complaining of unexplained gunshots or explosions.”

This animosity towards and suspicion of Islam is by no means restric…

Meet Rahmatullah Nabeel - Afghanistan's new intel boss

Meet Afghanistan's new intel boss
By Kate Clark, AfPak Channel, Foreign Policy, July 19, 2010

The appointment of a new head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS, the country's intelligence agency) has come with a lot less fanfare than the departure of the old one, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned after deep disagreements with the president over policy towards the Taliban. The acting director, Engineer Ibrahim Spinzada, has returned to the shadows and his day job as deputy head of the National Security Council (NSC), leaving one of his protégés, Engineer Rahmatullah Nabeel, in charge of Afghanistan's intelligence apparatus.

Engineer Nabeel is from Wardak and, according to Pajhwok News Agency, was born in 1968. He went to primary school in Kabul, then, after the Soviet invasion, to secondary school in exile in Peshawar. He also studied for a degree in engineering in Peshawar from a private university and then worked as an engineer with NGOs (reportedly in…

Pakistan's Counter-terrorism coordinator steps down: A Setback

Counter-terrorism coordinator steps down
The Express Tribune, July 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Tariq Pervez, has resigned over differences with his bosses on the status of the authority. Pervez wanted the prime minister to be the authority’s chairman and the four provincial chief ministers to be its members, a senior official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

The resignation reads: “I tender my resignation due to personal and pressing circumstances,” the official said, adding that the authority was working under the interior ministry.

The official said that Pervez had submitted his proposals to his bosses in black and white – a move which they did “not appreciate”.

“The rejection of the proposals led Pervez to resign,” the official said, claiming that Pervez wanted to enhance his powers.

The authority, established in December last year, was supposed to come up with a feasible strategy to deal with the de…

Pakistan’s Elite Pay Few Taxes, Widening Gap: Excellent NYT story

Pakistan’s Elite Pay Few Taxes, Widening Gap
By Sabrina Tavernise, July 18, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Much of Pakistan’s capital city looks like a rich Los Angeles suburb. Shiny sport utility vehicles purr down gated driveways. Elegant multistory homes are tended by servants. Laundry is never hung out to dry.

But behind the opulence lurks a troubling fact. Very few of these households pay income tax. That is mostly because the politicians who make the rules are also the country’s richest citizens, and are skilled at finding ways to exempt themselves.

That would be a problem in any country. But in Pakistan, the lack of a workable tax system feeds something more menacing: a festering inequality in Pakistani society, where the wealth of its most powerful members is never redistributed or put to use for public good. That is creating conditions that have helped spread an insurgency that is tormenting the country and complicating American policy in the region.
It is also a sorry perform…

Harvard University award for Mir Ibrahim Rahman

Harvard University award for Mir Ibrahim Rahman of Jang/Geo Group
The News, July 18, 2010

Mir Ibrahim is first Muslim and second South Asian to get this highest award; he was conferred the Lucius N Littauer award earlier; also worked for the Harvard Appointments Committee; honoured to deliver speech at the graduation ceremony representing all students; teachers, students and their parents paid great tributes to Mir Ibrahim Rahman

WASHINGTON: Mir Ibrahim Rahman has joined the distinguished ranks of alumni awarded the Robert F Kennedy Public Service Award from Harvard University, one of the top centres of learning in the world.

Mir is the first Muslim and only the second individual from South Asia to have received this Award. The Award is considered the most prestigious honour for students of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is presented to those who have not only made a mark in the past for their distinguished public service work but also excelled in this field during thei…

‘Data Darbar had to be destroyed because...'

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‘Data Darbar had to be destroyed because of Ibn Taymiyya'
Sunni-Sunni war was much earlier and it reached a peak in 2006 at Nishtar Park, the year the ISI allowed Sipah-e-Sahaba to stage its show of power in Islamabad

Mazhar Jadoon, Viewpoint, July 16, 2010

The Sunni-Sunni war reached a peak in 2006 at Nishtar Park, the year the ISI allowed Sipah-e-Sahaba to stage its show of power in Islamabad, senior journalist and Editor Khaled Ahmed responds to some questions by Viewpoint on the post-Data Darbar attack scenario in Lahore and the menace of sectarian strife in Pakistan.

Viewpoint: Attack on Data Darbar was bloody, but shrines like Bari Imam and many more in Pakhtunkhwa have been attacked in last few years. We have seen attack on Sunni Tehrik in Karachi besides Deobandi-Barelvi riots in Khyber agency. It seems Shia-Sunni strife is now becoming Sunni vs Sunni clash. What do you say?

Khaled Ahmed: Barri Imam was attacked by backers of Lal Masjid through an anti-Shia personality of Ko…

Two insightful articles on the political state of affairs in Pakistan

Owning up to our fake degrees by Mosharraf Zaidi
The News, July 17, 2010

When the nation was aflame with moral outrage last year in November, it was because our collective anger about corruption in Pakistan had seemingly boiled over. The NRO was leading the headlines, and the PPP's lashkar-e-haq, led by the venerable religious and legal scholar, Dr Babar Awan, was producing a steady stream of some of the most creative legal arguments we've ever heard in this, the most creative of Islamic Republic endeavours, ever.
Then, in April this year, Pakistani morality came to know and hate the name Jamshed Dasti. Dasti, an otherwise nothing politician from Southern Punjab, had to resign for having a fake degree, but was still nominated by the PPP, backed by the prime minister, and pulled out another win in the bye-election for NA 178.

The Dasti saga has now generated an entire industry of moral outrage over fake degrees. Pakistan's moral compass is, once again, in full bloom. Fake…

Voices of Sindh

WASHINGTON DIARY: Excerpts from SANA - Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, July 14, 2010

I visited Thar a few years back and have seen Thardeep’s innovative approaches from finding spring water in the middle of the desert to providing electricity using solar energy techniques. If I had to get involved with development work in my area in Punjab, I would adopt many models developed by Thardeep

The Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) maintained its unique distinction of being the only secular organisation of expatriates by inviting the most prominent Sindhi from India, Mr Ram Jethmalani, member of Rajya Sabha and president of the Indian Supreme Court Bar, to its annual convention, held on July 2-5, 2010 in Houston. At 87, Mr Jethmalani, vibrant and kicking, delivered one of the most enticing speeches I have heard in the last few years. In addition to Mr Jethmalani, development star from Thar, Dr Sono Khangharani, nationalist leader Dr Qadir Magsi, notable analysts Mr Zulfiqar Halepota and J…

I just got back from Iran - By Stephen Kinzer

I just got back from Iran
Stephen Kinzer, Huffington Post, July 12, 2010

"I just got back from Iran."

In today's America, that's a conversation-stopper. Those of us able to say it become temporary objects of fascination, like our grandparents would have been if they had visited China or the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Traveling to Iran makes one seem like a bold adventurer on a dangerous foray into enemy territory.

The reality is more prosaic. Although few Americans visit Iran, there is in fact no legal obstacle to doing so. I accompanied a group of American tourists on a thousand-mile, two-week trip through the country. We met no government or opposition leaders, but we were free to talk with ordinary Iranians, and did so at every stop. Because the government has made it difficult for Western journalists to work in Iran, traveling the country this way may now be the best way to gauge its people's mood.

The first thing that strikes Americans who visit Iran is how …

Cricket: "Pakistan’s reputation for producing brilliance from adversity is legend" - Telegraph

Australia take on Pakistan in first neutral Test in England for 98 years

Philanthropy towards Pakistan is not a gesture you would normally expect from cricket’s international community but that is how the first neutral Test in England for 98 years is being promoted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Derek Pringle, Telegraph, UK July 12, 2010

Naturally, Australia, their opponents, see it differently, but it is difficult to reprogramme a team for whom Lord’s motivates on the most primal level.

“Our preparation has been similar to an Ashes Test so the feeling has not been a lot different this time,” Ricky Ponting, Australia’s captain, said. “We haven’t worried too much about the opposition but Lord’s is a great place to play and there’s a lot of excitement around the team.”

If Ponting sounds a mite blasé about his opponents he has every right to after Australia won every game against Pakistan last winter. In fact, the Australians have won their last 12 Tests against them, so anoth…

Police swoop on banned outfits in Punjab - Finally

Police swoop on banned outfits
By Abdul Manan, The Express Tribune, July 12, 2010

LAHORE: Police swooped on supected hideouts of outlawed militant groups in four districts across southern Punjab and rounded up more than three dozen people it claimed were front-ranking cadre of these organisations, officials said on Sunday.

The arrests were made following raids in Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan on the night between Saturday and Sunday. Officials told The Express Tribune that the crackdown was launched silently and without much fanfare.

According to a breakdown, eight suspects were arrested from Sahiwal, 12 from Bahawalpur, around half a dozen from Multan and the rest from Dera Ghazi Khan.

There are however indications that obsolete information was used to carry out clandestine raids on several madrassas and mosques as well as homes of suspected militants. Some police officials confirmed that law enforcement personnel had relied heavily on “outdated lists of sectarian p…

Staving Off Pakistan's Collapse, One Step At A Time

Staving Off Pakistan's Collapse, One Step At A Time
By Steve Hynd, Newshoggers, July 10, 2010

My friend Josh Mull, the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation, has a couple of excellent posts on what he sees as the coming Pakistani meltdown, here and here. I urge you to read both, they're fairly long but will repay close reading because Josh knows Pakistan and it's people at first hand and has the brights to be able to translate that experience into analysis without succumbing to cliche. For my mind, these two posts should be required reading for anyone thinking about Af/Pak and the wider ripples of geopolitics the war in Afghanistan creates.

Josh paints a bleak picture of the future:

Pakistan’s national security policy of supporting terrorist groups and militias as proxies against India, known as "strategic depth," is accelerating out of control, and they are either deliberately or inadvertently engineering a globalized religious war…

Pakistan tries new counterinsurgency strategy in Baluchistan

Pakistan tries new counterinsurgency strategy
Dawn, 10 Jul, 2010

CHAMALANG, Pakistan: With every bag of coal Madad Khan dumps into trucks at this mine reopened with the army's help, Pakistan hopes it is moving closer to quelling a 60-year-old nationalist insurgency in this restive southwest province where Afghan Taliban leaders are rumoured to hide.

Echoing US counterinsurgency strategy in neighbouring Afghanistan, the army has peppered Balochistan with dozens of development projects to win hearts and minds, an effort officials say has accelerated in recent months alongside a push by the federal government to address local grievances.

Pakistan hopes to replicate this counterinsurgency strategy in other areas along the Afghan border where the army is battling a separate rebellion led by the Pakistani Taliban. But like the US effort in Afghanistan, many observers are skeptical Pakistan's recent push in Balochistan will succeed given the deep distrust of the state and security f…

In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine

In India, Castes, Honor and Killings Intertwine
By JIM YARDLEY, New York Times, July 9, 2010

KODERMA, India — When Nirupama Pathak left this remote mining region for graduate school in New Delhi, she seemed to be leaving the old India for the new. Her parents paid her tuition and did not resist when she wanted to choose her own career. But choosing a husband was another matter.

Her family was Brahmin, the highest Hindu caste, and when Ms. Pathak, 22, announced she was secretly engaged to a young man from a caste lower than hers, her family began pressing her to change her mind. They warned of social ostracism and accused her of defiling their religion.

Days after Ms. Pathak returned home in late April, she was found dead in her bedroom. The police have arrested her mother, Sudha Pathak, on suspicion of murder, while the family contends that the death was a suicide.

The postmortem report revealed another unexpected element to the case: Ms. Pathak was pregnant.

“One thing is absolut…

FATA will be merged into Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province - Decision Finalized?

Govt to merge FATA with KP: Haqqani
* Envoy to US says tribal people should not be kept separate because it has already deprived them of basic facilities
By Iqbal Khattak, Daily Times, July 9, 2010

PESHAWAR: The federal government will gradually merge FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistani Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said on Thursday.
The ambassador made these remarks during a radio interview. The proposed merger of the Tribal Areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is supported by the Awami National Party (ANP) but opposed by the tribal elders. “The government’s declared policy is the gradual inclusion of the Tribal Areas into what is now known as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and the idea is that the people of the Tribal Areas should not be kept separate because that separateness has deprived them of schooling, infrastructure and economic opportunities,” he told Radio Mashaal in Prague. It is for the first time that a senior government official has publicly announced a major pol…

When Data sahib turned malamati - By Dr Mohammad Taqi

COMMENT: When Data sahib turned malamati — Dr Mohammad Taqi

Like in Iraq, the al Qaeda-Taliban strategy in Pakistan appears to focus on the existing divisions between the major Islamic sects. The jihadists are attempting to play on the historical religious fault-lines in Pakistani society and trigger internal violence and mayhem

Daily Times, July 8, 2010

“The path of blame has been trodden by some of the sufi sheikhs. Blame has great effect in making the love (for God) sincere. The followers of the Truth (ahle haq) are distinguished by their being the object of vulgar blame (malamat)” — Data Ganj Bakhsh in Kashful Mehjoob.

Professor Reynold Nicholson, in his 1911 translation of the above quoted work, had called the 14th chapter of Kashful Mehjoob (Revelation of the Mystery or Unveiling the Veiled) as the most remarkable one. This is the section where the author Syed Abul Hasan Ali bin Usman bin Ali al-Ghaznavi al-Jullabi al-Hajvery, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh or simply Data sa…

CIA and Pakistan locked in aggressive spy battles

CIA and Pakistan locked in aggressive spy battles
The News, July 07, 2010

WASHINGTON: Publicly, the US credits Pakistan with helping kill and capture many al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Privately, the relationship is often marked by mistrust and double-dealing as Pakistan runs double agents against the CIA and the agency tries to penetrate Pakistan’s closely guarded nuclear programme.

Spying among friends is old news in the intelligence business, but the US-Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts. Any behind-the-scenes trickery could undermine those efforts as well as the long-standing hunt for Osama bin Laden.
One recent incident underscores the schizophrenic relationship between the two countries. Last year, a Pakistani man approached CIA officers in Islamabad, offering to give up secrets of the country’s nuclear programme. To prove he was a trustworthy source, the man claimed he had spent nuclear fuel rods. But suspicious CIA officers quickly c…

War On Terror Should Include Plan To Fight Radicalization

War On Terror Should Include Plan To Fight Radicalization
Times Square bomber warned U.S. to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
Susan Campbell, Hartford Courant, July 4, 2010

The large conference room was filled, and some of the gathered wanted to share stories of indignities suffered at the hands of airport security personnel.

You can't blame them. To be the target of racial profiling is demeaning and worse, but Adil Najam, a Boston University professor with an interest in global public policy, eventually asked for a halt to the litany. There are as many tales of woe as there are people who go to airports, he said, to scattered laughter.

Besides, time was short, and the topic important. "I left Europe to come to this conference and I am heading back to Logan to leave straight from the conference," he said. "To be honest, it makes sense to screen me."

In May, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, of Shelton, tried to set off a bomb in Times Square. He was …

Insights on the U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan

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Newsletter of Centre of Global Development
U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan July 2010

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Center for Global Development's newsletter on U.S. development strategy in Pakistan. Each month, we highlight the latest developments in Washington and in Pakistan, drawing on the work of CGD's Study Group on U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan. In this month's edition: basic principles for effective development aid in Pakistan, development investments in the FATA region, Senators Kerry and Lugar weigh in on the design of the U.S. aid program, and policymakers in Washington and Islamabad seek a solution to Pakistan's energy crisis.

If you find this newsletter useful, we encourage you to forward it to any others who might be interested in receiving future editions. We welcome your comments and feedback. You can reach project director Molly Kinder at mkinder@cgdev.org or (202) 416-0757.

To visit the website, click here

Police struggle to battle militants in Pakistan

Police struggle to battle militants in Pakistan
By SEBASTIAN ABBOT (AP) – July 5, 2010

LAHORE, Pakistan — In Pakistan's heartland of Punjab, the front line force against the surge in Islamic militant attacks is a poorly equipped, incompetent and corrupt police.

And that's only part of the problem.

Police complain powerful Pakistani intelligence agencies fail to share crucial information, while the province's government remains reluctant to act against influential militant groups.

Taliban fighters along the Afghan border orchestrate attacks in Punjab by teaming up with local militants who were once supported by the Pakistani government to fight in Kashmir and Afghanistan. They have turned against their former masters because of the country's close alliance with the U.S.

Lahore, the provincial capital and Pakistan's second largest city, is increasingly targeted. Just two years ago it was rarely blighted by bombings. In the last month alone, attacks have killed at lea…

Ghazi Force: Vengeful new militant group emerges in Pakistan

Vengeful new militant group emerges in Pakistan
Dawn, July 1, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities now believe a dangerous new militant group, out to avenge a deadly army assault on a mosque in Islamabad three years ago, has carried out several major bombings in the capital previously blamed on the Taliban.

The emergence of the Ghazi Force was part of the outrage among many deeply religious Pakistani Muslims over the July 2007 attack by security forces against the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, a stronghold of militants.
The fierce attack, in which scores of young, heavily armed students died, inspired a new generation of militants.

These Pakistanis have turned against a government they felt has betrayed them and, to their dismay, backed the US role in neighboring Afghanistan.

The brief but bloody history of the Ghazi Force illustrates the unintended results of Pakistan's policy of promoting extremists to fight India in the disputed area of Kashmir.

That policy— which Pakistan deni…

Data's Shrine in Lahore Attacked by Suicide Bombers

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Darbar attack shakes Lahore
Dawn, 02 Jul, 2010

LAHORE, July 1: Fear gripped the city on Thursday night after two blasts in the space of a few minutes at Data Darbar left 36 people dead and more than 175 injured. The Lahorites were dazed by the attack at the shrine of a saint who is revered as the true custodian of the city.
The attack came on a Thursday, considered as a holy day by the faithful. On Thursday nights and early hours of Friday, Data Darbar usually bustles with people: men, women and children, from near and far.
The bomb attacks took place despite the fact that tight security arrangements were in place in the metropolis, which on the other hand led to the uneasy feeling that the law enforcers had some intelligence about the possibility of a terror strike in Lahore.
In the days preceding the suicide explosions, the Lahore police had conducted house-to-house searches in many city localities, rounding up scores of people for questioning. The area around Data Saheb was als…