Shias love Modi (for all the wrong reasons)

Brown Pundits Archive
In India you should always expect the unexpected. If you feel something must be true the opposite will be true as well.

Shias will (may) vote for Modi because they feel oppressed…. by Sunnis!!! 

If petty issues prevent muslims from being united against a common enemy…well that is pretty much the story of India is it not? Hindus have their Jaichand, Muslims have their Mir Jafar, either way Indians have (always) lost out due to in-fighting. This is why people must make an effort to read history (and to learn from history).

Despite the clarion call by Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad to defeat the Congress
and the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi is surprisingly garnering
support from over 35,000-strong Shia community in Varanasi.

Excited by the response, the BJP also asked its minority cell to woo the
Shia Muslims. Varanasi has nearly three lakh Muslims, most of whom are weavers.
Also, the Gujarat riots have taken a back seat with local issues gaining

“There is no doubt that Shia Muslims in Varanasi are supporting Modi. The
support will come mainly from Dosipura, which is a Shia-dominated area,”
Maulana Mohammad Aqeel, Imam-e-Juma Dara Nagar Masjid in Varanasi told The
Indian Express.

He also reminded that in 2009, BJP’s M M Joshi victory margin was only
17,000.Dosipura includes as many as three to four localities, all dominated by
Shias whose number is around 15,000-20,000. Religious acrimony between Sunni
weavers and Shias will tilt the scale in favour of Modi.

Shias are supporting BJP because of local issues. Muslims from the Sunni
sect oppose our Taziya procession and Azadari during Moharram in Dosipura.
There is also a dispute over an Imambada land.
BJP openly supports us and now
we will support in return,” Maulana Aqeel said. Another Shia cleric, Baqar
Balliavi, based in Varanasi also admitted that Shias will vote for Modi.

Another Shia cleric Baqar Balliavi based at Varanasi also admitted that
Shias will vote for Modi. “No party supported Shias in their Azadari issues.
BJP openly supported us so Shias will support Modi here,” Baqar stated. He is
also a Pesh-e-Imam of Aurangabad Masjid, another prominent mosque of Shia
Muslims in Varanasi, and also runs a religious school.

Shias are also concentrated in Madanpura, Dal Mandi, Badi Bazar locality. “A
large section of Shias in these locality will also support BJP. It is
surprising for others, but not for us. The proportion of Shia support can
increase if other local clerics are mobilised,” Baqar added.

The BJP has asked its state general secretary (minority cell) Haider Abbas,
who also hails from Varanasi to motivate Shia Muslims. “Local issues are
affecting the polling in favour of BJP. But we are also placing larger issues
like development before them,” said Abbas.




The Guardian verdict: no lotus blossoms ever

Brown Pundits Archive
The liberal voice of the Empire issues a clear guidance for the benefit of its erstwhile (and uninformed, easily manipulated, prejudiced,…) subject class:

Summary: AAP is still a bachha- cant be trusted to play with the big boys, regional outfits- cant be bothered to know about them and how they may actually hold the balance of power, it is the one and only Congress that must rise like a phoenix and erect a lakshman-rekha around the crown jewels (which are actually locked away in the British Museum).

The liberals (and not so liberals) may still get their wish, if the BJP scores less than 200 seats, and the total count (along with mercenaries) does not rise up to 272. 

If the BJP gets about 230 seats the sun will be setting on another distinguished dynasty. Were they as great as the Mauryas and the Guptas (and of course the Romans)? Only time will tell.

If the first play-book is picked expect quite a bit of turbulence, there will be a coalition of the rough which may soon collapse under its own weight. In the long run it will be difficult to stop BJP because of its reserve strength in the RSS and the serious leadership problems in Congress which the Guardian (understandably) brushes under the carpet.
Living next door to another coming country, China, means India’s arc is often overlooked. Forthcoming elections
in the world’s largest democracy will, however, be an event of global
significance, an awe-inspiring logistical exercise. Voting begins on 7
April and continues for six weeks in nine separate tranches because of
the logistical Everest of balloting an electorate of more than 814

Congress will likely plump for Rahul Gandhi
as its new prime ministerial candidate. At 43, the scion of Rajiv and
Sonia should at least appeal to the young electorate: two-thirds of the
population are under 35 and 150 million are eligible to vote for the
first time. But while Mr Gandhi bears the gift and burden of the family
name, he is inexperienced and, as yet, appears to lack the political
touch of his father, the authority of his grandmother, or the legendary
status of his great-grandfather.
For these reasons and others,
Congress will likely take a pasting. 

Though polling in such a large
country is more alchemy than science, there is a strong possibility that
the BJP will form the next government, probably with Mr Modi as prime
minister. Mr Modi is one of the most polarising politicians to have
walked India’s political stage for many years. He is the candidate of
change, and has established a reputation as an effective manager, which
appeals deeply to voters who spend their lives trying to negotiate
bureaucracy. But he has been repeatedly accused (and cleared) of stoking
anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, in which a thousand or more
people were killed. It was only in 2012 that the UK decided to end a
boycott of Mr Modi by senior officials. The US has followed suit in
recent weeks.

A third force is the new Aam Admi party,
which has its roots in a broad anti-corruption movement and has made a
point of transparency and accountability. Yet the AAP remains a reaction
to India’s political woes and not, or at least not yet, a solution for

India needs change. It needs reform, infrastructure and jobs
for hundreds of millions of young people. The best hope of resisting
the nationalist BJP, now or in 2019, lies with Congress, the party that
has dominated Indian politics for best part of 70 years.



The al-Bunjabis from al-Bakistan

Brown Pundits Archive
A commenter claims that Arabic does not do R  (like Rubber), T (Topi), or D (Danda). Also P will be replaced by B (Z with D). Sounds a bit limiting and the accompanied loss of Urdu will certainly be a shame.

That said, if Punjabis prefer to call themselves al-Bunjabis there is not much need for hand-wringing.  
Losing your native culture (or elements of it) is not that bad if substituted by something of equal (or greater) value. In this case it is the language of Gods (Arabic) supplanting the language of poets (Urdu). Or in the eyes of the Taliban pure words replacing impure ones.

This can (may) trigger an identity crisis amongst the older generation, in India the worry is that the youth are becoming Americanized (as seen in the emergence of Hinglish). Even the Tamil-firsters admit that while they fought (and won) the battle against Hindi, they lost the war against English!!! The pull of a more powerful culture will not be denied regardless of how much ever heart-break it inflicts. 

It is undeniable though that the alien licence plates represent one more milestone marking the (mental) distance traveled by the Punjabi middle-class on the road from SAsia to SArabia.

Columnist, analyst, journalist and culture critic Raza Rumi’s take
is: “Nothing is more telling than the literal identity shift of Pakistan
taking place in Punjab. Number plates with Al Bakistan amounts to
changing the name of the country. I would suffer from an identity crisis
if I were to be called Rada instead of Raza.
Intriguing how the
administrative apparatus in charge of issuing number plates and
registration is complicit in the Arabisation process. I also saw a much
higher number of camels during the last Eidul Azha (please note it is
not Adha for most of us but will be soon called that). Allah Hafiz.”

these the first few signs Pakistan is moving towards Arabisation? Is
the land of five rivers slowly giving way to sand dunes, camels and date
trees? Well, maybe not.

“I had gone to Dubai a few years ago
where I saw similar number plates that I liked. They somehow looked
cool. On my return I thought why not get one for my car, but with a
twist. A few months after I got my car’s number plate designed with some
Arabic, I saw a lot of vehicles bearing the same design. I felt good to
be a trendsetter of sorts,” Abuzar Butt, a young car showroom owner,
told us.

Hafiz Muhammad Ali, a bike owner, who also had the same
kind of number plate, said: “I saw so many cars with these fascinating
new number plates. I clicked a photo of one, took it to a plate maker
and got one made for my bike too.”

The number plate makers can’t
be blamed for this for they are merely doing their job. “I’m just a
regular plate maker. I will make a plate according to any design you
provide me. And this is also the case with these Arabic ones. I get the
designs and I make them,” said Niaz, a number plate maker on Jail Road.

But not
everyone is amused by vehicles becoming ‘Arabised’. Rizwan Saleemi, a
businessman, says: “Most of the people who are doing this belong to
upper-middle class Punjabi families based mostly in Lahore and other
cities of Punjab.
They are going through some kind of a paradox. They
want to enjoy everything modern consumerism has to offer; a good car,
preferably modified, mind/ear blowing sound system, giving their
girlfriends a spin in their brand new Corollas and Civics every now and
then. But wait a second, what about the fancy Altima they had when they
used to roam around Riyadh, Dubai or Qatar? They had a nice Arabic plate
on that elegant ride; let’s get made one for my car here in Pakistan.”

The second reason, he says, is the “ridiculous amount of romanticism of Punjabi middle classes with their presumed Arab roots”.

plates, sadly, look fancy to the majority, but I personally despise
them. This is surely one of the signs we are adopting Arabic culture,
and we have seen many already. Basically, culture thrives on middle
classes, and Punjabi middle classes are no more there for their culture
and language. So more Arab culture to see in the coming days,” the angry
young man speaks his heart out. Hold on … how do you say “angry young
man” in Arabic.



Choice for (muslim) girls: knowledge or marriage?

Brown Pundits Archive
Educated muslim girls are facing problems getting a good match.

Still it makes no sense to deny education, the girls are no longer in a mood to accept anyway. Why not encourage (secular) marriage across barriers- just like Sharukh and Gauri Khan (and Saif/Kareena and Amir/Kiran and Salman/???). These folks after all are the true idols worshiped by the new generation. They should use more of their star power for encouraging education. Amir already does a lot of public good with Satyameva Jayate, then again he is special.

In West Bengal there were at least 10 muslim families (and
five tribal ones) in the news last year, where the girls were about to be forced into
under-age marriages and displayed astounding bravery by calling in the social service.

The calls to the police followed the same script and articulated the same plea: Kaku ami aro portey chai (uncle, we want to keep on studying). These girls know full well that education is the golden ticket out of a lifetime of servitude.

It is heartening to note that girls are refusing to be door-mats anymore (which is what the various personal laws would like to impose on them) and are also taking advantage of (free) educational opportunities in far greater numbers than the men.  

Even if the promised reservations materialize for muslims (as promised by many parties, including the Congress) it appears as if the girls will continue to jump ahead of the boys. This is a potential (social) time-bomb in the making.  

However if the emancipation of muslim women triggers a grass-roots movement for reforming of gender inequities that would be a blessing in disguise.  If and when this happens it will be truly deserving of the moniker of a “silent revolution” (see below).

This phenomena is across the board amongst all weaker communities and will (must) eventually lead to a breakdown in caste barriers (guardians will just not be able to put up enough barriers between educated youngsters).

In the case of religion however there is less reason for optimism. A Hindu girl may marry into a muslim family (after conversion) but this will not be acceptable for muslim girls.
match-maker, Shahid Farooqui, has been faced with an unusual problem of
late: of ‘over qualified’ brides-to-be.
Though his bag is teaming with
profiles of several eligible women from the Muslim community between 23
and 35 years of age, he has been struggling to get many of them a
perfect match. Reason? All these girls are armed with
graduate/post-graduate degrees (M Sc, B Ed, M Tech or even B Tech) now a
trend, almost unheard of until a few years ago.
As a result, Farooqui
says, it’s become a herculean task to find these educated women, equally
qualified grooms.

“Seven out of 10 women seeking alliances
these days are well educated. Given that several men aren’t still
particularly interested in a girl’s education (many aren’t qualified
and pay more attention to her looks and financial status,
it’s getting difficult to find these prospective brides an appropriate
match,” the middle-aged marriage ‘guru’ says while also adding how a lot
of families from the lower rungs of society are, thus, forced to

Take for instance, Roshna (name changed) of
Mallepally. Despite a B Ed degree in her kitty the young girl was forced
to marry a school drop out,
as the family failed to find her a better
match. Ditto a graduate from Yakutpura who eventually married a
man with no degree. The only bright spot: the decent returns from the
groom’s family transport business.

Sadly, such a predicament,
observers rue, is often visible in other marginalised communities too.
Take for instance, 33-year-old Harika (name changed). This doctor from
Madiga Community who registered with a matrimonial site three years ago,
is still anxiously waiting to find her ‘Mr Right’-a doctor from her own
community. “If a man earns well, families overlook his
qualification. Mostly, it’s the women who end up compromising,”
reiterates Yogita K from the matrimonial site Clearly, Harika’s MBBS education, which might be good news for a country
slogging to improve its literacy rate, has its flipside.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Jaleesa Sultana
Yaseen, member of the Muslim Women Intellectual Forum: “There was a lot
of insecurity among women until a few years ago and they took to
education to support themselves. But that brought along a lot of
practical problems which we need address to correct this imbalance.
Parents need to push male children to study to resolve this
,” she says.

But not many college-going girl students from the community are so
optimistic. The current trend has, in fact, instilled in them a fear of
losing out on their studies.  “My parents did not want me to take up
post-graduate studies [for the same reason] but I somehow managed to
allay their concerns. Now, seeing so many women who are struggling to
find suitable matches around me, I am not sure what will happen,” said
Suhela Sheikh,
who is pursuing M Sc (Nutrition) at a private college.

According to activist and writer Kancha Illaiah this problem is more
prominent in the middle and lower rungs society as higher education
within this section is mostly first generational.
“Girls don’t get well
educated grooms within their own caste. Unless the caste problem is over
come, this cannot be done away with,” he stresses.

Mustafa Ali Sarwari of Maulana Azad National University, meanwhile,
considers it a serious social issue. Taking it a step further he says,
“If these girls (out of lack of choice) get married to men who are less
educated, compatibility issues are bound to crop up.”

nonetheless, educationists are happy with the trend, with those like
just-retired professor of Osmania University, B S Rao, even terming this
rise in women education as a “silent revolution” – a stark contrast to
the feelings of Farooqui who confesses to be reeling under “bad




Brown Pundits Archive
There is many a time when citizens in a democracy get royally frustrated. Especially in flawed democracies like India, which is further segregated into war zones (Kashmir, North-East, Central India) and backward zones where the daylight of justice is usually overwhelmed with clouds of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Khap committees and the like.

However if one wants to see a true police state in operation, then modern day Egypt can serve as a fine example. There are many many private horrors on a daily basis, this one below is an example of a public horror show.

As a model these states can choose to follow the rightist thugs-in-chief (Pinochet, Franco etc) or the leftist ones (Mao, Stalin etc.). True they are not as evil as the full blown crazies (Pol Pot, Kim Jong-un, Mullah Omar, Assad etc.) but that is the only nice thing going for them.
court in southern Egyptian has convicted 529 supporters of ousted
Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, sentencing them to death
on charges
of murdering a policeman and attacking police.

The court in
Minya issued its ruling on Monday after only two sessions in which the
defendants’ lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case.

Those convicted are part of a group of 545 defendants on trial
for the killing of a police officer, attempted killing of two others,
attacking a police station and other acts of violence.

More than 150 suspects stood trial, the others were tried in absentia. Sixteen were acquitted.

The defendants were arrested after violent demonstrations that were a
backlash for the police crackdown in August on pro-Morsi sit-ins in
Cairo that killed hundreds of people.



Aligs Aadmi Party

Brown Pundits Archive
There is a possibility for a 3-way split in the muslim vote in the upcoming general elections. 

Congress is banking on the votes of the loyal generation (post-partition), rural pockets may still vote for Samajwadi Party and other regional outfits, and most recently the Aam Aadmi Party is making its mark in urban areas, with the young people and the liberal minded.

In the last group belongs the elite alumnii of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)– which has historically been the seat of muslim activism and (pan) nationalism (as distinct from muslim feudalism) since its founding in 1875, Wiki refers to AMU as the epi-center of the Pakistan movement.

However the key challenge is for muslims to vote tactically in each constituency, else the BJP wins everywhere.

….Making Muslims a part of the same world as the rest of India
has surprisingly endeared a part of the AMU fraternity, both teachers and
students, to AAP. Finding AAP’s policy ‘inclusive’ — Kejriwal has not made
many community-specific promises in Aligarh – a number of AMU graduates now
settled in the UAE, UK, USA and Europe are campaigning hard online for what
they see as the ‘new hope’.

On “World of Aligs”, one of the largest
online communities of AMU alumni, the party’s been steadily beginning to become
a part of the discussions. In the beginning of March, when BJP workers had
attacked the AAP party office in Delhi, Kaleem Kawaja, a US-based AMU
graduate had posted, “AAP’s intense struggle against BJP can help

The discussion has now veered around to
how the party is making realistic promises like good governance. “Earlier,
Muslims followed the promises doled out by traditional parties but Kejriwal is
not promising anything to anyone from any faith or community,” said Mohsin
Raza, a senior surgeon and moderator of “World of Aligs.”

“His goal is clean governance, which includes Hindus as well as Muslims.

“That’s why there is admiration
for him because Muslims have understood that parties keep the community in good
humour during elections and then forget about them.”

In such a scenario, critics point out that Kejriwal has an eye on the Muslim
vote bank which is why he has fielded Sabir Rahi, a Muslim from Aligarh,
constituency, which contrary to perception, has more Hindu voters than Muslim.
AAP having a Muslim face here is expected to go down well with the

The party has also promised that if elected, it would take up
the issue of compensation of riot victims as well as Section 341 of the IPC
which deals with punishment for wrongful restraint. In addition, Kejriwal has
been making statements like “communalism is a bigger threat than
  But Mohibul Haque, assistant professor at AMU feels the main
agenda of AAP, which is the fight against corruption, is what draws the
intelligentsia, including Muslims, to it.   “AAP is not working on the lines
of a secular and communal debate. Their main fight is against corruption, which
affects all regardless of their faith and class.”




Visiting the UK: dos and (mostly) donts

Brown Pundits Archive
The latest missive from the Al Qaeda black guards. AQ is enlisting the services of British Jihadis (who are presently engaged in the fighting in Syria) to target the Queen when they return home. Also football matches (at the final whistle). And the Savoy hotel. And Epsom….

It should be considered a minor blessing that the directions are so crystal clear. Now you know what to do in order to protect yourself while visiting the UK- always leave a football match by half-time, dont stay in the Savoy, avoid Cheltenham and Epsom etc etc.

most important citizen – the Queen, the country’s most important
sporting events – Wimbledon, English Premiere League matches and horse
race at Cheltenham and the country’s most revered hotel – The Savoy in
London are now the target of jihadis returning to UK from Syria.

al-Qaida has urged “lone wolf” jihadists returning from Syria to carry
out bomb attacks at sporting events in Britain specially those attended
by the Queen. Wimbledon fortnight and FA Cup matches are right on top the hit list as al-Qaida calls for “maximum carnage”.

The terror group recommends that such operations be carried out either
by a “martyrdom bomber” or with explosives linked to a timer or a remote

An English-language publication, produced by al-Qaida outlines a list of possible targets in Britain, America and France. Britain and France’s seaside towns to be the home of thousands of
tourists as summer months inch closer will also be prime targets,
according to Britain’s intelligence agencies.

al-Qaida asks the jihadis “Hit two birds with one stone; both the
English and the French. In the beginning of summer we have Cheltenham,
and at the end of summer we have Epsom, whereby horse races are attended
by thousands from around the kingdom including the Queen”.

author, named as al-Qaida Chef, adds “You have soccer stadiums,
especially during Premier League and FA Cup matches. They have worldwide
live media coverage. The best time is after the final whistle, when
huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances”.

The magazine, published on March 14, encourages readers to build their
own car bomb – which it provides instructions of how to do – and
detonate it outside the hotel.

Britain’s home minister Theresa
May has removed the citizenship of 37 people since May 2010 for joining
terror forces in Syria.
In 2013, the home minister has revoked the British citizenship of 20 people.

Britain’s foreign minister William Hague recently told parliament that
Syria is now the “number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the
including “70 to 100 individuals connected with the United
Kingdom”. “The conflict is creating opportunities for extremist groups,” Hague said.  

Nearly 600 Europeans have gone to Syria since early 2011, representing 7-11% of the foreign fighters there in total.



Sunanda Pushkar: foul play confirmed

Brown Pundits Archive

So it was murder after all. We will perhaps never know who did it (the all
powerful ISI? IPL cricket mafia??).

We are of the opinion that her fate was sealed the moment she confessed
that she had committed perjury.

Here is some valuable advice to sisters of Sunanda from a Pakistani sister

Sunanda, the
deceased wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, supposedly committed suicide
after finding out about her husband’s alleged affair with a Pakistani
journalist. The Pakistani journalist claims that the two were merely
‘intellectual companions.’

No matter what
the reason might be, infidelity can be painful for both the ’unfaithful’ and,
most definitely, the ‘faithful’ in a relationship. And, to me, all forms of
responses to a partner’s infidelity are acceptable, but the one that Mrs.
Tharoor chose.  

Never kill yourself for your man’s infidelity. Never.

It’s okay to
divorce, yell, burn his car, smash his computer, take all the money out of his
bank account (and get a boob job with that), turn his kids against him, nag for
years to come, eat too much (and get fat), sleep with his best friend in
revenge, have a few flings of your own. The list is endless.

But it’s never okay to
kill yourself.  

No man is worth your life. 

They are there
to make your life beautiful, not to take it away. If one man is not doing a
good job at making your life beautiful, it’s okay to try the next one.
sometimes you have to shop till you drop – by natural causes, of course.
Another pun not intended.

some called the Pakistani journalist an ISI agent.
They said Sunanda’s death
was the accomplishment of the ISI. Well, if the ISI was that powerful or
clever, Pakistan would not be drowning in terrorism, corruption and civil war.

Sunanda’s husband kill her?
Can a seasoned politician be this stupid to kill his wife
within 48 hours of such allegations of infidelity? But then he is also the same
guy who doesn’t know how to protect his Twitter account.

Rest in
peace, Sunanda! Or better yet, come back as a beautiful woman again in your
next janam. And this time, when your rich, powerful, handsome husband cheats on
you, choose one of the other options. Revenge should be sweet.

Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera report has brought back the
possibility of foul play in the mysterious death of the 52-year-old
businesswoman in a south Delhi luxury hotel on January 17 this year.

Sources said the report not only rules out the presence of any poison in Sunanda’s
body but also finds no trace of the
anti-anxiety drug, Alprax, in her stomach at the time of the death.
directly contradicts the autopsy report which had concluded that Sunanda died
of drug poisoning and had indicated the presence of Alprax.

Investigators, who had recovered near-empty strips of Alprax from Sunanda’s
hotel room, are stumped by the new findings. If the viscera report is to be believed, Sunanda either took the pills
as per the prescribed dose or the strips were planted in the room to mislead
investigations, a source said.

“We had recovered two strips of Alprax, each
capable of holding 15 tablets. The first was empty and the second had just
three tablets. If she was taking the pill as per dosage, we need to find out why
an empty strip was in the room,” said an investigator.

wife of junior HRD minister Shashi Tharoor, was reportedly depressed. Days
before her death, she accused Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar of having an
affair with her husband in the course of a ugly Twitter spat.

Sunanda had checked into the Leela
Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri on January 15, alone. She was staying in a room on
the third floor and was visibly depressed when she arrived at the hotel. The
hotel staff has reportedly told police that she had hardly eaten during her

Tharoor, sources said, had checked into the hotel on
January 16, when the couple shifted to a suite number 345. They were engaged in
a night-long argument, investigators have found, and Sunanda went to sleep only
around 6.30am on January 17. She did not order any food. Soon after (around
7am), Tharoor left to attend the AICC meet at Talkatora Stadium and found her
dead upon his return.



“hard slap” vs. “blatant aggression”

Brown Pundits Archive
It is like the Syldavia and Borduria of the famed Tintin comics, except that this is real life and shooting down planes is not really funny.

A “hard slap” has been personally delivered from Erdogan to Assad. No doubt this is a dangerous way to extend (and expand) the scope of the war (and will help improve Erdogan’s image).

The international liberal-left shouted so loudly (and long) on Iraq, where are they now? At the least they should send out mass warnings on Twitter, that be a good excuse for Erdogan to launch another hard (electronic) slap by banning Twitter (again)..

armed forces shot down a Syrian plane on Sunday after it crossed into
Turkish airspace in a border region where Syrian rebels have been
battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“A Syrian plane
violated our airspace,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election
rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey.

“Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,” Edrogan.

The rebels have been fighting for control of the Kasab crossing, the
border region, since Friday, when they launched an offensive which
Syrian authorities say was backed by Turkey’s military.

said Turkish air defences shot down the jet while it was attacking rebel
forces inside Syrian territory, calling the move a “blatant

State television quoted a military source as
saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane. The Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights monitoring group said initial reports from the area
said the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border. 



Sardar Ahmad

Brown Pundits Archive
Killing (muslim) journalists is not good for propaganda but then the Taliban is not usually known for finesse.

Also the teenage soldiers cant seem to (understandably) shoot straight, the two year old baby of Ahmad did manage to survive (still in ICU).  

Perhaps one day he will try to avenge the actions of the killers of his parents and siblings….by becoming a journalist. Best wishes for the kid who (thankfully) does not understand the scope of his loss.

One more feather in the cap for the ISI (as the Afghans are calling it).

The Guardian links to the last story that Ahmad filed before he died.

Kabul zoo on Tuesday unveiled its new star attraction – Marjan
the lion,
who lived on a rooftop in the city until being rescued by animal welfare officials last year when close to death.

businessman in the Afghan capital had bought the male lion cub as a
status symbol for $20,000, and kept his pet on a roof terrace.

But the fast-growing cat was seriously ill when Kabul municipal officials tracked him down last October. “We
found him in a very dire condition. He was almost dead. He couldn’t
move. He couldn’t even raise his head,” vet Abdul Qadir Bahawi told AFP. “We
were not sure that he would survive. But our efforts paid off, and he
is much better. Now he loves to play with us. I think he loves us a

Marjan is named after a famous half-blind lion who lived at Kabul zoo and became a symbol of Afghanistan’s national survival after living through coups, invasions, civil war and the hardline Taliban era, before dying in 2002. The
first Marjan, born in 1976, was blinded by a grenade thrown by a
soldier whose brother had been killed after entering his cage.

inspectors took him from the owner and started an intense five-month
rehabilitation programme at the zoo to bring him back to health,
including regular massage and physiotherapy sessions.

said an attack on a Kabul hotel that left nine civilians dead,
including an AFP journalist, was planned “outside the country” in a
veiled reference to Pakistan.

The NSC said the attack on the hotel, which was carried out by four
teenage gunmen and claimed by the Taliban, was in fact the work of
“foreign intelligence services” — a phrase normally meant to mean
neighboring Pakistan.

“Witness testimony and preliminary
information analysis shows that this terrorist attack was directly
executed or carried out by foreign intelligence services outside the
country,” the council said in a statement.

“Another information
of the NDS (National Directorate of Security) shows that earlier when
one Pakistani diplomat entered the Kabul-Serena hotel to use its sport
club, he filmed the corridors of the hotel which the hotel staff raised
objections to,” it added.

The victims of Thursday’s attack included AFP
journalist Sardar Ahmad, his wife and two of their three children,
with another Afghan and four foreigners — two Canadians, an American
and a Paraguayan. The couple’s youngest son, two-year-old
Abozar, survived with bullet wounds to the head, chest and leg and
remained in intensive care today.

Afghanistan made a similar
allegation following a deadly restaurant bombing in Kabul in January
that killed 21 people including 13 foreigners.