ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – As U.S. Senator John Kerry warned Pakistan on Sunday it could risk losing U.S. aid in case Islamabad failed to cooperate more with Washington in curbing terrorism, Islamabad has also finalized its list of conditions to be forwarded to Washington with a clear message that their acceptance was a major prerequisite for the continuation of the anti-terrorism cooperation between the two estranged allies.
The list contains tough conditions like an end to drone strikes in Pakistan’s militant-infested Tribal Areas, withdrawal of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spies and defense contractors from Pakistan and complete intelligence sharing by Washington about the possible presence of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders inside the country.
The Pakistani list of conditions will not only be sent to Washington through diplomatic channels, but will also be shared with Senator Kerry, who arrived in Islamabad from Kabul on Sunday night to hold crucial talks with Pakistani leaders. more >>
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Frayed relations between Pakistan and the United States following the Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2 are likely to collapse after a special joint “in-camera” session of Pakistan’s parliament on Friday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the U.S.’ unilateral action in Abbottabad in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, and called for revisiting and reviewing Pakistan’s terms of engagement with the U.S.
In an unprecedented development in the military-dominated history of Pakistan, Inter Services Intelligence Director General (ISI DG) Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha volunteered to resign by “surrendering” himself before parliament in what Information Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan described as “accountability” for the intelligence failure to detect the presence of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad for five years.
Though the ISI DG, while briefing the joint session of parliament, submitted himself before the elected representatives saying that he was ready for accountability at any level, the military top brass skilfully turned the situation in their favor, throwing the ball into the court of the political leadership to take a decision and formulate a national security policy, which would be implemented by the armed forces. more >>
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” laws can put even children at risk, and Christians say the days when they could teach their offspring pat answers to protect them from accusations of disparaging Islam or its prophet seem to have passed.
A 30-year-old Pakistani woman who grew up in Lahore said her Christian parents taught her formula answers to keep from falling prey to accusations under the blasphemy statutes, such as “I am a Christian, I can only tell you about Him.” But even then, before radical Islamists began influencing Pakistani society as they have in recent years, schoolchildren were taught not to discuss religion, she said.
“We knew never to get into religious discussions with others,” she said. “We had them at home – our parents would put us through the drill of asking us tough questions to see how we answered. Only now I realize that was practice for school.” more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan – On Monday morning, Pakistan suddenly found itself between a rock and a hard place when U.S. President Barack Obama broke the news of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden’s killing in a U.S. commando raid in Pakistan. "Justice has been done," the U.S. president said Sunday night in a televised statement that Americans had been waiting a decade to hear.
The fact that bin Laden was killed just a few hundred meters away from Pakistan’s main military academy raises questions about how the six-foot-four fugitive, one of the most famous faces in the world, managed to survive there for so long despite denials by the country’s military and political leadership that the al-Qaida supreme leader was present on Pakistani soil.
The incident is also most likely to unleash a flurry of violence in Pakistan by angry Islamist militants and al-Qaida sympathizers to whom bin Laden was a great hero, and now an even greater martyr. Pakistan is already reeling from various serious crises and the incident is bound to bring more bloodshed to the country which has already lost thousands of lives to terrorism. more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Hundreds of Muslims in Gujranwala on Saturday attacked Christians’ homes, a school and a Presbyterian church building after learning that police had released two Christians accused of “blasphemy” – amid reports of another alleged desecration of the Quran.
Mushtaq Gill and his son Farrukh Mushtaq were released on Friday afternoon after a handwriting expert hired by police determined that the latter had not written a threatening note accompanying burned pages of the Quran, police sources said. The two Christians, who had been taken into protective custody on April 15, were relocated along with family members to an undisclosed location soon after their release.
At 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, however, as news of their release spread, a Muslim claimed that pages of the Quran had been burned anew in Gujranwala’s Aziz Colony cemetery in Punjab Province, according to retired Maj. Timothy Nasir, head of Faith Theological Seminary in Gujranwala. He said announcements over area mosque loudspeakers began blaring, and Muslim residents and members of extremist groups began gathering. more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan – An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan’s Faisalabad district on Monday sentenced to death a Muslim man who had gunned down two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy on July 7 last year. The court also imposed a fine of $47,784 on the convict.
Maqsood alias Soodi was convicted of killing the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his 30-year-old brother, Sajid Emmanuel, and injuring police inspector Mohammad Hussain.
The convict was also sentenced to 10-year imprisonment each under Section 7-C of the Anti-Terrorism Act and 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code and a fine of $2380. Under Section 337-D, he will pay $5,950 compensation to the injured inspector and serve a 10-year term. more >>