LAHORE: At least 50 Islamic scholars belonging to ‘Sunni Ittehad Council’ on Thursday declared Taliban’s attack on Pakistani children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai as un-Islamic, DawnNews reported. Sunni Ittehad Council represents ‘Barelvi‘ sect of Islam which is influenced by Sufism and defends the traditional Sufi practices from the criticisms of Islamic movements like the ‘Deobandi’, ‘Wahhabi’ and ‘Ahl al-Hadith’. The scholars issued a combined ‘fatwa’ (Islamic ruling) in Lahore which said that the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam was incorrect and was deviant from the actual interpretation of the Shariah. The fatwa added that Taliban were misguided and their mindset was driven by ignorance. “Islam does not stop women from acquiring education and by attacking Malala the Taliban have crossed the limits of Islam,” the fatwa added. “Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had regarded the sanctity of Muslim’s life and property more important than the sanctity of the ‘Kaaba’ (sacred Muslim place),” adding that the fatwa stated, “Murder of one innocent human being is equivalent to murder of entire humanity.” The Islamic ruling added that United States was the enemy of Islam and Pakistan; any kind of cooperation with the US was not in compliance with the Shariah. In response to Taliban’s interpretation of killing females for the greater good of the religion, the scholars said that Islam discourages killing of the females. Adding that, they said, “Even apostate women are not allowed to be killed in Islam.” The assassination attempt on the life of the young National Peace Award winner has drawn widespread condemnation from the government, political parties and civil society groups, terming it a bid to silent voice for peace and education. The banned militant organisation Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had issued a statement Wednesday, using Islamic Shariah to defend the attack. Pakistani Taliban had said that although they do not believe in attacking women, “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had argued that it is “not just allowed … but obligatory in Islam” to kill such a person involved “in leading a campaign against Shariah and (who) tries to involve whole community in such campaign, and that personality becomes a symbol of anti-Shariah campaign.” Malala had won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls’ schools and terrorised the valley. Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by the militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting the local Taliban since 2007. REFERENCE: Fifty Muslim scholars issue fatwa against Taliban DAWN.COM | 11th October, 2012 http://dawn.com/2012/10/11/fifty-muslim-scholars-issue-fatwa-against-taliban/
January 29th, 2011. MQM lawmaker declines to lead Fateha for Taseer ISLAMABAD: Polarisation on religious issues again became visible at the highest level when lawmakers in Senate stood divided over the issue of offering fateha for a deceased person. When Senator Abdul Khaliq Pirzada of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was asked to lead the prayers for the soul of the assassinated governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, he flatly refused. A parliamentarian later termed the incident an “abhorrent aberration” in the country’s parliamentary history. The prayers were requested by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar of the PML-Q, who requested chairman Senate Farooq H Naek that the house should offer prayers for the late governor’s departed soul. She also urged the upper house of parliament to pass a resolution to condemn elements supporting Taseer’s killer. Offering prayers for persons of national repute is a routine matter. After the MQM lawmaker refused to lead the prayers, the Senate chairman himself led the prayers to avoid further controversy. Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2011. MQM lawmaker declines to lead Fateha for Taseer http://tribune.com.pk/story/110880/intense-polarisation-mqm-lawmaker-declines-to-lead-fateha-for-taseer/
2011: US aided Pakistan group which supported extremists AP | 11th January, 2012 ISLAMABAD: The US gave money to a Pakistani Muslim group that organised anti-Taliban rallies, but which later demonstrated in support of an extremist who killed a leading liberal politician, the US Embassy in Pakistan said Wednesday. US government website Usaspending.gov shows that the group, the Sunni Ittehad Council, received $36,607 from Washington in 2009. A US diplomat said that the embassy had given money to the group to organise the rallies, but that it had since changed direction and leadership. He said it was a one-off grant, and wouldn’t be repeated. He didn’t give his name because he wasn’t authorised to speak about the issue on the record. The grant was first reported by the Council of Foreign Relations on its website. The Ittehad council was formed in 2009 to counter extremism. It groups politicians and clerics from Pakistan’s traditionalist Barelvi Muslim movement, often referred to as theological moderates in the Pakistani context. The American money was used to organise nationwide rallies against militants and suicide bombings, the embassy official said. The demonstrations received widespread media coverage, and were some of the first against extremism in the country. The rhetoric at the rallies was mostly focused on opposing militant attacks on shrines, which Barelvis frequent but are opposed by Deobandi Muslims, Pakistan’s other main Muslim sect. REFERENCE: US aided Pakistan group which supported extremists AP | 11th January, 2012 http://dawn.com/2012/01/11/us-aided-pakistan-group-which-supported-extremists/
In 2011 and also this month, however, the council led demonstrations in support of the killer of Salman Taseer, a governor who was killed a year ago for his criticism of anti-blasphemy laws. The displays have appalled Pakistani liberals and stoked international fears that the country is buckling under the weight of extremism. Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, is a Barelvi. He claimed he acted to defend the honour of Prophet Mohammed. At its rallies, the group maintains its criticism of the Taliban even as it supports Qadri — a seemingly contradictory stance that suggests its leaders may be more interested in harnessing the political support and street power of Barelvis than in genuinely countering militancy. Two leading members of the council who have been with the group from the beginning of its existence denied receiving any American funds. The apparent discrepancy could be explained by lack of transparency within the organisation. However, given the current anti-American climate, owning up to receiving funds from the United States would invite criticism. ”This propaganda is being unleashed against us because we are strongly opposed to Western democracy and American policies in the region and in the world,” said Sahibzada Fazal Karim, the head of the council, before reiterating the group’s support for Qadri. ”We are against extremism, but we support Qadri because he did a right thing,” he said. REFERENCE: US aided Pakistan group which supported extremists AP | 11th January, 2012 http://dawn.com/2012/01/11/us-aided-pakistan-group-which-supported-extremists/
A new low even for the Jamat-e-Islami and others like Jamat-e-Islam and PTI. Rather disgusting campaign on twitter, implicitly justifying the attack on Malala, tagging various TV journalists with "Malala amreekee foji hukkam k sath" ("Malala with American army rulers") - While conveniently forgetting that these very Mullahs have also been benefited from USA and even Fought the Alleged Jihad with US Funding and that is not enough Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's real brother used to live in USA. Even the so-called Taliban Fighters were regular visitors of US State Department way back in 90s. During 80s the Cutthroat Irani Ayatullahs even dined with Israeli Spies to settle score with another American Agent Saddam Hussein.
2011: With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties HONOLULU — Fortifying one of its key allies in the Persian Gulf, the Obama administration announced a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia on Thursday, saying it had agreed to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $30 billion to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The agreement, and the administration’s parallel plans to press ahead with a nearly $11 billion arms deal for Iraq, despite rising political tensions there, is dramatic evidence of its determination to project American military influence in an oil-rich region shadowed by a threat from Iran. Though the White House said the deal had not been accelerated to respond to threats by Iranian officials in recent days to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, its timing is laden with significance, as tensions with Iran have deepened and the United States has withdrawn its last soldiers from Iraq. “This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the gulf and the broader Middle East,” said Andrew J. Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. “It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty.” The agreement also suggests that the United States and Saudi Arabia have moved beyond a bitter falling-out over the uprisings in the Arab world. Though the two countries continue to differ on how to handle the popular revolts in the region, American and Saudi officials said, the disagreement has not fractured a strategic alliance based on a common concern over Iran. Saudi Arabia is a longtime foe of Iran, with relations souring further last fall after the United States broke up what it said was an Iranian-backed plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. Iran has denied the accusations. “When you look at the size of this package, what does it tell you about U.S.-Saudi relations?” said a senior Saudi official, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “It says it’s very strong and very solid. Any disagreements from time to time don’t affect the core relationship.” The weapons package is remarkable, both for its size and for its technical sophistication. Under the terms of the $29.4 billion agreement signed on Dec. 24, Saudi Arabia will get 84 new F-15SA jets, manufactured by Boeing, and upgrades to 70 F-15s in the Saudi fleet with new munitions and spare parts. It will also get help with training, logistics and maintenance.
The new F-15s, which will be delivered in 2015, are among the most capable and versatile fighter jets in the world, Pentagon officials said. They will come with the latest air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground missiles, enabling them to strike ships and radar facilities day or night and in any weather. Though Mr. Shapiro and other officials said the planes were intended to help Saudi Arabia protect its sovereignty, military analysts said they would be effective against Iranian planes and ships anywhere in the Persian Gulf. They are part of a 10-year, $60 billion weapons package for Saudi Arabia that was approved last year by Congress. At the time, there was a vigorous debate, with some lawmakers arguing that such a huge arms package would threaten the military position of Israel. Mr. Shapiro, speaking at a State Department briefing, said the administration was satisfied that the sale of the F-15s would not diminish “Israel’s qualitative military edge.” The White House portrayed the arms sale as part of a concerted effort to shore up its relationship with Saudi Arabia. President Obama has made several telephone calls to King Abdullah, a senior official said; the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, traveled twice to the Saudi capital, Riyadh; and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. led a high-level delegation to the funeral of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz in October. Early this year, the Saudis were furious when Mr. Obama withdrew support for Egypt’s embattled president, Hosni Mubarak, after he faced massive protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Later, it was the White House’s turn to be upset, when Saudi tanks rolled into neighboring Bahrain to help quash a mainly Shiite rebellion against that kingdom’s Sunni monarchy.
Yet Saudi Arabia and the United States continue to cooperate in areas like counterterrorism. In recent weeks, the two have worked to resolve the crisis in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh has formally agreed to cede power in a Saudi-brokered agreement and has applied for a visa to travel to the United States for medical treatment. “The agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” Joshua R. Earnest, the White House’s deputy press secretary, said in a statement issued in Hawaii, where Mr. Obama is on vacation. With the United States pulling out of Iraq, the administration has been eager to demonstrate that it will remain a presence in the region. It is proceeding with weapons sales to Iraq, despite fears that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki may abandon his American-backed power-sharing government in favor of a Shiite-dominated state. The administration has weighed stationing combat troops in Kuwait in case of a military confrontation with Iran or a collapse in security in Iraq. It is also seeking to expand military ties with other gulf countries, including Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. “I see this more in the longer-term effort by the administration to signal that even with the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the U.S. is still committed to the defense of its allies in the gulf and to the containment of Iran,” said F. Gregory Gause III, an expert on Saudi affairs at the University of Vermont. The weapons deal, Mr. Gause said, also illustrated that the two countries could put aside their differences and focus on larger strategic priorities. “After some tension-filled months this year over Egypt and Bahrain, both sides have agreed to disagree on that, and agree on their common interests,” he said. REFERENCE: With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties By MARK LANDLER and STEVEN LEE MYERS Published: December 29, 2011 A version of this article appeared in print on December 30, 2011, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Healing a Rift, U.S. Agrees to $30 Billion Fighter Jet Sale to Saudi Arabia. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/with-30-billion-arms-deal-united-states-bolsters-ties-to-saudi-arabia.html?_r=1
David Kimche David Kimche, who died on March 8 aged 82, was a British-born Israeli spy and diplomat who slipped between the covert and overt domains of foreign affairs, building both the fearsome reputation of his country's intelligence service and its valuable official ties to other nations. : As deputy head until 1980 of the Israeli external security service, the Mossad, Kimche was deeply involved in Operation Wrath of God – the plot to assassinate the terrorists who had killed 11 members of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Kimche ensured that, rather than eliminating the terrorists with a straightforward sniper's bullet, Mossad used more sophisticated methods (booby-trapped mattresses or telephones) that both burnished the agency's own reputation and struck fear into potential future targets. "We wanted to make them afraid of being a terrorist," he said. "We wanted to make them look over their shoulders and feel that we are upon them. This was a message that they can be got at anywhere, at any time and therefore they have to look out for themselves 24 hours a day." Long before the recent furore over the use of foreign passports by Mossad for its assassination operations abroad, Kimche was at the heart of a similar scandal. As Mossad was being ticked off by Whitehall for using fake British documents for Wrath of God "hits", Kimche was applying to have his own, genuine, British passport renewed. "This is really extraordinary," one Foreign Office official noted. "At the same time as the minister is about to protest to the Israeli ambassador over the misuse of British passports for Israeli intelligence operations, we are apparently contemplating issuing a British passport to a man who may well have been in charge of the operation complained of." But Kimche was by no means a stereotypical Israeli blood-and-guts man of war.
He was an urbane and cultivated official diplomat, who, as director general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1980 to 1987, drew on his extraordinary contacts to bring his nation out of the cold at a time when many foreign partners, fearful of an Arab oil-embargo, were minded to shun the Jewish state. No one will now be able to say for sure exactly where Kimche exerted most influence. But it is certain that he had long experience dealing with the Soviet Union and African nations. Inevitably he focused on building ties with the Arab world: "You have to be very sensitive. You have to understand Arab society," he once said. "Above all, you have to be sensitive to their feelings and their attitudes. I've had a lot of dealings with the Arab world. I find it interesting." This boundless interest in people and places was one of Kimche's great assets both in the overt and covert domains. His friends said he was a well-rounded man, not purely focused on operational intrigue. "The fact is that I know the world fairly well," Kimche conceded. "The fact is that I know how to make contacts with people. This enables me to do things that many others don't know how to do." David Kimche, usually known as Dave, was born in London in 1928 to an aristocratic Jewish family with Swiss roots. His parents and brother, Jon, were active Zionists, and Dave left Britain Palestine in 1946, fighting in the war two years later that accompanied Israel's creation. He then joined the Jerusalem Post before joining Mossad in 1953. His postings to Africa and Asia, often under journalistic cover and using the name David Sharon, were designed to create an Israeli sphere of influence on the periphery of the Arab world. A frequent tactic was to approach Christian ethnic groups and offer support in civil wars or uprisings against Muslim rivals. In this role Kimche became known as the "Man with the Suitcase", appearing in various African states shortly before dramatic coups and disappearing again quickly afterwards. There was rarely room for scruple in this "Great Game" strategy, and among the Israeli proteges on the continent was the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. No state was too remote to prove useful, however, and Israel sought and secured allies from Central America to South East Asia. By the late 1970s, Kimche's covert work was proving crucial in the delicate peace negotiations with Egypt. Using contacts in north Africa, he is thought to have convinced Morocco's King Hassan to broker talks between Jerusalem and Cairo. But Kimche, by then deputy-director of Mossad, fell out with his boss, Yitzhak Hofi, and, in 1980, he resigned to join the Foreign Ministry. It was there that he almost came unstuck. The caution inherent to covert work seemed to give way to adventurism as he championed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 where, true to form, he backed Christian militias – which then went on to carry out massacres at Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Chatila. It was in Lebanon too, that Kimche almost became snared by a web of intrigue that stretched from Nicaragua to Tehran. Following the suggestion that Iran could use its influence with Hizbollah to win the release of American hostages held by the Lebanese militant group, Israel agreed to sweeten Tehran by supplying the regime there with weapons, in defiance of an arms embargo.
The CIA funnelled profits from the deals to anti-communist rebels, or Contras, that it was backing in Nicaragua. Fall out from the so-called Iran-Contra affair proved deeply damaging, and afterwards there was a suspicion that the idea had originated with Kimche. But he retained his contacts in Iran. In 1991, after he had officially retired to pursue "business interests", an American television team reporting in Tehran found that, "whenever we went to interview Islamic revolutionary government officials, David Kimche seemed to be just leaving their offices". But an undercover relationship with a sworn enemy inevitably produced worrying and comical moments. "I was in Hamburg for discussions with a certain ayatollah," he once recalled. "The talks went on into the night, ending at 2am. Then the Iranians beckoned us to go with them.'We have something to show you,' they said, and drove us into the depths of Hamburg's dockland. We stopped outside a warehouse and were led up an unlit staircase. I felt quite nervous when we suddenly emerged into a huge chamber. The light went on – and spread before us was an extraordinary spectacle: a huge collection of magnificent carpets once owned by the Shah of Persia. They had been shipped out for sale to finance the Mullahs' revolution." Sadly for Kimche, his salary could not stretch to meet the price of the treasures on display. In his later years, Kimche, ever the pragmatist, focused on achieving a peace settlement with the Palestinians. He had previously sought to destroy the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) of Yasser Arafat ("Arafat was our mortal enemy" he said). But having weakened the PLO, he later accepted that "like it or not, Mr. Arafat is the only Palestinian leader with the power to curb violence and work out an enduring ceasefire, let alone a peace accord." Even after Arafat's death, and despite endless failures that hardened mistrust among people on both sides, Kimche kept at behind-the-scenes peace efforts. In his last years, and as informed as anyone of Israel's capacity to strike at its enemies if need be, he was in a position, perhaps, to be more trusting than most. "I do not share what I regard as the Diaspora mentality of seeing danger under every rock we pick up," he says. "I do not believe that a Palestinian state poses a danger in any way or form. Whether the territories become a part of Jordan or a Palestinian state, neither will pose a threat to Israel." David Kimche, the author of several books on foreign affairs, married twice. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and four children.REFERENCE : David Kimche David Kimche, who died on March 8 aged 82, was a British-born Israeli spy and diplomat who slipped between the covert and overt domains of foreign affairs, building both the fearsome reputation of his country's intelligence service and its valuable official ties to other nations. 7:15PM GMT 11 Mar 2010 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/politics-obituaries/7423398/David-Kimche.html