Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shaitaan Ka Tasawar (Urdu)

Shaitaan Ka Tasawar (Urdu)
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pakistan Ranked 42 More Corrupt than 2008 CPI Index-Transparency Internatinal Report 09

Pakistan Ranked More Corrupt than 2008 CPI Index-Transparency Internatinal Report 09

Pakistan has been ranked at No. 139 (out of 180 countries list) in the recent corruption perception Index (CPI) report released by Transparency International.
Last year pakistan was on ranked as 134, so we can see some obvious ' improvement'.

A brief on release of this new CPI report says:

As the world economy begins to register a tentative recovery and some nations continue to wrestle with ongoing conflict and insecurity, it is clear that no region of the world is immune to the perils of corruption, according to Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a measure of domestic, public sector corruption released today.

"At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle" said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International (TI).

The vast majority of the 180 countries included in the 2009 index score below five on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption). The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys. The 2009 edition scores 180 countries, the same number as the 2008 CPI.

Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index. These are: Somalia, with a score of 1.1, Afghanistan at 1.3, Myanmar at 1.4 and Sudan tied with Iraq at 1.5. These results demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn apart their governance infrastructure.

Overall results in the 2009 index are of great concern because corruption continues to lurk where opacity rules, where institutions still need strengthening and where governments have not implemented anti-corruption legal frameworks.

Even industrialised countries cannot be complacent: the supply of bribery and the facilitation of corruption often involve businesses based in their countries. Financial secrecy jurisdictions, linked to many countries that top the CPI, severely undermine efforts to tackle corruption and recover stolen assets.

"Corrupt money must not find safe haven. It is time to put an end to excuses," said Labelle. "The OECD's work in this area is welcome, but there must be more bilateral treaties on information exchange to fully end the secrecy regime. At the same time, companies must cease operating in renegade financial centres."

Bribery, cartels and other corrupt practices undermine competition and contribute to massive loss of resources for development in all countries, especially the poorest ones. Between 1990 and 2005, more than 283 private international cartels were exposed that cost consumers around the world an estimated US $300 billion in overcharges, as documented in a recent TI report.

With the vast majority of countries in the 2009 index scoring below five, the corruption challenge is undeniable. The Group of 20 has made strong commitments to ensure that integrity and transparency form the cornerstone of a newfound regulatory structure. As the G20 tackles financial sector and economic reforms, it is critical to address corruption as a substantial threat to a sustainable economic future. The G20 must also remain committed to gaining public support for essential reforms by making institutions such as the Financial Stability Board and decisions about investments in infrastructure, transparent and open to civil society input.

Globally and nationally, institutions of oversight and legal frameworks that are actually enforced, coupled with smarter, more effective regulation, will ensure lower levels of corruption. This will lead to a much needed increase of trust in public institutions, sustained economic growth and more effective development assistance. Most importantly, it will alleviate the enormous scale of human suffering in the countries that perform most poorly in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

To view the CPI 2009 Table click here.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table

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Monday, November 16, 2009

How the US Funds the Taliban; Maj Hasan wired money to Pakistan; Photos: Inside his home


How the US Funds the Taliban

By Aram Roston

This article appeared in the November 30, 2009 edition of The Nation.

November 11, 2009

Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. Reuters Photos<br/>

Reuters Photos

Taliban fighters in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

On October 29, 2001, while the Taliban's rule over Afghanistan was under assault, the regime's ambassador in Islamabad gave a chaotic press conference in front of several dozen reporters sitting on the grass. On the Taliban diplomat's right sat his interpreter, Ahmad Rateb Popal, a man with an imposing presence. Like the ambassador, Popal wore a black turban, and he had a huge bushy beard. He had a black patch over his right eye socket, a prosthetic left arm and a deformed right hand, the result of injuries from an explosives mishap during an old operation against the Soviets in Kabul.

Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

But Popal was more than just a former mujahedeen. In 1988, a year before the Soviets fled Afghanistan, Popal had been charged in the United States with conspiring to import more than a kilo of heroin. Court records show he was released from prison in 1997.

Flash forward to 2009, and Afghanistan is ruled by Popal's cousin President Hamid Karzai. Popal has cut his huge beard down to a neatly trimmed one and has become an immensely wealthy businessman, along with his brother Rashid Popal, who in a separate case pleaded guilty to a heroin charge in 1996 in Brooklyn. The Popal brothers control the huge Watan Group in Afghanistan, a consortium engaged in telecommunications, logistics and, most important, security. Watan Risk Management, the Popals' private military arm, is one of the few dozen private security companies in Afghanistan. One of Watan's enterprises, key to the war effort, is protecting convoys of Afghan trucks heading from Kabul to Kandahar, carrying American supplies.

Welcome to the wartime contracting bazaar in Afghanistan. It is a virtual carnival of improbable characters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort.

In this grotesque carnival, the US military's contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. "It's a big part of their income," one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon's logistics contracts--hundreds of millions of dollars--consists of payments to insurgents.

Understanding how this situation came to pass requires untangling two threads. The first is the insider dealing that determines who wins and who loses in Afghan business, and the second is the troubling mechanism by which "private security" ensures that the US supply convoys traveling these ancient trade routes aren't ambushed by insurgents.

A good place to pick up the first thread is with a small firm awarded a US military logistics contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars: NCL Holdings. Like the Popals' Watan Risk, NCL is a licensed security company in Afghanistan.

What NCL Holdings is most notorious for in Kabul contracting circles, though, is the identity of its chief principal, Hamed Wardak. He is the young American son of Afghanistan's current defense minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, who was a leader of the mujahedeen against the Soviets. Hamed Wardak has plunged into business as well as policy. He was raised and schooled in the United States, graduating as valedictorian from Georgetown University in 1997. He earned a Rhodes scholarship and interned at the neoconservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. That internship was to play an important role in his life, for it was at AEI that he forged alliances with some of the premier figures in American conservative foreign policy circles, such as the late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Wardak incorporated NCL in the United States early in 2007, although the firm may have operated in Afghanistan before then. It made sense to set up shop in Washington, because of Wardak's connections there. On NCL's advisory board, for example, is Milton Bearden, a well-known former CIA officer. Bearden is an important voice on Afghanistan issues; in October he was a witness before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator John Kerry, the chair, introduced him as "a legendary former CIA case officer and a clearheaded thinker and writer." It is not every defense contracting company that has such an influential adviser.

But the biggest deal that NCL got--the contract that brought it into Afghanistan's major leagues--was Host Nation Trucking. Earlier this year the firm, with no apparent trucking experience, was named one of the six companies that would handle the bulk of US trucking in Afghanistan, bringing supplies to the web of bases and remote outposts scattered across the country.

At first the contract was large but not gargantuan. And then that suddenly changed, like an immense garden coming into bloom. Over the summer, citing the coming "surge" and a new doctrine, "Money as a Weapons System," the US military expanded the contract 600 percent for NCL and the five other companies. The contract documentation warns of dire consequences if more is not spent: "service members will not get food, water, equipment, and ammunition they require." Each of the military's six trucking contracts was bumped up to $360 million, or a total of nearly $2.2 billion. Put it in this perspective: this single two-year effort to hire Afghan trucks and truckers was worth 10 percent of the annual Afghan gross domestic product. NCL, the firm run by the defense minister's well-connected son, had struck pure contracting gold.

Host Nation Trucking does indeed keep the US military efforts alive in Afghanistan. "We supply everything the army needs to survive here," one American trucking executive told me. "We bring them their toilet paper, their water, their fuel, their guns, their vehicles." The epicenter is Bagram Air Base, just an hour north of Kabul, from which virtually everything in Afghanistan is trucked to the outer reaches of what the Army calls "the Battlespace"--that is, the entire country. Parked near Entry Control Point 3, the trucks line up, shifting gears and sending up clouds of dust as they prepare for their various missions across the country.

The real secret to trucking in Afghanistan is ensuring security on the perilous roads, controlled by warlords, tribal militias, insurgents and Taliban commanders. The American executive I talked to was fairly specific about it: "The Army is basically paying the Taliban not to shoot at them. It is Department of Defense money." That is something everyone seems to agree on.

Mike Hanna is the project manager for a trucking company called Afghan American Army Services. The company, which still operates in Afghanistan, had been trucking for the United States for years but lost out in the Host Nation Trucking contract that NCL won. Hanna explained the security realities quite simply: "You are paying the people in the local areas--some are warlords, some are politicians in the police force--to move your trucks through."

Hanna explained that the prices charged are different, depending on the route: "We're basically being extorted. Where you don't pay, you're going to get attacked. We just have our field guys go down there, and they pay off who they need to." Sometimes, he says, the extortion fee is high, and sometimes it is low. "Moving ten trucks, it is probably $800 per truck to move through an area. It's based on the number of trucks and what you're carrying. If you have fuel trucks, they are going to charge you more. If you have dry trucks, they're not going to charge you as much. If you are carrying MRAPs or Humvees, they are going to charge you more."

Hanna says it is just a necessary evil. "If you tell me not to pay these insurgents in this area, the chances of my trucks getting attacked increase exponentially."

Whereas in Iraq the private security industry has been dominated by US and global firms like Blackwater, operating as de facto arms of the US government, in Afghanistan there are lots of local players as well. As a result, the industry in Kabul is far more dog-eat-dog. "Every warlord has his security company," is the way one executive explained it to me.

In theory, private security companies in Kabul are heavily regulated, although the reality is different. Thirty-nine companies had licenses until September, when another dozen were granted licenses. Many licensed companies are politically connected: just as NCL is owned by the son of the defense minister and Watan Risk Management is run by President Karzai's cousins, the Asia Security Group is controlled by Hashmat Karzai, another relative of the president. The company has blocked off an entire street in the expensive Sherpur District. Another security firm is controlled by the parliamentary speaker's son, sources say. And so on.

In the same way, the Afghan trucking industry, key to logistics operations, is often tied to important figures and tribal leaders. One major hauler in Afghanistan, Afghan International Trucking (AIT), paid $20,000 a month in kickbacks to a US Army contracting official, according to the official's plea agreement in US court in August. AIT is a very well-connected firm: it is run by the 25-year-old nephew of Gen. Baba Jan, a former Northern Alliance commander and later a Kabul police chief. In an interview, Baba Jan, a cheerful and charismatic leader, insisted he had nothing to do with his nephew's corporate enterprise.

But the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The security firms don't really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can't; they need the Taliban's cooperation.

One of the big problems for the companies that ship American military supplies across the country is that they are banned from arming themselves with any weapon heavier than a rifle. That makes them ineffective for battling Taliban attacks on a convoy. "They are shooting the drivers from 3,000 feet away with PKMs," a trucking company executive in Kabul told me. "They are using RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] that will blow up an up-armed vehicle. So the security companies are tied up. Because of the rules, security companies can only carry AK-47s, and that's just a joke. I carry an AK--and that's just to shoot myself if I have to!"

The rules are there for a good reason: to guard against devastating collateral damage by private security forces. Still, as Hanna of Afghan American Army Services points out, "An AK-47 versus a rocket-propelled grenade--you are going to lose!" That said, at least one of the Host Nation Trucking companies has tried to do battle instead of paying off insurgents and warlords. It is a US-owned firm called Four Horsemen International. Instead of providing payments, it has tried to fight off attackers. And it has paid the price in lives, with horrendous casualties. FHI, like many other firms, refused to talk publicly; but I've been told by insiders in the security industry that FHI's convoys are attacked on virtually every mission.

For the most part, the security firms do as they must to survive. A veteran American manager in Afghanistan who has worked there as both a soldier and a private security contractor in the field told me, "What we are doing is paying warlords associated with the Taliban, because none of our security elements is able to deal with the threat." He's an Army veteran with years of Special Forces experience, and he's not happy about what's being done. He says that at a minimum American military forces should try to learn more about who is getting paid off.

"Most escorting is done by the Taliban," an Afghan private security official told me. He's a Pashto and former mujahedeen commander who has his finger on the pulse of the military situation and the security industry. And he works with one of the trucking companies carrying US supplies. "Now the government is so weak," he added, "everyone is paying the Taliban."

To Afghan trucking officials, this is barely even something to worry about. One woman I met was an extraordinary entrepreneur who had built up a trucking business in this male-dominated field. She told me the security company she had hired dealt directly with Taliban leaders in the south. Paying the Taliban leaders meant they would send along an escort to ensure that no other insurgents would attack. In fact, she said, they just needed two armed Taliban vehicles. "Two Taliban is enough," she told me. "One in the front and one in the back." She shrugged. "You cannot work otherwise. Otherwise it is not possible."

Which leads us back to the case of Watan Risk, the firm run by Ahmad Rateb Popal and Rashid Popal, the Karzai family relatives and former drug dealers. Watan is known to control one key stretch of road that all the truckers use: the strategic route to Kandahar called Highway 1. Think of it as the road to the war--to the south and to the west. If the Army wants to get supplies down to Helmand, for example, the trucks must make their way through Kandahar.

Watan Risk, according to seven different security and trucking company officials, is the sole provider of security along this route. The reason is simple: Watan is allied with the local warlord who controls the road. Watan's company website is quite impressive, and claims its personnel "are diligently screened to weed out all ex-militia members, supporters of the Taliban, or individuals with loyalty to warlords, drug barons, or any other group opposed to international support of the democratic process." Whatever screening methods it uses, Watan's secret weapon to protect American supplies heading through Kandahar is a man named Commander Ruhullah. Said to be a handsome man in his 40s, Ruhullah has an oddly high-pitched voice. He wears traditional salwar kameez and a Rolex watch. He rarely, if ever, associates with Westerners. He commands a large group of irregular fighters with no known government affiliation, and his name, security officials tell me, inspires obedience or fear in villages along the road.

It is a dangerous business, of course: until last spring Ruhullah had competition--a one-legged warlord named Commander Abdul Khaliq. He was killed in an ambush.

So Ruhullah is the surviving road warrior for that stretch of highway. According to witnesses, he works like this: he waits until there are hundreds of trucks ready to convoy south down the highway. Then he gets his men together, setting them up in 4x4s and pickups. Witnesses say he does not limit his arsenal to AK-47s but uses any weapons he can get. His chief weapon is his reputation. And for that, Watan is paid royally, collecting a fee for each truck that passes through his corridor. The American trucking official told me that Ruhullah "charges $1,500 per truck to go to Kandahar. Just 300 kilometers."

It's hard to pinpoint what this is, exactly--security, extortion or a form of "insurance." Then there is the question, Does Ruhullah have ties to the Taliban? That's impossible to know. As an American private security veteran familiar with the route said, "He works both sides... whatever is most profitable. He's the main commander. He's got to be involved with the Taliban. How much, no one knows."

Even NCL, the company owned by Hamed Wardak, pays. Two sources with direct knowledge tell me that NCL sends its portion of US logistics goods in Watan's and Ruhullah's convoys. Sources say NCL is billed $500,000 per month for Watan's services. To underline the point: NCL, operating on a $360 million contract from the US military, and owned by the Afghan defense minister's son, is paying millions per year from those funds to a company owned by President Karzai's cousins, for protection.

Hamed Wardak wouldn't return my phone calls. Milt Bearden, the former CIA officer affiliated with the company, wouldn't speak with me either. There's nothing wrong with Bearden engaging in business in Afghanistan, but disclosure of his business interests might have been expected when testifying on US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After all, NCL stands to make or lose hundreds of millions based on the whims of US policy-makers.

It is certainly worth asking why NCL, a company with no known trucking experience, and little security experience to speak of, would win a contract worth $360 million. Plenty of Afghan insiders are asking questions. "Why would the US government give him a contract if he is the son of the minister of defense?" That's what Mahmoud Karzai asked me. He is the brother of President Karzai, and he himself has been treated in the press as a poster boy for access to government officials. The New York Times even profiled him in a highly critical piece. In his defense, Karzai emphasized that he, at least, has refrained from US government or Afghan government contracting. He pointed out, as others have, that Hamed Wardak had little security or trucking background before his company received security and trucking contracts from the Defense Department. "That's a questionable business practice," he said. "They shouldn't give it to him. How come that's not questioned?"

I did get the opportunity to ask General Wardak, Hamed's father, about it. He is quite dapper, although he is no longer the debonair "Gucci commander" Bearden once described. I asked Wardak about his son and NCL. "I've tried to be straightforward and correct and fight corruption all my life," the defense minister said. "This has been something people have tried to use against me, so it has been painful."

Wardak would speak only briefly about NCL. The issue seems to have produced a rift with his son. "I was against it from the beginning, and that's why we have not talked for a long time. I have never tried to support him or to use my power or influence that he should benefit."

When I told Wardak that his son's company had a US contract worth as much as $360 million, he did a double take. "This is impossible," he said. "I do not believe this."

I believed the general when he said he really didn't know what his son was up to. But cleaning up what look like insider deals may be easier than the next step: shutting down the money pipeline going from DoD contracts to potential insurgents.

Two years ago, a top Afghan security official told me, Afghanistan's intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, had alerted the American military to the problem. The NDS delivered what I'm told are "very detailed" reports to the Americans explaining how the Taliban are profiting from protecting convoys of US supplies.

The Afghan intelligence service even offered a solution: what if the United States were to take the tens of millions paid to security contractors and instead set up a dedicated and professional convoy support unit to guard its logistics lines? The suggestion went nowhere.

The bizarre fact is that the practice of buying the Taliban's protection is not a secret. I asked Col. David Haight, who commands the Third Brigade of the Tenth Mountain Division, about it. After all, part of Highway 1 runs through his area of operations. What did he think about security companies paying off insurgents? "The American soldier in me is repulsed by it," he said in an interview in his office at FOB Shank in Logar Province. "But I know that it is what it is: essentially paying the enemy, saying, 'Hey, don't hassle me.' I don't like it, but it is what it is."

As a military official in Kabul explained contracting in Afghanistan overall, "We understand that across the board 10 percent to 20 percent goes to the insurgents. My intel guy would say it is closer to 10 percent. Generally it is happening in logistics."

In a statement to The Nation about Host Nation Trucking, Col. Wayne Shanks, the chief public affairs officer for the international forces in Afghanistan, said that military officials are "aware of allegations that procurement funds may find their way into the hands of insurgent groups, but we do not directly support or condone this activity, if it is occurring." He added that, despite oversight, "the relationships between contractors and their subcontractors, as well as between subcontractors and others in their operational communities, are not entirely transparent."

In any case, the main issue is not that the US military is turning a blind eye to the problem. Many officials acknowledge what is going on while also expressing a deep disquiet about the situation. The trouble is that--as with so much in Afghanistan--the United States doesn't seem to know how to fix it.

Fort Hood shootings suspect may have wired money to Pakistan

09:05 AM CST on Thursday, November 12, 2009

By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News
dmichaels@dallasnews.com

WASHINGTON – Authorities have been examining whether Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan wired money to Pakistan in recent months, an action that one senior lawmaker said would raise serious questions about Hasan's possible connections to militant Islamic groups.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived in apartment No. 9 at the Casa Del Norte apartments.

A 7-Eleven coffee cup (far right) is among the items left on the kitchen table of Hasan's apartment. Security video showed Hasan calmly visiting a Killeen 7-Eleven the morning of the shootings.

Coins from various countries - including Jordan and Israel - sit on the kitchen table in Hasan's apartment.

The book Dreams and Interpretations by Allamah Muhammad Bin Sireen is among a hodgepodge of items on the kitchen table.

Prayer rugs, a trash can and a heavy-duty paper shredder sit in a corner of the mostly empty apartment.

Packaging for a laser gun-sight is among the items on the kitchen table. The model number matches a LaserMax Uni-Max Rail Mount, which can be mounted on a variety of firearms, including pistols.

Empty bags lie on the bedroom floor.

A load of clean clothes sits in the dryer.

Hasan's business card sits on the kitchen table, showing his title (psychiatrist) and his specialty (behavioral health, mental health, and life skills).

A shoe box packed with vitamins and medicine sits in the laundry room.

The box for a heavy-duty paper shredder left in the apartment was one of the few items in the bedroom.

A pump bottle of lotion sits in the windowsill in the bathroom's shower.

A towel hangs over the bedroom door.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said sources "outside of the [intelligence] community" learned about Hasan's possible connections to the Asian country, which faces a massive Islamist insurgency and is widely believed to be Osama bin Laden's hiding place.

Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, would not identify the sources. But he said "they are trying to follow up on it because they recognize that if there are communications – phone or money transfers with somebody in Pakistan – it just raises a whole other level of questions."

Much remains unknown about the 39-year-old Hasan, born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrants. He lived alone near the Army base in Killeen, Texas, and would sometimes use a neighbor's computer even though he had his own.

"With what I know about Hasan to date ... I would expect we will learn more about him that will make us concerned," Hoekstra said, "rather than information that says, 'Oh man, we got that all wrong and this had nothing to do with terrorism.' "

Mystery of money

Hasan's finances have been a mystery since last week, when the Army major and psychiatrist allegedly shot and killed 13 colleagues at the sprawling Central Texas military base. Hasan earned more than $90,000 a year and had no dependents, yet lived in an aging one-bedroom apartment that rented for about $300 a month.

"You can bet there is an ongoing, extensive investigation into every single financial transaction he made," said Matt Orwig, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas who has no direct knowledge of the Hasan case. "Federal investigative agencies are very good at tracing the flow of money, both to him and from him."

Authorities know that Hasan sent repeated e-mails, starting some time in December 2008, to a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen. That cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly served as imam of a large northern Virginia mosque where Hasan worshipped. The U.S.-born cleric praised Hasan after the massacre as "a hero."

In January, al-Awlaki told readers of his blog about "44 ways to support jihad" – a term often translated as "holy war." Many of his points dealt with ways to fund such efforts.

"Probably the most important contribution the Muslims of the West could do for Jihad is making Jihad with their wealth," al-Awlaki wrote. "In many cases the mujahideen are in need of money more than they are in need of men."

He also stressed the importance of "avoiding the life of luxury."

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department referred questions Wednesday to the FBI, which didn't return a message seeking comment. FBI officials have said they studied Hasan's communications with an unnamed radical Muslim and concluded they were a harmless part of his academic research.

Hoekstra said he wants to know whether authorities knew about Hasan's behavior when they decided his contacts with the Yemeni imam were essentially harmless.

"The conclusion based off just the e-mails might have been perfectly legitimate," Hoekstra said. "But if the [terrorism] analyst for some reason didn't have access to all this other information, that might be where the problem is."

'Strange, lonely guy'

Some of Hasan's former colleagues in the Washington area said his behavior raised red flags that should have been addressed. While pursuing a master's degree in public health, Hasan lectured a class about suicide bombers and the conflicts faced by Muslim U.S. soldiers fighting against other Muslims.

Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where Hasan trained and studied, questioned whether he was mentally unstable and a possible danger to fellow soldiers, according to National Public Radio. Discussions began in spring 2008 and continued over the next year.

"Put it this way," NPR quoted one unnamed source as saying, "everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your foxhole."

S. Ward Casscells, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told The Dallas Morning News that Hasan had trouble connecting with patients and colleagues at Walter Reed.

"Doctors at Walter Reed I worked with say he was a strange and lonely guy who did not really earn the trust of his patients and fellow doctors," said Casscells, vice president for external affairs and public policy at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "They attribute that to his personality, not to religious discrimination."

Despite concerns about Hasan, his views and his poor job performances, the consensus was to send him to Fort Hood after he finished his medical training, The Associated Press reported. Fort Hood was considered the best assignment for Hasan because other doctors could handle the workload if he continued to perform poorly, and his superiors could document any continued behavior problems, the AP quoted an unnamed military official familiar with the discussion as saying.

Family members said shortly after last week's rampage that Hasan opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wanted out the Army and had sought legal advice. But Pentagon officials said they found nothing to indicate that Hasan formally sought to leave the Army, the AP said.

Even if Hasan had sought a discharge, the Army almost certainly would have denied it, senior Army officials told The Washington Post. Hasan had a continuing obligation to the Army because it provided his medical training and promoted him in May to the rank of major.

Colleagues and associates have described Hasan as a loner who voiced his opposition to the wars, including his assertion that Muslims were justified in fighting American troops. Hasan's family has said he became more distressed as he learned he was about to be deployed to Afghanistan.

"He is a kind of fundamentalist. He thinks a Muslim must defend themselves," said Golam Akhter, a civil engineer from Bethesda, Md., who said he spoke with Hasan on several occasions at the mosque where they worshipped.

He said he knew Hasan was a doctor but didn't know he was a member of the Army.

"He used to dress in long dresses just like Pakistanis, and that made me also concerned," Akhter said. "Usually only the imam uses those loose and long shirts and sleeves. That made me [wonder], being very educated, why he is using the imam's dress."

Hard trail to follow?

Matthew Levitt, director of counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said wire transfers to Pakistan would be "extremely significant in terms of a potential network for this particular case."

Tracing money to Pakistan could be easy if Hasan used a formal bank or wire service. It would be more difficult if he sent money under another name or used an informal channel known as hawala that is popular in Pakistan and doesn't involve paperwork.

"If it turns out the person was radicalized to the point he was sending money to other insurgents or other terrorists, that takes it to another level still," Levitt said.

Staff writers Brooks Egerton and Jim Landers contributed to this report.

Photos: Inside Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's home

04:23 PM CST on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dallas Morning News photographer Courtney Perry and reporter Lee Hancock were the first journalists allowed inside the Killeen, Texas, apartment of accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. These photos were shot on Nov. 11, 2009.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived in apartment No. 9 at the Casa Del Norte apartments.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived in apartment No. 9 at the Casa Del Norte apartments.

A 7-Eleven coffee cup (far right) is among the items left on the kitchen table of Hasan's apartment. Security video showed Hasan calmly visiting a Killeen 7-Eleven the morning of Nov. 5, hours before the mass shooting that claimed 13 lives.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
A 7-Eleven coffee cup (far right) is among the items left on the kitchen table of Hasan's apartment. Security video showed Hasan calmly visiting a Killeen 7-Eleven the morning of Nov. 5, hours before the mass shooting that claimed 13 lives.

Coins from various countries - including Jordan and Israel - sit on the kitchen table in Hasan's apartment.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Coins from various countries - including Jordan and Israel - sit on the kitchen table in Hasan's apartment.

The book
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
The book "Dreams and Interpretations" by Allamah Muhammad Bin Sireen is among a hodgepodge of items on the kitchen table.

Prayer rugs, a trash can and a heavy-duty paper shredder sit in a corner of the mostly empty apartment.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Prayer rugs, a trash can and a heavy-duty paper shredder sit in a corner of the mostly empty apartment.

Packaging for a laser gun-sight is among the items on the kitchen table. The model number matches a LaserMax Uni-Max Rail Mount, which can be mounted on a variety of firearms, including pistols.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Packaging for a laser gun-sight is among the items on the kitchen table. The model number matches a LaserMax Uni-Max Rail Mount, which can be mounted on a variety of firearms, including pistols.

Empty bags lie on the bedroom floor.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Empty bags lie on the bedroom floor.

A load of clean clothes sits in the dryer.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
A load of clean clothes sits in the dryer.

Hasan's business card sits on the kitchen table, showing his title (psychiatrist) and his specialty (behavioral health, mental health, and life skills).
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
Hasan's business card sits on the kitchen table, showing his title (psychiatrist) and his specialty (behavioral health, mental health, and life skills).

A shoe box packed with vitamins and medicine sits in the laundry room.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
A shoe box packed with vitamins and medicine sits in the laundry room.

The box for a heavy-duty paper shredder left in the apartment was one of the few items in the bedroom.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
The box for a heavy-duty paper shredder left in the apartment was one of the few items in the bedroom.

A pump bottle of lotion sits in the windowsill in the bathroom's shower.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
A pump bottle of lotion sits in the windowsill in the bathroom's shower.

A towel hangs over the bedroom door.
COURTNEY PERRY/DMN
A towel hangs over the bedroom door.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shireen Mazari on Seymour Hersh

The Hersh Story: Fantasies, Falsehoods And A Forewarning

 

The most disturbing aspect of the piece - and also the most threatening, is his description of what the US plans are for Pakistan's nukes.

 

By: Shireen M Mazari | Published: November 10, 2009

The Nation

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan— In Bob Woodward's book, "Bush at War", he recalls how when he (Woodward) quoted Hersh to Bush, the latter replied that Seymour Hersh was a liar! Hersh's article "Defending the Arsenal" in The New Yorker (November 16, 2009) has predictably caused a stir in Pakistan. But this always happens after the event; after foreign journalists have been given excessive access into the corridors of power in Pakistan. So it has been with Hersh. Now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) claims Hersh has a well-known "anti-Pakistan" bias. If that is the case, then did the MFA give an official perspective on how much access Hersh should have been given in Pakistan? Did they advise the President to avoid meeting this man or did they give any official brief to the President on what to say to him on sensitive issues? Clearly, the Zardari meeting with Hersh has no reflection of the MFA or any official Pakistani position. Instead, there is a reflection of ignorance with the President declaring that our army officers are "British-trained"!


However, leaving aside these minor issues, there are two aspects that reflect the speculative and often factually incorrect nature of the piece. First, let us look at some of the inaccuracies, if not outright falsehoods. The manner in which Hersh has dealt with Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and his claims that Pakistan and the US began sensitive nuclear cooperation, reveal a preconceived mindset. The author set out to make certain points and then sought mostly unidentified sources to prove his point! This is evident because the largest single interview cited is of "Colonel Imam" whom Hersh describes as "the archetype of the disillusioned Pakistani officer"! Now anyone who knows Col Imam knows he is a maverick, with his own idiosyncratic perspective and is certainly not typical of even disillusioned army officers - although how many of those Hersh has actually met is also questionable.


But for Hersh, Imam provides a logical development to his other theory, that it is not so much a Taliban seizure of the Pakistani nukes that is worrisome to the Americans but the fear of a "mutiny" within the army with extremists believing in the Hizbul Tahrir goal of setting up a Caliphate taking control of some nuclear assets or even diverting a warhead. Talk about being far fetched given that there is no history of mutiny in the army and the organisational interest is always supreme. Also, to a large extent the prevailing culture within the army reflects, to a large extent, the leadership at any given time. Also to assume that extremism is rampant in the military because generals no longer serve alcohol to visiting journalists is a bit ridiculous. I had argued on this point long and hard with Hersh after his last visit to Pakistan, when we met abroad, but clearly when a point has to be made, it will be made despite evidence to the contrary and no matter how fanciful the "proof"!

 

On the nuclear security agreement also, some claims are debatable at least. For instance, he describes Pakistan's nuclear doctrine as being based on a de-mating of the warheads from their triggers. This is absolutely false and nowhere has the military ever claimed this either in any reference to doctrine. In fact, the weapons are not de-mated at all but are simply not on hair trigger alert - which they do not need to be on in any case. So if his source of information is so incorrect, many of the other assumptions are also subject to doubt. For instance his claim, and he cites a former US intelligence officer to prove his point, that the Pakistanis gave the US a virtual look at such sensitive information as number of warheads, some locations, and so on is bizarre since even within the nuclear community this knowledge is not known except by very few. As for giving them information about command and control, Pakistan is one of the few countries that has put out a detailed explanation of its command and control structure in the public space. So what one can assume is the intelligence officer is confusing the briefing given to some journalists - foreign and Pakistani - about command and control, the programme and so on as a "virtual look"! That briefing is impressive and on seeking an explanation to the Hersh claim from SPD (Strategic Plans Division), the answer was that this is the only briefing that could have created the false impression.


Coming to the Mullen news conference of 4th May where Hersh claims the Admiral spoke openly about increased cooperation on nuclear security between the US, Mullen did note that the US had worked with the Pakistanis to improve the security of their nuclear arsenal. Of course even this limited access to the US military is too much from the point of view of our arsenal's security, but it does not imply "highly sensitive understanding" of the US "with the Pakistani military". There is also little proof that ongoing consultations on nuclear security between Washington and Islamabad intensified after Obama's Af-Pak policy - especially since the Af-Pak idea got a cold reception in Islamabad. Finally, the most far-fetched claim, citing an American official, in Hersh's piece is that the army is controlled by the Punjabis who cannot get along with the Pushtuns, so somehow that creates a simmering undercurrent within the military, creating a veritable goldmine for mutiny! He really needs to look more carefully into the Pakistan army and its composition as well as its culture.


Moving on from the actual factual inaccuracies, even falsehoods, to an equally important issue raised by the article is the question of access. Why do we allow these people so much access in this country - right from the President down? President Musharraf talks openly of the supposedly secret tunnels and so on. Others are equally prone to spilling their guts out to inquisitive foreign journalists. Why? And why must we abuse each other through these journalists? Incidentally, this time round Hersh did not seek the official version from the MFA; nor did he seek an interview with General Kidwai of SPD. He told me Hersh had sought access but could not get it, but on checking I found he did not send in any written request.


Finally, a most disturbing aspect of the piece - and also the most threatening, is his description of what the US plans are for Pakistan's nukes. That is what the game is all about - a unilateral US plan to have a force in Pakistan to attempt to take out the triggers and thereby decapitate the nukes. Is that why we are seeing so many covert US personnel coming into Pakistan? There is no deal; but there is a threatening unilateral US agenda. That Hersh has explained most vividly!

 

Dr. Mazari is the Resident Editor at The Nation.

 

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Blackwater Approved $1 Million in Iraqi Payments After '07 Shootings


Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tue, November 10, 2009 -- 5:42 PM ET
-----

Blackwater Approved $1 Million in Iraqi Payments After '07 Shootings

Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret
payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were
intended to silence their criticism and buy their support
after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security
guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according
to former company officials.

Four former Blackwater executives said in interviews that
Gary Jackson, who was then the company's president, had
approved the bribes, and the money was sent from Amman,
Jordan, where Blackwater maintains an operations hub, to a
top manager in Iraq. The executives, though, said they did
not know whether the cash was delivered to Iraqi officials or
the identities of the potential recipients.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/world/middleeast/11blackwater.html?emc=na

Read More >>

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pakistan Female Fighter pilots break down barriers CNN report

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Six years ago an ad in the Sunday paper changed a young Pakistani woman's life and made aviation history.

The ad read: "Pakistan Air Force recruiting females cadets."

Back then Ambreen Gul was 20-years old and living in Karachi. Her mother wanted her to be a doctor. She remembers her reaction when she told her she wants to fly.

"She was like: 'You're a girl,'" says Gul. "How will you do it? How will you fly?"

The following day Gul took the first step in proving her mother wrong. She was among the first in line at the recruitment center.

For nearly six decades it was only men who had flown Pakistan's fighter jets. Today Gul is one of seven women who are trained and ready to fly Pakistan's F-7 supersonic fighter jets.

"This is a feeling that makes you proud and makes you humble also," says Gul.

Humility doesn't mean lack of confidence.

"We can do everything better than the men," explains cadet Nida TariqWe're more hardworking, more consistent and more patient," adds cadet Anam Faiq.

To become a fighter pilot takes three years of training at the Air Force Academy in Risalpur, Pakistan, where the halls are lined with grainy black-and-white pictures of nearly six decades of male graduates who went on to fly for the Pakistan Air Force.

The training is often intensely physical. Here, equal opportunity means equal treatment.

If they are not good enough as per their male counterparts, we don't let them fly," says commanding officer Tanvir Piracha.

Some of Pakistan's female pilots wear hijabs. Others prefer to go without the Muslim headdress. Most say changing the misconception of Muslim women is just as important as serving their country.

"Islam gives equal opportunity to females. Whatever we want to do we can," says pilot Nadia Gul.

"To tell you the truth I've been given equal opportunity or I suppose more than men have been given," says Air Force cadet Sharista Beg.

Air Force officials say fighter pilots are playing a vital role in the fight against the Taliban. They're training in counterinsurgency, collecting aerial intelligence and targeting militant strongholds in the treacherous mountains of Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border. Ambreen Gul says her goal now is to fly in combat.

"I ."I would give my life for my country," she says.

But women rarely fly in combat anywhere in the world and it's never been done in Pakistan. It's another barrier Gul plans to break

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmXgyANcTi8&feature=player_embedded



Read More >>

Thursday, November 5, 2009

AAFIA SIDDIQUI and Visit of Hilary Clinton


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Altaf Khokhar <only.salvation.islam@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 2:40 AM


THE VISIT OF THE MASTER......HILARY......IS OVER.....THE STAGE DRAMA..... FOR WHICH THE SCRIPT WAS SENT FROM PENTAGON.....AND AGREED BY THE..... CRIME GANG OF GHQ.....IS OVER NOW......
IT WAS ONLY  A COSMETIC ACTIVITY.......JUST TO FOOL THE MASSES WITH THE HELP AND CONNIVANCE OF THE SO CALLED "FREE MEDIA".....CAN ANY ONE SANE AND TRUE....CALL ALL THIS ANYTHING ELSE THAN A "STAGE DRAMA".......WAS IT A DISCUSSION ??.....DO SLAVES DISCUSS OR HAVE A RIGHT TO DISCUSS ??....THE TIME IS RUNNING SHORT...DO WE NEED ONE MORE
16 DECEMBER 1971......






--

********************************************************************
SHAHZAD AFZAL MALIK see my web:
"http://shahzadafzal.blogspot.com/"
********************************************************************
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Kissing banned by LUMS

Kissing banned by LUMS

October 18th, 2009

Kissing banned in Lums.jpgNow let me be clear about this (as Obama would say): I've got nothing against kissing, particularly if it's between men and women. It's the kissing of men by men that I find offensive, even if it's done in months other than Ramadan. But the recent publicizing of a case in which a LUMS girl playfully pecked a boy's cheek (when she thought no one was looking) has again generated adverse publicity for the country (something it could do without). So what happened? Another student hiding somewhere photographed the scene and distributed it throughout the world, which led to LUMS permanently banning kissing of boys by girls (and vice versa).

Of course, the fact that the incident took place during the month of fasting made it worse. You can't kiss your boyfriend (or even your husband or brother) when you're fasting, as all of us know. But suppose the two were not fasting? As I just said, they thought they were alone and no one could see what they were doing. I agree that kissing in public cannot be tolerated by the average Pakistani, who in any case is terribly disturbed whenever he sees a woman (especially if she's not covered by a burqa).

However, I don't mind it when a man kisses his wife or his daughter at the airport when one of them is leaving the country. That kind of thing happens all the time (sometimes even at railway stations). But LUMS should also have banned kissing between men and men (and also between girls and girls, since I assume there are some females who would find it terribly offensive). In the meantime I'm waiting for some Saudi/Waziristan mullah to issue a fatwa banning kissing between husbands and wives even when they're alone in their bedrooms.


Dawn News: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\18\story_18-10-2009_pg1_9

Source: http://www.chowrangi.com/kissing-banned-by-lums-in-moderation.html

Read More >>

Kissing banned by LUMS

Kissing banned by LUMS

Kissing banned in Lums.jpgNow let me be clear about this (as Obama would say): I've got nothing against kissing, particularly if it's between men and women. It's the kissing of men by men that I find offensive, even if it's done in months other than Ramadan. But the recent publicizing of a case in which a LUMS girl playfully pecked a boy's cheek (when she thought no one was looking) has again generated adverse publicity for the country (something it could do without). So what happened? Another student hiding somewhere photographed the scene and distributed it throughout the world, which led to LUMS permanently banning kissing of boys by girls (and vice versa).

Of course, the fact that the incident took place during the month of fasting made it worse. You can't kiss your boyfriend (or even your husband or brother) when you're fasting, as all of us know. But suppose the two were not fasting? As I just said, they thought they were alone and no one could see what they were doing. I agree that kissing in public cannot be tolerated by the average Pakistani, who in any case is terribly disturbed whenever he sees a woman (especially if she's not covered by a burqa).

However, I don't mind it when a man kisses his wife or his daughter at the airport when one of them is leaving the country. That kind of thing happens all the time (sometimes even at railway stations). But LUMS should also have banned kissing between men and men (and also between girls and girls, since I assume there are some females who would find it terribly offensive). In the meantime I'm waiting for some Saudi/Waziristan mullah to issue a fatwa banning kissing between husbands and wives even when they're alone in their bedrooms.

Source: http://www.chowrangi.com/kissing-banned-by-lums-in-moderation.html

Read More >>

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Huma Wasim, wife of Wasim Akram Dies

Huma Wasim, wife of Wasim Akram Dies

http://picturrs.com/files/funzug/imgs/celebrities/cricketers_wifes_07.jpg

Pakistanis embraced a sad news in the morning of Sunday, as they woke up to the news of the tragic death of Huma Wasim, the wife of Pakistani star cricket Wasim Akram. She suffered from a unique kind of bacteria which she got infected by after eating a meal. The bacteria strikes very rarely to any one in millions of people.

Huma Wasim was being flown to Singapore, in a chartered plane for treatment but due to critical condition, the plane landed at Chennai, and after some days of treatment in Apolo Hospital Chennai, Huma died.

We all share the grief of Wasim bhai. May Almighty rest her soul in peace.


The happy couple broke !!



 
 
wasim and huma with their son
 
 
Their wedding pic in 1994
 
 

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

India ’staged’ Mumbai drama, hotel guests testify

India 'staged' Mumbai drama, hotel guests testify

_45316938_tajfire_afp226

A recent report published by the BBC points more fingers towards Indian security agencies for actually staging the entire Mumbai drama. The stories craft by the Indian electronic and print media were absolutely absurd from the very beginning. Now we have it that the guests who had trapped themselves inside hotel rooms for safety were actually instructed by policemen to leave the building while the fighting raged on.

Several other things have been left unanswered, including the gross failure of Indian security and intelligence agencies that such a big terrorist attack happened right under their nose, in a country aspiring to become a regional superpower. All these questions that raise in one's mind have been discussed before here and at several other forums.

So much so that the Indian minister for minorities had to resign for raising the issue of Mr. Karkare's suspicious killing at an unknown location on the same day – the senior Indian policeman who had exposed the masterminds of the Samjhota express bombings and held a Hindu serving Indian army Colonel for the same.

Yet India is still pushing forward with its absurd, concocted story of the deadly Mumbai terror attacks holding Pakistan responsible, while all evidence points towards it as being a staged drama by Indian Hindu extremists who have penetrated Indian state machinery in large numbers.

Following is the BBC news report, in which guests at the Taj hotel have testified against the Indian police..

By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Mumbai

Guests trapped in a Mumbai hotel seized by gunmen last month have told the BBC they were given instructions by police that may have led to more people dying.

Police told a group hiding in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel that it was safe to leave the building, a survivor said.

But members of the group were shot and killed by militant gunmen as they were making their way out.

The senior policeman in charge of the operation in the hotel has denied the allegations against his officers.

'Suspicious'

A prominent Mumbai gynaecologist, Dr Prashant Mangeshikar, was trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel along with hundreds of other guests as gunmen stormed into the building, firing indiscriminately.

Terrified, he and others barricaded themselves into a room and waited.

Eventually, in the early hours of the morning, police officers made it through to where they were hiding and told people it was safe to leave the hotel because the gunmen were cornered on another floor.

Some went ahead but Dr Mangeshikar held back.

"I was a little suspicious that the police were actually sending these guys down a different route where the terrorists were supposed to be," he said.

"I refused to move away and the people who ran ahead of me, about 20 or 30 of them, all of them died."

A dress designer from the city says her aunt was shot dead and her cousin seriously wounded because they followed police instructions to try to leave.

The designer, Shilpa, described the police conduct as disgraceful.

They had no right, she said, to risk people's lives.

The senior policeman in charge of the operation in the hotel has denied these allegations against his officers.

But they add to growing criticism of the police and how they responded to the attack in which more than 170 people were killed.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7794211.stm

The move seems to be one to fuel more hatred against Pakistan by increasing the number of deaths as a result of this barbaric act.

Shame on you India! You kill your own people to wage war against Pakistan! And God knows that you cannot sustain a full war for no more than 15 (FIFTEEN) days – given the recession that has hit your economy too.



BBC NEWS
Deaths from Mumbai 'police error'

Guests trapped in a Mumbai hotel seized by gunmen last month have told the BBC they were given instructions by police that may have led to more people dying.

A survivor who had been hiding at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel said some guests were shot and killed by the militants after police said it was safe to leave.

The senior policeman in charge of the operation in the hotel has denied the allegations against his officers.

The attacks left at least 173 people dead, including nine of the 10 gunmen.

India blames Pakistan-based militants Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the 26 November attacks.

LeT and the Pakistani government have denied any involvement.

Two of the hotels caught up in the attacks, the Trident-Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace, are to re-open on Sunday.

Armed guards and sniffer dogs have been stationed at both hotels and X-ray machines are to screen guests' bags.

'Suspicious'

Taj Mahal hotel on fire - 27/11/2008
Fifty-two people were killed at the Taj hotel,
Indian officials say

A prominent Mumbai gynaecologist, Dr Prashant Mangeshikar, was trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel along with hundreds of other guests as gunmen stormed into the building, firing indiscriminately.

Terrified, he and others barricaded themselves into a room and waited.

" I refused to move away and the people who ran ahead of me, about 20 or 30 of them, all of them died "
Dr Prashant Mangeshikar

Eventually, in the early hours of the morning, police officers made it through to where they were hiding and told people it was safe to leave the hotel because the gunmen were cornered on another floor.

Some went ahead but Dr Mangeshikar held back.

"I was a little suspicious that the police were actually sending these guys down a different route where the terrorists were supposed to be," he told the BBC's Adam Mynott.

"I refused to move away and the people who ran ahead of me, about 20 or 30 of them, all of them died."

A dress designer from the city says her aunt was shot dead and her cousin seriously wounded because they followed police instructions to try to leave.

The designer, Shilpa, described the police conduct as disgraceful.

They had no right, she said, to risk people's lives.

Hotels re-open

The senior policeman in charge of the operation in the hotel has denied these allegations against his officers.

But they add to growing criticism of the police and how they responded to the attack, says our correspondent.

The government of India's Maharashtra state has already announced an investigation into two senior policemen over alleged failure to act on warnings of the attacks.

India's interior minister and Maharashtra state chief minister have already resigned.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari said claims that the sole surviving attacker had been identified by his own father as coming from Pakistan had not been proven. The man has been named as Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab and is in Indian police custody.

Listen to Adam Mynott's full report on BBC World Service

on 21 December at 1200, 2000 or 2100 GMT.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7794211.stm

Published: 2008/12/21 07:49:06 GMT

© BBC MMIX

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Religious Systematic Discrimination in Saudi Arabia

NOTE: FW Message (Please Confirm by your self)

    We'll continue to pray irrespective of consequences

    Sayed Mohammad Al-Nasser, Jumaa Imam in Khobar city,
    said that Saudi Shia will continue performing Jumaa prayers whatever
    the consequences are and that they are waiting for a royal resolution
    on the closure of Shia mosques.

    Al-Nasser, a leading Saudi Shia scholar of Al-Khobar city, East of Saudi Arabia,
    said that "performing Jumaa prayers is our natural right as Muslims
    and as citizens loyal to their land and religion."

    During Jumaa prayer which was held in a house in Al-Khobar,
    Al-Nasser condemned the religious discrimination among citizens
    where Sunnis are allowed to perform prayers in their masjids
    and Shia are not allowed do the same thing.

    Authorities had already closed five Shia masjids in Khobar city where about 20,000
    Shia citizens live there according to unofficial sources.

    Saudi authorities(wahabis) do not allow their Shia citizens to build their own masjids nor have
    their own cemeteries in areas outside Qatif, Al-Hasa and
    Najran where they are majority.

    The official bodies in Eastern Province Governance and
    the Ministry of Religious Affairs do not provide reasons for the ban on Shia.
    Royal Decree

    Al-Nasser said that Shia citizens are waiting for a royal decree
    by King Abdullah to resolve the issue of continuous closure of Shia masjids.

    High level Shia delegation from Khobar met King Abdullah on July 19 to brief him
    about the closure of Shia masjids and he promised to look in to
    the subject matter but so far there are no positive results.

    Al-Nasser pointed out that some of the local officials encourage Shia,
    who visit them for complaint, to perform prayers in Sunni masjids
    instead of granting permission to build their own.

    Al-Nasser said "we request one of the Sunni masjids to allow us use their masjid
     during Ramadan but they refued unless we get a permission from Emara or Awqaf."
    As a result, Shia citizens built a large tent to perform prayers during Ramadan.

    Authorities called Hajj Abdullah Al-Muhana, the custodian of the tent,
    and forced him to sign an undertaking to remove the tent or he will be sent to jail.

    Al-Nasser said that we are currently waiting in an anticipation
    to hear from the officials to resolve pending issues.
    Human Rights Watch said in a report released recently,
    that Saudi(wahabus) is practicing Systematic Discrimination
    and Hostility toward Saudi Shia Citizens.

    State discrimination against Shia extends to realms other than religious freedom.
    The report cites discrimination in the education system,
    where Shia may not teach religion in class and Shia pupils
    learn from Sunni teachers that they are unbelievers.


Read More >>

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Militants attack Lahor

Militants ambush Pakistan police, 19 killed: officials

LAHORE, Pakistan — Gunmen stormed three police buildings in Pakistan's cultural capital Lahore on Thursday while a suicide car bomber slammed into another police station in the northwest, killing 19 people.

The simultaneous assaults underscored the weakness of a police force on the frontline against Taliban militants who have exacted 11 days of carnage with the military believed to be readying a new offensive near the Afghan border.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan and is a key ally in the US-led "war on terror" has seen Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked attacks kill 2,250 people in more than two years and 137 people in the last 11 days.

Two of the police buildings in Lahore were attacked previously -- a training academy that was assaulted in a commando-style raid that took security forces eight hours to bring under control last March and a second bombed in 2008.

"All three were terrorist attacks... Seven people were killed. Four were police officials. Details about three other fatalities are being collected," Punjab provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told Geo television.

Around five people attacked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building, 10-15 gunmen stormed the police commando academy in Bedian and 10 militants attacked a police school in Manawan, both on the outskirts of Lahore.

"Different group of attackers have attacked and tried to enter two police training centres in Lahore. We now have three near-simultaneous attacks against police facilities," police official Kamran Ahmad told AFP.

Police said the attack at the FIA building was quickly repelled and that firing had stopped at Manawan, where police reinforcements were inside.

"The building has been cleared. The operation is complete. There were five dead total... three of them are police officials," said senior Lahore police official Haider Ashraf.

Pakistan's weak civilian government sought to under play the attacks.

"The firing is going on at two other places -- Bedian and Manawan -- where forces are alert. You will soon hear good news from there. We will take control," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.

Thursday's attacks underscored poor police security. The training centre at Manawan was attacked on March 30. Eight police recruits died before security forces finally overpowered the multi-pronged assault after nearly eight hours.

The FIA building in Lahore was bombed in March 2008, killing 16 people.

In the northwest town of Kohat near Peshawar, district police chief Dilawar Bangash said 11 people were killed.

"The bomber ploughed his car into the outer wall of the police station" in Kohat, he told AFP, adding that the building was badly damaged.

Eight people have died, including civilians and children, and the toll may go up, Kohat police official Fazle Naeem said with fears that some people may be trapped under the debris.

At least 52 civilians were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber rammed his car into a market in Peshawar.

The following day, Taliban-linked gunmen staged an audacious raid on army headquarters near Islamabad with 22 people killed in a day-long siege that also saw 39 hostages freed by commando troops.

After the militants' brazen headquarters assault, speculation has intensified that the military is preparing to go into the insurgent hotbed of South Warizistan with tens of thousands of residents fleeing their homes.

The pre-dawn strike targeted the suspected militant compound in Dandey Darpa Khel near the Afghan border, a security official said.

US President Barack Obama is poised to sign a bill giving 7.5 billion dollars to build schools, roads and democratic institutions in Pakistan as part of a strategy to discredit extremists in the nation and Afghanistan.


Photo 2 of 4

Map locating Lahore.

Map


Source:  AFP More »
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