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Iraq: Suicide Attacks 'Kill More Than 70 Shias' Saudi women win victory in lingerie shopsRally supports blasphemy

law, seeks relea se of Taseer killerKazakh Leader Extends State Of Emergency In ZhanaozenA Guantana mo guards conversion to Islam Maldives lifts ban after brothel probeBoko Haram: Sha ria or militant wing of Northern politicians?Islam is a moderate religion: Schola rsFaizs poems in illustrated English book by daughter US posts new India, Pakistan maps on websitePakistani troops target Indian border postsBritish Red Cross worke r kidnapped in southwestern PakistanBright prospects of Sarabjit s release: Lawye rStudents use waste to depict Pakistans problemsJailed Pakistani Christian mother we ll: husbandVigil demands justice for TaseerIslamic Honor Violence Rising in the W estIndonesia Plans to Stop Sending Domestic Workers Abroad by 2017Bangladeshi man given jail term for wishing PM Sheikh Hasinas death on Facebook Islamic Awakening le d Libyan revolution Kayani off to China to buttress defence tiesPakistan suffered most at hands of terror: USPakistani militants kill 15 security officersFive milit ants killed in ZhobMATI sues as government seeks Supreme Court legal counsel on s pas, pork and alcoholPakistan court admits petitions against ZardariHusain Haqqani fears for his life: reportPakistan seeks result-oriented engagement with India: KharCivil society lauds Taseers services for countrymenCivilian aid dries up: US re fuses to fund Pakistan-American Enterprise FundPakistan and US resume process of reconciliationPakistan border closure leaves Canadian supplies stuck in Afghanist anPakistans former Commissioner of Indus Water Jamaat Ali Shah affairJamat Ali Shah denies reports of aiding India in hydel projectsPakistan repatriates over 3.7 mn Afghan refugeesFinland to close Embassy in PakistanPakistan Mercantile Exchange r epresentation in TurkeyNewt Gingrich Rips Marijuana Use, Shows Historical Ignoran ceUS wants strengthened ties with Pakistan: MunterCharges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in TurkeyKarzai agrees to Taliban Qatar officeFormer Israel PM indicted for graft in property scandalIranian Top Shia Cleric appointed Islamic Development Bank Sharia BoardEgyptian Nasserist presidential hopeful comments on new parliament, discusses his presidential platformATC to send Mumbai record to I ndiaComplied by New Age Islam News Bureau Photo: Iraq Attacks Kill More Than 70 URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=630 1 -------Iraq attacks kill more than 70 Shias 5 January 2012 More than 70 people have been killed in bomb attacks in southern Iraq and in the capital Baghdad. Provincial officials said at least 30 Shia pilgrims died in a suicide attack nea r the city of Nasiriya. Earlier, Iraq s Interior Ministry said at least 24 people were killed in blasts in Shia areas of Baghdad. The attacks come amid a rise in sectarian tensions after the last US combat troo ps withdrew in December. The head of the provincial council in Nasiriya, Qusay al-Abadi, said at least 30 pilgrims were killed and more than 70 injured in the attack near Nasiriya. AFP quoted the official Dhi Qar provincial website as saying the pilgrims were walki ng to the holy city of Karbala. The BBC s Rafid Jabboori in Baghdad says Iraq is going through a severe politica l crisis and the situation in the country is tense. The Baghdad attacks occurred during the city s rush hour and the Interior Minist ry says they targeted gatherings in of civilians in the Sadr City and Kadhimiya areas and injured at least 66 other people. Unnamed officials told the AFP news agency that between 14 and 15 people had bee n killed when two car bombs exploded simultaneously in Kadhimiya at around 09:00 (06:00 GMT). The Associated Press (AP) said 15 people died in the blasts. Twelve people had earlier been killed when two bombs were detonated in Sadr City , AP reported officials as saying. It said the first was a motorbike bomb, which exploded near where labourers were gathering to look for work.

It quoted anonymous hospital officials as saying that 30 minutes later a roadsid e bomb exploded near a tea shop, killing one. AFP quoted security officials as s aying nine people were killed and 35 wounded in the Sadr City attacks. Reuters p ut the toll at 10. "There was a group of day labourers gathered, waiting to be hired for work. Some one brought his small motorcycle and parked it nearby. A few minutes later it bl ew up, killed some people, wounded others and burned some cars," a police office r told Reuters at the scene of the first attack. Iraq s power-sharing government has been in crisis since an arrest warrant was i ssued for Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi on terror charges two weeks ago. He has denied the accusations against him. The al-Iraqiyya group, the main Sunni bloc in parliament, is boycotting the asse mbly in protest. It accuses Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, of monopolising power. Mr Hashemi is currently in Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, under the protection of the regional government, but Mr Maliki has demanded that they give him up. "Political leaders fight each other for power, and we pay the price," Labourer A hmed Khalaf told AFP at the site of one of the Sadr City explosions. "How is it our fault if al-Hashemi is wanted, or someone else is wanted?" he asked. "Why sh ould we pay instead of them?" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16420554 ----------Saudi women win victory in lingerie shops PM By Mary Ann Jolley and staff January 05, 2012 , A new law which bans men from working in lingerie shops in Sa udi Arabia is being hailed as a significant victory in the campaign for equal ri ghts. The law will give women in the closed desert kingdom an opportunity to work in s hopping malls for the first time. Ibrahim Al Mugaiteeb from Saudi Arabia s Human Rights First Society says men sel ling women underwear is un-Islamic, but that did not stop religious clerics figh ting against the change. "This is the hypocrisy of some religious people who interpret the rulings of Isl am, otherwise you would think they would be fighting for that," he said. "No man should deal with a woman about her underwear. "The march has started - realising full rights for women in Saudi Arabia. I don t think anything can stop it now." Since King Abdullah took over in 2005, Saudi Arabia has seen progress in women s rights. Women will vote in the 2014 municipal elections and are now allowed to attend un iversity, but there is a long way to go. Women still cannot drive and are governed by guardianship laws. Eman Al Nafjan, 33, is living in Riyadh with her husband and three children. She teaches English, is writing her PhD and blogs about women s rights. She, like many of her friends, buys her lingerie overseas. AUDIO: A small step for Saudi Arabia, a giant step for the Kingdom s women (PM) "I have several friends who only buy their lingerie when they leave the country. I have had friends who ve had the guy behind the counter make inappropriate com ments about their bra size, about things like that. The changes to the law mean some of the 28 per cent of unemployed Saudi women wi ll now have jobs and be able to support themselves. Ms Al Nafjan says there is still a great deal of opposition. The Saudi Arabian G rand Mufti railed against it at last Friday s prayers. "Last Saturday we had a member of the highest Islamic council, he gave a Friday sermon about how this is very dangerous and we shouldn t go through with it," sh e said. "It s very significant. It s going to cause social change to have women working in the malls. It might seem like nothing to people in the West, but it s still a responsibility and it s still an opportunity to show society that women are jus t as responsible and capable as men."

Ms Al Nafjan says she is enjoying buying her underwear from women. "The other day I was in the mall and I didn t need any lingerie or anything, but I just stood at the door and I was so happy to see them. It s a fantastic chang e," she said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-04/saudi-women-win-victory-in-lingerie-shops/ 3758726 --------Rally supports blasphemy law, seeks release of Taseer killer By: Our Staff Reporter LAHORE, January 05, 2012 Speakers at a convention have vowed to revive the spiri t of Pakistan Movement and work for solidarity and integrity of the country. The y said spiritual offsprings of the Mushaikh would fight alongside the military t o safeguardthe geographical boundaries of the country. Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz organised Save Pakistan Convention at Data Dar bar on Wednesday after the conclusion of Namoos-e-Risalat Rally that started fro m Minar-e-Pakistan. Raza-e-Mustafa Naqashbandi, Muhammad Khan Qadri, Muhammad Al i Naqashbandi, Raghib Naeemi and other leaders led the rally largely participate d by people from various walks of life. The participants were carrying flags and placards and banners inscribed with writings in support of blasphemy law and de mands of immediate release of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, killer of former Punjab gove rnor Salmaan Taseer. The participants also chanted slogans in favour of Mumtaz Q adri. After the rally, TNRM organised convention at Data Darbar where speakers warned of launching a coffin-clad march towards Islamabad if Mumtaz Qadri was not relea sed honourably. Addressing the convention, Raza-e- Mustafa Naqshbandi said accor ding to Islamic laws laid down by Quran and Sunnah, Mumtaz Qadri is a hero of Is lam who punished Salman Taseer for violating a law of Islam. Muhammad Khan Qadri demanded of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to intervene and decide Mumtaz Qadris case in accordance with the Islamic laws. Muhammad Ali Naqshbandi said self resp ecting Muslims of Pakistan would not rest till honourable release of Qadri. Al lama Khadim Hussain Rizvi said Muslims were faced with another crusade and remin ded the believers of the Qurans proclamation that Jews and Christians could never be friends. Raghib Naeemi said it was time Sufis must come out of monasteries t o purge the country of the US agents and impure elements. Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali said Mumtaz Qadri punished a blasphemer and all those cons piring against him must keep in mind that Allahs court is Supreme over all worldl y courts. Pir Yar Jan Saifi, Mujahid Abdul Rasool, Haseeb Qadri, Abdul Mustafa Hazarvi, Tahir Tabassum, Sardar Raza, Ahmad Ali Kasuri, Naeem Javed Noori, Arsha d Naeemi, Mufti Imran, Ahmad Raza Sialvi, Pir Shafiq Ahmad, Sh Azhar, Allama Asg har and Zaheerul Hasan also spoke on the occasion. The resolutions passed by the convention demanded President Zardari to exonerate Mumtaz Qadri and punish blas phemer Aasia. http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/lahore/05Jan-2012/rally-supports-blasphemy-law-seeks-release-of-taseer-killer -------Kazakh Leader Extends State Of Emergency In Zhanaozen Birgit Brauer Calm has been restored in the oil-rich western part of Kazakhstan after clashes between police and protesters on December 16-17 that left at least 16 people dea d and more than 100 injured, including striking oil workers. But Kazakhstans cult ivated image as a bastion of stability in volatile Central Asia and a haven for foreign investors has been tarnished. Two videos have been circulating on YouTube, one showing unarmed people apparent ly being shot at and beaten by police on December 16 in the oil town of Zhanaoze n in the Mangistau region and the other depicting a young man with a bloodstaine d shirt evidently shot dead lying on the ground and another wounded in the foot during the unrest. These videos, contradicting the initial official version that police only fired their weapons into the air and the ground, have shocked many. A 20-day state of emergency and curfew imposed on Zhanaozen on December 17 has b een extended by presidential decree until January 31. This is probably intended

to prevent any possible disturbances in the days around the upcoming parliamenta ry elections on January 15. A commission formed by members of civil society to investigate the events has ca lled for the removal of the state of emergency. The authorities tell us the situa tion has normalized. What is the point of maintaining the emergency situation? as ked commission member Mukhtar Taizhan. Until it is removed, no help can be provid ed neither legal, nor medical, nor humanitarian (Kplus TV, December 29, 2011). The Kazakh government is considering bringing in United Nations experts and inde pendent experts from other countries to ensure an objective and thorough investig ation into the facts relating to the mass disturbances in Zhanaozen, said Altai A bidullayev, spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs (www.mfa.kz, Decemb er 30, 2011). Yet, in spite of the governments declared openness and transparency, eye witnesse s have reported numerous random arrests and beatings of detainees by police in Z hanaozen. In response, the government has set up a separate commission aside fro m a government commission already established to look into the events to resolve complaints relating to the unlawful detention of citizens and use of illegal met hods of investigation, according to the ministry of foreign affairs (www.mfa.kz, December 30, 2011). Violence erupted on December 16, the day Kazakhstan celebrated its 20th annivers ary of independence, after seven months of strikes by oil workers demanding bett er pay and work conditions. Over 40 buildings were torched, including the headqu arters of the Ozenmunaigaz energy company at the center of the dispute, the mayo rs office, two banks, shops, and a hotel, as well as cars and a bus. Internet and telephone connections with Zhanaozen were subsequently disconnected. What triggered the unrest and how it unfolded continues to be unclear. People ha d gathered in the towns main square in preparation for the independence day celeb ration. In the same square, oil workers had been protesting since May. A few obs ervers have said that some of the striking oil workers may have worried about be ing sidelined by the celebrations, leading to the violence. In any case, unidentified men wearing oil company jackets stormed the stage, bro ke sound equipment, and as could be seen on footage shown on YouTube chased away an outnumbered police force. Later, the rioters are said to have gone on a ramp age through the town. At some point, police were forced to use service weapons, ac cording to the prosecutor-generals office. Protests then also took place at two o ther sites in western Kazakhstan, the town of Shepte and the regional capital Ak tau. President Nursultan Nazarbayev initially blamed bandit elements for the clashes an d said they were taking advantage of the ongoing oil workers labor dispute. Since then, the prosecutor-generals office has initiated a criminal case on the fact of death caused by the use of weapons by police officers. Nazarbayev visited Zhanaozen only on December 22, but then took quick action. He replaced the regional governor with a former minister of interior, which is pro bably a sign he is uncertain about the loyalty of his security forces. He also f ired the heads of the national oil giant, KazMunaiGaz (KMG), and its London-list ed production unit. On December 26, he sacked his billionaire son-in-law Timur K ulibayev, tipped as the Nazarbayevs possible successor and perhaps next prime min ister after the parliamentary election, from his post as the head of the soverei gn wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. The fund owns KMG and has stakes in the companies whose workers were striking. Nazarbayev also promised employment either in town in newly created enterprises or in other parts of the country, for which trainin g, accommodation, and relocation will be provided. These decisions have shown Nazarbayev to be firmly in the saddle, again, after m onths of doubts following a story in a German tabloid last July that he was suff ering from prostate cancer and seeking treatment at a hospital in the northern G erman city of Hamburg. His seeming disregard for the situation in Zhanaozen ove r months up to the unrest and failure to get involved in what became the countrys longest labor dispute was widely seen as a sign of his growing weakness. The 7 1-year-old leader was declared to be healthy and in excellent physical form on Decem ber 27 after a medical checkup in the capital Astana, according to the presidents

website (www.akorda.kz, December 27). This was an unusual and rare official st atement, notable also for being publicized just one day after Kulibayevs dismissa l. Zhanaozen is a one-industry town that has almost doubled its population over the past decade to about 90,000, in part due to the influx of ethnic Kazakh repatri ates returning to their homeland from the Karakalpakistan region in Uzbekistan. Some even speak of a population of 120,000. According to government officials, s uch large-scale internal migration to a small place with limited employment oppo rtunities should not have been permitted in the first place. Salaries at the ageing Uzen (or Ozen in Kazakh) oil field are already quite high after previous increases and cannot be raised higher than pay at newer and more prospective Kazakhstani oil fields, said minister of oil and gas Sauat Mynbayev at a press conference in Almaty back in October. ----------A Guantanamo guards conversion to Islam Fatima Asmal-Motala, 04 Jan 2012 TERRY Colin Holdbrooks Jnr has never been a conformist. When his grandmother woke him up on September 11, 2001, to see the attacks on the World Trade Centre bein g broadcast live, media speculation about what he was watching irritated him so much he went back to bed. I honestly remember sitting there thinking to myself how ridiculous are the claim s that these reporters are making, he said. We had reporters that were saying this was a training attack gone wrong, we had reporters claiming that this was the e nd of world, evangelical Christians claiming that this was the Rapture ... I dec ided I didnt want to hear anymore about 9/11 till we actually knew what was going on. A year later, when he and his colleagues were being trained for duty at Guantana mo Bay they were told they would be dealing with the worst of Al-Qaeda and the T aliban anti-American, anti-Christian terrorists who were martial arts experts an d hated concepts like freedom. But Holdbrooks was reluctant to form an opinion a bout his future charges without first meeting them. If youre going to tell me I ha ve to hate someone, you have to give me good reason to do so. Even so, Holdbrooks admits his first encounter with a Guantanamo Bay detainee wa s an unexpected one. When we first walked onto the block of Guantanamo and six cells down on the left hand side is Ruhal Ahmed from the United Kingdom, rapping from the top of his lu ngs, hes rapping Eminem, and Im thinking to myself, Al-Qaeda is rapping I thought t hey hated music, but here it is rapping, and its rapping rap music in English I t hought they hated America, if thats the case, why is he rapping something that is a cultural icon in America? Maybe I got lied to. Born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1983, Holdbrooks enlisted in the U.S. army in August 2002, not out of a desire to defend his country but to escape a troubled family history. I didnt want to end up like my parents, he said. Both my parents suffered from addictions; I have an uncle who is an alcoholic, I have an uncle who died f rom HIV and smoking crack. I think what most enticed me to the military was the idea of receiving structure, order and discipline, he said. That was what I was searching for with the militar y it wasnt to defend my country, it wasnt to further the War on Terror; it was sim ply to change the Holdbrooks legacy and to discipline and structure myself, to ge t myself set up in a lifestyle I could maintain for the rest of my life. Holdbrooks ignored orders limiting interaction with detainees and was inspired b y what he encountered. I saw doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, tradesmen, merchants, cooks, indivi duals of all professions and all walks of life, individuals who spoke upwards of eight different languages, individuals who knew the Quran inside ... It was amaz ing with most of them having an adequate if not excellent education, they were a ble to teach the others, and to keep each other motivated. Holdbrooks was particularly impressed by their strong faith. This, after having been there for three years with no sign of when they were goin g home, with no reason as to why they were there, with no contact with their fam

ily. They could still wake up each day and smile, they could still wake up each day and jest and joke around with their brothers, they could still wake up each day and pray five times a day and have faith that there was a God and that that God cared for and loved them. Holdbrooks questioned the detainees about Islam, read the Quran and gradually ado pted Islamic practices and finally formally converted in the presence of two det ainees. Although the detainees quickly came to know about Holdbrookss conversion, fondly naming him Mustafa (the chosen one), it was only when he returned to the U.S. in 2004 that his superiors heard about his newfound faith and when his uni t was deployed to Iraq they became uneasy. Holdbrookss five-year contract was sho rtened to three and he was offered an honourable discharge which he happily acce pted. However, for the next four years Islam took a backseat in Holdbrooks life; a divor ce and the death of his father saw him hit the bottle and he was also haunted by memories of Guantanamo Bay. I felt that I could have done so much more than just being a nice guard. I could have been the whistleblower. I could have spoken up and said, This is wrong. Holdbrooks says that while the nutritional, medical and religious needs of the d etainees were well attended to, their treatment at the hands of some of the guar ds and interrogators got to him. Seventy five percent of the guards disliked the detainees, disliked being in Guan tanamo, and disliked the job in general and took that anger and aggression out o n the detainees by just being rude. There wasnt much interaction, but when there was, it wasnt uncommon to see guards being complete jerks. Sleep deprivation was a standard interrogation tactic. Every two hours a detaine e would be moved from one block to another in what was known as the Frequent Fly er Programme. And then when they go for interrogation theyd be shackled in a stress position, ha ve a strobe light in front of their face, loud blasting music in a very cold roo m. The interrogator would come in and cover them with water and yell at them or scream. Interrogation was different depending on the interrogator. I saw some aw ful things in interrogation, and I saw some good things. Holdbrooks says he believes most of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay were innocen t, and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even though the guards tried to keep themselves motivated it was well known they were unhappy. Its an awful place to be in. Even if the detainees are able to keep themselves mot ivated, you still know they are unhappy and to be around 50 people who are unhapp y at work all day then to go home and be away from your family its just this feel ing of unhappiness and it manifests itself in the military by alcoholism. Alcoho lism is encouraged as well as acquired in the U.S. army. Ironically enough it was the memory of who he had been at Guantanamo Bay which sa w Holdbrooks clean up his act on New Years Eve 2008. That night I was thinking, Youre miserable when were you happy? It occurred to me th at I was happy when I was in Guantanamo life had a purpose there, I was working towards a better goal. So I found a mosque, started attending prayers and gettin g sober. These days Holdbrooks travels the world talking about his experiences at Guantan amo, and encouraging Muslims to help others understand Islam. Ninety percent of Americans are scared beyond belief of Islam. Im Freddy Krueger b ecause I dress like this. I want to help Americans understand what Islam is abou t, what Islam means, and to be able to differentiate between what is cultural pr actice as opposed to what is Islam. Holdbrooks is aware that his new vocation and religion could see him on the othe r side of the bars at Guantanamo Bay. The 168 detainees that are there will be home soon. Theyre going to be moved out, but now Guantanamo is going to be filled back up with United States citizens, he s aid. The reason I say that is that in the new National Defence Act that prime dic tator Barack Obama signed approximately two weeks ago there were a couple of new laws that were enacted that basically violate the first, fourth and sixth amend

ments of the constitution. Any U.S. citizen such as myself, who is of questionable interest to the well-bein g of America such as myself, who is speaking positively about Islam, who is perh aps inciting change, or perhaps be seen as a radical or fundamental Muslim, such as myself, can now be picked up by any government official and deported to a pl ace like Guantanamo or to Guantanamo itself for that matter. If that happens, Ill take advantage of the time and do exactly what the detainees did, Ill become an I slamic scholar, Ill memorise the Quran. Ill leave there knowing Arabic, hopefully. http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global%5B_id%5D=74381 --------Maldives lifts ban after brothel probe January 5, 2012 The Maldives president has lifted a ban on spas in the upmarket tourist destinat ion after establishing they were not being used for prostitution, as alleged by Islamist protesters. The tourism ministry ordered all massage and beauty treatment centres to close s ix days ago in response to public demonstrations in the capital against spas org anised by the hardline Islamist opposition Adhaalath party. "There was a huge demonstration in Male against spas, saying they were brothels, " President Mohamed Nasheed told AFP by telephone on Wednesday. "We had to respe ct the crowd so we ordered a quality control regarding their use. "We found that they are perfectly healthy and places where families can obtain t op class treatment. We feel comfortable that we can now open the spas." The private tourism industry in the Maldives had also sought the intervention of the Supreme Court to lift the ban, saying it was unnecessary and would deprive them of business. The tourism industry is a vital foreign exchange earner and employer in the Mald ives, a popular high-end destination for well-heeled honeymooners and celebritie s where luxury rooms can cost up to $US12,000 ($A11,602.61) a day. The Indian Ocean country last year received more than 850,000 tourists, drawn to its secluded islands known for turquoise blue lagoons, corals and reefs filled with multi-coloured fish. The move to shut the spas was seen by some observers as being politically motiva ted, with the government keen to turn the tables on the Islamist opposition. Key opposition figure Gasim Ibrahim, head of the Jumhoory Party, is also a major owner of resort hotels and his businesses were set to be affected by the ban. Nasheed said the government move had jolted the country s "silent majority" whic h favours a moderate form of Islam practised in the nation of 330,000 Sunni Musl ims. Despite the Islamic republic s reputation as a laid-back holiday paradise, burni shed by frequent international marketing campaigns, there is growing concern abo ut the influence of a minority of religious fundamentalists. There have been anti-Semitic protests recently about the transport ministry s de cision to allow direct flights from Israel, while a restaurant that hung up Chri stmas decorations in 2010 was also targeted. Also in 2010, a marriage celebrant was filmed abusing a Western couple as "swine " and "infidels" in a religious-tinged hate speech during a ceremony conducted i n the local Dhivehi language. http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=703832&vId= -------Boko Haram: Sharia or militant wing of Northern politicians? BY MUDIAGA OGHENERHO JANUARY 5, 2012, IT is a very instructive observation by some concerned Nigeria ns that, when the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) failed to force its wa y politically within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Ciroma branch of the proverbial Kaduna mafia was unable to gain the type of foothold it had within the NPN after its struggle with Shehu Shagari in 1979, in 2011, all hell was l et loose. When efforts by a few born to rule individuals, to warehouse the office o f the president failed, anarchy in the guise of Boko Haram became the next choic e.

The operational tactics of Boko Haram(western education is sin), a supposed reli gious sect with curious objectives changed and has since become a tool to retur n presidency immediately to a few who claim that holding on to political power in Nigeria is their god given right. As an elder politician, a former Central Bank governor and a major stakeholder i n the politics of the North East, is it not a matter of great quandary that, whi le the North East burned and the instigators of the bloodletting in the region e xtended their bloody hands to the federal capital, the news media, is voluminous ly silent on a single comment from Ciroma and his NPLF associates. Comments of a greement or disagreement, no matter how distasteful or insipid from the man who presided over the coffers of Nigeria over a lengthy period of time is worthy lis tening to? As a major player in the politics of Nigeria, he came third in the NPN contest f or the presidency in 1978/79 behind Shehu Shagari and Maitama Sule. Despite his sponsorship by the astute administrator Hamza Rafindadi Zayyad, Ciroma knows wha t is at stake regarding the wielding of political power in Nigeria. He was in good company when he co-opted Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and Abubakar Atiku, all prominent men who have presided over the appropriation o f the Nigerian fiscus over a lengthy period of time to claim the Nigerian presid ency as a northern heritage, with the north defined along their very narrow perc eption; a northern Nigeria where northern minorities particularly the people of the middle-belt or north central are second class citizens. Hence, knowing what is at stake, it is no surprise he swore to do everything wit hin his power to ensure that himself and his associates do not play second fiddl e to anyone who was not on their side, and that they would make Nigeria ungovernab le, if Jonathan or anyone who is not within their anointed circle became president of Nigeria. This type of threat was taken then in the heat of the struggle as part of politi cal angst and dispensed with.But with benefit of hindsight, and with what has ha ppened so far, we know better and now must take it seriously because it was sim ilarly used against Chief MKO Abiola until he was killed. Also, immediately after the PDP primaries, came the first extensive use of incen diary materials by unspecified persons at an INEC office in Suleja. This marked the beginning of many such incidents of carnage recorded at his door step to de stabilise the peace of the country. What perhaps is worrisome is the loud silenc e of Ciroma at a time such as this. And the question to ask is where does he sta nd? For in truth, looking at the vision of Boko Haram and their current tactics, can we not assume that the bellum sacrum of Boko Haram has aligned with the casus b elli of the NPLF? Should we not see their role as those of the political paymast ers who have fueled the Taliban in Afghanistan waiting in the wings to devour th e political carcass left behind, when the fanatics have had their fill of blood? Does the silence of the NPLF and their associates not indicate acquiescence or a ccord? If not, where do they stand? For as William T. Cavanaugh indicated, relig ion is just a subterfuge and religious violence can be and is used to legitimate v iolence against others. So where does NPLF stand? With Nigeria or with the fanatic al dissidents? Let us count the victims of Boko Haram and review their targets a nd see if it has much to do with western education. Insipid statements have been made by top associates of NPLF to the effect that t he ongoing security threats are symptomatic of the failure of the security syste m in Nigeria, which should be overhauled. One agrees wholly with this assertion, but Aliyu Mohammed Gusau was in charge of setting up most of the current securi ty system in Nigeria, having spent decades as the head of Military intelligence and later National Security Adviser of several governments. In fact, if doctoral qualifications were awarded for on-the-job experience as a security chief, Gusau should have several doctorates on Nigerian security. One c an even wager that many of the top operatives in the Nigerian security apparati report first to Gusau before anyone because of recruitment loyalties. As one of the beneficiaries of Ciromas dispensing of the power to rule as a repre sentative of the NPLF, as well as his background on how lapses develop in Nigeri

an security, what has been Alhaji Gusaus advise to secure the North East, and mor e important what was the view of Ciroma on effecting such views. In other words, where does Ciroma stand on the security of the North East and Nigeria? Ciroma was born in Potiskum, where Christianity and Islam have co-existed side b y side for decades. In December 2011, 30 shops owned by Christians were set abl aze in Potiskum, while scores of people have been slaughtered in nearby Damaturu . Through all these, we have head the voices of Muslims like Aregbesola a governor and devout Muslim, as well as Fashola, also a Muslim governor condemning such i nhuman act of brutality, at the very doorstep of Ciroma and his associates. Yet, there has been no responses from Ciroma and friends. One would distance someone like him from such an act, knowing that the actions o f Boko Haram as they are currently been executed would obviously lead to a point where he and his associates may eventually be left with 100 percent of nothing as against the current share of something which they are fighting to gain more of. But it is a fact that the operatives of Boko Haram who have been caught so far, do not have the financial reserves, the banking proficiency to execute cross-cou ntry arms purchases, nor can they afford an extended recruitment of unemployed y ouths over a lengthy period. In addition, they are unable to pay for the use of Honda vehicles as expendable bearers of suicide bombs. Is it not therefore logical to ask; if the funds expen ded to recruit operatives of Boko Haram, has been associated with a Senator and former diplomat from Yobe sate, the very doorstep of Ciroma, is he unaware of th ese activities? If he is not, where does he and his NPLF associates stand? The loud silence of Ciroma and his associates on the operations of Boko Haram wh en placed against their vow that Nigeria will be ungovernable if they failed to gain political power purchase on the platform of the PDP remains inexplicable. Is this struggle a prelude for the control of the northern political space ahead of 2015 or a persistent assertion of power at the centre by proxy on behalf of the NPLF? Can Nigeria afford the outcome of this struggle? http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/01/boko-haram-sharia-or-militant-wing-of-norther n-politicians/ -------Islam is a moderate religion: Scholars By Manzar Imam, New Delhi, Jan 5, 2012: There is need to counter the phantom of Islamophobia bei ng so widely propagated. People are turning to Islam with a speed like never bef ore. These views were expressed by Maulana Saeedur Rahman Azmi, rector Darul Ulo om Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow. He was chairing a symposium organized by Zakir Hussa in Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) at the Universitys CI T Conference Hall on 3 January. Titled Some Important Ulama of the Muslim World and their Academic Contributions t he symposium was dedicated to research, editing and translation done in Arabic b y Maulana Muhammad Rahmatullah Nadwi. Everyone wants life to be beautiful, worth emulating, said the Nadwa rector adding that the young scholar had shown the wa y to make life both beautiful and worthwhile. Azmi took strong exceptions to the general tendency of demanding to make Islam m oderate saying that Islam has always been moderate and will remain so. Prof. Akh tarul Wasey, Head, Department of Islamic Studies, said that Quran is the word of Allah and Fitrat (Nature/Moderation) is His practice. And, there can be no contr adiction between Allahs word and action. Porf. Wasey, who is also the Vice-Chairma n of Urdu Academy, Delhi said that the responsibility of bridging the distance b etween religion and world lay with ulama, intellectuals and those endowed with k nowledge. He called the works of the young scholar immensely valuable. He stressed the nee d to focus on fundamental teachings of religion rather than standing divided on sectarian lines. Special guest in the symposium were two senior Pakistani journalists Tariq Mahmo od Sham and Suhail Warraich. Speaking on this occasion, Sham, Head of Editorial

Board of Pakistans ARY Network, said, although he came from an Islamic Republican country but Islam, Urdu and democracy were better practiced in India than in Pa kistan. He said that Muslim rulers were fonder of constructing castles, monument s than promoting academic work. While appreciating the work of Maulana Rahmatullah, Sham emphasized that ulama m ust direct their attention to militant Islam, radical Islam, political Islam and such other new terminologies that have gained currency after 9/11. The young sc holars works need to be introduced in Pakistan, added the veteran journalist. Famous GEO TV presenter Suhail Warraich raised three major questions; a) what sh ould be the system of governance for Pakistan or any other Muslim country? b) In terest is prohibited in Islam. In that case then what is the alternate economic system for Muslims? c) If faced with any problem, what is the way out for Muslim s jihad, negotiation or something else? Warraich, who is also national editor of the political cell of Pakistans leading Urdu Daily Jung said that there was need to pay attention to these questions. Ulama made great contributions from 13 to 18th century, said Dr. S. M Azizuddin Husain, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Languages, JMI, adding that those days w ere very difficult for academic work. He made special mention of Mughal ruler Ak bar saying that Akbar had set a system of research and academic work and provide d scholarships for it. He said that linguistic bias should be avoided and drew t he attention of ulama to relook their madrasa syllabus. The architect of Taj Mah al was product of a madrasa, said he. It is the duty of ulama to spread knowledge and education as they are described as heirs of the prophets, said Maulana Mohammad Shahid Al-Husaini of Madrasa Maz ahir Uloom, Saharanpur. He further said that prophets did not leave heritage of wealth, property and power. Their heritage is knowledge and education, he said. Maulana Shahid said that books hold great value and that many misconceptions are automatically removed when good books are written. While the works of Maulana R ahmatullah show his great individual academic excellence, it is also a matter of pride and honour for Indians as he does all these work in a foreign land. Rahmatullah Nadwi expressed his sense of gratitude to his teachers whose role he called important in charting his life and career. He urged madrasa graduates to m uster courage for academic work. New opportunities will open up automatically, s aid he. Abdul Qadir Shams Qasmi, senior sub-editor of Urdu weekly Aalami Sahara, who coo rdinated the programme, presented a brief introduction of the author, translator , Rahmatullah Nadwi. Dr. Mohammad Ajmal Qasmi, a post doctoral research fellow a t Jawaharlal Nehru University; Waris Mazhari, editor of Tarjuman-e-Darul Uloom, Safdar Zubair Nadwi, Mohammad Mushtak Tujarawi and Abdullah Mubarak Nadwi presen ted essays and analyses highlighting different aspects of the works of Rahmatull ah Nadwi, the centre of the symposiums theme. The message of Maulana Khalid Saifu llah Rahmani, head of Al-Mahad al-Aali al-Islami, Hyderabad, who could not attend the programme was read out by Mufti Imtiyaz Ahmad Qasmi. It appreciated the wor k of Nadwi. (Manzar Imam is a postgraduate student at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace an d Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be reached at man zarimam@rediffmail.com or +91-9810035066) http://twocircles.net/2012jan05/islam_moderate_religion_scholars.html --------Faizs poems in illustrated English book by daughter PTI Kolkata: January 05, 2012,, Have you ever tried to read a poem by looking at a p iece of painting? Legendary Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz s daughter Salima Hashmi has attempted to reflect the mood of her late father s work through her paintings. The illustrated book A Song For This Day carries English translations of 51 Urdu p oems by Faiz with images drawn by Hashmi against the backdrop of each verse. Translations in the book, which marks the birth centenary celebrations of Pakist an s most famous poet, have been done by playwright Shoaib Hashmi, who is marrie d to Salima.

Describing her effort on canvas as "visual wanderings, textures and lines which seem to be appropriate with the poetry", she says she hasn t tried to illustrate poems. "I am not sure if I can aspire to reflect the essence of the poems. But it has g ot more to do with the mood. Paintings form a backdrop for the words and do not seek to interpret," Hashmi, a prominent writer-painter, told reporters from Paki stan. Full Report at: http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/bookworm/faiz-s-poems-in-illustrated-engl ish-book-by-daughter_2123.htm -----------US posts new India, Pakistan maps on website AP WASHINGTON, Jan 5, 2012: The US State Department says it erred in its depiction of disputed Kashmir in maps on its website and after six weeks has posted revise d ones. Spokeswoman expressed relief on Wednesday the new maps of India and Pakistan we re now online and complied with US cartographical policy. The new maps have a dashed line for the 1972 Line of Control that divides Kashmi r. Nuland said that reflected its unresolved status. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the Himalayan territory, and each c laim the portion that the other controls. Indian journalists have repeatedly raised the map issue since complaints emerged in late November. India objected that all of Jammu and Kashmir was not shown as part of India. Pak istan also complained. http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/05/us-posts-new-india-pakistan-maps-on-website.html -------Pakistani troops target Indian border posts IANS JAMMU, Jan 05, 2012, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the Line of C ontrol in Jammu and Kashmir and fired at Indian posts in the Krishna Ghati secto r of Poonch district late on Wednesday night to facilitate infiltration of terro rists to this side of the frontier, army sources said. At around midnight on Wednesday, Pakistani troops opened fire at the Indian Army s Kranti and Kirpan posts in the Krishna Ghati sector, about 220 km north of Ja mmu, from across the LoC, the sources said on Thursday. The firing was to facili tate the infiltrators from the Pakistani to the Indian side, the sources added. Indian troops fired back and the exchange lasted for more than 90 minutes, the s ources said, adding the infiltration bid was foiled, the sources claimed. It was also described as the ceasefire violation by the Pakistani army. Both India and Pakistan had agreed to silence the guns of their armies on the bo rders in November 2003, but Pakistan has violated it several times since 2005 on wards. http://www.asianage.com/india/pakistani-troops-target-indian-border-posts-723 ------British Red Cross worker kidnapped in southwestern Pakistan Arshad Butt, Associated Press QUETTA, Pakistan, January 5, Armed men kidnapped a British Red Cross worker from the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Thursday, highlighting the fragile security situation in the country, police said. The incident took place hours after Islamist militants elsewhere in the country killed 15 Pakistani security officers they had seized last month close to the Af ghan border and left their naked, bullet-riddled bodies sprawled on the ground. Police officer Nazir Ahmed Kurd said the man was taken from a vehicle close to a Red Cross office in an upscale housing complex in Quetta. The assailants bundle d him into their car and drove off. Kurd said the man had been visiting a local school. International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman Sitara Jabeen declined to d isclose the mans name or nationality, but confirmed a foreign employee had been s

eized. The British High Commission said it was looking into the incident. Baluchistan province is home to Islamist militants and separatist insurgents. Both groups have kidnapped foreigners and locals in the region before. Another officer, Ahsan Mahboob, said the British man was traveling with a Pakist ani doctor and a driver. They were not seized, he said. In 2009, an American working for the United Nations refugee agency in the city w as kidnapped from the same district as the British aid worker. John Solecki was held for two months by the separatist Baluchistan Liberation United Front before he was released. The 15 Pakistani officers from the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary were kille d in retaliation for an army operation on Jan. 1 in northwest Pakistan that kill ed several militants, including a prominent commander, according to a statement from the Pakistani Taliban. It alleged that troops also killed a woman and arrested others, something that wa s forbidden and illegitimate in Islam as well as against tribal traditions. Their bodies were dumped in Shiwa town in the North Waziristan region, said loca l residents Sada-u-Alla and Salam Khan. Local Frontier Constabulary commander Al i Sher said his men had been sent to the area to pick up the corpses. The insurgents kidnapped them during a Dec. 22 attack on a Pakistani security ba se in the border region. In recent months, some militant commanders and intelligence officials have claim ed peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, one of the largest and most brutal mi litant groups, were under way. But other Pakistani Taliban commanders have dismi ssed this, and sporadic attacks have continued. Tribal leaders and analysts speculate that the group, which has been pounded by Pakistani army offensives and American missile strikes over the last few years, is riven with internal splits. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/pakistani-taliban-say-theyve-ki lled-15-kidnapped-security-officers/2012/01/04/gIQAsISlbP_story.html --------Bright prospects of Sarabjit s release: Lawyer Press Trust Of India Lahore, January 05, 2012, Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, currently on death row following his conviction for alleged involvement in bomb attacks in 1990, is ho peful that his fresh mercy petition will get a "favourable decision" from Presid ent Asif Ali Zardari, his lawyer said on Thursday. Awais Sheikh, the counsel for Sarabjit, said the fresh mercy petition had received "sp ecial attention" from Zardari. "This time, there are bright prospects of Sarabjit s release," he said. Sarabjit s release will help expedite the peace process between India and Pakist an, he claimed. He further claimed Sarabjit was to be released on August 14 last year, which is Pakistan s Independence Day, in exchange for Pakistani national Khalil Chishti, who is currently being held in a jail in Rajasthan. But the decision was "withdrawn at the eleventh hour when Indian authorities did not release Chishti", Sheikh claimed. Sheikh said that following a pledge he made to the Lahore High Court, he recentl y visited India and urged authorities there to expedite the repatriation of Paki stani citizens detained in Indian jails. He appealed to the governments of India and Pakistan to repatriate prisoners who had completed their jail terms. Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb blasts that killed 14 people in 1990. His family insists he was wrongly convicted for the bombings. Though Sarabjit was set to be hanged in 2008, Pakistani authorities put off his execution indefinitely after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter. http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Bright-prospects-of-Sarabjit-s -release-Lawyer/Article1-791432.aspx --------

Students use waste to depict Pakistans problems MAHTAB BASHIR ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 12 - Trash produced by a person is anothers craft material. Al l around us, there is scrap of different material that we ignore, but the studen ts of Hunerkada College of Visual and Performing Arts are an exemption, as they use recycled material to make innovative art installations. The students of Bach elors of Arts in Interior, Graphics, and Fashion Designing on Wednesday put on d isplay a number of installations with unique and novel ideas and themes as part of their graduate class assignments. The exhibition included displays from inter ior, graphics and fashion design departments. Its major highlights include insti llations made from recycled materials, portraying the prevailing conditions in t he country. The exhibition also included works featuring textured handbooks, han d bags and designs for better use of living space, according to the surrounding ambiences. With the social issues like the menace of corruption, child labour, globalisatio n, misuse of communication and disunity being faced by the society, students dis seminated the message that lead towards the logical ends. As one enters the main gallery of Hunerkada, Akhtar Iqbals robot like installation How much more till it s enough gives you an idea of a crooked politician who keeps on ruling the hearts and minds of common masses, while they (commoners) do not pay heed to do approp riate action against this wicked character. Talking to Pakistan Today, Akhtar sa id since the corruption had penetrated deep into the social fabric of society, h e opted to work against the practice. My choice of the topic is corruption. I wan t to display my topic using a wooden planks nailed together. The structure repre sents a corrupt man. The feature of his body displays how corruption shapes him. He has a small head that shows he has limited intellect and small boundaries, th e young artist said. Full Report at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/01/students-use-waste-to-depict-pakistan%E2 %80%99s-problems/ ----------Jailed Pakistani Christian mother well: husband LAHORE, Jan 05, 12 A Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakista n last year is well and faces no threat in jail, her husband told AFP Wednesday, rej ecting recent claims of her poor health. She is perfectly alright, all the media stories about her are incorrect, Ashiq Mas ih, husband of Asia Bibi, told AFP by phone. The Masihi Foundation, a human rights group, said in December it had visited the 46-year-old and was quoted by Catholic news agency Fides describing Bibis very fr ail physical and mental state. But her husband said the rights group never visited her, and insisted she has no th reat in jail. Jail Superintendent Sheikh Khalid Pervaiz in Sheikpura District also told AFP th at Bibi had received no visitors apart from her husband. She is well in her lock up. She is getting special treatment in C-Class cell. No other person other than her husband met her in the jail for the last one year or so, he said. Bibi, a mother of five, is being held in a prison in Sheikpura in the Punjab reg ion. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 after drinking water f rom a well reserved for Muslims and allegedly making derogatory remarks about th e Prophet Mohammed. Her appeal at the High Court in Lahore is ongoing. Pope Benedict XVI and the international community have condemned her conviction and have asked for her to be pardoned. The French foreign ministry had said it was deeply concerned about Bibi, following the claims of her poor health from the human rights group, and called for quick action on her appeal. The case has provoked controversy in Pakistan over its law on blasphemy, which c ritics say is used frequently by radical Muslims to discriminate against religio us minorities in the country.

The Christian minority in Pakistan, often poor, represents around three percent of the 180 million population. http://pakistan.onepakistan.com/news/pakistan/34706-jailed-pakistani-christian-m other-well-husband.html ---------Vigil demands justice for Taseer Staff Report LAHORE: Jan 5, 2012, The Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) organised a candlelight vigil in collaboration with other human rights organisations at t he Liberty Roundabout on the first death anniversary of former Punjab governor S almaan Taseer to commemorate his sacrifice and fearless stance on the rights of minorities, also demanding justice in the form of strict punishment for his murd erer, Mumtaz Qadri. The vigil was attended by various sections of society, including youth peace act ivists, to express solidarity for the cause of a diverse, tolerant and peaceful Pakistan. Shehryar Taseer and Shehrbano Taseer also participated in the vigil. However, bo th of them being emotionally charged with the memories of their bereaved father were unable to talk to the media persons. Nevertheless, Shehryar managed to expr ess his grief and admiration for his father by saying that he was proud of his f ather who scarified his life for the sake of human rights. Even though a year has passed since the tragic incident, yet we feel he is still with us, he added. Full Report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C01%5C05%5Cstory_5-1-2012_pg 13_2 ------Islamic Honor Violence Rising in the West By Dale Hurd, CBN News Sr. Reporter BARCELONA, LONDON, and PARIS, January 04, 2012 - As Muslims migrate to the West , and more Muslim young people adopt Western ways, honor violence is increasing. Warning: this report contains some disturbing scenes that should not be viewed b y children. A Canadian woman was strangled by her father because she refused to wear a heads carf. An Italian had her throat slit by her dad while she was held down by three uncle s. An American woman was run over by her father in his Jeep Cherokee. Two sisters were shot by their father in a New York taxi. They were all the victims of honor violence. They may have defied the wishes of their parents, or adopted Western ways, or tried to leave Islam. They did something that, in the eyes of their families, brought shame and dishon or. So they were killed. Many were tortured first. Honor Killing on the Rise The precise number of honor attacks worldwide is unknown because many are not re ported, or are reported as accidents or suicides. But one new report said 3,000 honor attacks were committed in Britain last year alone. Norwegian activist Hege Storhaug left journalism to devote her life to helping t he victims of honor violence after doing a story about a Norwegian girl who was forced to marry her cousin from Pakistan. "I was astonished when she said, My parents were willing to kill me if I didn t enter this marriage, to protect their own honor," Storhaug said. Storhaug showed us graphic photos of Pakistani women who had acid thrown in thei r faces by their husbands family because they did not bring a big enough dowry to the marriage. Storhaug said the families then typically say the woman had been burned on a hot stove: "A mother-in-law was sitting at the bedside, guarding the tongue of the young wo man so she didn t tell the truth about how she was burned, and it was the family who did it," she explained. "And the faces of those mothers-in-lawthere was no e

mpathy, no compassion." Women in Danger Although honor violence is sometimes committed by Hindus and Sikhs, it is usuall y a Muslim on Muslim crime. One study found that 91 percent of honor killings we re committed by Muslims. Women who break with traditional Islam often face grave danger: CBN News interviewed one young woman who came to study in Paris after growing up in a Muslim nation. Full Report at: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2012/January/Islamic-Honor-Violence-Rising-in-t he-West/ --------Indonesia Plans to Stop Sending Domestic Workers Abroad by 2017 January 05, 2012 Indonesia plans to stop sending domestic workers abroad from 2017, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said on Wednesday. In the [10-year] 2007 road map for domestic workers, we hope that the number of I ndonesian migrant workers in the domestic sector being sent abroad eventually re aches zero, he said. However, he admitted that reaching the target would be difficult, with the main constraints including providing enough jobs in Indonesia. He added that the state had no authority to prevent people from seeking work abr oad. Muhaimin said the road map did foresee the possibility that there would be some people seeking work abroad as domestic helpers after 2017. Those people, he said, would need to have a clearly defined position and their s tatus would have to be recognized by the recipient country. The recipient country would have to recognize them as formal workers with certain rights, such as working hours, the right to holidays and leave as well as to a set salary, he said. Starting in 2017, he said, anyone going to work abroad as a domestic helper woul d have to have a clear position waiting for them before moving overseas. He cite d a cook, housekeeper and caregiver as examples. Beginning in March, he said, the government will apply those same requirements t o workers intending to find jobs in Malaysia in the informal sector. Malaysia was chosen for a trial project, he said, because of its proximity and t herefore easier monitoring. Demand for domestic workers in Malaysia is also high , he added. A moratorium on sending domestic workers to Malaysia was imposed in mid-2009 aft er multiple cases of abuse there. Full Report at: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesia-plans-to-stop-sending-domestic-wor kers-abroad-by-2017/489148 -------Bangladeshi man given jail term for wishing PM Sheikh Hasinas death on Facebook ANI Dhaka, Jan 05, 2012, A Bangladeshi university lecturer has been sentenced to six months in jail after he posted a Facebook status wishing for the death of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Ruhul Khandakar, who was sentenced by Bangladeshs high court in absentia because he is studying in Australia, posted comments last year implying that he wanted H asina to die. According to The BBC, Khandakar posted the derogatory comment following the deat h of one of the countrys best filmmakers, Tareq Masud, in a road accident in Augu st. Officials said Khandakar blamed the government for the fact there are so many ro ad deaths in Bangladesh. Tareq Masud died as a result of government giving licence to unqualified drivers. Many die, why does not Sheikh Hasina die? Khandakar said in his Facebook post. When the comments appeared in the media, there were protests by the PMs supporter

s. According to the report, the high court ordered Khandakar to return to Banglades h from Australia, and also directed his university employers to take action agai nst him. http://www.asianage.com/international/bangladeshi-man-given-jail-term-wishing-pm -sheikh-hasina-s-death-facebook-709 ------Islamic Awakening led Libyan revolution Jan 3, 2012 Iran s deputy foreign minister says Islamic Awakening was the root cause of Liby a s revolution, calling on the Libyan nation to remain vigilant about the persis ting schemes by global powers to derail their movement. In a Monday meeting with a visiting delegation of Libyan scholars and religious figures in the Iranian capital of Tehran, Iran s Deputy Foreign Minister for Ara b and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian described the Libyan population a s a faithful and diligent nation that desire Islam and seek the establishment of Islamic values in their country. The Iranian diplomat pointed to the continuing efforts by hegemonic global power s to hijack the Libyan revolution and expressed optimism that the unity and vigi lance in the North African nation will thwart such plots. Sowing rifts among Shias and Sunnis and inciting Iranophobia in the Muslim world are among the malicious strategies pursued by global powers to neutralize the g rowing Islamic Awakening, he added. Abdollahian also called for the expansion of Tehran-Tripoli ties in Libya s post -revolution era and the cooperation of both countries in the pursuit of the fate of prominent Lebanese Shia leader and scholar Imam Moussa Sadr, who disappeared in 1978 during an official visit to Libya following a meeting with the country s slain dictator Muammar Ghaddafi. . Imam Sadr, the founder of Lebanon s Islamic Amal Movement, was a popular and hig hly revered Lebanese cleric of Iranian descent who developed major influence in his country by making tireless efforts to unify the Lebanese Christians and Musl ims based on many common values. It is widely believed in Lebanon that the Shia cleric was kidnapped on the order s of senior Libyan officials. The head of the Libyan delegation to Tehran, for his part, praised Iran s effort s in promoting Islamic values and insisted that the Libyan nation will not allow hegemonic powers to distort the objectives of their revolution. Eight months into the revolution that put an end to Muammar Gaddafi s 42-year-lo ng dictatorship, revolutionary fighters found the despotic ruler hiding inside a concrete sewage pipe in his hometown of Sirte on October 20, 2011. Gaddafi was eventually shot and executed by the revolutionaries, becoming the fi rst dictator to be killed in the wave of the popular uprisings and revolutions t hat started to sweep North Africa and the Middle East towards the end of 2011. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/219074.html --------Kayani off to China to buttress defence ties By: Sikander Shaheen ISLAMABAD, January 05, 2012 - Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani l eft for China on Wednesday in what is seen as a crucial development in the backd rop of changing security dynamics in this region. An official statement says General Kayani left for Beijing on a five-day officia l visit at the invitation of Chinese authorities. The event is widely seen in se quel to Pakistans initiative for reviewing rules of engagement with the US amid i ts ongoing row with the Western military alliance just days after Pakistans milit ary rejected the findings of a NATO launched probe into Mohmand Agency attack on two military pickets in November last year. During his visit, General Kayani will call on Chinas political and military leader ship. The interaction will encompass the complete range of Pak-China relations, related to security and defence, Pakistan Army statement said. Some important defence pacts consensus on which is likely to be arrived at durin

g the aforesaid visit include Pak-China border security cooperation, proposed an ti-drug trafficking measures and joint military exercises. The Pakistani milita ry, according to official sources, is set to review the anti-human trafficking a nd narcotics control agreements it had signed with the North Atlantic Treaty Org anisation (NATO) and were previously overseen under the umbrella of NATO-Russia Council (NRC). The part of these agreements that exclusively concerns Pak-Russia bilateral cooperation on human smuggling and narcotics trade would reportedly s tay intact while several key agreements falling under the official ambit of NRC are to be either reviewed or cancelled. Full Report at: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/0 5-Jan-2012/kayani-off-to-china-to-buttress-defence-ties ----------Pakistan suffered most at hands of terror: US WASHINGTON, January 5, 2012, : The United States on Wednesday said it wants to s trengthen Pakistans civilian capacity to counter terrorism, as a senior American official observed that the South Asian nation has suffered more at the hands of terrorist violence than any other country. Ambassador Daniel Banjamin, who will head the newly-established Bureau of Counte rterrorism at the State Department, also acknowledged that theres no question were going through a difficult time in the wake of the (November 26, 2011) cross-bord er incident and a number of other incidents that have occurred in the last year. But let me go back to basics. We think that it is essential that we have a good c ounterterrorism relationship with Pakistan. We believe its in both of our nations interests, he remarked. No country has suffered more at the hands of militancy tha n Pakistan, he declared at a State Department briefing. Benjamin said the new Bur eau is going to be working closely with Pakistan. We hope to continue building ci vilian capacity for countering terrorism, he added. app http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_25 -------Pakistani militants kill 15 security officers By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated Press DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Jan 5, 2012 Pakistani militants on Thursday killed 15 security force members they kidnapped last month close to the Afghan border, showing that not all insurgent factions are interested in reported peace talks with the gove rnment. The mens naked bodies were dumped in Shiwa town in the North Waziristan region, said local residents Sada-u-Alla and Salam Khan. Intelligence officials confirm ed the men had been killed. The officials didn t give their names because they w ere not authorized to be identified in the media. In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban said the slayings were in retaliation for an army operation on Jan. 1 in the region that killed several militants, includi ng a prominent commander. It alleged that troops also killed a woman and arreste d others, "something that was forbidden and illegitimate in Islam as well as aga inst tribal traditions." The slain men were members of the Constabulary Corp, a paramilitary outfit activ e in the border region with Afghanistan. The insurgents kidnapped them during a Dec. 22 attack on a Pakistani security base in the border region. In recent months, some militant commanders and intelligence officials have claim ed peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, one of the largest and most deadly mi litant groups, were under way. But other Pakistani Taliban commanders have dismi ssed this, and sporadic attacks have continued. Tribal leaders and analysts speculate that the group, which has been pounded by Pakistani army offensives and American missile strikes over the last few years, is riven with internal splits. Associated Press writer Rasool Dawar in Peshawar contributed to this report. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hLjJEsA4uWGgSEmSWn7fOGatiLMQ?d ocId=f8d8f181eef946b0801c90bf4a150ec0 --------Five militants killed in Zhob

Staff Report QUETTA, Jan 5, 2012: Five militants were killed and 13 others arrested in a clas h between Taliban militants and Frontier Corps (FC) troops in Murgha Kibzai area of Zhob District on Wednesday. A FC spokesman said security forces received information about the presence of T aliban militants in Murgha Kebzai area and dispatched troops there. He added tha t when they reached the area, militants opened fire from a compound, injuring tw o FC personnel. Troops then returned fire and killed five militants. Later, duri ng a search operation, they recovered a rocket launcher and several machine guns . The FC spokesman said that security had been beefed up in Qila Abdullah, Pishin and Qila Saifullah after an increase in incidents of kidnapping for ransom. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_27 --------MATI sues as government seeks Supreme Court legal counsel on spas, pork and alco hol By Eleanor Johnstone January 3rd, 2012 The government has asked the Supreme Court for a consultative opinion on the legal ity of spa operations and sale of pork and alcohol in resorts, claiming that leg al clarity is needed to properly address the current controversy involving Islam and the tourism industry. The government last week ordered resorts to shut down their spa operations, and announced it was considering a ban on pork and alcohol. The announcements were m ade in response to five demands made during a demonstration organised by a coali tion of NGOs and opposition parties on December 23 to Defend Islam. Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) meanwhile filed a case at the Ci vil Court yesterday challenging the Tourism Ministrys order to shut down massage parlors and health spas in resorts. Speaking to local media, Attorney General Abdulla Muiz said, We believe that the people have expressed genuine concerns over the circular issued by the Tourism M inistry ordering resorts to close down their spas. Investors will have confidence when they are clear of the judiciarys position on t hese issues. The Attorney General was unavailable for comment at time of press. Although the import of alcohol and pork to the Maldives is allowed under a regul ation, there is no regulation or set of guidelines specific to spa operations in resorts. The State, however, claims that Article 15(a2) of the Goods and Services Tax Act clearly stipulates that spas are legally accepted in the Maldives as tourism go ods. Under the article, goods and services supplied by diving schools, shops, spas, wa ter sports facilities and any other such facilities being operated.at tourist res orts, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, picnic islands, tourist vessels and yacht marinas authorised by the Tourism Ministry are tourism goods. Officials at the Supreme Court and Presidents Office were unavailable for comment today. MATI Secretary General Sim Ibrahim Mohamed was unable to comment on the case in the Civil Court, but said that the governments decision had incurred irrevocable d amage to the tourism industry and had become a legal issue to which we are trying to find legal clarity. We are trying in the lower courts while the government has filed at the Supreme C ourt to see what this is about. We need to know whether the Maldives can legally provide tourism services within the confines of the constitution, he explained. A lot is riding on the court verdicts. Sim conceded that the verdicts would not close the discussion. As to whether the public or the opposition parties will accept the verdict is not for us to say. T hey will have to weigh their own agendas against what is good for the economy at the moment, he said. Former Attorney General and lawyer representing MATI, Aishath Azima Shukoor, sai

d the case addressed two key points: that the governments decision to close the s pas violates the contracts it holds with resort operators, and that the timing i s unconstitutional. Shukoor pointed out that the contracts between the government and resort operato rs include a clause entitling the operators to the peaceful operation of land le ased. She maintained that the government had violated the agreement by closing o perations without presenting any substantial reports, investigation or evidence justifying the action. MATI has also applied for an injunction. If granted, resort spas would be allowe d to operate until the court case is concluded. Full Report at: http://minivannews.com/politics/mati-sues-as-government-seeks-supreme-court-lega l-counsel-on-spas-pork-and-alcohol-30263 --------Kayani off to China to buttress defence ties By: Sikander Shaheen ISLAMABAD, January 05, 2012 - Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani l eft for China on Wednesday in what is seen as a crucial development in the backd rop of changing security dynamics in this region. An official statement says General Kayani left for Beijing on a five-day officia l visit at the invitation of Chinese authorities. The event is widely seen in se quel to Pakistans initiative for reviewing rules of engagement with the US amid i ts ongoing row with the Western military alliance just days after Pakistans milit ary rejected the findings of a NATO launched probe into Mohmand Agency attack on two military pickets in November last year. During his visit, General Kayani will call on Chinas political and military leader ship. The interaction will encompass the complete range of Pak-China relations, related to security and defence, Pakistan Army statement said. Some important defence pacts consensus on which is likely to be arrived at durin g the aforesaid visit include Pak-China border security cooperation, proposed an ti-drug trafficking measures and joint military exercises. The Pakistani milita ry, according to official sources, is set to review the anti-human trafficking a nd narcotics control agreements it had signed with the North Atlantic Treaty Org anisation (NATO) and were previously overseen under the umbrella of NATO-Russia Council (NRC). The part of these agreements that exclusively concerns Pak-Russia bilateral cooperation on human smuggling and narcotics trade would reportedly s tay intact while several key agreements falling under the official ambit of NRC are to be either reviewed or cancelled. Full Report at: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/0 5-Jan-2012/kayani-off-to-china-to-buttress-defence-ties ----------Pakistan court admits petitions against Zardari PTI LAHORE, 5 JAN, 2012, : A Pakistani court has admitted petitions against Preside nt Asif Ali Zardari for not disassociating himself from political activities and formed a bench to hear them. The same bench of the Lahore High court will hear petitions seeking the disquali fication of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on charges of committing treason b y allegedly defying court orders and subverting the Constitution. Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed yesterday admitted the petiti ons and formed a three-judge bench to hear them. The Chief Justice will head the bench. Former Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had on October 14, 2011 constituted a bench after a single judge had referred th e cases to him for constitution of a larger bench. The bench will start hearing the petitions after the court s winter vacation. Lawyer A K Dogar, who is the counsel for Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Sa eed, filed the petitions on behalf of two lawyers and asked the court to direct President Zardari to disassociate himself from the political office of co-chairm an of the ruling Pakistan People s Party in light of a decision given by a full

bench of the High Court in May last year. Advocate Ilamuddin Ghazi too submitted a petition in which he said that the full bench had in its order declared the President s involvement in political activi ties as unconstitutional. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/pakistan-court-admits-p etitions-against-zardari/articleshow/11373815.cms -------Husain Haqqani fears for his life: report Press Trust of India London: Jan 04, 2012, Pakistan s embattled former ambassador to US, Husain Haqqa ni, fears he will be murdered if he leaves his sanctuary in the official residen ce of the Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, a media report on Wednesda y said. Haqqani who is at the centre of the memo scandal said the allegations against hi m are part of a "psychological war" against Pakistan s civilian government by "c ertain powerful quarters." Haqqani said he has been branded a "traitor" and a "Washington lackey" by "power ful quarters" a reference to the country s powerful ISI intelligence agency and that he now fears he will be murdered like his friend, the late governor of Punj ab, Salman Taseer, who was shot dead by one of his own security guards last year after being branded a "blasphemer", The Daily Telegraph said in its report. Haqqani was forced to resign late last year after Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed he had asked him to pass on a memo, on behalf of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, to the American government calling for their help to oust Islamabad s military leadership. Full Report at: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/husain-haqqani-fears-for-his-life-report/217773-56.ht ml --------Pakistan seeks result-oriented engagement with India: Khar Staff Report ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 2012: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the National Ass embly on Wednesday that Pakistan was committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India. In a written reply to the Lower House, Khar said that secretary level talks had been held under the resumed dialogue process in which all issues of bilateral im portance, including that of Jammu and Kashmir, had been discussed. The resumed dialogue process culminated in foreign minister level talks on July 27 last year in New Delhi. Pakistans commerce minister also recently visited Indi a, while the commerce secretaries of both countries agreed to hold a second roun d of talks on 14-15 November 2011 in New Delhi. These visits have significantly improved the atmosphere between the countries. The cabinet also recently decided to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India in its meeting held on Nove mber 2, 2011. Full Reprt at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_3 -------Civil society lauds Taseers services for countrymen January 5, 2012 A large number of people from different walks of life, on Wednesday, attended th e ceremony for the first death anniversary of former Punjab governor Salmaan Tas eer, at his residence in Cavalry Ground. Special prayers were offered for the so ul of the erstwhile governor. Punjab Governor Latif Khan Khosa, former foreign m inister Khurshid Kasuri, renowned economist and former federal adviser Dr Salman Shah and MPA Pervaiz Rafique offered condolences to Shehryar Taseer, a son of S almaan Taseer, and other family members. Maulana Tahir Ashrafi offered prayers, supplicating God for the peace of Salmaan Taseers soul, and called him a brave le ader. Earlier, Quran Khawani was held on the occasion, which was attended by sen ior journalists, close relatives of the former governor and a large number of ci vil society members. Talking to media on the occasion, Governor Khosa said Salma

an Taseer played an important role in the politics of Pakistan, especially Punja b. He said Taseer spent his life with courage and without fear, and his name wil l live in the history of Pakistan. The governor added that special efforts were being made for the release of Shahbaz Taseer, another son of the slain governor, who was kidnapped last August. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shah said that Tase er stood up for the weak and underprivileged. He was never afraid of controversy and was a very large-hearted person who faced criticism with courage. Khurshid Kasuri hailed Taseer as a very enlightened, lively and brave person, saying he d id not budge an inch from his stance when he knew he was right. He termed his de ath more than a political assassination, saying it was a message to all those wh o believe in justice, law and humanity, that the cancer of extremism and intoler ance is on the verge of devouring us. MPA Pervaiz Rafique said Taseer was a very down-to-earth person. He didnt change a bit after assuming the office of governor and had no airs about him, he said, adding that he did a lot of charitable work but never publicised it. He extolled his humanity and tolerance, calling him a v isionary. staff report http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_12 ------Civilian aid dries up: US refuses to fund Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund By Shahbaz Rana ISLAMABAD: January 5, 2012, After suspending military assistance, the United Sta tes has now refused to finance the $300 million Pakistan-American Enterprise Fun d as tensions between Islamabad and Washington start taking their toll on civili an aid. The revelation comes after President Obama signed an omnibus spending bill which linked disbursements of the $850 million Country Insurgency Fund with the requi rement that any assistance to Pakistan be made conditional to the US Secretary o f State and Secretary of Defence certifying that Islamabad is cooperating in the war on terror. The approval of the Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund has been dropped despite t he fact Pakistan had been assured by the US Deputy Secretary of State that the f und would be approved. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee had earlier cle ared the draft legislation and sent it to a conference committee of the United S tates Congress a joint body comprising representatives from both houses of the U S legislature for final approval. Sources in the finance ministry told The Express Tribune that the Obama administ ration did not put the fund up for a vote and took it out from the draft legisla tion at conference committee stage. The Pak-American Fund approval had earlier b een clubbed with similar funds for three other countries. The US legislature app roved such funds for other countries but left out the fund for Pakistan, they ad ded. The fund was to be financed under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act enshrined into US l aw to give $7.5 billion over five years in civilian assistance to Pakistan. The implementation period of $300 million fund was five years, with a $60 million an nual American investment in small and medium enterprises in Pakistan. The fund was aimed at empowering Pakistans private sector by creating jobs and op portunities for increasing economic growth and stability in the country. The US had modelled the fund over its earlier successful post-Cold War funds establishe d for the development of Eastern Europe. Full Report at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/316643/civilian-aid-dries-up-us-refuses-to-fund-paki stan-american-enterprise-fund/ --------Pakistan and US resume process of reconciliation Islamabad, Dec 5, 12, Pakistan and the US, after weeks of strained ties, have re sumed co-operation on Afghan reconciliation process as a prelude to full normali sation of ties, it was learnt yesterday. While ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pashas visit to Qatar last week for unannounced disc ussions with US officials on the Afghan peace process gave a whiff of impending thaw in bilateral ties, the process for redefining the contours of relations bea

rs clear indications that the estranged allies were set for another embrace. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS), which had been tasked w ith the uneasy job of looking into the complicated relationship with Washington, has suddenly moved into top gear and is expected to finalise its recommendation s in the next few days. To quote a source, drafting of proposals has commenced even before the final and a ll-important briefing by the finance ministry on financial implications of the r eview exercise initiated in the aftermath of the November 26 Nato attacks on Pak istani border posts. The PCNS, according to an observer who has been closely following its proceeding s, would at best seek a transparent relationship that has clearly defined rules of engagement, but would at the same time reaffirm the importance of remaining e ngaged with America. PCNS Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani said that the committee would finalise the re commendations on the basis of various parliamentary resolutions and suggestions made at the envoys conference last month. More importantly the militarys detailed rejoinder to the US report on the attacks , also expected later in the week, another source hinted, would be mild and conci liatory in sharp contrast to the lot of hot air expended on US ties after the Nat o attacks in which two dozen troops lost their lives. The rapprochement, which may be formally announced sometime later, has been forc ed by expediencies of both sides in the Afghan end-game. Although a flurry of interactions, both public and behind the scenes, between Pa kistan and the US have been taking place at various levels after the 26/11 borde r incident for resuscitating the ties, the game-changer was Gen Pashas Qatar trip . Officially no ones ready to speak on the issue because of the sensitivity of the discussions. However, both diplomats at the Foreign Office and senior military officials admi t during their private conversations that Afghan reconciliation compelled them t o resume contacts. Reconciliation is continuing and we cannot isolate ourselves from it, an official noted and added that the Doha meeting was for getting back into the loop. This clearly reflects a change of thinking because the government only last mont h boycotted the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in the larger interest of Pakistan. http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=479118&version =1&template_id=41&parent_id=23 --------Pakistan border closure leaves Canadian supplies stuck in Afghanistan BY JEFF DAVIS JANUARY 4, 2012, Hundreds of cargo containers of Canadian war supplies are stran ded in volatile southern Afghanistan, thanks to an ongoing Pakistani blockade of routes exiting the landlocked country. And with Pakistani officials preparing to impose steep tariffs on all NATO shipm ents transiting the country, the cost of Canada s withdrawal from Afghanistan co uld increase by more than a half million dollars. The Canadian Forces are trying to bring home thousands of tonnes of war equipmen t used during the nearly 10-year combat mission. Packed into some 446 sea contai ners, most of this cargo is currently stored at an undisclosed location in Afgha nistan. High priority items such as all armoured vehicles and ammunition have already be en flown out of Afghanistan on Canada s giant CC-177 Globemaster transport aircr aft. Nevertheless, much of the army s gear remains stuck in Afghanistan, Lt.-Col. Joh n Nethercott told Postmedia News. He said the remaining items are "low priority in nature," and include tools, tents, forklifts, barbed wire and engineering equ ipment. The Department of National Defence has granted a contract to move the containers from Afghanistan to Pakistan to A.J. Maritime, a Montreal-based freight forward ing firm.

It is believed the remaining 446 containers were supposed to exit Afghanistan s southeastern border post at Spin Boldak, then cross the deserts of Balochistan t o the port of Karachi. Once at the port, the containers would be loaded onto shi ps for the sail home to Canada. Full Report at: http://www.canada.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/Pakistan+border+closure+leaves+ Canadian+supplies+stuck+Afghanistan/5947032/story.html --------Pakistans former Commissioner of Indus Water Jamaat Ali Shah affair Jan5, 2012, Pakistans former Commissioner of Indus Water Jamaat Ali Shah, who facilitated Ind ia in building Nimoo Bazgo hydropower project, has managed to flee to Canada in spite of being on the ECL. This man has damaged the country immensely and yet th e powerful lobby which comprises of corrupt dual nationality holders within the establishment, helped him dodge accountability by the concerned authorities, whi ch unfortunately are controlled by men with split loyalties, having their assets located abroad. This incident should emphasise the need to rescind any dual nationality holder f rom assuming any public office. There is a vast network within Pakistan which fa cilitates and organises the flow of massive capital from Pakistan to help corrup t bureaucrats, retired khakis, traders and politicians to transfer their ill-got ten black money abroad. This group holds key positions with national airline, ma jor financial regulatory bodies like State Bank, FBR etc. Men like Jamaat Ali Shah, with split loyalties, should never have been allowed t o hold such sensitive assignments where their decisions have a long term impact on the future of this country and its180 million citizens who have chosen to liv e and die here. It is unfortunate that such men, few rotten eggs, have brought a bad name to our expatriate community, most of whom like Lord Nazeer, have shown their commitment to Pakistan. Such men, if selected for foreign postings and diplomatic assignments, are liabl e to be tempted to compromise their commitment to Pakistan, if they or their spo uses and children have taken an oath of loyalty to another country, or are in th e process of doing so. All citizens, whether they seek elections, or are paid pu blic servants must be thoroughly probed that they neither hold dual nationality nor own vast assets abroad. The risk involved is too much with devastating conse quences for this country. http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/01/jamaat-ali-shah-affair/ --------Jamat Ali Shah denies reports of aiding India in hydel projects Lahore:January 5, 2012, Former Indus Water commissioner Jamat Ali Shah has issu ed a statement strongly denying allegations in the media about his facilitating and helping India in the Nimmo Bazgo and Chuttack hydropower projects and said t hat the stories were provocative. He added that the allegations were absolutely wrong and appeared to be motivated at the behest of people harbouring a personal enmity with him, or sources that wanted to destroy institutions within Pakistan. Shah said that the Pakistan Indu s Water Commission (PIWC) worked hard to fulfil its responsibilities, but such s tories were disgraceful, demoralising and disrespectful to the institutions. He said that reporters had forgotten that PIWC worked in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty, but they had unnecessarily dragged Pakistans intelligence agencies in their reports. He said that he had gone to Canada due to his mothers illness, and that the Water and Power secretary was aware of the trip. Shah said that he would be back by the end of February and would be available for any official re view. pr http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_23 --------Pakistan repatriates over 3.7 mn Afghan refugees IANS Islamabad: Jan 4, 12, Over 3.7 million Afghan refugees have been sent back to t heir homeland from Pakistan in the last decade, the UN refugees agency said Wedn

esday. Between March 2002 and December 2011, over 37,31,000 Afghan refugees were sent b ack to their country through the repatriation centres in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, Xinhua reported quoting the UN High Commissioner for Refu gees (UNHCR). --------Finland to close Embassy in Pakistan By AFP HELSINKI: Jan 4, 12 Finland plans to close down its embassy in Pakistan during 2 012 due to budgetary constraints, the Finnish foreign ministry said on Wednesday . The decision to shut the mission in Islamabad was part of a bigger scheme to tri m the Nordic countrys network of embassies, with closures also announced in Carac as and Manila. Foreign ministry undersecretary of state Peter Stenlund told AFP the Pakistan cl osure was also partly due to security concerns in the capital, pointing out that in order to stay in Islamabad the foreign ministry would have had to invest in a new chancery. One aspect is the security situation It is not an acute situation but because we h ave to cut costs in our global embassy network we decided not to invest in a new building, he told AFP. Pakistans foreign ministry said it had been informed of the decision. They (Finland embassy) have conveyed to us officially that they are doing so beca use of budgetary constraints and cost-cutting, foreign ministry spokesman Abdul B asit told AFP. He said Finland would consider re-opening the embassy as soon as possible, addin g that the mission was expected to close sometime this month. http://tribune.com.pk/story/316700/finland-to-close-embassy-in-pakistan/ -------Pakistan Mercantile Exchange representation in Turkey By Yasir Ameen Karachi: Jan. 4th, 12, Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMEX) was recently invited to participate and make a formal presentation in a seminar on Experiences in Esta blishing Effective Commodity Exchanges in IDB member Countries. This seminar was held on December 15 and 16, 2011 in Ankara, Turkey and was orga nized by the Islamic Development Bank, its subsidiary International Islamic Trad e Finance Corporation and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turke y. Participants in the seminar included Commodity Exchanges and Chambers of Commerc e from IDB member countries, financial institutions, as well as international co nsultants and specialists in the area of commodity trading, financing and wareho using. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Food and Agricul ture Organization (FAO) were also represented at the seminar through their exper ts in these fields. The purpose of the seminar was to share experiences and learn from representativ es of agricultural commodity trade, commodity exchanges, financial institutions and other individuals and organizations from developing as well as developed cou ntries. The seminar offered a platform for debate and discussion regarding institutional and policy frameworks required for effective commodity exchanges. Case studies of various countries were reviewed in order to disseminate their experiences in establishing commodity exchanges and warehouse receipt based commodity financing . The Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of PMEX represented Pakistan. S amir Ahmed, Managing Director made a presentation about PMEX, its operations and risk management, the current stage of agricultural markets in Pakistan, and fut ure prospects based on projects currently underway in the areas of warehousing a nd warehouse receipt financing in the country.

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/01/04/pakistan-mercantile-exchange-representati on-in-turkey/#.TwUt0DXrqRY --------Newt Gingrich Rips Marijuana Use, Shows Historical Ignorance By NORML on Jan 4, 2012 THIS QUOTE by Newt Gingrich is A HOAX: See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn t change, only the mo rality That s why you get to go to jail and I don t.... even if it accurately sums up his beliefs! During a town hall-style appearance inConcord, the former House Speaker said he had no interest in exploring drug decriminalization, arguing that such efforts h avent worked in Europe, said HuffPo. The Netherlands = 30 years of soft drug tolerance. Adult and youth use rates of hard and soft drugs are half that in the United States. Portugal = 10 years of decriminalization of all drugs. Adult hard drug addiction has fallen in half. Drug use statistics in Portugal are generally below the European average and muc h lower than its only European neighbour, Spain, according to the European drug a gency that studied the decriminalization. Pushed a bit later on the incarceration rate related to petty drug crimes, Gingr ich responded, I think the best thing is to get young people not to do drugs and then you wont be dealing with criminals that you just described. Remember, Mr. Gingrich, you were just one drug bust away from being Newt the Drug Criminal yourself. Remember this 8/8/1996 Wall Street Journal interview?* Mr. Gingrich initially answered the drug question in 1987, saying that 19 years earlier, in 1968, he smoked marijuana at a party and never went back and revisite d it. Thats not true, says Larry Bowie, a friend during Mr. Gingrichs days as a West Georg ia College professor. I know for a fact that he sat and smoked with me in about 19 73. He didnt like the way it made him feel. Full Repott at: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/drug-law/newt-gingrich-proves-his-ignoran ce-america%E2%80%99s-marijuana-heritage-new-hampshire --------US wants strengthened ties with Pakistan: Munter DAWN.COM ISLAMABAD: Jan 5, 2012, The United States ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Thursday said that America wanted to strengthen ties with Pakistan, DawnNews reported. Addressing a seminar in Islamabad, Munter said the year of 2012 would be the yea r of improvement in US-Pakistan relations. Munter said the US appreciated Pakistans review of its ties with the United State s. He said both Pakistan and the US agreed over establishing peace in Afghanistan a nd were motivated for that purpose. http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/05/us-wants-strengthened-ties-with-pakistan-munter.h tml --------Charges Against Journalists Dim the Democratic Glow in Turkey By DAN BILEFSKY and SEBNEM ARSU ISTANBUL, January 4, 2012 A year ago, the journalist Nedim Sener was investigati ng a murky terrorist network that prosecutors maintain was plotting to overthrow Turkeys Muslim-inspired government. Today, Mr. Sener stands accused of being par t of that plot, jailed in what human rights groups call a political purge of the governing partys critics. Mr. Sener, who has spent nearly 20 years exposing government corruption, is amon g 13 defendants who appeared in state court this week at the imposing Palace of Justice in Istanbul on a variety of charges related to abetting a terrorist orga nization. The other defendants include the editors of a staunchly secular Web site critica l of the government and Ahmet Sik, a journalist who has written that an Islamic

movement associated with Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric living in Pennsylva nia, has infiltrated Turkeys security forces. At a time when Washington and Europe are praising Turkey as the model of Muslim democracy for the Arab world, Turkish human rights advocates say the crackdown i s part of an ominous trend. Most worrying, they say, are fresh signs that the go vernment of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is repressing freedom of the pre ss through a mixture of intimidation, arrests and financial machinations, includ ing the sale in 2008 of a leading newspaper and a television station to a compan y linked to the prime ministers son-in-law. Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/world/europe/turkeys-glow-dims-as-government-l imits-free-speech.html?_r=1 ------Karzai agrees to Taliban Qatar office KABUL, Jan 5, 2012: President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday Afghanistan agrees with the Taibans plan to open an office in Qatar and US efforts to talk with the insurgent group, because they could prevent further conflict and the deaths of i nnocent civilians. The Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday they had reached a preliminary agreement to s et up a political office in the Gulf nation of Qatar and asked for the release o f prisoners held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The office is seen by Western and Afghan officials as a crucial step to moving f orward with secretive attempts to reach a negotiated end to a decade of war. Kar zai and US officials have repeatedly said any peace process must be Afghan-led a nd the president has been angered in the past when he felt excluded by foreign e fforts to set up some kind of negotiations. Full Report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_5 ------Former Israel PM indicted for graft in property scandal AFP JERUSALEM, Jan 5 12: Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was on Thursday i ndicted alongside 17 other people for allegedly taking bribes in a massive prope rty scandal, judicial sources said. Olmert is accused of allegedly accepting bribes to smooth the way for various pr operty deals, most notably for the construction of the huge Holyland residential complex in Jerusalem when he was the city s mayor in the 1990s. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Former-Israel-PM-indicted-f or-graft-in-property-scandal/articleshow/11374522.cms -------Iranian Top Shia Cleric appointed Islamic Development Bank Sharia Board (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) Jan 5, 12, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, head of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought is appointed as a member of the Sharia board of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) a subsidiary of th e Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In a meeting attended by IDB executive managers held to discuss increasing the u nity of Sharia committees of the affiliated institutes of IDB, Ayatollah Mohamma d Ali Taskhiri was approved as the new member of the Sharia board of IDB. Rather than Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri from Islamic Republic of Iran, other members of the Sharia board include Shaikh Al Siddiq Mohamed Al Darir from Suda n, Shaikh Dr. Abdel Sattar Abdel Karim Abu-Ghuddah from Saudi Arabia and also Sh aikh Yusuf Talal De Lorenzo from USA. Members in the Sharia Board of IDB are appointed by the Board of Trustees for a f our-year term from among fiqh scholars who represent Sharia supervisory boards in the Islamic financial institutions that are members of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and Sharia supervisory boards in central banks. Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the purpose of the The Islamic Developmen t Bank is to foster the economic development and social progress of Muslim commu nities individually as well as jointly in accordance with the principles of Shar

i ah (Islamic Law). http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=288775 --------Egyptian Nasserist presidential hopeful comments on new parliament, discusses hi s presidential platform By RANDA ABUL AZM, AL ARABIYA CAIRO, Jan 5, 2012, Being a prominent political activist and one of the staunch est opponents of the Mubarak regime before the January 25 Revolution as well as a former MP who fell victim to vote-rigging rigging in the 2010 elections and a potential presidential candidate makes Hamdeen Sabahis take on the Egyptian parli amentary elections an insiders reflections on the political scene in the country. The sweeping victory of Islamist parties in the first two rounds of the parliame ntary elections should not be a cause for apprehension on the part of Egyptians, said Sabahi. Egypt is a country distinguished by diversity and unity at the same time. This is part of its culture and no one can change that, he told Al Arabiyas Parliament Ra ce. Political Islam, Sabahi explained, cannot shape the Egyptian character to suit i ts ideological or partisan agenda, whether through a parliamentary majority or a president who adheres to the same line of thought. Sabahi found it unlikely that the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, intends to effect such a drastic change, especially a s far as the civil character of the state is concerned. As for the Salafi parties, they are new to the political scene and it remains to be seen what they will do. Full Report at: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/05/186455.html ------ATC to send Mumbai record to India RAWALPINDI: Jan 5, 2012, An anti-terrorism court has accepted the application o f FIA to send the record of the Mumbai attacks court proceedings with the judici al commission slated to leave for India. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor had requested the ATC to send the record of the proceedings along wit h the judicial commission all set to visit India in connection with the investig ation into the case. The ATC had reserved the decision on the FIA petition after hearing the arguments on Tuesday. The judicial commission that is scheduled to visit India comprises lawyers of defence, besides two FIA prosecutors. online http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_22 URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=630 1