Posts Tagged ‘ India ’

India and Pakistan to discuss relations at NAM meeting in Egypt

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt- The prime ministers of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM) in Egypt this week inviting hopes of a resumption of peace talks between the two nuclear armed neighbors.

The NAM consists of 118 member countries of developing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and make up almost 60% of the world population.  NAM countries consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major country or power bloc such as NATO.

The importance of this meeting between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani is that this is only the second high level meeting between the Indian and Pakistani leaders since the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.  At least 173 people were killed and more than 300 wounded by terrorist attacks blamed on Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Since the attacks, the relations between India and Pakistan worsened dramatically as India demanded Pakistan take action against the responsible parties. This week Pakistan announced that it will “probably” put the five accused attackers in its custody on trial next week. This is welcome news for the Indian government which has predictably  tied any improvement in relations with Pakistan on the prosecution of the accused for the attacks as well as curbing of violence on Indian soil from the Pakistan based militants.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has its hands full on its own soil when it comes to stopping the militants let alone preventing violence from groups inside its terroritory from carrying out attacks in India. But a willingness to fully prosecute any individuals or groups apprehended as well as dismantling the infrastructure of these organizations will go a long way in showing good faith to India in resuming a comprehensive peace agreement with its fellow nuclear armed neighbor.  Similarly India must be willing to consider Pakistan’s disputes with India over Kashmir from all sides and be able to negotiate a lasting and long term peace deal that is so desperately needed in the most dangerous neighborhood of the world and one that has been elusive for over 60 years.


Reported by Manzer Munir for


Harold and Kumar go from White Castle to the White House

Kal Penn

Washington DC, USA- Actor Kal Penn, best known as Kumar for his “Harold and Kumar” movies and a stint on the TV smash hit “House”, started his first day officially in the Obama administration as the Associate Director in the Office of Public Liaison, with a focus on connecting President Obama with the Asian American communities as well as arts and entertainment groups.

Penn had campaigned extensively for Obama throughout the country leading up to the elections and had become a huge hit on college campuses nationwide due mainly to his Hollywood celebrity status and his large cult following among the youth because of his “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” and the sequel “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo” movies depicting the misadventures of two New Jersey guys.  He also appeared in roles on the television hit shows “24”, “House”, and other notable movies such as “Van Wilder” and “The Namesake” among others, making him the most successful Indian American actor today.

Penn explained that he felt “incredibly honored to get the opportunity to go to work in the Obama White House” and that he got to know the President during the campaign and expressed his interest to in working for the administration in some capacity. Although his White House job pays a fraction of what he made yearly as an actor,  he stated that he had always been interested in politics and public service ever since he heard stories from his father about his grandfather marching with Gandhi back in India for freedom from the British.

Kal Penn’s main focus as Associate Director in the Office of Public Liaison will be to act as the point person for the affluent and rapidly growing community of South Asian Americans from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, colloquially known amongst themselves as Desi or countrymen in Hindi and Urdu. He will also be Obama’s main contact to the entertainment and arts community and as an actor brings an array of contacts with the influential Hollywood community.

Penn’s appointment in the Obama White House is a great step in bringing to attention and putting a face on the often forgotten but very important segment of American society comprising of South Asians who are some of the most successful businessmen and women and also is the ethnic group with both the highest average educational qualifications and earnings of any national origin group of people in the United States. Although it is not believed he will be instrumental in any foreign policy endeavors relating to India and Pakistan’s conflict, it will nonetheless help the community at large in the US knowing that they have a specific person in the White House charged with South Asian Americans issues and concerns from an American perspective. We at Pakistanis for Peace have always enjoyed Kal Penn’s movies and roles, and look forward to his contributions in the Obama administration as a liaison for the Desi community in the United States.


Manzer Munir reporting for

Indian Army Officer Charged in Bombings in India


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.


Report filed from Orlando, FL by Manzer Munir


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.

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