Category Archives: Pakistan

Pakistan refuses to share nukes with Saudi Arabia #SoTHeySay

Washington: Pakistan ruled out sharing its nuclear weapons with Saudi Arabia, insisting Thursday that the atomic arsenal would continue serving solely for Pakistan’s national defense even as world powers and Iran near a possible nuclear agreement.

Closing a wide-ranging trip to Washington, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry angrily rejected speculation that his country could sell or transfer nuclear arms or advanced technology as “unfounded and baseless.”

Pakistan has long been among the world’s greatest proliferation threats, having shared weapons technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea. And American and other intelligence services have been taking seriously the threat of Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries potentially seeking the Muslim country’s help in matching Iran’s nuclear capabilities, even if the U.S. says there is no evidence of such action right now.

“Pakistan is not talking to Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues, period,” Chaudhry insisted. The arsenal, believed to be in excess of 100 weapons, is focused only on Pakistan’s threat perception from “the East,” Chaudhry said, a clear reference to long-standing rival and fellow nuclear power India.

Chaudhry said his country has significantly cracked down in recent years on proliferation, improving its export controls and providing U.N. nuclear monitors with all necessary information. Pakistan also won’t allow any weapons to reach terrorists, he said.

Pakistan detonated its first nuclear weapons in 1998, shortly after India did.

At the same time, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, was shopping advanced technology to many of the world’s most distrusted governments. He sold centrifuges for enriching bomb-making material to the Iranians, Libyans and North Koreans, and also shared designs for fitting warheads on ballistic missiles. He was forced into retirement in 2001.

Concerns now center on how the Sunni Arab governments of the Middle East will respond if the U.S. and other governments clinch a nuclear deal with Shiite Iran by the end of the month. Such questions inevitably lead to Pakistan, the only Muslim country in the nuclear club and one with historically close ties to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials, for their part, have repeatedly refused to rule out any steps to protect their country, saying they will not negotiate their faith or their security.

Chaudhry was in the American capital for a U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue and meetings with several senior diplomatic and military officials.

The State Department said Wednesday the agenda included “international efforts to enhance nuclear security” as well as nonproliferation and export controls. It described the discussions as “productive” and said the governments would work together to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking to reporters, Chaudhry praised the progress thus far in the Iran nuclear talks. He told reporters that a diplomatic success would have significant economic benefits for Pakistan, allowing it to complete a long-sought gas pipeline project with its neighbor to the west.

Saudi Arabia Religious Affairs Minister: Pakistan’s Atomic Bomb Belongs To The World Of Islam

23625A snapshot of the Urdu website report

On a visit of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs and Dawah Abdul Aziz Al-Ammar has said that Pakistan’s nuclear bomb is not of Pakistan alone but belongs to the entire Islamic world. The Saudi minister’s statement came in the wake of a resolution adopted by the Pakistani parliament that called for a neutral Pakistani stance on the Yemen conflict.

Al-Ammar, who is visiting Pakistan to clarify the Saudi standpoint on the Yemen conflict, stated at a meeting in Karachi that “Pakistan is our friend-country. We hope that at this stage cooperation will be done with us [in Yemen]. He said that Pakistan’s atom [bomb] is not of Pakistan alone but is of the world of Islam. The entire world of Islam is proud of it…”

“We are proud of Pakistan’s atomic program,” said the Saudi minister, according to an April 17 report – titled “Pakistan’s atomic bomb belongs to the world of Islam: Saudi minister” and published by an Urdu-language website.

Speaking about the Iranian role in Yemen, Al-Ammar said: “We have verified evidence that Iran is providing all support to the [Houthi] rebels, and Iran is behind the rebellion. We will not permit anyone to interfere in the Arabian Peninsula.” He added: “We have the proof that the Houthi rebels have acted with Iranian support and Iranian weapons.”

According to the Urdu website, the Saudi minister said that “the rebels and their patrons are dreaming of occupying Haramain Sharifain [the holy cities of Mecca and Medina] following the Yemen invasion.” He added: “We have a brotherly, friendly [relationship] with Pakistan, to the point of being one heart, two souls. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are mates in every difficulty.” The Saudi minister stated: “We hope that at this difficult time, Pakistan’s people and [military] institutions will support us.”

Abdul Aziz Al-Ammar made the comments on April 16 at the residence of the Saudi Consul General in Karachi. Numerous Pakistani religious scholars and provincial ministers of Sindh of which Karachi is the capital were present on the occasion. Among those present on the occasion were: Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, the Mufti-e-Azam (or Great Mufti) of Pakistan; Sahabzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair, leader of Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan (Noorani); Dr. Abdur Razzaq Sikandar, emir of Alami Majlis Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat; Mufti Muhammad Naeem, chairman of the Tahaffuz-e-Haramain Sharifain; Sindh minister Ali Nawaz Mehr, and others.

Pakistan tests nuclear-capable Ghauri missile

Rawalpindi- Pakistan today successfully conducted a training launch of Ghauri missile, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1,300 kilometers. According to Inter Services Public Relations, a strategic missile group of the Army Strategic Forces Command fired the ballistic missile.

The launch was witnessed by senior officers, scientists and engineers of strategic organizations. While congratulating the scientists, Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General Zubair Mahmood Hayat expressed his full satisfaction over the excellent standard achieved by the armed forces of Pakistan.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also congratulated the scientists and engineers on the achievement.

Pakistan to join Saudi Arabia coalition against Iran and Houthis

Pakistan will send troops to Saudi Arabia to join the coalition fighting Yemeni Houthi rebels, a senior government official said on Monday, joining several Gulf states, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco.

Largely Sunni Muslim Pakistan – a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s main Sunni Muslim power – would join a Saudi-led military coalition conducting air strikes against Shiite Houthi forces.

The air strikes are targeting the rebels’ southward advance on the port city of Aden, the last bastion of Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan shares a long border with Iran, considered to be the centre of Shiite power, and has a warm relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival. An estimated 20 percent of Pakistanis are Shiite.

“We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the Pakistani official said.

A Pakistani team, to be led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz, had been due to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Monday but delayed the trip at the request of the Saudis, the official told Reuters.

On Monday night, Aziz and Asif met with Pakistan’s military chiefs and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“Pakistan remains firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan,” a statement from Sharif’s media office said.

“Pakistan stands committed to playing a meaningful role in arresting the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

There are already about 750-800 Pakistani servicemen in Saudi Arabia but none are combat troops.

Pakistan has already had small demonstrations both for and against military intervention.

Right-wing religious groups demonstrated last week vowing to defend Saudi Arabia. But some civil society groups and opposition politicians spoke against intervention, on the view that it could further inflame sectarian tensions at home.

Sharif has long enjoyed close relations with the Saudi royal family. After his second term as prime minister was ended by a military coup in 1999, he was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia lent $1.5 billion to Pakistan last year to help Islamabad shore up foreign exchange reserves. Pakistani officials initially refused to divulge the source of the loan.

Pakistan May Join Saudi Yemen Offensive, Help ‘Encircle Iran’

Pakistan, the largest Sunni state by far with a strong military and nuclear weapons, says ‘the matter is being examined.’
Pakistani helicopter (file)

Pakistan said Thursday it was examining a request from Saudi Arabia to participate in the Saudi-led military operation against Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Official Saudi news agency SPA reported Pakistan was among five Muslim countries that have “declared their willingness to participate” in the offensive, along with Jordan, Sudan, Morocco and Egypt.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had received a request from Saudi Arabia, but did not elaborate further.

“I can confirm that we have been contacted by Saudi Arabia in this regard,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Thursday. “The matter is being examined. That’s all I have to say at the moment.”

According to media reports, the Saudis want Pakistan to assist in air strikes and ground operations.

In recent weeks, Pakistani officials indicated that Islamabad turned down a request from Saudi Arabia for more Pakistani troops to reinforce its border with Yemen. While Pakistani soldiers are stationed in Saudi Arabia, their numbers are not known.

Like its close ally Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is a majority Sunni Muslim country, while Shi’ites make up about 20% of the population. But Pakistan has thus far been wary of getting drawn into the war between Saudi and Iranian proxies throughout the Middle East.

Writing in the Asia Times, columnist David Goldman assessed Thursday that the Saudis were doing an admirable job in the diplomacy that accompanies their offensive in Yemen.

“Pakistan is by far the largest Sunni state with a strong military and air force, and its alignment with the Saudi-led coalition is of decisive importance,” he wrote. “Egypt has sent four warships to the Gulf of Aden to secure the southern approach to the Suez Canal, and may have deterred an Iranian naval presence.”

In this context, Goldman noted that Arutz Sheva cited a tweet from a senior editor at Saudi online paper Arab News, according to which Egyptian ships forced an Iranian retreat from the strategic Bab Al-Mandab strait near the Port of Aden.

“Iran may be overextended with major commitments of Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Iraq,” the analyst added. “Its air force flies Shah-vintage American planes, while Saudi Arabia has several hundred fourth-generation fighters, including about 200 F-15’s. If Saudi Arabia can hold a Sunni coalition together, it should be in position to encircle and contain Iran.”

Pakistan: Christians Slaughtered in Suicide-Jihad

10th Crusade

by Raymond Ibrahim

On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 were wounded.

The two churches (located in Youhanabad, Lahore’s Christian quarter) were St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church (Protestant). The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped — including by a 15-year-old Christian who blocked them with his body — they self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

Thus did the jihadis “kill and be killed,” in the words of Koran 9:111, the verse most often cited to justify suicide attacks.

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security:

Agents present at the time of the attack were busy watching the cricket match on TV, instead of carrying out their duty to protect churches. As a result of this neglect, many Christians have lost their lives.

The statement further urged:

… the government to adopt strong measures to protect churches and other religious minorities in Pakistan [since] the Christian community of Pakistan was targeted by extremists in the past.

Less than a year-and-a-half earlier, on September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

Less dramatic attacks on churches occur with great frequency. Days before last Sunday’s twin attacks, three armed men entered Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Kasur district, Punjab, and took church personnel, the assistant parish priest, and congregation hostage. Before leaving the premises, the terrorists stole mobile telephones, cameras, and a computer.

Earlier, Father Leopold, the ailing parish priest, was robbed by thieves:

[They] pretended to be ordinary members of the faithful wanting to enroll some children at the parish school. Then they suddenly pulled out guns.

Christmas season is an especially dangerous time for Christians meeting in churches. On last December 25:

Heavy contingents of police were deployed in and around the churches … citizens were allowed only after [a] thorough body search … while the entry points leading to the churches had been closed by placing cemented blocks and barbed wire.

During another Christmas, the following attack came in response to fatwas condemning Christmas celebrations:

When Christian worshipers were coming out of different churches after performing Christmas prayers, more than one hundred Muslim extremists equipped with automatic rifles, pistols and sticks attacked the Christian women, children and men.

There have also been general attacks on Christians, especially in the context of accusing them of “blaspheming” against Islam. Last November, a mob — not the “Taliban,” and not “terrorists” — consisting of at least 1,200 Muslims tortured and burned to death a young Christian couple (the wife was pregnant) in an industrial kiln in Pakistan.

Someone had accused the Christian couple of desecrating the Koran.

Even when not in church and not accused of blasphemy, Christian minorities are always in danger. Last December, Elisabeth Bibi, a 28-year-old pregnant Christian mother of four, was “beaten, scorned and humiliated, deprived of her dignity [and] forced to walk naked through the town” by two Muslim brothers — the pregnant woman’s employers — following an argument.

In the ordeal, she lost her baby.

Rights activists say the attack “was motivated because of Bibi’s [Christian] religious beliefs.”

Speaking last Sunday from Rome, Pope Francis said:

It’s with pain, much pain that I was told of the terrorist attacks against two Christian churches in Lahore in Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries. These are Christian churches and Christians are persecuted, our Christian brothers are spilling their blood simply because they are Christians. I implore God … that this persecution against Christians — that the world seeks to hide — comes to an end and that there is peace.

Pope Francis is often criticized for his apologetic approach towards Islam. Even here, he does not note who is persecuting these Christians, leading to confusing assertions (“our Christian brothers are spilling their blood” sounds like Christians are killing Christians). But the pope is forthright as to why Christians are being killed: “simply because they are Christians.”

Others, such as the U.S. government, will not even concede that much.

When the world heard and saw how 21 Coptic Christians had their heads sawed off by Islamic jihadis in Libya, the White House issued a statement condemning the beheadings — but referred to the beheaded only as “Egyptian citizens.” Not Christians, or even Copts, even though that is the sole reason they were slaughtered according to statements issued by their executioners.

Such obfuscation ensures the Muslim persecution of Christians “that the world seeks to hide” will continue indefinitely.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background — born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East — has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

 

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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