Jul 27, 2007

Hundreds of students protest at reopening of Red Mosque in Pakistan

Hundreds of students protest at reopening of Red Mosque in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Hundreds of religious students protested on Friday at Islamabad’s Red Mosque and blocked a government-appointed cleric from leading prayers at its planned reopening, more than two weeks after a bloody army siege that left over 100 dead.

The protesters demanded the return of the mosque’s pro-Taliban former chief cleric, Abdul Aziz _ who is currently in government detention _ to lead Friday afternoon prayers, and shouted slogans against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“Musharraf is a dog! He is worse than a dog! He should resign!” students shouted. Some lingered over the ruins of a neighboring seminary that was demolished by authorities this week. Militants had used the seminary to resist government forces involved in siege.

The crowd also shouted support for the mosque’s former deputy cleric, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who led the siege until he was shot dead by security forces after refusing to surrender.

“Ghazi your blood will lead to a revolution,” the protesters chanted.

Armed police stood by on the street outside the mosque, but did not enter the courtyard where the demonstration was taking place.

In a speech at the main entrance to the mosque, Liaqat Baloch, deputy leader of a coalition of hardline religious parties, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), condemned Musharraf as a “killer” and declared there would be an Islamic revolution in Pakistan.

“Maulana Abdul Aziz is still the prayer leader of the mosque. The blood of martyrs will bear fruit. This struggle will reach its destination of an Islamic revolution. Musharraf is a killer of the constitution. He’s a killer of male and female students. The entire world will see him hang,” Baloch said.

Pakistan’s Geo television showed scenes of pandemonium inside the mosque, with dozens of young men in traditional Islamic clothing and prayers caps shouting angrily and punching the air with their hands.

Officials were pushed and shoved by men in the crowd. One man picked up shoes left outside the mosque door and hurled them at news crews recording the scene.

Maulana Ashfaq Ahmed, a senior cleric from another mosque in the city who was assigned by the government to lead Friday’s prayers, was quickly escorted from the mosque, as protesters waved angry gestures at him.

Friday’s reopening was meant to help cool anger over the siege, which triggered a flare-up in militant attacks on security forces and widespread anger that a religious site had been the scene of violence.

Public skepticism still runs high over the government’s accounting of how many people died in the mosque siege, with many still claiming a large number of children and religious students were among the dead. The government says the overwhelming majority were militants.

Security was tightened in Islamabad ahead of the mosque’s reopening, with extra police taking up posts around the city and airport-style metal detectors put in place at the mosque entrance used to screen worshippers for weapons.

Militants holed up in the mosque compound for a week before government troops launched their assault on July 10, leaving it pocked with bullet holes and damaged by explosions.

At least 102 people were killed in the violence. Attacks by militants in northwestern Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan have surged since the siege, killing about 200 others in suicide bombings and clashes, many of them security forces.

Musharraf rules out US strikes in Pakistan

Musharraf rules out US strikes in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday his forces were fully capable of dealing with Al Qaeda militants and dismissed the possibility of US forces taking anti-terrorism action on Pakistani soil.

Musharraf’s remarks came after a spate of statements from US officials suggesting the US military kept open the option of a strike against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets on Pakistani territory.

“It is very clear that here on Pakistani territory only Pakistani troops will operate. Nobody should have any doubt on it,” he told reporters before departing for a visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“It is the arrangement (with the US) and we are capable to defend in our area. We don’t need any other force to help or assist us.”

Musharraf’s comments came amid growing concerns in Washington that Al Qaeda has become entrenched in a safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border.

Musharraf is an important ally in the US-led war on terrorism but administration officials and lawmakers say he should do more.

President George W. Bush spoke on Saturday of being ”troubled” by an Al Qaeda rebuilding of strength in Pakistan, raising speculation about some kind of counter-terrorism operation in the lawless regions.

And on Thursday US congressional sources said negotiators had agreed on legislation that would tie US aid to Pakistan to significant progress by Islamabad in cracking down on al Qaeda.

The agreement must still to be approved by the US Senate and House of Representatives.

The Bush administration last week released unclassified excerpts of a major intelligence report that concluded the United States faces a heightened threat from Al Qaeda in part because of the Pakistan safe haven.

Musharraf denied Al Qaeda and Taliban militants were regrouping on Pakistani territory and launching cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

“No regrouping is taking place,” he said.

Musharraf, whose political position weakened after the Supreme Court last week reinstated Pakistan’s chief justice -- whom Musharraf had tried to sack -- is also confronting a militant blacklash after an assault on Islamabad’s Red Mosque, a radical stronghold, this month.

There have been a series of bomb blasts and suicide attacks across the country following the mosque assault, and scores of people have been killed.

Pro-Taliban militants also announced the scrapping of a peace deal with authorities in the North Waziristan tribal region, a well-known hotbed of support for militants, adding to concerns about militant violence mainly in the conservative northwest.

Jul 16, 2007

FeedBurner Integration in Blogger

FeedBurner Integration in Blogger

If you're a blogger running a blog on the Blogger platform (a domain that's something like abcd.blogspot.com) you should take advantage of the update to Blogger's FeedBurner integration ASAP.

FeedBurner reports how many people have subscribed to your blog along with a large array of additional information about what people are reading. It also allows you to easily integrate additional features into your blog's RSS feed, such as comment counts, and action links like "Digg This" buttons.

Darren Rowse explains the benefits in a post on this subject at ProBlogger.net:

While Blogger users have been able to use FeedBurner all along, it wasn't as technically easy to do so as one would like. Because of this, I often come across Blogger powered blogs where the blogger has burned their feed and put a link to their burned feed in their sidebar, yet they didn't update the RSS URL location in their blog's HEAD tag. Because of this, they end up splitting their subscribers between two feed URLs.

This change addresses the split issue by redirecting direct subscribers through the FeedBurner URL.

Geoff Lawson is the new Pakistan Coach

Geoff Lawson is the new Pakistan Coach

He succeeds Bob Woolmer, who died at the World Cup earlier this year after collapsing in his Jamaica hotel room.

"Lawson is our choice and we are confident he will help the Pakistan team into a new era of success," said board chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf.

The 49-year-old, who took 180 wickets in 46 Test appearances in the 1980s, has agreed a two-year contract.

Earlier, however, he told Australian TV and radio he would not have taken the job if there had been any doubts remaining about Woolmer's death.

The case was initially treated as murder but pathologists later contradicted the findings and confirmed he had died from natural causes.

"That put my mind at rest," said Lawson.

The Pakistan team has had eight different coaches in the past 11 years and struggled to achieve consistency in both Test and one-day cricket.

And Lawson's appointment ahead of rival candidate Dav Whatmore, the former Sri lanka and Pakistan coach, represents something of a gamble by the PCB as his only experience came with state side New South Wales.

Explaining their decision, Dr Ashraf said: "We wanted a bright, young, qualified coach, well aware of the modern day requirements."

Lawson believes Pakistan has a highly talented squad, who just need to achieve the right mental approach to improve results in all forms of the game.

"It's not a great exercise in skill development, it's an exercise in mental development," he told Sydney radio station 2KY.

"Australia never look on any game they run out on the paddock for as meaningless. That is a terrific attitude to have. Every day is 100% and that's certainly not what a lot of sides do.

"If you've got the talent and you're well prepared and you take every game as if it's a grand final, there's a chance you are going to do well.

"Pakistan's inconsistency has probably got a lot to do with that - not approaching every game, or the next game, as the most important one they're going to play.

"I think that is the greatest challenge," he said.

Lawson is expected to arrive in Pakistan next month to begin preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup in September and series against South Africa and India which follow.

His first task will be to appoint support staff to work alongside him.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has not been included in a list of 20 players awarded central contracts by the board.

Despite retiring from one-day cricket following the World Cup, he was still hoping to continue his Test career.

"The selectors wanted to give central contracts to those players who are playing both forms of the game," explained Ashraf.

From : BBC

Jul 15, 2007

Who Militarised Pakistan?

The concept of "mujahideen" was alien to Pakistan before the Afghan "jihad". Who orchestrated the Afghan "jihad"? Who recruited, trained, brainwashed and armed the people from the Pakistani north west to fight the Soviets in a proxy war for the Americans?
Throughout the eighties all we ever heard on the PTV khabarnama was in vociferous support of the "mujahideen"...Who were these people?
Many of them were Pakistanis. They were chosen because although ignorant of the world's geopolitical situation (which made them better scapegoats) they were brave warriors. They could be made to fight to death given enough motivation. The motivation came in the form of "jihad" against an enemy that threatened their brethren in Afghanistan. And hence they were pushed into the battlefield knowing little whose war they were fighting. They fought well as we all know. They won the war for the Americans. And now they had nothing more to do. They had no education, no vision, and no hope for the future.
They were abandoned by the government and their trainers, tecahers and brainwashers. Many of them sought refuge with firebrand religious organizations, for whom they would come in handy for carrying out stray killings here and for training more people. That too was ok with the Pakistani government. Till 9/11.
Once 9/11 happened, the Americans would not have the mujahideen any more. They had trained them, with the help of Pakistani military and knew what they were capable of. They were scared in the true American way. And now our very government is out to kill not only these people, anyone they might have imparted their training and brainwashing to, but is bent on bombing and eliminating from the face of the earth the whole of the Pakistani northwest.
A more cruel and inhuman scenario cannot be. These people have been kept without school, college or university. It suited the establishment better. And because of their ignorance they became cannon fodder for the American jihad. Now they are disowned, and hunted down, not only them but their children and the children of their children and anyone from the same area who as much as utters a word of retaliation against the Americanisation of the country.

'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

The fifth adventure for the teen wizard,'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' is another visual marvel, yet it suffers from a problem similar to other sequels this summer: We've seen it all before.

Or at least, we've seen most of it. Sure there are new characters introduced, new perils, new responsibilities for Harry and his pals and new revelations about the kid's early life and connection to the dark Lord Voldemort.

And Harry even has his first kiss.

Those fresh details aside, though, and despite a new director and screenwriter,'Order of the Phoenix' sticks safely and at times monotonously to the Potter formula: Show a bit of Harry's drab summer among his heartless Muggle relations, branch off into a magical interlude, then land him back at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, where the same old issues resurface — classmate rivalry, teacher trouble, and a slow build toward another showdown with Voldemort.

Granted, this is the formula of J.K. Rowling's books, and with fans counting the days until the arrival of the seventh and final novel July 21, the recipe has served the series well.

Watch the preview of 'Order of the Phoenix'

A good deal of the charm of the earlier movies results from the baubles the filmmakers have kept in from the books: Odd little interactions with Hogwarts' resident ghosts and living portraits, some sports action on the quidditch field, quirky classroom happenings — stuff that doesn't really have much to do with the main story.

In casting aside most of those trappings, director David Yates and screenwriter Michael Goldenberg deliver the shortest Potter movie yet, though 'Order of the Phoenix' is the longest novel at 800-plus pages.

The movie gains in momentum but loses a lot of the fun and wonder of previous installments. Granted, the stories grow gloomier as Harry's ultimate challenge approaches in book seven, but he's faced doom and death before and still managed to have a good time.

An air of calamity hangs over Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) from the outset in 'Order of the Phoenix'. At the end of his interminable summer, he's attacked by soul-sucking Dementors, then he's expelled from Hogwarts for unauthorized use of magic to drive them off.

Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) intercedes on Harry's behalf at a Ministry of Magic appeals hearing. But Dumbledore, previously a tender mentor for Harry, distances himself from the youth throughout the school year.

Harry and buddies Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) face the same old tormenting from classmates. But this time it's amplified by scorn for Harry, who is branded a liar for insisting that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) had returned to physical form during their battle at the end of the last school year.

The magical world is so shaken and divided that the Ministry of Magic assigns repressive teacher Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to the Hogwarts staff to keep an eye on Dumbledore and impart her bland, useless, "Ministry-approved" curriculum.

Dolores is all about toeing the line and outlawing original thought, leaving the kids without the knowledge and skills they sense they will need as Voldemort and his stooges close in.

It falls on Harry to organize and instruct volunteers in a gang they name Dumbledore's Army — Hogwarts students who band together to learn how to defend themselves against the dark forces.

Jul 13, 2007

A new battle front opens in Pakistan

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

SWAT VALLEY, North-West Frontier Province - To Pakistan’s Western allies, the military’s attack on the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad was a crackdown on a Taliban asset, much like crackdowns on other militant organizations across the country.

For the administration of Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf, though, the move is viewed as the first blow against an emerging extremist armed movement committed to the enforcement of Islamic sharia law.

A leading figure in this movement summed it up on Thursday: “God willing, Pakistan will soon have an Islamic revolution.” Maulana Abdul Aziz was speaking at the funeral of his brother, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was one of more than 60 people killed in the seven-day siege of the Lal Masjid. The brothers ran the pro- Taliban mosque and Aziz was apprehended outside the mosque before the main military action began on Tuesday.

With the Lal Masjid saga all but over now, the second phase in the battle against an “Islamic revolution” has began many kilometers away in the picturesque Swat district in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Reaction to the events at the Lal Masjid has been the strongest here, as it is home to the banned pro-Taliban Tehrik-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi (TNSM - Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws).

The Pakistan Army has mobilized thousands of troops in the area, and on Friday it was declared “highly sensitive” and parts of it placed under an unofficial curfew. Over the past few days there have been incidents in which several security personnel have been killed.

Unlike the Lal Masjid’s small complex, this new battlefield will be a huge valley where militants will be able to trap soldiers at sites of their choice, and the army will be free to bomb their hideouts in the high mountains.

Uneasy calm
By Thursday evening in the Mingora district of Swat, the military had already made its presence felt. The airport and other important installations were guarded by Frontier Corps and Swat Scouts. All government buildings were protected by bunkers made from sandbags.

Earlier, a convoy of tanks and artillery trucks crossed a bridge leading into town seconds before a bomb went off. The military vehicles picked up speed, but were chased by a civilian car that rammed into the police escort and exploded. Three policemen and three passers-by were instantly killed.

“I caught a brief glimpse of the suicide bomber as he was about to ram his car into the convoy. He was a bearded man of about 40 years,” a shaken policeman, Bakht Rahman, told this correspondent.

With the bomb at the bridge and the suicide attack as foretastes, a military operation in the Swat Valley is beyond doubt, probably within a few weeks, if not days.

This will pit the army against a radical armed insurgency dedicated to an Islamic revolution with the aim to establish a firm base in Pakistan from where it can fuel the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan and ultimately announce a regional caliphate.

A tuned-in leader
There is an air of anticipation in the area, with occasional shouts of “Long live Imam-Dhari.” Imam-Dhari is a small town in the Swat district where Maulana Fazalullah, the head of the TNSM, lives.

It was time to pay a visit. I had no trouble finding my way there - everyone knew the location, and everyone was a TNSM member. Imam-Dhari is, after all, the headquarters of the TNSM.

After passing through a narrow alley, we reached the modest house of Fazalullah, and within five minutes I was chatting to him. At first he was visibly disconcerted as I had not made an appointment or been referred by anyone, but local custom dictated that he welcome the stranger standing at his door. So I received a hug from the short 28-year-old man with a long beard and a black turban.

“I am extremely sorry that I cannot spare much time for you because you did not warn me that you were coming, and I am avoiding the media because it is a delicate situation here,” Fazalullah said.

“I need to go to my FM radio station now to announce that I am not behind any attacks, and secondly people should not become outraged by the presence of the military in the area. I need to be in constant contact with the people of the area to ask them to restrain themselves from attacks or violence,” said Fazalullah.

Fazalullah - “Maulana Radio” as he is widely known - runs FM stations that have been banned by the local authorities. One of his pet subjects is electronic goods, which he wants destroyed, including televisions.

“They [Pakistan Army] are here because they are a Pak-American army. They are here not to guard us but to protect British laws. We are the flagbearers of Islamic sharia - that’s why they are here, to prevent us demanding Islamic law.”

Fazalullah is wanted on a number of charges, including running the FM stations and aiding the Taliban, but the authorities are reluctant to take action against him because of his large following.
“The government objected to my FM radio stations. I rejected those objections. These are non-commercial stations from which I only broadcast Islamic programs. There are other FM stations which are also illegal, but since they broadcast music and vulgarity, the government does not take heed of them,” Fazalullah said.

All roads in the area, including the important artery of the Silk Road leading to China, have been blockaded by TNSM members. Fazalullah insisted he had nothing to do with this, saying it was a reaction by the masses against Islamabad’s Lal Masjid operations.

“The TNSM is not the only organization in this area. There are others, including the Jaish-i-Mohammed, the Harkatul Mujahideen, the Jamaat-i-Islami, but whatever is done by them is blamed on me.

“Even today’s attack on the military will be blamed on me. I tell you, I was with Maulana Abdul Aziz and am still with him, but I am convinced that implementing sharia is the duty of the government, not of any individual. We just aim to demand that the government implement sharia,” said Fazalullah.

In the months prior to the attack on the Lal Masjid, students from adjoining men’s and women’s seminaries had waged a high-profile campaign to impose sharia law in the capital, including abductions and sit-ins in government buildings.

“As far as the Lal Masjid is concerned, we are with it, and if we had the resources we would have gone there to fight with them. Lal Masjid was fighting for a just cause.”

Fazalullah was dismissive of the official charge that he is a member of the Taliban movement. “It is not a charge, it is an honor. I say that I am with the Taliban and I consider [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar as my amir [head].”

The TNSM was founded by Fazalullah’s father-in-law, Sufi Mohammed, in the early 1990s. He gathered more than 10,000 youths to fight in Afghanistan when the US-led invasion began in 2001. With the Taliban withdrawing so fast, these youths took the brunt of the casualties.

When Sufi Mohammed returned from Afghanistan, he was arrested and put in jail, where he remains. The TNSM was almost destroyed, but it has become stronger over the past few years through the efforts of Fazalullah and his network of about 107 FM stations in Swat Valley and nearby Bajaur Agency.

Thousands of people - young and old - are part of the TNSM. Fazalullah calls it a peaceful movement in favor of virtue and against vice. The Western alliance in Afghanistan calls it a Taliban asset in Pakistan that distributes huge dividends to the Taliban movement. Pakistan calls it a serious threat to its national security.

Whatever the perspective, once the showdown starts between the Pakistan Army and the TNSM, one thing is sure: the conflict will transcend any borders.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com.

Jul 5, 2007

Lal Masjid's head Maulana Abdul Aziz & wife held in Islamabad

Lal Masjid's head Maulana Abdul Aziz & wife held in Islamabad

Security forces arrested the leader of a radical mosque under siege in Islamabad as he tried to flee while disguised in a burqa on Wednesday, officials said. Abdul Aziz was detained as he left the Lal Masjid in Islamabad amid a crowd of women wearing similar attire, who were surrendering to the authorities a day after bloody clashes outside the building left 16 people dead. Deputy information minister Tariq Azeem said it was a "farcical end" to the cleric's resistance. "After all the things he has said and all the oaths he took from his students that they should embrace martyrdom with him, look at this man, he had to eventually try to run like a woman," Azeem told AFP. Officials said Aziz's wife was also arrested but his brother, deputy mosque leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi, was still at large. "We caught Abdul Aziz when he was trying to escape the mosque clad in a burqa. He did not offer any resistance," added a top security official involved in the capture. "He was the last in a group of women all wearing the same clothes. He was wearing a burqa that also covered his eyes," the official said on condition of anonymity. "Our men spotted his unusual demeanour. The rest of the girls looked like girls but he was taller and had a pot belly." Hundreds of female students at the mosque surrendered on Wednesday along with their male counterparts, but while the men were detained the women were allowed to go back to their homes. A soldier who saw the incident said Aziz was in a group of around 20 women who attracted attention by screaming and shouting as they were taken to a nearby school for security checks. "We had processed about 200 women today but this crowd was very unusual because as soon as they came out they started yelling and saying screening was un-Islamic, and unethical," paramilitary officer Manzoor Ahmad told AFP. "There was so much noise that they attracted the attention of everyone. But in the middle of the crowd, an officer spotted a tall, well-built woman with a big belly who was neither shouting nor screaming," Ahmad said. "The officer pounced on the lady, and as he grabbed her, the burqa came off and his beard fell out. "He asked the man who he was and he said 'I am Maulana (senior cleric) Abdul Aziz. Then the women around him fell silent and he was immediately whisked away." Footage on state television showed security officials dragging the bearded Aziz towards a car after his arrest and being dumped in a black Toyota Corolla before being driven off. The reclusive Aziz was previously best known for his fiery sermons. In April he pledged to launch "thousands" of suicide attackers if the authorities cracked down on his mosque. Aziz and Ghazi were campaigning for the introduction of an Islamic justice system to emulate that imposed by the Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. The Taliban were noted for forcing women to wear burqas. "These people (Aziz and his staff) spoiled the trust of those who trusted them with their life and their children and he ended up showing his low principles," Azeem said. "It is very sad that so many people had to lose their lives following a person who has no principles himself. It is a farcial end."

Photo From : Aaj Tv

Jul 4, 2007

Thousend surrender at Lal Masjid, many defiant

Thousend surrender at Lal Masjid, many defiant

More than 500 radical Muslim students surrendered at a besieged mosque in the Pakistani capital on Wednesday but thousands of militants remained inside a day after 11 people were killed in clashes.

Hundreds of soldiers and police sealed off the mosque and imposed a 24-hour curfew after Tuesday’s bloodshed, as the government extended a deadline for students to lay down arms.

The violence erupted after a months-long stand-off between the authorities and a Taleban-style movement based at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, less than a couple of kilometres (a mile) from parliament and Islamabad’s protected diplomatic enclave.

Soldiers moved 12 armoured personnel carriers, mounted with machineguns, into the area as gunfire subsided overnight.

Growing numbers of students took up an offer of safe passage and 5,000 rupees ($85) and left the mosque as a deadline for students to surrender passed at 1.00 p.m. (0800 GMT).

More than 500 people, 100 of them women and children, had left the mosque but between 2,000 and 5,000 people remained inside, officials said.

The men who surrendered were herded onto trucks while women and children were released.

Liberal politicians have for months pressed President Pervez Musharraf to crack down on Lal Masjid’s clerics, who have threatened suicide attacks if force was used against them.

Deputy Interior Minister Zafar Warraich told an earlier news conference anyone who tried to fight would be shot.

“A bullet will be responded with by a bullet,” he said.

The violence comes at a bad time for Musharraf. He is preparing for presidential and general elections and is already struggling to dampen a campaign by lawyers and the opposition against his suspension of the country’s top judge in March.

Suicide blast

Overnight, power was cut off to the compound and surrounding neighbourhood and barbed wire laid across junctions.

The Information Ministry said 10 people had been killed in Tuesday’s clashes but Islamabad hospital officials said the toll was 11. About 150 people were taken to hospital, 30 with bullet wounds, others suffering from the effects of tear gas.

A soldier and at least four students were among the dead, as well as a television cameraman and people caught in crossfire.

The religious hardliners have confronted authorities for months, running a vigilante anti-vice drive and campaigning for strict Islamic law.

Authorities had not used force for fear it could provoke attacks or lead to casualties among female students at a religious school, or madrasa, in the mosque compound.

A suicide bomber killed nine soldiers and a child in an attack on a military convoy in Bannu, a town in North West Frontier Province on Wednesday. It was not known if the attack was linked to the Islamabad violence.

Security forces blocked the main road from Peshawar, the capital of volatile North West Frontier Province, to stop support coming in for the radicals in Islamabad.

Some clerics mediated in talks overnight but there was no sign of a breakthrough.

“The talks appear to be heading nowhere,” Abdul Rashid Ghazi, deputy leader of the students, said by telephone from the mosque.

A young woman in the mosque compound was defiant.

“Nobody wants to leave. Your faith gets stronger in a situation like this,” the student, Mahira, said by telephone.

The students affiliated with the mosque range in age from teenagers to people in their 30s, most from conservative areas near the Afghan border.

The mosque has a long history of support for militant causes, but in recent months its students have instigated a series of confrontations with the authorities.

Trouble began in January when students occupied a library to protest against the destruction of mosques built illegally on state land. They later kidnapped women, some from China, from alleged brothels. They also abducted police.

The Lal Masjid movement is part of a phenomenon known as ”Talebanisation”, or the seeping of militancy from remote tribal regions on the Afghan border into towns and cites.

"Khuda Ke Liye" A movie By Shoaib Mansoor

"Khuda Ke Liye" A movie By Shoaib Mansoor

Khuda Ke Liye ( In the name of God) is a movie directed by Shoaib Mansoor.

The movie revolves around a Pakistani young man (Shaan) who goes to the United States of America for higher education. During his study years, the tragic event of 9/11 takes place where the World Trade Center is turned into dust. In a long array of investigations and arrests, the young man gets arrested by the American authorities; and his younger brother is being motivated by his old friend Shershah Hameed Sheikh on the path of God and to quit all musical activities in favor of the "straight" path. Meanwhile, his uncle (Humayun Kazmi) arrives from UK with his only cousin Mary (Iman Ali) who wanted to marry her non-Muslim boyfriend back in the UK against her family's wishes. He brings her to Pakistan where Shershah tucks them to their village in a tribal area near Afghanistan. There tries to escape but Shershah follows her and brings her back to the village.

The experiences of the young man are shown in this movie. There are plenty of other issues that are highlighted in this film. Iman Ali makes her cinema debut with this film, and enacts the character of a Pakistani-Briton. Austin Sayre also makes her film debut and plays Shaan's wife. The young music prodigy Ahmed Jahanzeb produced the soundtrack for the film.

The film is about the difficult situation in which the Pakistanis in particular and the Muslims in general are caught up since 9/11. There is a war going on between the Fundamentalists and the Liberal Muslims. This situation is creating a drift not only between the Western world and the Muslims, but also within the Muslims. The educated and modern Muslims are in a difficult situation because of their approach towards life and their western attire. They are criticized and harassed by the fundamentalists and on the other hand the Western world sees them as potential suspects of terrorism just because of their Muslim names.

This paradox is resulting in great suffering for a forward looking Muslim.

Above mentioned is the theme of the film "KHUDA KE LIYE" which in English means "IN THE NAME OF GOD".

The interesting thing about the film is how it connects the happenings in the three continents. Unlike the usual Indian and Pakistani films based on romantic saga, dances and songs, this film is based on some very serious issues, raising a lot of controversial questions boggling the Muslim minds these days. It helps the Muslim youth to find a direction— the right direction, which we are all looking forward to.

The Cast of the movie includes Shaan,Fawad khan,Iman Ali,Naseeruddin Shah,Hameed Sheikh,Austin Marie Sayre,Larry Neumann,Rasheed Naz,Naeem Tahir,Seemin Raheel,Humayun kazmi,Najeeb Ullah Anjum,Ayub Khosa,Rufus Graham,Angela Williams & Alex Edwards.

BackGround Music: Rohail Hayat

Vocals : Ahmad Jahanzeb,Shuja Haider,Farah Zala,Ammar Hassan Khawar Jawwad,Faiza Mujahid,Saeen Zahoor,Zara Madani

Lyrics : Shoib Mansoor; Bhule Shah; Faiza Mujahid

Songs Composed By : Ahmad Jahanzeb,Shuja Haider,Lagan Band,Khawar Jawad,Jawwad Bashir.

The movie is scheduled to released on Friday, 20th July 2007 & Music to be released on 7th July 2007.

Jul 2, 2007

FM station told to stop BBC news bulletins

FM station told to stop BBC news bulletins

Local radio channel FM 103 has stopped broadcasting hourly bulletins of BBC Radio on the instructions of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

Anis Mansoori, head of news and current affairs at FM 103, told Daily Times the station had stopped transmission after a PEMRA letter on June 28 warned it would shut down the station and seize its equipment if BBC broadcasts were not stopped. BBC Pakistan Editor Aamer Ahmed Khan said in a statement that the BBC was fulfilling all PEMRA requirements for transmission and FM 103 supported his claim. PEMRA spokesman Muhammad Saleem said they had disallowed FM 103 from airing news from any organisation whose editorial policy was controlled in a foreign country.

From: Daily Times

Access All Restricted Websites using Opera Simulator

Access All Restricted Websites using Opera Simulator

Internet filters are active everywhere - Flickr is banned in Iran & UAE, BBC & Wikipedia are blocked in China, Blogspot blogs are banned in Pakistan, YouTube & Photobucket are prohibited for US army overseas while social sites like Bebo, MySpace or Facebook may be banned in your office.

Some companies even block access to mail websites like Yahoo or GMail under the pretext of security.

In the past, we have discussed atleast a dozen methods to help you access blocked websites that are banned in your office, school or by the government of your country. Here's a new method for unblocking websites - you'll probably enjoy it more than the previous hacks because it takes the geekiness out of the whole process and make it extremely easy to access blocked URLs.

Opera provides a free online tool called Opera Mini Simulator that emulates the Opera mobile phone browser on your desktop computer. The tool is done in java and is quite popular among web designers for testing website layouts on mobile phone devices without actually using a mobile phone.

As you probably guessed it by now, this Opera Browser Simulator can also be used for accessing web pages that may be blocked on your computer. Since the requests are made via the Opera.com website, they would easily bypass the local filtering.

To open any site in Opera, just append that site address to the following URL and start browsing.

http://www.operamini.com/demo/?url=[URL] - example

The Opera Simulator can even be used for secure sites that require cookies - for instance, you can check your Hotmail emails via Opera. Though you are restricted to the tiny 200x200 screen of Opera simulator, it's still a very handy tool. [Opera link from Rupesh]

Opera recently launched version 4 of the Mini simulator that offers a better browsing experience than the previous version. You can access v4.0 of Mini simulator here. The above video demo was created in this version.