The Candid Eye

March 14, 2012

Sri Sri in Pakistan: I’m ready to hold talks with Taliban

Filed under: Art of Living,Hinduism,India,Islam,Pakistan,Spirituality,Yoga — Abhay @ 10:48 PM
Tags: ,

From Rediff.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Tuesday offered to hold talks with the Taliban to usher in peace in the region, saying it would help foster understanding among people with divergent views.

“I am ready to go and talk to the Taliban. I want to talk to them, understand them and give them my opinion. So we can definitely make a difference. We should try it again and again even if we have to try it 100 times,” Ravi Shankar said during an interaction with the public and media in Islamabad.

Responding to a question on what leaders could do to usher in peace in the region, the spiritual guru said, “Most of the trouble is created by rhetoric” and people should instead work for a future filled with hope.

“People find importance in creating such dangerous situations. They should stop and give more hope to people,” he said.

Ravi Shankar, currently on a three-day private visit to Pakistan, inaugurated a centre for his Art of Living movement at Bani Gala on the outskirts of Islamabad.

He also met with a group of Muslim clerics and some political leaders.

Answering questions from the media and the public, Ravi Shankar said decision-makers should be “calm and collective” while tackling serious issues.

Life becomes worth living, he said, when people are able to be of help to others.

“When decision-makers are in high tension or angry, they will project the same thing in their decisions. They should do some meditation and relax, especially when they have to make a serious decision that will impact a lot of people,” he said.

He said he was happy to see the enthusiasm with which the Pakistani people had welcomed him.

Highlighting the transformation in Pakistan, Ravi Shankar said, “On my last visit, I was surrounded by security personnel and holed up in the hotel. On this visit, I interacted more with people and met the youth at Forman Christian College (in Lahore)”.

“It was amazing to see the enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and willingness to know,” he said.

Though some “government people” in India had asked him not to visit Pakistan, he had decided to go ahead with his trip, he added.

Ravi Shankar identified corruption as one of the biggest problems confronting countries around the world, including Pakistan.

“The civil society should rise up and say no to corruption. Law and legislation alone won’t solve the problem, it can happen only if there is spiritual transformation,” he remarked.

He also called for inter-faith harmony and “allowing diversity to exist”.

Pakistan could earn revenues by promoting and developing tourist sites like Taxila that could attract Buddhist and Hindu visitors, he said.

“Love, peace, tolerance” is what Pakistani students shouted for when asked by visiting spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar what he should speak about. Ravi Shankar regaled the audience at the famous Forman Christian College in Lahore as he spoke about love, religion and answered number of questions.

“You better find another one from about seven billion living souls in the world. Move ahead,” was Ravi Shankar’s advice to a Pakistani student who sought his view on him being unable to forget his ex-girlfriend.

The answer led to a round of thunderous applause from the audience in Lahore.

Hundreds of students accorded a warm welcome to Ravi Shankar, who began a three-day private visit to Pakistan with an address at the college in Lahore.

The hall was jam-packed an hour before the arrival of Shankar as both students and teachers were eager to listen to him.

“I am glad to see your enthusiasm. You can do wonders in life with this energy. Do not lose this enthusiasm,” Shankar said after walking onto the stage.

He asked the students what they wanted him to speak about and the hall echoed with shouts of “Love, peace, tolerance”.

Shankar involved the students in demonstrations to make them understand the power of truth. “You tell a lie and lose power over yourself,” he said.

He told them how to control anger and mood swings and to concentrate on studies.

A student asked Shankar to comment on the “worshipping of idols”, as it is a common belief in Pakistan that Hindus worship hundreds of gods.

“Like Allah has 99 names, there are over 1,000 idols but God is not in them. God is one. Hindus also worship one God,” Ravi Shankar explained, drawing applause from senior members of the faculty.

Ravi Shankar asked the audience to make space in their lives for meditation, yoga and breathing techniques and see how this would bring about a change.Referring to India-Pakistan relations, Ravi Shankar cited the example of France, Germany and Britain living in peace after centuries of enmity and questioned why the South Asian neighbours could not do the same.

“Both countries can make progress and overcome poverty if we are united. We need to wipe away every tear…I have a dream in my life and that is about a world free of violence, anxiety and corruption,” he said.

In response to a question, he said no religion is responsible for terrorism. “What we need to do is teach a child about 10 religions. He would develop understanding about them, leading towards tolerance”.

He added, “A person who thinks he will go to heaven and the rest to hell, in fact creates hell for the rest”.After he concluded his speech, students rushed up to the spiritual leader to take photographs with him.Shankar arrived in Lahore on Monday via the Wagah land border crossing. He visited the historic Badshahi Mosque and held some private meetings with followers of his Art of Living movement.

He will travel to Islamabad tomorrow and open a new Art of Living centre.From the federal capital, he will travel to the southern port city of Karachi, from where he will leave for India on March 14.

 

Ravi Shankar in city: ‘A happy mind is never attracted to terrorism’

Filed under: India,Islam,Jihad,Message,Pakistan,Sri Sri Ravishankar,Terrorism,Yoga — Abhay @ 10:17 PM

 

In a file photograph taken on March 13, 2012, Indian spiritual guru and Art of Living Foundation leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (C) arrives to inaugurate the Foundation Center in Bani Gala, the outskirts of Islamabad. — AFP

LAHORE: Indian spiritual leader and Art of Living founder Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday delivered a lecture and held talks with students and academicians at the Sinclair Hall of the Forman Christian College (FCC) University.

Talking about his foundation, the peace and goodwill ambassador elaborated how his organization worked to preach happiness through stress elimination to the people, adding that only disgruntled people became tools of terrorists while a happy mind was never attracted to terrorism.

He stressed the need of bringing people of Pakistan and India closer, saying that it was easy to bridge differences since people spoke the same language in the neighbouring countries.

“If France and Germany, once arch-rivals, can put aside their differences in the larger interest of people of both the countries, why can’t India and Pakistan work together for the cause of the people,” he said.

Shankar has been invited by Art of Living (Pakistan Chapter) on a three-day peace mission during which he will hold talks with business leaders, academicians, spiritual leaders, student organizations and opinion leaders as part of his efforts to strengthen collaborative efforts between the two countries.

Earlier, on his three-day peace mission to Pakistan Shankar entered Lahore via Wagha border. He later visited Badshahi Mosque and a Gurdwara. He will also visit Islamabad and Karachi. – APP

 

From Dawn

November 14, 2010

Sri Sri addresses thousands on both sides of Wagah border

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT

Bangalore, (India) November 12. 2010. “We are committed to follow the path of non-violence and peace. Standing here at the border, I can feel the wave of love and peace from across. I urge the citizens of both the countries to recognize the voice of peace within and create a violence-free world,” said spiritual leader and Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Wagah border in Amritsar today, addressing 5000 people from Punjab. Hundreds of followers had also gathered at the Pakistan side waving and carrying The Art of Living and Youth Leadership Training Program placards to listen to Sri Sri. Many were disappointed as he was denied the visa to cross the border.

The spiritual leader, who was a state guest, visited the Indo-Pak border during his five-day tour to the state and also witnessed the official retreat ceremony held in the evening.

As part of his peace campaign, he inaugurated ‘Saanjh’, a musical concert in Amritsar. The concert, based on the Indo-Pak peace mission, saw artists from both countries showcase their talents on a shared platform.

On Thursday, November 11, the performance of Bhangra, organised by the Art of Living in Ludhiana, was considered for the Guinness World Book of Records for an unprecedented number of Bhangra dancers on one stage. This is in continuance of Art of Living’s endeavor to promote Indian culture. Sri Sri witnessed 2,100 dancers performing the Bhangra at the event titled ‘Mehran De Rang’. Thousands took an oath to make Punjab an addiction-free state.

Also present at the event was Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu, Member of Parliament and former cricketer. Welcoming the spiritual leader, he said, “In our culture a Guru holds the highest place. Today, if the youth are shown the right direction then they cannot only change Punjab but the face of the whole country.”

On Thurdsay morning, Sri Sri addressed more than 5000 young participants at the ‘Exam Special – Youth Empowerment Seminar’ (YES) organized by The Art of Living at Punjab Agricultural University grounds in Ludhiana. After answering questions ranging from peer pressure, parent-child issues, career conflicts and relationship woes, Sri Sri spoke on the rising drug and alcohol menace and urged the participants to shun drugs. “You cannot be enthusiastic or creative if you fall into the trap of drugs. You will lose your smile. Life is enthusiasm, love and joy. Make a friend everyday and ask yourself ‘What can I do for others?’ and see how life blossoms,” he said.
Carrying forward his mission of making Punjab an addiction-free state, he led a Drug De-addiction ‘Maha Sammelan’ in Jhakkar village on November 10. “While Kashmir is the crown of India, Punjab is the face. If the face has blemishes, it does not reflect well. That is why de-addiction is very important. We should raise our voice against this in every temple and gurudwara,” he said.

The event was attended by 25,000 beneficiaries of The Art of Living Drug De-Addiction Program. One such beneficiary Sukhvir Singh from Barnala shared, “I had been taking drugs for over 14 years and had even left my family. After practicing the Sudarshan Kriya regularly I was able to drop my addiction. The youth in Punjab have drowned themselves in this vice. I would now like to work to bring a positive difference in their lives.”

The Art of Living constructed the biggest meditation hall in Ludhiana. The three–storeyed ‘Gyan Mandir’ with a seating of 3,000 people was inaugurated by Sri Sri. This hall is a replica of the tourist-wonder Vishalakshi Mantap (meditation hall) at The Art of Living’s Bangalore headquarters.

During his eventful Punjab tour, Sri Sri visited Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar. Over a series of satsangs and public interactions he urged the people to drop all addictions, stop female foeticide, practice organic farming and preserve and protect desi cow and desi seeds.

Sri Sri’s tour of Punjab will culminate with prayers at the Golden temple and the Durgiana temple in Amritsar on November 13, 2010.

March 20, 2010

Pakistan again using mafia links for terror strikes

Saturday’s arrests of the two terror suspects in Mumbai who wanted to set fires at three locations across the city shows that Pakistani planners are now returning to their old ally, the underworld, to plot terrorist acts.

In the recent case, Abdul Latif Rashid alias Guddu, 29, and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz alias Rehan, 22, were arrested for conspiring to set fires at the ONGC office in Bandra (East), Mangaldas Market in Kalbadevi and Thakkar Mall in Borivli. Latif’s uncle, Abdul Bashir Khan, is an absconding accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which was plotted and executed by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is now living in Karachi. Khan is currently living with Dawood in the latter’s Karachi flat and works as his assistant.

Pakistan ISI : Image Courtesy - http://www.topnews.in/

The security establishment in India has been claiming that the D-gang is hand-in-glove with Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) in the execution of conspiracies in India.

In the 11/7 Mumbai train blasts case, the police arrested a doctor, two engineers and a sotware programmer who did not have any prior criminal record. However, the recent case points to the in-depth involvement of the D-gang. “The two accused were in touch with a D-gang member who had asked them to identify youths for terror training in Pakistan,” said the source.

Officials in the security forces said terror bosses may have returned to the underworld because the police have mentally de-linked the underworld from terror. “The police seem to have formed an opinion that gangsterism is entirely different from terrorism and they do not pay heed to gangsters when it comes to probing terror cases nowadays. This could be one of the reasons why the Pakistani terror handlers are focusing on the use of the underworld,” the security source said.

Pakistan ISI : Image Courtesy - http://trendsupdates.com/

“In 1993, the underworld had first participated in a terror strike. Later, the modus operandi changed and the handlers started recruiting young people with no criminal records as the underworld was already on the police list,” said a security establishment official.

In the 2001 Parliament attack, new faces who were neither in the police list nor connected to the underworld were recruited. In the post-2001 modus operandi, the use of educated youths from the Muslim community was seen.

Software engineer Mansoor Peerbhoy, a Pune resident, who had a job with a Rs 19-lakh-a-year salary, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch in 2008 for being part of the Indian Mujahideen. He was accused of hacking into computers and sending terror emails.

Earlier, in a string of post-2001 terror-related cases in Mumbai, an MBBS, an MBA, three civil engineers, four mechanical engineers, two chemical engineers, a pilot and a professor working for the National Defence Academy, Pune, had been arrested. While the police had focused on these men, most of them were later acquitted by the court or discharged by the central Pota review committee.

Noteworthy also is that absconding Indian Mujahideen operative, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is also suspected to be in Pakistan, was connected to the Fazlur Rehman gang before he formed his own extortion outfit. Bhatkal later took to terrorism.

Source: TOI

March 17, 2010

Sufi teachings can counter extremism: Zardari

President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called for focussing attention on teachings of peace, love and tolerance of the Sufi saints so as to counter extremism and the militant mindset.

Addressing an International Conference on Sufism and Peace arranged by Pakistan Academy of Letters at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, President Zardari said Sufism had a crucial role to play in mankind’s struggle for a peaceful world.

Asif Zardari

Around 80 delegates from 30 countries and 250 from Pakistan are participating in the conference.The president said the most important issue of the present era was peace — peace in the country as well as peace outside the borders.

President Zardari said extremism and militancy were a mindset, created to defeat a rival ideology in the region and the extremists were encouraged to use religion as the basis of their ideology.

He said the entire free world was responsible for its creation decades ago. But, unfortunately, no attention was paid to this aspect once the objectives were fulfilled and the militants were abandoned to their fate. “It is these very militants who have come to haunt all of us.”

He said the entire philosophy of Sufism revolved around purification of the soul and creating an environment where humanity was not threatened by few individuals trying to impose their narrow versions of religion upon a vast majority.

“No religion, whether Islam or Christianity, preached extremism and militancy,” he added. He described terrorists as enemies of Pakistan and Islam and of peace in the region.

“Pakistan will never bow before terror and will never allow the extremists to advance their murderous agenda within the country and the region,” he added.

He said Pakistan was home to great Sufi saints who dedicated their lives to promotion of peace and harmony and the vast majority of people believed in peace and universal brotherhood as enshrined in the teaching of holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

He urged the gathering to play its part in making the world a better place to live. He said the conference showed Pakistan’s commitment to the cause of peace and the deep bond of its people to the forces of love, harmony and brotherhood, which was the message of Sufis.

The president also commended the services of Chairman PAL Fakhar Zaman for arranging the conference.The PAL chief in his address highlighted the importance of men of letters in using their pens for establishing peace in the world.

Peter Curman, a Swedish writer, urged the writers to play their role as ambassadors of peace and make efforts for developing mutual harmony amongst the people across the world.

Prof Dr Hugh van Skyhawk spoke on divine love and message of peace, the role of poetry and courage among the Sufis to rid the world of the ills that afflict it.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali spoke on the role of Sufi saints in the subcontinent that brought a sea-change in the minds and lives of people with the divine message of ‘Tasawwaf’ based on love.—APP

Source: The Dawn

March 13, 2010

ISI keeping Osama’s whereabouts a secret: Expert

Filed under: Jihad,Pakistan — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden but is keeping his location a secret and wants to use the Al Qaeda chief as leverage over the US as it is wary of America’s closer ties with India, noted military historian Stephen Tanner has said.

“We got to make a deal with Pakistan because I’m convinced that he (bin Laden) is protected by the ISI,” said Tanner, the author of ‘Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban.’

Osama bin Laden : Image Courtesy - http://sheikyermami.com/

Tanner says the ISI knows where bin Laden is hiding, but is not ready to say.The American writer along with other experts were interviewed by CNN for a blog post on the channel’s website called ‘Whatever happened to bin Laden’.

Noting that it was unlikely for bin Laden to be captured anytime soon, Tanner suggested that the ISI wants to keep him as leverage over the US because it is wary of Washington’s closer ties with New Delhi. Without the fear of a bin Laden loose in Pakistan, the intelligence agency fears that the US would lose interest in the country.

“I just think it’s impossible after all this time to not know where he is. The ISI knows what’s going on in its own country,” Tanner said. “We’re talking about a 6-foot-4-inch Arab with a coterie of bodyguards.”

Another expert, Thomas Mockatis, who is the author of ‘Osama bin Laden: A Biography’ was also quoted on the CNN blog suggesting that killing bin Laden would probably not be the best idea. “Killing bin Laden would not be a good thing,” Mockatis says. “He’s already a hero. Killing bin Laden would just create one more martyr.”

Mockatis recommends that dismantling the terror infrastructure is more important than catching bin Laden. There have been alleged sightings of bin Laden in Pakistan, and he is believed to be in North Waziristan, constantly slipping back and forth from the Af-Pak border.

An associate professor of international security studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School in Massachusetts, William Martel, even suggests that it would be better if bin Laden would not be captured as the debate on how the Al Qaeda chief should be treated after his capture would create a firestorm.

“Do we read him his rights; do we run him through a military tribunal or civilian courts?” Martel says. “Capturing him would pose more problems than not.”

Source: Yahoo News

March 3, 2010

ISI protecting IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal in Karachi

The attempts by the Pune police probing the February 13 German Bakery blast to track Riyaz Bhatkal may prove futile, since there is confirmation now that the founder of the Indian Mujahideen is safely ensconed in Karachi.

A police officer from Hyderabad, who is currently interrogating Ahmed Khwaja, a Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant currently in custody of Hyderbad police, told rediff.com that Bhatkal is in Karachi.

The official said that Khwaja was also questioned in-depth regarding the Pune blast, but he did not appear to know much about the plot.

Riyaz Bhatkal, the terrorist

“He has details of the Indian Mujahideen operatives and says that there are three key persons who control the IM. Bhatkal and Mohsin Chaudhary head the India operations, but they report directly to a man by the name Aamir Raza, who is a Pakistani national,” the officer said.

Khwaja also revealed that Bhatkal, who stayed in Dubai for a considerable amount of time, was asked to shift base to Pakistan at the insistence of the Inter Services Intelligence.

Indian Mujahideen

Bhatkal is a high-profile personality for them, and he is being protected by the ISI. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau told rediff.com that Bhatkal holds the key, and nabbing him would help crack the entire IM network in India.

The IB further adds that they have got information that Bhatkal has been housed under the protection of the ISI at the high-security Defence Enclave in Karachi, which show his importance for the ISI..

Karachi plot

The IB says that the interrogation of Khwaja and Shahzad (who was picked up by the Delhi police from Azamgarh, UP in connection with the Batla House case) have made one thing clear and that is the ISI was not planning on launching attacks in India with its Pakistan and Afghanistan based cadres.

Both Shahzad and Khwaja were aware of the Karachi plot (IB had sounded off a warning pertaining to a terror plot that was being hatched in Pakistan to target several Indian cities), and during their interrogation, their bosses told them that they needed to gear up for this.

The IB says that this is a worrying factor since the ISI is roping in Indian operatives for this plot. They are setting up their network in India and most of the heads of the India-based terror groups have been told about this plot, so that when they plan on carrying out the attacks, there would be no problems with the logistics.

The ISI, which plans on carrying out the Karachi plot with the help of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Al Qaeda and the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami, will depend on Indian operatives for logistics and also to ensure that they provide a safe passage into the country for their fidayeen fighters.

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