Category - Featured Articles

Sami yousaf
Pakistan textile traders end strike
Faithful killers, fatal worship by Malik Rashid
Every hero is a villain! Love and hate for historic characters
Aafia Siddiqui Says She Is Not Anti-Semetic
No Exculpatory Evidence Against Aafia Siddiqui

Sami yousaf

Sami Yusuf was born in the month of July 1980. He was born into a musical family of Azeri origin and thus music played an integral part in his life. Sami’s initial training came from his father, who is an internationally renowned composer, poet, and a multitalented musician.Sami grew up in London and learnt to play several instruments at a very young age and gradually began to show a keen interest in singing and composing. He studied music at several institutions and with renowned composers and musicians including composers from the Royal Academy of Music in London, one of the world most prestigious music institutions.Sami has been composing from a very young age and his beautiful voice is supplemented by his extensive knowledge of notes and harmonies. He has also a good understanding of music theory and the Middle Eastern modes (or Maqams).Indeed, it is rare to find a person who has all these talents. Sami is also a devout practicing British Muslim who sees songs as a means of promoting the message of Islam and encouraging the youth to be proud of their religion and identity.

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Pakistan textile traders end strike

Commodity traders in Pakistan were slightly relieved Monday after All Pakistan Textile Mills Association called off spinning industry’s strike to protest against 15% regulatory duty on the export of yarn.

Strike was called off after APTMA leadership met with Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Declaring the end of strike, APTMA Chairman Ejaz Gohar said the government has shown willingness to address textile industry’s grievences immediately.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani assured the APTMA delegation government would ensure that all the obstacles facing textile industry is resolved as soon as possible. He said government would listen to each sector of textile industry to understand their challenges.

The Prime Minister announced a detailed meeting of the high level government officials including cabinet committee on textile, the State Minister for Economic Affairs, Defence Minister and former minister for trade and Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance with all the stakeholders of textile industry in Islamabad soon.

During the meeting, Ejaz Gohar briefed the prime minister on the harmful consequences of the imposed 15 percent regulatory duty on the export of all kinds of cotton yarn. He also informed the prime minister of other challenges of the textile industry, which is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy.

Ejaz Gohar representing the APTMA delegation explained the unavoidability of the strike saying that APTMA never favours strikes but the 15 percent regulatory duty cannot be afforded by the textile industry of Pakistan.

Hundreds of containers worth $80 million loaded with yarn ready to export are still stuck at the port after the imposition of the 15 percent regulatory duty.

Faithful killers, fatal worship by Malik Rashid

Friday prayer congregations at two Ahmadiyya mosques were attacked by grenades, gun-fire and suicide-bombers in Lahore. More than 90 individuals lost their lives and over 100 suffered wounds. Taliban of Punjab claimed responsibility.

Journalists reporting the hour long brutality might have been surprised to know that Ahmadiyya worship places cannot be referred as ‘mosques’, according to a constitutional amendment introduced by General Zia-ul-Haq.

Ahmadiyya is a sect that came into being in early 20th century among Punjabi Muslims. Besides making fantastic claims like all other religions, Ahmadis relinquished Jihad(Holy war) by sword, and resolved to rely on the power of argument.

Religious extremism, especially killing and persecution of Ahmadi-Muslims in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. An army doctor, Major Mahmood was murdered by a mob of mullas in Quetta in 1948. A martial-law was imposed in Lahore to curb anti-Ahmadi riot in 1953. Muslim League made an alliance with ‘Ahrar’, the Ahmadi-haters, in the elections of 1951 and the religious zealots celebrated ‘Yom-e-Tashakkur’ (thanksgiving) because no Ahmadi made it into the parliament. Mian Daulatana, the Muslim-League Chief Minister, was sacked by the Governor General after the 1953 riot.

A prominent TV journalist was recently caught on tape talking to Punjabi Taliban against the Ahmadis. Attempt to show strength against Facebook by religious sections did not gain much support among Muslims in Pakistan and abroad. This brutality against unarmed, innocent worshipers could have been another show-off by Islamic extremists who fear extinction.

As families in Lahore grieve the demise of their loved ones, Pakistanis all over the world feel perplexed over the resolve of those who should be fighting the scourge of Taliban. Quoting instances of Taliban presence in Punjab, a Dawn editorial expressed,” What more will it take to convince the provincial government that the Punjabi Taliban are a reality that cannot be wished away?”

The ruling Muslim League in Punjab enjoys friendly relations with Jihadi outfits for political gains like the Muslim League of 1953. Talking to media, Senior Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Zulifiqar Khosa said that an operation was started in the tribal areas because the writ of the government was challenged, but Punjab is not facing such problems.

Justice Munir and Justice Kayani wrote in their report on anti-Ahamadiyya riot of 1953, “If there is one thing that has been conclusively demonstrated in this inquiry, it is that provided you can persuade the masses to believe that something they are asked to do is religiously right or enjoined by religion, you can set them to any course of action, regardless of all considerations of discipline, loyalty, decency, morality or civic sense.”

A proper analysis of religious extremism and its influence on military, politics and government could help us understand the problem in its depth and width. After condemning Arabs for the 9/11 terrorist incidents and invading Afghanistan in 2001, US media has been identifying Pakistan as the root-problem.

USA and their allies are waging a war against the terrorists to address their own security problem but Pakistanis have been mutilated and oppressed by these faithful warriors for ever. Educated Pakistanis must rise up against religious fanaticism if they do not want to see their country descend into a Somalia.

Every hero is a villain! Love and hate for historic characters

“F*** Gandhi. Long Live Bhagat Singh”, says an Internet headline. ‘Bhagat Singh was nothing but a terrorist’, contends another group of Indians. Freedom-lovers insist, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a ‘traitor, a British tout’. There are those who maintain that fighters of the war of independence in 1857 were ‘in gratuitous, unfaithful, disloyal, brutes that murdered their superiors in the army and did not spare women and children’.

A common argument for one preference over the other claims truthfulness based on information, knowledge and wisdom. Those who believe that British occupation of India was the best for social-uplifting and economic progress, argue that the warriors of 1857 were ignorant mutineers seeking to maintain the outdated, medieval status-quo.

George Washington’s struggle to free America from the British rulers commands praise from the same folks who describe British occupation of India as a positive factor in history. Nana Saheb, Bakht Khan and Jhansi ki Rani were no comparison to the leadership of Washington, Adams or Jefferson, they contend. Freedom-struggle without a clear-thinking leadership cannot produce a positive outcome.

Rebellion of 1857 showed “man at his worst” wrote Nehru, but the free souls who perished fighting to wrest their land from foreign occupiers, can not be traitors. Misery of a decaying Indian society and the changes East India Company imposed, stirred a resistance. “Company India moved from a huge measure of racial intermixing in the late 18th century to a position of complete racial apartheid by the 1850s” –William Dalrymple,

Some analysts of the US war against terrorism elicit a Muslim/Jihadi aspect of the events in 1857. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan is a contradiction to the notion that war against the British was predominantly a clash between Muslims and the West. Sir Syed, a Mughal aristocrat accepted a job with East India Company. He was the founder of Scientific Society of Aligarh and advocated modern education for Muslims. Though he expressed prejudice against Hindus and Hindi, Sir Syed pleaded before the education commission for building more schools and colleges all over India. He supported Surendranath Banerjeee and Dadabhai Nauroji in obtaining representation for Indians in the government and civil services.

24 year old Bhagat Singh was executed by the British rulers in 1931. Inspired by Indian Congress, this young man joined the struggle for freedom at the age of 13. He was not satisfied with the pace of the movement and chose methods of protest that Mahatma Gandhi did not approve. Though violence got him a death sentence, Bhagat Singh’s fast-unto-death in jail demanding humane treatment for Indian prisoners was an exceptional feat.

Mahatma Gandhi is revered the world over for his non-violent, peaceful resistance against British rule in India. Admirers of Bhagat Singh complain that Gandhi did not influence the Viceroy for pardon of Bhagat Singh’s death sentence. Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence stands in complete contrast to his appeal for enlisting Indian volunteers in combat positions during World War1. Despite all criticism one may hurl at him, almost a decade after Gandhi’s death, Martin Luther King said, “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.”

The British left India after World War11. Bhagat Singh, Gandhi, Sir Syed and the freedom warriors of 1857, all hold their respectable position as hero in Indian history but one set of admirers diminish the other’s hero into worst villain.

Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America was a celebrated hero but controversy has arisen in recent years. Columbus is seen as a greedy, ruthless murderer who enslaved the local population and usurped land that was not individually owned but shared by all. His adventurous sail across the Atlantic Ocean did change the world. Private ownership of land and resources delivered a state of capitalist excellence in USA. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, the author of ‘1492-The year the world began’ wrote, “Every hero is somebody else’s villain”.

Hegel gave a central role to ‘Hero’ in his philosophy. Carlyle considers history to be centered on important individuals. Karl Marx argues that history is not determined by individuals. Herbert Spencer wrote “Before he (hero) can remake his society, his society must make him.” Civilization, geography, economics and demography have a considerably larger role in history but heroes have an eternal life in posterity.

Roma Chatterji’s ‘Hero-as-self’ explains the relation between admirer and the ‘hero’. She argues that humans can view the world from a personal perspective only. Relevance of hero to the admirer relies on the similarities between the two. Chatterji explores the variation of narratives with reference to Indian mythological figures. But her theory on hero-admirer connection provides some explanation to all that love and hate for historic characters

Aafia Siddiqui Says She Is Not Anti-Semetic

As the high profile trial of Dr.Aafia Siddqui began in New York the courtroom was filled beyond capacity with a growing number of supporters, journalist, and legal observers. It was so crowded that 2 overflow rooms had to be established.

Also sitting amongst the crowd in support of Siddiqui was one of the most famous anti-war activist in the United States, Cindy Sheehan.

Shortly after Dr. Siddiqui entered the court room she engaged in a series of outbursts reflecting her unstable mental condition: “the president needs to talk to me” she shouted, “all I get is negativity” , “They accuse me of being anti-semetic” I am not anti-semetic, anti any religion or any race, “No!” she proclaimed, seemingly in response to recent media reports about her.

Although Siddiqui requested that she be allowed to remain in her prison cell, Judge Richard Berman ruled that Siddiqui should remain at the proceedings to preserve her constitutional right to be present.

The defense once again advised the court that their clients real objection was to the humiliating strip searches she must undergo.

The prosecution began their opening remarks warning the jury that the real world is not neat and orderly and that they would have to put together bits and pieces of evidence along the prosecution’s “commons sense” narrative, namely that Dr. Siddiqui a short, less then 100lb woman picked up a M4 rifle and shot at U.S soldiers, in a 300 sq ft room in the presence of more than 10 mostly armed men.

Although the charges in this case are limited to this alleged incident and the defense promised a very strong rebuttal, describing the lack of any forensic evidence indicating that an M4 was ever shot, some documents are being allowed into evidence by Judge Berman that may prove prejudicial.

These documents alleged to have been in Dr. Sidiqquis possession included plans to conduct terrorist attacks against Americans, specifically in New York.

Despite the fact, that the government has made it clear that they are not charging Siddiqui with any affiliation to any terrorist organization, the evidence they have submitted signifys exactly that.

It will be a difficult obstacle for the defense to overcome especially in a city where every resident is keenly aware of what it means to live in such a target zone.

No Exculpatory Evidence Against Aafia Siddiqui

Two FBI experts who testified last week in high profile trial of Dr.Aafia Siddqui in New York conceded that there were no finger prints on the M4 rifle, and it is not certain that the rifle was even fired.

Aafia Siddiqui is accused of snatching the Chief Warrant Officer’s M4 Assault Rifle and firing it at him and other United States officers and employees in Ghazni, Afghanistan on July 18, 2008.

These alleged actions are the key of the government’s case against Dr. Siddiqui
for attempted murder and assault.

If Dr. Siddiqui did not pick up the M4 assault rifle and did not point and shoot it at the Americans in the room at the headquarters of the Afghan National Police (ANP) on July 18, 2009, then she is actually innocent of the charges or, at the very least, there is reasonable doubt that Dr. Siddiqui committed any of the crimes with which she is charged.

We learned last week that Dr. Siddiqui’s fingerprints were not on the M4 rifle that she is alleged to have grabbed and fired at the warrant officer and others.

To counter the absence of fingerprint, which is mostly used as “the powerful forensic, exculpatory fact” the Government presented FBI expert D.J. Fife to explain that it is not uncommon to find no finger prints.

During his testimony Mr. Fife testified that no latent fingerprints were recovered from
the M-4 rifle that Dr. Siddiqui allegedly grabbed from the Chief Warrant Officer and explained the general difficulties inherent in obtaining fingerprints from firearms. He also testified that fingerprints are recovered from firearms approximately less than ten percent of the time.

FBI expert Fife testified about various factors that affect the ability to obtain fingerprints from firearms, including atmospheric conditions, environmental conditions, perspiration, and the surfaces of firearms.

He also testified about various physical features of individuals that can affect the ability of a fingerprint examiner to obtain fingerprints of value.

It was his position that Dr. Siddiqui has very small hands and fingers, which negatively affect the ability to obtain fingerprints of value from items with which she has been in contact.

During cross examination when defense attorney Ms. Sharp asked Mr. Fife if he has ever tested Dr. Siddiqui’s palm, he replied in negative which led to next logical question as to how he know if he she has small hands. FBI agent Fife was agreed that many his assertions were not ‘scientific’.

Defense attorney Sharp also established that evidence arrived for analysis approximately twenty days after she was shot in Afghanistan.
Citing a study (Barnum Study) which was conducted nearly fifteen years FBI’s expert had earlier testified that there is only a 10% chance of obtaining fingerprints from a firearm due to its “non-porous” surface.

Ms. Sharp questioned the testimony of D.J. Fife based on his experience and generally accepted principles in his forensic field – that latent fingerprints are recovered from firearms only about ten percent of the time. She also suggested that Fife’s opinion is not scientifically reliable, and, in the alternative, that his opinion is more unfairly prejudicial than probative “in that it is offered in an attempt to sway the jurors in favor of the Government’s case.”

When asked how many guns he has analyzed, FBI expert conceded that his experience was limited around 10 to 20 weapons that he has analyzed. When asked why did he not take pictures of areas where finger prints could have been visible, FBI expert said it was of ‘no value.’

Fife testified that he conducted a series of tests on the M-4 rifle, and that after each step he inspected the rifle for identifiable latent fingerprints. Based on that examination, Fife concluded that no latent prints of value – belonging to Dr. Siddiqui or anyone else — could be identified on the M-4 rifle.

Second key FBI expert Carlo Rosati Carlo Rosati, who testified on the fourth day of the high trial of Dr. Aafia Siddqui conceded that he cannot say with certainty that any shots were fired from the M4 rifle.

Rosati’s testimony included descriptions of his observations and his knowledge of firearms, bullet trajectories, and crime scene analyses.

The Prosecution tried to establish Rosati as an expert based on his vast personal experience in his fields, particularly the behavior of bullets when fired in various circumstances and the need to preserve crime scenes for proper analysis and testing.

Rosati testified that the firearms he examined in this case — the 9-mm pistol that the Chief Warrant Officer used to shoot the defendant and the M-4 rifle that the defendant allegedly used to attempt to kill U.S. officers — were operable and functioning at the time of testing.

He said that based on his examination, one 9-mm bullet and two 9-mm cartridge cases recovered at the crime scene were fired from the Chief Warrant Officer’s 9-mm pistol. He also testified that he examined a curtain obtained from the crime scene for the presence of gunshot residue, but none was found.

He then testified regarding various scenarios that can occur when a bullet fired from an M-4 rifle strikes a solid surface. He said that bullets from an M-4 rifle travels at a very high rate of speed, and can explode or fragment upon impacting hard surfaces, or can penetrate other surfaces.

Based on the texture and content of the debris that he examined in this case, he testified that a bullet fired from an M-4 rifle into a wall comprised of this material might shatter or fragment.

However, upon cross examination he conceded key element of the bullet – a steel tip that penetrates the target never fragments and should have remained intact.

During cross examination Defense Attorney Charles Swift asked the FBI expert if he was certain that the one 9-mm bullet and two 9-mm cartridge cases recovered at the crime scene were fired from the Chief Warrant Officer’s 9-mm pistol. FBI expert Rosati categorically said, “Yes”.

When asked if he is certain an M-4 was ever shot at the crime scene, the FBI expert responded in negative.

The FBI expert also agreed that there was no evidence that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui fired an M4 rifle. He agreed that if a bullet fired from M4 rifle penetrated the wall, as alleged by the government, it would have been found. He said he had examined the debris of the wall and did not find any evidence that would lead him to believe that a bullet penetrated the wall.

Rosati also agreed with the defense attorney that no gun shot residue was found on the curtain, which was allegedly within six inches of the M4 when it was fired.

But there is a whole slew of exculpatory evidence in this case: Dr. Siddiqui’s DNA was not found on the M4 rifle; no bullets, casing or shrapnel of any kind from the M4 rifle were found in the quite small enclosed space where Dr. Siddiqui was alleged to have fired this firearm; in fact, there is no indication that investigators even attempted to test the M4 rifle at issue to see if it has been fired at the time of the incident at or around July 18, 2008.

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