Indian Army Officer Charged in Bombings in India

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An Indian army officer is among 11 people to have been charged in connection with a bombing in western India in 2008~

7 people were killed as a result of his actions and more than 100 people were also injured in the blast in the predominantly Muslim town of Malegaon.

 Among the list of accused are also a retired army major and some Hindu activists and right wing nuts.

Blamed on Islamic militants, several cities across India were plauged by bombings.

Questions about a Fair Trial

The accused policeman is Lt Col Srikant Purohit, who was the first serving Indian army officer to be arrested in connection with a bombing in India’s history.

 

Charges against him and 10 others in a special court for aiding, abetting and conspiring to carry out the blasts in September last year.

In a surprising twist, another of the accused is a female Hindu priest.

According to their pleadings, all 11 have denied the allegations leveled against them.

 Police are alleging that the accused had links with a Hindu group that conspired to attack Muslims in the region.

Many groups such as the Bharatiya Janata Party and other Hindu nationalist groups have questioned the allegations and have demanded that the accused receive a fair trial in India’s courts.

Across the nation the press and the people are talking and shocked that a serving member of India’s army could be involved in terror and destruction in a country where he himself as a soldier is also sworn to protect.  Meanwhile Pakistani groups and Kashmiri activists point to this example of cases where Muslim groups are not involved in any bombings or killings but get blamed nonetheless. An annonymous source within a NGO stated that until there is an honest effort on part of both the Indian and Pakistani governments, a lasting peace will never be achieved in South Asia.

INDIA-BOMBS/HINDUS

Report filed from Orlando, FL by Manzer Munir

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Temporary Halt in Bombings

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January 19, 2009, Israel announced a cease-fire after 22 days of utter
chaos and destruction in Gaza.  Twelve hours later, Palestinian
militants followed suite and declared a week long cease-fire.  More
than 1300 people have died of which 1% are Israelis.
Earlier, a summit hosted  by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, called on International leaders to
discuss the crisis and its resolutions.

Also present were Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and UN
chief Ban Ki-moon.   Although no concrete resolutions came at the end
of the summit, each side did make its own unilateral declaration of
a cease fire.  Still far from any permanent peace agreement the Israelis and
Palestinians each declared their demands.  Israel demands a complete
halt to the missile attacks on their Southern border by Hamas or any
Palestinian militants.  Hamas wants Israel to withdraw from the Gaza
strip within a week and to remove all bans and allow access to
humanitarian needs.  Or as stated by Charles Clayton, the national
director of World Vision Jerusalem, an aid group, an “18-month
blockade of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza,” needs to come to an
end.  And he added that this blockade has “devastated the economy,
halted services, aisraels-wailing-wall2nd rendered the people of Gaza entirely dependent on
humanitarian aid.”  In the near future, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has planned
a meeting in Jerusalem.  Leaders of the UK, France, Germany, Italy,
Spain and the Czech Republic are expected to attend.  What, if any,
positive outcome will be reached at this meeting, remains to be seen.  As always, unless all sides are true and honest at the negotiating table, there will not be any lasting peace between these two long warring tribes of the children of Abraham.  Pakistanis for Peace calls on its Jewish and Muslim brothers in both countries to sit down and make an ever lasting peace with the help of perhaps the most important American President since FDR coming into office in Washington DC on Tuesday January 20, 2009. These two groups of people need to realize that with Secretary Clinton and President Obama on board, they have true allies in Real and Everlasting Peace and Never a better time than now to attain it. The Jews and the Muslims greet each other the same way when they meet their families or friends on the street. They say “Shalom” and the Muslims say “Salaam”. Both mean “Peace” in Hebrew and Arabic. Interesting that such a common word and form of greeting and salutation can be so uncommon in the lands of Jesus. Let’s continue to hope for peace in the region on the eve of this historic presidency in the United States across the Atlantic.

President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States

President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States

 

As  reported by Manzer Munir in Orlando, FL USA and Taneem Ali and M. Lameesa Ali in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Two Weeks of Conflict in the Middle East

 

It’s been about 15 days of fighting now.  Over 828 Palestinians are
dead of which 235 were children, 92 women and 62 elderly.  On Israel’s
side, 13 civilians and 10 soldiers have died.

This pointless brutality must stop.  The UN continues to call for a
cease fire.  Is it possible that Israel and Hamas may finally listen
and obey?  Israel claims that the operation is in its final days.
Hamas is still firing rockets into Southern Israel, down from the
50-30 range from 2 weeks ago to about 17 today.

The past 2 weeks have brought many conflictiing stories.  After the
air raids, Israel started an all out ground offensive on Hamas.  This
brought the onslaught of many Palestinians.  January 6th, Israel
bombed a UN school which was sheltering many Palestinians, mainly
children.  The UN had done its part and informed the Israelis of the
school’s coordinates.  The Israelis claim that there were Hamas
militants firing from the school and so they retaliated.  Witnesses
claim there were no Hamas militants and Chris Gunness, a spokesman for
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said that they are
99.9% sure that there were no such militants at the school.  The UN
run agency made vital atempts to investigate and seek the truth where
as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did not send troops to the school
for any such investigation.  But they claimed that two of Hamas’
militants, Iman and Hassan Abu Askar, were killed in the school. Since
the UNRWA lost aid workers, they annouced a halt to provide any aid.
What an absolute mess.  Loss of life based on miscommunication or loss
of life
due to carelessness.

Regardless of who’s claims are correct or not, Pakistanis for Peace
stands for peace.  We want to see an end to the bloodshed.  Death and
destruction for either side is not the answer.

India accuses Pakistani government agencies for Mumbai Attacks

 

India today accused Pakistan and more specifically Pakistani government agencies such as the spy agency ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) for complicity in the Mumbai attacks in November of 2008 that killed more than 170 people. Prime Minsister of India, Manmohan Singh, said that the Mumbai attacks must have had some official support from the Pakistani government. He also accused Pakistan of  “whipping up war hysteria” with its citizens by having war exercises and being on a high state of readiness.

Speaking to a meeting of chief ministers of various Indian states, Mr Singh said that the  “sophistication and military precision of the attack it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan”.

India says the men who carried out the attack were from the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which according to some analysts has longstanding links with Pakistan’s top spy agency, ISI.

Both LeT and Pakistan have denied any involvement in the attacks.

On Monday, Delhi handed to Islamabad evidence on the attacks said to include the interrogation of the surviving gunman, details of phone conversations between the attackers and weapons information.

The Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi, said on Tuesday: “India has given us some material, we are examining it. There is no question of rejection or otherwise.” Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani promised to punish any Pakistani citizens if any “credible evidence” was found against them.

It remains to be seen if the evidence presented to Pakistan by the Indian government has enough proof to implicate any Pakistani citizens or even any Pakistani government involvement in the Mumbai attacks. As is often the case, the two sides trade accusations whenever there is attacks in their own countries. Too often Pakistan blames India and Indian government agencies in attacks that have happened inside Pakistan. Similarly, the Indian government has accused Pakistan in many other attacks in its borders such as the attacks at the Indian Parliment in 2001.

Unfortunately, the accusations of involvement by both sides in attacks of terror in each other’s territory is not new. The lack of trust and understanding between two neighbors who share more than just a long border is disheartening. Nowhere else in the world are there two border countries who have weapons of mass destruction and a lit fuse away from total mutual anhilation. Even North and South Korea have thousands of US troops and UN monitors helping prevent an accidental all out war whereas India and Pakistan have no such controls in place. Another incident like the Mumbai attacks can lead to an all out war that South Asia and the world can ill afford.

We would like to see Pakistan and India resolve their main dispute, namely Kashmir. Until the Kashmir issue is resolved, the accusations traded between the two countries and the constant mistrust between the two nations will continue and get worse. The people of India and Pakistan share the same language, culture, race, and customs. The difference in religious beliefs should not be such a dividing factor that it has been since partition in 1947 of the sub-continent. We hope and pray that the leaders of the two countries come to a realization during the aftermath of these horrible attacks in Mumbai that the only real solution between the two nations is peace as war is NOT an option considering the nuclear weapons that both countries possess. One can only hope that the leaders of the two countries come to this realization before it is too late.

Reported by Manzer Munir in Orlando, FL, USA.

Pakistan moves troops from Afghan border to Indian border

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The US government today acknowledged that Pakistan has began shifting troops from Afghanistan border on its west to the east and the long border with India due to heightened tensions between the two countries following the Mumbai blasts of last month. There are confirmed reports inside Pakistan of the elevated national security concerns within Pakistan as well as sightings of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets seen patroling the border over Lahore Pakistan using US made F-16’s. US commanders in Afghanistan are worried that Pakistani troops going to the Indian border will leave them undermanned in helping fight the insurgency within Afghanistan.

As a Pakistani American with family and friends in both India and Pakistan, I am very concerned. Not only because they have nuclear weapons aimed at each other and share a huge border! But also because it is against our vital interests in the US to see south Asia explode and much of East and West Asia as well as parts of Europe affected by a nuclear holucast caused by an all out war between the two nations.

Furthermore, we need Pakistan to continue to help our American troops and personnel in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and Bin Laden’s boys and do not need the Pakistanis to lose their focus on the war in Afghanistan against the terrorists on Pakistan’s west border with Afghanistan. So, India to the east sharing a huge border and Afghanistan to the west with another war going on over there, it is too much even for one of the largest armies in the world (Pakistan) to deal with considering how easily India could win a war with Pakistan. It would obviously come at a very very steep price and God Willing incoming president Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton will be up to the job of diffusing the most dangerous situation in the world when it comes to Pakistan and India.

Please check back often for near daily updates on the situation from a grassroots level as we at Pakistanis for Peace have friends on the ground in both countries monitoring the situation. Website Pakistanisforpeace.com launching soon where this blog will be integrated. Until then, please continue to visit us here at wordpress.

https://pakistanisforpeace.wordpress.com

Also, join us on Facebook under groups: Pakistanis for Peace.

Thanks and lets pray for peace on Earth or at least in some very dangerous places! Ameen.

Kashmir- The wedge beteween India and Pakistan

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The troubled history between India and Pakistan can be traced back to the partition of the subcontinent back in 1947. At the time of the independence of the two countries from Britian, it was decided that the majority of the lands where Muslims lived, would become the country of Pakistan and the remaining Hindu majority states would be a part of India. Therefore the map of the present day countries reflects these boundaries. Except for Kashmir. This was and is a Muslim majority state within pre-independence India. As per the partition guidelines, Kashmir should have become a part of Muslim majority Pakistan. Islamabad said Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan in 1947 because of the province’s Muslim majority.
In October 1947, Pakistani-backed tribesmen invaded Kashmir.

The ruler of the state of Kashmir at the time, a Hindu, turned to India for help and agreed to sign over some of his powers in return for military support and a UN-supervised referendum. However, India reneged on its promise and the referendum never happened.

The first Indo-Pakistani war started with the October 1947 incursion and the arrival of Indian forces in Kashmir to repel the Pakistanis.

The conflict ended in January 1949. A ceasefire line – now known as the Line of Control – was agreed and the UN recommended a referendum on accession. Again, the referendum allowing the Kashmiris to decide on their own fate never materialized.

A 2nd war between the two nations broke out again in 1965 over Kashmir after a Pakistani offensive across the line of control.

Recently there was another near all out war, known as the Kargil conflict, this was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
Fortunately the conflict was defused and an all out war was avoided.

fast forward to the recent attacks on Mumbai and the carnage left by the terrorists and deaths of many people. The main reason for the tensions and conflict between the two countries and even the recent attacks goes back to the Kashmir issue. The two countries and the people of this area will never have peace unless and until the issue of Kashmir is resolved. We propose that there be a referrendum and let the people of Kashmir decide whether they want to be with India, Pakistan or independent. If that is not a favorable solution to both sides, then at the very least allow for an autonomous zone with open borders that allows relatives on both sides to come and go. Only a peaceful solution to Kashmir can rid the area of violence and terrorism and we at Pakistanis for Peace support a peaceful solution to this long simmering conflict.

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India Pull out of Pakistan Cricket Tour for 2009

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Well we have received news today that the Indian cricket team will not be touring Pakistan in early 2009. They were due to arrive in Pakistan on 4 January 2009 for three Tests, five one-day games and a Twenty20 international. But due to the request of the Indian government, the Indian cricket board canceled the Tour of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s cricket board issued a statement stating that they were disappointed with the decision of the Indian cricket board and that they are not fully surprised by it.

Indian sports minister MS Gill made the final call on cancelling the tour, with the government’s Ministry of External Affairs having already refused permission for a junior hockey team to travel to Pakistan.

“We received a communication from the government stating that in the present circumstances, it is not feasible to tour Pakistan,” said Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) official Ratnakar Shetty.

Meanwhile, he denied that the decision could damage the next Cricket World Cup, which is meant to be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“It will not affect the 2011 World Cup as that is a different tournament,” he said.
We still maintain sport should not be mixed with politics he said.

It is pretty hard to argue with the decision made by India. You can not play friendly sports matches with a country that may be directly or indirectly involved and responsible for the deaths of many people. Although this cricket diplomacy has been lauded in the past for helping improve relations between the two countries, it is fairly obvious to see why the Indian government reacted this way.

We at Pakistanis for Peace believe that although these games help strengthen the relations between the two countries, it makes absolutely no sense that during this time of crisis the two countries proceed with the matches without resolving some basic sense of security and peace between the two nations. We hope that due to the horrific attacks in Mumbai recently, both countries sit down in earnest and work on a long term peaceful solution to their issues, mainly Kashmir. Only then can the citizens of both countries truly enjoy peace and prosperity and an occasional cricket match between the cricket mad countries.

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