Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye Saudi Arabia, hello Qatar, Islam and the West,

Islam and the West
Goodbye Saudi Arabia, hello Qatar
An Al-AAhram analysis

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, taking what some analysts are calling a "victory lap" of Gulf countries who supported the US invasion of Iraq, announced in a joint press conference with Saudi Defence Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh that the United States will end its military operations in Saudi Arabia and remove virtually all of its forces from the kingdom following the Iraq war. US military personnel in Saudi Arabia, which doubled to 10,000 during the attack on Iraq, have already started evacuating a desert airbase used by US planes since the end of the Gulf War.

The decision was made in concert with Washington, the Saudi defence minister said, denying press reports that Saudi Arabia had asked the United States to withdraw. However, the real reasons for the move appear to have much to do with the tense relations that governed Saudi-US relations in the 1990s and which led to a series of terrorist attacks against US military interests in the kingdom. The presence of Western troops in the country has irked many Saudis already angry with the United States over its support of Israel. Ousting US troops from Saudi Arabia became a battle cry of Osama Bin Laden and his Al- Qa'eda militants.

Why we failed in FATA, War on Terror,

War on Terror
Why we failed in FATA
By Rustam Shah Mohmand
August 27, 2008
In 2001, Pakistan took a somersault and a complete U-turn by aligning itself totally and unconditionally with the US led war on terror. Since this was a one man decision, there was no national consensus and no civil society input into this new approach or policy. It consequently lacked strength and substance and did not reflect the aspirations of the people of this country. Because there was no consensus on this policy, no thought was given on how to deal with the consequences that would flow from its execution and what would be the reaction generally and in FATA to a policy of complete submission and subservience to the US dictates and demands. The rules of engagement with the US were thus not settled. It was not realised that the decision would create an unwholesome disconnect between the government and the people. It was also beyond comprehension of the policy-makers to have visualised the convulsive effects of this policy on the tribal areas. No counter insurgency measures were, therefore, worked out to deal with any large-scale resistance.

'Krishna is to be adored through singing, dancing', Islam and Spiritualism,

Islam and Spiritualism
'Krishna is to be adored through singing, dancing'

Krishna is the purna avatara and goes from sheer sensuality to serene spirituality. He does this because he is both human and divine. This is seen in the romantic persona of Krishna that unfolds in the tenth book of the 'Bhagavata Purana' as he lifts mount Govar-dhana and brings Indra to his knees, signalling the ascendancy of a religion of love over the sacerdotal Vedic hegemony. This then conti-nues in the 'Gita Govinda', the creations of the asthachap kavis of the Nathadwara tradition and then in the compositions of the riti kal kavis. This period of a thousand years sees the depiction of Krishna's lilas and romantic kridas, his amorous involvement with the gopis and then in the Rajput courts as a courtly nayaka.

Why does Krishna lend himself to diverse forms of art and expression?

Poetry remains the basis of all of Krishna's artistic expressions, be they painting, music or dance. They must be seen as parts of the whole of Krishna's persona and not as individual artistic representations, for underpinning them is Krishna madhurya and the ethos of the rasikas prem bhakti.,-dancing-/islam-and-spiritualism/d/641

Malaysia: Victorious Anwar on path to power, Islam and Politics,

Islam and Politics
Malaysia: Victorious Anwar on path to power
Aug 28, 2008
By Anil Netto

The by-election itself was dogged by the BN's exploitation of the sodomy charges against Anwar, which in the end did not make much headway among the voters of Permatang Pauh as Anwar captured two-thirds of the votes cast. He may also have succeeded in winning about 60-65% of votes from ethnic Malays in a constituency where the group makes up close to 70% of voters.

Chinese and Indian Malaysian voters in the constituency are also likely to have voted in droves for the PKR. Anwar has successfully forged a coalition among disparate opposition parties comprising his PKR, the multi-ethnic but Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Islamic party PAS.

The coalition - known as the People's Alliance (PR) - won 81 seats in the March 8 general election while the BN secured 140, thus depriving the ruling coalition of its coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority. The by-election was seen as a barometer as to whether support for the PR had risen since the general election.

Look Who's Talking: Who does Vladimir Putin think he is — George W Bush?, Current affairs,

Current affairs
Look Who's Talking: Who does Vladimir Putin think he is — George W Bush?
By Ramesh Thakur
27 Aug 2008

No two situations are exactly alike. Still, much as most westerners dismiss any analogy between Russia's actions to prise South Ossetia and Abkhazia away from Georgia and NATO actions to detach Kosovo from Serbia, most others do accept the basic parallel. Russia has pointed to Georgian complicity in killing many South Ossetians, including many Russian citizens, the responsibility of Russia to protect its nationals, and UN endorsement of the responsibility to protect them. Moscow is wrong to invoke the norm in this case, as were the Americans and British in Iraq five years ago. Both actions prove the risks of unilateral interpretations and actions and the wisdom of channelling action through the United Nations. Otherwise the only certain end result is vigilante justice, which is no justice at all.

The final problem is behaving as if geopolitics and realism belong on history's shelf and have no relevance or applicability any more. As Henry Kissinger is reported to have said after the Argentine invasion of the Falklands that roused the slumbering British lion into action to retake the islands by force, a great power does not retreat forever. The end of the Cold War saw a very rare phenomenon in human history. Russia agreed to the terms of its defeat and to the new world order that came out of it. Instead of demonstrating grace in victory and some sensitivity to Russia's legitimate fears, interests and national dignity, the West has repeatedly rubbed Russian noses in the dirt of their historic Cold War defeat.

Pakistan: Terrorism and us, Islam,Terrorism and Jihad,

Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Pakistan: Terrorism and us
By Mir Jamilur Rahman
August 27, 2008

Taliban sent a strong reminder of their agenda when two of their suicide bombers brought havoc to the peaceful town of Wah Cantt near Islamabad. They killed 70 and injured another 100, leaving the citizens in grief and shock. Wah is a high security town because of its ordnance factory and yet the suicide bombers succeeded in penetrating its security. To be sure, there is perhaps no way to stop a suicide bomber from breaching the security if he is willing to forfeit his life. As an American president once said, it is not very difficult to assassinate the president of the US provided the assassin is prepared to give up his life.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani visited the scene of the Wah carnage to condole with the people who lost their breadwinners and near and dear ones. He assured them of the government's support in their rehabilitation. The prime minister told a news conference in Wah that economy and law and order are the priorities of his government.,terrorism-and-jihad/d/644

It’s time for India to revisit its model of secularism, Islam and Pluralism,

Islam and Pluralism
It’s time for India to revisit its model of secularism
By Bhikhu Parekh
August 27, 2008

Our independence struggle threw up different models of secularism. Two were most influential, the Gandhian and the Nehruvian. For Gandhi religion was a vital moral and political resource. The answer to any problems caused by it must be found in religion itself. The state should work together with religion because the latter reached areas the state could not. Religion’s primary public role was the promotion of dialogue and harmony. Nehru drew the opposite conclusion. ‘Religion had divided India and will kill it one day’, he once said. The state should therefore avoid all contact with religion, discourage its role even in civil society, and unify the country using its own resources. For him the secular state was concerned with citizens, not communities, and should foster the spirit of common citizenship.

Jihad's mailed fist of fury, Islam,Terrorism and Jihad,

Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Jihad's mailed fist of fury
B Raman
Aug 27, 2008
The e-mail put out before the Ahmedabad blasts was allegedly sent by the same Guru al-Hind. By the side of his signature at the bottom of the e-mail, the word 'al-Arbi' was written in capital letters. Al-Arbi means 'The Arab'. It also stands for Wednesday. It was taken to mean that the e-mail must have been signed by Guru al-Hind on the Wednesday preceding the blasts. In the latest e-mail, the reference to Guru al-Hind is not there -- neither in the e-mail ID nor at the bottom of the message. Instead, the e-mail is signed as al-Arbi in capital letters. The e-mail identity of the originator has also been changed as al-arbi-al-Hind. In this context, al-Arbi could mean only 'The Arab' and not Wednesday. Thus, the e-mail identity used means 'The Arab of India'. Why so since the Indian Mujahideen claims to be an organisation totally of Indian Muslims with no external links? Why is the sender of the e-mail projecting himself as 'The Arab'? Is it a reference to one of the two Indian Muslims operating from Saudi Arabia for many years?

Right man for Jammu and Kashmir: Karan Singh is trusted by both Hindus and Muslims, Current affairs,

Current affairs
Right man for Jammu and Kashmir: Karan Singh is trusted by both Hindus and Muslims
By Francois Gautier

The birth of Mr Singh, son of the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir Hari Singh, was celebrated by the people, both Muslims and Hindus. He became the regent in 1949 under difficult circumstances: His father, after disagreeing with Jawaharlal Nehru, had left the State which had by then acceded to India. Mr Singh was later appointed Sadar-i-Riyasat and finally as Governor of Jammu & Kashmir. His father's shadow was not there anymore, but Nehru had replaced him and was sometimes an overbearing presence on the young man. In 1967 he joined Mrs Indira Gandhi and later became the youngest Union Minister ever in her Cabinet. He was re-elected four times as an MP from Udhampur.

When ones asks Mr Singh if he has accepted partition, he replies: "No, but today there is certain logic to the split of Kashmir. Two portions -- Muzaffarabad and Gilgit -- are with Pakistan and three parts -- Jammu, which is Hindu-dominated, Ladhakh, which has a 55 per cent Buddhist population, and the Kashmir Valley, which is Muslim-dominated -- are with India."

Pakistan: The post-election rays of hope are now dimmed and gone, Current affairs,

Current affairs
Pakistan: The post-election rays of hope are now dimmed and gone
The unalterable law of lifeBy Dr Rubina Saigol
An autocratic ruler gets replaced by a megalomaniac and the latter by another dictator. The more things change, the more they eerily remain the same!Pakistanis were allowed a brief glimpse of sunshine before their jubilation and rejoicing were rudely interrupted by the gathering clouds of yet more uncertainty, political wrangling, power plays and coalition infighting. Once again iron-clad promises were broken as hopes and dreams shattered on the proverbial shores of 'reality', 'pragmatism', 'reconciliation' and realpolitik! The judges were not to be restored as the curtain fell on the obstinate dictator who was to be given 'safe passage', an 'honourable exit' and indemnity. The brief revelling came to an abrupt end as public aspirations were drowned in the cacophony of new sounds about the next president. The looming danger of another catastrophic decision by the motley crew, now drunk with power, became real with frantic moves to install a controversial figure in the presidency. There seems to be little respite for Pakistanis reeling under the blows of high inflation, terrorism and the hard to arrest economic downslide.The quick restoration of the deposed judiciary after Musharraf's much-celebrated exit would have injected some hope into a depressed polity. It would have continued the momentum gained by forcing Musharraf to call it a day.

Kashmir: The present crisis too can be overcome,

Current affairs
Kashmir: The present crisis too can be overcome
The first step toward turning the tide of the agitation in the State will require making it absolutely clear that it will remain an integral part of India, come what may, and Jammu and Kashmir will not be separated.Apart from the blunders by the Jammu & Kashmir Government -- which have been discussed too threadbare to require reiteration -- one reason why the violent movement in the Valley has snowballed is the belief that the Government of India is losing the will to fight indefinitely to retain the State as an integral part of the country, and that a prolonged, massive upsurge will undermine whatever resolve it still has and force it to give independence to the Valley. This belief, which has to some extent been reinforced by some Indian eminences favouring independence for Kashmir, must immediately be shown as totally delusory.

'800 militants waiting to cross over from PoK', Islam,Terrorism and Jihad,

Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
'800 militants waiting to cross over from PoK'
They are now re-drawing the overall strategy to deal with the situation and honing tactics at the sector level in the backdrop of inputs that more than 800 terrorists are waiting to infiltrate into India from across the LoC and International Border, sources said here on Wednesday.Reports also point out that the terrorist infrastructure was intact in PoK and about 40 terrorist training camps were running there, besides in the northern areas and the mainland. The ISI and Pakistan Army are actively supporting them and providing the jihadis with launch pads close to the LoC and the International Border for sneaking into the border State.The security establishment is concerned that the Pakistan Army is now resorting to its old tactic of firing at the Indian posts as a cover for terrorists to infiltrate and the Jammu incident was one such example.Pakistan had honoured the mutually-agreed ceasefire on the 750-km-long LoC for the last four years. It, however, violated the ceasefire in April this year and 30 incidents of ceasefire violation have so far taken place, though the Indian troops are exercising the maximum restraint. The violations were reported to the Pakistani authorities through established channels of communication but little came out of it, sources said.Meanwhile, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju said here on Wednesday that forces inimical to India were trying to disrupt the forthcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan: Efforts to save children from militancy stressed, Islam,Terrorism and Jihad,

Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Pakistan: Efforts to save children from militancy stressed
The organisation held a discussion on the issue of the use of children in militancy here on Wednesday in which regional experts, civil society members and journalists covering the war on terror participated.The discussion dissected one of the dangerous trends taking roots in the poverty-stricken Pakistan in general and its most vulnerable tribal areas and Balochistan province in particular.Sparc’s National Manager Promotion Fazila Gulrez gave a presentation on the emerging trend of child militancy and gave an overview of the rapid assessment carried out in Karak, Landi Kotal and Khyber Agency, the conflict-torn areas where children are rapidly falling into the hands of extremists and are being used as suicide bombers or militants.Sparc’s Executive Director Qindeel Shujaat said despite spending a bigger chunk of the national budget on defence-related spending, Pakistan was unable to provide security to its people and save children from falling prey to militancy and conflicts of all sorts.He said the videos showing children, recruited by various militant groups, chopping heads of people were a grim picture of where Pakistan was heading as a society and nation. He said it was ominous and what one could expect was just the worst to follow.

India: Mosques join war on terror, sound terror alert, War on Terror,

War on Terror
India: Mosques join war on terror, sound terror alert
The accused Tauqeer alias Abdul Qureshi and his family were residing at Narendra Park in Naya Nagar. In the past too, several persons arrested for having terrorist links have lived in Naya Nagar, said sources.While Naya Nagar is now under the police scanner, the residents have undertaken a social combing operation to flesh out those with terrorist links. The chairmen and secretaries of the over 400 housing societies in Naya Nagar have been asked to check the credentials of those purchasing flats or living on rent.The 27 masjids located in Mira Road and Bhayandar areas have for the past few days been asking their members to keep a vigil in and around their locality. The imams of all these masjids have personally written letters to their members informing them about the initiative. "People have welcomed the move. No one wants to be seen as encouraging terrorists. Naya Nagar, especially, has got a bad name due to the arrest of few accused having terrorist links,'' said Imam Maulana Mansoor Ahmed of Sham's masjid.The telephone numbers of the mosques' Imams and that of the local police stations have also been displayed at these mosques. At Naya Nagar , a team of women residents has been visiting homes where women live alone. "At least in case of 25% of families in Naya Nagar, the men are out of the city or country.

Muslim women voice their plight, Islamic Society,

Islamic Society
Muslim women voice their plight
Namita Kohli, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 27, 2008
At the AIDWA’s 800-strong National Convention of Muslim Women held in the capital, several voices like Naseem’s from across 14 states, found a common platform. Participants raised concerns regarding women’s work, citizenship rights, justice for riot victims, violence and negotiating the public sphere. So even as zardozi worker Malka from Uttar Pradesh — who gets paid a rupee for a chikan kurta — and Naseem demanded fair wages, Assam’s Manwara Ahmed spoke of those five lakh beedi workers like her, who aren’t still registered and hence don’t possess BPL cards.
Besides this, the convention also focused on the issues of justice for women like Shakeela, a riot victim from Gujarat, who was shot at along with her seven-year-old son by the police party.
Other participants demanded the abolition of triple talaq that had left many Muslim women stranded, with no maintenance. “We are going to take these demands to various political parties and request them to include them in their manifestos. The meet is a part of the broader women’s movement and unity to raise specific issues faced by different sections of women, in this case Muslims,” said Brinda Karat, Vice president, AIDWA.

Kashmir: Militants lost their war. We shouldn’t let them change tactics, Current affairs,

Current affairs
Kashmir: Militants lost their war. We shouldn’t let them change tactics
Losing the peace in KashmirBy Gagandeep Bakshi
Despite these pressures, security forces had succeeded in scaling down the levels of terrorist violence considerably. This year, five lakh pilgrims visited the Amarnath Shrine. Another four lakh tourists have already visited the state. With yet another well-conducted assembly election, Pakistan would have totally lost its case for Kashmir by default.However, realising that the tanzeems have largely lost the military phase of the battle, it appears that there might have been a deft shift of strategy to exploit trivial local causes and generate mass hysteria over communal issues. Poverty is not responsible: the poverty ratio in J&K is four per cent compared to 21.8 per cent in the rest of India. J&K gets eight times the central assistance that other Indian states get. J&K was getting Rs 3197 crore in 1991-92. This had gone up to Rs 8092 crore by 2001-02. Does this new approach of agitation represent a change of tactics to initiate an Intifada phase of the secessionist movement, precipitated by these figures? If so, the nation-state must be resolute, and clearly display that will and resolve, given that what is at stake is the most crucial aspect of its own ideological basis. The agenda in J&K is becoming unabashedly communal, frightening even mainstream local parties into tamely going along. There is the need to cool atavistic passions but there is equally the need to stand absolutely rock-firm on an issue which could unravel our entire nation-state itself.

Hate seems to outlast Faraz and Bulleh Shah, Islam and Pluralism,

Islam and Pluralism
Hate seems to outlast Faraz and Bulleh Shah
By Sher Baz Khan
Though the set design and characters of the play carried the aura of 18th century in which Bulleh was born contrasted sharply with the modern hi-tech society in which Faraz lived, the chaos and hold of religious dogmas in the two periods presented a shocking similarity to the audience.It left a haunting feeling that this land is yet to rid itself of hatred.The play portrays events that took place during the dying Mughal Empire in the background, when the Sikhs were busy in taking revenge for their prolonged sufferings at the hands of the Muslim rulers and the later were divided into groups and sects, each busy in eliminating the other from the face of the earth.A Mullah refuses to grant permission for the burial of Bulha, a Syed by origin, at a Muslim graveyard, until it is established that he had died a Muslim. The crime for which he is punished posthumously is that Bulleh gave voice to the long suppressed desire of millions of people from this part of the world for peace, brotherhood and religious tolerance and because he stood for the supremacy of truth, love humanity and compassion over religious orthodoxy and dogmatism.“I think, our society is still drenched in the same medieval mindset recorded by Bulha where innocent people are being slaughtered in the name of religion and where people are being kept poor, illiterate and pushed to extremism for political designs,” said a visitor Amna Abdullah.The play carries a very strong message of peace and love at a time when Pakistan is almost giving in to the Talibanisation, where thousands have so far lost their lives to suicide attacks and bomb blasts and where tolerance is fading away and rivals are either being murdered or suppressed by the state.

The nation and its 40 hectares in Kashmir, Current affairs,

Current affairs
The nation and its 40 hectares in Kashmir
At a time when the national interest should come first, India’s
liberals’ turn on their own country and soldiers
By V.P. Malik
August 29, 2008

This week, a young fiction-writer-turned-activist writes that ‘denial of Azadi is delusion’. She accuses India of administering ‘military occupation for 18 years’ and causing ‘years of repression in which tens of thousands have been killed, thousands have been disappeared, hundreds of thousand tortured, injured, raped and humiliated’. Political leaders — Abdullah, Muftis, Azad and their colleagues — who were elected and ruled the state during this period and should be answering, let that accusation pass! When our political leaders and administrators convert a 40 hectares land dispute into a ‘secession’ issue in 60 days and award-winning romantic authors rabidly endorse that, I feel it is time to introspect India’s nationhood and governance.

There is too much political infighting and too little political consensus. We are a divided house in almost all essential policies including those of economic development, diplomacy and security. Long-term strategic thinking and the social and political will and determination to set things right eludes us in the kind of coalition politics and governance that exists today.

Just let me be: Continual celebration of victimhood isn’t the answer, NGOs need to understand, Islamic Society,

Islamic Society
Just let me be: Continual celebration of victimhood isn’t the answer, NGOs need to understand
By Ayesha Khan
Friday, August 29, 2008

What was the idea? Fostering secular bonding? Who can argue against that? But one can and must point out that life, and life in Gujarat, is not Amar, Akbar, Anthony. Manmohan Desai had the three brothers of different faiths united via an impossible conjunction of medicine and maa — siblings simultaneously donating blood to their mother, tubes running from their arms to their mother’s. Such ideas of the heroic potential of inter-faith bonding seemed quite apt when the organisers of the Quresh Hall meeting said that the attempt was to “bridge the gap” and “get them talking to each other in empathy, with sympathy”. “Our grief is same, our pain is same, our tragedies are similar, even if our faiths are different.”

Read the subtext. Riot victims of 2002 are Muslims who were victims of the state, the system and the majority Hindus. Victims of the Ahmedabad bombs in 2008 are Hindus, the perpetrators are Muslims. So, Muslims are victims, Hindus are victims, the bad guys may be different, but we all stand united — in fear, in tragedy. In Gujarat, it seems only fear and tragedy can secure the bonds.,-ngos-need-to-understand/islamic-society/d/657

Pakistan People’s Peril: Zardari might be the next Pakistan president, At what cost?, Islam and Politics,

Islam and Politics
Pakistan People’s Peril: Zardari might be the next Pakistan president, At what cost?
Murtaza Razvi
August 29, 2008

The Maulana will prove a tougher nut to crack than the relatively straightforward Sharif; dealing with him, shrewd Zardari may well be on the way of getting the taste of his own medicine: doublespeak, that is. The Maulana may extend a guarded support to Zardari after extracting concessions to halt the military action against the Taliban, even if temporarily. This will allow the militants the much needed breathing space and the time to regroup later, while the Maulana, enjoying a near monopoly over the sale of diesel in the Frontier and Balochistan since the allotment of quotas to him by the last Benazir government in the ’90s, sets his eyes on more lucrative deals after Zardari becomes president.

Pakistan’s presidency comes with practically all powers concentrated in the hands of the head of the state, thanks to Musharraf’s tinkering with the constitution. However, the lesson that even the general could not survive waves of public discontent, however, will be lost on the man set to step into the presidency. To say that Zardari’s People’s Party and Sharif’s Muslim League (together with other coalition parties) alone brought Musharraf to his heels is not the whole truth; the movement waged by civil society for the restoration of the judges sent packing by Musharraf last November was also a significant factor in the dictator’s ouster, because it resonated with large and influential sections of the public. The country had not seen the kind of political activism civil society’s movement for the rule of law generated since Benazir Bhutto’s first homecoming to challenge Zia in 1986.,-at-what-cost?/islam-and-politics/d/658

Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan: our leaders brought us to our present sorry pass, War on Terror ,

War on Terror
Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan: our leaders brought us to our present sorry pass
By Najmuddin A Shaikh

The distrust goes back in time: today’s situation in Afghanistan and in our tribal areas was created by the Americans who in their desire for vengeance against the Soviet Union were prepared to bring to these parts Islamic extremists from all over the Islamic world. Later, with the Soviets defeated and gone, America abandoned the Afghans and the Pakistanis and left us in this mess. America was involved as much in sustaining the Taliban as Pakistan.

Now, as the thinking goes, perhaps we should recognise that in Afghanistan the Americans have interests other than merely eliminating extremism and the safe havens of the Al Qaeda. They are now engaged in a new version of the “Great Game”, with Afghanistan becoming their base of operations for controlling the Central Asian States and securing the flow of the fossil fuel resources of the area not into Russian pipelines but in other directions that better suit American objectives. We are playing the role of a surrogate.

Pakistan terror war focus finally on target, says US: Kayani attends secret talks with American military chief on aircraft carrier, War on Terror

War on Terror
Pakistan terror war focus finally on target, says US: Kayani attends secret talks with American military chief on aircraft carrier
By Anwar Iqbal

Other top US generals who attended the meeting included Gen David Petraeus, top US commander in Iraq, who will soon take charge of the US command for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan; Gen David McKiernan, Nato’s top commander in Afghanistan; and Admiral Eric Olson, head of the US special operations command. Also present were Lt-Gen Martin Dempsey, acting commander of American forces in the Middle East, and Rear Admiral Michael LeFever, senior American military liaison to Pakistan.

The Pakistani side was represented by Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his key commanders.

The meeting underscored the great concern both Pakistan and the US feel about the grave threat posed by a resurgent Taliban and a determined Al Qaeda to the stability and integrity of Pakistan and Afghanistan, US officials said.

The extreme secrecy surrounding the talks came amidst a series of worrying developments: continuing political turmoil in Pakistan, increasingly deadly attacks against Afghan and western targets in Afghanistan and a US top general’s complaints that the Pakistani military is not doing enough to stop militants from launching attacks into Afghanistan.,-says-us--kayani-attends-secret-talks-with-american-military-chief-on-aircraft-carrier/war-on-terror/d/660

Dreams do not die, Islamic Culture,

Islamic Culture
Both Faiz and Faraz were like the poet John Milton, ‘a party of one.’
Dreams do not die
Ahmed Faraz, poet of love and revolution, languished under official approval
F. S. Aijazuddin
Friday, August 29, 2008

Every poet has to begin somewhere and it is said that Faraz’s first couplet was addressed to his teacher who had given him a suit of clothes at Eid which Faraz did not like. He coveted his brother’s outfit and expressed his remonstrance in a makeshift verse: Layen hain sab ke liye kapre sale se/ Layen hain haamare liye kambal jail se. This early reference to jails and imprisonment is revealing — Faraz spent much of his life avoiding both.

Like most poets, Ahmed Faraz needed to feed himself and his Muse. He worked as a script writer at Radio Pakistan in Peshawar and later taught at the university there, meanwhile writing some of the most lyrical Urdu ghazals, heard at mushairas initially within Pakistan and then throughout the Urdu-listening world.

Faraz’s role model was Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and it is interesting to compare the careers of both as they acquired reputations as social rebels. For Faiz, the Lenin Prize awarded to him by the Soviets hung like some albatross around his neck, marking him as a Communist when all he wanted was a place to sit, a desk to write on, and the peace of mind that poets seek but is denied them. But in his later years, even Faiz had to stoop in order to survive. In 1972, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came into power, he appointed Faiz sahib in the as head of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts - an honour that paid the bills but starved his Muse.,-%E2%80%98a-party-of-one.%E2%80%99-/islamic-culture/d/661

Pakistan: Police save three girls, arrest 7 in karo-kari case, Islamic Society,

Islamic Society
Pakistan: Police save three girls, arrest 7 in karo-kari case
By Waseem Shamsi

Sukkur District Police Officer Sharjeel Kharal told journalists that police had received information that Mansoor Ahmed Jatoi of Sufi Muhalla in Pano Akil had declared that his wife Zangul had illicit relations with Amanullah Jatoi and killed her.

He said that an illegal jirga, presided over by Mubarak and Shaman Jatoi in Pano Akil, held Amanullah Jatoi guilty and fined him Rs120,000 and ordered him to give three daughters of his elder brother — Sumaira, one and half years, Miran, 2, and Mukhtaran, 4, in marriage to Mansoor Jatoi to resolve the dispute.

The DPO said that acting on the information, Pano Akil police immediately raided houses of the accused and arrested Mubarak Jatoi, Shaman Jatoi, Mansoor Jatoi, Mohammad Mithal, Mehram, Haji Mubarak and Jhangal. He said that Mansoor Jatoi had allegedly killed his wife a few days ago and buried her somewhere.,-arrest-7-in-karo-kari-case/islamic-society/d/662

There is no prohibition on the innovation, extension, and re-interpretation of the existing laws in Islam, Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam,

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam
There is no prohibition on the innovation, extension, and re-interpretation of the existing laws in Islam
By Sidrah Unis

In Islam, unlike the western legal systems, there is no room for the authorities to be immune from the law. Even the head of an Islamic state may be challenged, in both official and private capacity, in the court. Obedience to a ruler for that matter is contingent on his enforcement of Islamic laws. In other words, if the government fulfils the requirements prescribed by the Quran and the Sunnah, its claim to the allegiance of the people becomes absolute. The Prophet said: “A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler), whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders do not involve disobedience (to Allah). But if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed, one should not listen to it or obey it.”

It also becomes evident that the accountability of the ruler of an Islamic state is twofold: (1) he is answerable to God, as power bestowed on him by God is a sacred trust; and (2) to the people who are his subjects.

The office of judge is independent of all executive control and he can exercise his authority without any form of interference from influential quarters. He decides all disputes in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah. Further, a judge is required to be impartial and decide on the merits of the case.,-extension,-and-re-interpretation-of-the-existing-laws-in-islam/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/d/663

Lost war in Afghanistan, War on Terror,

War on Terror
Lost war in Afghanistan
Aijaz Zaka Syed I Arab News
Friday 29 August 2008 (28 Sha`ban 1429)
There are reports of at least a hundred girls’ schools in Pakistan’s Swat region being burned down by the militants. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Islam knows that these actions strike at the very heart of the great faith and what it stands for. But this is not a debate about Islam and how the zealots like Taleban are distorting it.

What really intrigues me is the fact that in spite of these patently absurd actions by the insurgents, support for them continues to grow in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan.

The more the “Coalition of the Willing” pours in billions of dollars in funds, tens of thousands of the world’s finest soldiers and the most lethal arms and ammunition in Afghanistan, the more they seem to lose against an enemy that was supposed to have been destroyed in the 2001 invasion. An enemy that has no ostensible external support and few weapons continues to give the reigning superpower and its equally powerful allies a run for their money.