opinion


The Imran Khan Jalsa was impressive. Regardless of whether you choose to support him or not… one has to give credit to the man for people showing up to show support from every walk of life and economic strata with no one misbehaving. Goes to show how hungry Pakistanis are for change and for a leader to bring them out of the abyss that Pakistan has fallen into. On Twitter it was amusing to see so much dialogue on whether he is the future or not. PTI supporters are quick to aggressively cut down and /or humiliate anyone who dares question the great Khan (which is worrying…after all we are all pushing for democracy….right?) while the anti Khan’s were hanging on every word hoping that some solid strategies and policies would be clearly marked out as to how the Khan wants to achieve what he is promising to do. Mr Khan’s speech was a bit disappointing to say the least. And though entertaining in a private setting… a potential world leader to be calling Mrs Clinton Chachi Clinton was not the way to behave. Playing to the galley one can understand but surely if one is expecting change, then one would hope that the change would be right from the beginning and teaching the awam that being respectful while having intelligent discourse is something Pakistan and Pakistanis are capable of .

Don’t get me wrong. I have admired Imran Khan for his cricket and of course his fabulous work with SKMT. Not sure of his abilities to run a country. But … if he has that much support…then maybe it may be a good idea for people to come on board to support and hold him accountable so he doesn’t make the same mistakes and fail the way Musharraf did. He clearly is popular… we ALL want change…. we are happy to watch and criticize but that’s a good thing. Imran Khan would do well to listen to all the critics and sift out the valid rational concerns from the rabbit “I hate because I love to hate him” critics. I for one would love to see someone come and turn this country into the kind of nation one feels proud to be a citizen of at the international forum instead of only being known for our weaknesses.  If that is to be Imran Khan … and I say IF…. then please… take note of the genuine concerns of those who also want change… and address them too.

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so today was exciting. My twitter feed was a flutter to put it mildly… have to say I missed the action as I was fast asleep when everything went down. In fact before turning the tv on, I browsed through the paper and saw the story of the helicopter going down somewhere in Abbottabad and didn’t think twice about it … though @realvirtual unwittingly became a live tweeter to the event. That’s what I love about Twitter…how you could be randomly just reporting things as you see them and it turns out to be the event of the decade!! In sleepy Abbottabad no less which has been described by Western journalists as a suburb of Islamabad. Idiots. then again Geography was never their strong point.

So the OBL story has finally been laid to rest. Of course the conspiracy theorists are having a field day and many believe this is all hogwash. The man was probably dead for years but they couldn’t let the info out as how would one justify the ongoing presence of US soldiers in the area. Many things don’t add up about the case. Lets say for argument’s sake that they really thought this was OBL and Uncle Sam radioed the boys on the ground and asked them to mosey their boodies down there and put a bullet in the devil’s head. Which apparently they did. But then why the rush to “bury the body at sea”? Wouldn’t they WANT to prove to everyone they had indeed finally gotten this evil evil man if they had him? So they didn’t want to be attacked and have the corpse looked at as a martyr… how about flying the corpse out to Batagram  ? Afghanistan? which by the way was what was reported till later reports came in on the corpse being buried at sea. The question is WHY? why the rush? then some picture was released off the man on Express tv and it looked like a bang up photo shop job… and the US conducted this operation on our territory? again? do they still have a free hand to conduct drone attacks? If we are giving them this much freedom why not just ask them to take over the country ….maybe they could set us straight. Why even pretend?  at the end of this eventful day….. all that we are left with really are more questions than answers. And all the US has is another body added to their growing body count of corpses

For your perusal I am also attaching links to some articles that may be worth reading as well as posting here

Bin Laden killed: How it happened

More details have now emerged of how al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was found and killed at a fortified compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad in north-west Pakistan.

The compound is a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy, an elite military training centre, which is being described as Pakistan’s equivalent to Britain’s Sandhurst or the West Point academy in the US.

There were conflicting reports about the compound’s distance from the academy, with Pakistan’s military saying they are as much as 4km (2.4 miles) apart.

In any case the compound lies well within Abbottabad’s military cantonment, and it is likely the area would have had a constant and significant military presence and checkpoints.

Pakistan’s army chief is a regular visitor to the academy, where he attends graduation parades.

The operation against Osama Bin Laden began at about 2230 (1730 GMT) and lasted about 45 minutes, military sources told BBC Urdu. Two or three helicopters were seen flying low over the area. Witnesses say they caused panic among local residents.

One report of the operation emerged in real-time: Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant living in Abbottabad, posted on Twitter at about 0100 (2100 GMT) that a helicopter was hovering above the city.

He continued tweeting as the operation unfolded before eventually realising: “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.

Barbed wire and cameras

The target of the operation was the compound, which had at its centre a large three-storey building.

Continue reading the main story

Abbottabad

  • Abbottabad – known as “city of pines”- is a small town nestled in the beautiful lush, green hills of north-west Pakistan.
  • It is an agricultural community, but with a population of about 120,000, it provides a centre for many of the neighbouring villages
  • It is a military garrison town and has one of Pakistan’s most prestigious training academies
  • It takes its name from British Major James Abbott who founded it in 1853 after he annexed the Punjab area

When the helicopters – which had reportedly flown from Afghanistan – landed outside the compound, men emerged from the aircraft. The raid was conducted by a special team of between 20 and 25 US Navy Seals.

People living in the area, known as Thanda Choha, told BBC Urdu that they were commanded in Pashto to switch off their lights and not to leave their homes.

Shortly afterwards residents said they heard shots being fired and the sound of heavy firearms.

At some point in the operation one of the helicopters crashed, either from technical failure or having been hit by gunfire from the ground. But no US commandos were injured.

The compound was about 3,000 sq yds in size but people from the area told the BBC that it was surrounded by 14ft-high walls, so not much could be seen of what was happening inside.

The walls were topped by barbed wire and contained cameras.

There were two security gates at the compound – said to have been valued at about $1m (£600,000) – but no phone or internet lines running into the building.

Its occupants were so concerned about security that they were reported to burn their rubbish rather than leave it out for collection as other residents in the area did.

‘Waziristan Mansion’

After the operation witnesses said all they could see was fire snaking up from inside the house.

Osama Bin Laden did resist the assault and was killed in battle, US officials told White House reporters. The al-Qaeda leader was shot in the head.

The officials described the operation as a “surgical raid” and said three adult males, including Bin Laden’s adult son, were killed. But, they added, a woman who was being used as a shield was also killed.

According to local residents speaking to BBC Urdu the forces conducting the operation later emerged from the compound, possibly with somebody who had been inside.

Some reports say Bin Laden’s body was then flown to Afghanistan before eventually being laid to rest at sea.

Local residents say that women and children were also living in the compound.

One local resident told the BBC Urdu that the house had been built by a Pashtun man about 10 or 12 years ago. The resident said that none of the locals were aware of who was really living there. However, the New York Times said US officials believed that the house was specially built in 2005.

According to one local journalist, the house was known in the area as Waziristani Haveli – or Waziristan Mansion.

The journalist said it was owned by people from Waziristan, the mountainous and inhospitable semi-autonomous tribal area close to the Afghan border, which until now most observers believed to be Bin Laden’s hiding place.

This house was in a residential district of Abbottabad’s suburbs called Bilal Town and known to be home to a number of retired military officers from the area.

Intelligence officials in the US are quoted by AP as saying that the house was custom-built to harbour a major “terrorist” figure.

‘Trusted’ courier

Compound in AbbottabadPolice walk past the compound where the battle took place

As details of the raid emerged it became clear that the operation had been long in the planning. US officials said they received intelligence that Osama Bin Laden might be in that compound as long ago as last summer.

CIA experts analysed whether the “high value target” living at the compound could be anyone else but they decided in the end that it was almost certainly Bin Laden.

US intelligence agents focussed in particular on one of Bin Laden’s couriers – a man identified as a protege of captured al-Qaeda commander Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The courier’s pseudonym was reportedly given to US interrogators by detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, US media reported.

He appeared to be one of the few couriers completely trusted by Osama Bin Laden, who helped keep the al-Qaeda figurehead in touch with the rest of the world.

For years US intelligence had been unable to name the courier. But four years ago they worked out who he was and two years later they discovered where he operated.

It was only in August 2010 that they located him in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The order to carry out the mission was finally given by President Obama last Friday, after he had held five National Security Council meetings in March and April.

US officials described as “extraordinary” the security measures in the Abbottabad compound – among them high walls and barricades, very few windows, and a 7ft high privacy wall on the second floor.

After the US attack Pakistani troops arrived at the scene and secured the area.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13257330

Yet another article I post below supports an idea the conspiracy theorists love.

Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?

By SUE REID
Last updated at 10:59 PM on 11th September 2009

The last time we heard a squeak from him was on June 3 this year.

The world’s most notorious terrorist outsmarted America by releasing a menacing message as Air Force One touched down on Saudi Arabian soil at the start of Barack Obama’s first and much vaunted Middle East tour.

Even before the new President alighted at Riyadh airport to shake hands with Prince Abdullah, Bin Laden’s words were being aired on TV, radio and the internet across every continent.

Osama in October 2001Genuine picture: Osama Bin Laden in October 2001

It was yet another propaganda coup for the 52-year-old Al Qaeda leader. In the audiotape delivered to the Arab news network Al Jazeera, Bin Laden said that America and her Western allies were sowing seeds of hatred in the Muslim world and deserved dire consequences.

It was the kind of rant we have heard from him before, and the response from British and U.S. intelligence services was equally predictable.

They insisted that the details on the tape, of the President’s visit and other contemporary events, proved that the mastermind of 9/11, America’s worst ever terrorist atrocity, was still alive – and that the hunt for him must go on.

Bin Laden has always been blamed for orchestrating the horrific attack – in which nearly 3,000 people perished – eight years ago this week. President George W. Bush made his capture a national priority, infamously promising with a Wild West flourish to take him ‘dead or alive’.

The U.S. State Department offered a reward of $50million for his whereabouts. The FBI named him one of their ten ‘most wanted’ fugitives, telling the public to watch out for a left-handed, grey-bearded gentleman who walks with a stick.

Bin LadenFake? Bin Laden two months later, when he was supposedly dead

Yet this master terrorist remains elusive. He has escaped the most extensive and expensive man-hunt in history, stretching across Waziristan, the 1,500 miles of mountainous badlands on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Undeterred, Barack Obama has launched a fresh operation to find him. Working with the Pakistani Army, elite squads of U.S. and British special forces were sent into Waziristan this summer to ‘hunt and kill’ the shadowy figure intelligence officers still call ‘the principal target’ of the war on terror.

This new offensive is, of course, based on the premise that the 9/11 terrorist is alive. After all, there are the plethora of ‘Bin Laden tapes’ to prove it.

Yet what if he isn’t? What if he has been dead for years, and the British and U.S. intelligence services are actually playing a game of double bluff?

What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake – and that he is being kept ‘alive’ by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?

Incredibly, this is the breathtaking theory that is gaining credence among political commentators, respected academics and even terror experts.

Of course, there have been any number of conspiracy theories concerning 9/11, and it could be this is just another one.

But the weight of opinion now swinging behind the possibility that Bin Laden is dead – and the accumulating evidence that supports it – makes the notion, at the very least, worthy of examination.

The theory first received an airing in the American Spectator magazine earlier this year when former U.S. foreign intelligence officer and senior editor Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor of international relations at Boston University, stated bluntly: ‘All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.’

9/119/11: Bin Laden originally insisted in official press statements that he had played no role in the atrocity

Prof Codevilla pointed to inconsistencies in the videos and claimed there have been no reputable sightings of Bin Laden for years (for instance, all interceptions by the West of communications made by the Al Qaeda leader suddenly ceased in late 2001).

Prof Codevilla asserted: ‘The video and audio tapes alleged to be Osama’s never convince the impartial observer,’ he asserted. ‘The guy just does not look like Osama. Some videos show him with a Semitic, aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one. Next to that, differences between the colours and styles of his beard are small stuff.’

There are other doubters, too. Professor Bruce Lawrence, head of Duke University’s religious studies’ department and the foremost Bin Laden expert, argues that the increasingly secular language in the video and audio tapes of Osama (his earliest ones are littered with references to God and the Prophet Mohammed) are inconsistent with his strict Islamic religion, Wahhabism.

He notes that, on one video, Bin Laden wears golden rings on his fingers, an adornment banned among Wahhabi followers.

Bin Laden
Bin Laden

Bin Laden in 1998 (l) and, allegedly, in 2002: Sceptics have pointed to a thicker nose and the ring on his right hand as proof it is an imposter

This week, still more questions have been raised with the publication in America and Britain of a book called Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

Written by political analyst and philosopher Professor David Ray Griffin, former emeritus professor at California’s Claremont School of Theology, it is provoking shock waves – for it goes into far more detail about his supposed death and suggests there has been a cover-up by the West.

The book claims that Bin Laden died of kidney failure, or a linked complaint, on December 13, 2001, while living in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora mountains close to the border with Waziristan.

His burial took place within 24 hours, in line with Muslim religious rules, and in an unmarked grave, which is a Wahhabi custom.

The author insists that the many Bin Laden tapes made since that date have been concocted by the West to make the world believe Bin Laden is alive. The purpose? To stoke up waning support for the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To understand Griffin’s thesis, we must remember the West’s reaction to 9/11, that fateful sunny September day in 2001. Within a month, on Sunday, October 7, the U.S. and Britain launched massive retaliatory air strikes in the Tora Bora region where they said ‘prime suspect’ Bin Laden was living ‘as a guest of Afghanistan’.

This military offensive ignored the fact that Bin Laden had already insisted four times in official Al Qaeda statements made to the Arab press that he played no role in 9/11.

Indeed, on the fourth occasion, on September 28 and a fortnight after the atrocity, he declared emphatically: ‘I have already said I am not involved. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge… nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act.’

Within hours of the October 7 strikes by the U.S. on Tora Bora, Bin Laden made his first ever appearance on video tape. Dressed in Army fatigues, and with an Islamic head-dress, he had an assault rifle propped behind him in a broadly lit mountain hideout. Significantly, he looked pale and gaunt.

Although he called President George W. Bush ‘head of the infidels’ and poured scorn on the U.S., he once again rejected responsibility for 9/11.

‘America was hit by God in one of its softest spots. America is full of fear, from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that.’

Then came a second videotape on November 3, 2001. Once again, an ailing Bin Laden lashed out at the United States. He urged true Muslims to celebrate the attacks – but did not at any time acknowledge he had been involved in the atrocity.

And then there was silence until December 13, 2001 – the date Griffin claims Bin Laden died. That very day, the U.S. Government released a new video of the terror chief. In this tape, Bin Laden contradicted all his previous denials, and suddenly admitted to his involvement in the atrocity of 9/11.

The tape had reportedly been found by U.S. troops in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, after anti-Taliban forces took over the city. A label attached to it claimed that it had been made on November 9, 2001.

BushBush made Bin Laden’s capture a national priority, claiming he could get his man – dead or alive

The tape shows Bin Laden talking with a visiting sheik. In it, he clearly states that he not only knew about the 9/11 atrocities in advance, but had planned every detail personally.

What manna for the Western authorities! This put the terrorist back in the frame over 9/11. The Washington Post quoted U.S. officials saying that the video ‘offers the most convincing evidence of a connection between Bin Laden and the September 11 attacks’.

A euphoric President Bush added: ‘For those who see this tape, they realise that not only is he guilty of incredible murder, but he has no conscience and no soul.’

In London, Downing Street said that the video was ‘conclusive proof of his involvement’. The then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, added: ‘There is no doubt it is the real thing. People can see Bin Laden there, making those utterly chilling words of admission about his guilt for organising the atrocities of September 11.’

Yet Professor Griffin claims this ‘confessional’ video provokes more questions than answers. For a start, the Bin Laden in this vital film testimony looks different.

He is a weighty man with a black beard, not a grey one. His pale skin had suddenly become darker, and he had a different shaped nose. His artistic hands with slender fingers had transformed into those of a pugilist. He looked in exceedingly good health.

Furthermore, Bin Laden can be seen writing a note with his right hand, although he is left-handed. Bizarrely, too, he makes statements about 9/11 which Griffin claims would never have come from the mouth of the real Bin Laden – a man with a civil engineering degree who had made his fortune (before moving into terrorism) from building construction in the Middle East.

For example, the Al Qaeda leader trumpets that far more people died in 9/11 than he had expected. He goes on: ‘Due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the explosion from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. That is all we had hoped for.’ (In reality the Twin Towers’ completely fell down).

The words of the true Bin Laden? No, says Griffin, because of the obvious mistakes. ‘Given his experience as a contractor, he would have known the Twin Towers were framed with steel, not iron,’ he says.

‘He would also known that steel and iron do not begin to melt until they reach 2,800 deg F. Yet a building fire fed by jet fuel is a hydrocarbon fire, and could not have reached above 1,800 deg F.’

Griffin, in his explosive book, says this tape is fake, and he goes further.

‘A reason to suspect that all of the post-2001 Bin Laden tapes are fabrications is that they often appeared at times that boosted the Bush presidency or supported a claim by its chief ‘war on terror’ ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

‘The confession tape came exactly when Bush and Blair had failed to prove Bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11 and both men were trying to win international public support, particularly in the Islamic world, for the anti-terrorist campaign.’

Griffin suggests that Western governments used highly sophisticated, special effects film technology to morph together images and vocal recordings of Bin Laden.

So if they are fakes, why has Al Qaeda kept quiet about it? And what exactly happened to the real Bin Laden?

The answer to the first question may be that the amorphous terrorist organisation is happy to wage its own propaganda battle in the face of waning support – and goes along with the myth that its charismatic figurehead is still alive to encourage recruitment to its cause.

As for the matter of what happened to him, hints of Bin Laden’s kidney failure, or that he might be dead, first appeared on January 19, 2002, four months after 9/11.

This was when Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf told America’s news show CNN: ‘I think now, frankly, he is dead for the reason he is a kidney patient. The images of him show he is extremely weak.’

In his book, Professor Griffin also endorses this theory. He says Bin Laden was treated for a urinary infection, often linked to kidney disease, at the American Hospital in Dubai in July 2001, two months before 9/11. At the same time, he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to Afghanistan.

How could Bin Laden, on the run in snowy mountain caves, have used the machine that many believe was essential to keep him alive? Doctors whom Griffin cites on the subject think it would have been impossible.

He would have needed to stay in one spot with a team of medics, hygienic conditions, and a regular maintenance programme for the dialysis unit itself.

And what of the telling, small news item that broke on December 26, 2001 in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Wafd? It said a prominent official of the Afghan Taliban had announced that Osama Bin Laden had been buried on or about December 13.

‘He suffered serious complications and died a natural, quiet death. He was buried in Tora Bora, a funeral attended by 30 Al Qaeda fighters, close members of his family and friends from the Taliban. By the Wahhabi tradition, no mark was left on the grave,’ said the report.

The Taliban official, who was not named, said triumphantly that he had seen Bin Laden’s face in his shroud. ‘He looked pale, but calm, relaxed and confident.’

It was Christmas in Washington DC and London and the report hardly got a mention. Since then, the Bin Laden tapes have emerged with clockwork regularity as billions have been spent and much blood spilt on the hunt for him.

Bin Laden has been the central plank of the West’s ‘war on terror’. Could it be that, for years, he’s just been smoke and mirrors?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212851/Has-Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-seven-years–U-S-Britain-covering-continue-war-terror.html

Another great link to look at http://www.democracynow.org/2011/5/2/did_pakistani_govt_know_where_osama

After all is said and done…with so many untruths and further untruths one wonders will the world ever know the truth about what really happened on 9/11 , the day that changed the world and wreaked havoc on a people far removed from the USA.

Two Ahmedi (a muslim sect…though Pakistan has declared them as non muslims) mosques were raided and the worshippers inside attacked by armed millitants in Lahore. Two months ago…two Ahmedi brothers in Faisalabad shot in cold blood because…they were Ahmedis… the hospital where the injured from the mosque attack were taken… came under fire when militants stormed the hospital to either finish off what they started and or to take care of their comrade who was taken prisoner and was being treated at the hospital

While all this was going on tweeps were busy on Twitter tweeting away their comments, ranging from anger, disgust and cynicism . Amidst all of this I was shocked when someone actually asked me if I was Ahmedi as I guess they were surprised why I seemed so appalled at these happenings. I don’t know what appalled me more. The militants are warped and so are expected to behave in deranged ways but to have an ordinary Pakistani citizen ask me if I was Ahmedi was disappointing. Does it matter I asked? does it make a difference? shouldn’t we stand for anyone who is wronged in Pakistan? Shouldn’t we all stand together as on nation regardless of what my personal relationship with God is. All these invisible dividing lines that are now becoming more and more visible and searing through the very soul of Pakistan. Does Pakistan still exist? did it ever? Or are we just a collection of disgruntled people living under a name and a flag that actually has no meaning to us. I have my tribe…you have yours…don’t mess with me… I won’t mess with you…or I might …if I really don’t like what you’re thinking… or what you wear…or if you have too much…. or too little…. this is what we have come down to…

I am ranting again… but it is horrifying to see what we have become. Where a visit to the emergency ward of a hospital or to go worship one’s God could be one’s last.

It baffles the mind how muslim men can storm a place of worship… kill with such abandon and justify it in their heads as a crime that does not weigh as much as cartoonists in a foreign country. The Ahmedis have been targeted time and time again in Pakistan…a trend started by the way during Zulfiqar Bhutto’s time who wanted to please the clerics of that age. The police either are unable or don’t want to do anything to take extra measures to protect them. But judging by how things have been unfolding lately I think if the Ahmedis weren’t there …some other excuse would have been found…Its almost as if a whole generation of young men whose minds have been twisted by some warped sense of righteousness have taken it upon themselves to rid the world of filth as they see it… all the while being used by filthy people with their own selfish motives.

Is the army in control of Pakistan? What are the Intelligence agencies really doing? All these arms, ammunition, bombs…have to come from somewhere… they cost a lot of money… where is the source…surely these people couldn’t have been operating for so long in Pakistan and no one knows this? In which case who all is involved? and will they really be able to make it stop once their motives are achieved? Or will they sit smiling smoking cigars in some exotic foreign country surrounded by their ill gotten wealth and it not really matter that they leave a devastated country behind? So many questions…. where are the answers?? Is it RAW at work again as we are prone to say or just our own working on some devious complicated plan that benefits just a few?

I switched on the tv the other day and with sadness I watched a younger generation talk about Pakistani heroes and how we should honour them blah blah blah… and I realized..its the same talk we did when we were at that age…sweet innocence… and the cycle goes round but nothing ever changes. I have watched my closest most optimistic loved ones through the years lose hope and brightness and optimism as it slowly dawns on them that no matter how hard one tries…at the end of the day… it really makes no difference…. Too much has been damaged… from corruption at all levels to corrosion of all institutions… education, health, you name it…its been eroded away by bad policies and foolish people leading a country that should have had better leaders…had we had the wisdom to choose them and more  importantly create them. Today I am more saddened than usual by Pakistan and what we …the Pakistanis have allowed to happen to our motherland.

How dare we accuse the West of a wrong understanding of Islam when this is ..for the most part…the side of Islam that is most often shown? How dare we get indignant about cartoons that non muslims draw when our very own brothers are killing their own? When will the Muslims learn how to live?

A 13 year old girl is raped for 21 days by police officers…. the Police are investigating the matter… but there is no nationwide public outrage at this kind of behaviour. A journalist is accused of yellow journalism and could possibly be the the cause of the murder of an ISI agent by the Taliban and that does not get too much media coverage. Some people decide to draw cartoons that admitedly may be offensive, but I wouldn’t know as I choose not to bother to even take a look at the page as quite frankly that does not interest me. That gets everyone’s attention and we rise to defend our religion. I don’t want to get into a religious debate but I will put some quotes here that I came across.

“Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,” [Quran, 109:6] “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,” (Quran, 18:29)”There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error,” [Quran, 2:256]

Why are messages like these from the Quran rarely if ever stated by our religous lot? Why have we as Muslims allowed the clerics with their own political agendas to hijack our religion. First of all.. your relationship with God is your business…not mine or Maulvi whatever his name is.

Another point I feel strongly about is the dangers of censorship. We are supposedly living in a democratic country and for someone else to decide for me how much information they want me to have is not something I am willing to accept. Pakistan blocked Facebook, You tube, even Twitter at some point. I believe Google fell in there somewhere too. Its like the authorities had found the perfect excuse to send us back in time when the govt of Pakistan decided to dictate to its people what they should or should not believe. All this under the banner of a democratic govt. In actual fact all this accomplished was more attention drawn to the group, and a large part of the internet community of Pakistan fighting back by finding ways around to get back on the net only to show that the choice needs to be in their individual hands.

I could understand if the offensive link was blacked out so as to avoid a backlash back home who wait for opportunities like this to show their righteous stants. but a blanket ban? seriously? How about not cutting off communication and allowing Pakistani Muslims to peacefully register their protests in the way of reasonable arguements or discussion or dialogue? The above quotes from the Quran were put up on my status on Facebook and to my horror I got an invite from a Christian person to a group hating Jews. Needless to say I didn’t join but hate mongering for any group should not be tolerated. I believe Facebook should take action against any group that aims to insult any group of people whether they are Muslims, Jews, Christians, Ahmedis, whoever. I believe all of us as a community should stand up for anyone who is treated in that way. Tolerance is not a natural trait for us humans clearly and perhaps that is something that is to be fostered. Thus I come back to the quotes from the Quran:

“Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,” [Quran, 109:6] “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,” (Quran, 18:29)”There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error,” [Quran, 2:256]

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7891955.stm

 

Pakistan valley under Sharia law

Pakistan has signed a peace deal with a Taleban group that will lead to the enforcement of the Islamic Sharia law in the restive Swat valley.

Regional officials urged the Taleban, who agreed a 10-day truce on Sunday, to lay down their arms permanently.

Once one of Pakistan’s most popular holiday destinations, the Swat valley is now mostly under Taleban control.

Thousands of people have fled and hundreds of schools have been destroyed since the Taleban insurgency in 2007.

Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province Ameer Hussain Hoti announced a bill had been signed that would implement a new “order of justice” in the Malakand division, which includes Swat.

The bill will create a separate system of justice for the whole region.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan, who was recently in Swat, says the Taleban had already set up their own system of Islamic justice, as they understand it.

 

 [The deal] was reached after realisation that it was the demand of the people 
Ameer Hussain Hoti,
NWFP chief minister

Their campaign against female education has led to tens of thousands of children being denied an education, our correspondent says.

US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, who is in India, said he needed more information on the deal but that the situation in Swat had “deeply affected the people of Pakistan, not just in Peshawar but in Lahore and in Islamabad”.

Mr Holbrooke said Swat “demonstrates a key point and that is that India, the United States and Pakistan have all a common threat now… [we] all face an enemy which possesses a direct threat to our leadership”.

‘Very positive’

 

Tribal areas map

The government of North West Frontier Province had been holding talks with local militant leader, Sufi Mohammad, on making amendments to the enforcement of Sharia in Swat.Sufi Mohammad, a pro-Taleban cleric, is the father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, who has been waging a violent campaign to impose Sharia in the region.

Mr Hoti said: “An agreement has been reached with Sufi Mohammad’s delegation and this is a great

“The recommendations and proposals have been finalised, but they can only be implemented after peace is achieved.”

Mr Hoti said President Asif Ali Zardari had “in principle… approved this package”.

Mr Hoti said the agreement had not been made “under pressure from anyone” and was not unconstitutional.

“It was reached after realisation that it was the demand of the people.”

The chief minister said the government had done all it could and asked for the Taleban to now lay down their arms.

He said a grand jirga (council) led by Sufi Mohammad would now be going to Swat to get all the factions to comply.

The Taleban have said they will examine the document before ending hostilities permanently.

The Agence France-Presse news agency quoted Sufi Mohammad as saying: “We had been holding negotiations with the government on a 22-point charter of demands for quite some time. There were differences on five points, which were removed in a meeting on Sunday.”

 

Local people fleeing Swat   

Many people have fled Swat to be in safer parts of Pakistan

Sharia law has been in force in Malakand since 1994. But appeal cases are heard in the Peshawar high court, which operates under the civil code.Our correspondent says there will be alterations to the appeals process – a point of contention often cited by the militants for their continued insurgency.

The agreement will bind the provincial government to implement Sharia law in the Malakand division, which comprises Swat and its adjoining areas.

The people of Swat have been caught in the crossfire between the army and the Taleban, our correspondent says.

More than 1,000 civilians have died in shelling by the army or from beheadings sanctioned by the Taleban. Thousands more have been displaced.

The Taleban now control the entire countryside of Swat, limiting army control to parts of the valley’s capital, Mingora.

Many people in Swat now would favour an early exit by the army as they have failed to roll back the Taleban or protect the Taleban’s opponents, says our correspondent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

veiled-womanThere is no requirement in Islam to cover one’s face — the niqab is the epitome of male control over Muslim women
By Tarek Fatah, Citizen SpecialFebruary 5, 2009
Barely a week goes by when my religion, Islam, does not face a fresh round of scrutiny. If it is not a suicide bomber blowing himself up in an Iraqi mosque screaming “Allah O Akbar,” it is news that an imam in Malaysia has declared the practice of Yoga sinful. If it is not a Toronto imam defending suicide bombing on TVO, a Muslim woman writes a column in a Canadian daily, advocating the introduction of Shariah law in Canada.

But the one topic that rears its head in almost predictable cycles is the subject of a Muslim woman’s supposed Islamic attire. Whether it is swimming pools or polling booths there is no escape from the repeated controversies surrounding the face mask, better known as the niqab, or the burqa.

The latest incarnation of the niqab controversy surfaced this week when a Toronto judge ordered a Muslim woman to take off her niqab when she testified in a case of sexual assault.

The woman invoked Islam as the reason why she wanted to give testimony while wearing a face mask. She told the judge, “It’s a respect issue, one of modesty,” adding Islam considers her niqab as her “honour.”

Her explanations were rejected by the judge who determined that the woman’s “religious belief” was not that strong and that in his opinion the woman was asking to wear the niqab as “a matter of comfort.”

But all of these arguments are premised on the acceptance of the myth that a face mask for women is Islamic religious attire.

Humbug.

There is no requirement in Islam for Muslim women to cover their faces. The niqab is the epitome of male control over women. It is a product of Saudi Arabia and its distortion of Islam to suit its Wahabbi agenda, which is creeping into Canada.

If there is any doubt that the niqab is not required by Islam, take at look at the holiest place for Muslims — the grand mosque in Mecca, the Ka’aba. For over 1,400 years Muslim men and women have prayed in what we believe is the House of God and for all these centuries women have been explicitly forbidden from covering their faces.

For the better part of the 20th century, Muslim reformists, from Egypt to India, campaigned against this terrible tribal custom imposed by Wahabbi Islam. My mother’s generation threw off their burqas when Muslim countries gained their independence after the Second World War. Millions of women encouraged by their husbands, fathers and sons, shed this oppressive attire as the first step in embracing gender equality.

But while the rest of the world moves toward the goal of gender equality, right here, under our very noses, Islamists are pushing back the clock, convincing educated Muslim women they are sexual objects and a source of sin.

It will be difficult to pinpoint what went wrong, but most of Canada’s growth in niqabi women can be traced to one development in 2004, when a radical Pakistani female scholar by the name of Farhat Hashmi came to Canada on a visitor’s visa, to establish the Al-Huda Islamic Institute for women.

Maclean’s magazine reported in July 2006 that she had “established a school where she lectures to mostly young, middle-class women from mainstream Muslim families, not only from across the country but also from the U.S. and as far away as Australia.”

In October 2005, the Globe and Mail ran a story on Dr. Hashmi quoting a 20-year-old Muslim woman as saying, “I agree with Dr. Hashmi that women should stay at home and look after their families.” This student was so impressed with Dr. Hashmi’s sermons that she convinced 10 of her friends to enrol in the course that involved wearing the niqab, leaving the work force and embracing polygamy.

In the Globe piece, 18-year-old Sadaf Mahmood defended polygamy and the burqa saying: “There are more women than men in this world. Who will take care of these women? It is better for a man to do things legally by taking a second wife, rather than having an affair.”

While the rest of Canada sleeps, the Islamist agenda, funded by the Saudis and inspired by the Iranians, continues to make its presence felt. The vast majority of Muslims look on in shock, unable to understand why this country would tolerate the oppression of women in the name of religion and multiculturalism.

The woman who was denied her burqa in court is a victim. She is merely a puppet in the hands of those who wish to keep women in their place. First she suffered the trauma of the alleged sexual assault, which was then compounded by the controversy about her niqab. She could have asked the judge to not let her face her alleged attackers, and that would have been a fair request.

But when she invoked Islam and said hiding her face would be an act of religiosity, she became a voice not for justice, but for those who wish to sneak Shariah law into our judicial system. This should be stopped.

Tarek Fatah is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State. tarekfatah@rogers.com
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
Courtesy and Thanks: Ottawacitizen.com
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Life/Lifting+veil+niqab/1254516/story.html

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