The center of Islamabad was rocked by a powerful explosion even as thousands of young radical Islamists gathered to mark the anniversary of the storming of the famous Red Mosque by Pakistan police. A suicide bomber blew himself up close to a group of police killing 15 and wounding 22. The police were on duty because a large crowd was expected since Islamic militants had been promising to hold mass demonstrations. The Red Mosque was the center of young Muslim females and males who were angry at policies by President Musharraf that favored the United States. The mosque was finally stormed with many deaths. A demonstrator in yesterday’s demonstration shouted “we are here to demand that the madrassas that were destroyed last year be rebuilt and people should pay for their crimes against Islam.”
The Musharraf government expected violence ever since launching an attack in Peshawar against the Taliban forces of Baitullah Mehsud. Lost in the controversy is the reality that m any madrassas have been built and financially supported by Saudi Arabia which propogates an extreme form of Islam even while decrying militants in their own nation. As long as clerics exert power in Saudi Arabia they will be teaching youth to hate the west even as their own government is allied with Western powers.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Islambad, madrassas, Red Mosque, suicide bomber
The Pakistan government freed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto from house arrest late Friday evening. She previously had been blocked from attending a rally against emergency rule. The Interior Department said the house arrest “has been withdrawn.” Earlier, Ms. Bhutto, speaking via a megaphone, from behind coils of barbed wire, demanded police allow her to lead a march to end the emergency rule. “I am your sister fighting for democracy,” she shouted to the crowd gathered around her compound. After the house arrest was lifted, she spoke to the press while in her bullet proof car via telephone: “I am not afraid of these tactics,” she said. “My struggle is for the people of Pakistan, for their rights and for an end to dictatorship.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Information insisted her house arrest “was a temporary detention order to keep her from getting exposed to a very serious threat of suicide bombing.” Elsewhere, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the residence of a minister in the northwest city of Peshawar which killed four people.
The release of Ms. Bhutto undoubtedly is the result of intense outside pressure from nations like the United States. Musharraf apparently over stepped the limits of what he thought could be attained, and most wisely took a step backward. The real issue is whether or not Benazir Bhutto can cease being a corrupt leader which was so characteristic of her previous time as prime minister.
Posted in Asia, Gender Issues, George Bush, Human Rights, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Benazir Bhutto, house arrest, Musharraf, Pakistan, suicide bomber
Ms. Benazir Bhutto expressed dissatisfaction with the initial official report on the suicide bombing that greeted her arrival home. It appears Musharraf warned her about possible attacks and asked Bhutto to delay returning, but Ms. Bhutto named three suspects behind the attack in her letter to the president, she claimed the conspirators were “people with powerful positions in government and included “a close friend of the president.” The strange alliance between two arrogant and self centered individuals had strains from the beginning but each needed the other for self interest. Musharrf is increasingly unpopular while Bhutto has popularity but also angers fundamentalist elements in the population
According to the Lahore Daily Times, Bhutto has named specific men including the PUnjab chief minister Caudhry Pervaiz Elahi and a former intelligence officer. By naming specific people, Ms. Bhutto has added a new strain to their relationship. Does President Musharraf take action against his close allies because Ms. Bhutto claims they are conspiring against her? The two allies are trapped in their own strengths and weaknesses, Ms. Bhutto has the support of many moderate components of the Pakistan population while Musharraf is trying to walk the thin line of maintaining his conservative support without alienating moderates and vice versa.
Pakistan is divided and there is no doubt terrorists will continue with their efforts to kill Musharraf and Bhutto. What will happen if either or both of them are killed? Has anyone in the Bush administration considered that possibility?
Posted in Asia, Gender Issues, Military, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto, conspiracy, Musharraf, Pakistan, suicide bomber, USA
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan reached out to Taleban leaders in an effort to fighting in his nation. A few days ago, thirty Afghan soldiers were blown up when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus. Karzai’s message to Taleban leaders said: “Esteemed Mullah(Omar) sir, esteemed Hermatyar, why are you destroying the country?” He offered to meet them any place in Afghanistan and gave assurances he was willing to offer the Taleban positions in his government including being members of the cabinet. A Taleban spokesperson, responded to his plea by saying there would be no negotiation in the “presence of foreign forces.” The American Embassy in Kabul is apparently upset at Karzai’s offer since it rejects any form of negotiation with the Taleban.Ironically, the Taleban and the United States government agree there should not be negotation. Karzai finds himself in a difficult situation since he cannot negotiate without the presence of foreign forces because they provide the military force ensuring he can survive.