Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mass Rally for Human Rights on Sunday



New York , New York ,   April 29, 2009  -- Times Square in Manhattan will be the site of a mass gathering of human rights leaders and organizations this coming Sunday, May 3rd, at noon. The gathering will call for defeat of radical Islam and heighten awareness about the danger radical Islam poses to human rights across the globe.

The "Rally for Human Rights and Freedom," will be attended by Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim leaders and organizations.  Sponsored by the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) and dozens of other partner organizations, the event will feature a special ceremony to honor the US Military, Homeland Security, police, firefighters, emergency workers and others who have defended the United States from terror.   Peter Gadiel of the 9/11 Families.who lost his son on  9/11 will be present, as will a retired NYC police officer who lost his son-in-law on 9/11. 

The May 3rd event will mark the kick-off event for a new grassroots global action network that is taking on the fight against Radical Islam.  A HRCARI spokesperson notes, "As part of this initiative, we intend to educate elected officials to  helps prevent the spread of Shariah Islamic law. We will work to publicize the threat of Radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies, and endeavor to protect the right to freedom of religion, and freedom of speech in the face of those who seek to silence advocates of human rights against the threat of Radical Islam."

HRCARI believes that Radical Islam is a worldwide threat against commonly accepted human rights and is the most urgent topic of our generation. 

The HRCARI rally coalition (still in formation) includes the 911 Families, ACT Manhattan, Aish Center, Americans for a Safe Israel, Alliance for Interfaith Resistance, AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Americans for Peace & Tolerance, American Center for Democracy, Arabs for Israel, Atlas Shrugs, Chinese Community Relations Council, The David Project, Fordham University School of Law's National Security and Law Society, Foundation Nepalese, Gathering of Eagles-NY, Hindu Human Rights Watch, Indian American Intellectuals Forum International Foundation of Bangladeshi Hindus, Iraq Model, Israpundit, Jewish Action Alliance, Mothers Against Terrorism, Namdari Sikh Foundation, R.E.A.L Courage, Sikh Recognition Trust, Snapped Shot, StandWithUS, Sudan Freedom Walk, Women United: Code Red, Zionist Organization of America.

Does anyone see a threat in Lebanon?

The inclusion of the Hezbollah in Lebanese politics did not improve Lebanese democracy. On the contrary. It spelled the end of Lebanese democracy. When one party has a private army and a tendency to make opponents explode, it has a tendency to get most of the votes. These "elections" should never have been allowed to proceed.

UN chief slams Hizbullah 'intimidation'

Apr. 28, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Hizbullah is making an effort to create "intimidation" in Lebanon ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for June, AFP reported late Monday. He was also quoted as voicing concern for Hizbullah activities in Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

In a report to the UN Security Council, Ban said, "The threat that armed groups and militias pose to the sovereignty and stability of the Lebanese state cannot be overstated."

"It creates an atmosphere of intimidation in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections. It also undermines the stability of the region, and is incompatible with the objectives of Resolution 1559," he added, referring to a 2004 resolution which called for the "disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias."

The UN chief described the groups arsenal as "a direct challenge to the sovereignty of the Lebanese state and an obstacle for the conduct of the normal democratic process in the country."

On Friday, Ban condemned what he said was Hizbullah's interference in the affairs of another country.

"I am alarmed that Hizbullah publicly admitted to providing support to Gaza-based militants from Egyptian territory," he said.

"Such activity indicates that Hizbullah operates outside Lebanese territory and beyond its stated national agenda. I condemn such unwarranted interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign member state," he said.

Ban renewed his call for Hizbullah to disarm and to transform into "a solely political party."

The group has rejected local and foreign calls to disarm, saying its arsenal of weapons and rockets is needed to defend Lebanon against any Israeli attack.

AP contributed to this report


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Religion of Moderate Torture

Hollywood celebrities, US waterboarding of Al Queda terrorists, investing in Dubai


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 By Daniel Greenfield  Saturday, April 25, 2009

ABC News aired a tape showing the brother of the crown prince of the UAE and the Emir of Dubai brutally torturing a farmer in a way that was supposed to be unique to Saddam and his progeny.

A video tape
smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country's royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.

A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim's arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man's wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.

"The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior," the Interior Ministry's statement declared.

The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa's brother.

The government statement said its review found "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."

Naturally. The UAE is a dictatorship. The only differences between the UAE or Saddam's Iraq lies in military strength and the image they choose to present to the world.

Meanwhile much of the same media and Hollywood celebrities who wax indignant about the US waterboarding of Al Queda terrorists, bought into the whole Dubai mirage, investing huge money in property, including the "world islands" that are now speedily turning worthless.

There is no such thing as a moderate Arab Muslim state. There are only those who put on a moderate appearance because of their weakness. When you get down to the ruling family, there is no real difference. The UAE and their Dubai wonderland is ruled by the same bunch of jumped up desert thugs turned billionaires as Saudi Arabia or Jordan or the former Iraq.

Pull back the curtain and you can see the torture chambers. The real ones, not the kid gloves that the US handles Osama Bin Laden's terrorists with. Terrorists partly funded by the UAE and their royal family.

To those who say criminal prosecution of terrorists is the answer, witness how criminal prosecution in the UK utterly failed to hold the Easter Bombing terrorists, who are now free and wending their way through England's court system for possible deportation.

This while Obama is preparing to move Gitmo terrorists into your neighborhood.

The Obama administration is preparing to admit into the United States as many as seven Chinese Muslims who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in the first release of any of the detainees into this country, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Their release is seen as a crucial step to plans, announced by President Obama during his first week in office, to close the prison and relocate the detainees. Administration officials also believe that settling some of them in American communities will set an example, helping to persuade other nations to accept Guantanamo detainees too.

But the decision to release the Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs, is not final and faces challenges from within the government, as well as likely public opposition. Among government agencies, the Homeland Security Department has registered concerns about the plan.

There are 17 Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers) at Guantanamo. A U.S. official familiar with the discussions over their release said that as many as seven could be resettled in the U.S., possibly in two or more small groups.

Officials have not said where in the United States they might live. But many Uighur immigrants from China live in Washington's Virginia suburbs, and advocates have urged that the detainees be resettled near people who speak their language and are familiar with their customs…

Yes including their peculiar custom of strapping on bomb vests and exploding themselves in public areas, such as say in the Washington area. Better be sure you pronounce Wee-gurs right.

Speaking of scary things in the Washington area, Boker Tov Boulder has more on Obama's corps of the living brainwashed volunteers

Not only will this 'army' of community organizers eventually involve as many as 8 - 9 million people, it will be MANDATORY for anyone who gets federal student loans.

Welcome to the Obama Youth. Check your mind and conscience at the door.

Meanwhile Debbie Schlussel takes a closer look at Obama\Pelosi targeting Harman\AIPAC just in time for Obama's own gathering showdown with Israel.

While the NSA wanted to wiretap the Congressman who had contacts with a terrorist while in the Middle East, they nixed it because they thought it wouldn't go over to wiretap a U.S. Congressman.

Yes, the NSA had court approval to wiretap Harman . . . because the NSA sought it. Why didn't the NSA seek court approval on the pan-Islamist Member of Congress? Why the double standard?

And the targets of the Harman transcript release are interesting, too. The target isn't just Harman. Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen--the two men under indictment, former employees of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC--were entrapped at the direction of David W. Szady, head of counterintelligence for the FBI from 2001 to 2006. Szady, well known as an Islamo-sympathizing, anti-Semitic FBI agent, was intent on exposing Israel in a negative light. He dreamed up the whole scheme, using Weissman and Rosen, to show "balance" to his Islamic world buddies--to show that America was not just going after them (as if America has gone after much of them at all). The FBI honcho also had a vendetta to settle because he was upset that Israel was cooperating with the NYPD in counterterrorism investigations that led to NYPD arrests of terrorist in New York--arrests that showed up the incompetent FBI and its floundering counterterrorism efforts.

The Pentagon employee, Lawrence Franklin, was also entrapped because he was one of the few in the Pentagon who actually got it on jihad and the Iranian threat, one of the few who was known to be pro-Israel. This was a "kill three birds with one stone" operation. A brilliant man with several graduate degrees and expertise on the Middle East, Franklin has been reduced to serving as a car parking valet at night.

And though the alleged transcript--which reports claim shows Harman promising to ask the Justice department for leniency for Rosen and Weissman--has yet to surface, reporters and bloggers are slobbering over the allegations, repeating them as fact.

In fact, Rosen and Weissman didn't need Harman's calls for "leniency." They never committed espionage and even the federal judge on the case sees it as a frame-up job. The judge has asked the Justice Department why the case should continue, and there is every indication the Department will soon drop this witch-hunt. The release of this transcript from two years ago was done deliberately to hurt Rosen and Weissman and their chance at a chance at real justice after two years of persecution. There is no evidence that Harman ever followed through on helping their case or ever contacted the Justice Department on their behalf. But the release of the transcript was designed to put them (and Israel) forever under suspicion that the charges in their case were not dropped because they are baseless but because of bribery of a U.S. Congresswoman.

That's not to mention the fact that Jane Harman was far more hawkish than most Democrats, a reason Nancy Pelosi didn't pick her for Intelligence Committee Chairman. Harman supported the NSA wiretaps. She was hawkish against Islamofascism. And she strongly supported Israel. But why should conservative bloggers who claim to support these things care, when they can easily savage this Democrat and Israel a spying, bribing enemy in one fell swoop?

Meanwhile in Israel, the Religion of Peace, which of course respects the Jewish forefathers, whom they claim as their own, and is no way Nazific, scrawled Swastikas on Joseph's Tomb.

This comes after Palestinian Arabs brutally seized the tomb in an extended firefight, with the Israeli government backing down to international pressure and abandoning its own soldiers under fire. It has been the heroic efforts of individual Jewish pilgrims who risked their lives to maintain access to the tomb.

In 2001, within less than an hour of the original Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly ransacked and then partially destroyed the structure.

he tomb is located just outside the modern city of Nablus, or biblical Shechem, in the northern West Bank. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat's militias, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.

Immediately following the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior. Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat's office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, "Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem)."

One BBC reporter described the scene: "The site was reduced to smoldering rubble – festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags – cheering Arab crowd."

Today Jerusalem. Tomorrow the world.

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Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. "Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization. He maintains a blog at

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Was Durban II a success or failure?

Pro-Israel rally on April 22, 2009 across from the U.N. headquarters was among the ways Jewish groups showed strength in Geneva. (Michael J. Jordan)

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Pro-Israel rally on April 22, 2009 across from the U.N. headquarters was among the ways Jewish groups showed strength in Geneva. (Michael J. Jordan)


GENEVA (JTA) -- The question of whether last week's Durban Review Conference was a success or a failure is in the eye of the beholder.

Marked by boycotts, walkouts, an attack on Israel by Iran's president and a premature concluding resolution, it was another U.N. anti-racism conference dominated by the Middle East conflict.

With some concern that such events might overtake the conference, participating countries passed Durban II's final resolution three days early, heralding "a new beginning" in the global campaign against "racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

But for pro-Israel and some human rights groups, the sense of a new beginning was less clear.

On the one hand, the conference's resolution enshrined the most divisive element of the original 2001 Durban Declaration Program of Action: Under "victims of racism," it again cited the Palestinians -- implying, many say, Israeli racism.

On the other hand, 10 countries boycotted the conference, including the Czech Republic, which walked out in the middle; the conference's final resolution adopted no new language singling out Israel; European countries took a strong stand against anti-Israel invective by walking out during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's diatribe against the Jewish state from the U.N. podium; and pro-Israel groups' persistent efforts to contextualize and, to some extent, discredit the conference drew wide attention and debate.

"This was the least toxic outcome from such a conference in three decades," Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said of the conference's final document.

Neuer credited the Europeans for sticking to red lines that ensured Israel would not be singled out again.

For their part, pro-Israel groups came in much larger numbers than at Durban I, where Jews were overwhelmed by a pro-Palestinian presence. Some 360 Jewish students were accredited, roughly one-third of all the activists accredited, and they advocated on Israel's behalf throughout the week.

Jewish groups hosted or participated in daily pro-Israel or pro-human rights events outside the U.N. grounds, organized anti-discrimination panels inside the United Nations and brought in some of the heaviest hitters in pro-Israel advocacy: Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, attorney Alan Dershowitz, Canadian parliamentarian Irwin Cotler, French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, actor Jon Voight and Father Patrick Desbois, among others.

"We wanted to be sure that if something happened here like in Durban, we'd be ready to respond," said Jonas Karpantschof, the Danish chairman of the European Union of Jewish Students.

During Ahmadinejad's speech, one Jewish activist wearing a clown wig rushed the podium, while others shouted "Racist!" from the gallery before being ejected. Before the conference's conclusion, two Jewish groups had their accreditation revoked for disruptive behavior.

Jewish groups also worked behind the scenes to ensure positive media coverage for Israel's defenders as well as for dissidents from places such as Burma, Cuba, Iran, Egypt and Sudan's Darfur region.

Suzette Bronkhurst of the Dutch anti-racism group ICARE called the conference "an exercise in damage control" to limit the discrediting of the Durban process for its focus on Israel in 2001.

If history is any guide, the goings-on at Geneva will be better remembered than the official resolution adopted by the conference.

After the 2001 anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, many governments around the world did little to highlight the document -- not because of its reference to the Palestinians, but because authoritarian governments have little interest in their own marginalized peoples holding them accountable for state-sanctioned discrimination, according to NGO leaders in Geneva.

"It's our clear impression and conclusion that Durban is one of the least-distributed documents -- not distributed in certain countries and certain languages," said Jan Lonn, coordinator of the Civil Society Forum, which harshly criticized Israel in events prior to the Geneva conference.

That doesn't mean the Durban process will disappear. A working group of U.N. member states remains ostensibly focused on implementing the Durban resolution, as does a 25-member anti-discrimination unit within the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

However, the U.N. special rapporteur on racism, Githu Muigai of Kenya, suggested to the media last week the possibility of downscaling Durban-related events in the future.

The proceedings illustrated the need "to keep inflammatory ideological debates away from concrete, technical work that really needs to be done on the area of racism," Muigai said. "Many of the issues that came to dominate the debate have essentially nothing to do with the debate on racism."

Others were skeptical that future Durban-related events would be able to steer clear of the politically charged Israeli-Arab conflict.

"You still have the states who want to use this platform to disguise their own human-rights violations by bashing on a scapegoat, usually Israel," said Shimon Samuels, director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "See you at Durban III."

It also remains to be seen whether the drama that unfolded last week in Geneva will have any influence on the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, which is plagued by the very same issues: disproportionate condemnation of Israel, silence on human rights violators around the world and zeal for banning "defamation of religions," especially Islam. Western critics see this as a gambit to restrict free speech and curb criticism of Islamic extremism.

At least one of the countries that boycotted Durban II -- the United States -- announced recently that it would end its boycott of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Will the Obama administration try to enforce at the council the same red lines it applied to Durban II?

"These contentious issues won't go away overnight," said Tad Stahnke of the Washington-based group Human Rights First. "It will take a long-term strategy and investment for the council to address human-rights abuses in a more credible way."

Palestinian Editor: Corruption, Nepotism and Favoritism are good for Palestine

I am not inventing this, honstly. Nasser Lahham, editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Maannews news service takes issue with a report that lashed out at corruption, nepotism and favoritism,. the fifth annual Aman: Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity report. He notes:
What the report calls nepotism and favoritism are, in Palestinian society, forms of respect for the family and the community; ignoring their needs might lead to enmity between someone appointed to a hiring position and another in his or her community.

Inside our factions and out, however, what the report calls "favoritism and nepotism" I would prefer to call "social diplomacy." I draw your attention to the case of the job applicant: He is in hard circumstances and is in bad need of work. His fellow party member, cousin or clansman shows respect for his position and gives him a three month probationary period during which he must prove he can do the job.

Including a young man in a new company is like having him marry into your family; it is a way to look out for and ensure the protection of younger generations and those in need. Being able to offer work, a respectable position, is community diplomacy and an essential tool.
Lahham is not describing a government, but rather a somehat different sort of organization. Indeed, a Palestinian politician is a "man of respect," or "uomo di rispetto" as we used to say in the old country (Brooklyn).  And taking on a new worker makes him a member of la famiglia. Capisce, paisan?  And he explains that the same mechanism of "Social Diplomacy" operates among the Hamas
What I think that Aman must recognize is that there should be a differentiation between social diplomacy and negative nepotism. One helps people and stitches together a society and the other is a harmful violation of law and religion.

I asked one of my friends in Hamas who have the slogan of "reform and change," who won power after a long rule by a corrupted Fatah, why they are pursuing power and authority in Palestine. He answered, "We do not struggle for power but it is the job these days; is the only benefit we can use to satisfy our supporters so we are not ready to give it up."
Corrupt politicians all over the world will be grateful to Lahham for whitewashing that ugly word "patronage" into the very much more respectable, "Social Diplomacy."  
And we also know who is at fault for Palestinian corruption (you guessed it!):

One can also argue, then, that unemployment, poverty, and siege are preventing the workers from working, and the situation is the real culprit behind the mass applications for one job and nepotism is the only way to cut through the clutter.

: What is behind all this, is the need to get rid of Salam Fayyed, who was getting in the way of "the families" with his reformist delusions.

Ahmedinejad campaign gives out free Israeli Oranges

Iran will have to cancel their nuclear weapons program when they find out the uranium and the detonators came from Israel. This is not so far fetched. Until 1989, the Israeli Soltam factory was making shells for the Iranian military. The contract was stopped after Hezbollah shells were found with Israeli markings. Israeli Nachum Manbar was caught selling poison gas to Iran. Israelis are investigating who broke the Israeli embargo against Iran, and Iranians are investigating who violated the Israel boycott. Israel imports pistachio nuts from Iran. These have the advantage of being much smaller than oranges, so they are difficult to label...

The Blunder with Israeli Orange Handouts

Following the hand out of cash in envelopes to journalists and free potato handouts to potential voters by Ahmadinejad's election camp, the efforts to buy votes with more hand outs was intensified to help re-elect Ahmadinejad.

In another freebies for votes stunt, Ahmadinejad's camp announced free orange handouts to people when he was due to hold an election rally in the poor district of Islamshahr. Of course the stunt worked and as predicted, large throngs who would not miss the opportunity of getting fresh juicy oranges for free, turned up. There was however one problem. The oranges were Israeli oranges with obvious 'Jaffa' labels still on them!

So shortly after President Ahmadinejad using the platform handed to him on a plate by the UN summit to recruit extremist and militant minds in the Middle East, the self styled champion of the oppressed Palestinian people was handing out Israeli oranges for the rent a crowd mob.

Who could have written a funnier script than that?

Pakistan, US, clueless about Bin-Laden whereabouts

Neither the US nor the Pakistani intelligence agencies could find their noses, but that doesn't mean they haven't got any noses.
Bin Laden could be dead, whereabouts unknown: Zardari
Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:52am EDT
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that the whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remained a mystery and there was a suspicion that he could be dead.
Speaking to international media, Zardari said U.S. officials had told him that they had no trace of the al Qaeda chief, although they habitually say he is most likely in Pakistan.
Pakistan's own intelligence agencies were no wiser, either, Zardari said.
"There is no news," the president said. "They obviously feel that he does not exist anymore but that's not confirmed, we can't confirm that."
Al Jazeera aired excerpts of an audio recording in March in which the speaker's voice sounded like earlier messages from bin Laden, who has eluded all efforts to catch him since al Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Bin Laden, if he is still alive, turned 52 on March 10, but he is known to suffer from ill-health.
There have been reports that he had died of natural causes in the past, but they have never been corroborated, and security analysts believe intelligence agencies monitoring jihadi websites on the Internet would have picked up some chatter.
(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Dean Yates)

Creeping Sharia in Pakistan

Having made a deal with the devil, the Pakistani government is finding itself increasingly embroiled in a mess of its own creation.
April 28, 2009
Cleric Accuses Pakistan of Violating Swat Accord
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A radical cleric who has been mediating peace talks between the government and Taliban militants broke off negotiations Monday to protest a military operation mounted by government forces Sunday in an adjoining district.
"We are suspending talks with the government until the military operation in Dir is halted," said Amir Izzat, a spokesman for Maulana Sufi Muhammad, a cleric who is leader of the banned movement Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi. The movement still adhered to the February peace agreement, however, but would only resume talks when the operation stopped, he said.
Yet the uneasy peace that has lasted in the Swat Valley since the February accord looked increasingly imperiled as both sides accused the other of violating the agreement.
A government search operation continued in Dir on Monday and local residents were reported to be fleeing the area. Schools and markets were closed and the area under was curfew, local television reported. Pakistani paramilitary troops backed by artillery and helicopter gunships moved into Lower Dir on Sunday, targeting the headquarters of a local Taliban commander, and claimed to have killed some 30 militants.
The senior adviser in the Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, said the government forces moved in at the behest of local residents and the provincial government who were worried about the presence of armed militants entering mosques and people's homes.
Militants in Swat, their stronghold, reacted with a warning that they would resume fighting unless the operation was stopped. On Monday, militants seized control of the telephone exchange in Bahrain, a town half way up the Swat Valley local officials said.
Lower Dir comes under the February peace agreement under which the government agreed to the imposition of Shariah courts in the Malakand Agency and both sides agreed to halt military activities. Relative peace returned to the Swat valley as Pakistani Army troops returned to their bases, but armed militants continued to move freely around the region, and have spread into adjoining districts, imposing their presence and intimidating people.
They have insisted they will remain armed until the Shariah courts are set up and functioning, but appear to be set on spreading their influence to a growing area and seizing goods, vehicles and belongings from local residents and organizations.
Pakistani troops assisted by helicopter gunships attacked Taliban militants in the Malakand Agency on Sunday in the first significant action since insurgents took control of Buner, a district only about 60 miles from Islamabad, the capital, last week.
The operation, in the Lower Dir district west of the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, killed 30 militants and one paramilitary soldier, Pakistan's Interior Ministry said.
The fighting appeared to signal a stronger resolve by Pakistan's government to challenge moves by Taliban factions to expand the areas they control outside of Swat. Pakistani analysts said it could endanger the peace pact under which Pakistan ceded control of Swat to the Taliban.
Government officials said the peace deal remained intact, but warned the Taliban to lay down their arms.
"Enough is enough. We have decided to flush them out," Mr. Malik told the independent television channel Geo on Sunday.
"The peace accord was linked to peace. When there is no peace, there is no use for that accord," Mr. Malik said. "I appeal to the Taliban to lay down their arms. There is no other option for them."
American officials have strongly urged Pakistan to move resolutely against the militants. They have expressed fears that the Taliban could continue to use Swat as a staging ground for assaults on other parts of the country, and perhaps threaten the viability of the country's civilian government.
After the Taliban wrested control of Buner last week, domestic politicians and the news media also criticized the Pakistani Army for remaining on the sidelines as the Taliban marched unchallenged toward the heart of Pakistan's populated urban areas.
President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to travel to Washington in early May for a meeting with President Obama.
But it remains unclear whether the country's powerful military has decided to engage militants more forcefully in other areas.
The army has strongly resisted being drawn into a battle against Taliban insurgents and prefers to keep its focus on India, its archrival.
The operation in Lower Dir, involving artillery as well as gunships, was aimed at stopping the infiltration of militants based in Bajaur, an area in the semiautonomous tribal belt, said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the minister of information for the North-West Frontier Province.
Among the militants the paramilitary troops engaged around the town of Lal Qila in Lower Dir was a senior commander, Qari Shahid, of the Taliban in Lower Dir, Mr. Hussain said.
The Pakistani military said Sunday night that the town of Lal Qila had been "fully secured" by the Frontier Corps.
The operation served as a prelude to a larger one against the Taliban in Buner in the coming days, according to a government official who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
But the scale of the pending attack by Pakistani forces in Buner remained unclear. It was not spelled out whether the Pakistani Army would conduct the operation or whether it would involve the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
The Taliban took effective control of Buner, a farming valley, a week ago. The militants closed the courts and announced they would soon open courts based on Shariah law.
Some of the Taliban from Swat who had helped in the takeover of Buner returned to Swat in the last few days. But local Taliban remained in control of critical areas of Buner, and continued to loot stores, gas stations and other property.
In response to the paramilitary action, a radical cleric affiliated with the Taliban in Swat, Maulana Shah Doran, told his followers to "prepare for jihad."
Lower Dir is north of the Malakand Agency of the North-West Frontier Province. The Pakistani government agreed this month to the Taliban demand that Shariah courts be established throughout the Malakand region.
Since that agreement, Taliban militants have advanced steadily through Malakand, with their leaders asserting that they were introducing Islamic law.