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Poetry in a time of terror

Posted by :) on January 4, 2010

KEKI DARUWALLA

SOURCE : HINDU

Poetry has more than a significant role in the reconciliation of inner worlds with the complexities of the outer.

PHOTO:AFP

WAR IN GAZA: The stuff that poems are made on.

Without hangman and scaffold
A poet cannot exist in the world

Anna Akhmatova

How does poetry react to something terrible? To Sabra or Shatila, those refugee camps in West Beirut where the Palestinians were mowed down by the right wing Phalangists (the Qataib) in September 1982, or Ghaza today, or our own horrendous 26/11in Mumbai?

Does poetry take to breast beating, a cadenced ululation? Shouldn’t that be left to professional mourners, the type portrayed in Mahasweta’s “Rudaoli”? Should poetry resort to downright condemnation of the act? That’s what editors do, don’t they? Politicians too are not bad at it. We once had a Home Minister who hardly did anything else. Or we could have poetry extolling the heroism of the victims— martyrology… Pakistan and Middle East are good at that sort of thing. But shouldn’t this be left to citation-writers for gallantry medals? Then what are poets left with?

Does one take sides? Can one just lash out at Israel today? Or attack Hamas? I read in a paper that a Hamas terrorist instead of coming out in the open, stayed holed up in his room with his ten children and four wives till an Israelis bomb hit the room killing them all. The talk of four wives makes me ever so suspicious. Surely it’s no job of the poet to take sides. And yet what would poetry be without it?

Fiction, theatre and films score over the muse, while depicting terror or horror. (Dante’s “Inferno” is an exception.). Fiction can portray a family, children living happily, a wedding in the offing —and then suddenly comes this catastrophe. Cinema makes this more vivid as Mani Ratnam’s Bombaydid or Schindler’s List. A documentary could steal the show and bring out all the horror. We saw that on 26th November onwards on the TV, except that it was too long drawn and some TV personalities couldn’t help walking down the terror ramp.

Defiance and courage

Personal poetry and political poetry stand at opposite ends of the spectrum. Some critics don’t consider political verse as poetry at all. During the flower power days it was rock singers, and the likes of Bob Dylan who wrote and sang songs which could be described as political. Poetry comes out better when dealing with state terror. Boris Pasternak wrote of the Bolshevik and Stalinist terror. So did Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova. Paul Celan wrote of gas chambers in a most original but affecting way. The styles differed. They depicted atrocities and more so the atmosphere of terror. Poetry has often responded with defiance and great courage.

One reaction is of pure lament, for instance Anna Akhmatova’s poem ‘Voronezh’ (1936). “But in the room of the poet in disgrace,/Fear and the muse keep watch by turns./And the night comes on/That knows no dawn.”

This was obviously written on Osip Mandelstam, who was exiled in Voronezh, and disappeared two years later. A few days after the execution of her husband, Gumilyov, she writes

Terror, fingering things in the dark,

Leads the moonbeam to an axe.

Why do we have to go to Russia for all this? Agha Shahid Ali is both subtle and strident in his book The Country Without A Post Office. “They make a desolation and call it peace,” he says, obviously referring to the Indian security forces. “Army convoys all night like desert caravans.” Talking of an interrogation he writes “Drippings from a suspended burning tire/ are falling on the back of a prisoner,/ the naked boy screaming, “I know nothing.”

Shahid Ali has love poems to Begum Akhtar, his mother, the Kashmir landscape. Poetry can’t be reduced to eternal railing against a regime or an ideology. The staple of poetry, as we know it today, deals with a poet’s inner life and how his soul deals with a complex world bearing down upon him. It will deal with his dreams, aspirations, and anxieties as they grapple with external reality. If that reality becomes even harsher because of bullet, bomb and shrapnel then we are talking of poetry in a time of terror.

Most such poems are a response against the metal-hard frost of state oppression. We have moved from lament to passages mapping the landscape of terror. There is a declaratory dimension to such poetry also, the defiant challenge, as we see in some Arab poetry today.

Take Mahmoud Darwish. I was with him in Struga in 2007. He died last year. He was once a member of the Israel Communist Party, then the PLO Executive Committee. The titles of some of his thirty books tell their own story—Diary of the Palestinian Wounds, (1969), Writing in the Shadow of the Gun (1970), Birds are Dying in Galilee. Though he can be both lyrical and subtle, it is the declaratory act that strikes the eye. Take his poem “Identity Card”1964)

Record

I am an Arab

And my identity card is number fifty thousand

I have eight children

And the ninth is coming after a summer

Will you be angry?

Record

I am an Arab

You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors

And the land which I cultivated

Along with my children

And you left nothing for us

Except for these rocks

The poem ends with the lines “ Beware/ Of my hunger/ And my anger.

Another dimension to such poetry is the defense of the terrorist. Buland al-Haidari, an Iraqi Kurd who lived in Lebanese exile because of his fear of Saddam Hussein, has the following lines in his poem “The Dead Witness.”

Who killed the last commando?

I know who

I know who blinded him and who

Cut his hands and who

Your Highness, shattered

His great dream

I know who

Because I looked after that child for years…

Before he lay in ambush at the bend of the road…

Before this young man

Became

A bleeding wound,

The blood of vengeance on the knife

We have come full circle, from lament to accusatory verse, to despair, to declaratory poetry and defiance, to lastly defending the so called ‘commando’. It’s a fairly long journey.

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IN PICS -2003 twin Mumbai blasts convicts sentenced to death

Posted by :) on August 6, 2009

Source : ibnlive.com

CONVICT NO 1

CONVICT NO 1

Ashrat Shafiq Mohammed Ansari, one of the accused in the 2003 Mumbai bombings, is escorted by policemen outside the Arthur Road Jail on the way to the court in Mumbai on August 4, 2009.

A special POTA court last week had found Fahmeeda, her husband and another man guilty in twin bombings that killed 52 people and wounded 100 in Mumbai six years ago.

CONVICT NO 2

CONVICT NO 2

Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim, one of the accused in the 2003 Mumbai bombings, is escorted by policemen outside the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai on August 4, 2009.

CONVICT NO 3

CONVICT NO 3

Fahmida Syed Mohammed Haneef, one of the accused in the 2003 Mumbai bombings, is escorted by policemen outside the Byculla Jail before being taken to court in Mumbaion August 4, 2009.

DAMAGE DONE

DAMAGE DONE

In this 2003 file photo, a policeman looks at a car damaged in a bomb blast at the Gateway of India, background, in Mumbai.

SENTENCED TO DEATH

SENTENCED TO DEATH

Police officials escort Mohammad Hanif, convicted for plotting two coordinated blasts in Mumbai in August 2003, from a jail in Mumbai.

Posted in Mumbai Terror attack, Mumbai Terror in Pictures, Mumbaikar's anger, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, Woman terrorist | Leave a Comment »

Indo-Pak static quo

Posted by :) on August 5, 2009

Source – TOI

Jug Suraiya


The babblocracy – the collective name for the policy formulators and so-called opinion-makers in government and media – have put Manmohan Singh in the doghouse. In a joint statement he made in Egypt together with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, the PM deviated from the official ‘line’ on Pakistan. He did not recite the ritualistic mantra that there can be no talks with Islamabad unless Pakistan renounces its covert
support of cross-border terrorism. Secondly, he allowed inclusion of Balochistan in the joint statement. Islamabad has accused New Delhi of fomenting insurrection in Balochistan, in much the same way as India charges Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere in this country. The PM’s detractors claim that by permitting use of the B-word, he implicitly admitted to India’s clandestine involvement in that troubled province, thus legitimising Pakistan’s role in Kashmir.
Such non-reasoning is both specious and paranoid, and it totally misrepresents Manmohan Singh’s intentions and objectives. What were these? To try and break the stalemate that has deadlocked Indo-Pak relations for over 60 years – to the economic, political and social detriment of both countries – by creating a broader, mutually acceptable space for negotiation. In short, Manmohan tried – foolhardily, as it turned out – to try and find a viable and lasting solution to the Indo-Pak enmity which has bedevilled the subcontinent for over six decades.
Sinking into the quicksand of its internal conflicts and contradictions – army rule versus democracy, Taliban versus civil society, regionalism versus central authority – Pakistan needs all the help it can get to save itself. And Manmohan thought – wrongly, as has been made clear to him – that India, in its own best interests, might be able to go not an extra mile, but perhaps an extra inch, in trying to reduce tension between the two countries.

Manmohan’s conciliatory move triggered a virulent backlash in India, with critics making it only too clear that New Delhi should not concede even half an inch to Islamabad, particularly not when the wounds of 26/11are still bleeding in public memory. The Indian PM’s initiative may have been mistimed. But the reaction that it has provoked has brought one aspect of Indo-Pak relations to light: namely, that it is not just Islamabad, but New Delhi as well which has a vested interest in maintaining what might be called the static quo between the two countries.

The general perception in India has been that Islamic, feudal Pakistan has always needed a perpetually adversa
rial India in order to exist. India, on the contrary, with its pluralist democracy and rapidly expanding and increasingly inclusivist economy, has never required the bogey of Pakistan the better to cohere together. The fallout of Manmohan Singh’s statement, however, suggests that democratic, secular, economically buoyant India needs a demonised Pakistan as much as a feudalistic, fundamentalist and bankrupt Pakistan needs a hated and feared India.
Both countries need a whipping boy in each other to keep their respective constituencies in a state of diversionary fear. The ruling establishments in both countries – in Pakistan, the army and the feudal political class; in India, our netas, babus and mediacrats – find it not just convenient but necessary to keep alive the image of an ill-intentioned neighbour who can be used to whip up nationalist emotion, often at the expense of rationalist thought. Unrest in Balochistan? Blame it on India. Militancy in Kashmir? Blame it on Pakistan.
If there had been no Indo-Pak problem, both countries would have had to invent one. Fortunately, there is an Indo-Pak problem. And Manmohan Singh has rightly been rapped across the knuckles for being so irresponsible as trying to disinvent it. What was he thinking of?

Posted in 26/11, AF-PAK, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »

Terrorism guide

Posted by :) on July 30, 2009

Source : One World .net
Terrorism is the cruellest of crimes; it feeds off the personal suffering by luring governments into actions that abandon hard-earned freedoms of modern civilisation. Gargantuan budgets committed to security mock the lives lost in poor countries to preventable disease and hunger. The dark complexity of suicide attacks has exposed inadequacies of security forces, moral philosophers, psychologists and theologians alike. Failing to take advantage of the universal revulsion at the events of September 2001, the “war on terror” has instead magnified the global threat of terrorism.

The Elusive Definition of Terrorism

Rebels, insurgents, paramilitaries, separatists, militants, guerrillas, insurrectionists, fundamentalists… are these all terrorists? Or does terrorism claim its own exclusive niche? The exasperating inability to define terrorism is betrayed in the UN 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy – “we, the States Members of the United Nations…strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes”.

UN Blast in Baghdad
UN Blast in Baghdad © Amnesty International – International Secretariat

The UN has been striving for decades to find a wording for terrorism which, instead of “all its forms and manifestations”, narrows down to a specific profile of violence which can be condemned regardless of the circumstances. The absence of an agreed definition matters for many reasons. It blocks the possibility of referring terrorist acts to an international court, as for genocide and other war crimes; it leaves individual countries free to outlaw activity which they choose to classify as terrorism, perhaps for their own political convenience; and crucially it enabled the Bush administration to conjure in the public mind parallels between the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. The vocabulary of terrorism has become the successor to that of anarchy and communism as the catch-all label of opprobrium, exploited accordingly by media and politicians.

The Just Cause Conundrum

Mandela's cell on Robben Island
Mandela’s cell on Robben Island © Peter Armstrong

The difficulty in constructing a definition which eliminates any just cause for terrorism is that history provides too many examples of organisations and their leaders branded as terrorists but who eventually evolved into respected government. This has applied particularly to national liberation movements fighting colonial or oppressive regimes, engaging in violence within their own countries often as a last resort. Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya spent years of his life in peaceful independence advocacy with the British government before his involvement with the Mau Mau rebellion. Another convicted “terrorist”, Nelson Mandela, wrote in his autobiography: “the hard facts were that 50 years of non-violence had brought (my) people nothing but more repressive legislation, and fewer rights”.

All countries must deplore indiscriminate acts of terrorism which kill and maim civilians and which create a climate of fear. Countries from Africa and the Middle East have however proved reluctant to endorse any definition of terrorism which fails to place such acts within the broad sweep of history. The dilemma for the international community lies firstly in assessing whether a cause is “just” and therefore capable of remedy by political negotiation, and secondly in identifying which “terrorist” organisations are capable of emerging into the legitimate political process.

Hamas Logo
Hamas Logo © Radio Netherlands

For example, a central aim of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – to reunite the northern and southern counties of Ireland – was never regarded as a just cause by the UK government, whilst other grievances linked to fair government in the north were accepted as negotiable. Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, is now part of an elected power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. In the Middle East, the vision of a Palestinian state is considered a just cause by all stakeholders but world leaders have so far preferred to negotiate only with the Fatah party. This approach chooses to ignore the electoral success of Hamas which was based on its proven competence to govern at local level, an attribute equally associated with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

These extreme sensitivities in the dividing line between recognition and condemnation are found in other longstanding internal conflicts around the world. Despite a decade of outrages committed by the Communist Party of Nepal, Maoist (CPN- Maoist), its leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, is now the head of a democratically elected government. By contrast, longstanding peace negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka have stalled, with the group recently proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union. Potential negotiation dilemmas may also flare up with separatist groups in Kashmir, Mindanao in the Philippines, and in the Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iraq.

Global Jihad

Simultaneous bomb attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 followed by the 9/11 tragedy in 2001 marked the globalisation of terror in which a populist and possibly negotiable cause within the nation state becomes subservient to principled grievances against the world order, communicated through the tools of globalisation led by the internet. Both attacks in Africa were traced to the group headed by Osama bin Laden known as al-Qaeda. Its ideology is shaped by the belief that Islam is being degraded and humiliated by “western” values, with particular disgust reserved for those Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which are close allies of the US. The plight of the Palestinians is a rallying call for al-Qaeda whose central goal is to expel Americans from Muslim lands and dismantle pro-US Middle Eastern governments. To this end all US citizens and their sympathisers are to be killed, regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.

This extreme form of fundamentalist Sunni Islam adopted by bin Laden and his closest associates is often described as jihadism and is believed to have been inspired by an Egyptian radical, Sayyid Qutb, who opposed the Nasser regime. Fighting alongside the conservative Taliban in Afghanistan may have been a further influence on bin Laden. The manic ideology of al-Qaeda has no roots in mainstream Islam which shares core values of peace and tolerance with the world’s major religions. The Koran teaches that the killing of innocent humans is a crime and that suicide is unacceptable.

The Jihadis

Guy Fawkes, one of the most infamous terrorists in history who came within a whisker of destroying the English monarchy and parliament in 1605 was, like the modern jihadis, acting in the name of a maligned and misunderstood religion. King James presented a list of questions to the torturers, headed by the demand to discover “as to what he is, for I can never yet hear of any man that knows him”. Four hundred years later the nightmare of suicide terrorism has likewise prompted frantic efforts to understand the psychological motives of individuals who are prepared to strap dynamite around themselves and trigger the detonator whilst surrounded by defenceless citizens.

Although suicide attacks are particularly associated with al-Qaeda ideology, they have been adopted by the Tamil Tigers, by militant groups in Iraq and also recently by the Taliban. Attention is focused on the influence of institutions of Islamic education which in a small minority of cases advocate extreme views which “radicalise” students into beliefs which are inconsistent with mainstream Islam. This is believed to flourish especially in Pakistan where inadequate funding of state education has allowed unregulated madrasa religious education to take hold. About 1.5 million children attend madrasas in Pakistan, some of which are also open to foreign visitors. A number of terrorists belonging to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) group in Indonesia have been identified as alumni of religious schools there known as pesantrens. In the UK attendance at the radical Finsbury mosque has been traced to a disturbing proportion of known terrorists.

Attempts have been made to construct psychological profiles with proven susceptibility to indoctrination. In Islamic countries such interest focuses on the sense of political impotence created by inadequate democracy and corrupt governance. In Europe, there are suggestions that young Muslims from immigrant families suffer identity problems in reconciling differences between western lifestyles and their upbringing. As yet these theories remain in the realms of speculation. Likewise, media tendencies to brand Pakistan as a source of world terror have been countered by a remarkable petition “Say no to Terrorism” which has been signed by over 60 million people in the country, more than the number of voters in the recent election.

Counter-Terrorism

Counter-terrorism is a massive global industry which takes place at various levels, ranging from local police investigation of terrorist acts to the invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda leaders. National border control is fraught and trying for all concerned – over one million names feature on the US Terror Watch list of suspects, an FBI compilation which lost all credibility during 2008 with the discovery that it contained the names of Nelson Mandela and his ANC colleagues. Western countries also publish lists of proscribed terrorist groups which link to laws prohibiting membership and movement of funds. Fear of nuclear or biological attack inevitably dominates counter-terrorist thinking and explains the obsessive attention to perceived “rogue states” such as North Korea and Iran.

Over the last 20-30 years the UN has approved 13 Conventions which attempt to eliminate terrorist activity, culminating in 2006 in a broad Global Strategy to Defeat Terrorism which promises a coordinated plan of action thanks to “unique consensus achieved by world leaders”. Such claims to consensus are however undermined by those states that have abused their monopoly of legitimate violence. Although often conducted at arms length, violence sponsored by governments such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe has unquestionably instilled fear into their own populations, perhaps encroaching into the domain of terrorism and adding complexity to its classification.

Washington rally to oppose the use of torture
Washington rally to oppose the use of torture © Amnesty International USA

In the absence of a comprehensive UN treaty, national laws remain a basic tool of counter-terrorism. Led by the US Patriot Act, such laws too often undermine freedom of speech and association, introduce prolonged detention without trial and intrude on standards of privacy. Some ideals of human rights may indeed have to undergo temporary compromise and laws updated to address the crisis of terrorism, but there is an inherent contradiction. The new UN Global Strategy declares that countries which are “conducive to the spread of terrorism” are those characterised by the “lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization, and lack of good governance”. Many counter-terrorism imperatives share common ground with these shortcomings.

A Tragedy of Errors

The failure of the tools of counter-terrorism to prevent the destruction of the World Trade Center led to the introduction of rhetoric as an additional weapon. The Bush administration packaged counter-terrorism as “the war on terror” with references to a crusade. In choosing language which conjured the spectre of a clash between Christian and Muslim civilisations, the Americans reinforced rather than undermined al-Qaeda ideology, uniting rather than exploiting the deep divisions within Islam. It is no wonder that European leaders were horrified. References to a crusade were swiftly abandoned but it was not until the latter part of 2006 that the US moderated its warrior imagery of counter-terrorism.

Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq © Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep

The disaster of the Iraq war has presented unimaginable gifts to the terrorist cause. The decision to invade the country reinforced al-Qaeda accusations of western interference in Muslim territories whilst the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib undermined US claims to moral superiority. Whilst considerable damage has been inflicted on al-Qaeda fighters attracted to Iraq and on the al-Qaeda leadership and its organisational capacity in Afghanistan, the ideology has proved capable of cloning itself. There are “affiliated” groups in North Africa led by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and countless small local cells of potential terrorists. In the UK alone the authorities claim to have detected around 200 separate plots of indiscriminate criminal activity.

The Precipice of Fear

Global terrorism threatens to undo a generation of multilateral endeavour for human development, inspired by principles of social justice and human rights. Foreign aid budgets are struggling in the wake of security priorities. Whilst there have been no major terrorist incidents in the US since 2001, the US counter-terrorism budget for 2008 is $142 billion, a figure which dwarfs the shortfall in annual funding required to meet the Millennium Development Goals which would assist almost a billion people in extreme poverty. Such dysfunctional spending priorities reflect the imperative of calming a country’s collective fear, the soft underbelly of emotion that terrorists are most adept at exposing.

Jerusalem's disputed Old City
Jerusalem’s disputed Old City © Out There News

A window of opportunity may exist for a new approach. The Bush administration is entering history and there are new leaders in Europe who might bring more resolve to implement the roadmap to a Palestinian state. Perhaps the blunt instruments of eavesdropping technology and counter-terrorism laws will give way to more intellectual exposure of the al-Qaeda ideology for its medieval undertones and deep anti-Semitism. In Indonesia, success against JI has been attributed in part to the advocacy work of converted terrorists to “deradicalise” their former colleagues in prisons. A UK government programme, Preventing Violent Extremism, is dedicated to “winning hearts and minds” in a civic environment.

Nevertheless, real doubts linger over the capacity of politicians. The fundamental adjustment of attitudes necessary to neutralise terrorism can perhaps be engineered only by good citizenship. We may need to devote more energy to the integration of mixed ethnic communities and to the inequalities that are inseparable from modern economics. If we cannot convey to politicians that global fairness, peace and human dignity matter more than the comforts of consumerism, then our fate may indeed be akin to the vision of Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy in which the English poet reacted to British government-sponsored violence in 1819:

And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken….

Posted in Jehad, KILLING AND BLASTS, Terror Camps, Terror Target, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Manmohan: no dilution of our position on terrorism

Posted by :) on July 30, 2009

Sandeep Dikshit

“Offered to discuss Balochistan as our hands are clean”

— Photo: PTI/Courtesy Lok Sabha TV

MUCH-AWAITED INTERVENTION: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clarifying the government’s position on the India-Pakistan joint statement, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asserted that the government had not diluted its position on terrorism by issuing a joint statement with Pakistan earlier this month but left the door open for dialogue provided Pakistan fulfilled its commitment in “letter and spirit” to root out anti-India terrorist activity from its soil.

Intervening in a debate in the Lok Sabha on issues arising from his recent visits abroad, the Prime Minister underlined the need for engagement with Pakistan to achieve enduring peace in the subcontinent and slammed the “enemies of peace” for trying to make alienation between the two countries permanent and the divide unbridgeable.

Speaking to a packed House for nearly 45 minutes — his longest speech in recent memory — and backed by animated party members and allies, the Prime Minister rejected third party involvement in talks with Pakistan because of its limited effectiveness. It could also lead to longer-term involvement of foreign powers in South Asia which is “not something to our liking.”

Tracing the highs and lows of India-Pakistan ties during his much-awaited intervention, the Prime Minister said India would follow a policy of “trust and verify” on commitments by Pakistan and revealed that the impetus to the joint statement came from the dossier submitted by Islamabad a few days before he left for France and Egypt. The dossier showed some progress had been made by Pakistan but India did not think it was “adequate” for resumption of full-fledged dialogue. The joint statement also took a step forward by committing both countries to share real time, credible information to prevent any attacks in future.

At the same time, the Pakistani leadership was told to ensure that Mumbai-type attacks should not be repeated and another such attack would put an “intolerable strain on our relationship.” Dr. Singh thought the current Pakistani leadership understood the need for action against terrorists of all hues and cautioned that Pakistan would be “consumed” if it did not resolutely counter terror.

The dialogue would now be limited to Foreign Secretary-level capped in the near term by a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He acknowledged the statesmanship of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee for pursuing the course of dialogue despite several setbacks. But he pointed out that despite the National Democratic Alliance government’s “tall talk” it was unable to get Pakistan to probe the involvement of its nationals in previous terror attacks. “So the UPA government needs no lessons from the Opposition on how to conduct foreign affairs or secure our nation from terrorist attacks,” he said to the accompaniment of enthusiastic thumping of desks from the ruling alliance benches.

Responding to criticism over the incorporation of Balochistan in the joint statement, Dr. Singh said New Delhi was willing to discuss strife in the Pakistani province because it had clean hands and was willing to remove any misgivings. Far from being engaged in egging on discontent in Pakistan, Indian consulates in Afghanistan were focusing on the large-scale reconstruction work being carried out in the country. “But we were willing to discuss all these issues because we are doing nothing wrong,” he maintained.

Source : The Hindu – eNews Paper

Posted in 26/11, Govt of India, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, Taliban, Terror Camps, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »

‘We created, nurtured terrorists’ – Zardari

Posted by :) on July 10, 2009

Zardari First Pak Head Of State To Admit Using Militancy For Tactical Ends

Omer Farooq Khan | TNN

Islamabad: In an astonishingly candid admission—a first by any Pakistani head of state—President Asif Ali Zardari has said militants and terrorists were wilfully created by past Pakistani governments and nurtured as part of a policy to achieve tactical objectives.
“Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised but because they were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives. Let’s be truthful and make a candid admission of the reality,’’ he
said at a gathering of civil servants in Islamabad on Tuesday night.
“The terrorists of today were heroes of yesteryear until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well,’’ Zardari said, emphasising that Pakistan could not be left alone at this stage of the war on terror. He also pointedly said that future gen
erations would not forgive the current leadership if it did not take corrective measures.
India has long charged Pakistan with sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir by providing arms, ammunition and training to militants who have been engaged in a war of secession. Zardari’s admission is bound to cre
ate a major flutter in Islamabad, especially within the army, which has historically been the author of Pakistan’s India policy.
“Pakistan is a frontline state in the war against terror and we have pledged to eliminate this scourge. I have taken charge of the country at a difficult time and will meet the challenges facing the country,’’ he said. Criticising the former military rulers of Pakistan—in itself an act of derring-do—Zardari said concentration of power in one individual was against the spirit of democracy and good governance.

Posted in LeT, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, TERROSIST ATTACK, Terrosist Organizations | 2 Comments »

Q&A: Militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Posted by :) on July 8, 2009

For much of the last decade Nato forces in Afghanistan and Pakistani troops in the north-west of their country have been fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.

Source – The BBC

So why is there conflict in the two countries and is there a link?

A US-led coalition spearheaded the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 because it said that the country was being used as a sanctuary by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the US.

From the outset, it has sought the help of Pakistan in rooting out insurgents, determined that there should be no safe havens for militants.

When it became clear that neither bin Laden nor Taliban leader Mullah Omar had been killed or captured, the pressure on Pakistan to eject militants from its border areas simply increased.

Since then the Pakistani army has launched offensives against militant positions interspersed with controversial peace deals. The Americans in particular opposed these, arguing that they allowed the militants to re-group.

The latest such offensive began at the end of 2008, following the election of President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan is now pursuing militants across the north-west of the country.

Should the world be worried?

There is a near-universal consensus that the answer is a resounding yes.

The principal concern is the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons which it is feared could fall into Taliban or al-Qaeda hands.

Taliban members in north-western Pakistan

The Taliban have proved themselves to be formidable adversaries

Most commentators agree that the possibility of this happening is remote, but concern still runs high.

In April 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a US Senate committee that while a lot of time was spent worrying about Iran getting nuclear weapons, Pakistan already had them.

Some feel the danger is being exaggerated in Washington in order to build support for the Obama administration’s “Af-Pak policy”.

But the BBC’s Mark Urban says that the real danger lies in subversion – one or more individuals working inside the system providing militants with nuclear materials or even an entire atomic weapon.

There are concerns that India may become involved in the conflict against militancy – especially in Pakistan – if there is a repeat of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were blamed on extremists operating out of Pakistan.

Both India and the US suspect that radical madrassas in Pakistan are exporting militants around the world.

What’s being done to fight the militants?

Apart from the ongoing Pakistani army offensive in parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) the Americans have over the last few years used controversial drone attacks to hit militant targets in Pakistan from Afghanistan.

British soldier with an Afghan man in Kabul

Nato says it aims to help stabilise Afghanistan

These have generated much concern because in many cases civilians have been killed in these attacks.

President Obama has also announced a “troop surge” in Afghanistan of around 21,000 additional US troops, while considering a further deployment of 10,000 more to add to around 70,000 foreign troops who are currently based there.

The US military has stressed that if the war in Afghanistan is to be won, the development battle is almost as important as the military conflict.

That is why the West has poured billions of dollars into north-west Pakistan and into Afghanistan for the construction of schools, hospitals and community centres.

How serious is Pakistan in defeating the Taliban?

Pakistan’s government says that it is serious about tackling the Taliban. The country’s powerful military is currently shoulder-to-shoulder with the government on this issue, especially when it comes to targeting the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.

Baitullah Mehsud

It is Mehsud’s fighters who are said to be behind the intensified attacks on military installations and personnel.

But doubts remain over the army’s willingness to fight those Taliban involved in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Indeed, some elements are thought to supportive those militants focusing on Afghanistan.

They see seen as a useful counterweight to what the army says is the growing influence of perennial rival India in Central Asia.

So can Pakistan beat the militants?

At the moment that is difficult to say. A lot depends on whether President Zardari can muster the political will to do so amid rising military and civilian casualties.

So far the militants appear to have been ejected from most of NWFP – including the Swat valley but they still entrenched in tribal areas. In North and South Waziristan for example – the area widely believed to be the hiding place of Osama Bin Laden – the army has yet to begin a full-scale offensive.

Even if Pakistan does remove the militants from their strongholds in the Fata, the terrain there is difficult and ideally suited to guerrilla warfare. No-one is expecting either the Taliban or al-Qaeda to disappear overnight.

What is the human cost in both countries?

The human cost of the war in both countries has been immense.

In Pakistan it is estimated that more than two million people have been displaced by the latest fighting.

In Afghanistan, the UN says that the number of civilians killed rose by 39% in 2008. It said that militants were to blame for 55% of the 2,118 civilian deaths, while US, Nato and Afghan forces were responsible for 39%.

Who is going to win overall?

In the short term, neither side in either country, are likely to claim victory.

British troops in Helmand

Helmand is the ‘largest single source of opium’ in Afghanistan

Recent analysis of where things stand in Afghanistan was provided in June 2009 by Nato’s outgoing supreme commander, Gen John Craddock.

He said that a lack of troops is putting severe constraints on its military operations in Afghanistan and that there was in effect a stalemate in the south and east of the country, the areas worst affected by the insurgency.

Nato commanders hope that President Obama’s surge will rectify this, so more heavy fighting can be expected in Afghanistan in the months ahead.

In Pakistan, the army is also pushing back the militants who are now confined to their heartlands on the border with Afghanistan.

But no-one expects them to be easily defeated in their mountainous homeland.

Posted in AF-PAK, Militant, PAKISTAN TERROR, Pakistani terrorists, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »

New York: A 9/11 Hindi movie review

Posted by :) on July 6, 2009

Movie: New York; Cast: John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif, Irrfan Khan; Director: Kabir Khan; Rating: 4 out of 5.

When a hardcore commercial flick gets a standing ovation and a huge round of applause at the end of the show, you know that there is something definitely right that the director has done. In this regard, Kabir Khan can take a bow because he has done exceedingly well in making a film that is not frivolous, has a message and still carries enough commercial ingredients to reach out to masses as well as classes.

His “New York” is a gripping dramatic thriller that has all the trappings to finally end the drought that Bollywood has been facing for an entire year so far.

The film gets on to the point right away. The entire sequence of events involving FBI and the round up of suspects is brilliantly executed that makes you further believe that Kabir Khan knows the job right.

Cute Three someIf in his first attempt “Kabul Express” he gave a documentary start to the film by showing actual clippings of 9/11, in case of “New York” too he doesn’t shy away from showing the world what US has become post 9/11.

So what one gets to see is not just America’s mentality after 9/11, but also the way suspects are detained for months and tortured in spite of lack of concrete evidence. However, to the credit of the filmmaker, the brutality being demonstrated is pretty much under control. Even though the desired impact is created for the audience to be a part of the lives of John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Katrina Kaif, nothing goes over the top or something that cannot be swallowed.

With a subject like “New York” where one of the protagonists is labelled as a terrorist and the other is out to prove that he isn’t, the film could have become a grim drama, more so because it deals with real issues. Still, the makers do not allow the film to go beyond the boundaries where it could possibly have been classified as an art or an offbeat film.

John Neil and KatrinaInstead, a strict eye is kept on the box office hence making sure there is enough drama, thrills and emotional moments to keep audiences thoroughly engaged in the not-so-lengthy movie.

John can finally do away with his trunks and ignore coming out of the sea and show his body beautiful for next few years. The acting potential in him has finally been tapped by Kabir Khan and he gives his career’s best performance so far in the movie. Watch out for the scenes in the detention centre or the film’s climax – they are surely going to bring a lump in your throat.

Neil has the most complex role of the three as he has to be a part of the proceedings in spite of being on the peripherals. Without revealing much about his part, it can be comfortably said that all the flak that he got post the release of “Aa Dekhen Zara” would be forgotten once audiences see him in this author backed role.

His scenes with Irrfan Khan, who plays an FBI officer and is extremely effective once again, need a special mention. They are extremely well written and enacted.

Katrina too suits the role to a T and after “Namastey London” again gets to play a part where she actually contributes to the film’s plot.

With the kind of subject that “New York” has, it could have easily become a sermonising or a pseudo exercise in motion. Thankfully, Aditya Chopra, who has written the film’s story, doesn’t allow that to happen. He keeps it all under check to ensure that “New York” reaches out to the masses while also ensuring itself quite a few awards when the best of the best are announced at the end of the year.

“New York” is a must watch!

Posted in 9/11, AL QUIEDA, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, WTC | Leave a Comment »

Centre bans CPI (Maoist)

Posted by :) on June 23, 2009

Source : Vinay Kumar, the Hindu

Hope West Bengal government will also do so: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday banne d the Communist Party of India (Maoist), terming it a terrorist organisation. It invoked Section 41 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the extremist outfit.

The CPI (Maoist) came into existence following the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).

The ban came two days after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the backdrop of violent incidents in Lalgarh and the ongoing operation by the police and the security forces to reclaim the area.

The Chief Minister had said that his government would give a “serious thought” to banning the CPI (Maoist) as advised by the Home Minister.

The ban was to avoid any ambiguity though all formations and front organisations of the PWG, the MCC and the CPI (ML) came under the purview of the ban.

In September 2004, the CPI (ML) and the MCC announced their decision to merge and named the new organisation CPI (Maoist). There was some opposition to the merger and some elements in the two organisations continued to function independently.

Mr. Chidambaram said the merged organisation would continue to be listed as a terror organisation. “When I looked into the matter a couple of days ago, I said that may be the position in the law. In order to avoid any ambiguity, let us add the CPI (Maoist) by name in that schedule of the Act.”

Many States, including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, had declared the CPI (Maoist) an unlawful association. Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu had done so under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“When I had a discussion with Mr. Bhattacharjee, I advised him to ban the CPI (Maoist) under Section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. That power is available with the State. I did not change my view. I still think that West Bengal should declare the CPI (Maoist) an unlawful association,” he told journalists.

Asked about the Left parties’ opposition to the ban, Mr. Chidambaram said the Left had taken a view which was not that of the West Bengal government. “I hope distinction between the party and the government is still there in this country. I expect that the Chief Minister will look into the matter.”

Posted in CPI (Maoist), Terrorism, Terrorist attack, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

CCTVs, squads out to capture terrorists

Posted by :) on June 18, 2009

Police Chiefs Of Six Metros Meet Up To Discuss Proposals

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: Over 500 surveillance cameras will be fitted across the city, and monitored from an advanced dedicated control room. Eyes peeled, they will wait for the unexpected to happen — like a terror attack.
The cameras will be part of the Rs 500-crore central package to six metros to counter a terror attack. Bangalore’s proposal includes the control room and surveillance cameras.
These measures were part of discussions that took place on Wednesday in the city, where police top brass from six cities held a meeting over the issue. Apart from the control room, the city police is also contemplating a special anti-terror squad, trained and equipped to handle the situation.
Police sources said there would also be a proposal for mobile vehicle bomb detectors and sophisticated arms and ammunition for the trained cadre.
“All these are part of the action plan for the city, thought out by the police to take on the growing terror menace, following the central home ministry’s initiative,’’ the sources added.
Police top brass from Chennai, Hyderabad,
Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata who had arrived in the city, held a brainstorming session
with officials from the Directorate of Police
Research and Development (DPRD) and Bangalore police. Since the Delhi police will co
ordinate with the central ministry, they did not attend the meeting.
All the metropolitan police chiefs had attended a meeting in Delhi on June 10 this year. The home ministry allocated Rs 500 crore to upgrade and provide all help to these vulnerable cities to tackle terror. Now, the police chiefs have chalked out action plans for their respective cities.
Asked about the action plan for Bangalore, Bidari said the city police will make a formal request to the Union home ministry through the state government and this will be disclosed when the department gets the sanction.

WIRED CITY
500 surveillance cameras To be monitored by advanced control room Anti-terror squad Mobile vehicle bomb detectors Arms and ammunition
LARGER PICTURE
Six cities to benefit Other cities: Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata Centre’s grant: Rs 500 crore Police chiefs chalk out plans for their cities

SECRET EYES ON THE PROWL

Posted in AF-PAK, Blogs unite Indians in face of terror, Channelise Energy, Fight With Equanimity, Militant, Terror Camps, Terror Target, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »