Posted by Admin On Tuesday, 27 November 2012 0 comments

On the one hand, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has declared 2012 the ‘Year of Balochistan’, while on the other, the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs has convened unprecedented hearing on February 8 this year, and discussed situation of Balochistan. The Committee’s hearing was attended by the supporters of Baloch separtism and American scholars including human rights activists. It was chaired by Dana Rohrabacher who said, “Balochistan is a turbulent land marred by human rights violations”, requiring urgent attention. Recently, Rohrabacher has also co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert, and favoured an independent Balochistan. 

On February 9, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said, “We have conveyed our concern to the US Embassy in Islamabad and Washington on the issue of discussion on Balochistan by US Senate Foreign Relations’s Committee and expressed our feelings.” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman has stated, “It is deeply regrettable that the legislature of a country that calls itself a friend of Pakistan should allow itself to be used as a platform by those advocating the dismemberment of Pakistan and provide justification to terrorists attempting to hold Balochistan, and Pakistan, hostage.” She elaborated that this constituted interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs—would be “detrimental to building mutual trust”, and “will add to suspicions in Pakistan about American motives.”

Although Pakistan’s security forces have successfully been coping with the Taliban militants in the tribal areas, yet situation has deteriorated in Balochistan where subversive events and human rights violations like targeted killings, abductions, sectarian violence, attacks on buildings, oil pipelines etc. have intensified. In fact, the US, India and Israel, have been supporting feudal lords (Sardars) of Balochistan to oppose country’s federation. These external elements have also been providing arms and ammunition to the Baloch separatist leaders.

Notably, on August 14, 2009, Financial Times (online) had reported “Settlers from other parts of Pakistan, especially Punjab, have been given deadlines to leave.” As a matter of fact, this is what US-led India and Israel wanted by inciting the general masses of Balochistan to openly speak against the federation of Pakistan and the Punjabis for all the injustices, created by the Baloch feudal lords who have been fighting for their own so-called status, prestige and influence, while working on the American US agenda.

In the recent past, with the backing of America, the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi had organised a seminar titled: South Asia 2020 in relation to Balochistan. In their speeches, various scholars and thinktanks maligned Pakistan in one or the other way. Besides the seminar, on November 5, 2009, a secretconference titled: “Pakistan is Problem in Balochistan” was organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi. It was headed by the former secretary of RAW and Indian former chief of army staff. In thatconference, three Baloch leaders, namely, Dr Wahid Baloch, Khan of Kalat and Munir Mengal also participated.
The speech of Dr. Wahid Baloch, General Secretary of the American Friends Balohistan (AFOB) is of special attention. While vocally raising false allegations in line of the Indo-US conspiracy against Pakistan, Dr. Wahid Baloch explained, “Balochistan still remains under the occupation of Pakistan and the international community should interfere in preventing atrocities on the Baloch people, being committed by Pak Army and ISI. Dr. Wahid also allegedly indicated, “Several Baloch leaders, engineers and doctors were kidnapped, tortured and killed ruthlessly through Pakistan’s state terrorism.” 

In fact, the secret conference organised by the Indian officials with the direction of America itself, and participation of the Baloch leaders including anti-Pakistan elements prove that RAW, CIA and Mossad are behind all the subversive acts, being committed in Balochistan.

Baloch separatist’s foreign connections could be judged from the fact that Khan of Kalat and Munir Mengal repeated the thoughts of Dr. Wahid in the meeting held with the faculty of IDSA which assured them that India fully backs Baloch struggle. It also pledged that all future activities of Baloch movement like guidance and help will be coordinated by a US team under the sponsorship of IDSA. While, Munir Mengal also gave a presentation in which he misinterpreted the economic aspects of Gwader Port as a threat to international community, opposing proposed China’s naval base at Gwader. 

In this regard, on November 21, 2009, with the consent of the Baloch national leader Mir Hyrbyair Marri, Laurie Deamer who is active member of the Independence American Friends of Balochistan read out the resolution in the first international conference at the Nation Press Club in Washington DC. The resolution also raised same allegations regarding Pak Army and state terrorism by implicating Islamabad and Tehran, emphasising the necessity of an independent Balochistan. While taking the breaking of Pakistan as inevitable and in the interests of the international community, especially the Baloch people and the United States, the conferencecalled upon the US government and its affiliated departments to talk directly about Baloch independence, sending American leaders in Balochistan and abroad.

Particularly, America has secretly been propagating in Balochistan that if Baloch people want to get freedom, they will have to intensify their struggle. They must forget their differences immediately and get united. In this context, they emphasised that well-maintained political conscious and motivated guerrilla force can defeat the Pak Army. For this purpose, every tribal chief should provide man power—10,000 men for the battle field. If they have 25,000 men, they can occupy every village of Balochistan within six months. They also suggested that all tribes must collect funds for running guerrilla warfare, while each fighter will be paid Rs. 8000/- per month.

It is noteworthy that the agents of CIA-led RAW and Mosssad are well-penetrated in various NGOs and human rights organisations which are being used for vile propaganda against Pakistan’s security forces. In this respect, on July 31, 2011, a rally was organized by Baloch Human Rights Council in UK, in front of the US Embassy in London, which raised false accusations such as inhuman torture and extrajudicial murder of the Baloch intellectuals by the Pakistani army and ISI. Some human rights groups and Human Rights Watch (HRW) also raised similar allegtions. 

On August 3, 2011, ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, while rejecting human rights groups’ reports about Balochistan as a conspiracy against Pakistan, called for probing the funding of these organisations as this could be traced back to those forces which want to destabilise Pakistan.

Actually, the instability started in Balochistan when various projects were undertaken by the previous government to develop the backward regions. The Baloch Sardars (Feudal lords) who have been backed by US and India, opposed all the developmental projects. These Sardars who were running their own private jails and farrari camps, resisted the government plans as they did not want to give up the old system of feudal lords.

It is mentionable that America which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to make India a mini-super power of Asia to contain China and destablise Pakistan as well as Iran. Balochistan where China has invested billion of dollars to develop Gwadar seaport irritates both Washington and New Delhi

It is notable that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and an another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from RAW and CIA, and are also trying to sabotage Pakistan’s relationship with China and Iran. In the past few years, their militants kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Jundollah also arranged a number of suicide attacks in Iran, while Tehran had directly named CIA for supporting those terrorist attacks.

This is also owing to the mineral resources of Balochistan—particularly gold and copper that US-led India and Israel have accelerated their subversive acts in Balochistan. 

Nonetheless, the year of 2012 must prove very positive for Balochistan. This is the right time for the government that its announced policy for political, social and economic reforms should be implemented so as to remove sense of deprivation among the Balochis. At the same time, our political and religious leaders and media must convince the people, especially the youth that their Sardars want to restore old system of feudalism in the province and are playing in the hands of foreign enemies, especially the US. These are the anti-state elements which incite the Balochis against the federation and the security forces in order to separate the province so as to fulfill the American secret strategic designs against Pakistan, China and Iran. 

No doubt, hearing on Balochistan by the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs has clearly exposed the US support to the Baloch separatists. 
Courtesy Sajjad Shaukat.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Courtesy: Pakistan Defence

India must face up to Hindu terrorism

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Indian Hindu priests


India's anti-minorities bias is so strong that it has failed to acknowledge the threat posed by Hindu radicalism

For far too long, the enduring response of the Indian establishment to Hindu nationalists has rarely surpassed mild scorn. Their organised violent eruptions across the country – slaughtering Muslims and Christians, destroying their places of worship, cutting open pregnant wombs – never seemed sufficient enough to the state to cast them as a meaningful threat to India's national security.
But the recently leaked confession of a repentant Hindu priest, Swami Aseemanand, confirms what India's security establishment should have uncovered: a series of blasts between 2006 and 2008 were carried out by Hindu outfits. The attacks targeted a predominantly Muslim town and places of Muslim worship elsewhere. Their victims were primarily Muslim. Yet the reflexive reaction of the police was to round up young Muslim men, torture them, extract confessions and declare the cases solved.
Pundits now conduct cautious enquiries on television. Does this revelation mean India is now under attack by "Hindu terrorism"? But to treat this as a new phenomenon is to overlook the bulky corpus of terrorist violence in India that has its roots in explicitly Hindu-political grievances. Why is the attack on a Jewish centre in Mumbai by Pakistani gunmen an example of "Islamic terrorism", but the slaughter of a thousand Muslims by sword-wielding Hindus in Gujarat in 2002 not proof of "Hindu terrorism", particularly when the purpose of the violence was to establish an Hindu state in India? How do we describe attacks on churches, the kidnappings of pastors, the burning to death of a missionary? What do we make of the war-cry pehle kasai, phir isai: first the butchers (Muslims), then the Christians? What has prompted this debate over "Hindu terrorism" is not Aseemanand's confession: it is the fact that, in carrying out their violence, his accomplices appropriated methods which, in popular imagination, have become associated exclusively with Islamic terrorism. Detonating bombs in crowded areas: isn't that what Muslims do?
It is when you look at the reactions to non-Hindu extremism that you absorb how strongly majoritarian assumptions inform the state and society's conduct in India. In 2002, the Indian government banned the radical Muslim group Simi (Students' Islamic Movement of India) citing the group's charter, which seeks to establish sharia rule in India, and the terror charges some of its members were facing. But the Hindu radical outfit RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the National Volunteer Corps) remains open for business – even though it campaigns, very openly, for a Hindu state in India, and its members incite and perpetrate violence against Muslim and Christian minorities. Mahatma Gandhi's assassin was a member of the RSS, as are Aseemanand and his confreres. To get an idea of which of the two groups poses a more immediate threat to India, consider this: the government that banned Simi was headed by the BJP, the political wing of the RSS.
The principal cause of Hindu radicalism, much like its Muslim counterpart in Pakistan, is the partition of India in 1947. The departing British hacked India apart to accommodate the Muslim League's demand for an exclusive homeland for the subcontinent's Muslims – and so, the Hindu nationalist logic runs, the territory that remained should logically be identified as the land of Hindus. If Pakistan's Muslim majoritarianism crystallised around the bogey of "Hindu raj", the Hindu nationalist project thrives by casting the burden of partition on India's Muslim minorities – fifth columnists whose coreligionists tore India apart by claiming, in spite of a millennium-long sojourn in India, to be foreigners by virtue of their faith.
For all the saffron calumny, it is impossible to find a community more emphatically committed to India than its Muslims. India's Hindus never had to make a choice. The Muslims did. Consider what an ordinary Muslim family in 1947 would have had to deal with: terrified by the violence that the partition had unleashed, their coreligionists were fleeing in the millions to Pakistan; Hindu and Sikh fanatics were actively seeking out Muslims for slaughter and rape; the possibility of being betrayed by neighbours and friends was far from remote. Sardar Patel, the second most powerful functionary in the Indian government, was openly hostile to Muslims – hostility which no doubt would have been seen by many Hindus as tacit endorsement of their actions. Amidst all this, the sole authoritative source of reassurance would have been the distant pledges of a better tomorrow by Jawaharlal Nehru. The Muslims who remained, who refused to vacate the hell that was India despite the blandishments of paradise next door in Pakistan, affirmed their faith in India with their lives.
After all this, it is staggering that the Hindu right gets away so easily by routinely humiliating Indian Muslims. From demographics to diet, personal laws to places of worship, Muslims are suspect in everything they do. Adding a dash of foreign authority, glamour and fuel to this unbridled bigotry is the lavatorial "scholarship" of frustrated European converts to Hinduism such as Fran├žois Gautier and Koenraad Elst. Misfits in their own societies, they have flourished by exploiting communal tensions in a miserably poor country. What the Muslims did to Hindus was worse than the Jewish Holocaust explains one, while the other warns Hindus that they are being outbred by Muslims. The JNU historian Tanika Sarkar was perhaps right in identifying "penis envy and anxiety about emasculation" among the principal reasons for anti-Muslim bigotry.
The Indian state has failed appallingly in its obligations to Muslim citizens. There are 150 million Muslims in India, but as the government's own figures show, only 4% are graduates, 5% have public employment, an overwhelming majority remain locked out of public institutions, and their access to government loans and education is severely restricted. If this institutional exclusion should breed resentment, and the resentment produce violence, no one will hesitate to call it another instance of Islamic terrorism. But when self-pitying Hindus massacre minorities and detonate bombs in the midst of Muslim crowds, we are expected to be polite. No, let us call it what it actually is: Hindu terrorism.

Courtesy: theguardian 
Originally Published on:
SYDNEY: The Australian government said Monday it would make a parliamentary apology to victims of abuse in the military and set up a compensation fund after allegations of rape and...

SYDNEY: The Australian government said Monday it would make a parliamentary apology to victims of abuse in the military and set up a compensation fund after allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith will also establish an independent taskforce to individually assess the hundreds of claims of abuse uncovered by a report commissioned by the government last year.
The taskforce will be able to refer appropriate matters to police for formal criminal investigation and assessment for prosecution, while offering help to access counselling, health, and other services.
“I will say sorry to those people who have been subject to inappropriate abuse over their time in the Australian Defence Force,” Smith told reporters ahead of the apology to be made in parliament later Monday.
“There will be no more turning a blind eye to inappropriate conduct.”
He added that a capped compensation fund would be set up with the taskforce, headed by former West Australian Supreme Court judge Len Roberts-Smith, deciding who qualifies for payouts of up to Aus$50,000 (US$52,000).
The move follows an independent report that was sparked by the so-called Skype scandal, when footage of a young male recruit having sex with a female classmate was streamed online to cadets in another room without her knowledge.
The report detailed 24 allegations of rape that never went to trial, among more than 1,000 claims of sexual or other abuse dating back to the 1950s, involving both men and women.
As well as the rape claims, it said that “from the 1950s through to the early 1980s, many boys aged 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age in the defence force suffered abuse including serious sexual and other physical abuse”.
Until the 1960s, boys as young as 13 were recruited into the Navy, while 15-year-olds were accepted into the Army, Navy and Air Force up until the early 1980s. The minimum enlisting age is now 17.
Smith said the Defence Force would bear the financial burden of the compensation.
Defence Force chief General David Hurley has vowed the military will cooperate fully with the government and warned that any serving personnel found guilty of abuse will be brought to justice. (AFP)

Salala: One year has passed

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A year ago, on November 26, 2011, two American Apache Longbow (AH-64D) attack helicopters, one AC-130H Spectre gunship and two F-15 Eagle fighter jets attacked two Pakistani posts, Boulder and...

A year ago, on November 26, 2011, two American Apache Longbow (AH-64D) attack helicopters, one AC-130H Spectre gunship and two F-15 Eagle fighter jets attacked two Pakistani posts, Boulder and Volcano, situated about one kilometre apart, at Salala in the Baizai tehsil of Mohmand Agency. The attack, carried out in two phases, killed 24 soldiers, including two officers.
The attack was coordinated and deliberate, its second phase carried out by American forces after the Pakistan Army informed the Isaf command that their forces were attacking Pakistani troops – and despite this information.
Pakistan reacted by blocking the Nato ground lines of communication (GLOC) and demanded an apology before the supply line would be unblocked. The Americans, while saying that they were “sorry” for the losses, refused to offer an apology by the White House.
A NATO inquiry said that both sides had made mistakes. Pakistan categorically rejected the inquiry report. It had earlier refused to be part of a joint inquiry. Top Pakistan Army officials denied the attack was unintentional.
The NATO story seemed implausible. It claimed that Pakistan was informed of the operational activity in that area. The NATO patrol received hostile fire and called for air support.
The attack helicopters and aerial platforms mistook the posts for insurgent encampments and engaged them.
It stretches credulity to believe that a force which had the means to deliver such deadly and accurate fire could not differentiate between army posts and the so-called insurgent encampments.
It would also be absurd for an insurgent ambush party to first fire at an enemy patrol and then concentrate in an encampment to present itself as a target for aerial platforms instead of dispersing.
Predictably, the incident brought the US-Pakistan relations to almost breaking point with the US pressing Pakistan to reopen the GLOC but without offering an apology.
However, the incident provoked such reaction in Pakistan that it became impossible for the government to climb down without a US apology.
A feeble ‘apology’ came in July this year, used by Pakistan as an exit strategy from the commitment trap it had got itself into.
Are there any lessons learnt? Yes and no. Yes, because the eight-month blockade forced the US to realise that it cannot dial up the pain without expecting a response from Pakistan.
It has to weigh the consequences of pressuring Pakistan and responding to the consequences against its larger strategic concerns in the region.
On the Pakistani side, the realisation has set in that climbing up on the escalatory ladder always puts more pressure on the weaker party than the stronger one.
Also, climbing higher on the ladder means the response in any next crisis will force Pakistan to start at the rung where the last crisis had ended.
But the broader strategic lessons have not been learnt. The operational and very often domestic political requirements still override the strategic imperative of cooperation.
The US wants quick results and that forces its hands into taking unilateral action. The use of drones is an important case in point, as are JSOC operations.
While tactically successful, neither has had the desired strategic result. The tick-tock of the clock is pressing and the requirement to create a narrative of victory means the pressure will be on Pakistan.
This doesn’t sync with Pakistan’s strategic concerns; nor does it ensure that Afghanistan will be returned to normalcy, one of the fundamental concerns of Pakistan, given its proximity to Afghanistan and the fact that an unstable Afghanistan is Pakistan’s nightmare.
This is where the current diplomatic efforts come in.
Pakistan has been trying to open a viable and sustainable bilateral track with Kabul and wants to ensure that the Karzai administration can work out a political reconciliation with the Taliban.
It also realises that the only way to relieve US pressure and increase negotiating space for itself vis-a-vis Washington requires that it make the bilateral track with Kabul efficient and deliverable. That has come about, albeit late.
A reconciliation within Afghanistan will go a long way from lifting America’s long shadow from the region.
If it doesn’t come about, Washington will have greater reason to try and retain some bases in that country. That, more than anything, could bring the war to Pakistan.

Getting Waziristan Right

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North Waziristan figures prominently on the entire terrorism scene. Every terrorist or would be terrorist arrested indicates some kind of direct or indirect link to North Waziristan making it a...

North Waziristan figures prominently on the entire terrorism scene. Every terrorist or would be terrorist arrested indicates some kind of direct or indirect link to North Waziristan making it a point of convergence for anyone contemplating a terrorist act. All reports confirm the presence of Afghan Taliban personified by the Haqqani Network, the ‘Pakistan Taliban- Tehrik Taliban Pakistan and an assortment of Chechens, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Arabs and even Western origin people in North Waziristan together with kidnappers, drugs and weapon smugglers and criminals from Pakistan who go there to rest and recuperate after their latest venture and before the next one. The outreach from this area into the urban centers of Pakistan links it to various extremist militant outfits that are ready to do whatever is required for a price and with the added benefit of furthering their own ethnic, sectarian, political or resource gathering agendas. It goes without saying that there may be, and probably is, external exploitation of this complex situation. This cauldron of criminal, subversive, insurgent and militant activity is the single most important reason for Pakistan’s image worldwide as the epicenter of terrorism and for the economic decline fuelled by a destabilized internal security situation. The combined threat that this situation poses now threatens Pakistan’s existence as a state.
The Afghan Taliban were probably tolerated because their agenda was liberation of Afghanistan from foreign occupation and because they were seen as a significant element in any reconciliation process that could make them part of the eventual political dispensation in Afghanistan. They did not pose a threat to Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban, however, did not sanitize the areas under their control from those whose stated objective is the destruction of Pakistan and their various assorted partners. The result is that Pakistan is being attacked from across its western borders and its South Western province of Baluchistan is being set up for a full scale insurgency with considerable damage already done. The port city of Karachi has been plunged into violence and near total lawlessness. There is also the perception that the Taliban are aligned with Al Qaeda however truncated it may be in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United Front, that is the successor to the earlier Northern Alliance, never really accepted Pakistan’s role and aligned itself firmly with the West against the Taliban and indirectly against Pakistan. This created the perception of a US-India-Afghan government alliance against Pakistan. There is very little doubt that those who attack Pakistan have sanctuaries in Afghanistan and get support from external elements — the US either ignores this activity or has some kind of inspirational role because of the sanctuaries in North Waziristan. Leon Panetta the US Secretary Defense is on record as having stated in Delhi that the US was fighting a war in FATA — FATA, of course, is Pakistan.
Some time back Pakistan’s Parliament passed a resolution that the conflict in FATA should be resolved through dialogue — but dialogue with whom? Those who oppose the state, do not recognize its constitution and its laws? In spite of this the Pakistan military has been fighting the enemy in FATA for many years sustaining casualties on a daily basis. It is largely because of the military’s successful operations and continued presence that, except for North Waziristan where there has been no operation so far, the other six agencies in FATA and Swat are not mentioned in the context of terrorism. How long can a military, any military, sustain such a situation with no end in sight?  The sporadic acts of terror including the Malala episode can all be traced back to those given sanctuaries across the border in Afghanistan. The situation raises several questions. Is Pakistan at war — considering the fact that war is being waged against it from within and without? Is Pakistan under attack for from some combination of a fourth and fifth generation war — insurgency as in Vietnam and Afghanistan plus loosely organized networks with a common objective ( as identified in a recent article by Babar Sattar in The News November 25,12)? If so, what should be Pakistan’s response? Should there be a declaration of war? Or should a strategic political directive be issued giving the threat and state response to it? In a recent speech the President highlighted the danger of retaliation across the country if a military operation was started in North Waziristan. Already the situation is that while the enemy has the run of Pakistan the state’s security forces cannot even step into areas controlled by the enemy for fear of retaliation that could exploit the many vulnerabilities in society. Does this imply that the state has capitulated or is in the process of capitulating to the forces that seem to be overwhelming it?
The problems and challenges that Pakistan faces are by no means unique to it. Usually problems within societies are latent and largely controllable. In Pakistan all the problems have surfaced simultaneously making a coherent response to them at the same time beyond state capacity. The response, therefore, has to be sequenced and prioritized. Baluchistan and the situation in Karachi have to be resolved politically. This should be the top priority. Extremist militants must be restricted and their activities controlled as the next step. Intelligence agencies, police and para-military forces need to be strengthened and given capacity to effectively cope with situations and for law enforcement in every sphere. Finally, once these steps have been taken and consolidated, the state can turn its attention to the FATA and specifically to North Waziristan. Right now the US is considering its withdrawal schedule from Afghanistan and its troop presence beyond 2014. The focus is on reconciliation to create the right environment in Afghanistan post 2014. Pakistan has taken steps to support this process. This is also the time to mend relations with both India and Afghanistan and to set US-Pakistan relations back on a strategic rather than transactional basis.
Tacstrat Analysis

Crackdown against TTP, Islamabad’s next agenda

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A large scale crackdown against militants linked to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated terrorist outfits across the country is on the cards in the wake of horrendous acts of...

A large scale crackdown against militants linked to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated terrorist outfits across the country is on the cards in the wake of horrendous acts of terror during the month of Muharram.
Scores of people were killed in terrorist attacks in the last few days targeting various processions of mourners and imam bargahs and the responsibility for most of those assaults was accepted by the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led TTP. The terrorist attacks were carried out in Rawalpindi, Karachi, DI Khan and some other parts of the country in the first few days of Muharram, leading to great anger and anguish among the country’s security circles.
TTP had also been involved, according to Pakistani investigators, in other acts of terror during the recent months, including the assault on PAF base Minhas in Kamra.
Pakistan’s civilian and military authorities believe that the TTP consists mostly of irreconcilable elements that have no love or appetite for peace in the country and hence they need to be dealt with an iron hand. Pakistani law enforcement authorities and intelligence agencies are likely to start a massive crackdown on TTP and its affiliated organisations across the country soon to block further terrorist attacks.
“Intelligence agencies will accelerate their process of information gathering and use all available resources to the maximum to find the hideouts of the TTP activists and its cells in various parts of the country,” an official source said, seeking anonymity. He said investigators were looking into the possibility of involvement of ‘foreign hand’ in the recent acts of terror and also to see whether the local militants linked with the TTP were being used for the purpose by some external force. A couple of months ago, there were press reports suggesting a ‘targeted military offensive’ in North Waziristan against the TTP and its affiliate local and foreign militants, but that did not happen. Commenting on the possibility of any military action against TTP in North Waziristan in the aftermath of attacks in Muharram, an official said Pakistani security forces were in action against the militants in various tribal regions and whenever there was concrete information about their (militants) presence in any area, they were not spared.
He said any military operation in North Waziristan or any other region was the decision to be made by the government. The official said the situation on ground was that Pakistani security forces had been overstretched because of anti-terror activities in the Tribal Areas and “our troops were doing a great job”.

Remembering Salala

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One year after 24 soldiers were killed in an attack on a Pakistani check post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, #RememberingSalala was the top trend today (Monday), with Twitterati across the country posting tweets...

One year after 24 soldiers were killed in an attack on a Pakistani check post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, #RememberingSalala was the top trend today (Monday), with Twitterati across the country posting tweets to express their sorrow and disgust.
On November 26, 2011, Nato forces opened fire on a check post of the Pakistan Army located in Salala, which left 24 soldiers dead. In opposition, Pakistan blocked supply routes to Nato-Isaf forces stationed in Afghanistan.
However, precisely after seven months and six days, Islamabad announced the lifting of the ban just as soon as an apology was tendered by Washington.
Today, majority of the Twitterati dubbed the incident as “selling the martyrs blood”.
One year ago, the 7 Azad Kashmir Regiment did what it had to do: sacrifice 24 of its finest at Salala. But are we doing what we have to do?
26 November, 2011. The day was Saturday. The day our ‘friends’ attacked us. #RememberingSalala
They fought & stood against the might of US Army with small arms, they fought side by side, they gave courage a new name#RememberingSalala
They faced bullets for us ..we salute the martyrs of #RememberingSalala
One year on, in #Pakistan the memory of Salala attack martyrs is lost in oblivion. #RememberingSalala #US #NATO
The current leaders sold our martyrs’ blood and after a few months reopened the supply line. We are a joke of a nation.#RememberingSalala
i wish the people would start respecting the military a little more#rememberingSALALA
#rememberingSALALA Why Do We Remember Salala? We Only Remember Malala O..O
we don’t have anything for them, but mere words!we accept or not,but we owe nothing less than our lives to them #Pakistan#RememberingSalala
SALALA rhymes with MALALA but you wont hear about it on the intl news because we sold the martyrs’ blood #rememberingSALALA
these mean politicians and elites have SOLD OUT the sacrifices and blood of the martyrs for few dollars ! #RememberingSalala #Pakistan
We remember our boys who fought to the last bullet & last drop of blood, but have we learned anything from that incident.#RememberingSalala
Dollars in accounts make U forgot the brutality of NATO that killed our 24 soldiers… Oh Did i say.. we sold their blood #RememberingSalala
Today I am #RememberingSalala because they fought against uneven odds and never gave an inch. The bravest of all brave

President Barack Obama’s administration is in the process of drawing up a formal rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, according to reports. The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, said explicit guidelines were being drawn up amid disagreement between the CIA and the departments of defense, justice and state over when lethal action is acceptable. Human-rights groups and peace groups opposed to the CIA-operated targeted-killing programme, which remains officially classified, said the administration had already rejected international law in pursuing its drone operations. “To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn’t already a rulebook” said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Center for Democracy. “But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war].” He said the news was “frustrating”, because it relied on “self-serving sources”. The New York Times piece was written by one of the journalists who first exposed the existence of a White House “kill list”, in May. The ACLU is currently involved in a legal battle with the US government over the legal memo underlying the controversial targeted killing programme, the basis for drone strikes that have killed American citizens and the process by which individuals are placed on the kill list. Jaffer said it was impossible to make a judgement about whether the “rulebook” being discussed, according to the Times, was legal or illegal. “It is frustrating how we are reliant on self-serving leaks” said Jaffer. “We are left with interpreting shadows cast on the wall. The terms that are being used by these officials are undefined, malleable and without definition. It is impossible to know whether they are talking about something lawful or unlawful. “We are litigating for the release of legal memos. We don’t think the public should have to reply on self-serving leaking by unnamed administrative officials.” The New York Times said that, facing the possibility that the president might not be re-elected, work began in the weeks running up to the 6 November election to “develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials”. It went on to say that Obama and his advisers were still debating whether remote-controlled killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the US, or whether it should be more widely used, in order to “help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territories”. Jaffer said he was sceptical about the significance of the debate outlined in the piece. He said: “The suggestion is that there is a significant debate going on within the administration about the scope of the government’s authority to carry out targeted killings. I would question the significance of the debate. If imminent is defined as broadly as some say it is within the administration then the gap between the sides is narrow. “It matters how you define ‘imminent’. The Bush administration was able to say it didn’t condone torture because of the definition of torture. You might think that if someone says, ‘I believe we should only use targeted killings only when there’s an imminent threat,’ you might think that sounds OK. But without terms like ‘imminent’ being defined it is impossible to evaluate the arguments.” Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, an anti-war group, said the news that formal rules were being written for targeted killing was “disgusting”. “That they are trying to write the rules for something that is illegal is disgusting” said Benjamin. “They are saying, ‘The levers might be in the wrong hands.’ What about the way they are using them right now? There is nothing about taking drones out of the hands of the CIA – which is not a military organisation – or getting rid of signature strikes, where there is no evidence that people are involved in terrorist activities.” In Pakistan and Yemen, the CIA and the military have carried out “signature strikes” against groups of suspected and unnamed militants, as well as strikes against named terrorists. Benjamin said she had just come back from Pakistan, where the “intensity of the backlash will take generations to overcome”. The New York Times quotes an official who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was “concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands” after the election. In October, Obama referred to efforts to codify the controversial drone programme. In an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on 18 October, the president said: “One of the things we’ve got to do is put legal architecture in place and we need congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in, in terms of some of the decisions we’re making”. While Obama and administration officials have commented publicly on the legal basis for targeted killings, the program is officially secret. In court, government lawyers fighting lawsuits by the ACLU continue to claim that no official has ever formally acknowledged the drones, and that there might not even be a drone programme. Two lawsuits – one by the ACLU and the other by the ACLU and the NYT – seeking information on the legal basis on targeted killing, are still pending. The Guardian


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It is not a fairy tale. Not very long ago, Muharram was not the season of sectarian violence and mayhem; people of all sects would attend the Majalis, under the same roof, to pay homage to the Great martyrs of Islam. While the Shias would move in processions, Sunnis would line up along the routes and manage Sabeels. Rise of sectarian violence in Pakistan is a recent phenomenon. People of Pakistan are not sectarian-minded, and for most of the country’s history, people of different sects have co-existed peacefully. The sectarian scourge, in its current form, is certainly deep-rooted and cannot be eliminated easily. It is being systematically fanned by misguided adventurers and religious bigots. An unfortunate combination of vested interests, misplaced policies and discriminatory laws has drastically reduced the scope for a religiously tolerant state and society in Pakistan. Communalism, religious intolerance and the sectarian violence are ugly scars on the face of any society; these are certainly an anti-thesis to the teachings of Islam. The word ‘Islam’ means peace and harmony. As a matter of doctrine, it forbids bigotry and fanaticism. What to talk of intra-Islam harmony, it pursues generosity and tolerance towards the followers of the other religions as well. It is interesting to refer to Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947: “… you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship… You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” This speech came under similar circumstances when post partition communal violence was at its peak. Expanse of sectarian extremism has enhanced over the last 3-4 decades. Earlier it was confined to rural pockets, now it haunts major metropolitan centres as well. In good old days sectarian violence used to spark up spontaneously, and then subside quickly to give way to peace. Now it is a perpetual activity spanning over the entire year. Older version of extremism was a reactive response to objectionable utterances or actions of rival sect; now it is a proactive and premeditated activity, incorporating a shade of battles for turf. Earlier weapons were glass bottles and knives, now we face grenades and bombs. Another factor sustaining the sectarian intolerance is its politicization. Sectarian parties have entered the arena of politics; clerics contest elections on sectarian rather than Islamic basis. Sectarian intolerance is now the springboard for political dividend. Even mainstream political parties like to have electoral adjustment with sectarian clerics-turned politicians. The conflict between sectarian groups is not merely ideological; often it is impelled by the desire to obtain political power. Undue patronage of the clergy by various governments has steadily raised their public profile and influence, culminating in a larger than life political clout of sectarian parties. Yet another cause is dominance of orthodoxy in the religious scholarship and their acceptance as an authority on religion. While orthodoxy holds the sway; main stream clergy stands marginalized. Peripheral theological debates provide the basis for volatile divisions. As a result, healthy academic discourse has been replaced by militancy. Of late, a dangerous trend has emerged whereby sectarian groups are playing an increased role in fueling the insurgencies in Baluchistan & FATA. Most of the extremist outfits either have well thought out linkages with terrorist organizations or they are unwittingly strengthening their agenda. Acts of violence by sectarian organization are reinforcing the global perception of equating Islam with militancy and terrorism. It is an over-simplification to attribute the mushrooming of sectarian violence as a spinoff of Afghan Jihad or Islamisation effort by President Zia-ul-Haq. Afghanistan, where successive wars have destroyed the physical infrastructure and the social fabric, sectarianism is much more contained than in Pakistan. Likewise, Saudi Arabia where legislation has a heavier bias towards Sharia, does not have the kind of sectarian violence. Wide spread perception has it that Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting their proxy war in Pakistan by funding the seminaries of their favourite sects. Proponents of this acuity argue that sustenance of any kind of militancy is resource intensive, and Pakistani economy alone could not have afforded it for such a long time. While challenging institutionalized sectarianism is certainly not easy, strengthening the common cultural heritage of Pakistani people offers a less-confrontational way to reverse the trend. The compulsions fuelling religious conflicts are certainly complex. They have multiple negative implications. At the same time, this is not a problem that will go away on its own. It needs to be confronted head-on. Government, civil society, political parties and media have critical roles to play in countering the trends through promotion of religious freedom, social harmony and protection of divergent opinion holders. The blame for the current situation falls squarely on successive governments. The strategy to tackle sectarian extremism has always been reactive than proactive; i.e. it has always been about damage control. Successive governments have seldom been serious to arrest the steady rise of sectarian extremism. It is high time that Pakistan comes up with a well-thought out national strategy to tackle the sectarian extremism. The government cannot contain religious extremism and violence by simply issuing executive orders. It requires a comprehensive approach that entails monitoring supporters of the militant groups, curtailing their societal sources of support, and taking appropriate action against the hard-core sectarian militants. The government must also adopt measures to address socio-economic inequities. Unless poverty and underdevelopment are addressed effectively, ideological appeals and militancy will continue to attract the alienated youth. The problem which has taken roots over a couple of decades may not necessarily take as long to eradicate. It is, however, essential that the effort to tackle the sectarian violence begins immediately. This effort must be underwritten by unwavering political will, and a long term strategy. Mere cosmetic measures won’t achieve much beyond patchy pauses of calm. By Air Commodore (R) Khalid Iqbal SPEARHEAD RESEARCH Writer is Consultant, Policy & Strategic Response, IPRI. Email:

Sectarian attacks kill 25 people across Pakistan

Posted by Admin On Friday, 23 November 2012 0 comments
THE country was rocked on Wednesday by explosions and targeted attacks in main cities in the four provinces, claiming lives of at least 25 civilians and security personnel. Two of...

THE country was rocked on Wednesday by explosions and targeted attacks in main cities in the four provinces, claiming lives of at least 25 civilians and security personnel.
Two of the attacks — one in Rawalpindi and the other in Karachi — were sectarian, targeting Muharram mourners gathered in or near Imambargahs.
At least 14 people were killed and 35 others injured in a suicide attack in Dhoke Syedian area of Rawalpindi.
Two people were killed and at least 12 others injured in twin blasts near an Imambargah in Orangi Town of Karachi. The blasts took place one hour apart.
In Quetta, security personnel who were escorting a van of schoolchildren were hit by a blast. At least three soldiers and two civilians were killed. Twenty-eight people were injured.
Three policemen were killed in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, when gunmen ambushed their van. The assailants also fired on a checkpost, injuring three FC personnel.
Also in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a police constable was killed when a bomb placed on a road hit a police van which plunged into a ravine. Two officers and the driver of the van were injured.
According to our reporter Mohammad Asghar, at least 14 people were killed and 35 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Dhoke Syedian area of Rawalpindi on Wednesday night.
The explosion took place after the suicide bomber was intercepted by law-enforcement personnel when he was trying to join a Muharram procession.
The procession, which originated from the house of Manzoor Haider Shah, was heading to Qasr-i-Shabir where it was to culminate.
The death toll could rise as five of the injured are said to be in critical condition.
According to initial reports, the suspected suicide bomber tried to join the procession by crossing barbed wires and breaking the security cordon. The bomber detonated his suicide jacket containing high-intensity explosives the moment he was intercepted by security personnel.
The blast, which shattered windowpanes of nearby houses, was heard miles away. It created panic across the city as police and emergency services were seen moving towards the site of the blast.
According to law-enforcement personnel, four live grenades were found at the scene of the bombing. Human limbs were scattered over a large area and the injured were screaming for help.
Angry people pelted policemen with stones and raised slogans against the administration and its failure to provide security.
According to one of the injured, who identified himself as Bagh Hussain Shah, the procession was heading towards the main road when the explosion took place.
“There was chaos, the injured lying over a vast area as everybody screaming with pain and calling for help,” he said. “There was nobody to help me as my brother Ishtiaq Hussain Shah who suffered serious injuries was also lying on the road.”
At least 23 injured were taken to the district headquarters hospital, five to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital, three to the Military Hospital and one to the Holy Family Hospital.
S. Raza Hassan in Karachi adds: The provincial capital was rocked by twin blasts near an Imambargah. Two people were killed and at least 12 others injured.
The two blasts took place with a space of one hour close to Masjid-o-Imambargah Haider-i-Karar in Orangi Town No 5.
According to police and hospital sources, Arsalan, a shopkeeper, and Arshad, a puncture shop owner, were killed. Journalists as well as police and Rangers personnel were among the injured.
The first blast took place at about 7pm, damaging nearby shops.
“Circumstantial evidence suggests that explosives were planted in a motorcycle,” said Raja Umar Khattab, SSP of CID’s counter-terrorism wing.
“The second improvised explosive device appeared to have been concealed in a brick-like structure along the wall of the Imambargah. A number of similar blocks on the pavement gave a perfect cover to the IED,” the SSP said, adding that about five to six kilograms of explosives were used in the first blast and about half a kilogram in the second, he said.
“The blast took place during traffic movement on the road. The motorcycle was not parked there and it is difficult to say at the moment if the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber,” DIG West Javed Odho told Dawn.
He said some mutilated human remains had been found, but only a DNA test could confirm if those were of the bomber.
Forensic investigators claimed to have collected “some crucial pieces of evidence” which could lead to trace the planners and executors of the attacks, a senior officer said.
The Secretary General of Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen, Allama Nasir Abbas Jafri, condemned the twin blasts and said the government had completely failed to provide security to people.
In a statement, he called for handing over security to the army on 9th and 10th of Muharram.