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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ghalib was a was not a saint as he used to drink wine but was a great poet

International Urdu Conference: ‘Taboo’ was hallmark of Ghalib’s poetry

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: Intellectuals, writers, poets and authors of the Urdu language held a discussion with a special focus on eminent Urdu poet, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, on the occasion of the fourth session of the International Urdu Conference (IUC) at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP) in Karachi on Saturday.

The session was held in collaboration with the Bazm-e-Ghalib, Karachi.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Sindh Minister for Trade and Industry Rauf Siddiqui, said that it is a global rule of thumb that the formation of a nation is always done by writers and intellectuals, while the state can only facilitate them.

Unfortunately, the concept of a united Pakistani nation is missing in Pakistan and the Pakistani people are divided along religious, sectarian and ethnic lines. The spirit of a single united nation is observed only at time of disasters on a national scale.

Urdu was born in Punjab and flourished in Indian cities Delhi and Lucknow, claimed Siddiqui.

The IUC organizers and intellectuals have honoured Siddiqui and the Sindh government by inviting the minister to attend the IUC. Siddiqui in turn promised support and said he would do whatever he could do for the promotion of arts and culture through an an advisory team that he had constituted.

Writers, poets and intellectuals have long been divided into groups, hampering the cause of the promotion of arts, culture and intellectual activities in Pakistan, regretted Siddiqui.

Efforts have been initiated to establish an intellectuals’ fund for the welfare of intellectuals, but the division of intellectuals into groups has proved a serious hindrance, he said, adding that had the fund established, hundreds of intellectuals could have been benefited from the millions of rupees in the fund.
He said that he had pioneered the Shah Latif Bhittai Award, with prize money of Rs 100,000, the Josh Award worth Rs 50,000 and Sheikh Ayaz Award worth Rs 50,000. The Josh award was reserved for Sindhi intellectuals while the Sheikh Ayaz award was for Urdu intellectuals only.
He urged that the IUC organizers hold the IUC in Nawabshah and Sukkur, for which the Sindh Ministry of Trade and Industry will bear all expenses.
He criticized the caricatures, cartoons and anecdotal depictions of writers, poets and intellectuals by artists and actors for peoples’ amusement, which the masses have wrongly admired.

He announced Rs 100,000 for the ACP to meet IUC expenses while Jamshed Town Nazim Kamran offered Rs 250,000 as well.

Speaking at the IUC, eminent Urdu scholar Dr Aslam Farrukhi briefly said that Ghalib was a poet whose fame was initially limited but now, after his death, he is widely known, more so than any other Urdu poet.

It is difficult to end a discussion on Ghalib once it has started, claimed Farrukhi.
ACP Honorary Secretary Ahmed Shah suggested that the minister pursue the Sindh governor to form the Josh Chair at the Karachi University. Shah also requested the minister to rename Shahrah-e-Noor Jehan in North Nazimabad after Josh Malehabadi, since he had lived there.

Ghalib Institute, Delhi Director Shahid Mehalli said that his institute has so far awarded the Ghalib Award worth Rs 50,000 to over 150 Urdu intellectuals. Anjuman Tarraqqi-e-Urdu Hind President Dr Khalique Anjum focused on Ghalib’s prose in the letters that the poet had written to his friends. Dr Anjum highlighted the means of transportation available at that time as Ghalib revealed in his letters, which he used on his trips to other cities to plead his pension case with the East India Company.

Anjum also spoke of Ghalib’s childish behaviour and said that Ghalib practically used taboos against the city and people of Allahabad, a city of cultured people. He also discussed Ghalib’s extreme admiration of the city of Banaras, which Ghalib portrayed in his letters and is one of Ghalib’s landmark writings.

Anjuman Tarraqqi-e-Urdu Hind Secretary Siddiqur Rehman said that Ghalib should not be limited to the role of a poet but should be taken as the role model of cultural norms and values, which should be propagated across the world.
Former Karachi Port Trust Chairman Rear Admiral (Retd) MI Arshad said that Ghalib was a great poet but not a saint, since he was a drunkard.

Poet and writer Shahzad Ahmed said that Ghalib is a mutual asset for Indians and Pakistanis.

He said that just as it is not clear whether Einstein was the pioneer of modern science or the last of the classic scientists, so is the case with Ghalib. It is difficult to ascertain whether Ghalib was a poet of modern Urdu or the last poet of classic Urdu.

He paid tribute to Ghalib, saying that Ghalib was the Koh-e-Toor (Mount Sinai) and so the pilgrimage is compulsory for us.

Bazm-e-Ghalib Patron Tanveer Kazmi said that whenever any sitting is organized or conference is held on Ghalib, the speakers normally read papers and their theses, which do not necessarily carry detailed information about Ghalib, his poetry and prose.

Iraqi Central Criminal Court ordered the release of Reuters Photographer

An undated file photo shows Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, a freelance photographer working for Reuters news agency in Baghdad. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court on November 30, 2008 ordered the release of Jassam who has been held by U.S. forces since early September. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Jassam, and ordered that the U.S. military release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport. There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling.
REUTERS/Staff/Files (IRAQ)

Iraqi Forces Search For Suspects In Baghdad Rocket Attack

BAGHDAD (AFP)--Iraqi forces surrounded a working-class neighborhood in Baghdad on Sunday, searching cars and houses for militants behind a rocket attack that killed two U.N. contractors, officials said.

Security forces searched cars leaving the Al-Amin neighbourhood and distributed flyers requesting information on two men suspected of firing the rocket, which struck near the U.N. compound in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Saturday.

"Security forces are looking for wanted individuals, and the people are supplying the forces with information on the gang that has been firing rockets," said Major General Qassim Atta, the military's Baghdad spokesman.

"The search operation will continue from this morning, and the goal of the forces is clear, it's the weapons that are hidden in Al-Amin and nearby areas," he told AFP.

A U.N. spokesperson confirmed that another 15 people were wounded in the rocket attack but declined to comment on the nationality of the contractors who were killed and wounded, saying only that they weren't Iraqis.

The victims were all workers for a catering company contracted by the U.N., and weren't national or international staff.

The Green Zone in the center of Baghdad, also known as the International Zone, houses parliament and a number of government buildings and embassies.


Attack on Iraq's Green Zone near U.N. kills two
29 Nov 2008 09:02:58 GMT
Source: Reuters
BAGHDAD, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Rocket or mortar attacks on the heavily fortified Baghdad government and military Green Zone compound killed at least two foreign workers on Saturday near the United Nations offices, a U.N. official and police said.

The U.N. official said two catering workers, of unknown nationality and not affiliated with the world body, had been killed. A Green Zone security source put the toll at three foreign workers killed and 15 wounded.

The Green Zone compound houses many Iraqi government ministries and U.S. military and diplomatic offices, and comes under frequent bomb attacks, though rockets and mortars have been rare in recent months. (Writing by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by Michael Christie and Mark Trevelyan)

600 killed in Karachi violence in just 23 days of Jul/ 2011

کراچی کے علاقے گھاس منڈی میں دھماکہ چودہ ہلاک
کراچی کے علاقے گھاس منڈی میں ایک عمارت کے باہر جمعرات کی رات ایک زور دار دھماکے میں کم از کم چودہ افراد ہلاک اور تیس کے قریب زخمی ہو گئے ہیں۔

دھماکے میں زخمی ہونے والے افراد میں سے کئی کی حالت نازک بتائی جاتی ہے اور ہلاکتوں کی تعداد میں اضافے کا خدشہ ہے۔

پولیس حکام کے مطابق فوری طور پر دھماکے کی نوعیت کے بارے میں وثوق سے کچھ نہیں کہا جا سکتا۔ تاہم انہوں نے خدشہ ظاہر کیا ہے کہ یہ دھماکے دستی بم کے پھٹنے سے ہوا ہے۔ پولیس کا کہنا کہ دھماکے گھاس منڈی میں جس جگہ پر دھماکہ ہوا وہ ’رمی کلب‘ کے نام سے مشہور ہے۔

دھماکے کے غیر سرکاری امدادی اداروں کی ایمبولینسیں کو جائے وقوعہ پر پہنچنے میں بیس منٹ لگے۔ اس دوران ہلاک ہونے والوں اور زخمیوں کو فوری طور پر رکشوں میں ڈال کر سول ہسپتال منتقل کیا گیا۔

ایک عینی شاہد دانش نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ وہ دھماکے کے فوری بعد وہاں پہنچے تو ہر طرف لاشیں اور زخمی بکھرے پڑے تھے۔

انہوں نے کہا کہ کئی زخمیوں اور ہلاک شدگان کو رکشوں کے ذریعے ہپستال روانہ کیا گیا۔

سول ہسپتال سے ہمارے نامہ نگار ریاض سہیل نے اطلاع دی ہے کہ چودہ ہلاک شدگان کی لاشوں کو بھی ہسپتال پہنچایا گیا ہے۔


Rummy club attack kills 16 in Karachi Rummy club attack kills 16 in Karachi Miscreants hurled hand grenade in Ghas Mandi area and fled

Unknown miscreants hurled a hand grenade at a rummy club in Ghas Mandi area of Karachi, killing 16 people and hurting 38. The injurd have been shifted to Civil and Jinnah hospitals. After the blast a state of emergency was declared in the hospitals.

The injured are said to be in a critical condition. More deaths are being feared, revealed the early report. Governor Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Qaim Ali shah have sought the report of the incident.


15 killed, 40 injured in grenade attack in Karachi
Published: April 21, 2011
Attack between two gangs fighting over control of a gambling den. KARACHI: 15 people have been killed and nearly 40 others injured in a grenade explosion at a gambling club in Ghas Mandi near Liyari in Karachi.
Police said that the explosion came following a clash between two groups at a gambling club in Ghas Mandi. Officials said that the clash took place due to an old enmity between the two groups. One member from the group threw a hand grenade due to which 15 people were killed and 40 others got injured.
Injured and the dead bodies have been shifted to Civil Hospital.
Police said that Ghas Mandi has been a disturbed area in recent days with multiple targets killings taking place, some even in the same day.

Karachi killing spree claims 11 Karachi killing spree claims 11 11 people have been killed and five others were injured during the last 24 hours in Karachi.

Unidentified gunmen killed a man, Iqbal, and injured, Faqeer Muhammad and Sardar, near Bnaras Chowk. Two unidentified men were shot dead in Korangi 6.

Locals found body of a woman in Chandni Chowk area and a body of an unidentified man was found in Gulbahar Colony.

A man, Najmul Haq, was found dead in Liaqatabad area while unidentified men gunned down a man, Nasim Hanif, in Sarjani Town sector 7C.
Unidentified man shot at a bus that killed a man, Ziaullah.

25-year-old, Adam Khan, was killed with a sharp edge tool in Sindh Mudrassa Colony.

Two more people were killed while five others were injured in various incidents in the city.


April death toll reaches 72 in Karachi
April death toll reaches 72 in Karachi MQM’s 14 members including a former councilor were gunned down in April.

At least 72 people, including 23 workers of political parties and four policemen, have been killed in firing and target killing incidents in Karachi in the month of April.

MQM’s 14 members including a former councilor were gunned down. Awami National Party’s two members have fallen prey to target killing. Muhajir Qaumi Movement’s three members including its vice chairman were shot dead. Jamat-e-Islami’s former UC Nazim Junaid Zahidi was killed during the month of April.

Karachi death toll mounts to 39
Updated at: 1325 PST, Monday, December 01, 2008
KARACHI: At least 39 people were killed and over 100 wounded as firing and violent incidents continued to affect the country�s financial capital on Monday.

According to reports, unidentified miscreants torched dozens of vehicles, timber market, marriage hall, godown and a garbage house in separate violent incidents reported in the metropolis.

While law enforcement agencies failed to bring the situation under control as 11 more people were killed in different firing incidents today. Seven, out of 11 bodies were brought to different hospitals.

In another incident, unknown gunmen shot dead five people in Raees Amrohi Colony of Orangi Town, increasing the death toll in three days� violence to 39.

Sindh Government had imposed a three-day ban on pillion riding in the city on Sunday.

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah took a serious note of the situation and sought a report within 24 hours. They also directed the law enforcement agencies to keep a close eye on the miscreants� elements.

The series of violence, started from Banaras Chowk on Saturday evening, continues in various parts of the city.

So far, 100 miscreants have been held by the police from various areas of the city in connection with ongoing violent incidents.

It may be mentioned here that 28 people were killed on Saturday and Sunday in Karachi.

City continues to burn; 21 more die, 50 injured

* Over 100 miscreants arrested

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: Violence continued for a second consecutive day in the city on Sunday following the riots that erupted on Saturday.

At least 21 more people were killed and 50 were injured in separate incidents of violence, riots and firing in different parts of the city. The total death toll has risen to 30 and around 200 people are reported to be injured, these include doctors and paramedics.

Law enforcers are gathering details of the violence. They have been directed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the Sindh chief minister to submit a report within 24 hours.

It is believed that law enforcement agencies (LEA) have failed to control the city’s law and order situation and have arrested only a few of the miscreants from different parts of the city.

The routine life of the city was disturbed and different trade centers, markets, petrol pumps, shops and CNG stations remained closed and the city’s transport system remained suspended.

The government declared red alert in the city, it deployed rangers and increased police patrolling in the city and declared an emergency in all city hospitals. Officers who were on leave have been called by due to the law and order situation. Two dozen vehicles, dozens of shops including the timber market in Godhara, New Karachi, were set on fire.

Those injured included women and the paramedical staff of the Qatar and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. The police and Rangers are hesitant to take actions despite having been given shoot at site orders.

In Orangi Town, petrol pump employee Ali was shot dead and a security guard Naseem sustained injures while Mominabad Orangi, Abdul Rehman was shot dead. Another young man Kamran Khalid was tortured and mutilated before being killed.

In Gulistan-e-Johar, Rasool Jan was killed, Jalaluddin was shot dead in Ajmair Nagri and an unknown man was shot in KBR Society. Amanullah, an alleged Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) worker was killed at the Korangi Crossing while Faisal Qadir, an alleged Sunni Tehreek worker was killed within the limits of Surjani Police Station.

Nasir a private clinic employee was killed in Soldier Bazaar, and unknown man in Aram Bagh, Fazal Malin in Kharadar, Akthar Ali within the limits of Preedy Police Station in Model Colony and Abdul Latif and two others in Gulshan.

Asif, 40, an owner of a local ice-cream shop was gunned down while a passerby sustained injuries in the firing incident at the shop situated near Hyderi, North Nazimabad.

Sajid Jhoki, who was said to be affiliated with a political party, was gunned down in the Gulbahar area and Rozi Khan, a watchman was killed by the firing of unidentified miscreants. Two more were reportedly killed in Raees Amrohi Colony, Orangi Town.

Banaras, Orangi Town, Qasba Colony, Baldia, Ittehad Town, Sohrab Goth, Pak Colony, Gurumandir, Patel Para, Nagan Chowrangi, Gulistan-e-Johar, Malir, Quaidabad and surrounding areas, were the worst affected areas. Heavy contingents of police and Rangers were deployed to control the law and order situation in these areas.

Qatar Hospital Deputy Medical Superintendent (DMS) Dr Khalid told Daily Times that around 25 injured people and a body arrived at the hospital on Sunday while 107 injured and three bodies came to the hospital on Saturday.

“Miscreants mutilated the ears of around four people and attacked the hospital team near Qasba More,” the DMS said. “Three doctors and two other employees sustained serious injuries when they were on their way home from the hospital.” The injured include Dr Khalique, Dr Shibli Malik, Surgeon Naushad and the paramedical staffers Arshad and Rafique.

He added that two who were critically injured were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital after initial treatment. Dr Khalid had asked law enforcement authorities to provide security to the hospital staff otherwise it would be difficult and dangerous for doctors to work in such circumstances. He said that around eight doctors are still working their shifts in the hospital from the first day of violence.

Karachi Police Chief Wasim Ahmed, while talking to Daily Times, said that over a 100 miscreants carrying arms and are affiliated with both groups, were arrested from different parts of the city. “They were disturbing the law and order situation,” he said and added that cases have been registered against all of them. Ahmed revealed that since Saturday, 18 people have lost their lives, of whom 13 were killed on Saturday and the remaining five were killed on Sunday.

He stated that there are 103 police stations in the city. “The trouble is within the jurisdictions of eight police stations whereas there is a complete calm everywhere else,” Ahmed explained.

The 2 million population of Orangi are stranded in the town. Majority of the victims were targeted when they were on their way home from Banaras. The police and Rangers posts were also allegedly set up in the affected areas, especially in Orangi Town. There were also some unconfirmed reports stating that some houses were set on fire in Orangi Town and some women were raped by miscreants.

Meanwhile, victims of ethnic violence have started shifting from areas that witnessed clashes.

Shakeel, a resident of the Qaimkhani Colony Baldia Town, told Daily Times that many people left their houses because of intense firing throughout the day. He added that houses were set on fire and the miscreants misbehaved with women. A resident of Orangi Town said the same and added that people who were living right in the middle of the clash have evacuated their houses. Similar situations have been seen in Sohrab Goth.

KARACHI: Fourteen people were killed and over 80, including four women, sustained injuries while 17 vehicles were torched in separate incidents of violence in the metropolis on Saturday.

Various incidents of stone pelting and aerial firing were also reported. Following the incidents, shops were also closed in most areas as chief of Sindh Police said that the situation had been brought under control. Eyewitnesses said that the violence started from the Banaras area when some armed men held a protest and blocked the Bacha Khan Chowk.

The protest turned violent when two groups exchanged fire in which several people sustained injuries. The protesters also torched vehicles. Meanwhile, unidentified armed men started firing in other parts of the city. Safdar, 30, was killed in Nazimabad while two brothers, Naseeb and Aqeel, died in North Nazimabad.

Babar Shah, 35, a resident of Pahar Gunj, was returning home when armed men killed him. Another unidentified man was killed in North Nazimabad. Three more people died near the Nazimabad Bridge in the Liaquatabad Town. Matiullah was gunned down in Paposh Nagar while Najeeb, 45; Mukhtar Ali and Muhammad Ali were killed in Orangi Town. An unidentified person was shot dead in Kala Board area. Most of the bodies and the injured were shifted to the Qatar Hospital while some of them were ferried to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre and the Civil Hospital.

Civil Hospital sources said that they received the body of Najeebullah, who was injured in Baldia Town. He succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment, the sources said. Qatar Hospital sources said that they had received three bodies and over 90 injured. They added that most of the victims were from Manghopir, Mominabad and Peerabad areas.

Meanwhile, miscreants torched seven rickshaws near Liaquatabad No 10. Unidentified armed men torched five mini-buses and a rickshaw in Sector-4, F-3 stand, Saeedabad, while a bullet-riddled body of an unidentified man was found from a Suzuki Hi-roof CF-2176 from Block-L1 in the Surjani Town police limits.

Also, a car was torched by unidentified men near Ancholi in the Gulberg police limits and news of ariel firing was also reported. Armed men reportedly threatened shopkeepers to close their businesses. Incidents of violence were also reported from SITE, Pakistan Bazaar, Gulberg, Gulbahar, Moosa Colony, Garden, Saddar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Buffer Zone, Patel Para, Ranchore Lines, Kharadar, Mithadar and other areas.

Meanwhile, Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed said that directives had been issued to the police to arrest and deal with anti-social elements with an iron hand. No leniency would be shown to miscreants, he added. He said that the police had brought the situation under control. He said that the police had arrested over 20 suspects and recovered arms from their possession. A Rangers spokesman said that their personnel were put on high alert and were moved to the affected areas to bring the situation under control.


Pakistan urges rival groups to end Karachi clashes
01 Dec 2008 09:55:14 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Aftab Borka

KARACHI, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Political parties in Pakistan's biggest city must help stop violence between rival ethnic-based factions, a provincial minister said on Monday, after days of bloodshed in which at least 20 people have been killed.

Karachi, Pakistan's commercial capital and home to its main port, has a long history of political, ethnic and religious violence and the clashes have raised fears of a return to the bloodshed that plagued the city in the 1990s.

The violence, which broke out on Saturday, is between the city's majority community of Urdu-speakers, most descendents of migrants from India at the time of the partition of India in 1947, and ethnic Pashtuns from northwest Pakistan.

Rivals fought gun battles and burned shops and cars in several parts of the city of 15 million people on the weekend. More disturbances erupted on Monday and hospital officials reported another five deaths.

Provincial interior minister Zulfiqar Mirza told the provincial assembly police and paramilitary rangers had been deployed in all sensitive areas.

"Police and rangers are patrolling the areas but the political parties should also play their role to calm the situation," Mirza said.

Police have been told to shoot trouble-makers on sight and they have banned pillion riding on motor bikes.

Mirza said 20 people had been killed but according to a tally of reports from police and hospitals, the death toll was at least 30.

All schools and colleges in the city were shut on Monday and public transport was thin. But operations at the country's main port was normal, a port official said, while financial markets and banks were open.


Tension has been rising since leaders of the Urdu-speaking community began saying Taliban militants, most of whom are ethnic Pashtun, were gaining strength in the city.

A political party representing Urdu-speakers, who are known as mohajirs, or refugees, has been the dominant political force in the city since the 1980s.

A large number of Pashtuns and members of other Pakistani ethnic groups have flocked to Karachi over the years in search of work. Pashtuns dominate the city's transport network.

Taj Haider, a senior member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, said trouble had been brewing for some time.

"It is not sudden. It was going on for a while. They were asking people to buy guns because Taliban were coming," said Haider, referring to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM party which is mostly supported by Urdu-speakers.

Faisal Sabzwari, an MQM member of the provincial assembly, said the violence stemmed from frustration over rising crime.

"For a few months criminal activity against innocent people has increased. Incidently, most of the criminals belonged to a particular ethnicity," Sabzwari said.

"Taliban people are involved," he added.

Pashtun politicians say the MQM uses fear of the spread of the Taliban as an excuse to treat Pashtuns unfairly. (Additional reporting by Imitaz Shah; Editing by Robert Birsel and Sanjeev Miglani)


Target killings: MQM walks out of Assembly as death toll climbs to 18
Published: June 14, 2011

Police and Rangers personnel have been deployed in these areas for security. PHOTO: APP

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) staged a walk-out from the proceeding of National Assembly on Tuesday, in protest against the renewed spate of violence in Karachi.

Raising a point of order in the National Assembly, MQM MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi voiced serious concerns over the fresh wave of terrorism in Karachi, saying the city had been once again left at the mercy of terrorists.

Rizvi called Karachi the economic engine of the country and the centre of gravity for overall national growth. Efforts to destablise Karachi would amount to destablising the rest of Pakistan, he added.

The death toll from target killings in the metropolitan city rose to 18 in 24 hours.

Incidents of violence in Qasbah colony, Aligarh and Orangi Town have forced people to stay indoors as hardly any traffic can be seen in these areas.

Two minors were killed in Orangi Town when they were caught in the cross fire of a clash between rival groups while two kids were hit by gunfire at Shaheen Hotel near Qasba Mor.

Police and Rangers personnel have been deployed in these areas for security.

Updated from print edition (below)

MQM man’s murder triggers violence

At least five men were gunned down, while over half a dozen others were injured in violence triggered in Orangi Town after the killing of an All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) worker on Monday.

Armed men shot dead 36-year-old Shafiq Ahmed Qureshi, who was affiliated with the APMSO, a student wing of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), near his house in Aligarh Colony. He was also the leader of the Aligarh Bazaar Association. The victim’s body was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH).

The killing triggered violence and firing was reported in several parts of Orangi.

Meanwhile, 40-year-old Akbar, who was affiliated with an MQM sub-organisation, the Muttahida Organising Committee, was gunned down in Pirabad.

Over half a dozen people were injured, while one body was taken to Civil Hospital, Karachi. ASH medico-legal office sources said Adeel and Abdul Ghafoor were brought in injured from Orangi, while Alamgir, 25, Abdul Ghaffar, 35, Roshan Ali, 22, Saad, 25, were admitted.

The body of 22-year-old Faiz Mohammad was taken to CHK. According to CHK MLO Dr Qarar Abbasi, Faiz was shot dead in Orangi. Separately, Ashfaq was killed, while Amir and Farooq were injured in Qasba Colony.

The Malir City police found the body of an abducted Awami National Party (ANP) activist, identified as Asmatullah Kakar. The police said the victim was beaten and shot twice

Residents of Orangi were confined to their homes. “There is a limit to everything. We are tired of the continuous clashes between the [two linguistic groups],” complained a resident.

Another resident said that the law enforcement agencies have failed to protect the people. “If they do not know how to protect people then why don’t they leave their posts and take on other jobs,” he fumed.

Rangers reportedly disappeared from Orangi Town. “The Rangers are not doing their part. People are murdering one another but no one knows where the Rangers are,” said Orangi SP Khurram Waris.

“Such people should not simply be caught but killed if they are taking the lives of innocent people,” he added.

The SP said only three to four additional posts were set up in Orangi town, while nearly over one dozen are still pending. “We told the government repeatedly to make more check posts but no one paid attention. The few set up are also ineffective,” he said.

“There is not a single Ranger out on the streets. Maybe they are trying to show us how valuable they are,” said Orangi DSP Majeed Abbas.

The DSP said the violence was ethnocentric. “There is firing from both sides so what does this mean,” he replied when he was asked about the nature of the violence.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.


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14 more killed

* Over 100 gunmen target offices of MQM in Malir and Landhi

* Residents complain of police, Rangers’ inaction

KARACHI: After a brief lull of a week, several localities of Malir and Landhi turned into battlefields again on Friday, as 14 persons were killed, and 24 others were wounded. According to details, over 100 gunmen, possessing sophisticated weapons and latest walky-talkies, barged into different areas of Malir and Landhi and resorted to indiscriminate firing at specific locations dominated by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Eyewitnesses said that assailants, riding in luxurious vehicles like Twin Cabin, Parado and CG 125 motorbikes, stormed into Ghazi Town and Aleemabad areas of Malir District after the Fajr prayers. The culprits spread to different areas of Malir and resorted to indiscriminate firing at MQM unit and sector offices and killed people without any discrimination. After attacks on MQM Unit 100 Office located in Aleemabad, the armed assailants moved towards other areas of Malir, such as Khokhrapar, Saudabad, Ammar Yasir Society and adjacent areas, where they targeted people standing outside their homes. Residents said that armed men came from slum areas of Malir and retreated to these slum localities after assaulting the citizens. They spent their nights at different goths situated in the suburbs of Malir such as Bahoo Goth, Asoo Goth and Jhokio Goth.

Residents said that attackers attacked the houses of MQM workers and killed Nadeem, Niaz, Naseer and Azeem. The unit offices that were attacked included 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 and 100, where gunmen stayed for around two to three hours and an exchange of fire between the attackers and MQM backed residents continued till the arrival of personnel of law-enforcement agencies at around 11 am. Terrorists managed to flee without any confrontation or resistance despite the presence of law-enforcement agencies, said residents, adding that assailants remained in Jhokio Goth till evening. Although, residents of the areas pinpointed to the police and Rangers the locations where the terrorists were hiding, law-enforcement agencies were reluctant to take any action even after the death of nine persons, including six MQM activists.

Similar ambush began in the Landhi area where armed men barged into the MQM dominated areas and tried to capture the MQM Unit 89 office. Following the attack, gunmen faced stiff resistance. Three were wounded and died on way to a hospital. Police said that two activists of Awami National Party (ANP), including Mustaqeem and Akram Khan, were killed in Landhi and Quaidabad areas while an activist of Mohajir Qaumi Movement Haqiqi, Iqbal alias Ballo, was also gunned down in Quaidabad area.

Unidentified men torched a house of MQM-H worker Maqbool alias Maqboola in Model Colony.

Separately, in another incident in Landhi 89, the house of MQM-H activist Afaq alias Iffi was set ablaze by unidentified men.

DIG East Akram Naeem Baroka said that at around 7:00 am, unidentified men armed with automatic weapons entered parts of Malir and opened firing. “After that, several areas turned into battlefields,” he said, adding that heavy contingents of police and Rangers rushed to the affected areas and controlled the situation. He said still some areas of Malir and Landhi were tense and heavy aerial firing was reported. “Police and Rangers have been deployed in all sensitive areas and are ready to take on the troublemakers,” he said. Police surgeon Dr Hamid Pedhiar, when contacted, said that 10 dead bodies and 15 injured were shifted to the JPMC, two corpses were shifted to Sindh Government Hospital Malir and one dead body and four injured were brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. The deceased were identified as Niaz Muhammad, Muhammad Ibrahim, Akram, Akbar Ali, Naseer Ahmed, Azeem, Jamshed, Nadeem, Murtaza, Iqbal, Ikram, Khalid, Shafiq, Nabi Khan and an unidentified person. atif raza


Tension prevails: Six people shot dead in a fresh wave of violence
Published: July 24, 2011

Rangers personal stands guard in the troubled Malir area of Karachi after incidents of violence in the area on Friday and Saturday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS

Parts of the city remained tense on Saturday as at least four people, including a lawyer associated with the Karachi Bar Association, were killed in a fresh wave of violence.

A 56-year-old lawyer, Advocate Syed Mukhtiar Abbas Bukhari, was gunned down in Sheesha Market in Bohra Pir. The Eidgah police said that the incident took place while Bukhari was going home in his silver Toyota Corolla from the City Courts to Abbas Town in Gulshan-e-Iqbal when assailants shot and killed him.

Witnesses told The Express Tribune that two men on a motorcycle first intercepted the victim’s car and then shot him in the head. He was taken to Civil hospital where he died.

The Anti-Extremism Cell’s chief, SSP Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Khan, told The Express Tribune that “the deceased dealt with cases of Shias who were suspected of belonging to the banned Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan. He had arrested many people especially in target killing cases. He was probably killed by the rival sectarian group.”

The KBA president, Mohammad Aqil, strongly condemned the incident and announced that the courts would be boycotted on Monday. “This is not the first incident, several lawyers have already been killed and all the circumstances suggest that the government and law enforcement agencies have failed to restore peace in the city,” said Aqil.

He announced that a general body meeting would be held in the City Courts to discuss future plans. He said that Bukhari had informed the KBA about receiving threats from unidentified men a couple of weeks ago. Aqil added that the KBA had submitted an application to the authorities to provide Bukhari with security but no steps had been taking in this regard.

Millat-e-Jafaria announced a day of mourning on Sunday over the incident and demanded that the culprits be arrested.

A Shia scholar, Allama Abbas Kumaili, told The Express Tribune that he suspects a conspiracy is being hatched against the Shias. However, he termed Bukhari’s killing as ‘sectarian violence.’

SHO Mohammad Nawaz said that the culprits escaped before the police reached the site. He also informed The Express Tribune that a small weapon, most probably 30-bore pistol was used. The SHO said that details were still being gathered and it would be premature to state the motive of the crime.

Bukhari was the father of four children, his funeral prayers were offered at Ancholi Imambargah after Zuhr. No case has been registered as yet.

Separately, unidentified armed men shot 36-year-old Tahir, in Urdu Nagar. Malir City police said that the deceased was a resident of Saudia Colony in Khokhrapar and a vegetable vendor by profession.

Civil Line police reported the death of Khalid Mehmood, 25, who was shot dead near the railway tracks in Hijrat Colony.

He was a salesman by profession and was on his motorcycle when two armed men riding a motorcycle gunned him down. He died at the spot. Separately, a twelve-year-old boy identified as Chandu, was killed while another Gul Rehman, 54, was wounded during a clash between two groups near Juna market.The clash was said to be between political party activists and Lyari’s gangsters over the installation of street barriers. Napier police said that Chandu was flying a kite on his roof when a stray bullet killed him.

Two people were injured during a cross fire between two groups in Baldia Town. Saeedabad police said that the injured were identified as Rafiq and Khalid. They were taken to the Civil hospital.

New Karachi police said that a 40-year-old teashop owner was gunned down. Abdul Bari was sitting at his cash counter when unidentified armed men arrived on a motorcycle and began to fire indiscriminately. He died at the stop, he was taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

The victim hailed from Quetta and police suspected that he was killed due to personal enmity. His killing created much tension in New Karachi and its surrounding areas.

Separately, a man was shot dead in Bhittaiabad. Sachal police station’s SHO, Ghulam Shabbir, said that Sikander Chandio used to run a public call office and had no affiliation with any political party. He was shot and killed by two armed men over property dispute.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2011.


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Karachi remains tense as nine more killed in wave of violence

* All commercial and non-commercial activities at Malir and Landhi remain suspended

Staff Report

KARACHI: Nine more people, including an advocate, were killed in separate acts of violence in various parts of city on Saturday.
An advocate of Sindh High Court was shot dead near Bohrapir Sheesha Market within the limits of Eidgah police station.

The incident took place as Advocate Mukhtiar Abbas Bukhari was going in his car, when unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate firing at him. Police shifted him to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), where he succumbed to his injuries.
Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen has also condemned the killing of the advocate and announced the day of mourning on Sunday.
A tea hotel owner was shot dead in New Karachi near Bismillah Mosque in the limits of New Karachi police station.
The incident took place at New Quresh Akakhel Hotel, where 40-year-old Abdul Bari was sitting at a cash counter, when unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate firing at him. Clash between two groups in Juna Market claimed the life of a teenager.
During clashes, a stray bullet hit a 13-year-old Bilal on his head. Police shifted Bilal to CHK, where he breathed his last.
A young man was shot dead in Hijrat Colony at Ahmed Raza Khan Road within the remits of Civil Line police station.
The victim, 25-year-old Khalid Mehboob, was returning home, when unidentified men shot him dead near Railway Crossing.
A 30-year-old Tahir was shot dead in Urdu Nagar near Mono Technical College in the limits of Malir City police station. A man was shot dead in Bhittaiabad within the jurisdiction of Sachal police station.
SHO Ghulam Shabbir said the deceased was shot dead over a property dispute.
Three people were shot dead by unidentified armed men near Iram Shopping Centre within the limits Taimoria police station. The victims were identified as Awais, Raheel and Salahuddin.
Sources said the victims were the activists of MQM, but police have denied their affiliation with any political party.
All activities at Malir and Landhi were suspended on Saturday in order to mourn Friday’s wretched armed attack. All shops and markets at Saudia Colony, KDA Chowk, Jaffar Tayyar Society, Khokhrapar, Salman Parsi Gate, Liaquat Market, Post Office Stop, Mohammad Market, Hussaini Chowk, Sherpao Colony, Landhi 89 and other areas remained closed.


Karachi turmoil: Two days of violence leave 30 dead
Published: July 24, 2011

Atmosphere of fear and tension still prevails in Malir, Landhi, Qasba colony and Katti Pahari. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: At least 13 people were killed in separate incidents of violence in Karachi, while the death toll in the last 48 hours has reached 30, Express 24/7 reported on Sunday.

Two people were injured in multiple firing incidents this morning.

Fear and tension still prevails in Malir, Landhi, Qasba colony and Katti Pahari. However, some markets and business centres are open in these areas.

Apart from the 30 killed, 42 people were injured in various events in the last 48 hours. Rangers and police continue to hold their positions in sensitive areas to avoid any untoward incident.

Amidst the violence, IG Sindh, Wajid Durrani has claimed that seventeen target killers were arrested from Karachi during the last week.

Speaking at a gathering, Durrani said the situation in Karachi was under control and army intervention was not required. He said extremists were using names of political parties and disrupting peace in the city.

Responding to a question about the Taliban presence in Katti Pahari, Durrani claimed that land grabbers were the real cause of the problem. “These land grabbers are targeting the Urdu- and Pashto-speaking populations. They want to ignite a fire that will lead to war,” he said. “The police has identified these men and they will not be spared.”

The IG said operational power of the police will increase when grants and increments worth a total of Rs5 billion will be given to the force.

The latest spate of violence erupted on Friday when as many as 13 people were killed and over two dozen injured during armed clashes between supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and its breakaway faction the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) in various Malir district localities.

KARACHI: Fifteen people have been killed and many others injured in shootings in different areas of the metropolis on Sunday. The three day death toll has crossed 40, Express 24/7 reported on Sunday.

The Sindh Home Department has imposed an indefinite ban on pillion riding in the city just a week after lifting it.

Three people were gunned down late night in the Karimabad area.

The volatile area of Malir remains in a restive state of violence with clash erupting between two armed groups forcing shutter down in the area.

According to police, one man was shot dead in Quaidabad and one in Moch Goth. Four people were killed near the Anda Mor and UP Mor in New Karachi and one in Ghas Mandi Lyari.

28-year-old Badar Afzal wounded two days ago in a crossfire in Malir succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

In Surjani Town, one person was killed and another injured in firing on a mosque. Malir, Baldia and Millat Town also echoed with gun shots today.

Four people were injured in crossfire. Armed groups clashed at Bakra Peeri in Malir sending wave of panic and subsequent closure of businesses.

Apart from the 30 killed, 42 people were injured in various events in the last 48 hours. Rangers and police continue to hold their positions in sensitive areas to avoid any untoward incident.

Amidst the violence, IG Sindh, Wajid Durrani has claimed that seventeen target killers were arrested from Karachi during the last week.

Speaking at a gathering, Durrani said the situation in Karachi was under control and army intervention was not required. He said extremists were using names of political parties and disrupting peace in the city.

Responding to a question about the Taliban presence in Katti Pahari, Durrani claimed that land grabbers were the real cause of the problem. “These land grabbers are targeting the Urdu- and Pashto-speaking populations. They want to ignite a fire that will lead to war,” he said. “The police has identified these men and they will not be spared.”

The IG said operational power of the police will increase when grants and increments worth a total of Rs5 billion will be given to the force.

The latest spate of violence erupted on Friday when as many as 13 people were killed and over two dozen injured during armed clashes between supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and its breakaway faction the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) in various Malir district localities.
For more on this issue follow: targetkilling
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Pillion riding banned in Karachi

22 more fall prey to violence

* Death toll in straight two days of violence tops 30

* Police, Rangers unable to enter troubled areas

* Law enforcers claim to have arrested half a dozen suspects

By Atif Raza

KARACHI: At least 22 more people were killed and over 20 wounded when unidentified gunmen went on shooting sprees in several neighbourhoods in Karachi on Sunday, bringing the death toll in straight two days of violence to 31.

Officials of police and Rangers were unable to take any stern action against miscreants as they could not enter the political and ethnic violence-hit areas, where gunfire reverberated and thousands of people stood stranded.

In the worst incident, residents of Malir’s Daud Goth area narrowly escaped rocket and hand grenade attacks when skirmishes among different political parties, including the city’s main political group Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H), took place.

In Lyari area, two MQM workers, Ali Akbar and Mohammad Hussain, were mowed down while one Raees was wounded. Another MQM worker, Irfan Ismael, was killed while one Abdul Rasheed was wounded in a firing incident in Quaidabad area.

Three people, Zafar Iqbal Furqan and Iqbal, were gunned down by unidentified men near Disco Mor. One Afnan was also injured in the same incident. A worker, Noorul Islam, of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) was shot dead and one Nazeer wounded in an attack inside Siddiq-e-Akbar Masjid in Sarjani area.

In Nabi Bux area, one Iqbal was gunned down while in Ghas Mandi area one Khalid Baloch was killed. In another firing incident in Liaquatabad area, an unidentified man was gunned down while four others received bullet wounds.

A passerby was killed during a clash between two rival groups in Quaid-e-Azam Colony. Two people, Saleem Shah and Mohammad Pervez, died while over half a dozen were fatally hurt as a result of a gunfight between two political groups in Malir area.

Three more people, namely Ikhlas, Kala Khan and Khalid, were gunned down in Gulberg area.

An MQM activist, Badar Afzal, who was injured in a firing incident two days ago, succumbed to his injuries at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College on Sunday.

In Daud Goth area, residence of a PPP leader, MNA Sher Mohammad Baloch, was attacked by unidentified criminals. Late on Sunday night, four dead bodies were recovered from different areas of the city. Nevertheless, the Sindh Home Department has imposed an indefinite ban on pillion riding in the city from Monday.

Meanwhile, law enforcers claimed to have arrested over half a dozen suspects during search operations in Baldia Town.


Violence in Karachi: At least 22 more killed in turf war
Published: July 25, 2011

Rangers Brigadier Waseem says the armed groups were using sophisticated weapons. PHOTO: PPI/ FILE
Rangers Brigadier Waseem says the armed groups were using sophisticated weapons. PHOTO: PPI/ FILE The Sindh Home Department has imposed an indefinite ban on pillion riding. PHOTO : AFP

At least 22 people were shot dead in pitched gunbattles that are evolving into a fight for control of Karachi city itself.

But more than the actual killings was the fear that the firing spread, especially in Malir.

The worst affected parts were Malir, Landhi, Jaffer Tayar Society and Daud Goth. At least four rockets were fired in Daud Goth but no loss of life was reported.

Rangers Brigadier Waseem said the armed groups were using sophisticated weapons, including machine guns, assault rifles such as the AK-47 and .222 rifles.

Eleven more people in Karimabad, Sir Syed, Nabi Bux, Ghas Mandi, Liaquatabad, Baldia Town and Mobina Town were killed while over half a dozen others were wounded.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2011.


Fresh Karachi violence leaves 44 dead in three days

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By Imtiaz Shah

KARACHI | Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:26am EDT

(Reuters) - Fresh political and ethnic violence gripped Pakistan's commercial capital over the past three days, leaving up to 44 people dead and taking the death toll for July to 339, city police said Monday.

Most of the weekend's casualties were reported in the city's eastern Malir, Landhi and adjoining areas -- a multi-ethnic, lower middle class neighborhood.

"We have identified the people and at least 200 police commandos will be dispatched to search and arrest these people," said Naeem Boroka, a senior police official in Karachi's eastern area.

Police said there was no clear reason for the latest bout of fighting. The city, home to more than 18 million people, has a long history of ethnic, religious and sectarian violence and local quarrels and political disputes can often explode into battles engulfing entire districts.

The areas affected are home to both Pashtuns and Muhajirs, the descendents of Urdu-speaking refugees who fled India to settle in Karachi in 1947 following the sub-continent's partition.

The two political parties representing the two ethnic groups have a history of enmity and violence between them.

But the recent fighting also included Sunni-Shi'ite violence, with personal feuds played out in an environment that has seen a breakdown in law and order, said Sindh Information Minister, Sharjeel Memon.

The Muhajir-backed Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the Pashtun-backed Awami National Party and the Pakistan People's Party have often used street thugs and ethnic gangs over the years as footsoldiers in a city-wide turf war over political power in Karachi, which contributes 68 percent of Pakistan's tax revenues and hosts the country's largest ports.

Karachi was a main target of al Qaeda-linked militants after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, when Pakistan joined the U.S.-led campaign against militancy, and foreigners were attacked in the city several times.

A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 1,138 people were killed in Karachi in the first six months of 2011, of whom 490 were victims of political, ethnic and sectarian violence.

(Additional reporting and writing by Sahar Ahmed; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Sugita Katyal)



Violence in Karachi: 7 killed in different areas
Published: July 29, 2011

Police and Rangers are on the outskirts and have not been seen patrolling the affected area. PHOTO: JALAL QURESHI/FILE

KARACHI: Seven people have been killed in different parts of Karachi during the last 24 hours, Express 24/7 reported on Friday.

Two people were killed in Orangi Town, which remains tense as a result of firing in the area. Express 24/7 correspondent Ahmed Jung reported all businesses and markets in the area are closed and firing is still underway.

Police and Rangers are on the outskirts and have not been seen patrolling the affected area.

Two bodies were recovered from Kachi ground and Napier Road, and two people were killed as unidentified gunmen opened fire at a restaurant near Sindh hotel on Bashir Road.

The bodies have been shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

A body was also recovered from the Lee Market area.

Why Karachi's violence shouldn't define city
By Fatima Bhutto, for CNN
July 29, 2011 -- Updated 0359 GMT (1159 HKT)

Karachi is plagued by internecine violence, targeted killings and lawlessness
Karachi's violence does not have to do with Islam but with politics, Bhutto says
Bhutto says violent cycle is not new; during "Operation Clean Up," 3,000 people were killed
As a Karachi resident, Bhutto says she holds on to a city untarnished by violence

Author Fatima Bhutto's latest book is "Songs of Blood and Sword," a memoir of dynasty and politics in Pakistan. She is a member of the Bhutto family: her grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was Pakistan's first democratically elected head of state; her aunt is the late Pakistani premier, Benazir Bhutto. Fatima Bhutto lives and writes in Karachi, Pakistan. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @fbhutto

Karachi, Pakistan (CNN) -- Karachi has long been the face Pakistan wished to show to the world. The port city, one of the largest cities in the world -- placed sixth or seventh, depending on whom you ask, with a population of more than 18 million -- once represented the ideal of what Pakistan ought to have been.

Karachi was and still is the nation's most ethnically diverse, carrying a reputation for being generously accepting and accommodating; a city that opened its doors to refugees, to migrants, to traders, artists and business communities who sought a harbor from which to connect to the outside shores. With communities as varied as Zoroastrians whose philanthropy built much of the city, Jews at one time, Baha'is and Hindus amongst many others, Karachi is undoubtedly the most religiously tolerant of its fellow cities. But this is no longer the face of Karachi that the world can see.

It is a city now plagued by internecine violence, targeted killings and lawlessness. Karachi has become the battleground, as it always has been, for the country's inept and corrupt political elements. Even though 70% of the total annual tax revenue collected by Pakistan's government comes from Karachi -- the country's stock exchange is here, and it is the commercial pulse of Pakistan -- the government has been content to let the carnage in Karachi fester.

Read more about Karachi's violence

While Karachi, like all big cities, has always had its fair share of crime, the violence here mutates and constantly changes form. At times it is gang-related as it is now, the bloodshed mercilessly fought out between powerful criminal mobs with high-level political patronage from the ruling parties. At other times it has been more outward looking, and embassies and foreign fast-food franchises have been the target of ire against the War on Terror, a war most Pakistanis see as unjust and illegal.

And then there have been brutal suppressions of democratic protests here -- movements against martial law, various dictators and politically oppressive dictates have been cruelly put down by state forces in the city.
Fatima Bhutto
Fatima Bhutto

But we are not a city that operates under religious extremism. Karachi's violence has nothing to do with Islam, with Islamic fundamentalism or the ugly manifestations of religious violence. In fact, it is a city that in recent years has largely managed to hold itself away from this growing trend. The Danish cartoon riots in the city were less enthusiastic than in other parts of the country. The recent violence against the blasphemy laws was almost totally confined to the Punjab province, and religious parties in Karachi have traditionally been viewed with a mixture of antipathy and disinterest.

It's not Islam. Our violence has to do with politics.
Unprecedented fear in Karachi

Pakistani Politics

The ruling Pakistan People's Party -- under its current leadership nicknamed the Permanent Plunder Party or the Pakistan People's Problem by the more creatively frustrated -- have been fighting their coalition partners the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, an ethnic Muhajir party based largely in Karachi, almost since the start of their tenure in power.

Just this month, the PPP's senior provincial minister Zulfiqar Mirza fueled deadly protests in Karachi after he attacked the MQM, referring to it as being a party of "criminals, target killers and extortionists." The name-calling prompted the MQM to label the comments as hate speech, and Mirza apologized. A week later it was the MQM that accused Mirza of running "killing brigades," staging a walkout from the National Assembly with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in protest. The prime minister has ordered an investigation --- one of the many he has ordered this year in the face of growing outrage over his government's mishandling of the law-and-order situation in Karachi.

Two weeks ago Karachi saw a death toll of some 100 people killed in just about five days, casualties in a turf war waged between activists from political parties. Perhaps one shouldn't be surprised. In the mid-1990s, when the PPP and the MQM last formed a coalition government the two also fought a war on Karachi's streets; some 3,000 people were killed during what's known as "Operation Clean Up."

Meanwhile, the MQM is attacking the Pushtoon-based Awami National Party for control over the city's transport routes, an economic turf war that has been increasingly bloody. When the violence becomes inflamed, as has happened this July, the MQM threatens to walk out of the government, sometimes does, and then duly returns a few days later. And so the cycle continues, although leaders of the three parties met this week and agreed to work toward peace in the city.

The violence, which reared its head in 2008, has seen bodies dumped on roadsides in gunnysacks, riots that paralyze the city, journalists killed, and hundreds upon hundreds of innocents killed and maimed. Political activists saw a high death toll last year; as many as 237 were killed as were 300 other civilians in the city, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has calculated that 1,100 people have been murdered in the first half of this year, a murder rate that matches that of Cuidad Juarez, Mexico's infamously dangerous city caught in a brutal drug war. Juarez, however, has seen its homicides and violent crimes decline in recent months, while ours is escalating.

The Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies claims that overall violence in Karachi last year rose by 288% from the previous year, thanks to sectarian and political violence, crime and lawlessness. The government has responded to the violence by issuing orders for Karachi's paramilitary Ranger forces to shoot on sight armed men. But that's it for political solutions to our city's bloodshed: more bloodshed.

But Karachiites still hold on to a view of their city that is untarnished by this violence. Businesses open their shutters every day and run their trade without electricity -- cut for hours in the hot summer months and hours more in the winter. Couples still stand on Netty Jetty Bridge, built at the time of the Raj to connect the port to the rest of the city and make wishes into the salty sea.

We are aware of the many problems this city must face because we know that this violence doesn't define our city. It is imposed upon us, but it is not of us. Drive around the streets from Saddar to Korangi, and you'll see amongst the ubiquitous political sloganeering painted Urdu paeons to Karachi. This is a survivor's city.


MPAs pass resolution to ban smoking shisha at cafes
By Hafeez Tunio
Published: May 11, 2011

House members quibble over Quaid’s birthplace, claim he was born in Jhirk. PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

A resolution against smoking shisha (the hookah or water pipe) in restaurants and public places was unanimously passed during the Sindh Assembly session on Tuesday.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Bachal Shah moved the resolution and said that shisha is the worst form of intoxication. He told his colleagues that most five-star hotels in Karachi and other restaurants across the province were offering this deadly product in a variety of flavours. “Not only boys, but teenage girls also go to restaurants and smoke shisha,” he pointed out. “The Narcotics Act is available but there is no pragmatic approach to implement it.”

Shah accepted that the practice of smoking the hookah was common in the rural parts of Sindh, where both men and women indulge in it. “But shisha is a modern form of the hookah that uses hazardous, aromatic tobacco to attract teenagers,” he added.

Quoting research on this trend, Shah pointed out that, “shisha smokers inhale up to 200 times more tobacco in a single session than a cigarette”.

PPP’s Shazia Marri, who is the minister for power, also supported the resolution. She recalled the time when she saw students, who were still in their O’ Levels, smoking shisha at one of the five-star hotels in Karachi. “It contains carbon monoxide and nicotine, which causes lung cancer and heart diseases,” she said. “It should be termed a criminal offence.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Faisal Subzwari, who is the minister for youth affairs, urged the government to adopt the resolution, enact the law and ensure it is enforced. Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that smoking shisha was a global trend and that the authorities should start a campaign against it. PPP’s Humera Alwani suggested the government ban the import of the type of tobacco used in shisha flavours. After a long discussion, the resolution was passed unanimously.

KESC employees protest

Marri told the house that the people of Karachi end up suffering the most from disputes between the KESC management and employees. She said that the utility sacked over 4,500 workers but reappointed them on the government’s directives. Now, these workers have been placed in the surplus pool and the management is hiring other people on contract.

“The government is with the workers and will ask the KESC management to sit together and resolve the matter,” she said. The minister felt that the government has done everything to minimise load-shedding because Karachi cannot afford to lose its productivity to the power crisis.

Target killings

In response to the adjournment motion moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Marvi Rashdi on target killings, the law minister presented a report and said that the issue cannot be discussed on the floor of the assembly as it was still in court. He showed files of some cases which, according to him, were pending before the Sindh High Court.

Opposition leader Jam Madad Ali said that they will not violate the law, but looking at the worsening law and order situation in the city, the government should fix a day to discuss the issue.

Quaid’s birth place

Alwani told the house that the actual birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam was Jhirk, Thatta, and claimed that she has documentary proof.

In her resolution, she quoted the report of a committee constituted by the then chief minister Abdullah Shah in 1996, when it was proved that Wazir Mansion was not his birthplace.

MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed, quoted Quaid-e-Azam’s 1948 speech, in which Jinnah said that he was born in Karachi and that he played near the seashore. “We should avoid indulging in this controversy,” he advised. The speaker deferred the resolution and said that it would be taken up with correct wordings next time. Meanwhile, a resolution to establish trauma centres and fire stations on National Highway from Karachi to Ubaro was moved by MQM MPA Bilqees Mukhtiar. It was dropped later on technical grounds.

The session has been adjourned till today (Wednesday).

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2011.


Two lawyers among five shot dead in Karachi
By Imran Ayub | From the Newspaper
(3 hours ago) Today

Volunteers and the relatives of victims carry wrapped dead bodies at a hospital mortuary in Karachi.—AFP/File

KARACHI: At least five people, including two lawyers associated with a political party, were shot dead and three others wounded in targeted attacks in different parts of the city on Friday, leaving members of the legal fraternity and political parties aghast just a day before the major parties will take part in a peace walk.

Fifty-year-old Fahim Riaz Siddiqi and 45-year-old Saleem Bhatti, both associated with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), were returning home in a car from work a little after 8pm when they were attacked on a road linking Abyssinia Line with Sharea Faisal near the FTC flyover, police said.

While the police said they had not found any eyewitness who could share information about the deadly assault, they believed the job was executed by armed men riding a motorbike as was seen in most targeted killings.

“The car (Z-9053) came under intense firing as it was about to appear on Sharea Faisal and went out of the driver’s control,” said a senior police official.

Subsequently, the car hit a bicycle before ramming into a pillar of the flyover, he said, adding that two young riders sustained injuries in the accident.

The attackers appeared to be waiting for the lawyers under the bridge which usually remained dark at night, the official said. However, he added, the police could not find any eyewitness who could tell about the number of attackers and their appearance.

The firing was so intense that it left both lawyers dead on the spot, the police said. The bodies were later shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

The investigators said the attackers used 9mm pistol and targeted faces and heads of the two victims.

Mr Siddiqi, a resident of Liaquat Square in Malir, was the chief organiser of the PML(N) Lawyers Forum in Sindh and Mr Bhatti, a resident of PECHS, was vice president of the same body.

“It’s an irreparable loss, as the attackers deprived us of the two competent lawyers and true democratic political workers,” said Arshad Jadoon, the central organising secretary of the PML (N) Lawyers Forum.

“Our colleagues were targeted for their struggle for a fearless society and to harass the legal fraternity, which wants justice to prevail.”

Meanwhile, the Karachi Bar Association and Sindh Bar Council announced a boycott of court proceedings on Saturday. Both bodies also announced that they would stage protest demonstrations in lower courts against the targeted killing of lawyers.

Attacks on tea shops

In the early hours of Friday, gun attacks on two roadside tea shops within a span of 10 minutes in New Karachi left three people dead, police said.

The officials suspected the involvement of same attackers in firing on both the tea shops.

The first incident was witnessed near Shabbir Chowk where armed men riding a motorbike pulled up and opened fire on the restaurant before speeding away, the police said. “The firing on Quetta Hotel left two waiters, Saeed and Akhlaq, dead,” said New Karachi Industrial Area SHO Inspector Rashid Khan.

He added that both the victims hailed from Quetta. Only 10 minutes later another restaurant in the vicinity was attacked, leaving another young man dead, the inspector said. He said the victim was later identified as Subhan, who belonged to the Pishin district of Balochistan.

The bodies were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and handed over to the families after medico-legal formalities.

“We are not sure but suspect that the same riders were involved in the two attacks,” the inspector said.

Attack on bus

Another attack on a bus was witnessed on Friday evening in Orangi Town — a constant feature in the recent wave of violence — sowing fear among the commuters who travel by buses.

The previous night attack on a minibus in New Karachi had left a 28-year-old passenger dead and three others wounded, according to the police.

“Three people were wounded inside the coach of route ‘N’ when it came under firing near Metro Cinema in Orangi Town,” said an official at the Peerabad police station.

All the three wounded victims were shifted to Qatar Hospital, where two of them were identified as Ahmed Qureshi and Mairaj.

Bodies found

Earlier in the morning, the body of a young man was found in Khajji Ground, the area police said.

An official at the Rizia police station said the victim, identified as Imran Khan, was an area resident and had been missing since Thursday night.

“According to his family, the victim worked at a boutique in a shopping mall on Tariq Road. He returned home from work and went to see a friend after dinner on Thursday night but did not return,” the official said.

Another body was found in a playground in Punjab Colony near Gizri, the police said.

The victim was identified as Fahim-ul-Haq alias Moon, a resident of the Gizri area. He was hit by a single bullet in the head.


Violence in Pakistan's Karachi killed 200 in July

01 Aug 2011 08:15

Source: reuters // Reuters

A policeman attempts to extinguish a burning tire after residents set it ablaze in protest against power outages in Karachi July 26, 2011. REUTERS/Athar Hussain

By Faisal Aziz

KARACHI, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Deadly civil strife continued on Monday from the weekend in Pakistan's commercial hub of Karachi despite efforts by officials to quell the violence in the city that is home to the country's main port, stock exchange and central bank.

Police said 17 people were killed in the city since Sunday morning in fighting linked to ethnic and religious tension, adding that about 200 people were killed in the city in July alone -- one of the deadliest months in about two decades.

Most of the areas affected in the latest violence are home to ethnic Pashtuns as well as Muhajirs, the descendents of Urdu-speaking refugees who fled India to settle in Karachi in 1947 following the sub-continent's partition.

Street thugs and ethnic gangs have been used by political parties over the years as foot soldiers in a city-wide turf war in Karachi, which contributes 68 percent of Pakistan's tax revenues.

"There is no question about the fact that the violence is politically and ethnically motivated, so the solution has to be political too," said a senior police official, requesting not to be named.

"We have seen a peace initiative from the government as well as the political parties. But I think the stakeholders need to be more sincere in their efforts to restore peace."

Other officials said there was no clear reason for the latest bout of fighting, which erupted from the western Orangi town neighbourhood early in July, when about 100 people were killed in only three days. Violence also flared last week.

Paramilitary Rangers took control of the Orangi area, but violence has since spread to other parts of the city, home to more than 18 million people.

A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said 1,138 people were killed in Karachi in the first six months of 2011, of whom 490 were victims of political, ethnic and sectarian violence.

In another statement issued on Monday, the HRCP called for a political solution to the violence in Karachi.

"Karachi is in the grip of a multi-sided wave of insecurity-driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation that has greatly undermined its tradition of tolerance and good-neighbourliness," it said.

"While gangs of land-grabbers and mafias have tried to exploit the breakdown of law and order, they do not appear to be the main directors of the horrible game of death and destruction; that distinction belongs to more powerful political groups and it is they who hold the key to peace."

Sharjeel Memon, the information minister of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, said "peace efforts" were continuing.

"The peace initiative is still continuing and all the stakeholders are on board for this," Memon told Reuters. "There are elements which do not want peace in Karachi, but we are hoping that peace would be restored in the city soon." (Additional reporting by Imtiaz Shah; Editing by Chris Allbritton)


Over 100 motorcycles set on fire in Karachi
Updated on: Monday, August 01, 2011 9:58:54 PM
Share |

Staff Report
KARACHI: Miscreants set on fire over 50 motorcycles in Ahsanabad Industrial Zone, SAMAA reported Monday.

“The culprits who burnt bikes would be traced soon,” said Ahmed Chunnai, the head of CPLC.

While talking to SAMAA, he accepted that huge loss happened due to late arrival of police party on the spot.

Police and rangers have arrived in the area and trying to overcome the situation. SAMAA


Karachi death toll mounts to 24
Updated on: Monday, August 01, 2011 10:59:25 PM
Share |

Staff Report

KARACHI: At least 22 people were killed and several others wounded in ongoing spate of violence in Karachi on Monday.

In the latest attack, more than 50 motorbikes were set ablaze in Moamar Industrial Zone.

Earlier, two vehicles were set on fire near Pakistan Quarters. Overall six vehicles were torched in the metropolis today.

Two dead bodies were recovered from Nazimabad.

In a gun attack, one man died while another suffered injuries in Safoora Goth.

According to reports, armed men robbed several shops in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and fled the scene without any trouble.

Two policemen were shot and injured in Surjani Town.

Gunmen shot dead one person in New Karachi. While four were injured.

There were reports of violence attacks in Abu al Hasan Isphanai Road, Norther Nazimabad, Shamsi Society, Landhi, Gulistan-e-Johar, Dalmia and Orangi Town.

Four dead bodies were recovered from Pak Colony, Dhobi Gath, Lyari River and Korangi Awami Colony.

Two vehicles were put on fire in Dhora Ji and Haryana Colony.

Crime Investigation Department of Police arrested seven suspected terrorists from Northern Bypass. SAMAA == KESC officer shot dead in Karachi Updated 1 hour ago jUN26TH/ 2012 [KESC officer shot dead in Karachi] [Print] ShareThis26 13 10 Email0 KARACHI: Unknown gunmen on Tuesday shot dead the deputy general manager of KESC in North Nazimabad area, Geo News reported. According to police, the victim identified as Syed Imran Jaffry was on his way when unidentified attackers on the motorbike ambushed his car near Saifee College in North Nazimabad. As a result of firing, Imran died on the spot while the culprits managed to escape. Earlier, the ongoing violence in the city claimed one life while two others were injured. Body of a man, identified as Naseer, was found from Sujani Town who was murdered after being kidnapped and tortured. Another man, Shiraz Baloch, who was abducted from Bihar Colony of Lyari area was found from Gul Mohammad Line in critical condition. He was shifted to Civil Hospital for treatment. Two men were also injured in separate firing incidents in Sohrab Goth and Pak Colony.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gunmen kill at least 195 in 7 attacks in Mumbai

Gunmen kill at least 78 in 7 attacks in Mumbai

MUMBAI, India – Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 78 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. An explosion rocked one of the hotels, the landmark Taj Mahal, early Thursday, followed by raging fires. The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans, witnesses said. Fires burned and gunfire was heard for hours. Officials said at least 200 people were wounded.

The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.

An Indian media report said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets.

Police reported hostages being held at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the best-known upscale destinations in this crowded but wealthy city.

Gunmen who burst into the Taj "were targeting foreigners. They kept shouting: `Who has U.S. or U.K. passports?'" said Ashok Patel, a British citizen who fled from the hotel.

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were prisoners at the Taj Mahal, but it was not immediately clear if hostages at the Oberoi were Indians or foreigners, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said U.S. officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.

"We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said 78 people had been killed and 200 had been wounded.

Blood smeared the floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal. Press Trust of India quoted the chief of the Mumbai railway police, A.K. Sharma, as saying several men armed with rifles and grenades were holed up at the station.

Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

A British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi hotel told Sky News television that the gunmen who struck there singled out Britons and Americans.

Alex Chamberlain said a gunman, a young man of 22 or 23, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands. He said the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu.

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn't," he said.

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.

Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.

"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.

As he turned to get away, "all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.

The British Foreign Office said it was advising all British citizens in Mumbai to stay indoors.

Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, strongly condemned the attacks. "Today's attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists," Miliband said in a statement.

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.

Mumbai has been hit repeatedly by terror attacks since March 1993, when Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carried out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange, trains, hotels and gas stations. Authorities say those attacks, which killed 257 people and wounded more than 1,100, were carried out to avenge the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in religious riots that had swept India.

Ten years later, in 2003, 52 people were killed in Mumbai bombings blamed on Muslim militants and in July 2007 a series of seven blasts on railway trains and at commuter rail stations killed at least 187.

Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947.

US assessing "hostage situation" in Mumbai-W.House
26 Nov 2008 21:41:53 GMT
Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. government is "assessing the hostage situation" in the aftermath of a series of deadly attacks in India's financial capital Mumbai, the White House said on Wednesday.

"No word on any American casualties at this point, and still assessing the hostage situation," said Ben Chang, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, when asked whether an Americans were being held after attacks apparently aimed at tourists.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Editing by Sandra Maler)
26 Nov 2008 22:02:11 GMT
Source: Reuters
MUMBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Large plumes of smoke were seen rising from the top of the landmark Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Thursday and heavy firing could be heard, a Reuters witness said.

Local TV reported that unknown assailants had earlier attacked the hotel, taking hostages, including Western tourists. (alistair.scrutton@thomsonreuters.com; +91-11-41781015; Reuters Messaging: alistair.scrutton.reuters.net@reuters.com))

Mumbai mourns attacks on beloved icons Taj and Leo's
27 Nov 2008 09:27:57 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Rina Chandran
Flames gush out of the roof of The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on November 27 after an attack on the hotel. Army commandos have laid siege to the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident hotel where gunmen held foreign guests hostage as part of coordinated attacks across India's financial capital that have left up to 100 dead.
(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)
MUMBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - In the harsh morning light there was no escaping the truth: the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai's iconic luxury hotel, was hurting after gunmen laid siege to it.

As angry orange flames resisted firemens' attempts to douse them, thick black smoke billowed from the heritage, or palace, wing, obscuring the distinctive central dome and smaller cuppolas that are an integral part of south Mumbai's skyline.

Soot marred the red-white-and-grey-brick facade, and curious onlookers, anxious hotel employees, tired reporters all gaped at the hotel, tut-tutting and shaking their heads.

A spokesman for the hotel, owned by Tata Group's Indian Hotels Co, said in a statement: "The Taj is very much a symbol of India. We will rebuild every inch that has been damaged in this attack and bring back the Taj to its full glory."

That will be tough in this day and age.

The brainchild of wealthy industrialist Jamsetji Tata, the hotel was built at a cost of a quarter of a million pounds more than 100 years ago, and boasted such features as the first air-conditioned ballroom in the country and a Turkish bath.

One story of its origin is that Tata took a foreign friend to dinner in a plush Mumbai hotel, only to be told he was not welcome since he was Indian.

Slighted, Tata vowed to build a finer hotel that would welcome all Indians, and set about his mission with zeal.

He leased a plot of land of about two acres on reclaimed land on Mumbai's seafront, and got involved in its design and interiors, shopping at London, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Paris.

A more apocryphal story of its design, an example of Indo-Sarcenic architecture, is that the entrance to the hotel is actually in the back, and not on the sea-front, with construction workers messing up the plan when the architect was away.

Either way, with its vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, crystal chandeliers and a dramatic cantilever staircase that employees refer to as the "grand staircase", the hotel always makes a big impression on visitors.

Inaugurated in 1903, it welcomed the Prince of Wales on his state visit two years later in an ironic twist.

Tourists and locals have wandered its hallways, admiring its art and a collection of black-and-white photographs of some of the maharajas, presidents, rock stars and chief executives who have stayed, including John Lennon and John F. Kennedy.

The 1970s saw the addition of a more modern tower wing alongside, but its arched balconies failed to impress.


Less dramatic but just as beloved to locals and tourists in Mumbai is Leopold's Cafe, a popular bar on the bustling Colaba Causeway road, the nerve centre of shopping and dining.

Opening in 1871 as a wholesale oil store, it later became a restaurant, and then opened an on-site pub in the 1990s. Always popular for cheap beer and greasy snacks, it shot to fame when it was featured in the bestselling 2003 novel "Shantaram".

A stack of books autographed by Australian author Gregory David Roberts sits prominently on a counter in the cafe.

With its checkered tablecloths and doors that open wide on to the sidewalk, Leopold's is also known as the place for tourists to land a role in a Bollywood movie.

But the grim scene of blood-spattered shoes and napkins outside the shuttered cafe on Wednesday after gunmen fired at guests was a far cry from lavish Bollywood musicals.

A senior British executive for a foreign firm who has been in India for over a year, said life had to go on after the attacks.

"It's one of those things we have to live with and we have to get back to normal as soon as we can," he said.

"But just to walk into Leopold's -- that's so horrific." (Additional reporting by Charlotte Cooper; Editing by Simon Denyer and Sanjeev Miglani)

Few flights to Mumbai cancelled after attacks
27 Nov 2008 10:34:38 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds additional airlines, TUI, Thomas Cook, background)

By Maria Sheahan and Matthew Scuffham FRANKFURT/LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - A handful of flights from Europe to Mumbai were cancelled on Thursday after more than 100 people were killed in attacks on luxury hotels, hospitals and a tourist cafe in India's financial capital.

Most airlines said they were monitoring the situation and were making contingency plans should it worsen, and Europe's biggest travel firm TUI Travel said it did not expect large numbers of cancellations.

Some 17 hours after the late-evening assault, soldiers and militants were still exchanging intermittent fire and more than 100 people were trapped inside rooms of the Taj Mahal hotel, a 105-year-old city landmark. [nSP367626]

Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa said that one flight had been on its way to Mumbai on Wednesday at the time of the attacks and was diverted to New Delhi.

"Today there were supposed to be two flights there, from Frankfurt and Munich, and those will not take place. Tomorrow we'll have to see how the situation develops," a spokesman for Lufthansa said.

Both Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the two main carriers of Europe's largest airline group Air France KLM , cancelled flights to Mumbai.

But a British Airways spokesman said flights to Mumbai were still operating normally. The group operates two per day from London's Heathrow airport.

TUI Travel said Goa in India was a bigger destination than Mumbai for holiday travellers.

"We understand that we have one or two holidaymakers in Mumbai on a tour which is clearly very regrettable and we're just trying to understand what their whereabouts are at the moment," TUI Travel Chief Executive Peter Long told Reuters.

"From previous tragedies, our customers are becoming hardened and it will not impact on their holiday arrangements ... There will certainly be some cancellations but I don't think it will be huge numbers," he said.


Thomas Cook, Europe's no. 2 travel operator, said it had 20 to 30 holidaymakers in Mumbai who were all accounted for, and that it did not anticipate cancellations.

Flight cancellations have also hit passengers to Thailand, where a blockade by anti-government protesters at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, a major Asian air hub, entered its third day on Thursday, stranding thousands of tourists.

Thailand is offering a naval airbase on the eastern seaboard as an alternative for airlines.

The airline industry is going through a rough patch, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) saying international air traffic declined from a year ago for the second consecutive month in October. [nWEA7013]

Among the airlines that said they will continue to fly to Mumbai were Indian airline Jet Airways , which uses Brussels as a hub for a number of routes between India and North America, Austrian Airlines and Finnair .

Scandinavian airline SAS said it only flies to New Delhi and not to Mumbai and has therefore not cancelled any flights to India.

"We put the passagers' security above everything else, and if there is trouble we will take that decision at that point ... as far as I know there haven't been any incidents in New Delhi," said SAS spokesman Anders Lindstrom.

In Asia, Australian flag carrier Qantas, which flies three times a week into Mumbai from Sydney, said it is monitoring the situation and working on contingency plans to add capacity if necessary to help get people out of Mumbai. (Additional reporting by Reuters bureaux in Amsterdam, Brussels, Helsinki, London, Vienna, Sydney, Stockholm and Paris; Editing by Chris Wickham)


The Indian navy said its forces were boarding a cargo vessel suspected of ties to the attacks.

Navy spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar said Thursday that the ship, the MV Alpha, had recently come to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan.

If few Karachi terrorists can rule over Mumbai overnight, why PAK ARMY failed to take over Kashmir and Kargil, the most difficult terrain full of mountaains and valleys.

Indian Navy failed to intercept them , may be they were, too, busy for overnight thanksgiving parties offshore onboard, along with brotherly navy.


* An Israeli rabbi was being held hostage by gunmen in Chabad House, formerly known as Nariman House, an apartment building in the downtown Colaba area of the city.

* A militant at the centre offered talks with government for the release of hostages. Commandos were said to be gathered outside centre but holding off from an assault.

* The building, the name of which name refers to the Jewish

religious movement called Chabad, is a popular stop for Israeli visitors to Mumbai, according to local media.

The gunmen also seized the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch. Around 10:30 a.m., a woman, a child and an Indian cook were seen being led out of the building by police, said one witness.

Chabad spokesman Moni Ender in Israel said there were eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife.

Dozens of Indian commandoes surrounded the five-story building, where heavy curtains hung behind windows broken by gunfire. Outside the center, thousands of people stood in the narrow alleyways watching the standoff.

There are Shluchim in Mumbai, the Holtzberg family, who have not been reachable, and are feared held captive by the terrorists.

Israel says it is concerned for the safety of its citizens in Mumbai, as a rabbi and his family are feared captured by gunmen.


Please say Tehillim for them:

* Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma
* Rivkah bas Yehudis
* Moshe Tzvi Ben Rivkah

Four Top Officers Among 10 Policemen Killed
in Mumbai

Four top police officials, including Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, were among the 10 policemen killed as security forces took on terrorists here in the early hours of Thursday, authorities said.

Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers - additional police commissioners Ashok Kamte and Sadanand Date - were killed in separate gun battles with terrorists following a series of attacks in India's financial capital, the officials said.

Mumbai Police "encounter specialist" Vijay Salaskar were also shot dead in another gun battle.

Karkare was heading investigations into several recent cases of terrorist attacks here. There were six other police officials among the at least 80 killed in the coordinated terror attacks late Wednesday night.

India's Leaders Need to Look Closer to Home

The Assault on Mumbai


The terrorist assault on Mumbai’s five-star hotels was well planned, but did not require a great deal of logistic intelligence: all the targets were soft. The aim was to create mayhem by shining the spotlight on India and its problems and in that the terrorists were successful. The identity of the black-hooded group remains a mystery.

The Deccan Mujahedeen, which claimed the outrage in an e-mail press release, is certainly a new name probably chosen for this single act. But speculation is rife. A senior Indian naval officer has claimed that the attackers (who arrived in a ship, the M V Alpha) were linked to Somali pirates, implying that this was a revenge attack for the Indian Navy’s successful if bloody action against pirates in the Arabian Gulf that led to heavy casualties some weeks ago.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has insisted that the terrorists were based outside the country. The Indian media has echoed this line of argument with Pakistan (via the Lashkar-e-Taiba) and al-Qaeda listed as the usual suspects.

But this is a meditated edifice of official India’s political imagination. Its function is to deny that the terrorists could be a homegrown variety, a product of the radicalization of young Indian Muslims who have finally given up on the indigenous political system. To accept this view would imply that the country’s political physicians need to heal themselves.

Al Qaeda, as the CIA recently made clear, is a group on the decline. It has never come close to repeating anything vaguely resembling the hits of 9/11.

Its principal leader Osama bin Laden may well be dead (he certainly did not make his trademark video intervention in this year’s Presidential election in the United States) and his deputy has fallen back on threats and bravado.

What of Pakistan? The country’s military is heavily involved in actions on its Northwest frontier where the spillage from the Afghan war has destabilized the region. The politicians currently in power are making repeated overtures to India. The Lashkar-e-Taiba, not usually shy of claiming its hits, has strongly denied any involvement with the Mumbai attacks.

Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the Chief Minister of the State and the local state apparatuses.

Add to this the continuing sore of Kashmir which has for decades been treated as a colony by Indian troops with random arrests, torture and rape of Kashmiris an everyday occurrence. Conditions have been much worse than in Tibet, but have aroused little sympathy in the West where the defense of human rights is heavily instrumentalised.

Indian intelligence outfits are well aware of all this and they should not encourage the fantasies of their political leaders. Its best to come out and accept that there are severe problems inside the country. A billion Indians: 80 percent Hindus and 14 percent Muslims. A very large minority that cannot be ethnically cleansed without provoking a wider conflict.

None of this justifies terrorism, but it should, at the very least, force India’s rulers to direct their gaze on their own country and the conditions that prevail. Economic disparities are profound. The absurd notion that the trickle-down effects of global capitalism would solve most problems can now be seen for what it always was: a fig leaf to conceal new modes of exploitation.

Commandos kill the last Islamist gunman holed up at
Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel, ending three-day rampage and siege
that killed at least 195 people


Mumbai gunmen trained in Pakistan: investigators

By Krittivas Mukherjee

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian investigators said on Monday the militants who attacked Mumbai had months of commando training in Pakistan, adding to rising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors as recriminations mounted at home.

The fallout prompted a second top politician from India's ruling Congress party to resign, amid growing anger at intelligence failures that many Indians believe allowed 10 Islamist gunmen to kill 183 people and besiege India's financial capital for three bloody days.

The attacks, which struck Mumbai's two best-known luxury hotels and other landmarks in the city of 18 million, are a major setback for improving ties between India and Pakistan.

The White House said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would visit India on Wednesday, underscoring the seriousness with which Washington viewed the attacks and the potential threat they had to regional stability.

"I don't want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation and that is what we expect (from Pakistan)," Rice told reporters traveling with her to London.

Two senior investigators told Reuters on condition of anonymity that evidence from the interrogation of Azam Amir Kasav, the only gunmen of the 10 captured alive, clearly showed that Pakistani militants had a hand in the attack.

The clean-shaven, 21-year-old with fluent English was photographed during the attack wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the Versace logo. He has said his team took orders from "their command in Pakistan," police officials said.


The training was organized by the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, and conducted by a former member of the Pakistani army, a police officer close to the interrogation told Reuters, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

"They underwent training in several phases, which included training in handling weapons, bomb making, survival strategies, survival in a marine environment and even dietary habits," another senior officer told Reuters.

The Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba made its name fighting Indian rule in Kashmir but was also blamed for an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 that brought the nuclear-armed neighbors close to war.

Lashkar had had close links to Pakistan's military spy agency in the past, security experts say, although the government in Islamabad insists it too is fighting the group and other Islamist extremists based on its soil.

New Delhi has not accused Islamabad's civilian government of involvement but has expressed deep frustration that its neighbor has been unable or unwilling to prevent militants using its soil to attack Indian cities.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week's attacks, saying militants could precipitate a war, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

"Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?" asked Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times.

Officials in Islamabad have warned any escalation would force it to divert troops to the Indian border and away from a U.S.-led anti-militant campaign on the Afghan frontier.

"It's part of the usual blackmail of the United States that Pakistan does to take more interest in India-Pakistan issues," said B. Raman, a former head of Indian intelligence agency RAW.

New Delhi said on Sunday it was raising security to a "war level" and had no doubt of a Pakistani link.

In an apparent attempt to deflect the blame, intelligence agencies told TV channels they had repeatedly warned of an imminent attack on Mumbai by sea. But police and coastguard officials denied receiving any actionable intelligence.


As anger mounted, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, offered to resign. Vilasrao Deshmukh, a member of the ruling Congress party, could follow his deputy, state home minister R. R. Patil, out the door.

Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil also stepped down on Sunday, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an overhaul of the nation's counter-terrorism capabilities.

There have been a series of major bomb attacks on Indian cities this year and threats that more would follow, which has given the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party fodder to blast the ruling party in the runup to elections due by May.

The leader of Maharashtra's main fishermen's union says he had tipped off the government four months ago about militants using the sea to land RDX explosives in Mumbai.

"No one acted upon our information,"
Damodar Tandel said.

A huge consignment of explosives and guns brought ashore in Mumbai in 1993 was used to set off a string of bombs in the city that killed 257 people.

Mumbai residents returned to schools and offices on Monday for the first time since the attacks. India's main share index rose around two percent, with sentiment helped by the reshuffle of key posts.

Candlelight vigils were held in New Delhi and at various spots in Mumbai on Sunday, with people holding hands, singing and carrying banners, some in remembrance of victims, others protesting over what they saw as government inaction.

Candles and flowers were also strewn at the bullet-scarred Cafe Leopold and at barricades in front of the Taj and Trident hotels, where the gunmen holed up during the 60-hour siege.

(Reporting by New Delhi, Mumbai and Islamabad bureaux, and Sue Pleming in London; Writing by Bryson Hull; Editing by Simon Denyer and Paul Tait)