Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brave Kashmiri girl kills abusive militant

An 18-year old Muslim girl is able to fight off militants who were beating her parents to force them into marrying their daughter to one of the militants. The girl snatched a gun from one of the militants and killed one while injuring the other two. Brava!

Rukhsana Kauser said she 'fired endlessly'

This is not the first time when the Muslim militants have forced themselves on young girls using marriage as the conduit. The attack on the Kashmiri family is similar to the one in Pakistan where the Taliban were infamously taped hitting a young woman in public with sticks. Her crime: she also refused marrying one of the Taliban.

The fact that armed resistance movements in Islamic countries have lost their political currency was not a secret; the fact that they have lost their moral campus, or perhaps they never had one, may come as a surprise to many.

I cannot help but recall the civilised manner in which the most prominent of the young Kashmiri leaders, Yasin Malik, had his wedding earlier in February 09. He returned to India with his Pakistani-born and London School of Economics educated wife (Mishaal Mullick) earlier in September. The picture below shows the newlyweds returning to Kashmir in early September 2009.

Not many can boast of better bonafides as a Kashmiri than Yasin Malik who has opted for a civilised and peaceful path to pursue his political struggle and personal endeavours. The militants, on the other hand, are using militancy for their political struggle and personal gains. While Yasin Malik has been successful in both domains, political and personal, the militants have been failing.

It is high time for the Muslim civil society to take the leadership of their legitimate causes back from the hands of illiterate militants and the semi-literate clergy, who would otherwise continue to impose themselves on the rest of the society in more ways than one.



Kashmir girl fights off militants

By Binoo Joshi

BBC News, Jammu

A teenage girl says she killed a militant with his own gun after insurgents attacked their home in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Three militants stormed into Rukhsana Kauser's home in a remote village in Jammu region on Monday and started beating her parents in front of her.

Ms Kauser, 18, and her brother turned on the gunmen, killing one and injuring two more. Police praised their courage.

One of the militants wanted to marry Ms Kauser against her will, police said.

The militants escaped and are now being sought by police who are using their blood trails as clues.

'Fired endlessly'

The insurgents went to the house looking for Ms Kauser but her father, Noor Hussain, resisted their demands, Rajouri district senior police superintendent Shafqat Watali told the BBC.

“ I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one - but I had seen heroes firing in films ”

Rukhsana Kauser

Three gunmen then entered the house and attacked Ms Kauser's parents, while four other militants remained outside.

"My parents told me to hide under the bed and then opened the door," Ms Kauser told the BBC.

"Without saying anything they [the militants] started beating my parents and my uncle. They beat them so badly that my parents fell on the ground. I could not see that and pounced on one of the militants while my brother hit him with an axe," she said.

"I thought I should try the bold act of encountering militants before dying."

Ms Kauser said she grabbed one of the militants by the hair and banged his head against the wall. When he fell down she hit him with an axe, before snatching his rifle.

"I fired endlessly. The militant commander got 12 shots on his body."

Her brother, Eijaz, 19, grabbed one of the other militants' guns and also began shooting.

Ms Kauser said the exchanges of gunfire with the militants had gone on for four hours.

"I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one. But I had seen heroes firing in films on TV and I tried the same way. Somehow I gathered courage - I fired and fought till dead tired."


Police identified the militant commander as Abu Osama, who they say was a member of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group and had been active in the Rajouri area for the past five years.

Local residents told police that he wanted to marry Ms Kauser - and was prepared to do so forcibly.

Rajouri police superintendent Shajqat Watali praised what he said was the "exemplary bravery" of Ms Kauser and her brother.

"The reaction by these teenagers was extraordinary."

There are now fears the family could face retaliatory attacks, so they have been given police protection.

But Ms Kauser wants more: "We cannot live here in this village. They should relocate us to a safer place in Rajouri town or elsewhere. The militants are not going to leave us after this embarrassment in which a top commander was killed."

Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2009/09/29 11:15:04 GMT


Monday, September 14, 2009

Scores die chasing flour in Pakistan

BBC is reporting 14 women and three young girls hailing from low-income households died in Pakistan trying to get free flour. Just last week five young girls died in a stampede at a school in New Delhi.

Food and power shortages in Pakistan have brought the nation to its knees and have caused death and destruction for the most vulnerable.

In a matter of decades Pakistan has descended from being a rising economic power in the sixties to an almost bankrupt state and a fragmented society.

What is even worse is the fact that this occurred when a philanthropist was trying to distribute free flour to the needy. A good deed turned ugly because of lack of civic sense. The organizers turned off the power to disperse the huge crowd. With no light in the congested street, panic ensued soon and the results were catastrophic. Other reports state that the security guard baton charged women to force a queue that caused the stampede.

For additional coverage from Daily Dawn about other stampedes in Pakistan, please click HERE.

Source: Dawn.com, September 14, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Support for Bin Laden falling amongst Muslims

The Globe and Mail in Canada today reported that Pakistanis are increasingly becoming hostile toward the United States. While this may be true, what is more interesting to note is that the support for Al Qaeda amongst Pakistanis has also been declining.

The latest poll released this week by the Pew Research Center in the US suggests that the support for Osama bin Laden among Pakistanis has declined from 46% in 2003 to merely 18% in 2009. Furthermore, while 33% Pakistanis supported suicide bombings in 2002, the support for violence has declined to merely 5% in 2009, which is the second lowest amongst the Muslim countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center. The support for suicide bombings in Jordan (12%) and Egypt (15%), which are often considered moderate Muslim countries, has been significantly higher than that in Pakistan.

The precipitous decline in the support for Osama bin Laden and the rise in hostility against the US among Pakistanis have one thing in common. Pakistanis hold both Bin Laden and the United States responsible for violence in their homeland where the former is orchestrating suicide bombings while the latter is dropping bombs from unmanned drones.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


BBC is reporting that the editor of The Nation, Arif Nizami (nephew) has been sacked by the owner Majeed Nizami (uncle) to create space for Rameeza Nizami (Majeed’s daughter).

Meanwhile, Dr. Shireen Mazari is taking over the editorship of The Nation while she writes a new chapter in opportunism in Pakistani journalism. Now she and Maleeha Lodhi are partially even. The next on Mazari’s to do list would be the ambassadorship (High Commissioner) in London (following Maleeha), should Shamsul Hassan Sahab (current high commissioner) falls ill or out of favour with the powers to be.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the Nizami family!

The picture shows from left Arif Nizami, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Majeed Nizami, and Rameeza Nizami.

At the same time some naive working class journalists (the editorial staff) have tendered resignation in protest. As the Urdu idiom states, this is more like the battle of elephants. The journalists should rather let the family fight it out. If The Nation's journalists need a cause to resign, how about asking for the wage board to be implemented.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Taliban kill Shia children in Pakistan

In yet another brazen attack on Shiites in Pakistan, the Taliban have relentlessly demonstrated their brutality and intolerance. This is not the first time that the Taliban have attacked Shiite children in Pakistan. A few months earlier, the Taliban attacked a school bus in the NWFP province killing many children.

What surprises me the most is that despite the overwhelming evidence of the brutality and savagery demonstrated by the Taliban against the ordinary citizens in Pakistan, the Taliban remain popular amongst some Muslims in Europe and North America, who think of the Taliban as the harbingers of a Muslim Caliphate!

What kind of a caliphate would these ignorant, illiterate, and savage tribesmen from NWFP and Afghanistan would establish that has in its foundations the blood of thousands of innocents.

From Dawn.com on September 8, 2009

PESHAWAR: Taliban militants attacked a group of boys on their way to school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing four and wounding three, a government official said.

The high school students were apparently attacked because they were minority Shia Muslims. Taliban militants are from the majority Sunni community and attack Shias as part of their strategy to fight the government.

'They opened...fire on the students and we have reports of four deaths,' said Khaista Gul, an official in the administration of the Orakzai ethnic Pashtun tribal region, where the attack took place.

Tribesmen retaliated after the attack and killed at least two militants and wounded several, said residents of the area near the region's main town of Kalaya.

Government aircraft attacked militants in a village, 30 km east of Kalaya, killing six of them and destroying four hideouts, said another government official, Sajjad Khan.

Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks across the northwest since mid-2007, raising concern about country's stability.

Militants in northwest Pakistan also support the Afghan Taliban and many cross over the largely unguarded border to fight US-led foreign forces there.

Pakistani security forces have had some success against the Taliban in parts of the northwest this year and the chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a US missile strike early last month.

Orakzai is a stronghold of Hakimullah Mehsud who has been appointed the new Pakistani Taliban chief.

Pakistani and US officials said the militants were in disarray after Baitullah was killed and attacks appeared to tail off though they have been picking up again.

Twenty-two Pakistani border guards were killed in a suicide bomb attack at the main border crossing with Afghanistan in the Khyber region, another Hakimullah stronghold, on August 27.

Pakistani security forces launched an offensive against militants in Khyber last week and nearly 120 insurgents have been killed, according to officials. Independent casualty figures are not available.

Slumdog millionaire orphaned

The child actor who acted in the movie Slumdog Millionaire lost his father to tuberculosis on September 4, 2009, according to BBC. Azaharuddin Ismail, 10, until very recently lived in a makeshift shack in an informal settlement in Mumbai.

Even after being a star of an Oscar winning movie, Azharuddin saw his family's shelter demolished by the municipal authorities because it violated some zoning bylaws. Danny Boyle, the director of Slumdog Millionaire, came to the rescue of Azharuddin and the other child star Rubina Ali, and relocated them to more settled housing in Mumbai.

Azharuddin's father was beaten up by the police when he resisted the municipal workers busy demolishing his family's shelter. He died of TB leaving Azharuddin and the rest of the family financially vulnerable.

Azharuddin and Rubina Ali may escape the ills of poverty as there is talk of another movie in which they may act along with Anthony Hopkins. This will help the two households improve their finances.

But can you imagine the perils this child would have faced had Azharduuduin was just another 10-year old resident of Dharvi, Mumbai, who just lost his father, the sole bread-winner of the family, to TB.

There is a need to think of assisting all Azharuddins and Rubinas in a sustainable manner. We risk leaving millions behind in South Asia if we were to abandon Azharduddins and Rubinas in our quest to succeed.