Senators assail India for creating war hysteria

Senators assail India for creating war hysteria

By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: Senators belonging to different political parties assailed India on Monday for creating war hysteria by making provocative statements against Pakistan.

During discussions in the upper house on the security situation, they regretted that despite Islamabad’s cooperative stance, New Delhi was continuing with the blame game it had started soon after the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Leader of the House Mian Raza Rabbani said that the government was alive to the situation and had been in touch with countries having influence over India. He said that closed-door diplomacy was under way in view of the sensitivity of the situation.

Mr Rabbani said that there were no differences between the civilian and military leaderships on any issue, including tension with India. The entire nation was one over the threat and ready to protect sovereignty and integrity of the country, he said.

Mr Rabbani regretted that India was continuing to indulge in a blame-game without any concrete evidence. “We are neither apologetic nor scared,” he remarked, adding that Pakistan’s measured response as a responsible nuclear state must not be misconstrued as weakness.

He said Pakistan never wanted war, but it was ready to give a befitting reply in case of any aggression.

He rejected talk of the formation of a national government as premature, saying that the demonstration of unity by legislators was sufficient to send a message across the border.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q termed the terrorists enemies of humanity and said Pakistan was the biggest victim of terrorism.

He said during a meeting with US Senator John Kerry, he had asked him not to unduly pressure Pakistan. He said he had told Mr Kerry that Pakistan was ready to put any individual or group on trial if concrete evidence was provided.

Mr Mushahid said the response of the government to India’s allegations and threats must not be apologetic and defensive. “We have our cards and need to play them properly.”

Mr Mushahid said the enemy wanted us to make a mistake but Pakistan has to behave maturely. He said the nation was united on the issue of security.

Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party said the convening of the APC for briefing leaders of 58 political parties was a great initiative. He praised the leadership for defusing tension and castigated India for issuing hostile statements against Pakistan.

Gulshan Saeed of the PML said India should be reminded that Pakistan was a nuclear power and its armed forces and the people knew how to protect its sovereignty.

She called accusation about Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks ridiculous. She said the time had proved that relations with India could not be improved by enhancing bilateral trade.

Ms Gulshan said that a joint meeting of the Senate’s standing committees on defence and foreign affairs should be convened.

Abdul Raheem Mandokhel of the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party said that the military operation in tribal areas should be halted and forces deployed there should be moved to the eastern border.

He pointed out that the operation launched in 2004 was meant against ‘foreign miscreants’ and was supposed to be wound up in a few months. He regretted that it was continuing even after four years and had been extended to Swat and Bajaur.

India threatens to act if world doesn’t

India threatens to act if world doesn’t

By Jawed Naqvi
NEW DELHI, Dec 22: India urged the international community on Monday to press Pakistan to weed out from its soil runaway terrorists who it says were behind the recent massacre in Mumbai and posed a great threat to global security.

Briefing Indian ambassadors from different world capitals, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said New Delhi was also aware that eventually it might have to deal with the problem on its own and it was keeping all options open for this.

“We have so far acted with utmost restraint and are hopeful that the international community will use its influence to urge Pakistani government to take effective action,” Mr Mukherjee said. “While we continue to persuade the international community and Pakistan, we are also clear that ultimately it is we who have to deal with this problem. We will take all measures necessary, as we deem fit, to deal with the situation.”

In a rare reference to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), usually relegated to the backseat in moments of crisis like the current one triggered by the Mumbai attacks, Mr Mukherjee claimed credit for helping the group make its transition from rhetoric to action. But even in this Pakistan was not up to the mark, he said.

“In our neighbourhood we have continued with our efforts to deepen engagement, either bilaterally or multilaterally and even by assuming a built-in asymmetry in responsibilities. An objective assessment shows that this policy has yielded results except with Pakistan,” he said.

“The recent terrorist attack on Mumbai was unprecedented both in terms of its scale and audacity,” the minister said. “This and the series of terrorist incidents preceding it, including the attack on our embassy in Kabul where we lost our colleagues, indicate that terrorism emanating out of Pakistan is acquiring an increasingly dangerous dimension and continues to threaten peace and stability in this region and beyond.”

India had so far worked at several levels, he said. “At the international level we have sought the support of the international community to put pressure on Pakistan to deal effectively with terrorism. We have highlighted that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has to be dismantled permanently.”

India was not saying this just because it was affected but because it believed that it would be good for the entire world and also for Pakistani people and society, he said.

“This terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is the greatest terrorist danger to peace and security of the entire civilised world,” Mr Mukherjee said. There had been some effort so far by the international community but this was not enough, he said.

“Much more needs to be done and the actions should be pursued to their logical conclusion. We need effective steps not only to bring those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to justice, but also to ensure that such acts of terrorism do not recur,” Mr Mukherjee said.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan’s response so far has demonstrated their earlier tendency to resort to a policy of denial and to seek to deflect and shift the blame and responsibility. We expect the civilian government of Pakistan to take effective steps to deal with elements within Pakistan who still continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy.”

Dawood’s empire is expanding

Dawood’s empire is expanding



(File Photo)

Manoj K Das

First Published : 22 Dec 2008 01:10:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 22 Dec 2008 12:42:17 PM IST

MUMBAI: Eyebrows were raised when Russia first linked Dawood to 26/11, even before Indian agencies ‘guesstimated’ his role. The Russian enthusiasm, ‘The New Indian Express’ has learnt, was the first public acknowledgment of Dawood’s increasing influence in almost all trouble spots in Russia, where Islamic fundamentalism is fast xeroxing al-Qaeda lessons.Russia fears that Dawood is on the verge of taking over a drug empire with a view to spreading his narco-terrorism to the North Caucuses areas. “Dawood is blending his business interests with fermenting fundamentalist thoughts sprouting among the Muslim population spread between the Black and Caspian seas. The idea may be to create a safe corridor connecting the Afghanistan drug fields with processing units in Central Asia,” top sources said.Russia’s main concern is the direct access that Dawood’s routes will give separatist cadres to touch base with ideological leaders and think tanks. “Russian separatists in Chechnya, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Uzbekistan etc are likely to use this channel for mobilising more radical support for their cause,” the sources point out.For Dawood it will be a perfect quid-pro-quo. It will give him a never- before opportunity to expand or take over central Asian operations.He will also be able to set up a new route for trafficking of drugs manufactured using numerous mobile platforms in Turkey.“If the suspected LeT-LTTE connections are taken into consideration, the Russian link will make Dawood the most powerful drug baron in the world. Therein lie Russian fears,” said a senior officer.One of the strongest arms of the Russian underworld, controlled by a former KGB Major now in jail, already shares business interests with Dawood.“But there is a lot more to be consolidated.Prostitution is another area of interest for Dawood and the Russian underworld,” sources said.Russian girls charge anywhere between Rs 25,000 and 5 lakh for a night. Many a D-agent is in control in this racket. Given the lucrative proposition, the Russian underworld with its considerable presence along the west coast is eyeing this business and minor friction has started to erupt between them and the D-company.“Russian intelligence may have been misled by Indian informants in order to checkmate Dawood. And that is one reason we don’t believe that he had extended logistics to 26/11 architects,” a senior police officer told The New Indian Express.But a top Intelligence officer said that there was some sort of local support. “Qasab’s confession says that they hired taxis from Budhwar Park fishermen colony. But no taxi stand exists there. So it is clear that someone had arranged the taxis.That could be a Dawood aide or someone disguised as a Dawood aide,” he said.The Mumbai Police, interestingly, subscribe to the second possibility with even top officers ruling out Dawood’s involvement in off-therecord conversations. But if Russia provides more proof they will be left with a boot-in-mouth situation.

I welcome emergence of ‘Hindu terrorists’: Thackeray

I welcome emergence of ‘Hindu terrorists’:

Thackeray

Mumbai Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Tuesday said he would welcome emergence of ‘Hindu terrorists’.

“If they (Hindu terrorists) are (behind the September 29 Malegaon blast), I would be glad. Terrorists should be born among Hindus, I have begun to feel,” he said in an interview given to his party’s mouthpiece ‘Samaana’.

“Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Col P S Purohit (arrested in connection with the Malegaon blast) have been victimised…What was their fault? Something might have been done to take on fanatic Muslims…” he said.

Talking about those who lit candles in front of Taj Hotel after the last month’s terror attacks, he said, “Those who party at the Taj have lost their watering holes. Hence this outrage. Where were these people when other terror attacks took place?”

Thackeray said his party would soon give a call for Maharashtra bandh. The saffron outfit had called a statewide shutdown over the Malegaon probe and farmer suicides but it was called off in view of the November 26 attacks in Mumbai.

On cross-border infiltration, Thackeray said: “Top army commanders are spotless. They are men of discipline. But corruption is rampant in the border areas. How Bangladeshi Muslims can come through the border? What is the use of border check-posts then?”

Hamas Undermines Israel’s Gaza Operation Threats

Hamas Undermines Israel’s Gaza Operation Threats

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 143

23/12/2008 An operation will be launched against Hamas in the Gaza Strip even if the Islamic resistance group heeds an Egyptian request and reduces its rocket attacks against the Zionist entity, Israeli senior defence officials said Monday.

On Monday, Hamas officials said the group had agreed to a 24-hour cease-fire. A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post that Egypt had relayed the message Sunday night. He said that Egyptian intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman had contacted Hamas leaders there and in Damascus and urged a halt to the attacks so as not to give Israel an excuse to launch a massive military operation.

The 24-hour cease-fire was to begin Sunday night. The initial cease-fire was allowed to lapse on Friday morning.

Hamas also announced it was willing to discuss the possibility of an extension in case Israel adhered to the terms.

“The price is the lives of the Palestinian people,” Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said in an interview with Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram. Zahar demanded that Israel allow regular shipments of food and fuel into the Gaza Strip and that it cease its military actions both there and in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli occupation officials said they did not believe Hamas would completely cease its rocket attacks against the western Negev but explained that the combination of an Egyptian request and Israeli threats to invade Gaza was having an effect.

“Hamas does not want us to invade Gaza,” one official explained. “They are hoping that because of the elections we will not invade and that they will be able to put pressure on us with the rocket attacks and… get better conditions in a new cease-fire.”

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak held a meeting on Monday to review the use of artillery in a potential conflict with Hamas. Ministry legal experts have recommended that Israel avoid firing shells into populated areas used to launch Qassam rockets.

Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman, said that an extension of the cease-fire was contingent on an end to Israel’s blockade and attacks. He said Hamas had agreed to a temporary cease-fire to give the Egyptians a chance at mediation.

Taha was quoted by Agency France Press as threatening to resume martyrdom operations against Israel. “It is our right as an occupied people to defend ourselves from the occupation by all means possible, including suicide attacks,” he said.

Taher a-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government, said his movement agreed to a 24-hour cease-fire in return for the re-opening of border crossings and a halt to Israeli “aggression.” He added that Egypt had resumed its efforts to extend the cease-fire.

“The Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, have accepted the latest Egyptian initiative to call a cease-fire,” a-Nunu said. He did not rule out the possibility that the 24-hour lull would be extended.

Like many Hamas officials, a-Nunu said the group refused to take Israel’s threats of a major military operation seriously.

“These threats are related to the election campaign inside Israel,” he said. “They are also designed to conceal the big crime – namely the unjust siege and the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip.”

In response to reports that Israel was planning to overthrow the Hamas regime, a-Nunu said that neither Israel nor the US would be able to get rid of Hamas.

“Hamas is not just a movement or a government,” he said. “Hamas is in the heart of every Palestinian. It’s a popular movement that has a strong presence among the masses.”

Fawzi Barhoum, another Hamas spokesman, called Israeli threats “psychological warfare.” “Israel wants to extort us so that we would agree to a cease-fire without gaining anything in return,” Barhoum said. “Israel is offering us calm in return for calm, and this is unacceptable. They don’t want to lift the siege and include the West Bank in the cease-fire agreement.”

Ali Barakeh, a Hamas official in Gaza City, ruled out the possibility that Israel would invade the Gaza Strip. “The Israelis fear the consequences of such an action,” Barakeh said. “They know that they will pay a heavy price.”

Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad Abu Abdullah told the Egyptian paper that his movement has coordinated the temporary cessation in rocket attacks with the other armed factions, and that if there are “positive developments” it would discuss further understandings with the other groups.

Zionist Poodle Geagea Tries to Demoralize the Resistance.

Time to remain alert!

Geagea Wants Us To Fear the Goblin We Routed in 2006!

Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 165

23/12/2008 Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea submitted Monday his “Swiss-model strategy to defend Lebanon,” during the third round of national dialogue at the Presidential Palace in Baabda.

In his proposal, Geagea apparently sought to demonstrate Lebanon’s military incapability and weakness vis-à-vis Israel’s military power. He pointed to what described as a serious difference between financial and military capabilities between Lebanon and Israel “and the incapacity of the strongest anti-Israel nations, on top of which is Iran, to engage in a traditional arms race with Israel.”

Geagea, an ally to Israel during the civil war, criticized MP General Michel Aoun’s view of a defensive strategy that depends on the “resistance of the people”, and reminded again of the goblin (Israel) that we all should be afraid of and avoid.

In Geagea’s view, developing the Lebanese army’s capabilities was not a priority “since no one can match Israel and confront it.” “Compared to Arab states, the modern military technologies possessed by Israel enable it to target any location deep in Lebanon.”

Moreover, Geagea uttered concern for the treasury. He stated in his “defensive” proposal that acquiring air defense systems including related equipment was something beyond the country’s financial capacity.

Geagea wants the army to remain weak, the military to be ill equipped and the Lebanese to be afraid of the same goblin they routed in the summer of 2006. So, how does the Lebanese Forces chief view defense for Lebanon? “To seek indirect routes to abort the objectives of the aggression before confronting it, because a traditional military confrontation would cause Lebanon heavy losses.”

Geagea considers that the Swiss strategic model is historically the most ideal practice that has succeeded in uniting its diverse community by adopting a non-aligned foreign policy. He suggested that all military decisions should be taken by the armed forces that should be trained in guerrilla warfare and a “national guard” be established to assist the Special Forces. “This way we will make use of the positive aspects of Hezbollah’s model and eliminate all the other aspects.”

Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad said during the meeting that the resistance party also has a defense strategy it will submit later.

If Samir Geagea has not yet perceived the magnitude of strategic changes vis-à-vis the struggle between the resistance and the Israeli enemy; if Geagea has not yet acknowledged the resistance’s victory and the defeat of the “indestructible” legend of Israel; if Geagea has not yet read the long term consequences of the 2006 war and the lessons that the Israeli army itself said it has learned; if Geagea has not yet learned that a few resolute men smashed the image of the “mighty” Israeli army that will have to think a thousand times before venturing in Lebanon again; if Geagea still does not know that Lebanon lies in the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict and is in direct contact with the major regional developments that keep this country from being non-aligned as Switzerland is, then Aoun’s description of Geagea’s Swiss-type defensive proposal, seems to truly apply.

“Nothing substantial really,” Aoun said adding that “I have remarks on the defense strategy that Samir Geagea has proposed, but I will not disclose them to the media.”
“He wants to fight Israel with a regular army while our proposal is based on the people’s resistance because the classical army would never be able to establish a balance with Israel. That is why we proposed the strategy of the people’s resistance.” he added.

Geagea’s ally in the March 14 bloc MP Walid Jumblatt meanwhile welcomed steps to arm the Lebanese armed forces “regardless of their sources” adding that some Arab states have over-needed arsenals that could be useful for Lebanon.

In an article published by the Progressive Socialist Party’s weekly al-Anbaa, Jumblatt described the “Russian aid (10 MiG-29 fighter jets) is very important in this regard, and we look forward [to when the] the Americans would fulfill their promises to support the army.”