Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

The decade long US struggle to capture the world’s most wanted terrorist ended on May 2, 2011 when a small American team acting under Obama’s direct orders (known as Operation Geronimo) killed the most wanted terrorists, who was hiding in a place called Abbottabad in Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden was the founder of the terrorist group “Al-Qaeda”, a group which is responsible for spreading terror in most part of the world. Osama is known to be the mastermind behind the planning of 9/11 attacks on USA, an attack which shocked the world, not just USA.

On Monday, May 2, 2011 Osama was shot dead, and later his body was identified by using the facial recognition techniques (I work a lot on these techniques and I know how much powerful they are, so if these have confirmed the identity, I believe the reports to be true).  However, the DNA test has also been done, and the reports will be out soon, which I guess will be a second and a major proof of the death of Osama. Also, the news of the killing was announced by Obama, the president of USA, so I do believe him. If it had been Bush, I still might have been in a doubt but that’s not the case with Barack Obama. In the mean while the body of Osama Bin Laden was buried as per all the Muslim rites into the Arabian Sea.

In between all the news and hype of Osama’s death, the major concern that rises is the involvement of Pakistan in this matter, a major doubt over its military and its seriousness in combatting terrorism. Also a question that has risen above all (I guess Indian media has had a big hand in it) is the involvement of Pakistan in helping Osama Bin Laden to hide in its territory. Did the Pakistan government really know about the hiding? I (I know I am an Indian, but still logically I cannot really understand this fact) really cannot Pakistan, that they denied of their involvement. How can it be that the world’s most wanted terrorist hides in your place for 10 long years without you knowing anything about it. I know it is a very serious accusation that I have just raised, but then I really would love to hear the answer of Pakistan on this question and accusation.

But yes I do feel a little sad for Pakistan the country as well, since it is terribly humiliating for a country to end up in a position they are now, when a foreign country not only carries out drone strikes in the country, but also sends Special Forces inside cities. It is even shameful that US did not even let the Pakistan government know about this operation. Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf also pointed out the same thing, that the Americans should have at least informed the Pakistani government about this operation. On a comical note one of my friends answered to Musharraf’s comment by saying “Had the Americans informed you all (the Pakistani government) in hand, this operation surely could never have been a success. As the moment you all would have got to know about this the very moment Osama would also have been informed and he would have fled.”  Anyways, the next few days will be a test of both America and Pakistan. How will Pakistan be able to justify Osama’s presence in its territory? How much will America and the rest of the world drill into the facts or overlook the disturbing but probably true facts behind all this action.

India has always accused Pakistan of providing refuge to all the wanted terrorists. And now when that has somewhat been proved now, what will be the Indian government’s next step, is something I would love to see. Also, I really don’t know why can’t India do an US now, attack with Special Forces the way America did and capture and kill most terrorists. On the contrary what the end up doing is feeding and spending billions of Indian currency hard earned by Indians on terrorists like Qasab trying to just prove that he belongs to the Pakistan origin. I really feel this is insane. I think it is the time they learn something from USA and take some steps, and now hopefully they might even get the US backing as well.
In the end all I can say is a very long (a decade long) chapter is now closed. Although the war against terrorism is still not over, I do believe that this is the beginning of the end of Al-Qaeda.

Article from Wikipedia over Osama’s death:

“On May 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (May 2, Pakistan Standard Time), U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by "a small team of Americans" acting under Obama’s direct orders, in a covert operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about 50 km (31 mi) north of Islamabad. It had been believed by some that bin Laden was hiding near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but he was actually found 100 miles away in a million-dollar, three-story mansion in Abbottabad at 00 34°10′9″N 73°14′33″E / 34.16917°N 73.2425°E / 34.16917; 73.2425. Bin Laden’s mansion was located .75 miles (1.21 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy (Pakistan’s "West Point"). Google Earth maps show that the compound was not present in 2001, but was present on images taken in 2005.

According to U.S. officials, a team of 20–25 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six), under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command and working with the CIA stormed bin Laden’s compound in two helicopters. Bin Laden, three other men, and a woman were killed in a firefight in which U.S. forces did not experience any injuries or casualties. In his broadcast announcement, President Obama said that U.S. forces "took care to avoid civilian casualties." Among the others killed were one of bin Laden’s sons, a man described as a courier, and the courier’s brother. Four years of surveillance of the courier led to the intelligence which made the raid possible. It was reported that the courier was the owner of the compound where the assault took place. John Brennan, the White House anti-terrorism chief, said that the woman that was killed was one of bin Laden’s four wives and was being used as a human shield at the time. Two other women, who were also used as shields, were injured during the raid. According to one U.S. official, the attack was carried out without the knowledge or consent of Pakistani authorities. In contrast, agents of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) said it was a joint operation.

DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister’s brain confirmed bin Laden’s identity the following day, according to assertions to ABC News by unnamed sources. The body was recovered by the U.S. military, and was in its custody until his body was buried in the North Arabian Sea from the USS Carl Vinson according to Islamic traditions. One U.S. official stated that "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult." MSNBC reported, "There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants."

The U.S. State Department issued a "worldwide caution" for Americans following bin Laden’s death, and U.S diplomatic facilities everywhere were placed on high alert, a senior U.S official said. Crowds gathered outside the White House and in New York City’s Times Square to celebrate bin Laden’s death. In Pakistan, some people were shocked at those reports that said that the mission was not authorized by Pakistan.”

Article from Yahoo news over Osama’s burial:

“Washington, May 2(ANI): Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea, as the United States does not want his burial place to become a terrorist shrine, a US official has said.
The official said that the body was handled according to Islamic practice and tradition, Fox News reports.
That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official added.
"Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult. So, the US decided to bury him at sea," the official said.
The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a top secret operation involving a small team of US special forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar, Pakistan.
Under Islamic tradition, the body is washed by Muslim men and buried as soon as possible.
The body is usually buried in a simple white sheet -whether buried in the ground, or at sea."


Pakistan has banned Twitter, Wikipedia, and Flickr as well. Earlier I had updated about Facebook and Youtube. Well these are the latest additions to the list. Here is the article:

“PTA has blocked over 1000 Websites and Twitter is the most recent one to join the list. Earlier as we reported Facebook is banned in Pakistan Since 18th May and further more Youtube, Wikipedia, and Flickr are some of the Important Websites which access has been restricted in the country. We will update this post as more details become available to us.

Websites have never been blocked in such a large number before. Govt is just cracking down on any website that it finds promoting the Draw Muhammad Day this way or the other. Even the Websites promoting Facebook Proxies have been blocked too.

I managed to logon on to Twitter through iPhone and first thing I wanted to check was If there is any trending Topic which could have led to this blockage in the country, However there is not any.

Twitter is not yet fully restricted. Some users still can access it on different ISP than PTCL DSL. (Govt owned), the Ban usually takes effect on PTCL users first. It’s only matter of time before Twitter could be blocked on other ISPs too.”

Pakistan block Youtube as well!

Posted: May 20, 2010 by Shishir Gupta in Computer Articles, Technologies
Tags: , ,

Yesterday Pakistan court ordered to block the Facebook site till the 31st of May, and now they have done that with the Youtube as well. Here is the complete article.

“Many Pakistanis are angry at the ‘Draw Muhammad’ competition. Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its “growing sacrilegious content”.

Access to the social network Facebook has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting un-Islamic content.

On Wednesday a Pakistani court ordered Facebook to be blocked because of a page inviting people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad.

Some Wikipedia pages are also now being restricted, latest reports say.

Correspondents say it remains to be seen how successful the new bans will be in Pakistan and whether citizens find a way round them.

Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our policies.

YouTube statement Pakistanis divided over bans

YouTube says it is “looking into the matter and working to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible”. The site was briefly blocked in Pakistan in 2008 – ostensibly for carrying material deemed offensive to Muslims.

Facebook said on Wednesday that the content did not violate its terms.

There have been protests in several Pakistani cities against the Facebook competition.
‘Derogatory material’

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said it had ordered internet service providers to “completely shut down” YouTube and prevent Facebook from being viewed within Pakistan.

It said the move came only after “all possible avenues” within its jurisdiction had been used.

Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News

Countries, companies and even individuals can easily block various websites if they choose.

China has a notorious firewall in place to control internet activity and many Western organisations choose to block access to social networks in the office.

In this case, Pakistan will probably have instructed its internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent any pages containing the phrase “” in the address from loading on web browsers.

There are various ways of implementing a block and sometimes it can go awry – Pakistan accidentally pulled YouTube offline around the world in 2008 when it tried to implement an internal ban by “hijacking” the address in order to re-direct links to a different page.
There are also ways to duck underneath a ban – most commonly by accessing the internet via a “proxy” server based abroad. This can fool an ISP into thinking a computer is actually based in another country and therefore not subject to the ban.

“Before shutting down (YouTube), we did try just to block particular URLs or links, and access to 450 links on the internet were stopped,” said PTA spokesman Khurram Ali Mehran.

“But the blasphemous content kept appearing so we ordered a total shut down.”

One of the links blocked is to a BBC News website article about Pakistani soldiers apparently beating Taliban suspects in a video posted on Facebook.

A YouTube spokesperson said: “YouTube offers citizens the world over a vital window on cultures and societies and we believe people should not be denied access to information via video.

“Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our policies. Content that violates our guidelines is removed as soon as we become aware of it.”

The controversy began with the Facebook feature called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”. Depictions of the Prophet are forbidden in Islam.

A message on the item’s information page said it was not “trying to slander the average Muslim”.

“We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Muhammad depictions that we’re not afraid of them.”

The page contains drawings and caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and characters from other religions, including Hinduism and Christianity.

“Such malicious and insulting attacks hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world and cannot be accepted under the garb of freedom of expression,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said about the page.

Facebook said in a statement that it would take action if any content “becomes an attack on anyone, including Muslim people”, but that in this case its policies were not violated.

“Facebook values free speech and enables people to express their feelings about a multitude of topics, even some that others may find distasteful or ignorant,” the statement said.

A hotline has been set up in Pakistan, asking members of the public to phone in if they see offensive material anywhere.

Islamic parties say they are planning nationwide protests in Pakistan.

Five people were killed in the country in 2006 during violent demonstrations following publication of Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper.

BBC website readers have been telling us what they think of the ban. Here is a selection of their comments.

I am a university student and use Facebook and Youtube as a way of interacting and staying in touch with friends. But all students are willing to give up this source of entertainment for the sake of principles.
– Zahara Sohail Khan from Lahore, Pakistan

The strict policies of Facebook regarding racism and harassment are only for individual users. Now a page on Facebook is harassing billions of Muslims world-over and Facebook’s management is not bothered. What hypocrisy.
– Maroof from Lahore, Pakistan

I am a Muslim girl, just a normal student. When my religion is insulted, it is me who is insulted. I can live without Facebook but I definitely cannot live in humiliation. I am with my country on this and if Facebook does not take action on this, then ban or no ban, I would never go back to it anyway.
– Maham Tanveer from Rawalpindi, Pakistan

As a Muslim growing up in America, I am frustrated that neither side takes the time to understand the other. For Muslims, directly insulting the sacred is beyond petty ‘freedom of speech’ privileges we mortals have. In the West, people think arrogantly that they are free to say anything without limits whatsoever, no matter how ridiculous or insulting.
– Qureshi from Florida, USA

I am now living in Karachi, Pakistan, and I never thought I’d have to endure blocks on websites ever again after I moved from Saudi Arabia. Even though I have found a way to access blocked websites, I can’t believe the government would put a ban on them.
– Omar from Saudi Arabia

I did use Youtube and Facebook but I have removed my accounts from both sites and have communicated this to all my family and friends who have been using them.
– Hassan Mehmood from Pakistan

This is ridiculous. I find these to be ill-advised measures. Blocking websites in countries does not prevent the content from existing in the first place. I think the Pakistani government should move to ban pornography (which is still easily available) before they ban Facebook and YouTube which are obviously on the better side of human development.
– Myra from Karachi, Pakistan

This has been outrageous and infuriating. I feel disconnected from the world, from my friends, and from the easiest modes of expression available today.
– Uzma from Lahore, Pakistan

It is not only Facebook and YouTube which have been blocked in Pakistan, but parts of the BBC website too, for example the link given below, many stories about Pakistan and the entire South-East Asia section. In fact, I am forced to use a proxy server just to post this comment. As a Pakistani, I feel very frustrated and angry about this crackdown on the internet and can only hope that this is temporary.
– Schyan Zafar from Pakistan”

Well I must say, Pakistan is taking big steps.

Facebook banned in Pakistan!!!

Posted: May 20, 2010 by Shishir Gupta in Computer Articles, Technologies
Tags: , ,

Facebook has been banned in Pakistan for a few days, saying that it is insulting Islam in a way. I am putting the post here from where I found this news.

“Facebook Banned In Pakistan Till May 31 For The Insult Over ISLAM. Today, Lahore High Court was approached by such a group and requested to ban the social networking site in Pakistan. And astoundingly the court decided to ban the site until 31st May. Sketches of Prophet Muhammad are considered an act of blasphemy by Muslims and this Facebook page has already incurred criticism from several Muslims. The fallout has already begun in Pakistan, where in the port city of Karachi protestors have taken to streets protesting the Facebook announcement.

On the other hand Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has also ordered to all the internet service providers in Pakistan to ban all those links on facebook that own blasphemous links in it. Sources inside PTA informed that they are also considering to block Facebook in Pakistan as it has involved in the propaganda against the Muslims in past as well.

The action by the enemies of Islam in which they called to observe May 20 as the “Day to draw Muhammad’s day” on facebook, has been widely blamed by the Muslims all around the world and to protest against this action the lovers of Holy Prophed (PBUH), decided to boycott Facebook on this day as the link has been promoted on Facebook. In this regards Pakistani social organisation, students and people from all walks of life have organised protest demonstrations against Facebook, in front of Press Club offices in all four provinces of the country.

The Pakistani users of Facebook have also been asked not to use facebook on May 20 and also deactivate their accounts to show their love towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH).”

Well I really do not know if this was correct, but definitely this is a very strong decision taken.

Once again India is out of the T20 World Cup, without qualifying for the semi-final stage. It has been very similar situation for India in the last two editions of the world cup. They entered the tournament in both the years after a very hectic IPL schedule. Last year India won both its matches in the group stage and then lost all its three matches in the super eight stage. Similarly India won both its matches in the group stage and lost all its three matches in the super eight stage in this edition. The only difference was that last year both the victories India got were against the minnows Bangladesh and Ireland. Well this year they did defeat South Africa, definitely a big team. They won the other match against minnows Afghanistan.

In both these years India has not been able to play its full strength side due to the injuries that have happened during the IPL. The players have had to undergo a lot of burnout in the 40 days before entering a major tournament like the World Cup. Even Indian captain blamed the IPL for its loss in the World Cup this time (something he had not done last year). Indian started off well defeating Afghanistan and South Africa, but then faltered against Australia, losing by a huge margin. After this they just could not recover at all. They lost to West Indies and in their final match against Sri Lanka, almost till the final ball of the match it looked that India could win, but they just gave up probably in the last over. They went into that match with a must win situation and on top of that win with a minimum of 20 runs. They started well scoring 90 runs in the first 10 overs but could not capitalize on the advantage and scored only 73 runs in the last 10 even though they had 9 wickets in hand half way through their innings. Then in the second innings while bowling they got off to a decent start picking a couple of wickets early, but again when it looked as if they would definitely win the match (not by the margin of 20 runs, but a win never the less), they lost the match. In the last four overs they had 51 runs to defend to win, and 31 runs to have a chance of qualifying for the semi-final spot. From that situation in the match having lost it would have been the most disappointing thing for the team.

If I come to take out some positives from the tournament, then definitely for one it would be the batting of Suresh Raina. He scored a hundred against South Africa, and also played well enough in the other matches. Rohit Sharma too played very well against Australia, but apart from these the batting performances have been disappointing. Especially the performance of Murali Vijay who was chosen in the team as a replacement for Virender Sehwag, just could not fire at all in the tournament. His only noticeable performance came against Afghanistan. Also Ravindra Jadeja was a big disappointment in the tournament. He did not bowl well, did not bat well (though he did not get many chances to bat), and the worst was dropped quite a few catches. His noticeable bowling performance also came against Afghanistan. The other positive in the bowling department can be the performance of R Vinay Kumar. He really played very well in his debut and the only match. He somewhat was the good only bowling performance in the match against Sri Lanka. Also the most disappointing thing was that once Sehwag was injured Murali Vijay was chosen and not Robin Uthappa. Personally I feel that the form in which Robin was in during the IPL, he would have been the best choice as a replacement for Sehwag.

Apart from this there was nothing to cheer about for the Indian fans. If I talk about the rest of the tournament, the best thing was that all the major teams advanced in the second stage of the tournament (something that had not happened in the earlier two editions). Also England and Australia have played some great cricket. Pakistan has been very lucky getting into the top four stage while the last team that is Sri Lanka also have played some very good cricket in the tournament. They have played very well and they only faltered once in the tournament against Australia. By reaching the semifinal spot one can say that Pakistan has been one of the most consistent sides in the T20 format. They were the runners-up in the first edition, champions in the second. And now they have a chance to defend their title once again. Sri Lanka too has made it to the semi-final stage for the second consecutive time. Australia had made it to the top four in the first edition, and now will be looking forward to win the tournament (this is the only major tournament they haven’t won as yet). Well this can be the first time when England can try and win the tournament (they haven’t ever won a major tournament).

Well I end this post wishing Indian team all the best in their future tournaments. Also they will have to be very careful as next year again there will be the cricket World Cup 2011 sometime very close to the IPL. Hopefully next year the team will come up with some better performances.

India finally managed a draw in their final pool match against South Africa. At the start they knew a draw for them would assure them a fourth place. The South Africans started of well opening their account in the 8th minute of the match. But just a few minutes later Sarwanjit Singh got in the equalizer. India continued to put on the pressure and just about a few minutes later Diwakar Ram got India ahead scoring his first and the teams second goal of the match. The first half ended at the score of 2-1 in favour of India.

The second half was a lot more dramatic than one would have expected. South Africa equalized very early in the second half. The Indian team kept on attacking and managed to score the third goal to move ahead, but just to their shock the goal was called off as the replays showed that it came of the South African stick and not of the Indian stick. Just a minute later South Africa earned a penalty corner and scored at it, moving ahead 3-2. Indian then counter attacked and finally gave a glimpse of what the Indian team is capable of. For the next 10-12 minutes India did not allow the ball to come to their half much, and almost everytime it did come they managed to disposssess the South Africans. In this period Indians managed to penetrate the goal twice but unfortunately both of them were from the South African stick (why aren’t there any self goals, if they had been India would have managed to win by a huge margin).

Playing under pressure and for a pride (to atleast finish 4th in the group) India managed to score the equalizer in the 65th minute of the match from the stick of Shivendra. Finally India manged to hold on the score and thematch ended as a draw with the score of 3-3. With this India managed to keep their position of 4th place in the group and now will play in the play off for the 7th-8th position.

The highs in the match has been Gurbaj Singh (well he has been the high throughout the tournament). He has played like a king and has shown his great skill in the defence. He has held his nerve on almost all occasions. I guess he has been the best player for India so far in the tournament. Also I was a bit a dissapointed that Sandeep Singh could not score a goal, he got two chances to but failed, although one of them was because of the false trap from Arjun Halappa. Also the Indian forward lacked the scoring power in this game. The penerated into the oppenets circle on numerous occasions and managed to score just on three occasions out of them.

Anyways I wish the team a good luck for its upcoming match and i hope that they win it and make it to the 7th position in the tournament. They started on a high defeating Pakistan, hopefully then can end it on a high as well. In the meanwhile Pakistan could manage only a single win and are placed last in the group table while the table has been topped by Australia and along with them England make it to the next round.


Team              Pts Pld W D L GF GA   GD
 England             12     5   4  0 1  17   12     5
 Australia            12     5   4  0 1  23    6    17
 Spain                  9      5   3  0 2  12    8     4
 India                   4      5   1  1 3  13   17  -4
 Pakistan              3      5   1  0 4   9   16   -7
 South Africa         4      5   1  1 3  13   28  -15

India started the World Cup with a bang, defeating arch rivals Pakistan 4-1 in the opener. India went on the atack from the word go. It was a great team work, and it looked like that the team was out there to prove to everyone and make them realize what the countries national game is.

For India Shivendra scored the first goal from a deflection on a penalty corner in the 27th minute. Sandeep Singh then extended the lead with his drag flick in a penalty corner in the 35th minute, to end the first half 2-0. Later just a couple of minutes into the second half Prabhjot scored the third goal in the 37th minute. Then again the champion drag flicker  Sandeep Singh was in action again scoring in a penalty corner in the 56th minute. A couple of minutes later Pakistan drag flicker Sohail decreased the lead by scoring the first goal for his team in the 59th minute. Last ten minutes did not see any goal and the match ended at 4-1 in favour of India.

Earlier in the day Spain defeated South Africa 4-2 and England defeated Australia 3-2. I would just say, way to go India. I always believed we had a very good hockey team, whatever be the olympics fiasco, and finally they have proved it by convincingly winning over Pakistan. Although these are just early days, I wish the team best of luck for the tournament.


Team              Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
 India                   3      1   1  0 0   4    1    3
 Spain                  3      1   1  0 0   4    2     2
 England              3      1   1  0 0   3    2     1
 Australia             0      1   0  0 1   2    3   -1
 South Africa         0      1   0  0 1   2    4   -2
 Pakistan              0      1   0  0 1   1    4   -3

Shahid Afridi is banned for 2 matches for ball tampering. He was shown biting the ball on the large screen. This happened during the final one dayer against Australia. Incidentally, Shahid Afridi was the stand-in skipper in this match. Well this is not the first time Shahid Afridi has been penalised for ball tampering. He has been banned under the same account once earlier as well.

Also Pakistan lost the series 5-0. They already had lost the test series 3-0. And now with the T20 matches coming up against Australia, if Pakistan misses the services of Shahid Afridi, then for them beating Australia will be an uphill task.

Shahid Afridi has proved himself as a lethal weapon in the short forms of the game, specially the twenty twenty cricket because of his spin bowling ability and his devastating batting towards the end of the innings.

I guess this series has not been very good for Pakistan cricket. They have been completely been outplayed by the Australian cricket team. Well in the t20 matches I guess Pakistan will definitely be looking for their first win on the tour. With Afridi to miss the T20 matches this will just be a little more difficult.

Here is the cricinfo article. I am just pasting it here.

” Shahid Afridi has been banned for two Twenty20 internationals after being found guilty of ball-tampering during Pakistan’s two-wicket loss to Australia at the WACA in Perth.

Afridi, leading Pakistan for the second time in an ODI, in the absence of Mohammad Yousuf, was caught on TV cameras apparently biting the ball on a couple of occasions. The incident was reported to the on-field umpires by the TV umpire and after a chat with Afridi, the umpires changed the ball immediately.

Afridi was called into a hearing with the match referee Ranjan Madugalle immediately after the match. “Shahid Afridi has been banned for two T20Is after the incident,” a team official told Cricinfo. “He pleaded guilty to the charge.”

The punishment puts Pakistan into a quandary because Afridi is their Twenty20 captain and they end their tour of Australia with a Twenty20 in Melbourne on February 5. Yousuf, who captained Pakistan in Tests and ODIs, is not part of the Twenty20 squad and Younis Khan, who was captain before the tour of New Zealand which preceded this one, has retired from the format. Shoaib Malik, who was captain in all three formats this time last year, might be one of those in the running. Afridi will also now miss the first Twenty20 against England in Abu Dhabi in February.

“It’s unacceptable,” Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, said. “It shouldn’t have happened but it happened and I feel sorry for him. Being a captain you should be above everything but unfortunately it’s happened.”

Afridi’s antics were part of a bizarre finale to the game, which sealed a 5-0 win for Australia. Opener Khalid Latif was tackled by a fan who broke through the security cordon and ran on to the field. Police have spoken to Latif, who is not thought to be seriously injured. But action is likely to be taken against the spectator and Pakistan’s management will also look at the incident in further detail.

“I thought it was disgraceful,” Australian seamer Clint McKay said. “Something you don’t want to see ever. For someone to go out there and to touch one of their players is not on. Hopefully it all gets put to bed and he gets a right whack. It’s probably the worst thing that can happen on a cricket field, so hopefully it gets stamped out and we don’t see it again.””

India have finally reached the place where they had reached probably only in the dreams before. Yes India is now No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings, a brilliant feat to have achieved. I would say it all started with Sourav Ganguly who made the team realize that it can win matches overseas as well with wins in West Indies and Pakistan. Later Dravid proved him correct with series victory in England and also registering its only test match victory on the South African soil. Later Kumble took the position and showed his character down under in Australia. Then stepped in Dhoni where he helped defeat Australia 2-0 at home, defeated England. Went to New Zealand to win its maiden test series victory and now after defeating Sri Lanka at home, he has lead the team to the No.1 spot in test matches.

Coach Gary Kirsten joined the team 18-20 months back, and since then has coached the team to the top. Well this series has been one of those were there have been a few outstanding performances, but overall in every match every player contributed towards a win. Every player stood up to be counted and that is one of the qualities of the champion team, and that is why it has reached the position as well. Dhoni too has been a remarkable captain. He has captained the side in 10 test matches and has won in 7 of them and lost none. Although people will still question his abilities as he has not proved in conditions of South Africa, Australia or England. But I feel when he does tour there he will prove his mettle there as well. The combination is great with likes of MS Dhoni coming in at no 7 to bat and yes finally it looks that India have got the combination to pick 20 wickets regularly. Even overseas the teams will think twice before preparing a green top in front of Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth and the calibre of Indian batsman. Yes the spin department is not as strong as it was when kumble and Harbhajan bowled in tandem but yes with the likes of Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra it does not look that weak as well.

India has had a shy to the No.1 spot in ODI’s having been there 3 times in the last three months but they haven’t managed to stay there any long. Hopefully this will not happen in the test matches and they will stay there for a long time. But with just 2 matches to play in the year it is more of unfortunate for them as Australia and South Africa (the other contenders for the No.1 spot) will be playing a lot more matches.

This series has been very good for India. Sachin crossed his 30000 international rum mark (although missed his 13000 test runs mark), Dravid reached 11000 test runs, Sreesanth and Zaheer made great comebacks to the team, Sehwag became the only Indian to score 6 double hundreds (although he missed to become the only player to score 3 triple hundreds just by 7 runs), Dhoni took his 100th catch to become only the third Indian keeper to do so and also scored 2 test centuries in the series to become the only wicketkeeper captain to do so, Gambhir became one of the few batsman to score four centuries in 4 consecutive matches. Apart from the individual feats India registered its 100th test victory in the series and yes to top it all it has become the world No.1 test side for the first time ever.

With all these records coming in the series, I can realize what a memorable series it has been for the country. Anyways in the end I would say that I am very happy for what the team has achieved and hope that it can maintain its position for a long time. And in the end I would like to congratulate the team for its great achievement and hope that they give us many more such moments to be proud of in future.

The ICC standings as of  6th Dec 2009

ICC Test Rankings

    Team            Points
1.  India                   124
2.  South Africa         122
3.  Australia             116
4.  Sri Lanka             115
5.  England               105
6.  Pakistan               84
7.  New Zealand        80
8.  West Indies           76
9.  Bangladesh           13

 ICC ODI Rankings

     Team            Points
1.  Australia              130
2.  India                    122
3.  South Africa          119
4.  New Zealand        112
5.  England               109
6.  Pakistan              108
7.  Sri Lanka             106
8.  West Indies            76
9.  Bangladesh           55
10.Zimbabwe            26
11. Ireland                25
12. Kenya                   2


The T20 World Cup came to end yesterday and i must say pakistan deserved to lift the trophy. They missed it the last time around just by one good hit but this time they knew they had to make up for that loss. Although one should spare a thought for Sri Lanka as they were undefeated in the tournament until the final. The feeling of the only defeat coming in the tournament was in the final must have been a heart breaking one for them. They played well but Pakistan were better.

It had been a sought of roller coaster start for Pakistan. They did not play well in the warm-up games and then lost to England by a big margin in their first match. They were looking at being eliminated from the tournament in the first round itself, when they just held their nerves to see themselves through to the super eight stage. And as eneryone says rest is history. They lost only to Sri Lanka in the super eight stage and entered the semifinals were they defeated South Africans to reach the stage were they have been earlier in 2007 but could not conquer it then.

They had a good team and it clicked together when they needed to do it the most. Afridi has been their star player in the Semi-finals and the finals. I must say it again that they really deserved to lift the trophy which eluded them two years back.

Talking about the other teams South Africa and India were known to be the favourites to play the match yesterday but neither of the two teams made it to the stage. South African lost to the eventual champions Pakistan and India were eliminated in the super eight stage itself. Australia gave a big surprise this time by getting eliminated in the first round itself. But i must say they had two semi-finalists(Sri Lanka, West Indies) in their league group. West Indies too had a good run until the semi-finals against the Sri Lankans.

India did disappoint in the tournament but honestly i knew somewhere at the back of the heart that they could not win this. But having seen Pakistan win this i feel India had a chance if they had played a little better as they lost all the super eight matches in very close finishes. I feel both Pakistan and India had very similar teams with similar talents so if Pakistan could do it India to had a chance.

India won only against Bangladesh and Ireland (although these are the two teams that showed the exit door to India and Paksitan during the 2007 “World Cup”). Also they defeated Pakistan in the warm-up game keeping their undefeated record against Pakistan in the Word Cups intact.

The Final standings of the tournament are:
1. Pakistan – champions
2. Sri Lanka – runners up
3. South Africa
4. West Indies
5. England
6. New Zealand
7. India
8. Ireland
9. Netherland
10. Australia
11. Bangladesh
12. Scotland

This standings would bring a lot of joy to Pakistani people back home. As they are going through a trauma, a tough situation. This will bring them some sought of joy atleast. I missed the the award ditribution,but I wanted to hear the winning speach of Younus Khan as last time Shoaib Mallik really disappointed me by thanking only the muslims all round the world. I did not feel happy about it as cricket is not a game between religions. I backed Pakistan to win the trophy this year specially after the semifinals so I was eager to see if Younus Khan does something stupid again, although i think nothing would have happened because Younus looks a very sensible person to me and that he has proved it in the tournament.

Coming towards the end I would like to congratualte the Pakistan team from my side for the great moment of glory. I hope the Indian team will rise to the occasion next time around. Although they might get a tough draw next time but i hope they will prove why they where the champions last time.

Terrorists are like animals: Supreme Court judge
Tue, Jan 27
New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS)

Equating terrorists with animals, a senior Supreme Court judge on Tuesday said people speaking for their rights are actually advocating ‘animal rights’.

Those who violate the rights of society and have no respect for human rights are not humans but animals. And people fighting for terrorists are actually supporting ‘animal rights’,’ said Justice Arijit Pasayat, addressing a conference organised by the Indian Law Institute.

Speaking on ‘Investigation and Prosecution of Offences Related to Terrorism’, Pasayat called for a united effort to fight terrorism.

Blaming society for the spurt in terrorist attacks, Pasayat, the third most senior judge of the apex court, said: ‘We are hypocrites and speak in different tones when it comes to terrorism.’

Advocating stringent anti-terror laws, the judge said: ‘It is important to have special laws to deal with terrorists and we need to give enough time to our investigators and prosecutors to prepare the case with strong evidence.’

Echoing Pasayat’s views, senior advocate Fali S. Nariman said terrorists could not be equated with those accused of petty offences.

Nariman advocated taking away the right of silence from terrorists and advised the government to re-consider the Malimath Committee’s recommendations that suggested amendment in one of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code to combat terrorism.

‘If an alleged terrorist refuses to answer the court’s query, the presiding judge should be empowered to draw an adverse inference against him,’ said Nariman.

Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati said since Pakistan was unwilling to assist India in combating terrorism, it was time to strengthen the criminal justice system.

‘If a lawyer does not want to fight for Kasab, we should not force him or her to do so. Let Kasab defend himself before the court, if he can speak another language other than terrorism,’ he said, referring to Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Nov 26 Mumbai attack.

Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaad me jaaye desh aur bhaand me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back.

“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.

The Truth Behind Kandahar
Dec 24, 2008 Kanchan Gupta,

Was it really an ‘abject surrender’ by the NDA Government?

There have been innumerable communal riots in India, nearly all of them in States ruled by the Congress at the time of the violence, yet everybody loves to pretend that blood was shed in the name of religion for the first time in Gujarat in 2002 and that the BJP Government headed by Mr Narendra Modi must bear the burden of the cross.

Similarly, nobody remembers the various incidents of Indian Airlines aircraft being hijacked when the Congress was in power at the Centre, the deals that were struck to rescue the hostages, and the compromises that were made at the expense of India’s dignity and honour. But everybody remembers the hijacking of IC 814 and nearly a decade after the incident, many people still hold the BJP-led NDA Government responsible for the ‘shameful’ denouement.

The Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi, designated IC 814, with 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board, was hijacked on Christmas eve, 1999, a short while after it took-off from Tribhuvan International Airport; by then, the aircraft had entered Indian airspace. Nine years later to the day, with an entire generation coming of age, it would be in order to recall some facts and place others on record.

In 1999 I was serving as an aide to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the PMO, and I still have vivid memories of the tumultuous week between Christmas eve and New Year’s eve. Mr Vajpayee had gone out of Delhi on an official tour; I had accompanied him along with other officials of the PMO. The hijacking of IC 814 occurred while we were returning to Delhi in one of the two Indian Air Force Boeings which, in those days, were used by the Prime Minister for travel within the country.

Curiously, the initial information about IC 814 being hijacked, of which the IAF was believed to have been aware, was not communicated to the pilot of the Prime Minister’s aircraft. As a result, Mr Vajpayee and his aides remained unaware of the hijacking till reaching Delhi. This caused some amount of controversy later.

It was not possible for anybody else to have contacted us while we were in midair. It’s strange but true that the Prime Minister of India would be incommunicado while on a flight because neither the ageing IAF Boeings nor the Air India Jumbos, used for official travel abroad, had satellite phone facilities.

By the time our aircraft landed in Delhi, it was around 7:00 pm, a full hour and 40 minutes since the hijacking of IC 814. After disembarking from the aircraft in the VIP bay of Palam Technical Area, we were surprised to find National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra waiting at the foot of the ladder. He led Mr Vajpayee aside and gave him the news. They got into the Prime Minister’s car and it sped out of the Technical Area. Some of us followed Mr. Vajpayee to Race Course Road, as was the normal routine.

On our way to the Prime Minister’s residence, colleagues in the PMO provided us with the basic details. The Kathmandu-Delhi flight had been commandeered by five hijackers (later identified as Ibrahim Athar, resident of Bahawalpur, Shahid Akhtar Sayed, Gulshan Iqbal, resident of Karachi, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, resident of Defence Area, Karachi, Mistri Zahoor Ibrahim, resident of Akhtar Colony, Karachi, and Shakir, resident of Sukkur City) at 5:20 pm; there were 189 passengers and crew members on board; and that the aircraft was heading towards Lahore.

At the Prime Minister’s residence, senior Ministers and Secretaries had already been summoned for an emergency meeting. Mr Mishra left for the crisis control room that had been set up at Rajiv Bhavan. In between meetings, Mr Vajpayee instructed his personal staff to cancel all celebrations planned for December 25, his birthday. The Cabinet Committee on Security met late into the night as our long vigil began.

Meanwhile, we were informed that the pilot of IC 814 had been denied permission to land at Lahore airport. With fuel running low, he was heading for Amritsar. Officials at Raja Sansi Airport were immediately alerted and told to prevent the plane from taking off after it had landed there.

The hijacked plane landed at Amritsar and remained parked on the tarmac for nearly 45 minutes. The hijackers demanded that the aircraft be refuelled. The airport officials ran around like so many headless chickens, totally clueless about what was to be done in a crisis situation.

Desperate calls were made to the officials at Raja Sansi Airport to somehow stall the refuelling and prevent the plane from taking off. The officials just failed to respond with alacrity. At one point, an exasperated Jaswant Singh, if memory serves me right, grabbed the phone and pleaded with an official, “Just drive a heavy vehicle, a fuel truck or a road roller or whatever you have, onto the runway and park it there.” But all this was to no avail.

The National Security Guards, whose job it is to deal with hostage situations, were alerted immediately after news first came in of IC 814 being hijacked; they were reportedly asked to stand by for any emergency. The Home Ministry was again alerted when it became obvious that after being denied permission to land at Lahore, the pilot was heading towards Amritsar.

Yet, despite IC 814 remaining parked at Amritsar for three-quarters of an hour, the NSG commandos failed to reach the aircraft. There are two versions as to why the NSG didn’t show up: First, they were waiting for an aircraft to ferry them from Delhi to Amritsar; second, they were caught in a traffic jam between Manesar and Delhi airport. The real story was never known!

The hijackers, anticipating commando action, first stabbed a passenger, Rupin Katyal (he had gone to Kathmandu with his newly wedded wife for their honeymoon; had they not extended their stay by a couple of days, they wouldn’t have been on the ill-fated flight) to show that they meant business, and then forced the pilot to take off from Amritsar. With almost empty fuel tanks, the pilot had no other option but to make another attempt to land at Lahore airport. Once again he was denied permission and all the lights, including those on the runway, were switched off. He nonetheless went ahead and landed at Lahore airport, showing remarkable skill and courage.

Mr Jaswant Singh spoke to the Pakistani Foreign Minister and pleaded with him to prevent the aircraft from taking off again. But the Pakistanis would have nothing of it (they wanted to distance themselves from the hijacking so that they could claim later that there was no Pakistan connection) and wanted IC 814 off their soil and out of their airspace as soon as possible. So, they refuelled the aircraft after which the hijackers forced the pilot to head for Dubai.

At Dubai, too, officials were reluctant to allow the aircraft to land. It required all the persuasive skills of Mr Jaswant Singh and our then Ambassador to UAE, Mr KC Singh, to secure landing permission. There was some negotiation with the hijackers through UAE officials and they allowed 13 women and 11 children to disembark. Rupin Katyal had by then bled to death. His body was offloaded. His widow remained a hostage till the end.

On the morning of December 25, the aircraft left Dubai and headed towards Afghanistan. It landed at Kandahar Airport, which had one serviceable runway, a sort of ATC and a couple of shanties. The rest of the airport was in a shambles, without power and water supply, a trophy commemorating the Taliban’s rule.

On Christmas eve, after news of the hijacking broke, there was stunned all-round silence. But by noon on December 25, orchestrated protests outside the Prime Minister’s residence began, with women beating their chests and tearing their clothes. The crowd swelled by the hour as the day progressed.

Ms Brinda Karat came to commiserate with the relatives of the hostages who were camping outside the main gate of 7, Race Course Road. In fact, she became a regular visitor over the next few days. There was a steady clamour that the Government should pay any price to bring the hostages back home, safe and sound. This continued till December 30.

One evening, the Prime Minister asked his staff to let the families come in so that they could be told about the Government’s efforts to secure the hostages’ release. By then negotiations had begun and Mullah Omar had got into the act through his ‘Foreign Minister’, Muttavakil. The hijackers wanted 36 terrorists, held in various Indian jails, to be freed or else they would blow up the aircraft with the hostages.

No senior Minister in the CCS was willing to meet the families. Mr Jaswant Singh volunteered to do so. He asked me to accompany him to the canopy under which the families had gathered. Once there, we were literally mobbed. He tried to explain the situation but was shouted down.

“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.

To his credit, Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaand me jaaye desh aur bhaad me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back. Stumped by the response, Mr Jaswant Singh could merely promise that the Government would do everything possible.

I do not remember the exact date, but sometime during the crisis, Mr Jaswant Singh was asked to hold a Press conference to brief the media. While the briefing was on at the Press Information Bureau hall in Shastri Bhavan, some families of the hostages barged in and started shouting slogans. They were led by one Sanjiv Chibber, who, I was later told, was a ‘noted surgeon’: He claimed six of his relatives were among the hostages.

Dr Chibber wanted all 36 terrorists named by the hijackers to be released immediately. He reminded everybody in the hall that in the past terrorists had been released from prison to secure the freedom of Ms Rubayya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, while he was Home Minister in VP Singh’s Government. “Why can’t you release the terrorists now when our relatives are being held hostage?” he demanded. And then we heard the familiar refrain: “Give away Kashmir, give them anything they want, we don’t give a damn.”

On another evening, there was a surprise visitor at the PMO: The widow of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, whose plane was shot down during the Kargil war. She insisted that she should be taken to meet the relatives of the hostages. At Race Course Road, she spoke to mediapersons and the hostages’ relatives, explaining why India must not be seen giving in to the hijackers, that it was a question of national honour, and gave her own example of fortitude in the face of adversity.

“She has become a widow, now she wants others to become widows. Who is she to lecture us? Yeh kahan se aayi?” someone shouted from the crowd. Others heckled her. The young widow stood her ground, displaying great dignity and courage. As the mood turned increasingly ugly, she had to be led away. Similar appeals were made by others who had lost their sons, husbands and fathers in the Kargil war that summer. Col Virendra Thapar, whose son Lt Vijayant Thapar was martyred in the war, made a fervent appeal for people to stand united against the hijackers. It fell on deaf ears.

The media made out that the overwhelming majority of Indians were with the relatives of the hostages and shared their view that no price was too big to secure the hostages’ freedom. The Congress kept on slyly insisting, “We are with the Government and will support whatever it does for a resolution of the crisis and to ensure the safety of the hostages. But the Government must explain its failure.” Harkishen Singh Surjeet and other Opposition politicians issued similar ambiguous statements.

By December 28, the Government’s negotiators had struck a deal with the hijackers: They would free the hostages in exchange of three dreaded terrorists — Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh — facing various charges of terrorism.

The CCS met frequently, several times a day, and discussed the entire process threadbare. The Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister, apart from the National Security Adviser and the Prime Minister, were present at every meeting. The deal was further fine-tuned, the Home Ministry completed the necessary paper work, and two Indian Airlines aircraft were placed on standby to ferry the terrorists to Kandahar and fetch the hostages.

On December 31, the two aircraft left Delhi airport early in the morning. Mr Jaswant Singh was on board one of them. Did his ministerial colleagues know that he would travel to Kandahar? More important, was the Prime Minister aware of it? The answer is both yes and no.

Mr Jaswant Singh had mentioned his decision to go to Kandahar to personally oversee the release of hostages and to ensure there was no last-minute problem. He was honour-bound to do so, he is believed to have said, since he had promised the relatives of the hostages that no harm would come their way. It is possible that nobody thought he was serious about his plan. It is equally possible that others turned on him when the ‘popular mood’ and the Congress turned against the Government for its ‘abject surrender’.

On New Year’s eve, the hostages were flown back to Delhi. By New Year’s day, the Government was under attack for giving in to the hijackers’ demand! Since then, this ‘shameful surrender’ is held against the NDA and Mr Jaswant Singh is painted as the villain of the piece.

Kandahar decision won’t have been easy: Chidambaram
NDTV Correspondent, Thursday, January 22, 2009
(New Delhi)

Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday that there is no set formula for dealing with terrorists.

When asked if India should have a policy not to negotiate with terrorists, he said that while this worked in principle, in reality, when the human element came into play, he was unsure of how he would deal with the crisis.

“I do not know how I would have reacted if 150 families came to my door and pleaded that their loved ones in that aircraft must be saved. It is easy to criticise but if one is in that position, it is a very difficult decision,” he said at the NDTV’s Indian of the Year Awards function in New Delhi on Wednesday night.

The NDA government’s decision to release dreaded terrorists in exchange for hostages in the Kandahar hijack 10 years ago had come under attack from several quarters but Home Minister P Chidambaram is “not sure” saying it is a “very difficult” decision.

The decision of the Vajpayee government to release three dreaded terrorists including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in December, 1999 received a lot of flak from various political parties including the Congress, more so because the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh accompanied them (terrorists) to Kandahar.

Azhar’s name has subsequently figured in the December 2001 terror attack on Parliament and the attack outside Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar in the same month.