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Nuggets from the Urdu press
Is entertainment allowed?
Writing in Jang Ataul Haq Qasimi referred to a statement made by singer Abrarul Haq on the question of music as a source of peace of mind. A lady had asked if namaz was not the only source of this tranquillity. The columnist stated that the ulema were not united on the concept of entertainment in Pakistani culture. Were music, photography, singing, painting, poetry and cinema allowed as entertainment or not?

Khalid Khwaja and Osama bin Laden
Columnist Hamid Mir wrote in Jang that ex-ISI operative Khalid Khwaja had recently revealed that Osama bin Laden had paid Nawaz Sharif money to get rid of Ms Bhutto’s government in 1989 and that he himself had carried the money to Mr Sharif. The truth was that Osama was not interested in bringing a no-confidence vote against Ms Bhutto, he was more interested in getting his Arab friends out of trouble in Peshawar. That year Hosni Mubarak, Qaddafi and Shah Husain had asked Ms Bhutto to get rid of the Arab terrorists in Peshawar. In the operation that was mounted, Abu Mussab Al Zarqavi too had to spend six months in jail in Peshawar. After his release he was imprisoned in Jordan too. Khalid Khwaja was then retired from the ISI but was personally serving Nawaz Sharif and flying Nawaz Sharif’s personal plane between Pindi and Lahore. He proposed that Osama pay money to end Ms Bhutto’s government so that his men would not be bothered any more. One Khayyam Qaiser got some of the money but returned it to Khalid Khwaja because no next ruler would save Osama’s men in Peshawar.

Nawaz Sharif and Osama bin Laden
Writing in Jang Hamid Mir stated that Nawaz Sharif had done a lot of planning to help the Americans get Osama bin Laden. The Americans thought they could trust Nawaz more in the matter of capturing Osama. In 1998 when Nawaz Sharif was prime minister the Americans bombed Afghanistan for the first time. In 1999, it was agreed between Nawaz Sharif, American adviser on security Sandy Burger, Shahbaz Sharif and ISI chief Ziauddin to mount an operation to capture Osama; and the army chief Musharraf was unaware of it. American writer Bob Woodward had revealed that an operation was afoot in 1999 in the border areas in Pakistan which also triggered the reaction from JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman that any American found in the area should be shot on sight. Nawaz Sharif had also banned Harkatul Ansar and declared war on Al Qaeda, but was toppled in 1999.

Magician burns Quran
Reporting from Haroonabad in Punjab, the daily Pakistan stated that an aamil (exorcist) of Faqirwali put a copy of the Holy Quran on the burner as a part of his magic spell. When his wife tried to stop him he slapped her. When the village got to know he was given a thrashing and was handed over to the police. During his arrest he tried to throw his magic spell but was not able to do so. Witnesses said he seemed possessed. Some people were thinking of destroying public property to express their anger.

A shroud-eating corpse
Reported in Khabrain a spiritual ‘baba’ Pir Fazl told a family that their recently dead family members were in great pain in their graves because another dead man was eating up their shrouds (kafan). In Rajanpur everyone became alerted to the underground shroud-eater who was named by Pir Baba as Allahyar. He asked the relatives to open his grave and break his skull with a hammer. The concerned family did the deed but the relatives of the ‘shroud-eater’ found out that their man had been defiled in his grave and there was much trouble in the village.

Speaker asked to open his legs
According to Sarerahe in Nawa-e-Waqt speaker National Assembly Chaudhry Amir Hussain was about to enter the Australian parliament when he was body-searched (jama-talashi). He submitted to that but then he was asked to spread his legs which he found most insulting. The column was most offended with the thought that the Australians were after something more embarrassing than explosives when they asked him to open his legs.

Fish with divine names
According to Nawa-e-Waqt a Muslim in London, Ali Al Wakeedi, had bought a pair of fish with Allah and Muhammad written on their bodies. He said the divine names were not very clear to the eye but he believed that the names were there. He now receives a lot of Muslims who want to see the miraculous fish to increase their faith.

America running the show!
Famous historian Dr Safdar Mehmood wrote in Jang that the educated people of Pakistan were becoming increasingly aware that Pakistan had become the colony of the US and the US could bomb our region any time and arrest anyone it wanted any time and then go back home. They thought that Pakistani rulers had become functionaries (karinday) of America and, after the Bush visit, had come to realise that America itself was not satisfied with these rulers. On the other hand the one-man show in Pakistan was ignoring merit and inducting army officers and friends into important jobs. In these conditions, Pakistan was simmering with underground moves for a final dangal (wrestling bout) against the rulers.

‘Talaq’ while sleeping
According to Sarerahe in Nawa-e-Waqt a Muslim in India divorced his wife in his sleep. When he approached his local Islamic scholar he was told that divorce had actually happened and now he had to get his ex-wife married off to a cleric who would divorce her to make her eligible for remarriage to him. Sarerahe thought that the Islamic cleric too gave his fatwa while asleep.

Sardar Atiq and snakes
Writing in Khabrain Tariq Hamid stated that Azad Kashmiri and Muslim Conference leader Sardar Atiq Khan was an accomplished politician but he was also into spiritual practices. For instance, he could make your headache go away in an instant through incantation. He was also an expert at making the snakes of Azad Kashmir run away from homes. There were many miraculous stories associated with his magical powers. But the columnist wondered why, if Sardar Atiq was against snakes, did he want American and NATO forces to stay on in Azad Kashmir.

Chief minister in trouble
Writing in the daily Pakistan, Naseer Ahmad Salimi stated that chief minister Arbab Ghulam Raheem was under pressure from coalition in-fighting and a rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in Sindh. After the coming to power of the present MQM-PML coalition, the following politicians had been gunned down in Karachi: PPP’s Abdullah Murad, Jamaat Islami’s MPA Aslam Mujahid, MQM’s former speaker assembly Abdur Raziq Khan, former Sindh minister Badar Iqbal and MQM’s Khalid bin Waleed.

Iran has guts!
Quoted in Nawa-e-Waqt ex-ISI chief Hameed Gul said that Iran will not accept dictation from America because Iran had guts (jaan hai). He said that American ambassador’s statement that there would be no AQ Khan in future was against diplomatic rules. He added that there was ember in the ashes of the Muslim ummah and it will become a fire. MMA leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said that hundreds of AQ Khans had been born in Pakistan; but America would not find a single Musharraf here in future.

Gunmen kill former lawmaker, bodyguard in south
KARACHI, Pakistan - Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on a car carrying a former provincial minister in southern Pakistan on Saturday, killing him along with his bodyguard before fleeing, police said. Badar Iqbal, a leader in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, was attacked on a road in the heart of port city Karachi, said Tariq Aslam, an area police chief. He said one passer-by was also injured when a stray bullet hit him, but gave no further details.

Iqbal was a provincial minister in the 1990s. At the time, he was a member of the country’s ethnic-based Mutahida Qami Movement (MQM) party. However, he changed political loyalty recently and joined the ruling party.
That would do it.
MQM, a party mainly representing Urdu-speaking migrants from India, is also a partner in the coalition government that rules the southern Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.

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