Tuesday December 12, 2017
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Terror strikes bearing similar hallmarks rock four countries; Tunisia worst hit

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

At least 27 beachgoers were gunned down in Tunisia and one man was decapitated in a factory near Lyon as Islamic extremists struck terror in four countries.

On the same day, a suicide bomber left 25 people dead at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, while al-Shabaab militants killed 30 peacekeepers in Somalia.

As of now, there has been no suggestion that the attacks were coordinated, yet they all bore similar hallmarks.

Interestingly, the attacks come a year after Islamic State officially declared its caliphate in Syria and Iraq and renewed its push to take more territory.

The attacks underline the difficulty security services are facing in tackling what has now become a franchise; the extremist group luring thousands of fighters from the Middle East and Europe.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates, which advises clients on risk in the Middle East says that one can expect more of these attacks unfortunately.

“Most of the attacks over the past year have been carried out by lone individuals or small groups and that’s the difficulty here. Dealing with what’s happening requires going back to the root causes, which means tackling the ideology,” Nuseibeh said.

Tunisia saw the deadliest of the attacks as gunmen opened fire on a beach in the Mediterranean tourist town of Sousse.

In Kuwait, a bomb ripped through a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, echoing recent incidents in Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility of the bombing in Kuwait according to regional television channel Arabiya. In addition to the death toll, the Interior Ministry also said that more than 200 people were injured.

Another attack took place at a gas plant near Lyon in southeastern France where one person was decapitated and two others were injured in an attack on. The attackers beheaded the man and posted the severed head at the factory’s entrance with an inscription in Arabic pinned to it before driving at high speed into gas cannisters.

The attacks in Somalia were claimed by Al-Shabaab. No statement of responsibility for the attacks in Tunisia and France was made.

A year after Islamic State declared a caliphate in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria on June 29, the violence shows the rapid spread of extremism with a number of radical Sunni groups from Egypt to Tunisia and Yemen pledging allegiance to the organisation.

“What the attacks reveal are different tactics on part of groups that all claim adherence to the same organisation,” said Crispin Hawes, Director of Middle East and North Africa practice at Teneo consultancy in London.

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Pakistan : Law Minister forced to step down, Is the notorious Islamic nation on way to collapse?

With growing influence of Islamic extremists on one hand and separatist movements on other hand, it is really a tough road ahead for Pakistan. The den of terror is on way to collapse

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Islamic Terrorism
Supporters of the extremist Tehreek-e-Labaik party Pakistan (VOA)

After few weeks of ongoing drama Pakistan government on Monday made a deal with leaders of an extremist Islamist protest movement, agreeing that Pakistan law minister would step down from his position in return for an end to violent protests that had resulted in brutal clashes and immobilised the Pakistani capital since last few weeks. The law minister, Zahid Hamid, whom protesters had accused of blasphemy, resigned as part of negotiations overseen by Pakistan’s military. Law Minister Zahid Hamid had been accused by clerics of committing blasphemy due to a change in the wording of an oath taken by parliamentarians. The extremists, led by Rizvi, believed the change in wording as representing a softening of the state’s position against members of the Ahmadi sect, who are not permitted to identify themselves as Muslims in Pakistan. Like many times in past once again in Pakistan the government surrendered to the extremists. A dozen of people were killed and around 250 people were wounded in clashes between protestors and security forces.

“On the assurance of the Chief of Army Staff, we are calling off the sit-in,” Muslim extremist and protest leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi representing radical “Tehreek-e-Labaik” told a crowd of around 2,500 demonstrators in Islamabad on Monday.

Islamic Extremists
Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik party (VOA)

This is not the first time when Islamic extremists have highjacked the government in Pakistan. Not a single Prime Minister in Pakistan has been allowed to complete his tenure since the country’s inception 70 years ago. The political situation in Pakistan has never been a swift ride ever since 1947, as four times democratic governments were thrown away by military dictators, one prime minister was killed while another one was hanged by judiciary, many were sent home by presidents and two were dismissed by the Supreme Court, the latest been Nawaz Sharif.

The recent developments have again proved that Pakistan’s democratically elected government has no authority, it is the islamic extremists who hold the jar of power dictating government what to do and what not to do. Few days back only, a judicial panel ordered the release of Islamic militant leader Hafiz Saeed who was the mastermind of deadly Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 from house arrest. Hafiz Saeed have a huge following and popularity in Pakistan, and was to take up leadership of a political party which he planned to start. The matter of concern is future of Pakistan with such terrorists penetrating in power corridors.

With growing extremism on one side, separatist movements are also growing in Pakistan. Baloch freedom movement is gaining pace and a large section of Pashtun population are also demanding an independent Pashtunistan. There are several similarities between the Pakistani Army committing hideous crimes in Bangladesh (what was then East Pakistan) and Balochistan & Pashtunistan. Mass killings, the rape of women, laying human habitations to waste, targeted assassinations – Bangladesh saw it all during its Liberation War of 1971. Balochistan and Pashtunistan continues to witness these horrors. Religious minorities are also often targeted including the Shia and Ahmadi muslim population.

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With growing Wahhabism on one hand and separatist movements on another hand its really a tough job for Pakistan’s government to keep the country intact. Pakistan should now understand that there is no good terrorism and bad terrorism. [bctt tweet=”Pakistan should now understand that there is no good terrorism and bad terrorism. The snake you raise in your backyard is more likely to bite you before it bite your neighbour.”] In such grave situations, civil society of Pakistan must ponder over the state of affairs and should reject terrorism against India, only then a progressive Pakistan can exist. A progressive and stable Pakistan is equally important for neighbouring countries.

–  by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

2 responses to “Pakistan : Law Minister forced to step down, Is the notorious Islamic nation on way to collapse?”

  1. Good analysis, Pakistan must look within and stop religious extremists before they take control of whole nation.

  2. That is a very good and deep analysis. Pakistan is imploding from inside, religious extremist groups have the upper hand while ethnic suppression is igniting separatism. Ethnic Pashtun and Baluch nationalism should be empowered to put an end to the terror-producing machinery in Pakistan that means total collapse of Pakistani dysfunctional, apartheid and panjabi fascist failed state.

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Crime Branch Officials catch hold of main accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple Terror Attack

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat's capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades.

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2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack
Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, November 4, 2017 : Crime Branch officials on November 4 arrested Ajmeri Abdul Rashid, one of the accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack case, from near the airport.

Rashid, one of the 28 absconding accused in the case, had returned from Saudi Arabia and was picked by the Crime Branch sleuths from near the airport.

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades. Three commandos, including one from NSG, and a constable of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were also killed during the operation.

Rashid’s brother Adam Ajmeri, along with two others, was awarded capital punishment but it was struck down by the Supreme Court and all three were acquitted in 2014. Three other convicts, one of them carrying a life sentence, were also let off by the apex court.

The other absconders are claimed to be in Pakistan and Gulf countries. (IANS)

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Muslim driver’s Presence of Mind saves 50 Amarnath Yatra Pilgrims during the Terror Attack

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Amarnath Cave Shrine
Pilgrimage to the Amarnath Yatra. Wikimedia

Surat, July 11, 2017: Call it Salim Sheikh Gafoor’s sheer presence of mind or quick thinking, but it saved for sure over 50 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims from certain death during a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, though he himself attributes his heroism to the Almighty.

“The moments I heard the gunshots, I bent down a bit while holding the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator. It seems God gave me a lot of physical and mental strength and I began driving at around 70-80 km per hour,” Sheikh told media persons here on Tuesday while recalling his brush with death along with 50-odd passengers.

“Harshbhai, who was sitting next to me in the bus, was hit by a bullet. The passengers were screaming and asking me to stop the bus. But I didn’t, as had I applied the brakes even for a minute, I knew for sure that nobody in the bus, including me, would survive the attack,” said the Muslim driver, who has been hailed for saving the 50-odd Amarnath pilgrims.

ALSO READ: Terror Strikes Again: 7 Amarnath Pilgrims killed, 32 Injured in a Terror Attack in Anantnag

Expressing sadness over the death of seven pilgrims and injuries to 19 others in the attack on Monday night in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, he recalled that each one of the 60-odd pilgrims in the bus was happy after a ‘darshan’ of Lord Shiva and their visit to Srinagar.

“Unfortunately, it all turned into a tragedy,” Sheikh said.

He said he kept on driving for 2-3 km before halting at the nearest military camp. Thereafter, the Army men took over and helped move the victims inside the camp and rushing the injured to nearby hospitals.

It was only after 9.30 p.m., more than an hour after the attack, that Salim called up his own family.

His cousin Javed Mirza told a local Gujarati television channel: “I am proud of him. Though it is sad he could not save seven pilgrims, but he was able to save more than 50 others.”

As for getting separated from the security convoy before the attack, Sheikh said: “We started from Srinagar around 4 p.m. in the evening but had to take a two-hour stopover as a bus tyre got punctured. We had otherwise decided to halt at a camp for pilgrims near the military camp.”

“Since we got delayed while getting the flat tyre mended, three-four other buses from Uttar Pradesh which were with us drove away with the security while we were left behind,” he said.

Sheikh, who spoke to several television channels on arrival in Surat by a special Indian Air Force aircraft along with bodies of the attack victims and survivors, said he could not see how many terrorists attacked the bus since it was already dark.

Condemning the attack, he said he would be happy if the terrorists involved were killed.

“They must be killed. The security forces personnel told us they will kill the terrorists. We are now waiting for the good news. I will be able to experience peace, sleep well and eat only on receiving the good news (of the killing of terrorists),” he said.

He said it was not the first time but his fifth trip to the holy cave of Amarnath, driving pilgrims on behalf of Om Travels of Valsad in south Gujarat.

The tour began on July 2 and the pilgrims were scheduled to travel to Amarnath and the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir, before returning to Valsad.

He said he had ferried the passengers for ‘darshan’ at the Amarnath cave on July 8 and was driving towards Katra on the fateful evening.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who reached Surat airport to receive the bodies of the victims in the afternoon, was all praise for Sheikh and said his government would recommend his name for a bavery award to the Centre.

“I don’t know about that (bravery award) but driving is the only thing I know and only source of income for me. What else can I do? I will continue driving the bus. But for now, the scene (of the attack) keeps playing in front of my eyes,” he said. (IANS)