Saturday, February 11, 2006

Railways becoming a scary, deadly ride

July 13, 2005
Ghotki, Pakistan

An express train heading from Lahore to Karachi slams into the rear of broken down Quetta Express at a station near Ghotki, about 600km (370 miles) north-east of Karachi.

A third train travelling in the opposite direction, heading from Karachi to Rawalpindi - the Tezgam Express - then hits a number of derailed carriages, which were scattered over several tracks.

More than 132 passengers died, in addition to many hundreds injured. The accident is officially included into worst railway disasters ever.

January 29, 2006
Jhelum, Pakistan

At least six people died and 40 others were injured when a train travelling to Lahore from Rawalpindi plunged down an embankment near the city of Jhelum.

There were more than 600 passengers on the ill-fated train - one of Pakistan's fastest. It was a sheer miracle that most of them survived.

February 4, 2006
Bahawalpur, Pakistan

A woman was killed and 37 were injured after 10 coaches of the Lahore- bound Karakoram Express derailed with four of them being overturned on early Saturday.

The derailment, which railway officials termed sabotage, occurred at 3:15am between Samasatta and Kalanchwala railway stations.

The four overturned bogeys included two air-conditioned lower class, one economy class coaches and a dinning car. They fell off the eight-foot high track embankment.
Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud crash as the train derailed.

February 10, 2006
Kotri, Pakistan

A train carrying chemicals hit an oil transporter near the town of Kotri, 110 miles (180km) north of Karachi. The collision started a fire which destroyed several wagons but nobody is believed to have been hurt.

At least 17 containers and an engine of two goods trains of the Pakistan Railways (PR) were badly damaged in an accident between the Meting and Bholari railway stations in Thatta district, about 27 km from Hyderabad district, on Friday, causing a loss in millions of rupees to the PR. However, no casualty was reported.

At 12:40pm a powerful explosion was heard when the goods train rammed into some stationary oil wagons as a result of which the containers caught fire immediately. A thick cloud of smoke could be seen all around. Six of the wagons were reduced to ashes.


Dawn Group Pakistan
BBC World

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Some Opinions on Danish freedom

Publication of cartoons mocking Islam's holiest figure; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in newspapers all across Europe, Danish government's refusal to a public apology and Europe's defending it on account of "Freedom of Expression" has resulted in boycott of Danish products across half of the world, protests in front of Danish embassies in many countries and damaging Danish image & erosion of Denmark's diplomatic relations with the Muslim World.

Most of the Muslims already take America's War on Terror as a war by West against Islam,and this incident was too important to be ignored. It has strenghten this perception and provided some other groups a basic reason to go the extremist way for their own purposes.

Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus, Syria, Danish embassy in Beirut and Austrian embassy in Tehran, Iran have been attacked & ransacked by angry protestors. These protest and police's reaction has resulted in 4 deaths so far.

Of many people who voiced their opinions, bloggers among them, here, I quote a few of them:

"We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action"
Iraqi Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

"Western culture had to know its limits."
Vatican cardinal Achille Silvestrini

"Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable"
"We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices."

U.S. State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus

"I share the distress of the Muslim friends who feel that the cartoon offends their religion"."I also respect the right of freedom of speech. But of course freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

"So now what are we going to do? … Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?"
Bill Clinton

"The row over the Danish cartoons would probably have remained a local dispute between some Muslims and a Danish newspaper had it not been for three factors:

- the rise of violent political Islam
- America's war on terror
- modern transnational media.

America's war on terror is still largely perceived in the Arab world as a war on Islam - a perception reinforced by the fact that it is happening exclusively in Muslim countries, namely Iraq and Afghanistan. Issues such as the Iraq war are seen as catalysts in the row.

For them, the row over the Danish cartoons is yet another confirmation of this perception."
Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC Arab Affairs analyst

It's "a vicious, outrageous and provocative campaign" that has "hurt the faith and feelings of Muslims all over the world."
Pakistan's Parliment

"I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong"
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

Some BlogOpinions:


"The publication of the Danish illustrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and their republication in Norway offers not one but two separate offenses to the Muslim world. The most obvious is that not only was the Prophet depicted in ten of the twelve cartoons, but also that one of the illustrations portrayed him as a terrorist. The second offense is that people in Denmark and Norway and no doubt in most of Europe and North America seem blissfully unaware of precisely how outrageous these images are to Islamic sensibilities."

"A cartoonist in Denmark believed he could raise a smirk among his readers by perpetuating this distortion by depicting the Prophet in a scabrous manner."

"What Muslims are saying that with every freedom comes a responsibility. Hopefully out of ignorance rather than malevolence, something deeply painful to the entire Muslim world was published in a Danish newspaper. That in itself was an irresponsible use of the freedom of the press, which in no country anywhere is an unlimited freedom allowing journalists to vilify, libel or lie."


"Just because some religious groups have allowed their Prophets (peace be a pone them all) to be subjected to “satire” doesn’t mean that we all should. Why should we have a sense of humour about a man who we believe is the leader of our whole existence? Why should we allow other people to disrespect our beliefs? Fine don’t believe too, don’t accept what we believe, but at least don’t be rude about something that over 3 billion people around the world dedicate their lives too."


"It's ironic that the media in Europe that heaped scorn on Prince Harry for wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party and demanded he apologize for the offence caused now prints cartoons making fun of Prophet Muhammad, in the name of defending freedom of expression. Apparently, this freedom of expression is only useful when making fun of Muslims."

black feline

"It's prostitution of journalism!" Strong words from the leader of more than 200,000 strong Muslims community in Denmark.
"Freedom of one the license to slander, to ridicule..etc and fret not..the law is on your side! What baloney!

To me, the whole episode is cheap, deliberate provocation!
I think if you want to play with prepared to pay the heavy price of backlash...for a start, boycott of danish dairy products already in action..and worst..their action endangers the lives of their fellow brothers/sisters in the country and working overseas! If you need to draw...please use your brain too!"
Chai Anyone?

"As a non-muslim, anti organized religion kinda person I find myself to be a bit objective on the matter and was still apalled at the ridicule reflected in these cartoons. I can understand people's apprehension and angst at the political situation caused by some of these folks but, they do not speak for a religion in all its entirety. Yes, freedom of speech is a right but, there is a certain level of individual moral responsibility to stay within certain ethical limits. It is okay to express angst in a cartoon depicting a man wearing a turban - but the Prophet Muhammed himself??

When is it considered going too far?"

On how the Muslims should respond to this situation:


"I believe this is a fantastic opportunity for the Arab world. Cancel the boycott. Announce that any European visiting an Arab country will get a free tourist visa, and can live with an Arab family. Start with the Danes. The Arabs are famous for their hospitality, and many locals will line up to have an European family stay with them. Dubai and other places are already hot tourist spots, this will be a perfect chance for people to people contact, for Europeans to see that Arabs and Muslims are not so different or scary after all."

Ahmad Humeid:

In the spirit of the life of the Prophet, here are 5 ways how
the Muslim world could have responded the the Danish cartoons:

1. Apply to the Ministry of Culture in Denmark to organize a big exhibition about the Life of Prophet Mohammad and Islamic History. The Saudi and other Arab governments would finance this event and promote it in a big way in the Danish media.

2. Invite 100 Danish children to come and live with Arab and Muslim families to learn about life in today’s Arab and Muslim world.

3. Invite the editors of the Danish newspaper to a well publicized cultural debate in Doha, Qatar or Copenhagen.

4. The embassies of Arab and Muslim nations could commission a website in Danish about Islam, contemporary muslim thinkers and life in today’s Islamic world. A dedicated staff would respond to incoming questions and request for information.

5. Subtitle the movie ‘The Message’ in Danish and try to get many movie theaters and cultural centers in Denmark to show it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Freedom; Out of control??

It all started with publishing of cartoons in blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); Islam's holiest figure.

In the wake of current global happenings, this was no time to make freedom of expression as an excuse and hurt spiritual & religious feelings of many a hundred million Muslims in the world.

Is it freedom out of control?
Was it freedom of expression, or, freedom of spiritual torture to hurt feelings of hundreds of millions??

BBC News:

"Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage.

Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings.

Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet. The owner of one of the papers to reprint - France Soir - has now sacked its managing editor over the matter.

The cartoons have sparked diplomatic sanctions and death threats in some Arab nations, while media watchdogs have defended publication of the images in the name of press freedom.

Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world "betrays a lack of understanding" of press freedom as "an essential accomplishment of democracy."

"Protests have spread across the Muslim world over the publication in Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The drawings, first printed in Denmark, sparked a fresh row when they were re-run in several newspapers, leading to the sacking of a French editor.

Hundreds have demonstrated in Pakistan, chanting "Death to Denmark" and burning Danish and French flags."

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned that the decision by some European papers to publish the cartoons could encourage terrorists.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai also strongly condemned their publication, saying it was "an affront... for hundreds of millions of people".

Hundreds of students demonstrated in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Multan, burning flags and effigies of the Danish prime minister.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson also criticised the European papers which re-ran the cartoons, saying they were "throwing petrol onto the flames of the original issue and the original offence that was taken"."

"The row intensified on Wednesday when France Soir, alongside the 12 original cartoons, printed a new drawing on its front page showing Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures sitting on a cloud, with the caption "Don't worry Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

Publications in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain also re-ran the Danish cartoons to show support for free speech.

Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet or Allah."

Click here for more:

Cartoon Outrage photos:

Lahore Metblogs