Pakistan Christians Invited to Embrace Islam (or Die Horribly)…

A Church center in Pakistan’s cosmopolitan eastern city of Lahore has been threatened with a suicide bomb attack, one of a series of intimidating messages given to Christians as the country’s security crisis worsens.

 

The threat was delivered on June 10 to a Christian woman who lives next to Rabita Manzil, the National Catholic Office for Social Communications, which includes the offices of the WAVE (Workshop Audio Visual Education) studio, Radio Veritas Asia’s Urdu service and the Union of Catholic Asian News.

The woman said two masked men arrived on a motorbike without number plates.

“We know that you and those at the recording studio are Christians. We warn you to leave this area, embrace Islam, pay 1,500,000 rupees (US$18,750) or be ready to die in a suicide bomb attack. Inform your neighbors as well,” she quoted the men as saying.

Christians have received similar threats in various parts of the country as fighting between government troops and the Taliban militants continues to rage in the country’s northwest.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, several Catholic schools in Lahore and various pastors have received threatening notes telling them to convert to Islam.

A Pentecostal Bible school in the southwestern city of Quetta was closed indefinitely after suspected Taliban militants threatened a suicide bomb attack last month.

Father Nadeem John Shakir, director of Rabita Manzil, issued a statement in Lahore immediately after learning about the threat to his center.

“This is the first time the studio has received such warning,” Father Shakir said in the press release June 10. “This has made us sad and very insecure. We are quite helpless in this regard. The threat has also demoralized our employees. If something happens to our center a number of Church activities will collapse.”

In his statement, Father Shakir called on people to prayer for studio staff and those engaged in “such inhuman acts or supporters of such beastly activities, so that they may change their nature and become good human beings.”

The priest told UCA News that neighbors of the center had been supportive.

“However, no one can guarantee the security of our houses, convents, churches, schools, hospitals and other institutions. Even the law enforcement agencies are not safe themselves.”

Intense government fighting against Taliban militants has triggered a wave of attacks in cities across the country, the most recent being a suicide bombing of a hotel in Peshawar on June 9. The attack on the city’s premier Pearl Continental Hotel left 11 dead, including two UN aid workers, and 60 injured.

The latest bombing affects relief efforts in the country. Peshawar lies near the Swat Valley, where Pakistani government forces are battling Taliban militia in fighting that has forced more than 2.5 million people from their homes. The hotel was used by some foreign aid workers helping the displaced.

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Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons:US Joint Chiefs of Staff

Pakistan increasing nuclear warheads, warns US

Washington: The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has confirmed reports that Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons programme, but has provided no details.The confirmation came during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing Thursday when Democrat senator Jim Webb, an expert on defence issues, raised fears that Pakistan is adding to the nuclear weapons it traditionally has pointed toward India, and questioned whether US aid could be funding it.

 

Noting reports that Pakistan “may be actually adding on their weapon systems and warheads” Webb asked: “Do you have any evidence of that?” “Yes,” Mullen answered.

Webb said that is a cause for “enormous concern,” because with the Islamic militant threat, he said, Pakistan’s government is not very stable.

The US has urged Pakistan to focus on the Islamic extremist threat instead of India. But Mullen told senators that it’s still unclear that Pakistani leaders can shift their focus for a long period even as they slowly acknowledge that militants pose more of a security risk.

“Historically, they haven’t done that,” Mullen said. “So right now, I’m encouraged by what’s happened, but I certainly withhold any judgment about where it goes because of the historic lack of sustainment, and they know they need to do that.”

Also at the hearing, Admiral Mullen said it is not only Pakistan’s top leaders who need to recognise the militant threat.

He said Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, the ISI, must also change its approach, and one key to that is convincing its leaders there will be a long-term US commitment to helping them defeat the Islamic militants.

“The ISI in the long run has to change its strategic thrust and get away from working both sides,” he said. “That’s how they have been raised, certainly over the last couple of decades, and that’s what they [are going to continue to] believe, until they think we’re going to be there for a while.”
Asked by Senator John McCain, Republican presidential opponent of Barack Obama, whether he still worried “about the ISI cooperating with Taliban?”, Mullen simply said: “Yes, sir.”

Several senators voiced doubts about sending millions of dollars to Pakistan without assurances it will be spent to fight extremists who threaten security and political stability both there and in Afghanistan.

Next year’s Pentagon budget includes $700 million to train and otherwise help Pakistan fight Islamic Terroists.

Source: IANS

Born to Jihad

As Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari huddled with President Barack Hussein Obama at the White House last week, Taliban jihadis extended their inexorable advance into Pakistani territory. General David Petraeus was quoted as warning that Pakistan could be mere weeks from falling to their onslaught.

What nobody seems willing to say out loud, however, is that Pakistan was created to be an Islamic state governed by Shari’a and dedicated to the objectives of jihad. Its 20-year quest for the first Islamic bomb ended in success largely because the U.S. and rest of the Western world allowed it to happen. Three decades of American administrations enabled Pakistan to arm itself, train thousands of youngsters to terrorism, and then export those weapons, jihadis, and ideology to its neighbors. That the forces of Islamic jihad should now be mounting what may be a final assault for domination of the nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Pakistan should surprise no one.

Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, the 20th century founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (the Islamic Congregation), urged his followers to “seize power by the use of all available means and equipment” in order to establish Islamic rule and instill an “Islamic way of life and morality” — in other words, impose Shari’a on Pakistan. Neither did Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of modern-day Pakistan, leave any doubt about what was intended when he addressed the All-India Muslim League in 1946: “If we fail to realise our duty today, you will be reduced to the status of Sudras (low castes) and Islam will be vanquished from India. I shall never allow Muslims to be slaves of Hindus.”Born the following year in a bloodbath of religious hatred, Pakistan has always been ruled by its army and intelligence service, which enjoyed the virtually automatic support of its ally in Washington for the next 60 years even as they increasingly identified with hardline Islamists. Today, that army and its Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are so thoroughly infused with jihadist sympathies that their will to win against Muslim co-religionists is in serious question. The U.S. seemed not to notice when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto made Islam the state religion of Pakistan in 1973 or when his successor General Zia ul-Haq Islamicized Pakistani courts and the economy, turned Pakistani madrassas into jihad factories, and demoted women to second-class status. Neither did the Pentagon pay the slightest attention when Brigadier S.K. Malik wrote “The Qur’anic Concept of War” in 1979, revealing Pakistan’s unswerving dedication to the doctrinal aspects of Qur’anic warfare (jihad). Malik stated unequivocally, “Jihad is a continuous and never-ending struggle waged on all fronts including political, economic, social, psychological, domestic, moral and spiritual to attain the object of policy. It aims at attaining the overall mission assigned to the Islamic state…” Gen. Zia ul-Haq wrote the forward to Malik’s book — which to this day is virtually unknown at U.S. national war colleges. Because the U.S. needed Pakistan to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, our government turned a blind eye not only to Zia’s Islamicization of Pakistani society, but also to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. As meticulously documented in the 2007 book, “Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons”, three decades of American presidents ignored, destroyed, and misrepresented to Congress and the American people the evidence provided by U.S. and other Western intelligence services about the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan. Pakistan’s nuclear intentions and developing capabilities were known and understood by every president from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush as was the fact that Pakistan’s military-dominated governments were deeply involved in AQ Khan’s activities. Then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto herself acceded to AQ Khan’s request to travel to North Korea in December 1995. There she took delivery of a bagful of computer disks and other materials containing the blueprints for the advanced ballistic missiles Pakistan needed for its nuclear weapons delivery system. Husain Haqqani, the current Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., reportedly met Bhutto at the Islamabad airport upon her return and later described his horror at the realization that what she had brought back was a direct delivery from Pyongyang to the Pakistani military. After a decade of disastrous disinterest, 9/11 renewed U.S. attention to Pakistan, but the ISI’s continuing deep involvement with its creation, the Afghan Taliban, was somehow overlooked. Confident of ISI support and drawing on an apparently endless supply of Pakistani madrassa graduates, the Taliban methodically established an intelligence, support, and training network throughout Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and beyond. Despite the veneer of its Westernized elite, Pakistan is home to millions of Muslims who know exactly what liberal democracy is and firmly reject it. It’s these decades of failure to deal with an ostensible ally that proliferated both jihad and centrifuges that have brought us to today’s panic over the Taliban’s 2009 blitzkrieg through the SWAT Valley. Failure to absorb the lessons of Malik’s “Quranic Concept of War” and ignorance of Islamic history are the only possible explanations for any expectations that the Taliban would abide by the Malakand Accord, the agreement reached in February 2009 between the jihadis and the Pakistani government that ceded the SWAT Valley to Shari’a. Now observers are trying to come to grips with the possibility that the center of gravity for the international jihad, this nuclear-armed country of 170 million people that harbors al-Qa’eda and Taliban leaders, provides safe havens for terrorist training camps, and runs operations centers for jihadist attacks across the globe, could soon become the nucleus of a new Caliphate. This bad dream becomes a real nightmare when a nuclear Iran run by jihadi-minded mullahs is factored in. Usama bin-Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their al-Qa’eda cohorts are in Iran and Pakistan because they feel safe there. They didn’t bring the ideology of Islamic Jihad with them — the ideology welcomed them. It’s not likely that the Taliban will long be halted by Pakistan’s half-hearted counteroffensive. It is the nature and the imperative of jihad to expand “till Allah’s word is supreme” (Q 8:39) or until it is halted by force. U.S. aid to Pakistan this year is no more likely to result in a redeployment of Pakistan’s military away from the Indian border or a housecleaning at the ISI than the billions already spent were. While Ralph Peters’ recent call to “Dump Pakistan” is probably unrealistic, his bottom line to “Let India deal with Pakistan” does not make sense. Much more sense than continuing to aid and abet the forces of terror by writing blank checks to a regime with no accountability, whose real interests are antithetical to America’s own.

Ms. Lopez is the Vice President of the Intelligence Summit and a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.

Pakistan ‘most dangerous country in the world’

Extremist attacks across nuclear-armed Pakistan in recent years have made it “the most dangerous country in the world,” Canada’s Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Monday.

“I’m extremely concerned,” MacKay told a press conference. “The instability in Pakistan in my view makes Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world.”

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Canadian Defense Minister Peter Gordon MacKay

Around 12,000 to 15,000 Pakistan security forces are battling Islamist fighters in three northwest districts in what Islamabad says is a fight to eliminate militants — branded by Washington as the greatest terror threat to the West.

Extremist attacks have killed at least 1,800 people across Pakistan in less than two years and around Pakistani 2,000 soldiers have died in battles with Islamist militants since 2002.

MacKay said the Taliban’s recruiting and rearming in Pakistan is also harming NATO efforts to rout insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan, where Canada has deployed some 2,800 troops.

“As long as insurgency is allowed to foster and to incubate inside Pakistan, the problem remains very real, very difficult,” he said.

Islamic Taliban Demolish Sikh Homes over Refusal to Pay Jizya

Islamic Taliban militants have demolished 11 homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan’s troubled Aurakzai tribal region after they failed to pay ‘jiziya’ or a tax levied on non-Muslims.
 

 


Amid reports of demolition of homes of Sikhs in parts of Pakistan, India on Friday said it had taken up the matter of treatment of minorities in that country with the government in Islamabad.

“On seeing reports about Sikh families in Pakistan being driven out of their homes and being subject to ‘jiziya’ and other such impositions, the Government of India has taken up with Pakistan the question of treatment of minorities with the government of Pakistan,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

According to reports, Islamic Taliban militants have demolished 11 homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan’s troubled Aurakzai tribal region after they failed to pay ‘jiziya’ or a tax levied on non-Muslims.

The Islamic militants acted after a deadline set by them for payment of ‘jiziya’ by the Sikhs expired on April 29, The Sikhs had discussed the possibility of leaving the area at a meeting of the community but were unable to reach a decision.

Though the Sikhs have been living in Aurakzai Agency for centuries, the Islamic  Taliban asked them earlier this month to pay Rs 50 million a year as jiziya.

The Islamic militants claimed this was being done as Sharia or Islamic law had been enforced in the area and all non-Muslims have to pay “protection money”.

Taliban taking over entire Pakistan: Hillary Clinton (Video)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the government had abdicated to the Taliban by agreeing to the Swat deal, adding the country now posed a “mortal threat” to the world.

 

The US must strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons, destroy their nuclear laboratories and detain Dr. A.Q. Khan. $11-billion of US taxpayers’ money, since 9/11, and barely anything of significant value from that Dane Geld, so no likelihood of $5-billion more having an impact vis-à-vis Saudi Arabian billions to enable radical-Islamic activity in Pakistan. Zardari, et al, reckon on playing the US for fools. Hardly surprising when North Korea, Somali pirates and Iran proceed with impunity.

Without the $5-billion from the US, Pakistan is toast, and when the Taliban gain power in Pakistan, there will be no shortage of Pakistanis clamoring to gain access to the EU and the US. Which is partly why there will be 11 Pakistani students getting their UK student visas revoked, and returned to Pakistan.

Chief of Taliban has links with Pakistan’s Intelligence (ISI)

Baitullah Mehsud, the chief of Pakistani Taliban, who claimed credit for the recent deadly attack on a police academy near Lahore, has links with the country’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), and insider inside the Pakistani Intel revels on the condition of anonymity.

 

Within days of the government’s announcement of the imposition of Islamic Sharia law in Swat, 125 km (80 miles) northwest of Islamabad, Taliban militants forced their way into nearby Buner, closer to the capital Islamabad. They said their aim was to push their harsh version of Islam across the country.

 

“Investors are scared about the Taliban issue and the fear of more violence,” said Tauseef Ladak, a dealer at Taurus Securities Ltd.

 

Residents said the Taliban had occupied police stations in Buner and that gun-totting fighters were roaming market places urging people to support their efforts to impose Islamic law.

 

Politicians who pushed the government to enforce Sharia law in Swat have even begun expressing worries about the growing clout of the Taliban.

“If the Taliban continue their advances at the current pace they will soon be knocking at the doors of Islamabad,” Fazl-ur-Rehman, head of the Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Islam, the country’s largest Islamic party, told parliament on Wednesday.

 

 

 

There is nothing called the ‘moderate Taliban’: MJ Akbar

If necessity is the mother of invention then politics is often the father. Barack Obama has invented a phrase that did not exist on January 20, the day he became president. Anxious to win a war through the treasury rather than the Pentagon, he has discovered something called the “moderate Taliban” in Afghanistan. Joe Biden, his vice president, has found the mathematical coordinates of this oxymoron: only 5% of the Taliban are “extremists”.

Welcome to Obama’s first big mistake.

The war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not simply against some bearded men and beardless boys who have been turned into suicide missionaries. The critical conflict is against the ideology of a chauvinistic theocracy that seeks to remould the Muslim world into a regressive region from which it can assault every aspect of modernity, whether that be in political space or the social sphere.

Washington has a single dimension definition of “moderate”: anyone who stops an active, immediate war against the US is a “moderate”. Let me introduce him to a couple of “moderate Taliban”. They are now world famous, having been on every national and international news channel these past few days, stars of a video clip from Swat. Two of them had pinned down a 17-year-old girl called Chand Bibi, while a third, his face shrouded, lashed her with a whip 37 times on suspicion of being seen with a man who was not her father or brother.

Obama should record the screams of Chand Bibi and play them to his daughters as the “moderate” music to which he wants to dance in his Afghan war.

These Taliban are “moderate” by the norms of the Obama Doctrine: they have come to a deal with America through Islamabad. Pakistani troops are not engaged in their medieval haven, nor are American Drones bombing their homes. All that remains, one presumes, is that they are placed on the Pentagon payroll as insurance of their ceasefire.

Perhaps, in their desperate search for moderation, Obama and Islamabad will promote the denial being manipulated into public discourse. The unbearable Swat-lashing video is now described as fake. It would be nice to know the names of the actors who played such a convincing part in the filming of this ‘fake’. Chand Bibi has “denied” any such incident. Sure: but was any doctor sent to check the scars?

Such compromise with ‘moderation’ has also taken place next door, in Afghanistan, under the watchful eye of American ally Hamid Karzai. He has just signed a family law bill which compels Afghan women to take permission from their husbands before going to a doctor, seeking education, or getting a job. The husband has become complete master of the bedroom. Custody of children can only go to fathers or grandfathers; women have no rights. A member of Afghanistan’s upper house, Senator Humaira Namati, has called this law “worse than during the Taliban (government). Anyone who spoke out was accused of being against Islam”. It makes no difference to the Taliban, of course, that the Quran expressly forbids Muslim men from forcing decisions on their wives “against their will”. Karzai’s justification is the usual one: politics. He wanted the support of theocrats in the election scheduled for August this year. Under pressure, there is talk of a review but no one is sure what that means.

If it’s democracy, it must be “moderate”, right?

One can understand a post-Iraq America’s reluctance towards wars that seem straight out of Kipling. But we in the region have to live with the political consequences of superpower intervention, and the casual legitimacy that Obama is offering to a destructive ideology will create blowback that spreads far beyond the geography of “Afpak”.

Benazir Bhutto and the ISI did not create the Taliban in the winter of 1994 for war against America. Its purpose was to defeat fractious Afghan warlords, and establish a totalitarian regime that would equate Afghanistan’s strategic interests to Pakistan’s. The ISI conceived an “Afpak” long before the idea reached the outer rim of Washington’s thinking. Pakistan worked assiduously to widen the Taliban’s legitimacy and would have drawn America into the fold through the oil-pipeline siren song if Osama bin Laden had not blown every plan apart. In some essentials, things have not changed. Pakistan’s interests still lie in a pro-Islamabad Taliban regime in Kabul. The “moderation” theory is a ploy to provide war-weary America with an exit point. India’s anxieties will be offered a smile in public and a shrug in private.

History is uncomfortable with neat closures. Neither the Taliban nor Pakistan are what they were in 1994: the former
is much stronger, the latter substantially weaker. The fall of Kabul to the Taliban this time could be a curtain raiser to the siege of Islamabad.

There is nothing called a moderate lash, or backlash, President Obama.

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