World Islamic Finance Summit 2011 : SBP offers incentives to Islamic banks

Islamic banking share expected to increase to 12 per cent.

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Islamic Banking Director Saleemullah has said that the central bank is giving incentives to Islamic banks that are opening branches in far-flung areas of the country to fuel growth of the industry.

He said this while talking to a group of journalists at the launch of the ‘World Islamic Finance Summit 2011’ logo on Wednesday. The two-day summit is scheduled to be held in Karachi on September 21-22. SBP recently launched a policy with the objective of providing incentives for Islamic banks to set up branches in districts where they have less than 10 branches, he said.

“Islamic banks are facing challenges like capacity building, product development and creating awareness,” he said.

Saleemullah said that many prominent international Shariah scholars and experts would discuss challenges to Islamic banking during the conference. “This will help us in accelerating the pace of growth in Islamic banking,” he added.

Saleemullah hoped that the share of Islamic banking in Pakistan would increase from the present seven per cent to 12 per cent in the next three years.

He also invited stakeholders from the financial sector, especially the institutions engaged in extending Islamic finance, to actively participate in the summit, which is being held with the support of SBP.

( / 04.05.2011)

Gaddafi forces attack rescue ship

Aid ship shelled while rescuing African and Asian migrant workers from besieged port of Misurata.

An aid ship has been attacked by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi while rescuing African and Asian migrant workers from the besieged port of Misurata, forcing it to leave behind hundreds of Libyans desperate to flee the fighting.

Aid workers had earlier scrambled to embark the migrants, along with journalists and the wounded, on the ship bound for rebel-held Benghazi as the port came under bombardment on Wednesday.

“The bombing has caused so many casualties among Libyans and people of other nationalities waiting for evacuation,” Gemal Salem, a rebel spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

“So far we have five killed and ambulances are rushing to the scene.”

The MV Red Star One, sent by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), picked up 800 people caught up in the civil war who had been waiting for days to escape Misurata’s worsening humanitarian crisis.

It had hoped to take 1,000 people.

Humanitarian concern

“Hundreds of Libyan civilians had also tried to board the ship in desperation to get out of Misurata. But with a limited capacity, the ramp of the boat had to be pulled up so that the ship could pull away from the dock in safety,” the IOM said.

The port is a lifeline for Misurata, where food and medical supplies are low and snipers shoot from rooftops.

Other rescue ships are offshore but there was no news of their movements. About 12,000 people have so far been rescued by 12 ships.

The shelling also hit Misurata’s Qasr Ahmad district, a mixed residential and industrial area which houses the iron and steel works in a city that has become one of the bloodiest battlefields in the two-month conflict.

( / 04.05.2011)

Text of the Agreement between Fatah and Hamas

Translated by Al Mubadara, the Palestinian National Initiative, this document is currently in the process of being signed by all of Palestine’s factions and parties.

Under the auspices of Egypt, delegations from the Fatah and Hamas movements met in Cairo on April 27, 2011 to discuss the issues concerning ending the political division and the achievement of national unity. On top of the issues were some reservations related to the Palestinian National Unity Accord made in 2009.

Both political parties mutually agreed that the basis of understanding made during the meeting are committing to both parties in the implementation of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement. The basis of understanding agreed upon by Fatah and Hamas are as follows:

1. Elections

A. Election Committee:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to identify the names of the members of the Central Election Commission in agreement with the Palestinian factions. This list will then be submitted to the Palestinian President who will issue a decree of the reformation of the committee.

B. Electoral Court:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree on the nomination of no more than twelve judges to be members of the Electoral Court. This list will then be submitted to the Palestinian President in order to take the necessary legal actions to form the Electoral Court in agreement with the Palestinian factions.

C. Timing of Elections:

The Legislative, Presidential, and the Palestinian National Council elections will be conducted at the same time exactly one year after the signing of the Palestinian National Reconciliation Agreement.

2. Palestine Liberation Organization

The political parties of both Fatah and Hamas agree that the tasks and decisions of the provisional interim leadership cannot be hindered or obstructed, but in a manner that is not conflicting with the authorities of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

3. Security

It was emphasized that the formation of the Higher Security Committee which will be formed by a decree of the Palestinian President and will consist of professional officers in consensus. 4.Government

A. Formation of the Government:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to form a Palestinian government and to appoint the Prime Minister and Ministers in consensus between them.

B. Functions of the Government:

1. Preparation of necessary condition for the conduction of Presidential, Legislative and the Palestinian National Council elections. 2. Supervising and addressing the prevalent issues regarding the internal Palestinian reconciliation resulting from the state of division. 3. Follow-up of the reconstruction operations in the Gaza Strip and the efforts to end the siege and blockade that is imposed on it. 4. Continuation of the implementation of the provisions of the Palestinian National Accord. 5. To resolve the civil and administrative problems that resulted from the division. 6. Unification of the Palestinian National Authority institutions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. 7. To fix the status of the associations, Non-Governmental Organizations and charities. 5. Legislative Council:

Both Fatah and Hamas agree to reactivate the Palestinian Legislative Council in accordance to the Basic Law.

( / 04.05.2011)

Israeli Army: We use Gaza military operation to test new weapons

The Cast Lead Operation commander speaks bluntly on the Israel’s view of Gaza as an ‘ideal training zone’ for its soldiers and weaponry.


Around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the three-week war

Israel used the war in Gaza in 2008 as a training opportunity for its armed forces to test new weapons, designate Israeli military chief of staff has revealed.

In a speech at the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Affairs at Bar-Ilan University, Major General Yoav Galant said that Gaza was an “ideal training zone” as it lacks a strong enemy that could inflict serious casualties upon Israel.

Galant was the operation commander of Israel’s Cast Lead Operation on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009 in which more than 1600 Palestinians were killed. Most of the fatalities were among women and children.

Under his command, the Israeli armed forces openly used white phosphorus shells fired from 155mm artillery guns in the crowded Gaza Strip which were .

“Although Israel’s military capability is much stronger than [that of] Hamas, we consider them as our fiercest enemy,” he said.

Galant added that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had improved their rocket firing capabilities, asserting that firing rockets “isn’t only an act of terror, it is a challenge to Israel’s very existence.”

With regards to the wave of Arab uprisings, Galant expressed his view that that none of the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East have any positive short or long-term potential for the future of Israel’s security.

Galant expects that the region will represent a major instability threat as in his opinion it will be ruled by radical “Islamic extremists.”

( / 04.05.2011)

Libyan leaders may face UN arrest warrants for war crimes

Reports suggest warrants could include Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam in move intended to increase pressure on Tripoli.

Libya UN

The UN security council voted unanimously in February to refer Gaddafi’s violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators (above).

Senior Libyan officials face international arrest warrants for crimes against humanity, the United Nations security council will be told today.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is to brief the council about crimes committed by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces since the Libyan uprising began in mid-February.

Western diplomats say the move is intended to ratchet up international pressure on Tripoli. Ocampo revealed that up to five warrants are likely to be issued in the next few weeks with the approval of the ICC’s pre-trial chamber.

No names have been disclosed. But Al-Arabiya TV reported that the warrants could include Gaddafi himself and his son, the discredited reformist Saif al-Islam, who has strong UK links. It said others being targeted include Libya’s former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who defected to the UK, and Abu Zeyd Omar Dorda, director general of the Libyan External Security Organisation.

Koussa is the most important defector from the regime so far, and British officials had hoped his defection might persuade other key Libyans to abandon Gaddafi, although observers warn of the potential for a clash between a pragmatic approach to weakening the regime and a principled commitment to international criminal law.

The security council voted unanimously in February to refer Gaddafi’s violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators to The Hague-based ICC.

That move was widely criticised as premature, leaving the Libyan leader and other key officials no exit strategy as the international response to the crisis escalated into the armed action now being undertaken by Nato.

“We have strong evidence on the beginning of the conflict, the shooting of civilians,” Ocampo told Reuters. “Also, we have strong evidence of the crime of persecution.”

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Gaddafi to step down “immediately,” echoing calls by Barack Obama, David Cameron and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy.

Switzerland, meanwhile, has frozen assets worth up to £585m connected to Gaddafi and the former presidents of Egypt and Tunisia. Micheline Calmy-Rey, Switzerland’s president and foreign minister, disclosed that of the total amount of frozen assets, 957m in Swiss francs, some SFr360m (£246m) is linked to Gaddafi and his associates, SFr410m (£280m) is tied to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president who stood down in February after 18 days of protests, and SFr60m (£41m) to Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president who fled in January after an uprising.

In Cairo, Mubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, face renewed questioning by a public prosecutor on their roles during their father’s 30-year rule. Mubarak is being treated for a heart condition in a hospital in Sharm al-Sheikh, where the family has remained since February.

“These amounts are frozen in Switzerland following blocking orders by the Swiss government related to potentially illegal assets in Switzerland,” said the Swiss authorities. “It is not just money, there are real estate assets.”

The UK has only provided an update on its efforts to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi regime. Speaking in March, David Cameron said £12bn had been frozen by the UK after the Libyan Central Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority were added to the asset-freezing list. No updates have been provided on Mubarak or Ben Ali, although the sums are expected to be smaller because neither has sovereign wealth funds of the size run by the Libyan Investment Authority. The fate of billions in public funds alleged to have gone missing is a talking point in all three countries. The US has so far seized $34bn (£20.5bn) in assets connected to Gaddafi, although it has yet to act against any assets linked to Ben Ali or Mubarak and their associates.

Calmy-Rey did not give details of the banks holding the assets. Switzerland is trying to become more open about its banking, in part because of pressure from the US three years ago on Swiss bank UBS to reveal the identities of 20,000 clients.

Officials said that the decision to reveal the sums frozen indicated that the Swiss felt they were unlikely to uncover many more assets linked to the three.

Although amounts have been revealed, none of the assets has been released, as there is insufficient proof they were obtained illegally. While Tunisia and Egypt have begun steps to reclaim the assets, Gaddafi remains in the control of Libya’s government.

Switzerland has begun returning assets to Haiti, 25 years after freezing money belonging to Jean-Claude Duvalier, its former leader. The Swiss said they believed some SFr5.8bn (£4bn) had been frozen and that it could now “initiate forfeiture proceedings”.

The precise wealth of the three Middle East leaders is unclear. Forbes estimated in 2008 that the Tunisian president’s fortune was $5bn. In February, officials in the Serious Organised Crime Agency began the process of tracing the bank accounts of Mubarak and his cabinet in the UK, while Britain froze the assets of Gaddafi and his five children amid reports the Libyan leader had moved £3bn to Britain. Some £900m of Libyan currency in storage at a secure compound in the north-east of England was impounded.

( / 04.05.2011)

Nakba herdenking

zaterdag 14 mei · 14:00 – 17:00


Singel 452

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
Nakba herdenking: ‘Wat zijn de mogelijke gevolgen van de Arabische Revolte (de Arabische Lente) voor de positie en de strijd van het Palestijnse volk ?’

Op zaterdagmiddag 14 mei organiseert het Nederlands Palestina Komitee in Amsterdam een openbare bijeenkomst.

… Aanleiding is de herdenking van de Nakba – de Catastrofe van 1948, het centrale thema luidt:

‘Wat zijn de mogelijke gevolgen van de Arabische Revolte (de Arabische Lente) voor de positie en de strijd van het Palestijnse volk ?’

Sinds medio januari is er heel veel gezegd en geschreven over de revolte die – begonnen in Tunesië – zich nadien over de gehele Arabische Wereld heeft verspreid. Vanzelfsprekend zullen daarvan ook effecten uitgaan richting de Palestijnen. Maar welke? Zal de revolte voor de Palestijnen bijdragen tot
een politieke doorbraak?

Hoofdgast is dr. Daud Abdullah – Palestijn, wonend en werkend in Londen, waar hij ondermeer verbonden is aan het Palestinian Return Center.

Het Palestinian Return Center behartigt de politieke belangen van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen, in het bijzonder hun recht op terugkeer naar de gebieden waaruit zij in 1948 en nadien door Israel verdreven dan wel gevlucht zijn.

David Cronin, journalist en schrijver van het boek “Europe’s Alliance with Israël” zal een column voordragen en als co-referent optreden.

Stan van Houcke en Jan de Hertog zijn twee van de andere co-referenten die zijn gevraagd op de voordracht van de heer Abdullah te reageren, waarna ook de zaal bij de discussie zal worden betrokken.

Vooraf zal Midden-Oostenspecialist Robert Soeterik een korte beschouwing over de Nakba geven.

Wij nodigen u van harte uit de bijeenkomst bij te wonen en hopen u daar te kunnen verwelkomen.

datum: zaterdagmiddag 14 mei

plaats: Singelkerk, Singel 452, Amfsterdam

aanvang:14.00  uur


zaterdag 14 mei · 12:00 – 15:30

Whitehall, opposite Downing Street

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie

Join the Protest – Saturday 14 May 2011

Assemble 12noon Opposite Downing Street on Whitehall, London SW1A

Speakers include Andy Slaughter MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Reem Kelani, Jody McIntyre, with more speakers to be announced!

Our Covenant

This is the covenant that we at Mustaqbil Pakistan make with the people of Pakistan. Hold on to it:

We envision a stable, democratic, economically prosperous Pakistan. We seek to empower all of Pakistan’s citizens, regardless of gender, faith, class or creed, to achieve their aspirations for the future. We promise to guarantee, unreservedly and absolutely, all the fundamental rights that our citizens deserve and demand. These include, without reservation, all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948.

We undertake to end forever the detention of our citizens – all of our citizens – without a warrant or court order. We swear to extirpate the loathsome practice of torturing detainees in police custody to obtain confessions or information. We refuse categorically to ‘hand over’ our citizens to any foreign government without due legal process.  We demand that all our citizens – even the poorest of the poor – be treated with respect and dignity by all agents of the state.

We resolve to make the legal system free of any influence from the government or any external agencies. We promise to make due judicial process a pillar of our society. The law will be applied with fairness and integrity. No one, not the rich, not the influential, will be exempted.

Corruption has ramified deep into the foundations of our society. We vow to begin the difficult process of disinterring it.

We pledge to combat crime by attacking its causes: poverty, hopelessness destitution, social deprivation, and the spread of weapons and drugs.

We resolve to make literacy a ‘universal’ right of all Pakistanis.

We recognize the inherent and exceptional creativity and industriousness of the Pakistani nation. We pledge to provide the enabling socio-economic framework for these abilities to develop, thrive, and reach their full potential.

We promise to bring about a fundamental shift in the way politics is conducted in Pakistan.

We will bring into politics fresh faces and minds. We will not field candidates – for any assembly – who have previously been elected to any public office. All our candidates will be chosen from the ranks of professionals: teachers, doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers etc. These will be people who have distinguished themselves in their communities by their honesty, selflessness, dedication and professionalism.

We will not be the party of an individual or a family. We will develop an institution, a democratic institution, which will elect its own leaders based on the quality of their character, not the character of their blood.

( / 04.05.2011)