Pervez Musharraf

February 12, 2011 by · Comments Off on Pervez Musharraf 

Pervez Musharraf, A special anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Rawalpindi on Saturday issued arrest warrants for former president Pervez Musharraf in connection with the murder case of Benazir Bhutto. Musharaf has been sent to appear before it on February 19. ATC judge Rana Nisar Ahmed Khan issued the warrants after agreement with the request of Zulfiqar Chaudhry; counsel for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the former president must be declared a fugitive because of his non-cooperation in the process investigation further, accusing him as one of the accused in the interim challan.

The ATC judge also considered the declarations of the former Brig Javed Iqbal Cheema and former intelligence chief Ejaz Shah, in which they admitted having acted on instructions from Musharraf.

The prosecutor urged the FIA the ATC, which has been conducting a trial within Adiyala imprisonment for five suspects, including alleged members of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), responsible for execution of the assassination plan, strict measures should be taken against Musharraf for his lack of cooperation continues.

The challan through 12 charges leveled against Musharraf. According to FIA officials Pervez Musharraf had prior knowledge of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by Baitullah Mehsud, accused the head killed TTP, but he concealed this vital information to himself.

Based on circumstantial evidence and statements, at first glance, it appeared that Musharraf was also responsible for the criminal mens rea (a legal term for the spirit of guilt, guilty knowledge or intent to commit a prohibited act) that his government had failed to provide the necessary security to Benazir Bhutto, twice elected Prime Minister, also refused to hold a judicial inquiry into her murder, they added.

(CP) – A Pakistani court has issued an arrest warrant Saturday for former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, when government investigators accused the general to the retreat from involvement in the murder.

Although it does not yet face charges, the move marks a major escalation of legal trouble for Musharraf, an ally of the United States of a time that has gone into voluntary exile in Britain in 2008 after been forced to leave the presidency, he obtained a 1999 military coup.

A government now run by his rivals of Musharraf has made the charges of a role in the death of Benazir Bhutto. They make it almost impossible for him to fulfill plege to return to Pakistan and lead a new political party.

Bhutto was killed December 27, 2007, in a gun and suicide bomb attack after she returned to Pakistan to campaign for elections Musharraf has agreed to allow after months of national and international pressure. Musharraf accused the Pakistani Taliban, a group of al-Qaida affiliates, for the attack, but government prosecutors now allege he was part of plot to kill the popular former prime minister.

“A joint investigation team in its report to the court Musharraf found guilty of involvement in the conspiracy and complicity to kill Benazir Bhutto,” said Zulfikar Ali Chaudhry, the chief prosecutor.

He said the probe was evidence that Musharraf was “fully involved” by Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader dead, and that prosecutors are seeking a murder trial. He did not elaborate.

Musharraf has always denied any involvement in the death of Benazir Bhutto and mocked critics who said he has not done enough to protect it. Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. missile strike in 2009, also denied targeting Bhutto.

Musharraf lawyer, Mohammad Ali Saif, said his client was innocent of the allegations but did not intend to challenge them in court, where he was summoned on February 19.

“It’s just a tragedy. It’s all politics,” Saif told The Associated Press. He said Pakistani investigators never attempted to reach the case of Musharraf, whose proceedings are closed to the public.

The new charges and arrest warrants stem from a case against two-security officials accused of being derelict in their duties to protect Bhutto. Musharraf has not been charged, but the court holds preliminary hearings on charges against him, and he had the opportunity to defend himself.

A UN investigation into the killing said that the Musharraf government has not done enough to ensure the security of Benazir Bhutto and the measures taken by investigators criticized after her death, including watering the crime scene and not to conduct an autopsy.

The UN officials were not instructed to find the culprits who are behind this murder exactly were. But they identified two main threats to Bhutto – Islamic extremists like Al Qaeda and the Taliban who were opposed to her ties prospects in Western and secular, and members of the “Pakistani establishment,” the term used locally to designate a network of powerful and shadowy military intelligence, political and business leaders said actual control of the country.

After her death, Benazir Bhutto Pakistan People’s Party rode a wave of public sympathy for collecting the most seats in elections in February 2008. A few months later, the party forced Musharraf to quit the presidency by threatening impeachment. Later he went to London, and has since spent much time on the lecture circuit, including the United States.

Britain has no extradition treaty with Pakistan, but the British government may decide to extradite those accused of crimes in each case.

Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that if the court requests it, the government will contact Interpol to bring Musharraf

The United States has supported Musharraf for much of his military regime because he was, at least officially, an ally in the US-led war against global t*rror*sm, and provided assistance to Washington in pursuit of militants who used the soil of Pakistan as a haven for planning attacks in neighboring Afghanistan.

But many in Pakistan criticized his alliance with the United States, and domestic missteps, including attempts to fire the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, pummeled his popularity, which led to mass protests that eventually forced Musharraf to bend and allow new elections.

The new president of Pakistan and People’s Party leader Asif Ali Zardari is the widower of Benazir Bhutto. It also supports the United States and supported offensive against militants on Pakistani territory.

Also Saturday, a man detonated while army troops prepared to attack his hideout in northwestern Pakistan, killing himself and wounding at least three soldiers, a senior army official said.

The explosion occurred outside the town in Khyber Bhat Khela Pakhtunkwa province after troops acting on a tip from residents surrounded a militant hideout, Brig. Saeed Ullah said. The soldiers killed a militant seconds in the shootout that followed the explosion.

Ullah, the security forces have arrested five local men on suspicion of harboring militants, which he said were preparing a suicide attack in Swat. Khela Bhat is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Mingora, the main town of Swat.

The Pakistani military launched a major offensive against Taliban in Swat in 2009, a paradise for tourists with a time far exceeded by militants from 2007.

Although the offensive was hailed a success monthslong, militant activity is still reported in the picturesque area and concerns are growing that the insurgents could rise again.


Associated Press Writer Sherin Zada contributed to this report from Mingora.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dawn, Salman Taseer PunJab Governor

January 4, 2011 by · Comments Off on Dawn, Salman Taseer PunJab Governor 

Dawn, (AP) – The governor of the powerful Pakistani province of Punjab was shot in the capital Tuesday by one of his own guards, who later told interrogators after he was angry about the policy position against the law the blasphemy of the country, officials said.

The murder of Salman Taseer was the highest level assassination of a politician in Pakistan since former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007, and shaken a country already struggling with crises ranging from a potential collapse of the government to a virulent Islamist insurgents.

The murder could also add to concerns about inroads by Islamic extremists and fundamentalists in Pakistan’s security establishment and represented a further blow to Pakistan is a country in difficulty lay movement.

Taseer was a member of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto. The governor was vocal on a range of topics, even using Twitter to get his point of view.

Taseer, including black sunglasses were one of its most recognizable features, was a businessman and media was appointed governor of Punjab ceremony in May 2008.

Punjab is the most populous province and Pakistan and the provincial government is headed by the Popular Party’s rival party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

The province is a major base and recruiting ground for the powerful Pakistan army and the security establishment. As religious fundamentalism in Pakistan has increased, concerns have been raised about its impact on soldiers from Pakistan, police and other armed forces.

Some analysts have suggested that members of the fundamentalist establishment of security represent a greater threat of nuclear proliferation in Pakistan as militant groups like the Taliban.

These days, that the Popular Party has faced the loss of its coalition partners, the 56-year Taseer had insisted that the government will survive. But it was his very public stance against the blasphemy law, which apparently led to his assassination.

Blasphemy law in Pakistan has undergone a more thorough examination of recent weeks after a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The law effectively orders the death of any person convicted of insulting Islam.

Taseer said Bibi should be granted a pardon, a position that earned him the opprobrium of Islamist groups across the country as well as threats, as Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities.

“I was under tremendous pressure that the cow at 2 b4 rightest pressure on blasphemy. Refusal. Even if I am the last man standing, “wrote Twitter Taseer December 31.

“It was the most courageous voice after Benazir Bhutto on the rights of women and religious minorities,” said crying Farahnaz Ispahani, a Zardari associate and friend of Taseer. “God, he will be missed.”

An intelligence official to question the suspect, identified as Mumtaz Qadri, told The Associated Press that the bearded elite commando police force boasted of the murder, saying he was proud of killing a blasphemer .

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media on the record.

Qadri is 26 and Barakhao, a suburb of Islamabad, said Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Dozens of Pakistanis sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, which dates back to the 1980s military rule of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq. Most cases are dismissed by higher courts, and no executions have been carried out, but rights activists have long complained that the law is used to settle rivalries and persecute religious minorities.

Under pressure from Islamic parties, the Popular Party said recently that it would not change the law.

Bhatti, the minister for minorities, said religious minorities in Pakistan would join the People’s Party in its plans to have a two-week period of mourning for Taseer. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also announced a three-day period of national mourning and ordered flags lowered to half-mast.

Police official Mohammad Iftikhar said Taseer was shot after reaching Kohsar Market, a shopping center in the popular with Westerners and rich Pakistanis, Islamabad. Five other people were injured other security personnel responded to the attack.

“It was a first shot and then a burst. I think nine or 10 shots, “said AR Khan, a witness who was drinking coffee at the time.”I ran and saw the police on another police commando, who was lying on the road with his face hidden.”

Taseer was believed to be on his way to see someone for a meal, Malik said. Other members of its security arrangements have been questioned, said Malik, who added that security for Taseer was provided by the Punjab government.

“We’ll see if it was an individual act or someone had asked him” to do, Malik said the attacker.

Bullet casings and blood covered much of the scene on the market, and police quickly cordoned off the area. At the hospital, the People’s Party supporters wept and beat their heads after the news.

Outside his residence in the eastern city of Lahore, hundreds of supporters chanted slogans in his name, while in the central city of Multan dozens of supporters of the Popular Party have burned tires and demanded that the attackers are punished.

Human rights activists have been dismayed by the death Taseer, particularly given the difficulties of the Popular Party has had in promoting any legislation on human rights because of his alliances with Islamist parties.

“Taseer has proved to be a rare politician, willing to risk his life by marrying a clear position against discrimination and abuse,” Ali Dayan Hasan said, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

After Taseer was nominated for the post of Governor of Punjab, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N has expressed reservations, and he often in conflict with the party. PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif visited the hospital where the body was taken Taseer and promised an investigation into the death.

Associated Press writers Munir Ahmad and BK Bangash contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


January 4, 2011 by · Comments Off on Blasphemy 

Blasphemy, (APP): Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government will thoroughly investigate the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer if it was an act of another person or hidden hand “The accused, arrested the care used to escort him to Rawalpindi normally. Done for previous 5 or 6 times and has been identified as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, “said Rehman Malik, while speaking briefly to reporters Tuesday.” The culprit was arrested and is currently under examination InProgress and he admitted he had committed the “murder,” said Malik.

According to the accused, he differed with the views of Governor of Punjab on blasphemy laws which, according to accused him furious, “said Malik.
“But we will thoroughly investigate the matter if it was his individual act or there was another force behind this assassination,” he added.
The Interior Minister said that the provision of VIP protocol has always been criticized, but the government has given utmost importance.
“All members of elite forces stationed for the protection of VIPs are carefully selected,” he added.
The protocol was supposed to be the responsibility of the Government of Punjab and it will be studied, he added.
Malik said that all staff escort the governor had been placed under arrest.
He said the former governor on Tuesday visited the chairman of the House, after which he went to the Senate and then met with the Minister of Information and had lunch at a restaurant with his friend and was on the path from s’ sit in the car when the Elite Force personnel shot him and handed over to enforcement of the law.
He (the governor) has been given security by the elite force of police in Islamabad, but one of the security men put his gun to the Governor of Punjab.
“But we will probe whether it was his individual act or any other force is behind this act,” said Rehman Malik.

Salman Taseer

January 4, 2011 by · Comments Off on Salman Taseer 

Salman Taseer, (UKPA) – The governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province has been shot dead by one of his guards apparently for criticising the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

The killing of Salman Taseer was the most high-profile assassination of a political figure in Pakistan since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was shot in December 2007, and it rattled a country already dealing with crises ranging from a potential collapse of the government to Islamist militancy.

The suspected killer was taken into custody and there were conflicting reports as to whether he was wounded.

Mr Taseer was a member of Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari, her widower. The governor was vocal on a range of subjects, and frequently used Twitter to get across his views.

In recent days, as the People’s Party has faced the loss of its coalition partners, Mr Taseer insisted that the government will survive. But it was his stance against the blasphemy laws that apparently led to his killing.

Interior Minister Rahman Malik said the suspect had surrendered to police and told them he killed Mr Taseer because “the governor described the blasphemy laws as a black law”.

“He was the most courageous voice after Benazir Bhutto on the rights of women and religious minorities,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, an aide to Mr Zardari and friend of Mr Taseer. “God, we will miss him.”

Pakistan’s blasphemy law has come under greater scrutiny in recent days after a Christian woman was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

Under pressure from Islamist parties, the People’s Party said recently it would not pursue changes to the law, which has long worried human rights activists.

Mr Taseer was shot after he reached Khosar Market, a shopping centre in Islamabad popular with Westerners and wealthy Pakistanis. Five other people were wounded as other security personnel responded to the attack.

Copyright © 2011 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Afghans vote for parliament amid threats, attacks

September 18, 2010 by · Comments Off on Afghans vote for parliament amid threats, attacks 

Afghans vote for parliament amid threats, attacks:KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans braved Taliban rockets and polling site bombings Saturday to vote for a new parliament in elections seen as a measure of the government’s competence and commitment to democratic rule.

The Interior Ministry said at least 11 civilians and four security forces were killed and dozens more injured in the first nationwide balloting since a fraud-marred presidential election last year undermined international support for President Hamid Karzai. Security has worsened since then, and the Taliban made good on threats to disrupt Saturday’s polling.

Observers had expected the vote to be far from perfect, but hoped it would be accepted by the Afghan people as legitimate.

About 2,500 candidates were vying for 249 seats in the parliament.

Afghan security officials dismissed the attacks as “insignificant,” and said they did not hamper voting, adding that 92 percent of polling stations were open. The Afghan Election Commission Chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi declared the elections were “very successful.”

However, there were reports of voting irregularities and turnout nationwide appeared spotty at best, though the level of violence was lower than during last year’s presidential poll, when more than 30 civilians and more than a dozen Afghan security forces were killed.

The Election Commission did not give an overall turnout figure, but said that 3.6 million people cast ballots at the 86 percent of polling stations that had reported figures so far. Nearly 6 million ballots were cast in the presidential vote last year, out of 17 million registered voters.

Polls officially closed at 4 p.m., but in areas of the capital with heavy turnout some closed earlier because of a shortage of ballots, while some others allowed voting past the deadline.

Full preliminary results are not expected until the end of the month and final results in late October.

In the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south, voters ventured out in small groups despite rocket strikes and bomb blasts. One bomb targeted the convoy of Gov. Tooryalai Wesa as it drove between voting centers but no one was injured, police officer Abdul Manan said.

Wesa still urged Kandaharis to come out and vote.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said. “The enemy wants the election to fail, so if you want the insurgents out of your land, you’ll have to come out and vote.”

Voters even lined up in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city, where Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s radical Islamic movement was born 16 years ago. Hundreds of Afghan and international troops secured the area.

“People are fed up with the Taliban, that’s why they’re coming out more and more, so they can get rid of the Taliban,” businessman Saleh Naeem said.

The militants had warned they would target anyone voting or working at the polls. The Taliban, which often exaggerates its attacks, said on its website it had conducted more than 100 attacks during the day, listing them by location.

Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi said there were 33 bomb explosions and 63 rocket attacks, and 33 mines were discovered before exploding. One suicide attacker was killed in Kapisa province before he detonated himself, he said.

Afghan security officials said 30 Taliban were killed, 23 wounded and 26 were arrested on Saturday.

NATO said an insurgent leader in Shigal Wa Sheltan district in eastern Kunar province was killed in a precision airstrike as he was attempting to attack a polling site.

The military alliance reported that two coalition service members died Saturday, one following an insurgent attack and the other as a result of a non-battle injury. The service members’ nationalities were not disclosed.

At a mosque in eastern Kabul, a former schoolteacher said she had traveled from her home on the outskirts of the city the night before because voting was safer in the center city.

“Even though I heard about those rocket attacks, I wanted to vote,” said Aziza, 48, who gave only her first name. “Today is a historic day for Afghan people and it is very important for the restoration of democracy.”

Karzai cast his vote at a high school in the capital. He said he hoped voters would not be deterred by the attacks. The elections will “take the country many steps forward to a better future,” Karzai said.

Last year’s presidential election was similarly seen as a chance for the government to move forward to a more democratic future, then complaints of ballot-box stuffing — much of it for Karzai’s benefit — and misconduct mounted.

Though Karzai still emerged the victor, the drawn-out process and his reluctance to acknowledge corruption led many of his international backers to question their commitment to Afghanistan. The international community has spent billions trying to shore up the Karzai administration in the face of a strengthening insurgency.

Questions about fraud-prevention measures arose within hours of the polls opening Saturday.

Campaign worker Mohammad Hawaid in Kabul complained that the ink applied to voters’ fingers to prevent them from casting multiple ballots was not working. The ink is supposed to last 72 hours.

“It can be wiped off,” Hawaid said. “This is a major irregularity.”

In Jalalabad, observers said poll workers were letting people vote with faked registration cards.

“The women coming here have so many cards that don’t have the stamp and are not real cards but still they are voting,” said Nazreen, a monitor for the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, which has dispatched observers throughout the country.

Fake voter registration cards flooded into Afghanistan ahead of the balloting, but election officials had promised that poll workers were trained to spot them. Security officials said 86 people were arrested Saturday for possessing 26,187 fake cards.

NATO’s senior civilian representative said some fraud was expected, and that it would not necessarily undermine the vote.

“The real issue is the scale of that and does it affect the result. And does it affect the credibility of the election, not in our eyes but in the eyes of the Afghan people?” Mark Sedwill said.

Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Jalalabad, Mirwais Khan in Kandahar and Heidi Vogt, Deb Riechmann, Dusan Stojanovic and Kimberly Dozier in Kabul contributed to this report.

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