The Syria Army reports they have captured 120 French troops fighting in Homs alongside rebel terrorists.
By Zia Ur Rehman
|Turis, a Shia pashtun tribe, are being targeted because they inhabit a strategically important region in Upper Kurram|
|A victim of the February 17 Parachinar suicide bomb blast at a hospital in Peshawar|
On February 17, 43 people were killed in a suicide attack in a market outside a mosque in Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency. Taliban commander Fazal Saeed Haqqani – who had quit the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June and formed his own Tehrik-e-Taliban Islami (TTI) – claimed responsibility for the attack. He said the Shia Turi tribe had been targeted because it was supporting the armed forces in the ongoing military operation in Kurram region.
Sajid Hussain Turi, a parliamentarian from the Kurram, condemned the attack. “Sunni and Shia families who had been displaced because of the violence in the region for years had only returned home two days ago,” he told reporters.
“The conflict is not tribal or sectarian per se, but instigated by the Taliban who want access to Afghanistan and are supported by local criminals”
Kurram, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal agencies, borders Khost, Paktia and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan, and Khyber, Orakzai and North Waziristan agencies in Pakistan. Kurram is the only tribal agency with a significant Shia population, and violence in the agency has been fuelled by sectarian tensions. Around 40 percent of Kurram’s inhabitants are Shia. Upper Kurram is inhabited largely by the Turi tribe – the only Pashtun tribe which is wholly Shia – while central and lower Kurram are inhabited by Sunnis, mostly Bangash.
“Increasing sectarianism in Hangu, Kohat and DI Khan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Kurram and Orakzai agencies of FATA, is a result of the growing Taliban influence and the recent arrival of Punjabi Sunni militants,” said Mariam Abou Zahab, a Paris-based security expert who studies sectarianism in Pakistan.
|Troops patrol a road in Parachinar|
There are longstanding disputes over ownership of forests, hills, land and water resources between Sunni and Shia tribes in Kurram, and sporadic incidents of communal violence have taken place since the 1930s, particularly during Muharram or Nowruz. Sunnis have consistently demanded a ban on Nowruz celebrations which they consider unIslamic, said Abou Zahab. “Many argue that there was no Sunni-Shia problem historically, and tribal rivalries were given a sectarian colour in the heat of the moment. Clashes were often over petty disputes. For instance, the riots that erupted in Parachinar in 1973 were sparked by a row over the height of the minarets of the main Sunni mosque and Shia Imambargah.”
But the nature and dimensions of the sectarian conflict have changed since 2001. “Kurram has become strategically important once again because it shares a border with key Afghan provinces and has a relatively large Afghan refugee population,” Abu Zahab said. “The conflict is not tribal or sectarian per se, but instigated by the Taliban who want access to Afghanistan and are supported by local criminals. They use tribal and sectarian differences to fuel the conflict and keep the government out.”
“The Taliban want to capture the Khewas area of Upper Kurram where it is believed that the GPRS system of US drones doesn’t work properly”
The situation has worsened since 2006, with the emergence of new Taliban groups in South and North Waziristan, Orakzai and Khyber, said Aqeel Yousafzai, a Peshawar-based security expert and author. More than 3,500 people have been killed, 50 villages burned and thousands of people displaced in sectarian clashes in Kurram between 2007 and 2011.
Shia tribes have blamed Pakistani and Afghan Taliban groups for the violence, and also accused Pakistani security agencies of supporting the Sunni militants. Sunnis have alleged Shia militants are armed and funded by Iran.
The TTP, the Orakzai Taliban and the Afridi Taliban have killed hundreds of people, both Shia and Sunni, in the last few years. In October 2007, Baitullah Mehsud – who was heading the TTP – sent a group of 400 Mehsud militants to Kurram. The militia was led by Qari Hussain, a notorious anti-Shia commander who burned down several villages and killed dozens of Shias. Two months later, he returned to South Waziristan and was replaced by Faqir Alam Mehsud and his men. “Reputed for his brutality, Faqir Alam Mehsud personally beheaded at least 100 Shias from Kurram, and several Sunnis accused of cooperating with the Shias,” according to a Taliban militant who had fought under his command.
Orakzai Taliban chief Mullah Noor Jamal (aka Mullah Toofan), Afridi militant groups including Tariq Afridi’s TTP Darra Adam Khel, Mangal Bagh’s Laskhar-e-Islam and Haji Mehboob’s Ansarul Islam, also sent hundreds of militants to Kurram to fights against Shias. The area has also been a sanctuary for militants from the Punjabi Sunni extremist groups banned in 2002.
The only known Shia militant group is the Mehdi Militia (sometimes called the Haideri Taliban), consisting mainly of Turi tribesmen. “The group has large public support among Shias in Kurram and is concentrated in the upper Kurram area of Parchinar and Ziayran,” according to a report published by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). Their opponents say the group is supported by allies in Iran and Afghanistan.
Although Shia militants have also killed tribesmen from the rival Sunni tribes, security analysts believe the group was set up to defend the Shia population and cannot match the Taliban in manpower and logistics.
Shia tribal elders say they are being attacked because they stop the Taliban from entering Afghanistan. They allege elements linked with Pakistan’s military establishment support some Taliban groups because of the strategic importance of the region. The allegations cannot be verified.
Hamid Raza Bangash, an activist and author of Hangu and the Bangash Tribe, said the Thal-Parachinar road connecting Kurram with Peshawar, had remained closed for five years, and Shia tribesmen had no option but to use the road which goes through the Afghan provinces of Logar, Kabul and Nangarhar.
The region also became strategically important for Al Qaeda-linked groups like the TTP and the Haqqani Network after an increase in the number of drone strikes, analysts say. “At the behest of Al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, the Taliban want to capture the Khewas area of Upper Kurram where it is believed that the GPRS system of US drones doesn’t work properly,” Bangash said.
Shia elders say foreign militants had also been seen operating in the area. Aslanov Zaur, an Al Qaeda-linked Azerbaijani, was killed in Jogi area of Kurram in clashes with Pakistani security forces in the second week of February.
Analysts see the defection of a key TTP leader to form his own TTI as a move orchestrated by the Haqqanis and their allies in Pakistan who are focused on solely carrying out attacks against the US forces in Afghanistan. “I repeatedly told the leadership council of the TTP that they should stop suicide attacks on mosques, markets and other civilian targets,” Fazal Saeed told AFP at time of his defection. He likened what the TTP does in Pakistan to “what US troops are doing in Afghanistan” and vowed to continue the fight against the Americans alone.
The Pakistani military has not targeted Fazal Saeed or the TTI during its operation in Kurram so far, Shia elders complain. After he claimed responsibility for the February 17 bombing in Parachinar, political authorities demolished three houses of Fazal Saeed and his relatives in Ochat village in Lower Kurram.
Tribal elders from both sides say that after years of clashes, beheadings, suicide attacks, killings, abductions, and military operations, the people only want peace.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia to repay Kyrgyzstan for use of military facilities deployment sites of the Russian Federation on the territory of the republic, the agency “Interfax” on Saturday, the press service of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Kirghizia.
According to authorities, from the Ministry of Defence (MoD RF) to the address of the Ministry of Defense of Kyrgyzstan received a letter that the Defense Ministry on March 1 has transferred the funds in the amount of $ 15 million 466 thousand 238 seats for the use of deployment of Russian military facilities in Kyrgyzstan 2008-2011.
Recall, last week in an interview with radio station “Ekho Moskvy” Kyrgyz President Atambaev said that the Russian military base at Kant may be closed due to arrears of rent.
|H.A.Turadzhonzoda: Why are we still so hated?|
After months of litigation between the family of theologians Turajonzoda and head of the Ulema Council Saidmukaramom Abdukodirzoda, the court ruled in favor of the Mufti. “AP”, decided to ask Hoja Akbar Turajonzoda why he and his brother Eshonov Nuriddin refused to appeal the decision to a higher authority.Turajonzoda talked about the pressure, which is suffering in recent years, his family, and that he intends to leave the country if this continues …
– You said that you know how “fair judicial system” in the country, and yet filed suit. Why not?
– In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Yes, we know that this campaign is not personally organized Saidmukaram Abdukodirzoda. For the whole story are very powerful political forces, public organizations, ministries, departments. And we know that they will not leave a person who is so rude, but nevertheless, fulfilled their mission.Nevertheless, we wanted to court to prove to society that everything has been said about us, all the offensive words none of the members of the Ulema Council did not speak. We knew about it, because talking with eight Council members who participated in the meeting. They all confirmed that such expressions in our address was not, but in the text of the statement they appeared. Therefore, we believe that the text of a statement on behalf of the Ulema Council was prepared outside the body. And in court, we have shown that this treatment does not result from the discussion in the Council. We have on hand a copy of the minutes of the meeting, an official document, which was commissioned by the Court, there is no abusive language against us. And all the final documents are prepared on the basis of this protocol. For us it was surprising that the court in the presence of all these arguments did not satisfy our claim. This proves once again that our courts are independent of local authorities.
– Why do not you dare go to the end and appealed to a higher court?
– First, I am convinced that the decision of the city and the Supreme Court will be identical. One could go further, but it will take too much time. If truth be told, I myself am tired. Because of this litigation I’ve missed two major international conferences. In addition, each year in January-February, I make Haji Umrah, and had to miss it. All my plans were disrupted. Plus, I openly say that a lot of influential people came to us and asked not to pursue a judicial proceeding.
– Who are these people?
– I can not name them, because some of them, like, are our well-wishers.
– It is said that on 18 November, you and your brothers, along with the Mufti Saidmukaramom Abdukodirzoda on one of the measures argued to hold the ceremony Oshuro. Mufti in a conversation indirectly confirmed that the conversation was. Maybe she was the cause of the dispute?
– Mufti not indirectly, but in his final statement to the court said a lot about this meeting. Indeed, around this time, we gathered at our friend’s Akai Hotham. There were about 30. There, my brother said that it would be nice if every Muslim to know when starting a new year of Islamic calendar. He said that we know when the Christian begins a year, we know, when carried out Nowruz, but do not know the time of onset of the new year according to the Muslim calendar. By the way, he begins with the month of “Muharram”. My brother started to think about the events of this month and said that this month also there was another accident – the murder of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad – Imam Hussain, that he did not claim to power. I think that the Mufti was not like that. While all of what we have said, based on hanafistkom madhhab. My brother just said that in the struggle for power, people sometimes forget about justice. These words did not like the Mufti, and he said that we should not talk like that. My brother also said that every year we tell and we will talk about it, but it does not mean that we do a funeral rite.
Recently watched a videotaped interview Imam-Khatib Isfara mosque. In the course of this persecution, he says that in 1992 this family, that is ours, started the war and now once again provoke her. But is this a provocation, if we say that Imam Hussein was killed out of fear that he might lay claim to power? It’s the story.
– Going back to the application, you can specifically say who was behind him, the mufti, state agencies or other forces that want to discredit you in the public eye?
– I have no direct evidence. It is difficult to say who gave the command. I can name names, but then I can hold accountable for libel. But since everything was done promptly, all state agencies responded to the decision of the Ulema Council, although the law state agencies are not required to do so, certain conclusions suggest themselves. I did seven years in government, I know all these details. But I have no evidence. A lot of information, I know who said what, what was the meeting, but it’s all the information. I have their sources can not be called, so I can not answer this question. In the 92 th year we were accused of Wahhabism, now very much like to blame the commitment of Shi’ism. Although, strangely enough, in Islam, is difficult to imagine that the Wahhabi became Shia.
– And it is true that on December 2 in your mosque during a Friday sermon attended by Iranian TV journalists who were filming the video hosting this ceremony?
– And in the past, Iranian TV people attended Friday prayers at these. But if they were present that day, I can not confirm. I myself have come to this event with a delay.
– In 2011, exit your family site, set fire to the factory, have banned the publication of your book. Then your family have accused the Shiite ritual of holding Oshuro and banned your function as a mosque Friday. Are these events together? Why do you and your family are under such “scrutiny”?
– This is not an exhaustive list. I would also add that they make against us: in the past, every year for our cotton-plant was bought around 14-15 thousand tons of cotton. Two years ago, farmers have forbidden us to sell cotton, and last year we were able to buy only 2 thousand 300 tons, and that of private traders, who have two or three acres. This year our murids (followers. – Ed.) From Kabadiyana even summoned to the National Security Committee and told us not to sell cotton. In addition, all our relatives and our murids who live in different areas were invited to the appropriate authorities, and took a receipt for that they did not invite us to their religious activities. It is in the Khatlon region, and Rudaki, Vahdat in Dushanbe. Wherever such a serious disposition.
By the way, why do, why so much trouble and pressure? I was also concerned about this issue. We do not know what we offended. Although a period of 5-6 years, I’ve said many times that do not consider myself an opponent of the current government, I’m not going to ever run for president. But why do we continue to hate? Why are we such an attitude? The answer to this question is unknown to me. And I would like through your newspaper to ask the authorities: What do you humiliate us so, why do you deprive us freely and normally live in your country? After all, this is my country. I just want to be a free citizen of Tajikistan. I’ve been publicly expressing their thoughts, but I guarantee by the Constitution. I’m not saying anything illegal. Yes, I want in my house 24 hours a day was light, I wish we had gas, I want to make the most of our citizens to work here in Tajikistan. If I want it and do something for this proposal, it does not mean that I am an enemy power. Why did they take it so painful? I am not an enemy of Tajikistan, Tajik, and I’m proud of it. I am not an opponent of the government. I, like any other citizen want good for their country, want development.
– The activities of the mosque after your application has been limited by the Ulema Council for three months. Soon the term expires. You are preparing documents for the resumption of its activities as a mosque?
– Yes, it’s March 13 deadline should end. But we do not prepare. The government temporarily suspended the activities of our mosque, as the cathedral, and they should tell us – whether we mosque then continue to work as a cathedral or not. The mosque is closed only by court order or decision of the founders. We do not want to close it. And the government should tell us, or you are working or have to close it through the courts.
– By the way, recently in Vahdat district allowed several mosques five times to become a Friday. This is due to your history?
– Around the mosque was opened in our small, but there may be collected for 200-300 people. The mosque is effective when there is a good and respected imam-Khatib. If the imam is not very competent, he can not attract people by his preaching, it is useless. Although, in our area opened 10 mosques, but they have opened a temporary, they are not recorded as Friday.
– I remember 3-4 years ago, your brother Eshoni Nuriddin said that if the pressure on him to continue, he leaves the country.
– Unless of course all this will continue and will become impossible to live at home, it is certainly possible.
– And you, too?
– Why not, if you really do not give to live, if you continue to humiliate. You know, now, no official can not openly communicate with us, are afraid. For official communication with us is equal to the crime. Colleagues, businessmen are afraid to greet me. I have friends among the business people who respect me, that I once helped. They still respect me and help, but is open to greet me afraid.
– The state media repeatedly published material about you and your family, where you almost did not call an agent of Russian special services. What do you think?
– Here is the strange thing. Russia in 1992, supported the Popular Front, not us. We were in the opposition, and Russia and Uzbekistan have openly supported and armed by the Popular Front. And why do these people do not believe Russian agents? Why now I’m getting an agent of influence of Russia and Uzbekistan, although they gave me no tanks, and to them. Secondly, my family has suffered greatly in the 90s. We lived 5 years in exile, more than 60 of my relatives died, my father was badly wounded, my son, as a result of the bombing became disabled. All our belongings were looted and burned to the ground. This is a great loss. So we do not want a repeat of the situation in Tajikistan, and that history does not repeat itself, we must be friends with Russia. But, unfortunately, now have bad relations with Tajikistan, the two countries, which then had an impact on the situation in our country, and it scares me.
In every healthy society intelligentsia should prompt the authorities to what is correct, it should not specify should not go to the events, it should go on ahead. I think it is the mission of an intelligent person. A patriot is someone who thinks about the best interests of their nation, to the best interests of the state. The government is not the state, even the president is not the state. Rulers come and go, but the state remains the nation remains. Therefore, the interests of the state and nation must be paramount. But an intelligent person should always be aware of this and carry out its mission.
– Recently, your name is often mentioned with the Party of Islamic Revival of Tajikistan. You are not a member of the IRP. Why this relationship?
– You know, that government agencies exaggerate all these fairy tales and fables. Apparently, they consider the IRP his opponent, but I have an opponent for them. So join us. But I am not a member of this party, I do not participate in the adoption of any decision. Yes, we have a normal relationship, but are the same as with the Social Democrats and Communists.
– At the beginning of litigation, the mayor said Vahdat, which will facilitate your meeting with the President. But the meeting apparently did not take place …
– Here there was a misunderstanding. We met with the mayor until 9 December, and he asked me to try to really meet with the president. I called to him Matlubkhon Davlatov, he was still head of the Office of the President and asked him to bring to the president, so he took me in connection with these circumstances. Davlatov said that he would convey my request to the president, the mayor had heard this conversation. The next day, December 9 at the mosque, he suddenly announced that soon the President will meet with me. Although no one has promised me nothing. I too was surprised, I thought that he knows something. Then he asked the mayor said, did you yourself did not agree? In short, do not understand each other.
– Well, if you will be meeting with the president, what would you say to him?
– Of course, like any mortal man, for a start I would have told him about their family problems. For example, I would like to ask him what you can see our mistakes, or what you accuse us of why we do not trust you? In addition, I have to say to him, and in matters of our country’s future. I would suggest to him a vision of political and economic reforms of the country. I have a specific proposal. I always have a specific proposal, but they do not like, they see them as dangerous.
Prepared Mekhrangez Tursunzoda, Asia-Plus
The largest mosque in Central Asia based in Almaty. This was stated by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, who visited the mosque, “Hazrat Sultan”, which is being built next to the Palace of Peace and Harmony in the Kazakh capital.
According to KAZINFORM, during a visit to this temple under construction a Muslim last Wednesday President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that “it is the largest mosque in Central Asia. It is not built at the expense of the state, and donations of people. Its construction will be completed in the next year, because the external decorations to complete the warm days, cold weather make it impossible. We will open the facility after construction. ”
As project director told reporters Shefik Iskenderuly, the total area of the mosque is 13 acres, closed – 18 thousand square meters. meters. During the year, this project worked from 1000 to 1500, the mosque being built in the classical Islamic style with traditional Kazakh ornaments and decorations, it consists of 3 floors.
On the ground floor there is a wedding hall, dining room, bath room with walk in closets. On the second floor men’s prayer room for 4 thousand people, a large entrance hall with cloakroom. On the third floor – women’s prayer hall at a thousand people, the Imam’s office, and additional classrooms, Naib imam. The mosque has four minarets and biggest dome in Kazakhstan width of 28 meters and a height of 52 meters.
“We completed 90% of the work, now it’s up to artists who produce paintings, calligraphy and complete artistic and decorative work. This will be done by artists from Kazakhstan, Turkey and Italy “, – said S. Iskenderuly.
According to him, building materials were delivered from 11 countries, but, nevertheless, was used as products of domestic manufacturers. The necessary equipment is delivered from France, Italy, Japan, etc. Developer is the company “Sembol Insaat”.
Meanwhile, the start of construction of the largest mosque in Central Asia and the former Soviet Union and Tajikistan said. Mosque, a stone in the construction of which was founded two years ago, the project is designed for 115 thousand parishioners.
The project cost is estimated at U.S. $ 100 million, 70% financed by the State of Qatar, 30% – of Tajikistan.Construction work is carried out Tajik construction company “Somone sohtmon”, which will attract the construction of about one thousand local builders. The mosque will be built on the four minarets of 65 meters in height, the dome, speaking 47 meters, large and small halls for prayer.
If construction is scheduled to move at a rate of Tajikistan will become the owner of the largest mosque in the CIS for a couple of years later than Kazakhstan, which plans to complete construction in the next 2012.
A local court on Saturday rejected a plea by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, for making public the SIT report on the riots.
Metropolitan magistrate M.M. Bhatt, while rejecting the plea, said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is yet to submit material related to the report.
As per the Supreme Court order after SIT submits its full report on the complaint of Zakia Jafri, conclusion was to be drawn by the metropolitan court.
Now that the investigation team has not yet submitted the full report, no conclusion can be drawn at this stage. Hence no action is required on the report now, the court said.
The court had earlier directed the SIT to submit its full report by March 15.
The court, in a September 2011 order, had directed the SIT to file its final report before the magistrate court and had said that if the magistrate decides to close the case he has to provide the full SIT report to the complainant and hear her, before closing it.
Last month, the SIT had submitted its final report in a sealed cover on a complaint by Ms. Jafri demanding that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other top politicians, police officers and bureaucrats should be made accused for the 2002 riots cases.
Earlier, SIT consul R.S. Jamaur had opposed Ms. Jafri’s plea saying that they have not submitted a complete report in the court yet.
He had argued that the court would first go through the report and decide as to what to do with it.
However, during arguments in previous hearing of the case on February 29, Ms. JAfri’s lawyers had argued that the SIT has no locus standi to oppose the opening of the report in the court.
They had contended that the report once submitted in the court becomes a public document and anybody can access it.
Hence, they being a complainant cannot be denied access to it.
Her lawyers had also stated in the last hearing that since this is a final report submitted by the SIT after completing the investigations, it is only the court which can decide on the issues related to the report.