Former Indian Judge backs decision to classify Ahmadis as Muslims in census

Former Indian Judge backs decision to classify Ahmadis as Muslims in census

Indian Muslim leaders have criticized the Government’s decision to class Ahmadis as Muslims during the 2011 census. Former Indian Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju defended the Government’s decision.

The Ahmadis which have their roots in Indian Punjab are considered heretics by some Muslims due to religious differences. The Majlis Tahaffuze Khatme Nabuwat (MTKN), demanded that the Government exclude the Ahmadis from the Muslim category. Indian Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi also supported the call made by MTKN to exclude Ahmadis.

Reacting to MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s statement, Former Indian Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju said:

“If the Indian government does not accept the demand that Ahmadiyyas be declared as Non- Muslims; people who make such demands should consider migrating to Pakistan, where they will feel more comfortable. One is entitled to say that Ahmadiyyas are Non-Muslims, but why should the Government say this? This is not Pakistan. India is a secular country”.

“Our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and any religion or sect is allowed freedom for its beliefs. This is not Pakistan where the Constitution was amended and Ahmediyas declared as non Muslims, and treated horribly.”

Judge Katju is known for speaking out in support of minorities and against both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists in the country.

Source Muslim Times

The myth of ‘martyrdom’: How our state glorifies death

Say Balochistan and the first thing that comes to the mind of an average middle-class Pakistani — who reads newspapers and watches news channels — is natural resources. Talk about KP and Fata, and it may very well end up in a discussion about the strategic importance of the region.

The discourse about terrorism is still all about the nefarious designs of an ambiguous enemy that is hell bent on destabilising the country. Such is the callous nature of the state narrative that the one thing that is missing from it is the only thing that matters the most: people.

The tragedy of our times is that people are not talking about themselves but things.

The things we have constructed ourselves.

The things that don’t breathe, fall in love, feel pain, pleasure and cry like us.

And such is the triviality of these things that when I die, they won’t even exist for me.

In any case, they start with you and I, and end with us. Not the other way around.

Let’s start with us.

With us who are alive and with us who are dead. I feel horrified when they tell me that the Civil Hospital bombing in Quetta was actually an attack on CPEC, and an attempt to destabilise the country.

I feel horrified because I — who died in the carnage — am not at the centre, but a road. A road made of tar and gravel. A thing.

I tremble when they tell me that terror is subsiding because terrorists are now attacking ‘soft targets’.

I tremble because the world around me — the land, the country, the military installations, the airports and the buildings — exist for me, with me and by me.

Then how can I — a human who laid the foundations of those things — be a soft target and the things the real target?

Take a look: The problem with Pakistan’s ‘martyrdom’ culture

I feel numb with pain when they put me on the high pedestal of martyrdom, and call me a hero for perishing in a senseless carnage.

I feel numb for all I — a human — wanted to do was to live, love, grow old and die in the midst of my loved ones. I did not perish with my consent.

Power commences from the physical subjugation of the powerless, and thrives on the mental subjugation of the same people. While the former is accompanied by bloodbath, the latter glorifies death and reverence in the minds of subjects.

The modern state is significantly different from the empires and the kingdoms of yesteryear in that it holds sway over the mental attitudes of its subjects in a much more influential manner. To borrow from Nietzsche, the modern state is the new idol that seeks worshippers, heroes and martyrs around it.

Sacrifice is one of the most sublime human acts that necessitates full knowledge of the circumstances and willingness on the part of someone who opts for it.

An uninvited death is always a tragedy, not a sacrifice.

Some two million people died during the Partition while running away from their homes for their lives. The states on both sides of the border hailed them as martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their homeland.

It did not end there.

See: The concept of martyrdom

In Pakistan, the glorification of death runs so deep that the mercilessly-killed children in Peshawar’s Army Public School were termed heroes who supposedly sacrificed their lives.

The strategic depths dug by the state are so deep that even after swallowing hundreds and thousands, they wouldn’t fill up. They howl for more people who can be termed ‘heroes’ by gravediggers.

There’s an imaginary Raah-e-Haq (the right path) that we are told to tread and lay down our lives for.

The right path, however, remains illusory.

From the depth to the road, the right path has taken many ways. All that has remained the same is people perishing on this path. And it will remain the same until we figure out the most fundamental question we are confronted with today:

Is it the country that owns people or is it people that own the country?

Let’s end with us: the people. With us who can breathe and fall in love and feel pain, pleasure and cry.

With us who are alive and with us who are dead.

Published in Dawn News

Rupee loses against Euro

The local currency market continued to depict mixed sentiments amid dull trading activities last week.

The rupee traded in a very tight range due to alternate bouts of demand and supply transactions of dollars. Low demand by corporate sector and sluggish demand for import payments kept the dollar flat.

The demand and supply of dollar in the open market remained dull as the dollar’s overall mood in the international market remained fully focused on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s weekend speech which restricted dollar activity in global trade.

On the interbank market, the rupee fluctuated in tight range versus the dollar

At the same time, the Pound’s recent rally came to an inevitable end last week with the sterling sustaining losses versus most of the majors.

On the interbank market, the rupee fluctuated in tight range versus the dollar last week.

Commencing the week on a negative note, the rupee suffered the biggest single day decline in ten weeks after posting 12paisa loss over the last closing at Rs104.70 and Rs104.72.

The week ended on a negative note as the rupee inched down against the dollar in the last trading session, losing two-paisa on the buying counter and three-paisa on the selling counter. It traded at Rs104.81 and104.83, little changed on the week’s opening session.

During the week, the dollar on the interbank market appreciated by 11paisa against the rupee on week on week basis.

In the open market, the dollar weakened marginally against the rupee following dull demand from corporate and private sector on the interbank market last week.

The rupee commenced the week in plus as it posted five-paisa gain in the first trading session with the dollar trading at Rs106.10 and Rs106.30 against the last closing at Rs106.15 and Rs106.35, amid dollar’s normal supply and demand.

The rupee closed the week unmoved against the dollar at Rs106.00 and Rs106.20 for the third straight day as the parity remained unchanged in the last trading session.

During the week, however, the rupee managed to recover 15paisa against the dollar in the open market on the restricted activity of dollar in global trade ahead of the US Fed Reserves weekend policy meeting.

Against euro, the rupee continued to fluctuate, hovering in Rs118.50/Rs119.40 and Rs119.50/Rs120.40 range.

The rupee assumed downtrend against the euro.

The rupee slid after posting 30paisa loss in the fifth trading session and closed the week at Rs119.00 and Rs120.00. During the week in review, the rupee suffered 90paisa loss in three sessions against 120paisa gains in two sessions.

On week on week basis, however, the rupee still managed to gain 30paisa against the euro last week. The euro has so far depreciated against the rupee by 1.2pc in the four weeks of August.

Published in Dawn, Business & Finance weekly, August 29th, 2016

Iran detects malware in petrochemical plants

Iran detects malware in petrochemical plants

DUBAI: Iran has detected and removed malicious software from two of its petrochemical complexes, a senior military official said on Saturday, after announcing last week it was investigating whether recent petrochemical fires were caused by cyber attacks.

The official said the malware at the two plants was inactive and had not played a role in the fires.

“In periodical inspection of petrochemical units, a type of industrial malware was detected and the necessary defensive measures were taken,” Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s civilian defence, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

Iran is alert to the threat of cyber attack by foreign countries. The United States and Israel covertly sabotaged Iran’s nuclear programme in 2009 and 2010 with the now-famous Stuxnet computer virus, which destroyed Iranian centrifuges that were enriching uranium.

The National Cyberspace Council announced last week that it was investigating whether the recent petrochemical fires were triggered by a cyber attack.

But when asked if the fire at Iran’s Bu Ali Sina refinery complex last month and other fires this month were caused by the newly-discovered malware, Jalali said: “the discovery of this industrial virus is not related to recent fires.”

The oil minister said last week that most of the fires in petrochemical plants happened because the privatised petrochemical companies have cut their budgets for health and safety inspections.

Published in Dawn News

Uber, Careem suspend services in UAE capital

Uber, Careem suspend services in UAE capital

ABU DHABI: Ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem have suspended services in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, since Saturday and do not know when they can resume operations, they said on Sunday.

The National, a UAE newspaper, quoted unnamed sources as saying that as many as 50 drivers for Uber and Careem had been arrested.

An Abu Dhabi source familiar with the situation told Reuters some drivers had been detained over violations of regulations, but did not specify how many drivers or describe the violations.

“This is a temporary suspension and we will let you know of any further updates,” an Uber spokesman in Dubai said via email. He did not respond to questions about the arrests or the reason for the suspension of services.

Christian Eid, vice-president of marketing and communications for Careem, a Dubai-based company, said many of its drivers were being stopped by authorities in Abu Dhabi, apparently over licensing issues, and as a result had become nervous and were staying off the roads. This had forced Careem to halt services there, he said.

The Abu Dhabi government’s Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars, which manages the taxi and transport sector, did not respond to queries.

The centre oversees about seven taxi operators and 18 limousine operators, some of which are partly government-owned.

Abu Dhabi police did not respond to requests for comment.

Uber and Careem said they had not suspended operations in neighbouring Dubai, the commercial and tourist hub of the UAE.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi has a population of about 2.8 million and Dubai has roughly 2.5 million.

Uber, which launched services in Abu Dhabi in 2013, said last year that the Middle East and North Africa contained some of its fastest-growing markets and that it planned to invest $250 million to expand in the region.

Published on Dawn News

Stokes eager to bowl against Pakistan

Stokes eager to bowl against Pakistan

LONDON: Ben Stokes is looking forward to giving England an extra bowling option as they go in search of a one-day international series-clinching win against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

England will head to Nottingham 2-0 up with three to play after convincing wins at Southampton and Lord’s.

All-rounder Stokes has been involved in both those victories but as a batsman only after a calf problem prevented England one-day captain Eoin Morgan deploying him as a member of the hosts’ pace attack.

But the Durham star hopes to be firing on all cylinders come Tuesday’s day/night clash in the English Midlands.

“The plan from the start was to be fit and ready to bowl by the third ODI and by the way things are going it is looking likely I will be an option for Eoin in Nottingham if needed,” he said after Saturday’s four-wicket win at Lord’s.

“I have done all the prep to get myself fit and put my hand up to say I am ready to bowl.

“I’ve bowled for about 15 minutes flat out and all the build-up stuff I needed to do has been done, so if I am needed hopefully Eoin will ask.”

An outstanding fielder, the 25-year-old Stokes said not been able to bowl had proved a frustrating experience.

“It’s so boring. Honestly, it makes the fielding innings seem a lot longer because if you bowl 10 overs it kind of takes 20 overs out of the game for you,” he said.

“But I pride myself on my fielding as well and one thing that keeps me switched on the whole time is that I don’t want to give away any runs.

“I want to try and stop as many as possible – and applying myself to that has got me through the fact I am not bowling.

“But it’s nice to get that confidence from your captain and coach saying ‘we want you to play as a specialist batsman’ – so I have wanted to make sure I make some runs in these first two matches.

“I think that knowing I wasn’t going to bowl in these first two games I have worked longer on my batting in the buildup days in training.

“It’s been quite nice to solely concentrate on the batting side in these first two.”

England, whose 50-over cricket has improved markedly since their dismal first-round exit from last year’s World Cup, have so far dominated a Pakistan side who are a lowly ninth in the one-day international rankings.

But Stokes played down talk of a 5-0 whitewash by saying: “We could spill into dangerous territory if we start to think too far ahead.

“We have gone 2-0 up in the series because we have been playing the better cricket. If we were to think we have won it already and slip up on what we have been doing that could be the worst thing we could do.

“We haven’t won the series yet so. We’ve got the next one to do that, so we’ll still be trying to improve on these performances.”

Published on Dawn News

Bangladesh to host first Afghan ODI series

Bangladesh to host first Afghan ODI series

DHAKA: Bangladesh will host their first one-day international series against Afghanistan in late September in preparation for the arrival of the England team, according to the president of their cricket board.

Nazmul Hassan said that the Afghan team, who are based in India, had agreed to play three ODIs at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on September 25, 28 and 30.

“Our senior players recommended the series. So we invited Afghanistan to play against us,” Hassan told reporters late Sunday.

The matches will be the first ODIs hosted by Bangladesh since last year when they won series against Pakistan, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Bangladesh and Afghanistan have never played a bilateral series in any format but they have played each other in tournaments, including last year’s World Cup when Bangladesh cruised to a 105-run victory in Canberra.

England are due to arrive in Bangladesh on September 30 for three ODIs and two Test matches despite concerns over security.

Tamim out for a month with fractured finger.Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal fractured a finger during training on Saturday and will be out for up to a month.

The left-hander suffered the injury to the little finger of his left hand and will likely have to sit out the series against Afghanistan, the country’s cricket board said.

Bangladesh are hopeful the 27-year-old will be fit before England arrive to tour the country for a series comprising three ODIs and two tests, starting on October 7.

“Such injuries take about three to four weeks to heal,” Bangladesh team physio Bayzidul Islam said in a statement.

“We have time. He should be able to start batting in four weeks.”

Published in Dawn News

Fifteen killed at Karbala wedding party: police

Fifteen killed at Karbala wedding party: police

BAGHDAD: At least 15 people were killed at a wedding party near Iraq’s southern city of Karbala late on Sunday, police said on Monday.

A police statement said five assailants including a suicide bomber attacked the celebration in Ain al-Tamr, west of Karbala.

The group opened fire with machine guns and threw hand grenades at the party, the statement said, and security forces killed all the attackers.

Initial reports in local media late on Sunday, citing security sources, blamed the killings on a dispute between two tribes at the wedding party in Ain al-Tamr.

The previous bombings targeting Shia cities were claimed by the militant Islamic State group, the ultra-hardline Sunni group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq.

There were no claims of responsibility for Sunday’s attack, 12 hours after it happened.

Published in Dawn News

IS suicide attack in Yemen kills 45 government fighters

IS suicide attack in Yemen kills 45 government fighters

SANAA: A suicide car bombing claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Monday killed at least 45 pro-government recruits who had been preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen’s north, officials said.

The men were at a staging area near two schools and a mosque, registering to join the mission when a pickup truck suddenly accelerated through the building’s gate as a food delivery arrived, exploding amid the crowd, witnesses said.

“Bodies and body parts are scattered all over the place,” said Mohammed Osman, a neighbour who rushed to the scene. “It was a massacre,” he said.

Over 60 wounded were being taken to three area hospitals, Yemeni security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The men had been signing up to join a unit the Saudis hope will ultimately be made up of 5,000 fighters. After some training, the new force will deploy to the Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan, near the border, the officials said.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders reported on social media that their hospital in Aden had received 45 dead, while the Yemeni officials earlier put the figure at 25 but said it was likely to rise. The IS-run Aamaq news agency said the attack was carried out “by a fighter from the Islamic State who targeted a recruitment centre.”

Ahmed al-Fatih, who had been working at the centre, said security at the site was lax. “There was no consideration of security,” he said. “So it was easy for Al Qaeda or Daesh to pull off such an act,” he added, using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS.

Yemen is embroiled in a civil war pitting the internationally recognised government and a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels, who are allied with army units loyal to a former president. The fighting has allowed Al Qaeda and an IS affiliate to expand their reach, particularly in the south.

The UN and rights groups estimate at least 9,000 people have been killed since fighting escalated in March 2015 with the start of Saudi-led airstrikes targeting the Houthis and their allies. Some 3 million people have been displaced inside the country, the Arab world’s poorest.

UN-mediated peace talks in Kuwait were suspended earlier this month with no signs of progress.

The Houthis and forces allied to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in September 2014, forcing the internationally recognised government to flee the country. The Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis has pushed them out of southern Yemen, but has failed to dislodge them from Sanaa and the rest of the north.

Published in Dawn News

Chinese city hotels asked to turn away people from five Muslim countries

Chinese city hotels asked to turn away people from five Muslim countries

BEIJING: Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay, though China’s foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy.

Three hotels with rooms costing about $23 a night said they had received police notices as early as March, telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan.

“I’m not clear about the reason. We just can’t take them,” one hotel worker said by telephone.

‘Pakistan among countries on the list’

The notice appears only to apply to chea­per hotels at the bottom of the price scale.

All of the five countries have been beset by terrorist attacks in the past few years, or in the case of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been in states of war.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said on Friday the rule appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, though the two cities are more than 1,000km apart.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware that such an order had been issued in Guangzhou. “I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu told a daily news briefing.

“Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard.”

Published in Dawn