Pakistan: Defence analysts hold authorities responsible for Lahore attack

 

“We are also investigating the militants’ nexus because Ahrar had been previously collaborating with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in carrying out attacks.”

The deadly suicide attack in Lahore which claimed 13 lives – including those of two senior police officers – on Monday is described as a failure of security agencies as they failed to counter it despite a prior intelligence report.

The government and police are shifting responsibility by terming the intelligence report ‘vague’ and not ‘specific’. However, independent defence analysts are holding the security institutions responsible.

Defence analyst Hassan Askari said the recent statements of the outlawed TTP Jamaatul Ahrar showed their confidence as they were specifying their targets despite being dislocated by the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

“It seems that the terrorists are reorganising and their next target is Punjab, where a large number of extremists moved to after being dislocated by Zarb-e-Azb. There is therefore a need to carry out a military operation in Punjab to tackle the future situation,” he said.
He said most of threat alerts did not materialise as security agencies did not take them seriously. Questioning authenticity of the alerts, he said they were generated by tapping communication, media reports and information gathered from the arrested suspects. “These are not precise because our intelligence agencies penetration in the militant networks,” he added.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Lahore City Police spokesperson said the police are in a war-like situation. “For the last three weeks we have declared red alert. We have increased number of security pickets in the city and are conducting search operations on a daily basis,” he said.

Before the Lahore attack, the TTP Jamaatul Ahrar had released a video announcing to launch ‘Operation Ghazi’ in memory of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed in July 2007 by the Pakistan Army inside Laal Masjid of Islamabad. The video message was clear. It demanded cooperation from other militant outfits that had been scattered after the start of the operation Zarb-e-Azb.

After the Lahore attack, the TTP’s Waziristan faction and the Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility. An intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said,

The TTP-JA has already claimed that it carried out Chaman (Balochistan) attack on the FC jointly with the LeJ Al-Alami. The blast in Kurram Agency on Jan 21, 2017 and the suicide attack in the courts was claimed by IS’s official media outlet.

“This shows a growing collaboration amongst militant outfits. The targets pointed out in the video are all in the cities,” he said. The Taliban’s Mehsud faction and those affiliated with Mullah Fazlullah have already joined hands, according to a statement released on February 02.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/

USA: Albany Ahmadiyya Muslim community dialogue aims to combat stereotypes about Islam

USA: Albany Ahmadiyya Muslim community dialogue aims to combat stereotypes about Islam

“The faith has been hijacked by the extremists. And we want to take it back. And basically tell that the Islamic faith has nothing to do with terrorism or violence

AMSTERDAM — “The understanding of the Muslim faith is not so good in the eyes of Americans,” said Dr. Hafeez Rehman, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Albany Chapter.

For more than a month Muslim community leaders have been holding weekly discussions about their faith at Fresh Basil in Amsterdam.

People of different religions and ethnicities also come.

“I try to tell them that we are actually really peaceful and I tell them like what we do and that we go to the mosque on Sundays and we learned that it’s really not as bad as people think,” said Soha Mahmood.

“I do have an understanding that the Bible and the Quran have similar teachings of values that we share and that’s how I see Islam,” said Amsterdam resident Maria Roman.

Organizers belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is one of more than 70 sects of Islam.

Dr. Rehman says they are trying to combat stereotypes about Muslims.

“The faith has been hijacked by the extremists,” Dr. Rehman said. “And we want to take it back. And basically tell that the Islamic faith has nothing to do with terrorism or violence,” he said.

Dr. Rehman said the international organization has held similar campaigns since September 11th.

However, issues including extremism and political tensions inspired the “Coffee, Cake and True Islam discussions.

“After I met a couple of Muslims and a couple of…and you just see that they are normal people,” said Amsterdam resident Zuzana Duffy.

74 of the organization’s chapters nationwide are holding similar events.

Noah Ahmad Quick, who was raised as a Catholic and converted to Islam in 2005, is part of a delegation addressing of members of Congress on Capitol Hill Friday, including Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam).

“Our goal is to build bridges not to divide people but to bring people together under one comment card,” Quick said. “And that’s to serve humanity,” he said.

Kellianne Kennedy of Glens Falls, who is catholic, said the talks have changed her perception of Islam.

“I’ve only seen the Muslims on TV which are portrayed as terrorists and evil people,” Kennedy said. “Totally a 180. They are the most peaceful calm people,” she said.

The group will launch the discussions in Glens Falls and Albany next week.

They plan to hold the talks at least through the spring.

Pakistan: Award named after Dr Abdus Salam — The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction

Pakistan: Award named after Dr Abdus Salam — The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction

Prominent Pakistani intellectual and scientist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a student and colleague of Dr Salam’s, will be serving as the advisor and member of the award admin.

It’s only fair that Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize [in Physics] winner gets an award dedicated to him. The award has been launched in an effort to promote science fiction writing in Pakistan.

Spearheaded by Usman Malik and Tehseen Baweja, The Salam Award launches today; it’s a tribute to Dr. Abdus Salam and an effort to promote science fiction writing in Pakistan.

The Salam award seeks to recognise the man’s genius and his status as a marginalised person within his country via the honorific and to encourage the pursuit of science fiction and imaginative writing in Pakistan. It’s an admirable small effort by a few concerned individuals to change that and encourage our populace to be more imaginative.

Prominent Pakistani intellectual and scientist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a student and colleague of Dr Salam’s, will be serving as the advisor and member of the award admin.

The award will be given to aspiring short fiction writers of Pakistani origin, regardless of sexual orientation, creed, or caste. Story submissions will be in English, blinded, and judged by a rotating jury of science fiction professionals each year. The three finalists will each receive an agent and editorial review of their manuscripts. The winner will receive 500 US dollars as well as the aforementioned perks.

Judges for 2017 are Jeff Vandermeer, Mahvesh Murad, and Usman Malik. The 2017 editor reviewer is Ann Vandermeer of Tor.com. The 2017 Agent reviewer is Seth Fishman of The Gernert Company.

Source : https://images.dawn.com/