Pakistan Link - December 26, 2014

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Pakistan Link The Largest Circulated Pakistani-American Newspaper in North America

Friday, December 26, 2014

VOL. 24/52 - 4 Rabi ‘ul-awwal 1436 H




Why Weep for Junaid Jamshaid Only? Chinese President to Visit Pakistan in February Islamabad:

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500 Convicts to Be Hanged in Coming Weeks

Pakistani Immigrants in Europe

PM for Expanding Operation to Cities

Islamabad: Prime Minis-

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PTI to Hold Rally in Islamabad on January 17 Islamabad:


ter Nawaz Sharif hinted on Monday that a countrywide crackdown against extremists and sectarian groups “hiding in our cities and villages” may be on the cards. PM Sharif, who chaired a meeting convened to review the preparation of a national counter-terrorism plan, said: “Operation Zarbi-Azb is underway in the tribal areas, while the other [operation] would be against the enemy hidden in our cities and villages”. A multi-party conference convened by the government in the wake of the Peshawar tragedy had agreed to formulate a national plan of action against terrorism. A committee led by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was constituted to draft the plan. PM Sharif, meanwhile, visited GHQ last Friday to get input from

banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. “Terrorism and sectarianism is like a cancer for Pakistan and it is high

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to hold a rally in Islamabad on January 17, DawnNews reported. Sources said the decision was made during a meeting of the PTI’s strategic committee and that the rally will be held at D-Chowk in the federal capital. However, the purpose of the rally was not mentioned. The party had announced on December 17 its decision to suspend countrywide protests, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a Peshawar school that killed 132 children. Imran Khan had announced the party’s decision to suspend their protest movement saying that the country was in need of unity. The PTI, along with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), had launched a campaign against the government of PM Nawaz Sharif in August,

Zardari Flies to London to Bring Bilawal Home

Parliamentary Panel Outlines New Anti-Terror Plan

IHC ‘Restrains’ Special Court from Hearing Musharraf Case

Lahore: PPP Co-Chairman and for-

came up with 21 recommendations. It proposed formation of an anti-terrorism council to be chaired by the prime minister with representation of the interior ministry, army, Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and other organizations. It stressed the need to strengthen the national anti-terrorism authority and formation of a special task force to eliminate terrorism. It recommended that militants included in schedule fourth of the anti-terror act be arrested and a ban be imposed on militant organizations and their leaders. It also called for a ban on hate speech

Islamabad: The Islamabad High

China’s President Xi Jinping is to visit Pakistan in February 2015 along with the heads of dozens of companies, members of a Chinese delegation told the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz at a meeting on Sunday. The delegation, led by Vice Minister of the International Department of the Committee of the Communist Party Chen Fengxiang, called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad and Lahore, respectively. The sources revealed that the PML-N leadership and Chinese team discussed Jinping’s visit and Chinese companies’ interest in carrying out uplift projects in Pakistan. They said that the Chinese delegates expressed satisfaction

mer president Asif Ali Zardari is in London to ‘persuade’ his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to return to Pakistan to attend the death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto on Dec 27. A source close to Mr Zardari confirmed on Monday that he had gone to London to “bring his son back home”. “It will be an extreme embarrassment for the party if Bilawal Bhutto, the PPP chairman, prefers to stay in London even on Dec 27,” he told Dawn, adding that this was the reason that Mr Zardari had decided to see his son and resolve differences. Earlier, the young leader’s absence from the PPP’s foundation day function at the Bilawal House in Lahore on November 30 had led to widespread speculations about the differences between the father and son. Mr Zardari had told a ZARDARI, P29

“Operation Zarb-i-Azb is underway in the tribal areas, while the other [operation] would be against the enemy hidden in our cities and villages,” the Prime Minister declared

the military on the proposed plan. On Monday, the PM also spoke emphatically against sectarianism —the rare mention of a sticky sub-

ject in an official statement. Sectarian groups are commonly believed to be providing manpower, logistical support, and ideological backing to terror groups such as the

Female police commandoes participate in an exercise at a police training center in Nowshera

Islamabad: A working group of parliamentary parties on Tuesday suggested measures ranging

from formation of military courts to anti-terrorism council as part of national efforts against the scourge

of terrorism which has devoured lives of more than 50, 000 people. The working group



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Court (IHC) on Tuesday ‘restrained’ a special court from hearing a treason case against former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, after its November 21 order was challenged by the co-accused. The decision was announced by Justice Attar Minallah in response to petitions filed by former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and former law minister Zahid Hamid who had challenged the November 21 order to include their names in the treason trial as abettors. On November 21, the special court had accepted Musharraf ’s plea and had ordered for the inclusion of the names of the co-accused in the list of abettors. The petitioner’s counsels, in their respective applications, maintained that under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused has no right to ask for a CASE, P29



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Grip of Group-Think

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n By Mowahid Hussain Shah


0 years ago in Islamabad, the distinguished former chief of the Pakistan Air Force, the late Air Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan, who also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, lent me a book on group-think. Group-think is a trend which can occur within a group of people where, through false consensus, a decision is taken without critical vetting and weighing, and wherein dissenting viewpoints are arbitrarily dismissed. Its net result is sameness of perspective through conformity.

In a recent interview to veteran newscaster Charlie Rose, former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, while discussing the missteps of President Obama in the Middle East, said: “In the broader context, the President is not as exposed to all the views that he should be getting, in order to make some very tough decisions. …It’s important to get broad experienced viewpoints not just from inside the White House but outside the White House as well.” In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States found itself entrapped in the quagmire of groupthink. Washington’s think-tanks were characterized by monotony. For example, to date, the singular


n By Ras H. Siddiqui CA

his writing has no happiness behind it. All the cheer from watching the sporadic wins of Pakistan’s Cricket Team in their recent series against New Zealand has just evaporated. As of this moment 132 children are dead in Peshawar, along with 9 school staff in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s history.

In my books such an act claimed by the “religious” extremists is nothing less than blasphemous, much more so than the mistaken words of a former pop star who has publicly asked for forgiveness. That this occurred on December 16th, on the coattails of Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize Award ceremony, does not escape one’s attention either. This date in December already had a big negative attached to it for Pakistanis because it was on December 16th that the original country of two wings was separated with the birth of Bangladesh after months of a bloody civil war and surrender in Dacca. Approximately seven years ago another tragedy hit the country. On 12/27/2007 one of the most famous female politicians of her time and two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi by terrorists. At the time this scribe wrote that the assassination of Shaheed Benazir was an attack on the federation of the Pakistani state itself. Today I would like to extend that further and opine that the federation in Pakistan is still under direct attack and is now fighting a war for its survival. And the worst part about this current scenario is that the attacker is not another country in the region but

focus on Iran’s nuclear program has artificially magnified the menace of Tehran while conveniently excluding from the discussion any reference to Israel’s nuclear program. Civil society has failed. In

and “Homeland” provide ample evidence of the repeated use of violent coercion as a tool of interrogation. The just-released report from the US Senate on torture is an in-

Hollywood, too, has been quick to jump on the bandwagon. The 2013 hit movie, “Zero Dark Thirty”, on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in effect glorified torture as a necessary utilitarian tool to extract intelligence particular, mainstream TV has been infected with subliminal bigotry about terror-based themes where Muslim proponents are both prominent and preeminent. A casual purview of TV shows like “24”

dictment of US leadership and political culture, which created the enabling toxic environment. Hollywood, too, has been quick to jump on the bandwagon. The 2013 hit movie, “Zero Dark

This Is a Fight to the Finish

Pakistan steps up offensive in North Waziristan

a phantom enemy with many identities and supply chains quite successfully hiding under the camouflage of religion. This adversary is vicious and strong enough to send its “soldiers” who are willing to die in the process of killing their own co-religionists and countrymen. And their efforts include targeting women and children. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s elimination was their first major calling card. They did not succeed with Malala but continue to believe that they can challenge the state apparatus with impunity. The question that comes to mind now is what needs to be done? One is sure that this is being asked in the corridors of power in Pindi and Islamabad. And let it be known that the whole world is watching closely. Can the Pakistani state respond and establish its writ in spite of this mass murder? Does the country have in it the power to counter this menace that has been breeding within its borders and in Afghanistan? The answers may lie in taking a holistic approach to the problem and not in knee jerk reactions. Publicly hanging

terrorists alone will not do the job and bombing N. Waziristan to pulp will be extremely counterproductive. This is not and never was a war against Pashtuns but what is required is a deep understanding of their way of life. Not all Pashtuns are Taliban but a significant majority of Taliban happens to be Pashtun (aka Pathan). Afghans as a whole and Pashtuns in particular were once used as cannon fodder against the Soviet Union and in the process armed with sophisticated weapons and trained militarily by the Americans and Pakistanis and who knows who else. Everyone already knew that the Pashtuns are fierce warriors and value their independence and way of life. It is not surprising that Pakistan today, even after 67 year of its existence, has not officially incorporated the “Tribal Belt” or FATA (almost exclusively populated by Pashtuns) into the state and has left it autonomous. The deadly cocktail of extremist religion, tribalism, sophisticated weapons and the injection of outsiders on both sides of the border have resulted in this growing threat not

Thirty”, on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in effect glorified torture as a necessary utilitarian tool to extract intelligence. The movie was notable for showing repeated use of torture. Even more sickening was the fact that it was nominated for 5 Oscar awards. 50 years ago, William Lederer wrote “A Nation of Sheep”, where he warned of the dangers accruing when Americans choose not to be educated on what is important. Group-think exacerbates hatred, and societies have been left stranded by its isolating impact. On a recent plane trip, I met an American young female doctor who had served 1 year in Rwanda, which in 1994 witnessed the genocidal massacre of 1 million Tutsis by Hutus in 100 days. She told me that her take-away message is how easily people can be brainwashed into committing horrific crimes. Two books by anthropologist Edward T Hall, “The Silent Language” and “Beyond Culture”, discuss how much of a society’s communications are nonverbal, often subconscious, reflecting the society’s culture, and how culture can force an individual to think “that anyone whose behavior is not predictable or is peculiar in any way is slightly out of his mind.” It is a sobering reminder about the hidden dangers of conformity. Before going with the flow of group-think, it is wiser sometimes to pause and ponder on its consequences. just to Pakistan but to the region today. The militants are currently under pressure along the Durand Line from the American-Afghan Army presence on one side and the Pakistan Army on the other in a “hammer and anvil” situation. They have already made “horrible examples” of many perceived informers or collaborators from the tribes which inhabit the area, to the point where the local populations that they hide within are too afraid to reveal their presence. And unless we can get these populations on our side, success will be elusive. Carpet bombing everyone will recruit more terrorists. Seeking revenge is a Pashtun tradition. The answer lies in a surgical operation to remove the extremist cancer from within what is possibly the largest tribal society in the world. That means that the Pakistani state needs to think hard and not act like a bull in a china shop. Only super powers have that luxury because they can do what they want and then leave the scene. The Pakistan Army cannot do that. The holistic approach has to FIGHT, P26

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Maualana Tariq Jamil: Why Weep for Junaid Jamshaid only? n By Syed Kamran Hashmi


Westfield, IN

aulana Tariq Jamil, a renowned Islamic scholar from Deobandi school of thought, and an active member of Tableeghi Jamaat, is not only known for his connections with the movie stars, singers and politicians; he is also known for his emotional speeches, his message of peace and tolerance and for his insistence on high moral character among Muslims. I have never heard the Maulana promoting sectarianism or religious extremism in his talks, rather I have found him to be the flag-bearer of unity, asking people to leave behind their petty differences, and recommending them to follow the universal Islamic principles of humanity, compassion and clemency.

A middle aged man with deep seated eyes and a long beard without a moustache (the hallmark beard of the Tableeghi Jamaat), Maulana Tariq Jameel left his career in medicine during his medical school to devote his life to learn and preach Islam. Without a blemish on his personal life, he has earned a clean reputation over years which explains why the number of his followers is growing and the size of the crowd in his lectures soaring. To his credit, his pupils include not only those who do

not adhere to any denomination but also those, who carry a different set of beliefs altogether and would not otherwise follow anyone belonging to his school of thought. Looking at his success and his celebrity status from a mundane stand point, the Maulana indeed made the right career move at the right time and for all the right reasons! I am not sure why but during his addresses, Maulana almost always breaks down into tears while narrating the stories about Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) and the early Muslims. The first few times I watched him crying, I have to admit I was impressed by his passion and sincerity. Then, I watched a few more videos. Giving him the benefit of doubt I still thought it was a coincidence; but afterwards, it has turned out to be a pattern for me, a well rehearsed part of his speech, a deliberate action to gain attention and appreciation. I have never seen an inspirational speaker who weeps as often in front of the camera as the “most popular” preacher of the Tableeghi Jamaat does. May be it is not the Islamic history or the depth of the character or the tireless efforts of the family of the Prophet (PBUH) that tightens his chest; it is the camera and the flashlights instead that bring hoarseness in his voice and a lump in his throat. Hard to say, I must add. Till few years ago, I had not heard of Maulana at all. I thought most urban, right-leaning, middle class Pakistanis still followed Dr Zakir Naik, a ‘scholar’ known for citing

F m

partial quotes from Qur’an and Bible so fast that his audience got both dizzy and disillusioned by the fund of his knowledge. After 2001, Dr Naik, being a ‘specialist’ in comparative religion, who rose to prominence after the attack on the Twin Towers had reassured Muslims that their faith stands taller on logical grounds than any other world religion. However, after the Indian cleric had made some provocative and insensitive statements, the tide of his popularity abruptly plunged into obscurity. His failure though emerged as an opportunity for Maulana Tariq Jamil to stand above the ethnic and sectarian divide and spread his message of nonviolence and compassion, an opening that the Maulana could not miss. So, one day, I found the rising star from Pakistan sitting next to the star of Qiamat se Qiamat in a


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picture taken during the pilgrimage. No, don’t get me wrong, I do not follow the Bollywood news closely, but the combination of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ grabbed my attention. It was like watching David and Goliath stressing the importance of team work. I could not figure out whether Maulana was a secret fan of Mr. Perfect or it was the other way round. I still have not solved that mystery; nevertheless, what I have discovered is that Maulana, now, in between his ‘emotional outpourings’ has few lighter moments as well. In some of these precious moments, he does not mind pontificating about his relationship with the Daljeet ‘DJ’ of Rang De Basanti and when his sense of humor stands at its peak, he also discloses the nature of his texting with the star which includes a prayer for the box office success of Dhoom 3! The story does not end here. I

realized that Maluana’s popularity in the dubious world of fame and fortune spans across the whole industry. He is found sitting next to Junaid Jamshed in one of the videos, then there is one with Shahid Afridi. Politicians too step up to get his blessing, a photo shot with Imran khan cannot be missed; then there is one with Nawaz Sharif too. And of course, everyone knows about Maulana’s sincere prayers for Veena Malik just before she was accused of blasphemy. In this case, his prayers may have backfired. Anyway, I was impressed with his credentials. Unlike other clerics, I thought Maualana, instead of picking on the stars, was trying to bring the two worlds together, the world of darkness in which there exists no place for religion and the other of proselytism and Islamic evangelism in which seeking mundane pleasures can be frowned upon. After Junaid jamshed’s incident, what has surprised me is that Maulana never came out with eyes full of tears to offer sympathy to Veena Malik, nor did he extend his support to Dr Lodhi, the host of a morning show, like he did for his Tableeghi brother. More disturbing than that is his complete silence on the wrongfully accused non-Muslim victims of blasphemy. I am not alone in asking this question. Social media is full of such queries. Nonetheless, my real concern is why do people like him who have such a tender and sensitive heart go numb and indifferent when it comes to feel the pain and suffering of non-Muslims?

OPINION n By Dr Mohammad Taqi



y city Peshawar is no stranger to terrorist attacks but the massacre at the Army Public School (APS) is particularly gutwrenching in that almost 132 innocent children and nine staff members were killed in cold blood. Grown men cried on Peshawar’s streets this tragic Tuesday. But the heart goes out to the mothers who would have dressed and fed them that morning only to see them bathed in blood later.

It does not matter whether the children came from military families or civilian ones — they were our very own. There is no major neighborhood in Peshawar that has not buried a martyred child in the last 48 hours. The surviving children are shellshocked. They are either too scared to speak or narrate the horror that they just went through. The families of the martyred children are devastated and the composure of their friends is in tatters. Barbarism of this magnitude, where young children were killed en masse with Kalashnikov bursts and then hunted down the aisles and in classrooms to be shot and killed, is testing the resolve of one of the most resilient cities in the region. The bereaving families and traumatized children need immediate medical help, counseling and longterm support, which the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments must arrange right away. The devastated locals, however, are not asking


Another Massacre in My City for help. The fundamental question Peshawarites, especially mothers, are asking is whether the supreme sacrifice of their children will go in vain again or will this be a watershed event that could signal a change in Pakistan’s approach to tackling terrorism. The US was jolted into action on 9/11. The people of Peshawar and the region at large are going through a perpetual 9/11 but it has not shaken up the powers that be. What exactly would it take for the Pakistani civilian and military leadership to draw a line in the sand? How many more mothers have to lose their children before the security planners and enforcers realize that jihadist terror cannot be fought piecemeal? Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has convened a meeting of all parliamentary party leaders in Peshawar and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has also reached Peshawar. What consensus the civil and military leadership will arrive at is not known as we go to press. But if history is anything to go by, one fears the focus and determination might dissipate no sooner than it did when Malala Yousafzai was shot. Within hours of the attack on Malala, the country was divided into pro- and anti-Malala camps. And then came the conspiracy theories dismissing that attack as a staged one and labeling her an agent of the US, India and Israel. The former military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, has taken the lead in blaming India and the former Afghan president Hamid Karzai for the APS attack, which the Tehreek-

e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has already owned. General Musharraf happens to be the man responsible for allowing the foreign terrorists sanctuary in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), especially the North Waziristan Agency. He and his successor, General Ashfaq Pervez Kay-

during assorted terror attacks inside Pakistan; they are the second-generation Uzbek terrorists who grew up in Pakistan. In all probability, the APS attackers came from this Uzbek terrorist legion. Musharraf was also the architect of the good/bad Taliban distinction that has brought nothing but

The US was jolted into action on 9/11. The people of Peshawar and the region at large are going through a perpetual 9/11 but it has not shaken up the powers that be. What exactly would it take for the Pakistani civilian and military leadership to draw a line in the sand? ani, refused to act against the massive terror infrastructure that the jihadists had built in North Waziristan right under the army’s nose. The Uzbek terrorists settled in North Waziristan on Musharraf ’s watch. They brought in or started families and raised children there. The bilingual attackers were heard speaking Pashto and Uzbek

misery on Pakistan. The tin-pot dictator himself might be history but he does reflect a certain mindset within the security establishment, which still remains gung-ho about virtually colonizing Afghanistan and giving India a bloody nose. Retaining the services of the ‘good’ jihadists is tethered to this zero-sum foreign policy. There is no

chance that the APS attackers could have stayed the night(s) in Peshawar and then mounted their vicious assault without the help of some ‘good’ jihadists and their political apologists in Peshawar. What the current civil and military leaders have to realize is that the distinction between the good and bad jihadists has to go before any anti-terrorism effort can be termed meaningful. The Taliban cannot be good for Kabul and bad for Karachi. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) cannot be a poison just for Delhi and a potion in Lahore. The jihadist suicide attack on the Lycée Esteqlal — Kabul’s second oldest school — last week is as heinous as the havoc unleashed on the APS, Peshawar. Using jihadist proxies against secular Baloch separatists and nationalists and expecting them not to morph into another TTP is callously foolish. Operation Zarb-eAzb in North Waziristan, which is apparently winding down now, was a much welcome move under COAS General Raheel Sharif ’s stewardship. Many jihadists — both good and bad — unfortunately escaped Zarb-e-Azb unscathed. The surge in the TalibanHaqqani network attacks in Afghanistan is a clear indicator that they retain a bridgehead where they plan and train for these attacks. A former CIA anti-terrorism expert and ex-advisor to President Barack Obama, Mr Bruce Riedel, wrote last week that there is no change in the “Pakistani support for the Taliban insurgency...The ISI participates directly in planning Taliban operations and target selection against NATO and Afghan targets...Mullah Omar, the shadowy leader of the MASSACRE, P26


P8 – PAKISTAN LINK – DECEMBER 26, 2014 n By Dr Mahjabeen Islam Toledo, Ohio


hildren are the Achilles’ heel of nations. Like parents, countries deal with tragedy but if it involves children, the issue becomes a catastrophe. And so it is for Pakistan and the loss of the 134 children killed by the savage Taliban in the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.

The government was busy conferring with the Taliban and detangling the good from the bad when there was an audacious attack on the cargo terminal of Karachi airport on June 8, 2014. Embarrassed the government began Operation Zarb-e-Azb and to date 1800 terrorists have been killed and many of their hideouts in North Waziristan destroyed. The Taliban had repeatedly vowed revenge; perhaps its brutality and its young, innocent victims were not something regular folk could have anticipated. A young mother lost all of her four children that day. One of the victims didn’t want to go to school for he had knee pain; his mother convinced him to go and not skip school for small reasons. My heart aches for her torment. One of the students describes being in the auditorium and seeing children running in the hallway; one of them had been shot in the face. 16-year old Shahrukh Khan recounted: “One of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the desks go and get them’”. Shahrukh said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs. He decided to play dead: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with the big boots kept on looking for students and killing them. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. I will never forget the black boots approaching me – I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”

The Impetus of Shock and Sorrow The carnage is beyond comprehension. The school walls look like sieves from the spray of bullets. Broken glass and pools of blood belie that this was once a school. A couple students’ notes are heart-rending. Finished homework has the words “THE END” written in large all caps. Another student wrote: “hum rahein na rahein, yeh gulshan salamat rahey ga” (whether we live or not this world will live on). Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said: “The smaller the coffin, the heavier it is to carry it. And we’ve been carrying smaller coffins today, more than a hundred small coffins.” The outrage in Pakistan and internationally has been deep. During a prayer vigil prominent civil rights lawyer Asma Jahangir said “those who refer to the Taliban as brothers are one of the Taliban”. She has cause to say this. For decades various governments have waffled in their approach to the Taliban lending a blind-eye to numerous attacks solely to shore up their own power bases. Pakistan has paid a heavy price for participating on the war on terror: at least 50,000 Pakistanis, civilian and military have been killed since 2001. Pakistan’s army is one of the most competent in the world but fighting an invisible or chameleonic enemy is very difficult. Terrorist attacks at airports and military institutions require a good deal of inside information, and that was evident in essentially all the high-profile attacks of the Taliban. There are numerous political and religious hues in Pakistan with a very troubling radicalization of a segment of the population. Economic disenfranchisement, anti-Americanism, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the killing of one million Iraqi civilians in the war on terror, the WMD propaganda and brainwashing all contribute to this turn to extremism. This radicalized segment orchestrates terrorist attacks or carries them out. Their

Two school children are escorted home after the rescue

relative anonymity makes their identification difficult if not impossible. The sit-ins of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri were perfect crucibles for a terrorist attack and I remember the sick feeling that I would get worrying about the destruction that could be wreaked. The fact that this did not occur shows that a vigilant population can be a very effective preventive force. If you have new neighbors that seem to be hoarding weapons, please alert the authorities. If foreigners are willing to rent your house for an outlandish amount of money, be on your guard. The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan brought the Kalashnikov and heroin culture to Pakistan. The easy availability of guns and

a series of corrupt governments have armed and addicted a population. De-weaponization of the population, proper gun licensing and a money-for-guns exchange program should be an immediate priority of the government. A few minutes must be devoted in each Friday sermon to condemn terrorism and remind people that suicide is a ticket to hell and taking someone with you a confirmed reservation. Catastrophic events can serve ironic purposes. All the political parties finally see that terrorism is Pakistan’s arch enemy. Imran Khan has decided to terminate the sit-ins. He was rapidly backing into a wall and shutting down Karachi was bad enough for him to lose credibility; closing Pakistan down would have destroyed it. In 2008 Zardari had introduced a moratorium on the death penalty for terror-related cases. After the Peshawar massacre Nawaz Sharif has lifted this moratorium and also announced that they will not be differentiating between the good and the bad Taliban. I have been personally opposed to the death penalty due to numerous wrong convictions. But in the state that Pakistan is, we need speedy trials and convictions and the institution of the death penalty for enabling, orchestrating and committing terrorist acts. I am certain there will be a sharp decline in terrorism in Pakistan. Death by hanging can send out a chilling reverberant message. December 16, 1971 was a dramatic point in Pakistan’s history when its army signed the instrument of surrender and East Pakistan ceased to be. December 16, 2014 has shocked and numbed all of Pakistan and if 180 million people unite in the fight against terrorism, we can create unprecedented peace in a nation full of potential and promise. We owe this to the blood of 145 innocents. (Dr Mahjabeen Islam is a family and addiction medicine physician. email:

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OPINION n By Karamatullah K. Ghori


Toronto, Canada

eorge W. ‘Dubya’ Bush was dead wrong in his histrionic rhetoric of ‘you’re either with us or against us’ in the wake of the cataclysm of 9/11. He was wrong because there was no existentialist threat to US from a nebulous cave-dwelling enemy.

But on the heels of the dastardly—craven and cowardly—crime committed against the innocent children of Peshawar’s Army Public School, on December 16, every patriotic Pakistani ought to be raising this slogan: ‘If you’re for Pakistan then you’ve to be against the barbarians going around as the Taliban.’ That these blood-thirsty wolves from the Stone Age are an existential threat to Pakistan has never been a matter of dispute to those who have the good sense to fathom the heinous dimensions of their agenda of doom for Pakistan. But for those who may have had any visceral reservations about this statement the blood of innocent children spilled in Peshawar by these vandals should suffice to put their doubts to rest. That these barbaric Taliban are an existential threat to Pakistan should, henceforth, be as clear as daylight to every Pakistani in love with their country because after declaring their unholy crusade against the Pakistan Army the predators are now, obviously, going after the torch-bearers of Pakistan’s future—its youths. Those blossoming kids cut down in the spring of their lives were the future assets of Pakistan. On them we pegged our hopes for a brighter, cleaner and leaner Pakistan. By mowing them down like wild weeds the barbarians have robbed the nation of its dreams. This is a robbery that must be traced and its perpetrators punished; it’s a bluff that must be called because if we allowed the criminals responsible for this heinous crime to go unpunished we shall be answerable to our future generations. Should we expect our leaders to rise to this challenge? Yes, we do. Should we expect them to sink their differences in the deep of this national calamity? Yes, we do. But we’d be naïve to pin much hope on this chimera, given the pugilist instincts of our leaders. Settling old scores even in the teeth of tragedies—and there couldn’t be a more colossal tragedy than this Peshawar trauma—is a congenital weakness of our politicos. And the urge to pull no punches is just irresistible for them. For the record, our leaders on the spot have had the savvy to make good initial moves. Nawaz Sharif, for once in his dull and dreary political career, had the good sense to not remain cloistered in the company of his kitchen cooks—his so-called kitchen cabinet. He rushed to Peshawar to be where the tragedy was still unfolding. Nawaz’ nemesis, Imran Khan, also hurried to the scene of the crime and decided to call off his previously-announced agitation for December 18 in Islamabad. It was magnanimous on his part in the flush of the remarkable success of PTI’s massive protest in Lahore the previous day. He’d every reason to be swayed by the groundswell of support for him in Lahore, long written off as the impregnable fort of Sharif Bros. A lesser man would’ve, easily, given in to the temptation of tightening the screws, even further, on a beleaguered Nawaz. But Imran may be anything but puny. He has rallied to the innate call of the great calamity that has struck the nation and decided to extend his fullest cooperation to the government. That’s sign of a mature leader. Those naysayers who’ve been beating their drums against Imran and mouthing his enemies’ propaganda that he is at bay about the basics of politics—as Zardari had the gall to suggest, recently—should eat their hearts out. Imran has the sense to know that a nation’s collective woe demands closing of ranks as a fundamental obligation to its people. That the venal Taliban are testing the na-


For the Sake of Pakistan, Wipe out the Barbarians

of Nawaz and his cronies. A bunch of clowns shouldn’t, in all fairness, be expected to act like heroes, which they aren’t and can’t be. That brings in the ineluctable need for a national unity government to take the fight against the terrorists to a logical culmination. Imran Khan’s PTI—if not he himself— should be on board, per se. So should MQM, for the sake of Karachi and the enormity of the chips at stake there. It also means the governor’s rule in Sindh, because the pack of idiots and Zardari’s court jesters keeping the province in their thrall, are part of the problem and shouldn’t be expected to provide any solutions. They must be sent packing, along with all other rogues and scoundrels. (The author is a former ambassador and career diplomat) -

Feeling the Pain n By Muhammad Niyaz

tion whether it has the will—and vision—to take them on at their own game is beyond contention. It’s now for the nation to prove itself up to the challenge, with or without its current leadership. The performance of the rulers, thus far, has been dismal and half-hearted. The nation has every right to hold its current rulers accountable for their lacklustre and below-expectations measures supposedly taken to combat the menace of the Taliban and other terrorists of their ilk. It took US Congress a matter of few hours to legislate a most comprehensive set of new laws and regulations to combat the challenge thrown their way by Al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11. The war on terror—kicked off within days of the tragedy that had claimed a toll of 3000-plus lives, not all of them American— hasn’t looked back, to date. It’s another story, of course, that after 13 years, an expenditure of $ 4.4 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, worldwide in the unending war, it hasn’t made the world any safer, or rooted out terrorism. The opposite is quite the truth; terrorism, today, has morphed into a more heinous monster than it was on the day-after 9/11.

an insult to the genius of the Pakistanis. With a heartless government in power— which has never, to date, ennobled itself with any spark of genius to come up with a wellthought-out strategy to come to grips with the menace of terrorism—what should the nation demand from other ‘actors’ and ‘stake-holders’ in the game of power? Clearly, the army has come up with the best option, thus far, to turn back the swelling tide of terrorism in the country. Raw power has to be deployed to roll back the deadly challenge posed for so many years by the likes of the Taliban and other merchants of doom. However, the ongoing operation shouldn’t remain confined to only Waziristan or other Taliban –infested tribal areas. If there was any doubt that the menace has already seeped into the cities and urban centers of Pakistan the massacre of flowering children in broad daylight—and that too in the supposedly ‘safe haven’ of the Cantonment—in Peshawar should rest it for good. Our cities—Karachi being a prime example of it—have long been sheltering the terrorists and serving as their safe havens. The scourge of terrorism will not be weeded out

The task, simply put, is just too much for the limited—in fact sub-par—capabilities of Nawaz and his cronies. A bunch of clowns shouldn’t, in all fairness, be expected to act like heroes, which they aren’t and can’t be But what a pity that after more than 50,000 Pakistani lives lost to terrorism and a staggering blow of tens of billions of dollars to its economy, Pakistan is still without a comprehensive policy plan to overcome the likes of the Taliban and root out their terror from the land. It could only be called criminal negligence the way our ruling elites have been turning either a blind eye—as was the reaction, initially—or turning the other cheek—much of the time—in the face of the Taliban’s relentless incursion into the heartland of Pakistan to dictate their agenda of depravity and doom. There’s nothing conjectural about it that Nawaz government would still be dilly-dallying in its response to the Taliban menace had the army not forced their hands. The military operation—zarb-e-Azb—in North Waziristan—and the impressive successes it has already chalked up—literally capped any lingering desire in Nawaz and the company of clowns and knaves he keeps to still try out the failed option of talking to the enemy. It’s no secret that the vain-glorious and pompous Chaudhry Nisar, the Minister of Interior, came to the point of deserting Nawaz because his paranoid ‘advice’ to PM to persist with the option of dialogue with the Taliban hadn’t been heeded. This snooty Chaudhry may think of himself as god’s avatar on earth but he’s a huge embarrassment to the government, and

until the military operation was extended to all suspected urban conglomerations in the country. Should it be left solely to the army to go after the terrorist havens? No, it shouldn’t. The military leadership says it has the capacity and capability to take on the terrorists and chase them out of Pakistan for good. Our faith in our military leadership is intact. It has, if anything, gone up several notches, given the army’s impressive gains in the Waziristan operation. However, scouring a city as densely populated as Karachi—with its beehive havens affording sanctuary to the terror merchants—to weed out the murderers will be another cup of tea. It would require unstinted team work from political parties with their urban networks fully on board. That, in other words, necessitates the formation of a government of national unity; now. And GHQ must insist on it; in fact demand it, as the price of ridding the country of the scourge of terrorism. The task of going after the hydra-headed monster of terrorism in Pakistan can’t be handled—and shouldn’t be left to—the Nawaz clique, alone. It has failed the test of capability before and can’t be expected to give itself an incarnation of a different kind. The task, simply put, is just too much for the limited—in fact sub-par—capabilities


Saba Trust CA

just wanted to share with you how I am feeling today after learning of the tragic death of more than 140 school children and teachers in an attack by terrorists. Every morning after performing my prayers I look for news updates from Pakistan and when I saw the heartbreaking news about the terrorist attack which killed more than 140 innocent school children it turned out to be a truly heart-wrenching experience.

It is extremely sad to see that the country where I was born, where I took my first breath, the land that gave me identity in this world, where I made my first friends and went to school, the country that gave me so much is going through such upheaval and I feel so helpless as I can’t do anything to usher peace and happiness in Pakistan, to give back to the land that gave me so much which is why I am where I am today. I am helpless to the extent that I can’t even go there and not for any other reason but because of the threats to my life and my family’s life. This love for the motherland is so profound and overflowing that when an incident such as the attack on the Peshawar Army Public School occurs it reminds me of my love for the country and that means everything to me. May Allah bless Pakistan and bring peace and prosperity to my motherland. JOURNEY FROM P10

of children in Peshawar and it cast a very dark shadow over all of us. Six/seven men killed about 145 innocent Pakistani children and teachers in an army school in Peshawar close to where I grew up in Pakistan. This was a terrible and tragic shock! Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) despise cruelty and killing. This mad cycle of vengeance and killing innocent children reached the lowest ebb. A Danish-Pakistani taxi driver told us, “When the maasoom bache are pulled out under their tables and shot I cannot eat all day – my heart is filled with overwhelming sorrow!” he cried with us. Several friends from Peshawar and elsewhere in the world expressed deepest sorrow at this greatest of tragedies – children from around the world expressed their desire to write letters of support to the families—our entire team empathize and pray for the soul of every precious child and person killed and their families. In this very difficult time of national sorrow and grief, it is important to derive strength from God’s own attributes - compassion and mercy (Rehman and Rahim). Although the wounds are too fresh, we will work towards healing our fractured world, which could not be more appropriate in the light of the terrible tragedy at Peshawar. It took such a heartbreaking tragedy to unite the country – The PM and Imran Khan, for once, were seen sitting around the same table. Let us all pray together and reach out to the families as one united nation of Pakistanis living at home and abroad.



Pakistani Immigrants in Copenhagen, Europe: Conducting Peace-Building Research on Minorities at the Crossroads in History n By Dr Amineh Hoti



ow and why we see the world the way we do depends on our perspective. Denmark, proclaimed the “happiest country in the world”, is known for its social mobility, transparency and progress, with the highest ranking in the world despite its population of a little more than 5 million people. Its capital Copenhagen aims to become the world’s first carbonneutral capital by 2025. Its true acclaims lie in being a city where you can borrow books from the library free for a month; where the Queen is like an ordinary person and goes about the city on a cycle; where there is very little “VIP culture”, schools and hospitals are free. There is a lot to learn here, but as anthropologists, not tourists. Digging deeper under the skin, we have found that there is also another story – that of immigrants, mainly Pakistani, to Denmark.

Recently, Denmark became known in the world, especially to Muslims, for its cartoon controversy – negative cartoons of the Prophet (PBUH) were published widely, causing protest and fury. Denmark has a widely cited code of behavior called “Jaunteloven” which sits uneasily with the immigrants’ own needs and identity. Its law No. 9 states, “You’re not to think anyone cares about you”this cultural law has implications for both the Christian majority and the Muslim minorities as both religions emphasize love and care for the other. The stories of Muslims in Denmark (who are at the heart of controversy in its media and popular imagination) is worth exploring in order to find paths to peace in the world. It is this that brought the “Journey into Europe” team led by my father, Professor Akbar S. Ahmed to travel here from different parts of the world. Similar to our previous excursions last summer to the UK, Spain, Germany, Bosnia and Greece to look at minorities, especially Muslims, in Europe and to explore how we can build bridges between different communities and give voice to so many different people who are otherwise not heard. Professor Ahmed flew from DC with his trusted and well-travelled team: Zeenat Ahmed, Frankie Martin and Harrison Akins. I left my home in Pakistan at 2am through the dark and cold path that the bus took to the airport. I deeply feel the pain of what my fellow-people are going through, with all the unease and turmoil they face on a day-to-day basis, and as we flew off from South Asia, I prayed for peace and deeper understanding in the region and in our world. At the University of Copenhagen, Dr Ehab Gamal a Professor from Egypt, hosted a talk on “Journey into Europe”. Amongst the distinguished people present were, one of Pakistan’s most senior diplomats, Ambassador Masroor

Junejo, who later gave a dinner in our honor. Professor Akbar Ahmed talked to a highly educated, intelligent, and diverse audience about Muslims not being “new” to Europe as immigrants. Muslims have been in Europe since 711 and in Al Andalus, in Spain, they created a very positive culture along with Christians and Jews - one of tolerance and great learning from which Europe gained enlightenment - although history books discredit this period with the phrase “The Dark Ages”. He emphasized the importance of the Quaid-i-Azam who respected diversity and felt deeply about the protection of minorities and refugees (as the Quaid himself was from a minority group). There are pockets of Pakistan in Copenhagen – the Jinnah School and Iqbal Academy, for instance. The Chief Rabbi of Denmark, who also attended the lecture at the university, said he had spent decades improving relations between his own community, Muslims and Christians. He talked about the challenges within his own community regarding differences and disagreements. He suggested that if we are to improve things we as individual communities have to first improve relations within our own camps, and secondly work closely with the media. In this and all the subsequent talks we had, the role of the Danish media came up again and again as one of great significance in image-building/breaking and very problematic in its current methods of representations. Mr Bashy Quraishy a Danish-Pakistani with “Journey into Europe” team led by Professor Akbar S. Ahmed in Denmark his own show on Danish TV called Despite these tensions around “Bashy’s Corner” said, “Media lims tends to focus on conflict, and is the alpha and the omega” but, c) the political actors succumb to the issues of identity and the imunfortunately, it plays a negative the media’s news.” age of the Prophet, I found in the role – some shows fuel racism and The results of the analysis con- main street of Stroget, beautiful hatred between communities and clude that media and politicians blue tiles with God’s name and the are based on fiction and carica- play an important role in setting Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) tures. The killings at Sydney, which the discourses that amplifies Mus- name in Arabic. The many Pakicame under attack by a man with a lims as being ‘the other’. Her thesis stani-Danish women and converts criminal record who claimed to be stated, “Muslims and Islam are of- I interviewed on questions of idena person from a Muslim country, ten articulated through problem- tity, the challenges they face and added to the sadness and unease atic and inferior characteristics, their suggestions about how we can of every day Muslims. That night, and as a threat to Danish culture bring world communities together CNN flashed images of Muslim beards, tasbeh, CIA reports of torture; followed by the fictive show A Danish-Pakistani taxi driver told us, “When the that will do much damage to relamaasoom bache are pulled out under their tables tions, “Homeland”, which shows and shot I cannot eat all day – my heart is filled with the “bad guys” from Pakistan. Those who made this program and overwhelming sorrow!” he cried with us. Several others like it unthinkingly are not friends from Peshawar and elsewhere in the world giving responsible and positive messages and images to the world expressed deepest sorrow at this greatest of tragedies – it will only lead us down a dan– children from around the world expressed their gerous path. Nina, a refugee who escaped desire to write letters of support to the families—our genocide in Bosnia with one entire team empathize and pray for the soul of every Christian and one Muslim parent and married to a Dane, was presprecious child and person killed and their families ent at the university lecture. She studied, for her thesis, three of the top newspapers in Denmark. She and values.” She said imagine how a to increase peace building, all said looked at all of the articles pub- Dane having seldom encountered a their role model was the Prophet lished on Muslims and all 1700 Pakistani or a Muslim, reading this Muhammad (PBUH) pointing to articles showed them in a negative constant negative image will think their hearts. They carried the mesway. Her study revealed that there and feel about them. The question sage of the Prophet, which is one was: a) an “asymmetric relation- the people behind the media must of compassion and mercy for all of ship between a democratic major- ask themselves is that do these humankind. The Prophet’s message ity and an ethnic minority who images make the world a less safe is a responsibility to the environdoes not have the same opportu- place for their children and ours? ment we live in and the necessity of nity to articulate discourse in the By instilling fear we affect both being good global citizens. With increasing global turpublic debate, b) the policy agenda communities and drive them apart is largely based on the terms of the – neighbors see neighbors with moil in the Muslim world, many media which in the case of Mus- suspicion and mistrust. Iraqis, Syrians, and Pakistanis

came to settle in different parts of Europe, including Denmark. Some Pakistanis came as “guest workers” 50 years ago and settled, but as the Ambassador’s local Pakistani driver, Muhammad Khokar Sahib, said in Urdu as he drove us back, “after decades in Denmark, we are neither theirs nor are they ours and when we go to Pakistan they say, ‘why have you come, what have you brought and when are you going?’ So we feel we are not entirely owned by either culture and yet we belong to both places.” As the next generation grows up in Denmark speaking fluent Danish, English and Urdu – articulate in both cultures but not fully of either - there is also a simultaneous rise in right wing anti-immigrants. Pakistani men said there was little acceptance because of what is seen as the “black” color of their skin, women said their hijabs were pulled off their head and they were spat at. The pain of leaving one’s own home country and never fully being accepted by the host country was expressed profoundly again and again. At the same time, we saw lots of glimpses of hope – we visited several Andalusian inspired mosques and were warmly received and talked to the impressive younger generation. The top IBM sales leader is a smart and strong Pakistani woman, Sanila Rana; a prominent politician is Kashif Ahmed who has founded his own political party, the Danish National Party, because he sees himself as Pakistani as well as Danish. He said, “We must find peace within ourselves and within the community we live in”. Reversing this situation, our own minorities must be accepted as well as Pakistanis living abroad who come “home”. Minorities and orphans as all the Caliphs emphasized are the most vulnerable and in need of state care. In every speech, the Quaid emphasized the care of the refugees and minorities. Despite the differences between the Pakistani communities amongst themselves in Denmark, Khokar Sahib, who has lived in Denmark for the last 50 years said, “Hum sab Pakistani hain, hum aik hain!” Professor Ahmed pointed out, showing the sweep of our visit in a documentary clip from Greece where he stood at the footsteps of a statue of Aristotle, and from Spain where I interviewed an array of women from the world, the lessons from “Journey into Europe” for all humanity is the challenge of the great Aristotelian idea of humanism – of treating others with great respect. A young Bulgarian academic at the University of Copenhagen, Eletsia, rightly said, “We have very little knowledge of our world about ourselves and about others. We need to educate ourselves in this field”. I agree, this is where the future lies against the background of all the disturbing news taking place in the world, which emphasizes the immediacy of the problem. On the last day of our Journey in Copenhagen, as we were winding up, the shocking news came in from my home of the massacre JOURNEY, P9



500 Convicts to Be Hanged in Coming Weeks: Nisar

Islamabad: Around 500 prisoners convicted on terrorism-related charges will be executed in the next two to three weeks, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Sunday while sharing with the media details of a national action plan against terror. “The interior ministry has cleared these prisoners for execution and their mercy petitions have already been rejected by the president,” Nisar told a news conference in Islamabad. The decision to lift the moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism-related cases was taken before the Peshawar school attack, the minister clarified. “Army chief General Raheel Sharif had taken up the issue [of capital punishment] with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the Peshawar tragedy.” Nisar warned that the decision to execute convicted terrorists could have severe repercussions as suggested by intelligence reports. “But we should not let our guard down if we want to avenge the victims of the Peshawar attack… we are in a state of war,” he said. “We will win this war.” About the national action plan against terrorism, the minister said the civilian and military leadership would sit together on Tuesday to discuss the strategy being prepared by counter-terrorism experts and the National Action Plan Committee (NAPC) before giving a final nod for action to the armed forces. “The experts’ group will most probably give its recommendations to the NAPC on Monday,” he said. “The panel will then discuss the plan in the evening [on Monday].” According to the minister, the experts received a briefing at the military headquarters and were to

continue their marathon meeting throughout Sunday night. Sharing other steps the government has taken in the aftermath of the Peshawar massacre, Nisar said his ministry has asked all four provincial chief ministers to convene weekly meetings of police officers and discuss measures to counter any retaliatory moves by militants in response to the ongoing action against them. He added that all provincial police chiefs have also been directed to meet their district police officers and chalk out a strategy to keep a check on strangers in every city. In response to a question, the minister said an Ulema conference would also be convened in the coming weeks to discuss security issues. Nisar said the terrorists who carried out the Army Public School attack were Pakistanis, as initial reports had suggested. He added that the police and security forces have arrested several people suspected of planning the dastardly attack in the aftermath of the tragedy. During his briefing, Nisar stressed that the Pakistan Army does

not target women and children. “The Pakistan Army has never targeted the families and children of militants,” he said, adding that before launching the offensive in North Waziristan Agency in June, the country’s civil and military leadership had the mutual stance of ensuring ‘minimum to no casualties’. “If our aim was to target civilians, we could have wiped out Miramshah – where both militants and civilians live side by side – with a couple of strikes,” the minister said. “But we do not target non-combatants.” Nisar said fighting terrorists was easier for other countries since terrorists looked different from the native population. “But in Pakistan, militants and their sympathizers look like us and live among us. It is an internal war for us.” He urged the nation to unite in the fight against terrorism just as it had united in grief following the Peshawar attack. “The army has been fighting terrorists for some time now but the nation needs to stand up and join the fight,” he said. The interior minister asked citizens to report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station. “A helpline will be set up within a week so that people can report suspicious activity,” he said. He requested the media to refrain from giving coverage to militants and urged hotels and houseowners to thoroughly check potential tenants’ credentials and background before renting out their property. Nisar also appealed to mosques and madrassas to report suspicious people and asked cellular service providers to issue SIM cards only after thorough scrutiny. “The security of the nation is our top priority,” he said.

Mourners Gather at Army Public School, Resolve to Fight Terror

Peshawar: Thousands of

mourners flocked to the Army Public School in Peshawar on Sunday to mourn the death of 149 people – mainly children – massacred by Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan and to demand action against the militants. Men, women and children from Peshawar

and other cities visited the army-run institution to offer prayers for those killed in the country’s deadliest-ever terror attack. Mourners placed flowers, bouquets, placards and lighted candles at various places in the school in front of photos of murdered students.

Masons laid bricks and poured cement to raise the height of the wall around the Army Public School as mourners chanted slogans such as “Death to terrorists”, “Long live Pakistan Army”, “The blood of martyrs will not go waste” and “Taliban are savages”. “What kind of a

person can kill a child?” asked local resident Imdad Hussain, who came to pray for the children. “What kind of justice is this, what kind of Islam is this?” he asked, urging the government to swiftly wipe out terrorists. A woman said parents had thought their sons and daughters would be safe in school. But now they believed their children were not safe anywhere. “First they attacked mosques, then markets and now they have started attacking schools. We cannot tolerate this. We can die, but we will not let our children be killed,” she said. Shugufta Bibi, 28, told AFP her friend lost his son in Tuesday’s attack and she had come to pay respects to his memory. “I demand that the government close in on the terrorists and hang them in public,” Bibi said.

Four Convicts in Musharraf Attack Case Executed

Faisalabad: Four death-row in-

mates convicted of orchestrating a 2003 assassination attempt on then military ruler Pervez Musharraf were executed in the Faisalabad district jail on Sunday. Zubair Ahmad, Ghulam Rasool Bhatti, Rasheed Qureshi and Akhlaq Ahmad alias Roosi were convicted by a military court for aiding and abetting the December 25, 2003 suicide attack on Gen Musharraf in Jhanda Chichi, Rawalpindi. The mastermind of the attack, Arshad Mehrban, along with Muhammad Aqeel, aka Doctor Usman, the convict in the 2009 GHQ attack case, was hanged to death in Faisalabad on Friday. They were the first civilians to be executed since capital punishment was suspended in 2008. The latest executions come after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revoked a six-year moratorium on the death penalty in terrorism-related cases after Taliban gunmen massacred 149 innocent people, including 130-plus pupils, at the Army Public School and College in Peshawar. With the executions scheduled for Sunday, the inmates were moved to the death cell at the Faisalabad district jail Saturday night amidst tight security as the central jail doesn’t have the lever used to activate the trapdoor of the gallows. Hours before facing the noose, all four inmates were allowed to have a final meeting with their families in accordance with the

jail manual. During the emotional meetings, some of them wept and sought forgiveness for their crimes. “We committed serious crimes by killing innocent people without any justification due to which we feel ashamed,” said one inmate according to prison authorities. In a shift from usual practice, the executions which are normally held before dawn were carried out in broad daylight after rules for the procedure were amended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Shortly after the executions, the bodies were sent in two ambulances which were escorted by a convoy of police vehicles. Subsequently, the bodies were handed over to their respective families for burial in their native towns. On Thursday, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif signed death warrants for six terrorists, following which the men were sent to the gallows. Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has turned down the mercy petitions of two convicted prisoners at the district jail Jhang. A court handed death sentence to Muhammad Riaz in 1997 while Ghulam Muhammad was awarded capital punishment in 2001 in cases related to terrorism. Of the 252 prisoners on death row in the Jhang jail, most have been convicted in cases related to domestic disputes. Mercy petitions of 250 prisoners awaiting death sentence are still pending before the apex court.

Security Forces Arrest 70 Suspects in Search Operation Peshawar: Security forces on Sunday arrested 70 suspects and recovered arms and ammunition during a search operation in the area around Army Public School near Peshawar’s Warsak Road, Express News reported. The operation comes in the wake of a terrorist assault on the school which saw the massacre of over 140 people, mostly students on

December 16 by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan gunmen. The arrested accused were shifted to an unidentified location for investigation. Earlier on December 20, five militants, including the brother of one of the masterminds of the attack, were killed in an encounter with security forces in the Koi Hassan Khel area of Frontier Region Peshawar.

State Will Protect Every Citizen Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday that each and every citizen of Pakistan will be protected by the state, irrespective of their religion, sect or caste, and that no cause is holier than protecting the life and property of the people. PM Nawaz was addressing a meeting in Islamabad to discuss matters relating to the scourge of terrorism in the country.

“We cannot forget and forgive atrocities committed by barbarians in Peshawar, Quetta and Wagha,” the prime minister said. “There will be no discrimination and exception in our war against terrorism.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also said he himself would lead the war against terrorism for his people and the country, and would take it to its logical end come what may.



Even Gravedigger Wept as He Buried Victims of Army Public School Massacre

Peshawar: One of the gravediggers at Peshawar’s largest graveyard has a rule. He says he never cries when he buries the dead. He’s a professional, he says. But as the dead bodies — mostly of children — started coming in from a school massacre last week that killed 148 people, he began to weep. “I have buried bodies of the deceased of different ages, sizes, and weights,” Taj Muhammad told The Associated Press. “Those small bodies I’ve been burying since yesterday felt much heavier than any of the big ones I’ve buried before.” Muhammad spoke during a break from the digging, as he drank green tea with one of his colleagues and his two sons who work with him in the Rahman Baba graveyard, named after a beloved Sufi poet, in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Wearing a faded shalwar kameez, a traditional dress of baggy pants and a long tunic, the 43-yearold Muhammad was covered in dust from a freshly dug grave.

Pakistani gravedigger Taj Muhammad adjusts wreaths on a grave at the Rahman Baba graveyard in Peshawar, Pakistan The school massacre on Tuesday horrified Pakistanis across the country. The militants, wearing suicide vests, climbed over the fence into a military-run school, burst into an auditorium filled with students and opened fire. The bloodshed went on for several hours until security forces finally were able to kill the attackers.

Gravedigger Taj Muhammad adjusts wreaths on a grave at the Rahman Baba Graveyard in Peshawar

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. For hours after, the dead, wrapped in white sheets, were brought to the cemetery. In Islam, the dead are generally buried quickly, so most funerals were held Tuesday and Wednesday. This was the worst terrorist attack in years but it was hardly the first in Peshawar, a city near the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan where militants have their strongholds. Muhammad has buried some of the dead from those past attacks as well, like the Mina Bazaar bombing in 2009 that killed 105 people, and the Khyber Bazaar bombing, also in 2009, that killed nearly 50. But Tuesday’s bodies were hard

to take. For the first time “I couldn’t control my tears. I cannot explain, but I wept. I know it was against the rules of our profession but it was the moment to break the rules,” the father of eight children said. Muhammed said he usually charges 2,000 to 5,000 rupees — about $20 to $50 — to dig a grave. And it is money he needs. In the past six or seven months, his income has dropped with fewer bodies to bury, a sign of the lull in violence in the city until this week. But he didn’t charge anyone to bury the victims of Tuesday’s attack. It was like burying his own children, he said. “How could I ask or receive money for making the grave of my own child?”

MQM Denounces Maulana Abdul Aziz’s Statements against Party Chief Karachi: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has registered a case against the chief cleric of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, for issuing threatening statements against the party chief, Altaf Hussain, in a recent video message. The FIR, No. 304/14, was registered at the Azizabad police station of District Central, Karachi, on Sunday, and includes sections relating to provocation, terrorism and cybercrime. The police registered the case on the complaint of MQM leader, advocate Arif Khan. Several party leaders, including Haider Abbas Rizvi, Amir Khan and Dr Farooq Sattar, accompanied Arif Khan during the registration of the FIR at the police station. The leaders said that Maulana Abdul Aziz had issued threats against Altaf Hussain in a video message. Earlier, Maulana Abdul Aziz, had lashed out at the MQM chief Altaf Hussain for his statement to demolish Jamia Hafsa. In the video message, Aziz said that if Altaf Hussain had the courage, he should have been in Pakistan while speaking against the Lal Masjid. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Azizabad SHO Asim Rehman confirmed the registration of the FIR and that the Lal Masjid cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was nominated in the case. The officer added that the police have initiated investigations on their part. The MQM chief had earlier called for Aziz to be arrested for ‘sympathizing with the Taliban’ and

had demanded the army to close down the Jamia Hafsa seminary. The Lal Masjid cleric had once again landed in hot water after he allegedly refused to condemn the Peshawar school attack which left at least 132 schoolchildren dead. Police in Islamabad registered a case against him following a protracted protest by members of the civil society against his controversial statement. Protests: Meanwhile, workers and supporters of the MQM took to the streets to protest the statement by the cleric. A large number of workers gathered outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday evening where they shouted slogans against Maulana Aziz and expressed outrage at his statement. Besides the gathering in the party’s stronghold city of Karachi, several rallies and demonstrations were held in other parts of Sindh as well as Peshawar. Addressing the rally outside the KPC, party leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said that Maulana Abdul Aziz had threatened to hurt Altaf Hussain and the party workers were enraged over his outburst. “Altaf Hussain has more than 20,000 diehard workers and the language Maulana used for him was derogatory.” He added that Altaf Hussain had always denounced terrorism and spoken for the oppressed segment of society. “We condemn Maulana Abdul Aziz as much as we condemn the Taliban.” MQM MPA Faisal Sabzwari added that this was not the first time

that their party leader had been threatened. “Everybody knows the character of the man who threatened Altaf Hussain,” he said. “Militants need to be eliminated to save Pakistan. We are standing with our army and with each and every deprived person from Karachi to Khyber.” MQM’s Qamar Mansoor urged that the crackdown against militants should be extended across the country. “What we need is decisive action against the Taliban.”

Khalid Maqbool, Amir Khan, Haider Abbas Inducted in Rabita Committee

Karachi: Dr Khalid Maqbool Sid-

diqui, Amir Khan and Haider Abbas Rizvi were inducted into the recently announced new Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Rabita Committee, said a party statement on Sunday. A joint meeting of the MQM Coordination Committee was simultaneously held in Pakistan and London to finalize names, and overlook party affairs. The new members were included with the consent of party chief Altaf Hussain. Earlier on December 12, nine new members of the MQM were included in the committee. They included Kahfilwara, Advocate Arif Khan, Gulfaraz Khan Khattak, Imbisat Malik, Dr Salim Danish, Dr Ayub Shaikh, Qasim Ali Raza, Mustafa Azizabadi and Izhar Ahmed Khan.

Horror-struck Children Suffer Sleepless Nights

A survivor of the Taliban assault on the army-run school in Peshawar is carried to safety

n By Sher Alam Shinwari I could not sleep well since last night as I have been seeing images of black shoes and pointed guns in my dreams. I was rescued by forces. I was in the classroom when we heard huge shots. I ran out and hid myself in the bathroom. Later I came to know that two of my classmates were shot dead by terrorists. I am shocked why they targeted our school,” said Arsalan Khan, 14, a student of Army Public School and College.

The deadly attack on Army Public School and College, Warsak Road on last Tuesday left scores of children dead and many others seriously injured. A number of parents also complained of their children suffering from psychological trauma and insomnia following the gruesome attack on innocent schoolchildren. “My ninth grader daughter Aleena Shahryar has refused to attend her school located on Warsak Road, though her school is far away from the ill-fated Army Public School. She will miss her detention examination. She continuously cried and could not sleep even a wink the whole night. She is still shivering. We want to take her to a city hospital but she resists it too,” Shazia Shehryar, a mother of three, told Dawn. More than 20 schools including a private medical college are situated on Warsak Road, Peshawar with either no or little security arrangement. About 15,000 girl and boy students read in these educational institutions. About less than half of them reside at either private commercial plazas or rented houses, turned into hostels owing to lack of business activities and sprawling private schools on the road. Warsak Road remains busy and gets choked during school hours due to long queues of school buses. Schoolchildren’s activities outside their schools have been restricted due to law and order situation in and around Peshawar for the last few years. Many schools have stopped one-day trip for students for fear of untoward incident while students are also not allowed to enjoy inter-school sports competitions. “Students in schools around Peshawar are already under stress as they have no space for sports or cultural activities. The one-day excursion is no more part of any school program. Parents are also reluctant to allow their wards to participate in any activity outside their schools. Terrorist attacks, hectic study sessions and examina-

tions add to worries of children,” said Rahmat Khan, a senior teacher. TV channel visuals, social and print media showing gory details of the tragedy also adversely affect young impressionistic minds of the teenagers. According to experts, tragic incidents, whether natural or man-made, affect people of all ages but children and women are the most vulnerable segment to receive effects of trauma higher than adult and men. “The Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) is result of severe physical harm or threat and 90 per cent victims go through it when it happens,” said Dr Ghairat Khan Afridi, the head of Trauma, Accident and Emergency (TAE) ward at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. He said that in its initial stage, family, relatives and friends’ support, experts’ consolation and community’s help could make a big difference and at the last stage, one could administer medication depending on the severity condition of the traumatized patient. “Schoolchildren need detailed sessions on the trauma so that they could be made aware of occurrence of such tragic incidents around them. They should be assembled in a hall or big room where experts or members of civil society or senior teachers should advise young students to get themselves ready to face any such eventuality with fortitude and extend help to their fellows if possible. They also need varieties of diversion and playful activities,” Dr Afridi said. Dr Tariq Saeed Mufti, a noted psychiatrist, said that PTSD developed after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. “The person, who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers,” he added. Dr Mufti said that children and teens could have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms might not be the same as adults. Older children and teens usually show symptoms more like those seen in adults. “They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge,” Dr Mufti said. Parents should not let children watch gory details and images of the tragic incidents on TV. Reporters covering the tragic school incident were found with HORROR, P26



PM Directs AGP to Proactively Pursue Cases with Stay Orders against Execution

Maulana Aziz Apologizes for Failure to Condemn School Massacre

Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz

Sharif has directed Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt and his legal team on Monday to proactively pursue cases related to terrorism in situations where courts have granted stay orders against executions. After the premier’s directives, the government’s legal team would file review petitions against stay orders so trials could be completed at the earliest. Evidence would be presented before the court of law in cases where proof had been missing. “We are committed to eliminating terrorism at any cost. No mercy would be accorded to those who have killed our youth, citizens and children,” a federal government spokesman said. Radio Pakistan reported that the premier also directed officials to ensure fast-track prosecution of terrorists and vacate stay orders issued against their death sentences. Earlier on Friday, two former military men were executed in the Faisalabad district jail. Usman, a former soldier of the military’s medical corps, was executed in relation to the 2009 attack on the headquarters

After the premier’s directives, the government’s legal team would file review petitions against stay orders so that trials could be completed at the earliest

of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi. Arshad Mehmood, who was a trooper and also hanged, was among the five convicted men who were handed down death sentence for their role in an Al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempt on the life of former President Pervez Musharraf in late 2003. The hangings on Friday were

the first death sentences carried out after the government ended a sixyear moratorium on executions last week, a move that appears to have come in response to the Peshawar tragedy that claimed the lives of over 140 people, most of them children. On Sunday, four more convicts were executed at a district jail in Faisalabad.

PTI Condemns TTP, Other Terrorist Groups Islamabad: In an apparent attempt to shed its generally-perceived proTaliban image, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) “condemned the TTP and all other terror groups” on Sunday and extended its “total support” to the armed forces and law-enforcement agencies combating terrorism. “The PTI condemns the banned Tehreek-iTaliban Pakistan (TTP) and all other terror groups that have unleashed their brutality on the people of Pakistan,” the party’s information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari told reporters after a meeting of its core committee. According to sources, PTI chairman Imran Khan expressed his satisfaction over the progress made in the talks with the government on the issue of alleged rigging in last year’s general elections and gave a go-ahead to members of the negotiating team to strike a deal after settling some minor and technical issues. The PTI committee also endorsed a 20-point draft of recommendations to be presented by the party to a committee preparing a national action plan to deal with terrorism. Dr Mazari said the party had expressed deep grief over the brutal killing of children and staff of the Army Public School in Peshawar on Dec 16. “In conveying its heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families, it notes that this barbaric

A file photo of Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz

Islamabad: Submitting to a huge

outcry from civil society, the chief cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz apologized for failing to unconditionally condemn the Peshawar massacre carried out by the Taliban on December 16. “I condemn the killing of schoolchildren and apologize,” Aziz said while talking to The Express Tribune. The cleric admitted he realized his mistake only after his followers convinced him. He clarified that he did not threaten any member of civil society and police have registered an FIR against him under social pressure which is not a good precedent. Aziz said his personal opinion was unnecessarily propagated in the media. “I forgave Musharraf for launching military operation against us, how it is possible that I was not saddened by the killing of innocent schoolchildren,” he asked.

Aziz said that Altaf Hussain’s statement against Lal Masjid was provocative and warrants legal action. “I could not see any condemnation against such a blatant statement,” he complained. “This is not a good idea to burn sacred places. This mosque (Lal Masjid) is not my creation. It was built by General Ayub Khan in 1965, and belongs to the government,” Aziz said. Certain sects are behind these protests and they are trying to befool the people, he claimed. “We condemn every incident of violence, whether it was massacre in Peshawar or brutal killing of children during drone attacks or in Lal masjid,” Aziz maintained. MQM senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that the cleric is trying to give a sectarian hue to conceal his crime and is trying to start a sectarian conflict.

Quashed Cases Can Be Revived Islamabad: The government can re-

PTI chief Imran Khan consoles relatives of students during his visit to the Army Public School

act was unprecedented in Pakistan’s history and will live forever in our memory as a day of infamy. There can be absolutely no justification for this brutal act,” she said. The party had expressed “its total support to the armed forces of Pakistan and other law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) for their endeavors to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from our land”. She said the party leadership had also discussed in detail the issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees. Replying to a question, she said the issue of withdrawing resignations of PTI’s legislators and returning to the assemblies was not discussed. She expressed the hope that the issue of

formation of a judicial commission to investigate alleged rigging in the elections would soon be resolved and said that only one or two points needed to be sorted out by the negotiating teams. Dr Mazari said her party would have no objection if the commission was formed through a presidential ordinance and expressed the hope that the court would not reject it. Talking to Dawn, PTI MNA from Islamabad and a member of the party’s negotiating team, Asad Umar, said the core committee had been briefed on the progress made in the talks with the government. He said the committee had given them the mandate to finalize an agreement. Mr Umar said the

next meeting with the government team was expected on Monday or Tuesday. Another senior PTI member, Dr Arif Alvi, said the committee had endorsed 20-point recommendations that the party would present to the committee preparing the national action plan to counter terrorism. He said he had sent the proposals to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Giving an outline of the recommendations, he said a comprehensive plan was needed to fight terrorism that had been imposed on the peaceloving people and had endangered the entire country. Every point, he said, needed to be worked out to chart out a final strategy to combat terrorism.

PTI, P26

vive quashed cases against Lal Masjid chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz by incorporating new evidence in the ‘challan’, as he is still believed to have a soft corner for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State (IS), a senior police officer told The Express Tribune. According to Section 2f (c) of the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014, a case can be registered against the cleric for his support of terrorist groups, the official said. Applying ‘innocent until proven guilty’ adage of the criminal jurisprudence, the previous government of the Pakistan Peoples Party had quashed all cases against Maulana Abdul Aziz. Following the 2007 military operation, a number of cases were registered against the cleric and his slain brother with charges ranging from kidnapping, treason, and terrorism — including a ranger’s murder case against Aziz. But the cleric managed to get acquittal in almost all 37 cases from the courts in a few years, while the remaining were quashed by the government. Advocate Tariq Assad, who has represented Aziz in many terrorismrelated cases, told The Express Tribune that apart from one or two minor cases, his client has been cleared by the courts of all charges. Asked about his former client’s support for militant groups, Advocate Assad admitted that the cleric did not oppose the TTP or IS.

However, Assad was still of the view that the civil society has no right to protest against Maulana, arguing that he didn’t commit any crime and that he also clarified his position during this Friday sermon. “We condemn the barbaric attack on the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, as we cannot support such attacks,” Assad quoted his former client as saying.

Official Security for Lal Masjid Cleric Withdrawn

Islamabad: Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz enjoyed official security for three years, said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday. Addressing a press conference here, the minister said official security had been provided to the cleric since 2011, which he (minister) had withdrawn a day back. About the status of Maulana Aziz, who was using the microphone of a government-owned mosque against the state, the minister said he was not the khateeb of the mosque. He said one of Aziz’s nephews was appointed as the khateeb of the mosque when Pervez Musharraf was in power. In reply to a question about the threats being hurled from Lal Masjid, the minister said nobody would be allowed to live in Pakistan and challenge the state.





Pakistani Play ‘Dara’ Set to Make Waves at London’s National Theatre

Lahore: The National The-

atre has 960 seats and 36 shows. With a director who has previously won an Oscar, Ajoka’s play ‘Dara’ – the very first South Asian play to be shown there – may just create huge waves in London. Help and collaboration with a British Pakistani platform of ideas, Samosa has pushed the news quite far within community circles. A conversation with ‘Dara’s’ playwright Shahid Nadeem, and Samosa’s Anwar Akhtar shows what they are thinking about this. “We in the subcontinent are prisoners of history,” says Shahid Nadeem. “In our history, Sufis and moderate Islam are attacked, while the more radical version is glorified.” Shahid, who is the writer of the Ajoka Theatre plays is referring to his play ‘Dara’ and what its story and plot encompasses. The play is about the power struggle between Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s two sons, the elder Dara Shikoh – a humble prince who is locked in a battle for the throne against his younger brother Aurangzeb – who would later emerge victorious. But it is not just a play about a struggle for the seat of power or a family feud. As with all of Shahid’s plays, ‘Dara’ looks at much more than that. This play, so deeply layered, looks at the religious ideologies that have clashed in the subcontinent over centuries, at the disputes between the Salafi and Sufi forms of Islam, and at the extremist mullah ideology that till today overshadows the other more peaceful interpretation of Islam. The play then also compares how the course of history may have been altered if instead of the radical and rigid Aurangzeb, his liberal and moderate brother Dara

A scene from play ‘Dara’

Shikoh had ascended to the throne, as Shah Jahan had originally wished. In the play, directed by Madeeha Gauhar, with Shahid’s sharp and witty script writing and its awe-inspiring musical performances of Amir Khusro’s poetry to choreographed dances, it seems to be a downright winner for Ajoka anytime. The music is mesmerising; the dances are enthralling. The main characters are captivating and never cease to become mundane or routine. Shah Jahan’s four offspring – Aurangzaib, Dara Shikoh, and their two sisters are the main characters. Aurangzeb has sent his father to be locked away. But most of all, there is Hazrat Sarmad, a saint that walks the streets half naked, a close associate of Dara. But remove the fripperies of the Mughal era and place the same storyline in today’s milieu and one will find that the themes of the story are all too familiar. And as Shahid says, “The story of Dara still rings true today… it is living history, not just a story.” Ajoka’s plays may be banned by the government of the time (for example the ‘Burkavaganza’ incident dur-

ing Musharraf ’s rule), and some sections of society may label them dangerously liberal and outspoken. But the truth is that these plays are always rotating in Lahore’s Alhamra Arts Council and they receive the same kind of thundering applause that they always do. And from the Alhamra arts council ‘Dara’ has taken a giant leap and strode towards London’s National Theatre. This is where Anwar Akhtar’s Samosa comes in. (No, not the fried treat). This is the ethnic name chosen for a platform of ideas, originally a blog, now also an organising group for activities for British South Asians, primarily Pakistanis. Anwar was the one who got the National Theatre to watch a CD of ‘Dara’ being played in Pakistan. “Samosa is a British Pakistani initiative,” explains Anwar. “Some of us who live in the UK got together with the idea of setting up links for 1.2 million British Pakistanis. We realised that we all have a similar heritage and culture but have no way to link it. “A lot of people helped us in this initiative and we thank the efforts of Neelum Hussain from Simorgh, also

the Citizen’s Foundation, and HRCP among others. We needed a platform to raise awareness of all South Asian activities in the UK.” Samosa first started as a blog, then it became quite popular, especially the short films that they promoted made by the students of Karachi University, Szabist and Beaconhouse National University. “Our thematic focus is on human rights and civil society, and social development. We want to change the image of Pakistan as seen in the western world, especially UK,” shares Anwar. “We wanted to highlight the kind of work Karachi Vocational Traini n g Centre a n d Edhi Foundation a r e doing, for example, rat her t h e negat i v e aspects of the country.”

Army Takes Positions in Hyderabad Prison amid Fear of Jailbreak Hyderabad: There are high value targets (HVTs) within the Hyderabad Central Prison and attempts could be made to get certain inmates freed. This was stated by Hyderabad SSP Irfan Baloch while addressing a press conference in his office here on Sunday. The SSP said that jailbreak was feared in view of the recent hanging of convicted terrorists at various prisons in the country. “That’s why, the army has taken over security of prisons, including the Hyderabad Central Prison,” he informed. He said an intensive joint patrolling by the army, Rangers and police personnel had been started. The Rangers were supposed to primarily respond first to any untoward incidents relating to the threat to the prison and inmates, he added. The SSP said that security in and around the jail had been beefed up and army personnel had taken positions inside the prison. “Round-the-clock patrolling by the joint force and a multiple-layer security have been ensured with police serving in the last cordon on the outer area of the prison and its periphery,” he remarked. According to him, a Rangers official has been designated for coordination among all three forces at different levels. He said that sweep and search operation would be conducted to purge areas of illegal immigrants, especially Afghans, for which a study was being conducted. “Trends indicate that Mehsud, Swati and Mohmand tribesmen from other parts of the country always stay

with their respective community members here”, he said. The police officer said that he would not make any definite statement about Taliban but like Karachi, Hyderabad was an equally important city which needed an elite police force while the regular police needed sophisticated weapons. He said that out of 3,500 personnel at the disposal of the Hyderabad range, only 900 were deployed at police stations and the remaining force was engaged in ensuring personal security of VIPs, judges, courts, banks, doctors, etc. “It is due to this kind of security cover that the larger section of society gets no security,” he said.

Mastermind of Attack Identified as Militant Known by ‘Slim’ Peshawar: A 36-year-old father of three and avid volleyball fan is Pakistan’s most hated man, after he was named as the mastermind of last week’s horrific attack on a school that left more than 130 children dead. Umar Mansoor appeared in a video posted Thursday on a website used by the terror network trying to justify the Dec. 16 attack at a military school in Peshawar, Reuters reported. “[The school was] preparing those generals, brigadiers and majors who killed and arrested so many fighters,” he says on the video, which identifies MASTERMIND, P29



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By Sadaf Jabeen


iza started her modelling career with a candy commercial. She was spotted by Munaf who was at that time working for Nabila. So the credit goes to Nabila for transforming Fiza's looks from a girl next door to a glam girl. But her actual fame came through Javed Fazal's hit serial 'Mehandi' where she played the role of Laiba very well. Besides that people also relate Fiza with a famous cooking show 'Bilo Ka Dhaba'. She has also appeared in 'Subh Ki Fiza' and 'Hum Sab Umeed Se' at Geo T.V. These days Fiza is working in two plays, 'Kaisa Hai Pyar' directed by Ali Iman and 'Tum Tu Asa Na Te' directed by Faisal Bukari. This week this beautiful dame has unveiled her beauty secrets and regimen to You! readers. You! What is beauty in your eyes? Fiza: For me beauty is within you. You cannot acquire it, well you can enhance your features with the help of makeup but the real beauty is the one which truly mirrors your goodness. If you are good from inside, it sure reflects on your face. You! Do you follow trends in hair and make up? Do you apply them in your daily life? F: Yes I do. Now that winter is here, it's time to say goodbye to the bright, matte colours of summer and hello to rich, shimmering colours to warm things up. You! What beauty regimen should women adopt to take care of their skin in this weather? F: In cold weather women should use sun block and moisturiser. You! Your favourite photographer who captures your features beautifully... F: Khawar Riaz from Lahore and Akif Ilyas from Karachi. You! What is your best feature? F: My eye lashes. You! What is one cosmetic you cannot do without? F: My lipstick and sun block. I also like to adorn my eyes with eyeliner and kajal as I look feeble without eyeliner. You! Do you emphasise on using foundation? F: No. I don't use foundation. I only use only BB cream and sun block. You! Any makeup tip or beauty secret you would like to share with your readers? F: Many women buy waterproof mascara thinking that it will save their eyelashes from falling whereas waterproof mascaras are actually harmful to eyelashes. Go for an ordinary mascara and use castor oil for thickness. Try this as I have tried it myself. You! When stepping out, do you wear makeup all the time?

F: No. You! When it comes to cosmetics, which brand do you usually use? F: MAC. You! Your make-up bag consists of... F: Full cosmetics with eye shadows and lip colours. My essential makeup kit consists of a Body Shop's lip-gloss in neutral shade; Lorea'l blush-on No 1 in Pink shade and Shanaz Hussain's black kajal. I have to have these items in my bag all the time to freshen up my makeup. You! Do you go to salon regularly for your facials? F: I go to salon only for deep cleansing You! Your favourite local stylist or beautician... F: Nabila and Tariq Amin. You! Your preferred spa or salon... F: Nirvana. You! Your favourite perfume F: Roberto Cavali Acqua You! Your beauty regimen F: I always prefer to use herbal things for my skin. I religiously cleanse

and massage my face with olive oil before going to bed as part of my beauty routine. You! Do you use anti-ageing creams? F: No. You! Do you believe in treatments like Botox? F: Yes, I would love to when I become old. You! The biggest misconception about you... F: That people think I am the daughter of Abid Ali You! Do you hit the gym regularly to keep yourself fit? F: Yes I love the gym. It's very important to be physically fit and in my profession I need to look slim and smart. I avoid roti and chawal and take low-calorie food. You! Do you use whitening creams? Are they any good? F: No I don't. You! The best thing that's been said about you? F: 'Is your father a terrorist as you look like a BOMB!' Courtesy The News


Community Link


Friday, December 26, 2014

VOL. 24/52 PAGE 21

Waseem Ahmad’s Success in Local Elections

egum PAGE 23

Bapsi Sidhwa’s Laughter, Tea and Novels

4 Rabi ‘ul-awwal 1436 H


South Asia’s First Recipient of the Victoria Cross

For news, updated round the clock, visit

Community’s Wholehearted Participation in Los Angeles Candlelight Vigil

Los Angeles, CA: To express solidarity with the affected fami-

lies and to condemn the horrific murder of innocent children in the barbaric attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the Consulate General of Pakistan in association with the Pakistan Arts Council, Council of Pakistan American Affairs, TCF, SHINE Humanity, DIL and members of the Pakistani American community held a candlelight vigil in front of the

Consulate on Friday, December 19th. Almost all prominent members of the community, anyone or everyone who matters, unfailingly turned up to lend support to the vigil’s organizers. In their brief remarks on the occasion, speakers and participants in the vigil condemned the heinous attack on young school children in Peshawar and expressed support for the grieving families and a grief-stricken nation. Both young and old ap-

peared oblivious to the chilling cold and attended the vigil with due somberness. Consul General Hamid Asghar Khan and Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz vividly shared the plaintive mood and bore a somber expression on their face. Eminent mainstream political figures, state and city officials who attended the vigil demonstrably shared the resolve of the Pakistani-American community and nation in combating the scourge of terrorism. They includ-


P20 – PAKISTAN LINK – DECEMBER 26, 2014 ed: Congresswoman Janice Hahn; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Zerihun Retta Shumye, Consul General of Ethiopia, Dean of Consular Corps; Consul General of UAE;

Consul of Egypt; M. Finbar Hill, Hon. Consul General of Ireland; Lourdes Saab, Deputy Chief of Protocol, Los Angeles County ; Ali Sajjad, Council Member from City of

Artesia; Janet Weiland, Church of Scientology; Heidi Ashcraft, Director, Public Affairs Council, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints; Dr Berkat, representative of

Pakistani Christian Community; Maninder Singh, representative of Sikh Community; Dr Hasanuddin Hashmi, Chairman Islamic Center Momin Lodge; Mohammad Khan,

Director Inter Faith, King Fahad Mosque; Capt. Darryl Ito, Los Angeles Police Department and Randolph Dobbs, External Affairs, Los Angeles Bahai Center.

Glimpses of the vigil in front of the Consulate General of Pakistan Los Angeles


Pakistani Community of Orange County Holds Candlelight Vigil

he Pakistani Community of Orange County held a candle light vigil on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5:30pm on the corners of Alton Pkwy and Culver in Irvine, CA. The vigil was in response to the attack by the Taliban on a military school in Peshawar, Pakistan leaving 142 children and 9 staff members dead. “This attack and all others that our community has been witnessing in the past few years against innocent lives in unacceptable”, stated Farrah N. Khan, one of the organizers of the Irvine Vigil. “We, as a people, can never come to terms with violence against innocent people”.

The group gathered to pray and educate the local community on the tragedy that occurred overseas. “The goal of the vigil is to show solidarity for justice whether it be in the US or abroad”, stated Ms Khan. The vigil was attended by a little over 100 people and many from the Orange County interfaith community. Reverend Kent Doss, Sudha Iyer (representing the Hindu community), and Minu Singh (representing the Sikh community), all spoke to the crowd and stood in solidarity. Sentiments were shared throughout the evening. “The Taliban are like cancer, we need to eradicate them completely. Even if one malignant cell is left untreated, it multiplies to spread again. The Pakistan Army has to keep its resolve until terrorists are completely eliminated”, stated Salman Naqvi of Irvine. “No religion or ideology justifies or condones the bloodshed

of innocent human beings, let alone children. The cold blooded murder of these children has made it imperative, urgent and incumbent upon the army, the law makers and the people of Pakistan to uproot this evil in its entirety and with permanence” proclaimed Adeela Ahsan of Irvine. “It’s heartbreaking that so many children lost their lives. Our prayers and love go out to their families. A warning to the Taliban:

you have tainted your souls with the blood of martyrs. Like David defeated Goliath; your downfall is impending,” said Nazish Zaman of Irvine. “What it all boils down to is this; this is NOT about religion, this is NOT about Islam, this IS about a group of people who have become so hardened and misguided that they have lost sight of the value of human life. One outcome of horrific acts of this nature must be that we

as citizens of this world must keep in mind to always value the sanctity of human life and keep peace and empathy in our hearts,” stated Rani Hussein of Anaheim. The vigil ended with a prayer and moment of silence as the participants stood with their candles held high, the only sounds to be heard were those of the honking cars showing their support. Many that gathered stated that they felt a

sense of calm as they stood side by side. “Our prayers go out to the victims and their families, this wasn’t just a random act of violence, it was a pre-planned act of terror against innocent children. We’re demanding the government of Pakistan to take action,” stated Ms Khan. Many from the community attended the vigil organized by the Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles on Friday.



Waseem Ahmad’s Spectacular Success in Local Elections

n By Mohammad Ashraf Chaudhry


Pittsburg, CA

uccess does not come for free. And certainly not in the American political system. Success becomes more elusive and much harder when the odds become many and multi-faceted, and the stakes keep getting higher and higher. But it does come in an astounding and spectacular manner to those who, as Islam says, make “serving others as a beautiful loan to Allah”. Yes, success is intrinsically linked with sustained service and passion.

Waseem Ahmad, 45, is a small business owner in a town called Chowchilla in the County of Madera. Some 20% Muslims in America are either self-employed or own a small business. The real dilemma of the Muslim community is that in the American society where the population of American Muslims is higher than the national average, they do not feel the urge to partake in the American mainstream politics. The result is that they do not have perhaps a single American Muslim in their legislature. This assertion could be wrong, but it appears so in such States as California, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. The reason is not that Muslims do not register themselves for voting. In fact, 79-80% of them are registered to vote. It is also not right to assume that they have a poor understanding of the American political system, and of the opportunities that can become available to those who venture because most of them are educated. Perhaps they are too much embroiled in the politics of the countries they once left behind. In my perception, the reason for this neglect is hidden in two perceptions and both have a foreign origin. Politics is a dirty game. They think so because it happens so in the country of their origin. Second, the only two professions good for them for living a happy and prosperous life are Medicine and Engineering. This too is not true. The third and a very valid reason, according to this scribe, is that most often than not, those who venture to step in the field of politics, do so from a wrong end. On the ladder to political power in America, they start somewhere half way on the ladder and thus fall spectacularly. Waseem avoided that trend. He started from where the actual American political system starts. A good start is half success. Some seventeen years ago, I remember, when the Ahmad brothers as Waseem and his three brothers are called, bought a gas station in Chowchilla, hardly anyone in the Bay Area in the Muslim community to which they belong could claim to have heard about it, notwithstanding the famous case of “The Bus Kidnapping of Chowchilla”, in 1976, which had put this small sleeping town of California with a queer name which means, “Murderers”, all of a sudden in the National limelight, and had made the incident, according to Arnold P. Rubin, as one of the “True Great Mysteries”. The Ahmed brothers did not just buy a business in an unfamiliar town which characterized itself for having predominantly an 80.9% of white population; 52.8% Latino or Hispanic; 3.3% African-American and a speck of less than 2% of Asians,

n By C. Naseer Ahmad

Washington, DC

Kaday roya karoogay, sahnoon yaad karkay” – my memory will bring you to tears someday - are the lyrics of a popular Punjabi song. Memories of friends and loved ones can melt one’s heart and eyes do get wet with tears then.

The human emotion of friendship has its own ways and charms. Often, we have associations that last a lifetime which form the bonds of friendship. But, sometimes you meet special people who easily bond and become friends as if you knew them all your life. Such was the case with Dr John Milner, an eminent scholar, teacher and a loving human being. Almost a year has passed since the death of Dr Milner on December 31, 2013. He was one of the most eminent scientists who contributed more than 250 book chapters, monographs and journal articles. John was a member of several professional organizations such as the American Society for Nutrition, American Association of Cancer Research, American Chemical Society’s Food and Chemistry Division, the Institute of Food Technology and the International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics. He served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences

and then run it like foreigners, returning nothing to the local people. Of the 20% Muslim-Americans hardly .001% ever bother to visit the local Chamber of Commerce though it relates to them directly. They visit the city office, or meet the local Council Member only when they encounter a problem, or when they have to apply for a business license. They run the business in that area like the Colonist British ran India or the West Africa. It was a really smart move on the part of the Ahmad Brothers, and especially on the part of Waseem, that he began probing into the trends, likes and dislikes of the local people. Business became a tool for them for building an intimate bond of relationship with the locals. They invested further in the area by buying a home and a piece of land in order to establish the relationship of belonging to the area on firm and sterling grounds. Waseem rightly and cautiously began participating in the town-hall meetings of the City Council to know what the town and the people needed, and what kind of peculiar problems they faced; he became an active member of the District Chamber of Commerce of Chowchilla till he secured its directorship, and ended up serving its President for two terms. That was the right start to build relationship and rapport with the local population where he and his brothers were totally new and even different. Being a Muslim and immigrant of Pakistan-origin in Chowchilla could never be construed as something conducive and helpful. Rather staying faithful to ones religion in a town that is known for having two things - maximum number of churches, 17, and rehabilitation centers or jails - while pursuing a political passion looked like a contradiction. Waseem kept both amicably.

Local politics in America is all about two things: service and personal relationships. Often it is above party politics, and even above ethnicity and religious preferences. As is proven in Waseem’s case. His tenacity and his investment in people through personal contact and service delivered him rich dividends. He stayed in touch with the city elected officials through extensive volunteer work till he earned for himself the membership of the Parks and Recreation Commission. From there he moved next to earning for himself the membership of the City’s Planning Commission. He stayed on the Planning Commission for 12 years till he became its two-term President. So starting from owning a small business and moving slowly but gradually from the District Chamber of Commerce to the Park and Recreation Commission to the Planning Commission, Waseem finally reached a point where he felt that the time had come to give himself a try in the local elections. Last time he failed just by a few votes in the election of Local Council Members, and this time he succeeded by securing the maximum number of votes, 814 which had been 33% of the total votes. Waseem’s success is singularly spectacular. He became a Member of the City Council, and by virtue of securing the maximum number of votes and by dint of his service record and trust of the other five members of the Council, he also came to be chosen as the Pro Tem Mayor of the city of Chowchilla. So, Waseem would be the first Muslim Mayor of Chowchilla acting in the absence of the Mayor. There is a message for the aspiring Muslims who want to tread in this forgotten and neglected field of politics. Make the right start; if you own a business, do not run it like an alien, give back to the local people by making investment in that town; participate in the town-hall meeting and do volunteer work and keep yourself abreast of the local issues; be an active member of various commissions, develop speaking skills, and keep sharpening the saw. At the end, you will see that honest service transcends all other religious, racial, and ethnic considerations. Waseem has proven that. The Muslim community of the Islamic Center of East in Antioch from where he hails takes special pride in acknowledging the accomplishments of Waseem. Local politics, as said earlier, is all local. One may run into the Mayor of the town at a Home Depot store; or meet ones councilor at a grocery store; and talk to them if there is a pothole in the street; if the street-lights are not working; if there is an issue of car-racing going on in the street; if the school bus is not visiting your area. One does not need to go to Sacramento or Washington. The police, the fire department, the business related issues; the property taxes, all relate to the City Government. So being a part of it is the first step on the ladder to Sacramento or Washington. Waseem is open-minded, and he believes in working together with other Council Members and with the Mayor, and we feel he has a career in politics. Chowchilla is an agriculture-based community, and water shortage could be a big issue there. So could be the WASEEM, P26

Remembering Dr John A Milner Committee on Military Nutrition Research, the US Olympic Committee Dietary Guidelines Task Force, the External Advisory Board for the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, as a member and Vice-Chair for the Counsel of Experts of United States Pharmacopeia Committee on Bioavailability and Nutrient Absorption, a member of the External Advisory Board for the European Commission SeaFood Plus initiative and as the chair of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Mechanisms Working Group. Dr Milner was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, and an Honorary Member of the American Dietetic Association. In his distinguished career, Dr Milner served on the editorial boards for Food and Nutrition Research, Frontiers in Nutrigenomics, Nutrition and Cancer, Nutrfood, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Journal of Ovarian Research, and The Journal of Medical Foods. He was a Senior Editor for Cancer Prevention Research and promoted research that focused on

the physiological importance of dietary bioactive compounds as modifiers of cancer risk and tumor behavior. Most recently, he served as Center Director, Human Nutrition US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Braving the frigid climate, an unexpectedly large number of friends and family members gathered at the Normandie Farm Restaurant, Potomac, Maryland. The overflow went from one room to almost

four rooms. It was in the words and human emotions that the real measure of Dr Milner as man was felt at the bereavement reception on January 7, 2014. One of the first speakers was Dr Catherine Woteki, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. As Professor A. Catharine Ross, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University rose to speak about Dr Milner, “Illinois University trumps PennState” was heard in the room. So Professor Ross yielded the floor to Dr Milner’s colleagues from Illinois University who began to express their feelings and memories about the “John” they knew. Some started to speak but were overtaken by emotions and sat down sobbing. Then came the turn of Cornell University and close family members before the professors from PennState were able to share how Dr Milner served as a guiding light. “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability,” said Bob Marley. And during the bereavement reception, all speakers honored the integrity and the ability of Dr Milner. Accidentally, Dr Milner sat next

to me at the Embassy Series concert at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington. Between the musical interludes, buffet line and desserts, we became friends so that by the time we met again at the next Embassy Series concert at the Spanish Ambassador’s residence it seemed that we grew up on the same block. Never did he mention the careers he inspired, the university departments he led or the conferences he spearheaded. At 7:50pm on December 31, 2013 Dr Milner sent me an email: “We hope that your every wish will come true in 2014 and that it will be filled with happiness, health and prosperity!” It was perhaps one of the last emails sent by him. The next email I received announced the passing away of Dr Milner. As I tried to compose myself, the words of John Donne written centuries ago came to me: “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” The bell may have tolled but his towering legacy lives on. In June 2014, to honor his memory and recognize his contributions to the discipline of nutrition, USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center announced the establishment the John A. Milner Lectureship to benefit mankind not just in US but all over the world, including Pakistan.



Candlelight Vigil for the Children of Peshawar in Sacramento

The vigil was held at the California State Capitol footsteps within a short distance of the brightly lit Christmas tree, an annual tradition which signifies joy in our lovely state of California. But for us Pakistani-Americans most of the joy of the season has been extinguished by terrorism. It is as if the lights on our trees have been turned off and the night is long and dark

n By Ras H. Siddiqui


lose to 500 people from all walks of life gathered at the steps of the California State Capitol building in Sacramento on December 20th to participate in a Candlelight Vigil to remember the 132 school children and 9 staff members killed by terrorists in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Most of the attendees were Pakistani-Americans and local Muslims including many area Imams, and this time a substantial number of IndianAmericans also came to show their support along with members of Sacramento’s vibrant interfaith community, representatives of state officials plus the local media. Understandably, a great many of those present were children who came to support the memory of their fellow school kids killed. It was a cloudy, overcast day with light sprinkles, reflective of this somber occasion. It reflected the general mood. As one speaker (Reverend Jones) said, the raindrops were “God’s Tears” for the innocent lives lost. Four local organizations arranged this vigil led by the Pakistani American Association of Sacramento, American Muslim Voice Foundation (Sacramento Chapter), CAIR Sacramento Valley and the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations (COSVIO). The Sacramento Chapter of PTI and supporters of PML(N) and the PPP were also active in this effort. This time everyone

was on the same platform, a show of solidarity with (one) humanity, irrespective of party, faith, race, gender or national origin. The event started off with emcee Sohail Shahzad saying that December 16th was a very sad day worldwide and in Pakistan with the killing of 141 people during a terrorist attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar with 132 children amongst the victims. He said that we were all here to condemn that action and show unity with the affected families. He also thanked the local Imams, including Imam Azeez, Imam Luqman and Imam Qasmi, for being here. He invited Imam Abdul Azeez first to get things started with an opening prayer. Imam Azeez began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an and then delivered an eloquent and effective Islamic condemnation of this murderous act against children. He said that we are standing here tonight in this rain to mourn, not because they were Muslim, not because they were from Pakistan, but we are mourning them because they were children. He also asked for a prayer for victims of violence everywhere. Next Bashir Choudhry, President of the Pakistani American Association started with the Muslim prayer for the departed. He thanked the local Muslim and interfaith community for being present to share our grief. He said that on hearing the sad news of the December 16th and the killing of children he had broken down in tears. He exhorted that

governments and religious leaders worldwide need to unite to eradicate terrorism. Next CAIR Sacramento’s Basim Elkarra read messages of condolences from elected officials including Betty Yee and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He next invited Bobbie Singh-Allen, President of the Elk Grove Unified School District, to say a few words. Bobbie said that she was here as a representative of the greater Sacramento Indian American community, the Punjabi community, the Sikh community, and as a mother. “We are all Pakistani today and mourn the loss of our children. These were our kids, our future,” she said. She ended her speech with a quote from Malala Yousafzai - One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Also from Elk Grove, City Council Member Steve Ly added to these views. Many other speakers from the Asian, interfaith and Muslim community spoke on the occasion. Representing Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Mrs Durriya Syed related his deep condolences and affirmed that he stood in solidarity with our community. She said that these kids killed in Pakistan were particularly targeted because their parents were fighting against terrorism for us all. Next, Reverend Allen Jones of the United Methodist Church in Sacramento was extremely reflective in his address. We are all sensing the deep sorrow, he said. He said that we need to reverse the history of

religious antagonism. He added that in loving each other we all show our true faith. Bishop Ron Allen followed next adding passion to his speech. He said that criminals don’t care who they hurt. It is a sad time in our history. It is a sad time in our lives. When we have terrorist murderers and cowards who would kill our children something must be done. And for that to happen, the walls of (religious) division must come down. Elizabeth Sholes of the California Council of Churches also offered her words of grief. Also speaking on the occasion in both English and Hindi Pratibha

Shalini from the Hindu community expressed her deep condolences. Pratibha went a step further and asked a very pertinent question. What about after this Candlelight Vigil? Or in other words, where do we go from here? She was followed by Tom Bhe of the APAPA organization who added his views. Speaking in Punjabi Narinderpal S. Hundal and in English Harkirat Singh, both of the local Sikh community, voiced their support. This writer also got the opportunity to say a few words. Additionally, Imam Luqman Ahmad of Masjid SACRAMENTO, P29



Bapsi Sidhwa’s Laughter, Tea & Novels

n By Sebha Sarwar


Houston, TX

apsi Sidhwa, one of Houston’s and Pakistan’s best-known novelists, is housebound at age 76, suffering the longterm effects of the polio she experienced as a child. Now that she and her husband have moved outside the city to Sugar Land to be closer to family — even as they come to terms with not being able to fly to Lahore, their first home, so easily — many of us who know and admire Bapsi feel even more compelled to visit her for tea, stories, and laughter, always laughter.

Sometimes, I’m astonished to realize that there was a time when I didn’t know her. That was 1994, when I’d landed in Houston without a plan after finishing graduate school. “You don’t know Bapsi Sidhwa?” Marv Hoffman asked me, eyebrows raised. I had encountered Marv, co-founder of Writers in the Schools, where I had just begun teaching. Back then, I didn’t know many people in Houston’s literary or South Asian community, and there wasn’t much Internet to tell me who was in the city, or that Bapsi had adopted Houston as her second home. I shook my head. “I do know her work — very well — but, no, I don’t know her personally.” Of course I knew her work. Anyone who reads and follows English literature emanating from South Asia is familiar with Bapsi’s writings. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1938, nine years before the subcontinent was slashed into two countries, Bapsi has produced five novels, many short stories and essays, and has been heaped with honors — including a Bunting Institute fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, to name a few. Her novel “Cracking India” led to Deepa Mehta’s feature film “Earth,” which brings to life the violence and grief caused by the 1947 Partition. Other writers hold her in awe. “I read Bapsi Sidhwa’s intelligent and moving novel ‘Cracking India’ when I was starting out as a writer,” notes novelist and University of Houston professor Chitra Divakaruni. “I have learned so much about writing from that book. I still remember certain passages.” Long-time Houston resident Zeba Shah adds: “In Pakistan, a country with such ethnic and cultural diversity and gender and class in-

n By Shaheen Sehbai



he brutal carnage in Peshawar has forced the key Pakistani power players to take big decisions — Imran Khan has taken a huge step back, General Raheel Sharif has taken a plunge forward and PM Nawaz Sharif is in a hop, stop and jump mode, but not yet ready to jump.

In the heart of their hearts, all the three would be thanking the 132 innocent Peshawar kids for their sacrifice to give each one of them a face-saving exit from the cul-de-sac Pakistan had landed in for months. First, Imran Khan’s declaration to end the sit-in. The fourmonth-long protest had achieved its goal already but Khan was not getting an open door or a halfshut window to end it. He had already moved out of Islamabad into larger rallies and shutdowns and the dharna was just waiting to be called off. The Peshawar massacre gave him the opening. He can now move on and take some rest before devising a new strategy. General Raheel Sharif was ap-

equities, only a writer with Bapsi’s sensitivity and keen sense of observation can reveal the Pakistani thinking so realistically, whether men or women, chauvinistic or liberal, free or suppressed... but then, they are her people.” After my conversation with Marv, he and

The dinner at Marv and Rosellen’s opened the door to many lunches and teas with Bapsi. In 2002, she joined the board of Voices Breaking Boundaries, the grassroots arts organization I formed, and she hosted board meetings in her living room. After the larger group would leave, a few of us would head to her backyard. My fa-

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1938, nine years before the subcontinent was slashed into two countries, Bapsi has produced five novels, many short stories and essays, and has been heaped with honors — including a Bunting Institute fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, to name a few. Her novel “Cracking India” led to Deepa Mehta’s feature film “Earth,” which brings to life the violence and grief caused by the 1947 Partition. Other writers hold her in awe his wife, writer Rosellen Brown, took it upon themselves to make sure I met Bapsi. I don’t remember who else was present at the sit-down gathering they organized in their Montrose home, but I do recall that Bapsi talked with me about her experiences living in different cities — including Lahore, Kabul, Mumbai and Houston — as well as about books, history and the writing process. At the end of the evening, she invited me to her house on Cheena Drive.

vorite moments were those hangouts, sitting under the warm sun, listening to Bapsi’s stories. And always, at the end of the day, we laughed together. “Bapsi is both an icon and an anomaly,” Rosellen Brown and Marv Hoffman write from Chicago. “Her name is widely known in Pakistan, as we discovered on a visit with her to bookstores in her home country, but she is a woman (one of few of her stature), a member of

the Parsi religious minority, and she has always written in English. All of these have situated her far outside Pakistan’s mainstream, but they have been the wellsprings of her extraordinary writing.” Bapsi has made appearances at literary festivals in India and Pakistan, attracting throngs of fans, who grew up reading her work. In 2013, despite health challenges, she attended the Mumbai festival, as well as the new Lahore Literary Festival that drew 30,000 people. “Bapsi is a major figure in Pakistan, as she should be, after her years of hard work and struggle as a female writer writing in English in a country where, at the time, this was practically unheard of,” says Rich Levy, a poet and executive director of Inprint, a Houston nonprofit that supports writers and readers. “I wish she were equally appreciated in Houston. She has taught creative writing at top universities, including Brandeis, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Houston, and received many prizes and accolades, all richly deserved.” In Houston, Bapsi is known and respected in literary, academic and feminist circles. Elizabeth Gregory, director of the University of Houston’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, says: “Just knowing that Bapsi Sidhwa lives here makes Houston a more serious, literary place, with international cred. Her skill and vision sit lightly on her thoughtful, generous nature.” Activist Sissy Farenthold observes: “Bapsi has meant so much to those of us in Houston. She brought another life experience — her own life experience — to life for us. And beyond the writer that she is, Bapsi is a wonderful person. We are blessed to have her.” Sidhwa’s influence is felt further afield, as well. “Bapsi Sidhwa has had tremendous influence on Pakistani literature through her insightful work and through tirelessly mentoring other Pakistani writers, especially women,” says Pakistani novelist Sorayya Khan, who’s based in Ithaca, New York. And from Karachi, Oxford University Press editor Ameena Saiyad says: “At a Karachi reading in her honor, Bapsi became overwhelmed with emotion and could not continue. She handed her book to me and asked me to begin reading from where she had stopped. I was touched by her sensitivity and close attachment to the theme and characters of her novels. She writes from her heart and puts her soul in her writings.” - Courtesy Houston Chronicle

A Face-saver for All, a Breathing Space for Pakistan parently not happy over the lack of enthusiasm and interest, coupled with miserly flow of funds for anti-terror ops, but his US visit and his interactions with the Afghan leadership gave him the opening to take over the Afghan policy effectively. His rushed meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and the Isaf chief and then his long overdue one-on-one talk with PM Sharif on Wednesday, all show he is now in a fast-forward control mode, with the government following, sometimes even dragging its feet. After the All Parties Conference and General Musharraf ’s open expression of reservations about the politicians getting involved in the anti-terror operations, it is clear that General Raheel will have the veto on all key decisions involving the US, India, Afghanistan and counter terrorism. Appointment of Dr Maleeha Lodhi in New York and a possible ex-general in Washington as ambassadors may confirm who will be in the driving seat. That leaves Nawaz Sharif and his party to decide what they will

In a rare show of unity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan met in Islamabad after the Peshawar Army Public School carnage

do and how in the coming weeks and months. But apparently they only have a few months to either

spending money on some hunky dory road or energy projects and trying to act as a prime minister.

The new troika — Nawaz, Raheel and Imran — must sit down in a cool isolated lounge and sort this out. The alternatives are too scary to discuss as previously tried and tested staff solutions like sending politicians on special flights in the middle of the night may not be applied get the political initiative back, get a grip over critical national security policies or act as a hanger-on,

But he will have to sort the election issue before Imran Khan comes back and re-launches his

street agitation. A Judicial Commission may give him some time but Imran Khan will not sit quiet. He wants a new election, not a few scapegoats.So a deal over an early local bodies poll, ECP reforms making critical changes in the voting system, a few sacrificial lambs like Speaker Ayaz Sadiq or Khwaja Saad Rafiq, may bring them closer but a mid or end-2016 general election may clinch the deal for permanent peace. Nawaz will then have some time to deliver and Imran will have time to reinforce his cadres, get a grip on his party and run the KPK as a model.Pakistan needs this breathing space and an end to the politics of pulling each other down with terrorists on the loose, killing children, women and innocent citizens. The new troika — Nawaz, Raheel and Imran — must sit down in a cool isolated lounge and sort this out.The alternatives are too scary to discuss as previously tried and tested staff solutions like sending politicians on special flights in the middle of the night may not be applied. The young martyrs of Peshawar must shake the powerful adults out of their greed, slumber, lust, incompetence, dishonesty and self-interest. Pakistan needs it. - The News International



Khudadad Khan: South Asia’s First Recipient of the Victoria Cross n By Dr Irfan Malik


Nottingham, UK

striking oil portrait on canvas of Khudadad Khan by Hal Bevan Petman (c1935) is one of the collections at the National Army Museum, London. He was the first South Asian and Muslim to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. Indian troops were first made eligible for the Victoria Cross in 1911; prior to that they were awarded the Indian Order of Merit. Here I explore the history of this great soldier.

Khudadad Khan was born on 20th October, 1888 in Dab village, Chakwal, in present-day Pakistan. He was a Muslim of Rajput descent. He went on to serve as a Sepoy (Private) in the 129th Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchis battalion, as a machine gunner. In October 1914, in the early stages of the Great War, 20 000 Indian troops were sent to the front line on the Western Front. (A total of 1.2 million Indian soldiers were involved in the First World War). These included the 129th Baluchis and a 26-year-old Khudadad Khan. The Germans were launching their offensive in Hollebeke, Belgium. It marked the setting for the First Battle of Ypres. The newly arrived Indians found themselves in a cold, wet, dark environment - very different from their home country. They had little time to acclimatise. The 129th Baluchis were pushed to the front line to aid the Allies. They were outnumbered 5 to 1 by the better equipped enemy. The shallow, water-logged trenches provided little protection. There was no defensive barbed wire. There were many gaps in the line, as the soldiers were few. Communications was difficult and smaller units often became isolated, surrounded by the enemy. The Germans had advanced weaponry and hand grenades. As you can expect from the situation, the outnumbered 129th Baluchis were pounded endlessly by the Germans, sustaining heavy losses and casualties in the process. On 31st October 1914 at Hollebeke, Khudadad Khan together with his team, was one of two groups each manning a Vickers machine gun on the front line. One gun was taken out by a German shell, the commanding British Officer Capt. F.F.Dill suffered severe injuries, and five fellow Indians were killed by bullets and bayonets. Despite the odds, Khudadad Khan, all alone and wounded, stood his ground, and continued to fire his machine gun. He kept the German frontline at bay, thus preventing a breakthrough. Khudadad finally fell but kept still and was left for dead by the enemy. After deactivating his machine gun, he crawled back to his regiment

n By Mira Sethi and Shehrbano Taseer Peshawar, Pakistan


t 3 p.m. on Wednesday, this city was striped with dust and light. Outside the main ward of the Lady Reading Hospital, where five teenage Muslim boys lay fighting for their lives, a Christian had come bearing roses.

“Cannot go inside!” said the officer in plain clothes. “But these roses,” pleaded the Christian man. “You may give these flowers to me,” said the officer. “Thank you.” The officer turned to us. “The Christians have called off Christmas, you see,” he explained — in honor of the schoolchildren murdered here this week. Inside the intensive care unit, 17-year-old Zunain lay on one of the beds. He had been shot six times. His green eyes — the only parts of him that could move — flitted across the wall. His mother, Mehrunnisa, waved a Cadbury’s chocolate bar in his face. He blinked it away. His toenails were crusted in dried blood. Outside the ward, in the cold frontier air, dead bodies were being wheeled out, covered in heavy quilts. Relatives passed through the marble courtyard, checking on their sons one minute, hiding from intrusive reporters the next. “How do you feel after a tragedy like this?” asked a reporter. “How do you feel about your country,

under the cover of darkness. Thanks to him and his comrades the Germans were held up long enough for reinforcements to arrive. As the defences strengthened, the Germans were

On 10th November 2014, at the British High Commission First World War Centenary reception in Islamabad, the three Victoria Cross recipients of present-day Pakistan were honoured. They included Sepoy Khudadad Khan, Jemadar Mir Dast and Naik Shamamad Khan. Also honoured were the 460 soldiers of Dulmial, ‘the village with the gun’, who participated in the Great War prevented from reaching the strategically vital ports of Boulogne, France and Nieuwpoort, Belguim. Had the Germans succeeded the important supply chains of food and ammuni-

tions would have been disrupted from England to the Allies on the front line. In extreme adversity Khudadad Khan had held his position and greatly assisted the Allies. He recovered from his injuries in an English Hospital, The Indian Convalescent Hospital, New Milton, Hampshire. His Majesty the King Emperor George V approved the granting of the Victoria Cross to Khudadad Khan. On 25th January 1915 at Buckingham Palace, London he became the first Indian and Muslim to receive the Victoria Cross. His Majesty personally presented him the honour. Khudadad Khan went on to have a long career in the British Indian Army and retired as Subedar (Lieutenant). He passed away at the age of 82 years, in Mandi Bahauddin, Pakistan on 8th March, 1971. His bronze, full sized statue is present at the entrance of the Pakistan Army Museum, Rawalpindi. On 31st October 2014, 100 years since the act of gallantry, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister for Communities) unveiled a commemorative stone at the British Library in Khudadad Khan’s honour. This stone will be laid at the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire) on Commonwealth Day, 9th March 2015. Lord Tariq said, ‘In honouring the courage of Khudadad Khan we not only remember our shared history, we also cherish the long tradition of Muslims fighting alongside British soldiers, for a just cause in the service of this country’. Two former heads of the British Army, General Lord Dannatt and General Lord Richards, led a group of peers, MPs, historians, religious leaders and think tank British Future to write a letter to ‘The Telegraph’, on 31st October 2014. They called for better recognition of the contribution and sacrifices by the 400 000 Muslim troops in the First World War, as exemplified by Khudadad Khan, who fought alongside with the British troops. On 10th November 2014, at the British High Commission First World War Centenary reception in Islamabad, the three Victoria Cross recipients of present-day Pakistan were honoured. They included Sepoy Khudadad Khan, Jemadar Mir Dast and Naik Shamamad Khan. Also honoured were the 460 soldiers of Dulmial, ‘the village with the gun’, who participated in the Great War. By describing the bravery and courage of Khudadad Khan, my aim is to reflect and remember the immense courage and sacrifices of the Indian Army soldiers 100 years ago. I do not wish them to be ‘forgotten’ any longer. (Photograph courtesy of the Council of the National Army Museum, London)

The Taliban’s Massacre in Peshawar Must Be Their Last Pakistan?” Mehrunnisa began to weep. The camera zoomed in closer. “I would like to say ...” she said, “I would like to say nothing.” Around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, nine militants strapped on suicide vests marched into the Army Public School in Peshawar. They murdered 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren. A police officer at the hospital told us there was still a pen in the hand of one of the teachers when they recovered her body. The Pakistani Taliban, who have claimed responsibility for the attack, targeted the school because it is where the sons of army personnel study. Six months ago, the Pakistani military shifted its strategy. After many years of supporting select Islamist groups to pursue certain strategic “needs” — propping up the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the ’80s, nurturing jihadists fighting against India in the ’90s, and protecting the “good” Taliban following 9/11 — the army finally decided to dismantle the “bad” Taliban. On Tuesday, the Taliban retaliated by killing 132 schoolchildren. The massacre has sent a wave of horror across the country. For too long Pakistanis have lived in a state of denial about the presence of terror in their midst. When, in January and February 2013, twin bombings killed at least 180 Shiite Hazaras in

Balochistan, the country’s response was: This is the unfortunate targeting of a minority group. When, in May 2010, an Ahmadi mosque was blown up in Lahore, killing around a hundred people, the response was: This is the unfortunate targeting of a minority group. When, in October 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face, the response was: This is the unfortunate targeting of a brazen schoolgirl. (She was widely labeled a C.I.A. agent.) Now, 132 innocent schoolchildren have been murdered. Will we find a way to “fit” this into a narrative, too? Pakistan’s mainstream politicians have intentionally promoted

conspiracy theories in order to thwart the possibility of developing a national consensus against terrorism. Imran Khan, the cricket star turned opposition politician, has led this charge. Until the army launched its operation, Mr. Khan had popularized a toxic narrative about the need to “talk” with terrorists. The view gained such traction in urban Pakistan that mainstream parties were loath to oppose it for fear of losing votes in the 2013 election. Mr. Khan continues to cite “corruption,” rather than the failing writ of the state, as Pakistan’s biggest ill. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for his part, has displayed star-

tling confusion in the face of an increasingly aggressive, jingoistic public. The day after the massacre, Mr. Sharif did away with Pakistan’s moratorium on the death penalty, in an effort to rouse fear among the perpetrators. But his government is famous for such cosmetic measures. Mr. Sharif ’s party thinks nothing of forging election alliances with sectarian groups. Little effort has been made to create a counterterrorism narrative or to strengthen Pakistan’s flailing police and antiterrorism courts. The leaders of banned terrorist organizations live freely in Pakistani cities, appearing on talk shows and holding large political rallies. Pakistan’s education curriculum is full of religious exhortation, while madrasas proliferate, buoyed by Saudi largess. When asked by a reporter if he would condemn the Taliban — who had already claimed responsibility for murdering those children — Mr. Khan replied: “The situation is not yet clear. Let me reach Peshawar and ascertain the facts of the situation.” The situation has never been clearer. It is time to dispense with delusions of threats from “foreign forces,” and the idea that our problems are elaborate conspiracies hatched by others. Our government does not need to “talk” with the Taliban. It needs to prosecute them. (Mira Sethi, a former assistant books editor at The Wall Street Journal, is a writer, and Shehrbano Taseer is a journalist. Both are based in Lahore. Courtesy The New York Times)




Afridi to Quit ODIs After World Cup

KARACHI: Shahid Afridi has said that he will retire from ODIs after the 2015 World Cup. The allrounder will continue to play T20 cricket, the format in which he leads Pakistan, and wants to win the 2016 World T20 in India before quitting international cricket. Afridi had stepped in as ODI captain in the recent series against New Zealand in the UAE in place of the

injured Misbah-ul-Haq. He put in a strong all-round performance, with 205 runs at a strike-rate of 164 and eight wickets at an economy-rate of 4.03. Afridi told reporters in Karachi that he wanted to go out on a high rather than being asked to leave. "I am the first Pakistan player to be able to announce his retirement properly," Afridi was quoted as saying by Reuters. "I always wanted to

do this having seen the problems faced by other bigger players in the past. It was not an easy decision to take and I think many of my seniors also found it difficult to go out at the right time. "I want to go out of ODIs with self-respect and with my fans wanting more from me. But no one is indispensable in cricket and I am sure sooner or later someone will take my place in ODIs as well. "I have informed the Pakistan team management about my decision but not the cricket board as yet. Having taken a decision it is a big burden off my mind and I am confident I will be able to focus on giving my best in the World Cup." Afridi, who will turn 35 during the World Cup, has played 389 ODIs since hitting the fastest century in his debut innings in October 1996 against Sri Lanka in Nairobi. The record stood for more than 17 years before New Zealand's Corey Anderson broke it in January this year. "I am happy about my achievements and records but the only regret I have is losing fastest ODI century record," Afridi tweeted. He has scored 7870 ODI runs at an average of 23.49 and a strike-rate of 116.29. He has also taken 391 wickets, the sixth-most in ODIs, at 33.89 and an economy-rate of 4.62. Afridi had quit Tests in 2010 before leading Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup. Afridi's fitness has been a matter of some concern in recent times and he was among some Pakistan players fined by the PCB in September for failing to maintain the prescribed level of fitness. The PCB had attached greater importance to fitness in its new contracts and the players will be reassessed this month. J

ICC Announces Opening Ceremony of World Cup 2015 MELBOURNE: The official governing body of cricket, ICC has announced the opening events for the upcoming World Cup 2015. The ICC will launch the opening events in both Melbourne and Christchurch on February 12, 2015. According to the ICC, the Melbourne celebration will involve World Cup players and legends, cultural and music performances, a spectacular fireworks display and a yet to be revealed 'special moment'. It will reflect the diversity and excitement of the 14 competing nations and include some icons in Australian entertainment. Melbourne will welcome the ICC

Cricket World Cup 2015 to Australia for the first time in 23 years with this Opening Event. The event will be open

for the general public and tickets will be available on a first come first served basis. The head of New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Therese Walsh said, "We've planned an opening event that will appeal to all ages and one which provides a chance for the people of Christchurch to come down to Hagley Park and celebrate their city's important role in the tournament," media reported. The Cricket World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, starting from February 14, 2015. The cup will see 14 teams representing their respective countries take part in the competition. J

PCB Chief Hopes Ajmal, Hafeez Will Play World Cup 2015

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan admitted that Pakistan cricket team is not strong for the World Cup 2015 but he hoped our team would display a better performance against big teams in the mega event. He was talking with media at the concluding ceremony of the first Malala Under-21 Women's Cricket Championship, held here on Tuesday.

Replying to a question, the PCB chairman said told that Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez themselves chose Chennai for their bio-mechanic test. However, he hoped they would fully represent Pakistan in the World Cup. Shaharyar Khan said that the Malala Under-21 Cricket Championship would again be held next year. J

Younus Idolises Miandad for 2015 World Cup

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper and middle-order batsman Younus Khan said he wants to emulate Javed Miandad at the upcoming 2015 World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand. Legendary Miandad remained a lynchpin of Pakistan batting in the 1992 World Cup despite battling with illness and injuries. Younus' stellar performance in recent times has placed him firmly in contention for the World Cup, something which was overruled by the national selectors before Pakistan departed for their lengthy tour of the UAE. "I've set a role for myself in the upcoming World Cup, I want to follow in the footsteps of Miandad; the way he played in the 1992 World Cup was pivotal for the whole team," said Younus while speaking to media at the RLCA Gulberg Ground. "As a senior player, I want to contribute in the mega event for my team, country and nation." With Shahid Afridi recently announcing his retirement from

one-day cricket after the 2015 World Cup, Younus was also asked about his plans. "I've planned out my retirement in my mind, but I don't want to disclose it right now as it will put unnecessary pressure on me," he said. The 37-year-old further revealed that the New Zealand team management and players have sent some donations and kit bags for the victims of the Peshawar Attack. More than 140 people were killed in the brutal attack on Peshawar's Army Public School and the incident left the whole world in shock. "Just like Pakistan, New Zealand were also saddened by that tragedy," explained Younus. "[Captain] Kane Williamson has donated his entire ODI series' match fee, while [pacer] Adam Milne has also contributed onematch's fee. "Additionally, two big kit bags have also been sent, which they wanted me to give away on behalf of the New Zealand team." J

Tour of Kenya: Taking Small Steps Before a Giant Leap KARACHI: Full-fledged resumption of international cricket in Pakistan is a long way off, but baby steps have been taken in the right direction after Kenya completed their five-match tour against Pakistan A safely. However, the dimensions and boundaries were very different as compared to the normal movements on an international tour. The Kenyans were accommodated in the National Cricket Academy (NCA), just a minute's walk to the Gaddafi Stadium, where all the five matches were held, and were also taken to limited cultural and political places. Although Kenyans are nowhere near the stature of Ireland or perhaps the Netherlands currently - let alone big teams - they were still an international side, even if only a shadow of their predecessors, who reached the semi-final of the 2003 World Cup. So what can Pakistan expect from

their safe and sound visit? Former Test cricketer Jalaluddin believes that it is a small step towards achieving a very big dream of bringing back international cricket to Pakistan. "The most heartening thing for me is that Kenyans have safely returned home from their tour, which was a big worry," Jalal said. "An international team - never mind its prowess - came here to play, which may attract other lower teams to try their luck as well. You cannot expect teams like India, Australia or England to come and play here instantly. But even if the likes of the Netherlands, Ireland or Zimbabwe take heart from Kenya's visit, it'll be a big boost for Pakistan cricket." Jalal, who holds the record of achieving the first-ever ODI hat-trick, also explained that Pakistan need to improve their own security situation before looking at other teams to help them break the ice.

"We shouldn't run away from the reality, because the truth is that our security has been regularly breached of late and until we don't feel safe ourselves, we can't invite others. Once the security concerns end, teams would themselves come and play here."

The Kenyans were invited as state guests and received water-tight security, and their coach Steve Tikolo urged other teams to take a leaf out of their book. "The hospitality we received in Pakistan was matchless, while our

The Kenyans were invited as state guests and received water-tight security, and their coach Steve Tikolo urged other teams to take a leaf out of their book.

security arrangements were top-notch as well," said Tikolo. "I would urge other international teams to follow our example and come to play in Pakistan. "As a cricketer, I would say that the teams and players should focus on the game and overlook the secondary issues. Although we lost the tour 5-0, the players have gained valuable experience from this visit ahead of an important tournament in January." Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman (PCB) Shaharyar Khan remained optimistic that the board will be able to host more teams next year. "We took a step which turned out to be successful and next year, we'll call more teams to tour Pakistan," said Shaharyar. "The PCB had shown, to an extent, that it can host international teams successfully, and there is a Chinese proverb that says a thousand-mile journey starts with the first step." J



Faith in Leaps: Unloved Options Have Advantages n By Saghir Aslam Rawalpindi, Pakistan

(The following information is provided solely to educate the Muslim community about investing and financial planning. It is hoped that the Ummah will benefit from this effort through greater financial empowerment, enabling the community to live in security and dignity and fulfill their religious and moral obligations towards charitable activities) Maybe because “long-term options” has a faintly oxymoronic ring, Leaps are in many ways the forgotten cousin of the options family. The acronym for Long-term Equity Anticipation Securities, Leaps haven’t generated the kind of volume or excitement the exchanges had hoped they would. The reasons typically offered for their underwhelming reception include less-than-ideal pricing, owing to the reluctance of sellers for up to two years. Then there’s the point that investors are generally attracted to options for their flexibility in facilitating short-term market views. But Leaps-which cover individual stocks and turn into gardenvariety options as their annual JanFIGHT FROM P4

be at least 60% political engagement and compromise with the Pashtun tribes and 40% military action against extremists. Pakistanis should not repeat 1971 where it was 5% political maneuvering and 95% military action with disastrous results. Last but not least let us not underestimate this vicious enemy, one which has to be overcome if Pakistan is to remain a part of the civilizedfree world. These savages have killed our children this time possibly to provoke an all-out war against the tribes. Desperation is setting in and that is why they have hit the softest target they could find. The lives of these innocent children taken from us should remind everyone that extremism needs to be fought militarily, politically and socially. The enemy is deep inside Pakistan and this is a fight to the finish. MASSACRE FROM P7

Taliban who calls himself commander of the faithful, divides his time between Quetta and Karachi... The Haqqani network keeps an office in Rawalpindi...” What Mr Riedel has said is not new but it becomes highly significant in the wake of the APS attack and the resolve that the Pakistani civil and military leadership is expressing to go after all terrorists without distinction. The litmus test of the Pakistani leadership’s sincerity and success would actually be whether it cuts the Afghan Taliban and its Haqqani network affiliates loose, hands over Mullah Omar to Afghanistan and puts an end to LeT leaders professing jihadism from national monuments. Unless action is taken against all these hideous shades of terrorism, neither the massacre in my city will be the last one nor would it be the last city to go through such horror. PS: General Sharif is off to Kabul apparently to demand extradition

uary expiration approaches-have their fans, who like them for the relatively rich income available to Leap sellers or as a lower-cost way to control a stock. I have been using Leap strategies for years and it has paid off handsomely. I use Leaps to deploy spread strategies, such as buying a stock while selling a long-term call, buying a leap call and continuously selling short-term calls against it, or buying and selling Leap calls at different strike prices-all with an eye toward generating plenty of income. By selling Leaps, I take advantage of the somewhat elevated prices on options with maturities as far as three years out, which provides some downside cushion to stock positions, throws off income and profits from any erosion in the option premium over time. In the straight-up market of a couple of years ago, this strategy was often compromised as stocks shot higher through strike prices, of the TTP chief, Mullah Fazlullah, whom Pakistan claims is in Afghanistan and orchestrated the APS attack. (The writer can be reached at and he tweets @ mazdaki) WASEEM FROM P21

maintenance of an effective, efficient and satisfied Police force, and the Fire Department. Often small cities are fund-starved. How these issues are resolved will determine how well the Council Members and the new Mayor, Mr John Chavez, are qualified, and how creative they all are. Waseem, we all pray, would bring a good name to the Muslim community through his dedication and his quality of service like he has done so for. Waseem Ahmed has served the community and residents of City of Chowchilla, County of Madera, California, for many years and a few of his services are: 1- Two terms President of Chowchilla District Chamber of Commerce 2- Two terms Planning Commissioner for City of Chowchilla 3- Currently serving as an active member of the County of Madera workforce development Corporation Board Local friends and residents encouraged him to represent City of Chowchilla as a Council member and he decided to run and won the November 2014 local election with a good margin. He is ready to take responsibilities as a Council member to represent the City and is looking forward to work with local residents to solve their problems. Waseem has the necessary insight to understand what it takes to bring jobs and generate tax revenue to balance the budget. As a City Council member, he wants to improve public safety and transparency of financial accountability.

forcing me to unwind covered-call positions and often take quick taxable gains in the underlying stocks. In the current, more churning market, I am able to generate substantial tax savings by buying back options for gains rather than selling stocks. I look for big-cap stocks that have been on the move for some fundamental reason. Example: I look at stocks when they get crunched. Using the expansive time horizon that Leaps permit, I figured that selected company certainly will be around for years to come, so I buy the stock and sell the Leap calls against it for the week or two when the premium richness persisted, making selling prices attractive. (Saghir A. Aslam only explains strategies and formulas that he has been using. He is merely providing information, and NO ADVICE is given. Mr Aslam does not endorse or recommend any broker, brokerage firm, or any investment at all, nor does he suggest that anyone will earn a profit when or if they purchase stocks, bonds or any other investments. All stocks or investment vehicles mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. Mr Aslam is not an attorney, accountant, real estate broker, stockbroker, investment advisor, or certified financial planner. Mr Aslam does not have anything for sale.)

Marriage Support Hidaya Foundation supports impoverished families who are trying to get their daughters married by providing basic items necessary for newlywed girls, including dresses, shoes, utensils, bedding, fans, sewing machines, and more, along with some financial assistance to offset marriage expenses. Depending on the region, it costs approximately $200 to $300 to support the marriage of one young woman.

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misty eyes and in a disgruntled mood. “I was stunned to see images of the devastated Army Public School. Parents and relatives of the victim children could not talk. One of our colleagues during a live TV coverage of the scene of tragedy on the next day lost words. His voice got choked as he could not control his emotions,” said Wisal Yousafzai, a young reporter. Dr Altafullah Khan, the chairman of department of mass communication and journalism, University of Peshawar said that four young journalists had approached the newly established trauma center at the department to rehabilitate the traumatized reporters. “Journalists, who are working under trying circumstances need sessions regarding traumatic situation. Two professional counselors are in close liaison with the department to provide need-based advice to the affected reporters. On every incident, reporters are the first to arrive even before rescuers or forces so they are the direct victim of the trauma,” he said. The parents, society members, teachers, journalists and religious scholars should join hands to help the children to drive away mental trauma. “It is a fight or flight moment. We need to focus on our future generation so that we could have a safe country in safe hands,” said Dr Mufti. PTI FROM P13

He said the party wanted “a policy and timeframe for the return of the Afghan refugees to their country as they have become a burden on the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”. The PTI has called for better “coordination with the armed forces” and steps for a “counter-narrative to the justification of terrorist activities, particularly as and when religion is used”, according to the draft which Dr Alvi has posted on his personal website.

Buying Rs. 100.10 26.66 0.8377 122.56 27.25

Selling Rs. 100.30 26.72 0.8394 122.81 27.31

(*December 22, 2014)

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Righteous Actions and Righteous Activism n By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Gems from the Holy Qur’an


r ay, ‘Take action! Allah will see your action – as will His Messenger and the believers – and then you will be returned to Him who knows what is hidden and what is seen, and He will tell you what you have been doing. (al-Tawbah 9:105)

O Messengers! Eat good things and do good deeds: I am well aware of what you do. This Community of yours is one community and I am your Lord, so be mindful of me. (alMu’minun 23:51-52) Islam emphasizes right beliefs and right actions. Islam is an action oriented religion. It wants its followers to be active, work hard, but always do right and good deeds. Whatever we do we must do with the consciousness of Allah and with the conviction that Allah is seeing everything that we do and on the Day of Judgment all our deeds will be presented before Him for His final judgment. In Islam there is no sharp division between the secular work and religious work. All work is religious if it is done with the awareness of Allah, observing the rules of Allah and for the benefit of His creation. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said, “If the end of the world approaches and one of you has a seedling (or plant) in his hand, if he can plant it before the end comes let him do it.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 12512) This Hadith gives us a clear perspective on Islamic attitude towards action and activism. The Prophet –peace be upon him- in a very simple and profound way told us the way of righteous activism. The Prophet did not say, “If the end approaches, give up everything, go to the mosque and just pray. Give up all worldly business.” He gave us a new perspective about work and action. First thing emphasized here is that the good deeds have their intrinsic value. Good deeds are important and we should always do good deeds. Of course this does not mean that all actions are of the same value, or we should not prioritize. Islam has given us

From the translation by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss) (Recently, a media talk show host, well known for his anti-Muslim bias, saw it fit to make scornful remarks against the Qur’an on TV. In these columns, selections from this Holy Book will be published, so that unacquainted readers of the Pakistan Link may be able to judge for themselves.)

clear rules of what is obligatory, what is recommended, what is forbidden and what is not recommended. Shari’ah teaches us priorities and we must keep this in mind in all circumstances. Second, the Hadith emphasizes that we should take advantage of all the opportunities we have to do good and valuable things. We should not miss the opportunities. We should understand all situations and whatever chance we have we should do good deeds. Also none of us knows when the end of the world will be. One may think that end is near, but it may not be. Only Allah knows when the end will be. So whatever time we have we should keep doing right things and good deeds. Third, the Hadith tells us that doing a good deed itself is important, whether we are able to see the results or not. We should not be too obsessed with the desire that results must be achieved immediately, or we must see the results. Some results are obtained immediately and some later, but our ultimate objective is to please Allah and find His acceptance in

the Hereafter. We are not indifferent to results, but we are not obsessed with the desire for immediate achievement in everything. This principle saves us from the mistaken view that says, ‘ends justify the means.’ In Islam the rule is that the ends must be right and means must be right. If the means are not Halal or appropriate, they should not be used. There are many important Islamic principles regarding actions that our scholars have emphasized. Let me summarize the basic Islamic philosophy of action: 1. Deeds must be righteous. In order to know what is righteous, Allah has given us two main sources: the Naql (the Qur’an and Sunnah) and ‘Aql (mind and reason). The deeds must be in accordance with the divine revelation and Prophetic guidance. The deeds must be also reasonable. Everything must be done with wisdom (hikmah) and keeping in mind the basic objectives (maqasid) of Islam. The Ulama’ have identified the objectives as: protection and promotion of: religion, life, mind, property and family. 2. Righteous actions include all kind of actions, devotional, moral, social, economic, political, etc. Righteous actions are those that are beneficial, good and useful; and righteous actions are also those that remove harm, evil and injustice. 3. Whatever action we take we must consider that the benefits

should outweigh the potential harm. Avoiding harm has priority over potential benefit. The meaning is that when taking any action, we should carefully see whether there is more harm or benefit. If there is more harm than benefit, and/ or if the harm is more certain then the benefit then we must not take that action. 4. A harm of lesser intensity is acceptable if it can avoid a greater harm and the benefit of the larger public is more important than the benefit of an individual. Actually an individual harm may be tolerable if it can save harming the general public. 5. Whatever actions are taken they should be with sincerity (ikhlas) and in an excellent manner (itqan). The actions should be taken with knowledge, wisdom, planning and care. In Islam there is no place for rash, radical or extreme actions. Allah says in the Qur’an that He appointed Prophet Muhammd –peace be upon him- as His Messenger to do the following: It is He who raised a Messenger among the Ummiyyin from amongst them, to recite His revelations to them, to make them grow in spirituality and teach them the scripture and wisdom – before that they were clearly astray. (AlJumu’ah 62:2) The commentators of the Qur’an say that the word ‘wisdom’ (hikmah) here means the Sunnah. Whatever the Prophet said, did and approved was full of wisdom. Wisdom is in the Sunnah and Sunnah also teaches how to take wise actions. Prophet Muhammad –peace be upon him- lived, and practiced Islam in the wisest manner. He always emphasized that which was good, balanced and appropriate. Allah says, Thus We have made you a middle community so that you may bear witness (to the truth) before others and so that the Messenger may bear witness (to it) before you… (Al-Baqarah 2:143) Khutbah at ISOC – Jumada al-Ula 4, 1432/ April 8, 2011

About the translator: Muhammad Asad, Leopold Weiss, was born of Jewish parents in Livow, Austria (later Poland) in 1900, and at the age of 22 made his first visit to the Middle East. He later became an outstanding foreign correspondent for the Franfurter Zeitung, and after his conversion to Islam travelled and worked throughout the Muslim world, from North Africa to as far East as Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. After years of devoted study he became one of the leading Muslim scholars of our age. His translation of the Holy Qur’an is one of the most lucid and well-referenced works in this category. Chapter 20, Verses 25 - 35 Said [Moses]: “Open up my heart [to Thy light], and make my task easy for me, and loosen the knot from my tongue so that they might fully understand my speech, and appoint for me, out of my kinsfolk, one who will help me to bear my burden: Aaron, my brother. Add Thou through him to my strength, and let him share my task, so that [together] we might abundantly extol Thy limitless glory and remember Thee without cease! Verily, Thou seest all that is within us!” Chapter 20, Verses 49 - 50 [But when God’s message was conveyed unto Pharaoh,] he said: “Who, now, is this Sustainer of you two, O Moses?” He replied: “Our Sustainer is He who gives unto every thing [that exists] its true nature and form, and thereupon guides it [towards its fulfilment].” Chapter 20, Verses 80 – 82 O children of Israel! [Thus] We saved you from your enemy, and [then] We made a covenant with you on the right-hand slope of Mount Sinai, and repeatedly sent down manna and quails unto you, [saying,] “Partake of the good things which We have provided for you as sustenance, but do not transgress therein the bounds of equity lest My condemnation fall upon you: for, he upon whom My condemnation falls has indeed thrown himself unto utter ruin!” Yet withal, I forgive all sins unto any who repents and attains to faith and does righteous deeds, and thereafter keeps to the right path. Chapter 20, Verse 131 And never turn thine eyes [with longing] towards whatever splendour of this world’s life We may have allowed so many others to enjoy in order that We might test them thereby: for the sustenance which thy Sustainer provides [for thee] is better and more enduring.



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him by name. “If our women and children died as martyrs your children will not escape. If you attack us we will take revenge for the innocents.” The Taliban say the attack, in which children were summarily executed and at least one was teacher burned alive, was revenge for attacks by the Pakistani army. But the school attack has left the nation shaken and angry, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to bring the killers to justice. Even the Afghanistan wing of the Taliban condemned the attack. But Pakistan’s Taliban spokesman Mohammed Umar Khorasanin said the assault at Army Public School was “a revenge attack” for the army’s offensive. “We targeted the school because the army targets our families,” he said in a statement. “We want them to feel our pain.” Reuters interviewed a half-dozen Pakistani Taliban members, who all confirmed the mastermind was Mansoor. Four said he is close to Mullah Fazlullah, the terrorist who ordered the attack on schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived and won a Nobel Peace Prize. “He strictly follows the principles of jihad,” one source said of Mansoor. “He is strict in principles, but very kind to his juniors. He is popular among the juniors because of his bravery and boldness.” SACRAMENTO FROM P22

Ibrahim, Irfan Haq of COSVIO along with Basim Elkarra all added a great deal to the event with their speeches. But it was our community children themselves who presented the icing on the cake as Khizar, Zainub, Zaina and Usaid shared their own thoughts on this tragedy. These kids represent the future of our community and with God’s blessings it appears to be in good hands. The closing prayer was presented by Imam Qasmi of the Sacramento Downtown Muslim Mosque. He said that by killing these school children the perpetrators of this heinous act have violated just about every tenet of our religion. To conclude, this vigil was held at the California State Capitol footsteps within a short distance of the brightly lit Christmas tree, an annual tradition which signifies joy in our lovely state of California. But for us Pakistani-Americans most of the joy of the season has been extinguished by terrorism. It is as if the lights on our trees have been turned off and the night is long and dark. PRESIDENT FROM P1

over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ’s decision to call off its protracted Islamabad sit-ins. A strategy has been devised on how to benefit from this situation and convince Chinese companies to come to Pakistan and undertake various projects. PM Nawaz, during his meeting with the delegation said that postponement of President Xi Jinping’s visit in September was unfortunate and the people of Pakistan are eagerly looking forward to welcoming the president soon. The delegation also met Shahbaz Sharif along with members of Punjab’s cabinet and party leadership. RALLY FROM P1

demanding that he resign over alleged rigging in last year’s polls. ZARDARI FROM P1

group of PPP leaders during his stay

DECEMBER 26, 2014 – PAKISTAN LINK – P29 in Lahore that the party’s relations with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement soured because of Bilawal’s “indiscreet statements” and that he had advised his son to temporarily keep himself away from politics. A senior PPP leader told Dawn that differences between the father and the son had cropped up over party affairs. “Mr Bilawal appointed Jehangir Badr and Bashir Riaz his political adviser and press secretary, respectively, without consulting Mr Zardari,” he said, adding that although Mr Zardari did not question the choice, he told Mr Bilawal that he would be given a freehand to run the party affairs once he was fully groomed. “Mr Zardari wants his 26-year-old son to be groomed under his leadership, but Bilawal wants complete independence over party affairs,” he said. When contacted, Mr Zardari’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said he would come to know about Mr Bilawal’s return on Tuesday. But he disclosed Mr Zardari was coming back to attend the main event to be held in Garhi Khuda Bhaksh. In reply to a question about Mr Zardari’s effort to reconcile with his son, Mr Babar said, “Any report about reconciliation that presupposes differences between the father and the son is itself misplaced.” CASE FROM P1

joint trial with a co-accused, as it is only the right of the prosecution to decide who is to be prosecutd. They further stated that the application filed by Gen Musharraf was based on assumptions, as there was no concrete evidence on record that concluded any other person had collaborated, aided or abetted Musharraf in imposing the state of emergency in 2007. After hearing arguments from all parties, Justice Minallah restrained the special court from hearing the treason case and adjourned the matter till February 3. After the said date, the hearing of the case will take place on a daily basis. Earlier, the government had suggested that Justice Minallah constitute a larger bench to hear petitions against the order of the special court in regard to implicating abettors in the treason case. Attorney General Afnan Karim Kundi, representing the federal government, suggested that a larger bench of the IHC hear the case instead of a single-member bench, since the special court comprises three high court judges. PLAN FROM P1

and literature and underscored the need for reforms in the religious seminaries. The working group suggested action through monitoring internet activities of terrorists by the Federal Investigation Agency. It also asked the government to protect religious minorities and cancel all licenses for explosive material. The working group urged the government to strengthen the provincial government of Balochistan for political reconciliation and take the ongoing Karachi operation to its logical end. The experts also recommended that act of praising terrorists through electronic and print media should be considered a crime.

It is expected that the antiterrorism plan would materialized within two weeks of its approval. CITIES FROM P1

time we got rid of this menace,” the PM was quoted as saying. He further said that the government would not make a distinction between terrorists and those who supported them — an apparent reference to sympathizers and allies of groups such as the TTP. The government’s resolve to target sectarian groups along with militant outfits was apparent from Mr Sharif ’s pledge to bring to justice the perpetrators of Quetta’s Hazara Town and the Peshawar church carnage. “Decisive action would be taken against terrorists who spilled the blood of innocent people in Hazara Town and the Peshawar church attacks,” he said. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) had claimed responsibility for the Hazara Town attacks in January and February last year, while Jundullah — a group affiliated with TTP — had taken responsibility for the deadly bombing of Peshawar’s All Saints Church in September 2013. A senior security source, familiar with discussions on the national counter-terrorism plan, said that the PM was referring to a broader counter-extremism operation that was being planned. “The threat is much larger and no longer limited to the tribal areas. We will have to go after terrorist sympathizers and abettors within society,” he said. The source said that the action plan would be in addition to “hardcore kinetic operations”. Criminalizing hate material: Meanwhile, a joint working group formed to propose changes in the legal and administrative counter-terrorism framework, on Monday, finalized its draft recommending the enactment of a law to make the printing and distribution of hate material a cognizable offence. The group, which consists of representatives from intelligence agencies, security experts and former bureaucrats, met here to put the final touches to a set of proposals. It also recommended banning religious and sectarian journals guilty of fanning sectarian disharmony and glorifying known terrorists, a participant of the meeting told Dawn. It also proposed the enactment of an appropriate law which, if passed, would mean the blackout of terrorists from the media and TV channels and newspapers projecting their views will have to face action. The group also proposed that terrorists, their abettors and supporters be defined in the new law. The group will submit its draft proposals to the anti-terrorism national action plan committee headed by the interior minister – which had been given a week’s deadline to come up with an action plan to effectively counter the menace of terrorism. An official of the Interior Ministry said that some a d m i n i s t r at i v e decisions taken to deal with terrorism had already been implemented, but gave no details. Answering a question, he said a proposal to hold cellular companies

COAS General Raheel (right) meets with AHA Chief General Sher Muhammad Karimi and Isaf Commander John Campbell

Gen Raheel, Afghan Army Chief & ISAF Commander Meet Rawalpindi: Chief of General Staff of the Afghan National Army (ANA) General Sher Muhammad Karimi, along with Commander of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) John Cambell, called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release. The visiting dignitaries expressed their grief over the Peshawar school carnage in which 149 innocent lives were lost, including 133 children. The Afghan army chief and the Isaf commander assured their full support in the war against terrorism as well as in eliminating terrorists on Afghan soil. In the wake of the Army Public School massacre, Gen Raheel had made an unscheduled visit to Kabul to share vital intelligence responsible for the issuance of SIMs that are used in terrorism, was being mulled. He said that consultations with cellular companies to develop an appropriate mechanism would take place soon. He said that cellular companies would be asked to block all SIMs issued without verification. He said the cellular companies would also be asked to devise an appropriate policy for providing roaming facility on SIMs issued from Afghanistan, pointing out that such SIMs had been used in various extortion cases and threats were given in case of a failure to comply with the demands.

with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and General John Campbell. Gen Raheel had sought Kabul’s help to extradite top Tehreeki-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah who is wanted for terrorism cases in Pakistan. He received assurances from the Afghan government and Isaf for action against a Kunar-based Taliban splinter group which is believed to be behind the Peshawar school attack. The US State Department had also said that Washington would welcome increased cooperation with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. Appreciating the recent operations by Afghan forces against Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) in areas close to the Pak-Afghan Border, Gen Raheel vowed to extend full support to General Karimi and Commander Campbell in all spheres, including intelligence sharing as well as coordinated operations by both sides. The trilateral meeting discussed the overall security situation in the region, matters relating to coordination on the Pak-Afghan border and protocols placed to improve border control. Both General Karimi and the Isaf commander acknowledged that due to the successful and non-discriminatory Zarb-i-Azb operation of security forces, the Pakistan Army’s operational gains were appreciable and terrorist networks had been seriously degraded.




fter what has been a fruitful year for Pakistani celebrities to work across the border,

he shares more about the upcoming venture. "Producer Shamik Basu scouted

another welcome name added to the roster is that of Shahroz Sabzwari, who will soon be making his Bollywood debut in acclaimed Bengali director Riingo Banerjee's upcoming project titled Luv Story. Speaking to Dawn on the phone,

me after coming across my Hum TV Awards performance as well as a few pictures. He said he wanted to launch me into Bollywood which was obviously great news to me," shares Shahroz. "There are so many superstars going to Bollywood and it is


such a monumental opportunity." The modest actor is quick to add: "Not that I'm a superstar. Nonetheless, it was nice to know someone was willing to put that kind of faith in me." He further said: "Basu and I looked at a couple of scripts but nothing clicked, nothing was strong enough for a debut until the script for Luv Story came along." "I'm also really excited to work with Riingo as he will be making his debut in Bollywood as well. He is essentially a Bengali director and I have immense respect for that industry, as it is full of highly-educated individuals and has produced brilliant filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray." However, the movie didn't just fall into the lap of Khata's leading man. "Riingo liked my look and thought I suited the character. However, I wasn't instantly cast. They were looking at other options and about a month after I sent over audition tapes from Pakistan that [my wife] Syra (Yousef) helped me record did I learn that I had been selected for the role. It's truly an honour because the project will be commercial enter-

tainment without losing the essence of the art of filmmaking." Luv Story also stars Riya Sen, Zarina Wahab, Aryann, Bidita Beg and Mukesh Tiwari among others. The film's plot revolves around three friends - Luv (Sabzwari), Madan Chetri aka MC (Aryann) and Kushali (Beg) - who grow up in an orphanage in Kalimpong and the dynamics of their relationships. Zarina's character adopts Luv after her son's death. After a murder takes place, Luv becomes the prime suspect and the plot thickens.

Taking the path less travelled, the 29-year-old model emphasises that it's not a typicalmasala movie and explains: "I feel like it's important to establish yourself as an actor first and foremost. The Khans (Shahrukh, Salman, Amir), they are who they are because they proved their acting chops first so now they can do masala movies and still be taken seriously." Shahroz confirmed that he would be travelling to India in early January to do press conferences and shooting for the movie will start towards the end of that month. Courtesy Dawn




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