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Bangladesh: ‘Jamaat[Islami]-backed’ new party holds rally against Ahmadiyyas


Well informed sources told The Daily Star that Jamaat-e-Islami was patronising Tehrik-e-Khatme Nobuwwat to create unrest in the country in the name of an anti-Ahmadiyya movement and to keep administration busy with this.

Photo credit BTA

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: The Daily Star
By The Daily Star Correspondent | January 4, 2012

In a surprise move, the newly formed fanatical Islamist party Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat held a rally against Ahmadiyyas, a Muslim minority community, in the capital yesterday.

The sudden campaign raised questions about the intentions of the party, which is allegedly linked to Jamaat-e-Islami and was founded 2-3 years back.

The party held the rally at Baitul Mukarram Mosque compound demanding that the government declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims. Ahmadiyyas, who do not believe Muhammad to be the last prophet, are considered by some to be non-Muslims.

Well informed sources told The Daily Star that Jamaat-e-Islami was patronising Tehrik-e-Khatme Nobuwwat to create unrest in the country in the name of an anti-Ahmadiyya movement and to keep administration busy with this.

A key partner in the BNP-led 18-party alliance, Jamaat, has been undergoing hard times since the war crimes trial opened against its top leaders in 2010.

An Ahmadiyya leader told The Daily Star, “Engaging Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat on the street against Ahmadiyya was nothing but a Jamaat strategy to create unrest in the country. This was not the first time Jamaat used this strategy.”

Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat Ameer (chief) Anayetullah said they would take every step to declare Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims. Asked why they raised the issue suddenly, he said earlier they were engaged in the campaign through internet and other means.

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India: 121st. Ahmadiyya Muslim Annual Convention Held


The Ahmadiyya sect came into existence after the Ahmadiyya movement, an Islamic reformist movement, originating after the life of Mirza Ghulam Ahemed of Qadian (1835-1908) in the year 1989.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Pioneer
By Manan Siani | January 3, 2013

Religious freedom offered by India has made it a favourable destination of migration for the Ahmadiyya Muslims of Pakistan, some delegates attending the 121 Annual Convention of the community here said. The three day convention is being held at their headquarters in Qadian.

Syed Tanveer Ahmed, the President of Press committee Qadian said, that the first jalsa was held in 1891 with only 75 members attending it however in the 121st annual convention more than 20 thousand people participated hailing from 32 countries including USA, UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Germany, Canada, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Ahmadiyya sect came into existence after the Ahmadiyya movement, an Islamic reformist movement, originating after the life of Mirza Ghulam Ahemed of Qadian (1835-1908) in the year 1989.

Ahmadiyya delegates from Pakistan, Liyakat and Ashfaq Ahmed said that religious intolerance in Pakistan have forced the people of this community to migrate to other countries and regions in search of peaceful livelihood.

“Various governments which came to power after 1974 has only made life tougher for this community as their freedom to practice their faith has been curbed and the rise of fundamentalism has made life tougher by targeting their mosques and passing religious dictates against the Ahmadiyya people,” said one of the delegates.

Liyakat and Ashfaq further added, “We have been declared as Non-Muslims and our people are treated like second class citizens. We are not allowed to enter the mosques and give ‘Azan’ and on top of that, we are also refrained from offering our Namaz. On condition of anonymity a delegate from Jhang, Pakistan said, “The Pakistani government is influenced by religious leaders known as the Maulvis, who impose unreasonable Fatwas (juristic Muslim laws), which is then enacted by the local administration to harass the people of our community.”

Sheikh Mujahid Ahmad, Press Secretary said that 5272 delegates from Pakistan and more than 13 thousand delegates from India came to attend the annual convention.

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Indonesia city to ban women ‘straddling motorbikes’


When asked if women who did not follow the rule would be punished, Suaidi said: “Once it has become a by-law, automatically there will be sanctions.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: BBC News
By  BBC News | January 3, 2013

A city in the Indonesian province of Aceh which follows Sharia has ordered female passengers not to straddle motorbikes behind male drivers.

Suaidi Yahya, mayor of Lhokseumawe, says it aims to save people’s “morals and behaviours”.

Leaflets have been sent out to government offices and residents to inform them about the regulation.

Aceh is the only Indonesian province that follows Sharia.

Under the new regulation, the mayor says that women passengers are only allowed to sit “side-saddle” because straddling the bike seat violates Islamic values.

“When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman,” Suaidi said.

He added that passengers who sat side-saddle rarely fell off.

The local government will be evaluating the regulation in a month, after which it could turn into a by-law, he added.

When asked if women who did not follow the rule would be punished, Suaidi said: “Once it has become a by-law, automatically there will be sanctions.”

The regulation has been met with criticism from well-known Muslim activists like Ulil Abshar Abdalla, who is based in the capital, Jakarta.

“How to ride a motorbike is not regulated in Sharia. There is no mention of it in the Koran or Hadiths,” he said on his Twitter account, referring to the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

“In a democratic country, what is claimed to be Sharia must be assessed by the public’s common sense if the government aims to turn the regulation into law.”

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Pakistan’s problematic record on Internet restrictions


Over the years, Pakistan has frequently placed blanket bans in an effort to block content it deems problematic. In May 2010, Pakistan placed a blanket ban on Facebook, YouTube, certain Flickr and Wikipedia pages deemed “objectionable content”…

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: CPJ Blog | January 3, 2012
By Sumit Galhotra / CPJ Steiger Fellow

The fleeting nature of YouTube’s availability in Pakistan this weekend–the site, which has been banned in the country since September, was unblocked for a whole three minutes–is only the latest emblem of Islamabad’s erratic and confounding approach to Internet censorship. Those who have been hoping for less opaque tactics apparently are in for disappointment.

“It’s become even clearer that content regulation in Pakistan is not carried out in a transparent manner. Rather it is done at the whims of those in power,” Sana Saleem, co-founder and director of Karachi-based group Bolo Bhi, which works on Internet freedom and digital security, told CPJ by e-mail.

YouTube was blocked in September by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s executive order, after the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” led to violent protests across the Middle East and South Asia. According to media reports, 26 people died and more than 200 were injured across Pakistan in the ensuing clashes.

The ban was briefly lifted on Saturday after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered Internet service providers to restore YouTube, following efforts at filtering content relating to the film, according to media reports. But a moment later, Ashraf issued orders to block it again, a senior official told Agence France-Presse. The blanket ban was reinstated when the filter was deemed ineffectual; the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said it did not work because hundreds of versions of the video are now available, media reports said.

Authorities in Pakistan claim they are respecting the religious sensibilities of the land by banning the video site. But the government’s longstanding record on Internet restrictions has raised pressing questions and criticisms. “The ban is much more than just a stance against blasphemous content. It reflects both on the ad-hoc nature of censorship in Pakistan and the lack of willingness to support open access and free flow of information,” Saleem told CPJ.

Over the years, Pakistan has frequently placed blanket bans in an effort to block content it deems problematic. In May 2010, Pakistan placed a blanket ban on Facebook, YouTube, certain Flickr and Wikipedia pages deemed “objectionable content” following the surfacing of a Facebook page called “Post Drawings of the Prophet Mohammad Day.” And more recently in May 2012, access to Twitter was temporarily banned due to “blasphemous” content. Pakistan has also blocked “anti-state” content including websites promoting Baluch, Sindhi, and Pashtun political views, as well as content on political autonomy and minority rights. This timeline from Bolo Bhi documents the country’s restrictions of the Web.

The latest move has angered many journalists and citizens in Pakistan. A seething op-ed in The Express Tribune called reinstatement of the ban “a rare case of energy from this lethargic government,” one that “prioritizes empty moralism over concrete action.”

At one point this year, Pakistan was working to create a powerful firewall like that in China: in February, the Information and Communication Technology Ministry issued a request for proposals for a national Internet censorship system that could review 50 million website links in less than a second. As CPJ noted at the time, such an unchecked, centrally-controlled censorship regime would be a recipe for disaster for online press freedom.

In April, Pakistan’s High Court of Sindh at Karachi appeared to come to a similar conclusion when it ruled, in a case brought by Saleem and others, that blocking websites without notice was in violation of Pakistan’s constitutional protections for due process and free expression. Since then, it’s unclear what is happening with the firewall plans. But, on November 8, Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced he would form a committee tasked with developing software that would monitor the uploading of “objectionable material” on YouTube. Who would decide what is objectionable–like so much of Pakistan’s Internet censorship policy–was not spelled out.

Read original post here: Pakistan’s problematic record on Internet restrictions

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Ignoring history: The Tahirul Qadri Enigma


What is most alarming is that the real agenda of Dr Qadri’s movement remains unclear, hidden behind claims that are self-contradictory and illogical. Why suggest a Tahrir Square-like revolution for a country that, far from being under one man’s dictatorship for 30 years, has finally managed to pull off a full democratic term?

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Nat’l Desk
Source/Credit: Daily Dawn | Pakistan
By Daily Dawn | January 2, 2013

THE slogan is eerily similar. Tahirul Qadri’s refrain to save the state, not politics, is reminiscent of the one raised during Gen Ziaul Haq’s time, “pehle ehtesaab, phir intikhab”, which was used to delay a democratic change of government for over a decade. The context today may be different, but the political rhetoric is familiar. As the Qadri-MQM team asks the army to support its long march — and not to follow orders from a sitting government to prevent it — it is rightly raising fears about military intervention just as the country was preparing itself to vote out one government and vote in the next for the very first time. Despite the bitter lessons of Pakistan’s history, there are some who still seem to be clinging to the notion, despite their pro-people language, that this country’s citizens are not worthy of democracy.

What is most alarming is that the real agenda of Dr Qadri’s movement remains unclear, hidden behind claims that are self-contradictory and illogical. Why suggest a Tahrir Square-like revolution for a country that, far from being under one man’s dictatorship for 30 years, has finally managed to pull off a full democratic term? Why build such a movement on a one-point agenda of “electoral reform” — and what exactly does this consist of — when an independent chief election commissioner has been appointed and can be appealed to without drama and talk of revolution?
Why the need to push for the immediate installation of a caretaker set-up when that is less than three months away? Why initially hint at postponing elections and then deny that was the intent? Why claim to be in favour of democracy while asking for the army not to follow the orders of an elected government? All that is clear is that behind this is an agenda — whether fully thought-out or not — that is not being revealed.

There is an entirely different path Dr Qadri could take. With the ability to draw large crowds that he has demonstrated at his rallies, the right thing to do would be to contest elections to prove widespread support for his cause and then work to improve the system from within. The same applies to the MQM, a party that has contested polls and come into power on the strength of public support but is choosing to go along with those with an unclear but worrying agenda. There is no doubt that Pakistan’s democracy is not just imperfect but flawed, built on nepotism, corruption and entrenched power rather than true representation of the people. But only letting the system continue, not interrupting it repeatedly, will allow it to improve.

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Germany: Ahmadiyya Muslims clean the streets across country after the New Year


The Ahmadiyya is a reform movement in Islam and represented in 190 countries around the world. Its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Messiah of all regions of the world.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Short News
By WebReporter, Pakoo | January 2, 2013

For the post celebrations cleanup on the New Year Day, the youth wing of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has cleaned the streets across Germany since 1992.

There are over 255 local branches and almost all local communities carried out the social work.

They say, “Our motivations are peace and respect among people and the rejection of selfishness and materialism.”

The Ahmadiyya is a reform movement in Islam and represented in 190 countries around the world. Its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Messiah for all regions of the world.

The goal is to revive the original teaching of Islam: “Peace in the World”. Therefore, the motto of the organization is: “Love for All, Hatred for None”.

Source: http://www.kreis-anzeiger.de

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The murder of Saad Farooq in Pakistan


“We have been receiving death threats for two years,” says Ummad. “I would be abused in the street. At school, some people wouldn’t talk to me. People put up posters across the road from our home abusing us.”

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Oye! Columns
By Sara | January 2, 2013

I’m sitting across the table from Ummad Farooq in a small Sunderland café as he eats a 30p sweet mince pie. There is not much to make him stand out from any other student. He wears jeans and a hooded top and occasionally asks permission to answer messages on his mobile. It’s difficult to imagine that a few weeks ago he was shot in the face, whilst on a visit to Pakistan, during a brutal attack in which his brother and uncle were killed.

Ummad has lived in Sunderland for just over a year and recently completed his MBA in finance at the University of Sunderland. In November, Ummad attended his graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light.

“Before this I had only done an accountancy course, so this is the first graduation of my life and a life achievement,” says Ummad. “Of course there was sorrow, because we had planned for my father and uncle to come and see me and that wasn’t possible as my father is still ill. I missed my family but I am glad my friends came. Overall, I was extremely happy.”

“We have been receiving death threats for two years. I would be abused in the street. At school, some people wouldn’t talk to me. People put up posters across the road from our home abusing us.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim sect Ummad belongs to have faced the constant threat of persecution since the Pakistani government declared them heretics in 1974. Until recently, his father was a leader at a mosque in Karachi, while Ummad’s elder brother, Saad, worked as the Student Secretary, helping young people gain an education. Their high profile positions made Ummad’s family targets for extremists.

“We have been receiving death threats for two years,” says Ummad. “I would be abused in the street. At school, some people wouldn’t talk to me. People put up posters across the road from our home abusing us.”

In October, Ummad returned to Karachi for Saad’s wedding, but his family were aware of the threats they faced.

“We knew there were dangers so we kept the wedding a secret from everyone who wasn’t invited,” says Ummad.

The wedding, on October 15, passed without incident. Four days later, the family attended Friday prayers before heading home in their car, with Saad following on a motorbike.

As Ummad recounts what followed, his voice remains calm, but his eyes are full of emotion. “We heard a gunshot nearby. We didn’t realise they had shot my brother, so my father sped the car up and we all ducked our heads low. A motorbike pulled out in front of us and my father instinctively stopped the car to avoid hitting the bike.”

The men on the bike were the same gunmen who had just shot Saad. They began firing into the car. Ummad’s father was shot five times. Ummad and his uncle were also shot.

“The bullet went right through me,” says Ummad. “I have never experienced such severe pain before. I was covered in blood, my white shirt turned red.”

Ummad’s family realised Saad was missing and turned their car to find Saad, who was lying on the road, shot in the back of the neck. Ummad’s injured father had to drive his family ten miles to the nearest hospital, where Saad was declared dead.

“After the attack, the gunmen were seen both outside our house and outside the hospital, so we were told we had to move to a different hospital. We weren’t given an ambulance. We had to arrange our own transport. My father was injured, so we told him not to look at Saad, but as we left he insisted on seeing him one last time.”

A few weeks later, Ummad’s uncle also passed away from his injuries.

“I lost my only brother, so of course I feel angry, but as Ahmadi Muslims, we say our main motive is to bring peace to the world, so we do not think of revenge. Prayer is the only weapon we use.”

Ummad’s face bears the evidence of his family’s ordeal. A small, red scar slashes his eyebrow, whilst there is a little dark swelling above his right cheek. His injuries were caused by a bullet that lodged beneath his eye and threatened to take his sight permanently. Pakistani doctors were unable to help Ummad, so friends in Pakistan raised funds for him to travel to the UK, where specialists at the same hospital that recently treated Malala Yusufzai – the fourteen year old girl shot by the Pakistani Taliban for championing girl’s education – removed the bullet.

“My vision’s improved since the operation, but it’s still blurry. I won’t be playing cricket any time soon,” says Ummad, 22. “The doctors say I have to watch my blood pressure now, so I’m not allowed to do any sport or go to the gym.”

Despite his family’s tragedy, Ummad avoids feeling bitter. “I lost my only brother, so of course I feel angry,” he says, “but as Ahmadi Muslims, we say our main motive is to bring peace to the world, so we do not think of revenge. Prayer is the only weapon we use.”

Ummad’s family have moved away from Karachi. For now, Ummad is living with friends in Sunderland. “I love it here and I want to stay,” he says. “I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my old home.”

As we stand to leave the café, Ummad tells me that if I need anything whilst I’m in Sunderland I shouldn’t hesitate to ask him. Ummad has been constantly polite and hasn’t once given the impression he feels sorry for himself. Those who meet him may well struggle to imagine why anyone would want to shoot a person like Ummad.

Read original post here: The murder of Saad Farooq in Pakistan

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Pakistan-US ties in 2012


Through most of 2012, Pakistan and the US stuck to their key positions in military and diplomatic forums. However, there was also a thawing of sorts despite the US blame games and Pakistani conspiracy theories.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: The News Pakistan
By Talat Farooq | January 01, 2013

 A series of crises in 2011 set the tone for US-Pakistan interaction in 2012; these included Raymond Davis’ shooting of two Pakistanis and Bin Laden’s killing. However, it was the Salala tragedy that proved to be the final straw with Pakistan closing Nato’s supply route to Afghanistan and demanding a US apology.

The reopening of ground lines of communications (GLOCs) remained a contentious issue, overshadowing the Chicago Summit in May 2012, with media reports of Pakistani negotiators seeking a trucking-fee hike that US officials perceived as extortion.

Days after the Chicago Summit, in which President Obama snubbed President Zardari, Dr Afridi was awarded a 33-year prison sentence for participating in a CIA operation to identify Bin Laden. Within hours the Senate Appropriations Committee attached a unanimously approved provision to dock $1 million from US aid for each year of the sentence unless the doctor was freed.

This tit-for-tat behaviour aggravated anti-American sentiments in Pakistan and opinion polls showed US replacing India as the least favourite nation. The sentiment was of course mutual, with American view of Pakistan becoming increasingly negative. Yet according to American observers, bilateral intelligence cooperation – especially that of targeting Al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), – “quietly continued even as government-to-government relations worsened.” For instance, a mid-January strike that reportedly killed a senior Al-Qaeda figure was taken as evidence by analysts that Pakistanis were at some level continuing to assist in targeting terrorists.

The routes were finally re-opened in July 2012 after a watered down US apology and no resolution of the drone issue even as domestic pressure forced Pakistan to close down Shamsi air base. The issue of drone strikes and collateral damage remained an important matter for Pakistan’s public and parliament, even as the US continued the strikes without remorse throughout 2012.

The ‘nod and wink’ policy of Pakistan’s ruling elite further diminished the credibility of the civilian setup within the domestic scene.

Washington continued to pressurise Pakistan to employ force against anti-Kabul militants in North Waziristan even as the US government sought to talk with other insurgent groups. This inherent contradiction in the American approach did nothing to alleviate the ever increasing trust deficit and mutual resentment. Nor did the US pressure to impede the progress of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

Despite convergence on a negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue, differences on the means to achieve this objective remained in place with Pakistan seeking a friendly Afghan government after US forces leave – a government whose policies do not run counter to Pakistan’s security interests. This contrasted with the US-led coalition efforts toward a pro-America Afghanistan that would not eschew cooperation with India.

Through most of 2012, Pakistan and the US stuck to their key positions in military and diplomatic forums. However, there was also a thawing of sorts despite the US blame games and Pakistani conspiracy theories.

According to a US report, during his April 2012 visit to Islamabad, President Karzai requested Pakistani leaders to influence and prod the Taliban into negotiations. A week later, then prime minister Gilani issued “an unprecedented open appeal to the Afghan Taliban leadership and other militant commanders to participate in an intra-Afghan process,” apparently chaperoned by Nato powers in a bid to facilitate the 2014 Nato and US withdrawal.

In November 2012, the Karzai government presented a model for reconciliation requesting Pakistan’s assistance. Subsequently, Pakistan released more than a dozen Taliban prisoners. The Paris Conference, held as part of the intra-Afghan process, marked the first ever face-to-face talks between the Taliban and the representatives of the Afghan government, the Northern Alliance, and Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami etc.

The Obama administration has welcomed the developments; but at the same time a recent Pentagon report reflects pervasive US concerns about ‘Pakistani sanctuaries’ and its security agencies’ possible support of certain Afghan insurgent groups as a means to increase their leverage in the reconciliation process.

Yet, judging from the US’ assurance of $600 million worth of carrots in Coalition Support Fund and $200 million for Bhasha Dam, things may have moved towards more conciliatory – and familiar – tactics after Obama’s re-election. Thus, ambivalence continues to mark US-Pakistan relations today as it did yesterday.

The aforementioned developments indicate a long overdue flexibility on both sides, not a sudden change of heart. For Pakistan this may have involved agreeing to conduct joint operations and open talks with India. Pakistan did not protest the terrorist label for the Haqqani network, using it instead to pressure its leadership towards negotiations.

This, along with sharing intelligence regarding Al-Qaeda and TTP operatives, may have created space for Pakistan to get involved in the Afghan reconciliation process. Security cooperation from Pakistan may have induced US facilitation of economic and security assistance and a willingness to accommodate at least some of Pakistan’s national security interests.

Pakistan’s willingness to talk to India and cooperate over Mumbai attacks is a strong indicator that the civil-military leadership is reviewing its priorities. So are Pakistan’s efforts to build trust with Karzai’s government. Foreign Minister Hina Khar has held repeated rounds of discussions with Afghan counterparts. Pakistan has also made efforts to build bridges with Afghan politicians close to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

On December 7, Gen Kayani categorically supported the Afghan peace process at a meeting of top commanders at the GHQ, confirming “a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan” as his “top priority.” More importantly, he stated, “We are critically looking at the mistakes made in the past and trying to set the course for a better future.”

Kayani’s growing support for dialogue may be largely driven by external factors, ie a realisation that the US is intent on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. His stance however may also be seen against the backdrop of domestic terrorist attacks, ethnic/sectarian violence, poor governance and economic instability.

To secure national interests, all states take advantage of the domestic weaknesses of non-cooperative governments. In this regard India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are no exceptions; nor is the US. The TTP’s anti-state stance, ethnic strife in Karachi and sectarianism in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, while having indigenous roots, also offer opportunities for exploitation by foreign intelligence networks.

Insurgencies and counter-insurgencies are by definition murky and amorphous and serve as a smokescreen for many a covert action. A congressional research study mentions reports of CIA’s “years long, multi-billion dollar effort to establish inside Pakistan a network of “secret friends” of the US – security officials, intelligence operatives, counterterrorism fighters, and the like, who could offer an alternative to less trustworthy army and ISI officials.”

CIA’s covert actions are aimed at destabilising Pakistan and bringing the safety of its nuclear assets into question. As such they are sure to have formed part of the Pakistani decision making equation vis-a-vis the Afghan imbroglio.

Prudence and realism are indispensable in 2013 if Pakistan is to emerge as a stable country, once the US withdraws most of its forces from Afghanistan. Such an approach will help Pakistan shift its focus from reliance on proxies to diplomacy and negotiated settlement of thorny issues.

In order to protect its interests in South Asia, the US will have to formulate a more integrated regional policy, rather than an issue-based one. Consequently, a stable and friendly nuclear Pakistan will be indispensable. The US-Pakistan roller coaster ride is likely to continue in 2013 as it is played out against the backdrop of the complex Afghan issue. A lot will also depend on the future political dispensation in Pakistan and Obama’s economic woes.

The writer is a PhD student at Leicester, UK. Email: talatfarooq11@gmail.com

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UK: Ahmadiyya Muslim Association cleans up the streets of Croydon on New Year’s Day


The group organised a blood donation session, gave out food to the homeless on Christmas Day and collected money for Save the Children UK.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: This is Croydon Today
By FR Qazi | January 2, 2013

More than 50 volunteers took to the streets of Croydon on New Year’s Day to clean up following the winter festivities.

On Tuesday, volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association worked their way across the borough sweeping and litter picking after leaving their early morning prayers at the Croydon Regional Mosque on St James’ Road.

The clean-up was one of a number of initiatives the AMA set up over the Christmas period.

The group organised a blood donation session, gave out food to the homeless on Christmas Day and collected money for Save the Children UK.

Croydon council provided the group with bin bags, litter pickers and brushes.

Naseem Butt, Regional President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Croydon, said:”Our members have enjoyed living in Croydon for decades and so any opportunity to help our local Community is a much welcomed one.

“Cleaning the streets of Croydon also presents us with an opportunity to become better Muslims as cleanliness in Islam is an important part of a Muslim’s faith.

“We are a peace loving and well organised association which will continue to help make this great part of London an even better place to live in.”

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2012 deadliest year on record for journalists


While government forces are blamed for most attacks, Reporters Without Borders said rebels may be behind some executions in Syria, the deadliest place for journalists in 2012.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: Daily Times
By Daily Times | December 20, 2012

Syria, Somalia remain most dangerous countries for journalists. Pakistan on third position with 10 journalists killed this year

PARIS: More journalists were killed doing their job in 2012 than in any year since monitoring started 17 years ago, with Syria and Somalia seeing a particularly heavy toll, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday.

Eighty-eight journalists were killed, a third more than last year, as security forces in various conflict zones cracked down on a new crop of citizen journalists attempting to document their activities, the Paris-based rights group said. “The high number of journalists killed in 2012 is mainly due to the conflict in Syria, the chaos in Somalia and to violence by the Taliban in Pakistan,” Christophe Deloire, the head of RSF, said in a statement.

Those responsible for mistreating or killing journalists, photographers and cameramen usually face no punishment, creating a sense of impunity which encourages further violence, he added. In Syria, where rebels have been fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011, reports by citizen journalists have partly filled a vacuum left by a lockdown on independent reporting.

Amateur footage from mobile phones of street battles, hospital scenes and devastation caused by bombing has provided fodder for new organisations trying to portray life on the ground. “Without their action, the Syrian regime would be able to impose a total blockade on information in some regions and carry out its massacre with nobody watching,” RSF said. Sophisticated data surveillance allows governments to track who is publishing news online as well as their physical location. If threatened, citizen journalists often lack the means to seek safety outside their country.

While government forces are blamed for most attacks, Reporters Without Borders said rebels may be behind some executions in Syria, the deadliest place for journalists in 2012. Seventeen professional journalists, notably Marie Colvin, a US reporter for Britain’s Sunday Times, 44 citizen journalists and four collaborators were killed there this year. Somalia was the second most dangerous country for journalists, where 18 were killed, followed by Pakistan with 10 and Mexico with six deaths, mostly by organised criminals. reuters

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