The boy who cried wolf

February 21, 2013


The announcement for the annulment of assemblies on March 16th was a wakeup call for political parties all across Pakistan. The clock is ticking and the time to make changes, stir up electoral issues and leave a lasting impression on voters in now here. It is thus quite remarkable how projects like the Metro Bus in Punjab, the promise of target operation against religious extremists in Quetta and MQM’s concern for Karachi’s insecurity transpired at this momentous time.

Withdrawal of murder cases of Lyari’s criminal gang members’ specifically those belonging to the Peoples Aman Committee and the failed implementation of Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) in Karachi were the last straw for MQM. In a televised briefing on February 16th, Dr. Farooq Sattar, MQM Coordination Committee Deputy Convener, officially terminated MQM’s alliance with PPP at both the federal and provincial level. He accused PPP of delaying the process of justice by harboring criminals identified as absconders by the courts. MQM had expressed its reservations a few days earlier too but PPP representatives either denied the withdrawal order for or gave reassurances of reconciliation efforts.

It must be noted that this is not MQM’s first attempt to break their alliance with PPP. It has done so several times in the past and soon afterwards tends to mend fences. Given this trend, other political parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehreek, Save Sindh Movement, National Peoples Party and PML-Q (Likeminded) were suspicious of a conspiracy. Chaudhry Nisar, Leader of the Opposition and member of PML-N called MQM’s move a “joke”. He refused to consult MQM in the formation of a caretaker setup.

MQM’s separation will not have an impact on the overall functioning of the government. As far as provincial politics are concerned, MQM continues to have a strong voter bases in Karachi and Hyderabad. PPP might have lost MQM but it would translate to the loss of only a few seats since PPP has a dominating presence in many areas of Sindh.

Many have questioned what MQM can achieve in this short period of time as part of the opposition. If they hope that breaking ties with PPP will exonerate them from being an accessory to the nation’s insecurity and economic downfall and thus prove the sincerity of their motives, they are badly mistaken. Its party leaders argue that an earlier break would have risked derailing the government. It is however, quite unlikely that they would reconcile with PPP since the government is set to be dissolved on March 16th.

So how is this breakup different from the rest? This time MQM may in fact be planning for a pre-election scenario. The government is bound to take into consideration the view of the opposition in installing a caretaker setup. As members of the opposition, MQM will prevail over other nationalist parties especially PML-F in appointing an opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly. This will give MQM a chance to contribute to the selection of a caretaker chief minister and therefore, maintain their influence until the elections. MQM’s move puts the 17-month stalled appointment of a leader of opposition in a new light. It seems that Governor Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad may have been saving the seat for his MQM brothers. The fact that contrary to the claims of MQM leadership, Ebad has not handed in his resignation means that MQM plans to have the cake and eat and eat it too.

Another explanation for PPP withdrawing cases was also offered; it may be seeking voters from People Aman Committee. While this may be true, it is more likely that the MQM-PPP fight is a farce. Contesting elections from both sides of the fence, this duo could crush PML-N, which has been making headway in building alliances with Sindh’s political parties and emerge successful in Sindh. If PPP is unable to win a re-election, as leader of the opposition MQM will still have the opportunity to negotiate a partnership with the ruling party.

On Saturday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said “When forces, instead of providing protection to the masses, are protecting criminals, the people will take extreme steps for their safety.” What Hussain doesn’t realize is that these very masses also know that he may not be more than just a boy who cried wolf.

Pakistan Comes Together For Brave Pakistanis Of Waziristan

April 26, 2011

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has finalized arrangements for its protest sit-in (April 23-24) against the US drone strikes and Nato supplies passing through Pakistan. The city has been decorated with banners and posters carrying large portraits of the party chief Imran Khan.

A car rally was also arranged by the party workers on Thursday to mobilise public in support of the move. The rally started from the Nishtarabad Chowk and passing through different roads of the city culminated at the Bagh-e-Naran Chowk, the venue where the protest sit-in is scheduled to be held.

The party activists carrying flags raised slogans against the US and Pakistan governments. A large number of motorcyclists participated in the rally. It was led by the PTI provincial information secretary Zahid Hussain Mohmand, Zafar Khattak and Amjad Orakzai.

PTI has decided to register its protest against the CIA-operated drone strikes in the tribal areas and the supply to Nato forces in Afghanistan. Different political parties have announced support for the sit-in. These include the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Istiqlal.

Talking to The News, PTI leader Zahid Hussain Mohmand said that representatives of the Tajir Ittehad had also assured support for the protest. He said the lawyers would also join to express anger over the drone attacks.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Benazir Bhutto group in its meeting announced support to the sit-in against the drone attacks and killing of innocent citizen in Pakistan’s tribal agencies.

Speaking at the meeting, Arbab Khyber Hayat said the people should stand up against the US drone attacks and block the supply for the Nato forces in Afghanistan. He said the next generation would not forgive them if they failed to raise voice against the ongoing US injustices against innocent citizens of Pakistan.

A known film actor and producer Ajab Gul also announced to join the protest. He said that his other colleagues were also eager to make the drive a success as innocent people were being killed in the drone attacks.

PTI women wing provincial office-bearers urged the people belonging to every walk of life to participate in the sit-in. The party meeting, chaired by its president Naseem Hayat, said the US was carrying out extrajudicial killings despite the unanimous resolution by the Pakistani parliament against the drone attacks.

Can it get Worse?

January 17, 2011

Tariq Ali

Mumtaz Hussain Qadri smiled as he surrendered to his colleagues after shooting Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab, dead. Many in Pakistan seemed to support his actions; others wondered how he’d managed to get a job as a state bodyguard in the carefully screened Elite Force. Geo TV, the country’s most popular channel, reported, and the report has since been confirmed, that ‘Qadri had been kicked out of Special Branch after being declared a security risk,’ that he ‘had requested that he not be fired on but arrested alive if he managed to kill Taseer’ and that ‘many in Elite Force knew of his plans to kill Salman Taseer.’

Qadri is on his way to becoming a national hero. On his first appearance in court, he was showered with flowers by admiring Islamabad lawyers who have offered to defend him free of charge. On his way back to prison, the police allowed him to address his supporters and wave to the TV cameras. The funeral of his victim was sparsely attended: a couple of thousand mourners at most. A frightened President Zardari and numerous other politicians didn’t show up. A group of mullahs had declared that anyone attending the funeral would be regarded as guilty of blasphemy. No mullah (that includes those on the state payroll) was prepared to lead the funeral prayers. The federal minister for the interior, Rehman Malik, a creature of Zardari’s, has declared that anyone trying to tamper with or amend the blasphemy laws will be dealt with severely. In the New York Times version he said he would shoot any blasphemer himself.

Taseer’s spirited defence of Asiya Bibi, a 45-year-old Punjabi Christian peasant, falsely charged with blasphemy after an argument with two women who accused her of polluting their water by drinking out of the same receptacle, provoked an angry response from religious groups. Many in his own party felt that Taseer’s initiative was mistimed, but in Pakistan the time is never right for such campaigns. Bibi had already spent 18 months in jail. Her plight had been highlighted by the media, women had taken to the streets to defend her and Taseer and another senior politician from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Sherry Rehman, had demanded amendments to the blasphemy laws. Thirty-eight other women have been imprisoned under the same law in recent years and soon after a friendly meeting between Yousaf Gillani, the prime minister, and the leader of the supposedly moderate Jamaat-e-Islami, a member of the latter offered a reward of ten thousand dollars to whoever manages to kill Bibi.

Taseer’s decision to take up Bibi’s case was not made on a whim. He had cleared the campaign with Zardari, much to the annoyance of the law minister, Babar Awan, a televangelist and former militant of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He told journalists he didn’t want the socio-cultural agenda to be hijacked by ‘lunatic mullahs’, raged against governments that had refused to take on fanaticism, and brushed aside threats to his life with disdain. He visited the prison where Bibi was detained – the first time in the history of the Punjab that a governor has gone inside a district jail – and at a press conference declared his solidarity with her. ‘She is a woman who has been incarcerated for a year and a half on a charge trumped up against her five days after an incident where people who gave evidence against her were not even present,’ he told an interviewer. He wanted, he said, ‘to take a mercy petition to the president, and he agreed, saying he would pardon Asiya Bibi if there had indeed been a miscarriage of justice’.

Two weeks after this visit Taseer was dead. I never much cared for his business practices or his political affiliations and had not spoken to him for 20 years, but he was one of my closest friends at school and university and the two of us and the late Shahid Rehman – a gifted and witty lawyer who drank himself to death many moons ago – were inseparable. Some joyful memories came back when I saw his face on TV.

It’s 1960. The country is under a pro-US military dictatorship. All opposition is banned. My parents are away. The three of us – we are 17 years old – are at my place and we decide that something has to be done. We buy some red paint and at about 2 a.m. drive to the Cantonment bridge and carefully paint ‘Yankee Go Home’ on the beautiful whitewashed wall. The next morning we scrub the car clean of all traces of paint. For the next few weeks the city is agog. The story doesn’t appear in the press but everyone is talking about it. In Karachi and Dhaka, where they regard Lahore as politically dead, our city’s stock rises. At college our fellow students discuss nothing else. The police are busy searching for the culprits. We smile and enjoy the fun. Finally they track us down, but as Taseer notes with an edge of bitterness, Shahid’s father is a Supreme Court judge and one of my aunts is married to a general who’s also the minister of the interior, so naturally we all get off with a warning. At the time I almost felt that physical torture might be preferable to being greeted regularly by the general with ‘Hello, Mr Yankee Go Home.’

Two years previously (before the dictatorship) the three of us had organised a demonstration at the US Consulate after reading that an African-American called Jimmy Wilson had been sentenced to death for stealing a dollar. On that occasion Salman, seeing that not many people had turned up, found some street urchins to swell our ranks. We had to stop and explain to them why their chant of ‘Death to Jimmy Wilson’ was wrong. Money changed hands before they were brought into line. Years later, on a London to Lahore flight, I met Taseer by chance and we discussed both these events. He reminded me that the stern US consul had told us he would have us expelled, but his ultra-Lutheranism offended the Catholic Brothers who ran our school and again we escaped punishment. On that flight, more than 20 years ago, I asked him why he had decided to go into politics. Wasn’t being a businessman bad enough? ‘You’ll never understand,’ he said. ‘If I’m a politician as well I can save money because I don’t have to pay myself bribes.’ He was cynical in the extreme, but he could laugh at himself. He died tragically, but for a good cause. His party and colleagues, instead of indulging in manufactured grief, would be better off taking the opportunity to amend the blasphemy laws while there is still some anger at what has taken place. But of course they are doing the exact opposite.

Even before this killing, Pakistan had been on the verge of yet another military takeover. It would make things so much easier if only they could give it another name: military democracy perhaps? General Kayani, whose term as chief of staff was extended last year with strong Pentagon approval, is said to be receiving petitions every day asking him to intervene and ‘save the country’. The petitioners are obviously aware that removing Zardari and replacing him with a nominee of the Sharif brothers’ Muslim League, the PPP’s long-term rivals, is unlikely to improve matters. Petitioning, combined with a complete breakdown of law and order in one or several spheres (suicide terrorism in Peshawar, violent ethnic clashes in Karachi, state violence in Quetta and now Taseer’s assassination), is usually followed by the news that a reluctant general has no longer been able to resist ‘popular’ pressure and with the reluctant agreement of the US Embassy a uniformed president has taken power. We’ve been here before, on four separate occasions. The military has never succeeded in taking the country forward. All that happens is that, instead of politicians, the officers take the cut. The government obviously thinks the threat is serious: some of Zardari’s cronies now speak openly at dinner parties of ‘evidence’ that proves military involvement in his wife Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. If the evidence exists, let’s have a look. Another straw in the wind: the political parties close to the ISI, Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, have withdrawn from the central government, accusing it of callousness and financial malfeasance. True, but hardly novel.

Another necessary prerequisite for a coup is popular disgust with a corrupt, inept and failing civilian government. This has now reached fever pitch. As well as the natural catastrophes that have afflicted the country there are local wars, disappearances, torture, crime, huge price rises in essential goods, unemployment, a breakdown of basic services – all the major cities go without electricity for hours at a stretch and oil lamps are much in demand in smaller towns, which are often without gas and electricity for up to 12 hours. Thanks to the loan conditions recently imposed by the IMF – part of a gear change in the ‘war on terror’ – there have been riots against the rise in fuel prices in several cities. Add to this Zardari’s uncontrollable greed and the irrepressible desire of his minions to mimic their master. Pakistan today is a kleptocracy. There is much talk in Islamabad of the despised prime minister’s neglected wife going on a shopping spree in London last month and finding solace in diamonds, picking up, on her way back home, a VAT rebate in the region of £100,000.

Can it get worse? Yes. And on every front. Take the Af-Pak war. Few now would dispute that its escalation has further destabilised Pakistan, increasing the flow of recruits to suicide bomber command. The CIA’s New Year message to Pakistan consisted of three drone attacks in North Waziristan, killing 19 people. There were 116 drone strikes in 2010, double the number ordered in the first year of the Obama presidency. Serious Pakistani newspapers, Dawn and the News, claim that 98 per cent of those killed in the strikes over the last five years – the number of deaths is estimated to be between two and three thousand – were civilians, a percentage endorsed by David Kilcullen, a former senior adviser to General Petraeus. The Brookings Institution gives a grim ratio of one militant killed for every ten civilians. The drones are operated by the CIA, which isn’t subject to military rules of engagement, with the result that drones are often used for revenge attacks, notably after the sensational Khost bombing of a CIA post in December 2009.

What stops the military from taking power immediately is that it would then be responsible for stopping the drone attacks and containing the insurgency that has resulted from the extension of the war into Pakistan. This is simply beyond it, which is why the generals would rather just blame the civilian government for everything. But if the situation worsens and growing public anger and economic desperation lead to wider street protests and an urban insurgency the military will be forced to intervene. It will also be forced to act if the Obama administration does as it threatens and sends troops across the Pakistan border on protect-and-destroy missions. Were this to happen a military takeover of the country might be the only way for the army to counter dissent within its ranks by redirecting the flow of black money and bribes (currently a monopoly of politicians) into military coffers. Pakistani officers who complain to Western intelligence operatives and journalists that a new violation of sovereignty might split the army do so largely as a way to exert pressure. There has been no serious breach in the military high command since the dismal failure of the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy, the first and last radical nationalist attempt (backed by Communist intellectuals) to seize power within the army and take the country in an anti-imperialist direction. Since then, malcontents in the armed forces have always been rapidly identified and removed. Military perks and privileges – bonuses, land allocations, a presence in finance and industry – play an increasingly important part in keeping the army under control.

Meanwhile, on a visit to Kabul earlier this month, the US homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, announced that 52 ‘security agents’ were being dispatched to the Af-Pak border to give on the spot training to Afghan police and security units. The insurgents will be delighted, especially since some of them serve in these units, just as they do in Pakistan.

Aafia Siddiqui Sentenced: A Grievous Miscarriage of Justice

September 27, 2010

By Stephen Lendman

On September 23 in federal court, US District Court Judge Richard Berman sentenced political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison. Outrage most accurately expresses this gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what she’s already endured following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on bogus charges.

Earlier articles explained her case in detail, accessed through the following links:

In modern times, she’s one of American depravity’s most aggrieved victims, now given a virtual life sentence for a crime she didn’t and couldn’t have committed, explained in the above articles.

In recent months, she’s been in New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in maximum security solitary confinement, during her trial, conviction and September 23 sentencing. Importantly, her life was effectively destroyed by years of horrific tortures, repeated rapings, and other abuses in Bagram Prison at America’s Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Addressing the court, said said “I’m not paranoid. I’m not mentally ill. I don’t agree with” anyone saying so, though it’s hard imagining why not after years of horrific brutalization. A Pakistani/American scientist, years of torture and abuse destroyed her persona, yet somehow she survived and endured more stress from prosecution, a travesty of a trial, conviction and sentencing.

Reporting on the court’s decision, the BBC repeated government lies, including her possessing bomb making instructions to blow up New York landmarks – “evidence that she was a potentially dangerous terrorist.” Yet her indictment was on totally different charges – preposterous ones accusing her of the following:

In the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, this frail 110 pound woman allegedly assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.

At trial, no credible evidence was presented. The charges were concocted and bogus. None accused her of plotting to blow up New York or any other landmarks or facilities.

Yet proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bribed to cooperate. Jurors were then intimidated to convict, her attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp, saying their verdict was “based on fear, not fact.” No evidence was presented except claims government prosecutors invented to convict.

The International Tribune also highlighted today’s proceedings, headlining “Dr. Aafia sentenced to 86 years imprisonment,” saying:

It was on seven counts “for allegedly firing at US troops in Afghanistan.” After the announcement, protests erupted across Pakistan. In Karachi, civil society and political party workers rallied “in front of the Karachi Press Club….ask(ing) the federal government” to intervene on her behalf.

Jamaat-e-Islami, PASBAN, Defense of Human Rights, and other civil society members marched toward the US Embassy, expressing outrage and demanding she be released “as a goodwill gesture.”

“Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Ms. Sharmila Farooqui asked the United States to release (her) on humanitarian (grounds) as a goodwill gesture to Pakistan….Now is the time for the US to show goodness and pardon a Pakistani woman who is innocent.”

Farooqui said Aafia was wrongly abducted, then handed over to US authorities. She’s “an innocent woman,” outrageously treated, convicted and sentenced.

Explaining further she said:

“In Islam and Pakistan, handing over a woman to foreign countries is a sin, but it is a pity that an innocent woman was mercilessly given in(to the) hands of the (previous) US” government.

She also urged international human rights organizations to actively pursue her release.

A Final Comment

At issue is 9/11 truth, the subsequent bogus “war on terror” based on a lie, America’s war on Islam that followed against Iraq, Afghanistan, and Muslim Americans, victimized for political advantage. Aafia is perhaps its most aggrieved living victim, her persona destroyed and life ended by a virtual life sentence unless clemency or world pressure saves her.

Her case should incite everyone’s moral outrage. It also reveals America’s true face, its rogue agenda, targeting Muslims for their faith and ethnicity, making us all equally vulnerable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at

India cannot suppress Kashmiris’ struggle by force: Mirwaiz

June 14, 2010

SRINAGAR (IHK): In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of all Parties Hurriyet Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has maintained that India will not be able to suppress Kashmiris’ liberation struggle by resorting to brute force, reports KMS.

The APHC Chairman in a statement issued in Srinagar flayed the occupation authorities for imposing restrictions in Srinagar to prevent people from protesting the killing of an innocent student by Indian police.

He pointed out that India’s military might policy during the last sixty-three years could not break Kashmiris’ spirit of freedom from Indian bondage.

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JI protests against detention of Pakistani-American

May 7, 2010

Pakistani activists of a Pasban, a subgroup of hardline Sunni Muslim party Jamaat-e-Islami, chant slogans in Karachi on May 6, 2010 against the US intelligence agency the CIA in connection to the detention of a Pakistani-origin US citizen.

Bombs at Peshawar market, school kill 24

April 20, 2010

First bomb explodes outside Police Public School killing a young boy
DSP, JI Peshawar leader killed in second blast

PESHAWAR: At least 24 people, including a child and police officials, were killed on Monday in bombings hours apart at a school and a crowded market in Peshawar, police said.


By Akhtar Ali

Around 49 people were injured in the attacks, they said.

The first bomb exploded outside a school run by a police welfare foundation in the city, killing a young boy and injuring eight others, police and hospital sources said.

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In Pakistani port city of Karachi, a new resolve to turn against Taliban

January 11, 2010

By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service

KARACHI, PAKISTAN — The bearded clerics who run Jamia Binoria, a large seminary in a shabby industrial zone, might seem to have much in common with the Taliban. They come from the same Deobandi strain of Islam, which rejects Western values and seeks to create a pure Islamic state. They require students to memorize the Koran and live an austere, regimented life steeped in religion.

The leaders of the Jamia Binoria seminary, in the Pakistani city of Karachi, insist they want nothing to do with the Taliban and regard its members as barbaric extremists. (Photos By Pamela Constable/the Washington Post)

But the leaders of Jamia Binoria insist that they want nothing to do with the Taliban and regard its members as barbaric extremists. They say the recent surge in Taliban suicide bombings across the country have only complicated their lives, leading Pakistani and Western officials to brand seminaries such as theirs as potential terrorist schools and making it harder for them to chart a course between modern education and traditional faith.

“They say we all teach Kalashnikov culture, but that is a wrong image,” said Mufti Muhammad Naeem, the seminary director, who expressed pride in its new computer lab and its large number of female students. “The hard-liners accuse me of being a front for American interests, and the Americans harass me at the airport,” he said. “We reject Talibanization and we want to be a model for the future, but we get pressure from all sides.”

Karachi, a cosmopolitan port city in far southern Pakistan, seems a far cry from the rugged Taliban sanctuaries of the northwestern tribal belt, but officials say it has often served in recent years as a financial conduit, immigration safety valve and religious pipeline for extremists.

Now, however, the city of 18 million is finding new motives and means to turn against the Taliban, especially after a bombing late last month killed 44 people during a Shiite religious procession. The strong secular party in city hall has made it a priority to rid the area of Taliban influence. And Pashtuns, a large ethnic minority, are facing social and political ostracism because they share linguistic and tribal roots with the Taliban.

“Karachi has been on a fast track to Talibanization,” said Farooq Sattar, a former mayor from the ruling Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). “They already had a base here from the Afghan war. There were a lot of sleeper cells, and they used the city for rest, refuge and raising money.” More recently, he said, Taliban gangs have carried out dozens of robberies and kidnappings for ransom and have begun seeking new urban recruits.

Sattar and others said local officials have employed a variety of methods to track and curb Taliban support. They have rewarded moderate seminaries such as Jamia Binoria, to which they donated the computer lab, and have registered more than 2,000 seminaries in the area, many of which had never been catalogued or monitored by the government.

Police investigators have moved aggressively to uncover and crack down on underground networks that commit crimes for extremist groups, and experts have worked with local banks to better scrutinize informal, large or frequent money transfers, especially to small businesses, individuals or organizations in the tribal northwest.

Internal documents from one bank, made available by Sattar, spoke of the “urgent need to strengthen due diligence” on suspicious cash transfers “to and from areas considered prone to financing illegal activities including terrorism.” The documents listed a dozen bank branches in the northwest as being “higher risk” and included a long list of large money transfers to localities where there is little business that could warrant them.

Public support for the Taliban in Karachi, a modern city full of office towers and wealthy entrepreneurs, has generally been limited to conservative religious groups such as Jamaat-e-Islami and gritty enclaves of Pashtuns, including hundreds of thousands who have migrated from the Taliban-plagued northwest.

Pashtun leaders here denied supporting the extremists and said their community has been unfairly tarred with the Taliban brush. They said the problem has exacerbated ethnic discrimination by the Mohajir majority, which dominates the corridors of power in Karachi under the MQM, often denying Pashtuns jobs, education and health benefits.

Some local Pashtuns acknowledged sympathy for the original Taliban movement in Afghanistan, which helped restore order after a chaotic civil war in the 1990s, but others said they had fled from the abuses of the Taliban-run Afghanistan. Many recent migrants moved to Karachi to escape conflict in the Pakistani northwest, where government troops have been fighting Taliban forces intermittently for several years.

“The Taliban are brutal and barbaric, and it is their fault we suffer so much discrimination,” said Hazrat Hussain, 32, a cellphone dealer in a poor Pashtun district of Karachi who migrated from the Swat area of northwest Pakistan a decade ago. “They are killing innocent Pashtuns with suicide bombs, and they are destroying the image of our community.”

Among the aboveground religious groups in the region, only Jamaat-e-Islami remains openly supportive of the Taliban, regularly holding rallies that denounce the West as orchestrating attacks blamed on the Taliban. But other established Islamic groups said Jamaat, which is based in Punjab province, has limited public support in Karachi and surrounding Sindh province.

Although numerous Deobandi mosques and seminaries operate in Pashtun enclaves, moderate versions of Islam, including Sufi mysticism, are more deeply rooted among Karachi residents. One moderate group, Sunni Tehrik, lost two top leaders to Taliban attacks.

“Many of us have been victims of the Taliban, and we are all against their agenda,” said Sarwat Qadri, the leader of Sunni Tehrik, whose father was assassinated in 2006. He said there are signs of a growing public rejection of the Taliban.

“A year ago, probably 70 percent of Pakistanis accepted them. Now it is less than 20 percent,” he said. “But we need to keep making people aware of what they really are, until terrorism is eradicated.”


December 21, 2009


The last government in Pakistan was seen as military backed because the President was the Chief of Army Staff! The present elected government is seen as US backed because that is where they seem to be looking for their survival. This creates the perception that the government is giving in to every US demand even if it is against Pakistan’s own interests. First it was the ambiguous stand on drone attacks, then it was the silence over Indian machinations against Pakistan from Afghanistan, then came the mysterious silence over US contracted ‘civilian agencies’ like Blackwater, Xe etc and the expanded presence in the US embassy plus the row over visas and now there are the revelations about the danger to Pakistan from the transit trade to Afghanistan through Pakistan. The US is reported to have ‘asked’ Pakistan to expand military operations into North Waziristan, Baluchistan and against ‘jihadi’ organizations operating from Pakistan. The US is also reported to have ‘said’ that if Pakistan does not do this then they will do it themselves—they have not explained how but presumably it will be through expanded drone strikes and other technological means. To some in Pakistan from the mysterious activities of US ‘diplomats’ it seems that the US already has ‘ boots on the ground’ in Pakistan—they may not look like boots but they are considered boots!.

It is in this context that the recent Jamaat e Islami (JI) rally should be seen. The demand made was for an end to the relationship with the US and the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. The public rally on the streets was well timed in terms of the ‘surge’ in negative public opinion against the US and the ongoing political turmoil with the government backed against the ropes and seemingly looking to the US for survival. In the 2002 elections a military ruler had sidelined the main political parties and the US attack in Afghanistan had created negative opinion against the US. The religious parties came in riding this wave. Is a similar situation on the cards?

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PAKISTAN: No Muslim involved in suicide attacks in country

December 15, 2009

JI leaders blame US agencies for terrorism in Pakistan

By Irfan Ali

KARACHI: Floating the idea of a change in the Pakistani society, Jamaat-e-Islami’s top leadership at a congregation of the JI’s workers unanimously blamed the United States’ agencies for terrorism, chaos and anarchy in Pakistan.

“The US wants international control on the Pakistani nukes, and terrorism is just a pretext to achieve that target,” said JI’s chief Munawar Hassan at a one-day training congregation held at Nishtar Park on Sunday.

Elderly people as well as women with children also attended the congregation. They carried flags and raised slogans in support of the JI’s manifesto, and condemned the US and anti-Islamic forces. He said the US also wanted to impose its decision about Kashmir on Pakistan, and its allies want to declare Pakistan as an unsafe state. “No Muslim is involved in suicidal attacks in Pakistan, and rather Blackwater (Xe) – a US private contractor – and Indian agents are involved in these incidents,” he said. Hassan expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of action by the government against India, and urged the foreign minister and interior minister to “take concrete measures against India for its dirty role in Pakistan”.

He said that officials of the US agencies as well as Blackwater were being held on a daily basis but they were being released on the directives of the interior minister, who regularly denies its presence in Pakistan. He said the interior minister should defend Pakistan instead of the US interests. The JI chief asked the COAS Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to prove the army’s performance and success by producing the 10-month performance report of the military operation. “Terrorists had reached the military GHQ and remained there for more than 24 hours, so why should we believe in the success of the Army operation,” he questioned and added that the operation caused an increase in terrorist attacks.

He demanded the government to immediately stop the operation and opt for negotiation, and added that the offensive had displaced more than five million people. He said the JI would stage a countrywide three-day protest on December 14, 15 and 16 against India for resorting to water aggression and turning Pakistan into a desert. He also said the war against terrorism is only targeting Muslims, and therefore is a war against Islam. JI’s deputy chief Sirajul Haq and Foreign Affairs head Abdul Ghaffar Aziz in their address lashed out at the US-led Islamophobia. Aziz said Palestine’s Hamas, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in Tunis and Turkey were heading to their goals patiently but successfully. Nasarullah Shajji was the in-charge of the congregation and JI’s Mohammad Hussain Mehanti, Merajul Huda and Dr Shahid Hashmi also spoke on the occasion.

U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance

October 7, 2009


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Steps by the United States to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.

Supporters of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami rallied in August against plans to expand the American embassy in Islamabad. B. K. Bangash/Associated Press

An aid package of $1.5 billion a year for the next five years passed by Congress last week asks Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics. President Asif Ali Zardari, whose association with the United States has added to his unpopularity, agreed to the stipulations in the aid package.

But many here, especially in the powerful army, object to the conditions as interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and they are interpreting the larger American footprint in more sinister ways.

American officials say the embassy and its security presence must expand in order to monitor how the new money is spent. They also have real security concerns, which were underscored Monday when a suicide bomber, dressed in the uniform of a Pakistani security force, killed five people at a United Nations office in the heart of Islamabad, the capital.

The United States Embassy has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp.

The embassy setup, with American demands for importing more armored vehicles, is a significant expansion over the last 15 years. It comes at a time of intense discussion in Washington over whether to widen American operations and aid to Pakistan – a base for Al Qaeda – as an alternative to deeper American involvement in Afghanistan with the addition of more forces.

The fierce opposition here is revealing deep strains in the alliance. Even at its current levels, the American presence was fueling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials, said several Pakistani officials, who did not want to be named for fear of antagonizing the United States. The United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said.

In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said.

The concerns are serious enough that last month a local company hired by DynCorp to provide Pakistani men to be trained as security guards for American diplomats was raided by the Islamabad police. The owner of the company, the Inter-Risk Security Company, Capt. Syed Ali Ja Zaidi, was later arrested.

The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The entire workings of DynCorp within Pakistan are now under review by the Pakistani government, said a senior government official directly involved with the Americans, who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity.

The tensions are erupting as the United States is pressing Pakistan to take on not only those Taliban groups that have threatened the government, but also the Taliban leadership that uses Pakistan as a base to organize and conduct their insurgency against American forces in Afghanistan.

In a public statement, the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, suggested last week that Pakistan should eliminate the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, a onetime ally of the Pakistanis who Washington says is now based in Baluchistan, a province on the Afghanistan border. If Pakistan did not get rid of Mullah Omar, the United States would, she suggested.

Reinforcing the ambassador, the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, said Sunday that the United States regarded tackling Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan as “the next step” in the conflict in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in an unusually stern reaction last week, said that missile attacks by American drones in Baluchistan, as implied by the Americans, “would not be allowed.”

The Pakistanis also complain that they are not being sufficiently consulted over the pending White House decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

The head of Pakistan’s chief spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, met with senior officials at the Central Intelligence Agency last week in Washington, where he argued against sending more troops to Afghanistan, a Pakistani official familiar with the visit said.

The Pakistani Army, riding high after its campaign to wrench back control of the Swat Valley from the Taliban, remains nervous about Washington’s intentions and the push against the new aid is reflective of that anxiety, Pakistani officials said.

Though the Zardari government is trumpeting the new aid as a triumph, officials say the language in the legislation ignores long-held prerogatives about Pakistani sovereignty, making the $1.5 billion a tough sell.

“Now everyone has a handle they can use to rip into the Zardari government,” said a senior Pakistani official involved in the American-Pakistani dialogue but who declined to be named because he did not want to inflame the discussion.

The expanding American security presence has become another club. DynCorp has attracted particular scrutiny after the Pakistani news media reported that Blackwater, the contractor that has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, was also in Pakistan.

Recently, there have been a series of complaints by Islamabad residents who said they had been “roughed up” by hefty, plainclothes American men bearing weapons, presumably from DynCorp, one of the senior Pakistani officials involved with the Americans said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had sent two formal diplomatic complaints in the past few weeks to the American Embassy about such episodes, the official said.

The embassy had received complaints, and confirmed two instances, an embassy official said, but the embassy denied receiving any formal protests from the Foreign Office. It also declined to comment about the presence of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, in Pakistan.

American officials have said that Blackwater employees worked at a remote base in Shamsi, in Baluchistan, where they loaded missiles and bombs onto drones used to strike Taliban and Qaeda militants.

The operation of the drones at Shamsi had been shifted by the Americans to Afghanistan this year, a senior Pakistani military official said.

Several Blackwater employees also worked in the North-West Frontier Province supervising the construction of a training center for Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, a Pakistani official from the region said.

There was considerable unease about the American diplomatic presence in Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province, one of the senior government officials said. Politicians were asking why the United States needed a consulate in Peshawar, which borders the tribal areas, when that office did not issue visas, he said.

Another question, he said, was why did the consulate plan to buy the biggest, and most modern building in the city, the Pearl Continental hotel – which was bombed in a terrorist attack this year – as its new headquarters.

As Parliament prepared to discuss the American aid package Wednesday, the tone of the debate was expected to be scathing. On a television talk show, Senator Tariq Aziz, a member of the opposition party, called the legislation “the charter for new colonization.”

“People think this government has sold us to the Americans again for their own selfish interests,” said Jahangir Tareen, a former cabinet minister and a member of Parliament, in an interview. “Some people think the United States is out to get Pakistan, to defang Pakistan, to destroy the army as it exists so it can’t fight India and to break down the ISI’s ability to influence events in India and Afghanistan. Everyone is saying about the Americans, ‘Told you so.’ “

Taliban: a ‘Frankenstein’ created in US-USSR tussle

June 23, 2009

Sajjad Ahmad Khan

None has got the confidence to say something with a bit of certainty about the ‘mysterious movement’ known as Talibanisation. But there are different stories which are linked to its wellspring. The cover story has always been that they (Taliban) are the product of the US, and saw the light of day when America and former USSR locked their horns in 1979 to grab the title of the ‘super power’ in the rugged and cold mountains of Afghanistan. From the very beginning, Washington and its allies took Russia for a kind of fanatic and zealous realm. They knew that only a group of zealots, imbedded with a sort of religious fervour, would be able to blow Russians away on the face of earth. Therefore, the US engineered a group, called ‘Mujahideen’, who were not only trained as the best fighters, but also provided with the fatal weapons of the time.

The Mujahideen played like death-defying puppets in the hands of America for quite a long time. They were happy being busy in lapping up dollars, besides enjoying American gas guzzlers and visits to the Europe and US. General Zia ul Haq, the then president of Pakistan, also deemed it an opportunity to keep clinging to his rule. He not only prolonged his tenure but sowed the seeds of mistrust between the military and civil society, achingly hindering the social development process in the country. The mistake committed by the CIA and its co-agencies was that they did not take a calculated risk, while giving that much leverage to the then Mujahideen. Religious parties in Pakistan, particularly Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, were hired by America to drum the spirit of Jihad into the fresh careerists as fighters to teach a lesson to the arch enemy of the United States. The Islamic militants from other parts of the world thronged Pakistan and Afghanistan to inflict a crushing blow on the Red Army. Pakistan’s ISI and American CIA carried off very well to bleed the USSR and turned the world unipolar for their own ulterior motives. After the liquidation of Russia in 1989, the Mujahideen were chucked away in the corners of Pakistan like some disposable bottles in the bin. It was an uphill task for Pakistan to keep the Mujahideen as lodgers; rather they were lodged at various madrassahs of NWFP and thus acquiring the name of ‘Taliban’. The game never ended here, unluckily.

The Taliban were ‘misapplied’ again by the government of Pakistan to establish a ‘junta’ of its own choice in Afghanistan. Sad enough, the United States responded very flatly to the situation, building up by the time and never took a single step for the economic uplift of the under-dogged fighters. The Mujahideen ended up on the scrape heap after short careers of Western mercenaries. Again, there was some sort of voodoo with the US because everything just went wrong to fetter the ‘hydra’ of terrorism. The US and its allies never tried to resolve the disputes, which were the fundamental causes of terrorism in the world; rather in the wake of 9/11 they started running amuck after Osama bin Laden. Since then, the US has been blatantly disregarding the fact that the collateral damages, in the name of hunting Osama, could only be counterproductive. To fight this menace in the world, it is incumbent on the international community to have a holistic approach towards the issue, which is to eradicate poverty, besides instilling the feeling of fresh hope into people of the Third World countries. I think it will be the height of folly and a tragic waste if America gallops any more into the politics of Hobson’s choice, that is ‘either you are with us or with them’. For I emphatically believe that this would never help to affectively tackle the problem. Washington must realise that terrorism is a phenomenon which does not occur in a vacuum. While combating the rebel elements, the US must know that injustice and poverty, in any society, provide a real fecund ground for the terrorism to grow. Due to a fragile democratic system, Pakistan has been an easy prey to extremism. A glaring example is that the term development remained an alien word to the politics of Pakistan. The subservient judiciary and docile parliament were the key factors, welcoming various social evils in the country, including militancy. We had better discord ‘a radial political system’ and the politics must percolate down through the ‘have-nots’ of the society for the development of true democratic norms. By targeting and storming the hideouts of terrorists, we will make the militants hotfoot, but would never wipe off terrorism from the world. As a matter of fact, the killing of innocent people, in any part of the world, would definitely evoke the embedded human psyche known as ‘revenge is sweet’. What is necessary is to furnish a society where justice rules and prosperity thrives. Terrorism and justice cannot live together as dark and light cannot appear at a time.

Review of ongoing battles in Malakand Division

June 2, 2009

By Asif Haroon Raja

The army was employed in Swat in November 2007 by Gen Musharraf to check growing militancy. It succeeded in restoring order and enabling the interim government to hold general elections on 18 February 2008. It was however prematurely withdrawn by the ruling ANP led government in NWFP in March 2008 soon after the general elections in which the ANP won maximum seats from Swat and Malakand Division. The army had to be brought into Swat again in July 2008 for the second time when peace deal in May could not last and security situation began to deteriorate and the writ of the civil administration and police having collapsed.

Situation became so bad that elected members of ANP and PPP could not visit their constituencies since they had been subjected to death threats. Some had also been eliminated. No sooner the military gained an upper edge over the militants in Swat in February 2009 and pushed the hardcore militants to the farthest end of the valley, Swat deal was inked between the Frontier government and Maulana Sufi led TNSM on 16 February. Fazlulah led Taliban readily agreed to the terms and conditions of the agreement since they were in a precarious situation and badly needed time to rest and refit. The army was told the second time to give up its gains and withdraw to give peace a chance. The parliament passed a unanimous resolution in favor of peace accord and president Zardari inked it much to the chagrin of USA, India, Afghanistan, western world, MQM and the liberal class within. The government stood its ground despite immense internal and external pressure.

Return of peace to war-torn Swat was rejoiced by the people of the valley who had fled to safer areas and suffered great deal of hardships. They returned to their homes amidst high hopes that this enchanting valley of peace and tranquility would never again be subjected to bloodshed and destruction. They were happy that with the introduction of Nizam-e-Adl, their long ordeal of injustices would end and inexpensive and speedy justice would be available to them at their doorsteps.. Hardly had they begun to settle down and the towns began to hustle and bustle with life and business activity, the Taliban once again started flexing their muscles. Not only they refused to surrender their arms as promised, they carried out several violent acts against security forces and also resorted to kidnappings. These acts were ignored in the larger interests of peace, hoping that soon they would abide by their commitments and ensure peace in the region.

In fact, while the people of Swat were celebrating restoration of normalcy and the government was crowing over its achievement, the militants were hectically engaged in recouping their lost munitions from Afghanistan, collecting funds from their mentors, reoccupying and strengthening their strongholds, and carrying out fresh recruitment. While the security forces withdrew most of their check posts, the Taliban did not reciprocate. A stage came that members of Taliban escorted administrative vehicles of the security forces to avoid being fired upon by miscreants.

Some of the strongholds of militants that were further fortified were Mingora, Malam Jabba, Dagger, Matta, Khwazkhela, Bandai, Charbagh, Winai Baba, Namal, Kanju, Takkhtabnd, Loisar, Chamtali, Barikot, Odigram, Banai Baba Ziarat, Kabal, Matta, Shahderi, Akot, Shahdara, Pir Killay, Qambar and many others. A dominating area on the hilltop of Peuchar was converted into the command HQ of Fazlullah and extensively reinforced with the help of underground tunnels, bunkers and elaborate communication system. Having prepared the defensive network based on towns, villages and mountain tops in Swat, it was decided to extend its perimeter of security towards adjoining districts of Buner and Lower Dir and later on keep extending its influence. Some of the known Taliban commanders appointed in Malakand Division are Afsar Hameed and Maulana Khalil in Buner; Maulana Shaid and Ziauddin in Lower Dir. In Swat, Maulana Fazlullah with his deputy Maulana Shah Duran, his spokesman Muslim Khan, Sirajuddin, Mufti Bashir got stationed in Peuchar; Ibne Ameen and his brother Ibne Aqeel in Matta Tehsil; Akbar Hussain, Ghazi, Said Rehman, Rashid Lala, Osama and Farooq in Mingora.

Things came to a head when the militants resorted to strong-arm tactics in Lower Dir and in Buner. People had to flee to escape the wrath of vandalizing militants most of whom were Tajiks and Uzbeks. No amount of pleadings by the ANP leaders made any impact on Sufi who was otherwise miffed on not being consulted on appointment of Qazis and formation of Darul Qaza (appellate court). Playing of a video tape of girl flogging coupled with uncanny statements by Sufi, intensification of propaganda campaign and threatening statements by US top leaders brought matters to a boil. On 26 April an army operation was launched in Lower Dir on express orders of PM Gilani and at the request of NWFP government. Areas where resistance was offered by militants included Maidan, Kumbar, Hayasarai, Kaladag, Zamdara, Lal Qila, Akakhel, Nanbati, Kalpani, Chakdara. Although the situation was brought under control, small-scale subversive activities in the form of improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs, and rocket attacks are still continuing. Large number of militants were killed and the remnants of Taliban have now agreed to vacate Lower Dir and displaced families have started to return.

The militants dug their positions in Buner and converted towns of Ambela, Nawagai, Swarai Cheena into strongholds.. These strongholds were cleared by troops after three weeks of fierce fighting. Dagger, the district HQ of Buner and Sultanvas which was the main HQ of militants were also retaken by security forces. The army chief visited Buner on 21 May to see for himself the ground situation and to buck up the morale of troops. He has been regularly visiting all the hotspots. Normalcy has returned and inflow of IDPs has commenced from 17 May onwards.

On 8 May, the army troops re-entered Swat valley for the third round and the battle is still continuing because of built up areas, indiscriminate mortar and rocket firing by the militants and using civilian houses as bunkers, mining of roads and putting barricades to prevent the civilians from moving out and to use them as human shield. Some 15-20,000 people are stranded in Mingora city, which is the district HQ of Swat valley. Battle is going on in Mingora, cordoned off from four sides. Several areas have been wrested from the militants and in next few days this important city where the militants had planned to give the decisive battle would be taken over. Banai Baba Ziarat, the highest point in the area, Fizagat, Watakai and Qambar, north of Mingora city has also been cleared of the presence of militants; some are moving towards Kabal. The local commander of Taliban has now agreed to vacate Mingora since his fighters have begun to desert and their morale is down. Another hill resort Malam Jabba, that was being used as a training centre and logistic base by the militants has been secured. Troops have been para-dropped in Peuchar and the HQ of Fazlullah has been effectively surrounded and the ring is being tightened. Suspected targets in neighboring districts of Upper Dir, Malakand Agency and Shangla were also engaged. People are marooned in Bahrain, Kalam and Madian in upper Swat, but they have decided to confront the Taliban and are being supplied with food items through air drops.

In the face of non-stop drive of the security forces and making series of gains and taking hold of several important strongholds, the militants have started to flee after shaving their beards and long hair in the guise of IDPs. Leftovers are vacating towns and occupying positions on mountains. One of the local commanders in Swat by the name of Ibne Aqeel sent distress signals to Baitullah Mahsud to send them urgent reinforcements of Uzbeks and Tajiks from North and South Waziristan since they were fast losing their strongholds and had suffered huge losses. This message sent in Pashto was intercepted by army signalers. About 4-5000 militants are operating in Swat out of which 1100 have been killed. The troops are in full cry and their morale is sky high because the whole nation is behind them. Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI-F, Tehrik-e-Insaf and Saad Rafiq from PML-N are whining to end military operations but they are scoffed at.

Asif Haroon Raja is a defence and political analyst based in Rawalpindi.

- Asian Tribune -

Is India going to divide again

April 16, 2009

Afshain Afzal

India is in a grip of separatist movements. The Muslims, Tamils, Sikhs, Naxals, Bodos, Buddhists and many others are hostile to Indian union, waiting for an opportunity to acquire independence. India is suspicious of its immediate neighbour, Pakistan, for patronizing separatist movements in India. In fact India could not come out of the trauma of its division in August 1947. The fear of small Pakistan like states emerging from Indian union, has forced New Delhi to adopt aggressive policies towards Pakistan. Unfortunately Pakistan demand for Kashmir has been construed in India that Pakistan wants further division of India. India is forgetting that Pakistan wants to develop good friendly relations with all neighbours including India while its desire to deal with Kashmir on the basis of Indian Independence Act is part of Pakistan scheme and nothing new. Had the Indian leadership, after the death of Karam Chand Ghandhi, not looked towards Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah with suspicion and cooperated, he could have saved India from plunging into a situation like today. After the partition, Quaid-e-Azam very clearly and repeatedly instructed Muslim of India to remain loyal with Indian government, which is evident from his speeches and writings. But, today Hindu dominated Indian government and Indian intelligence is suspecting its own Muslim nationals only because they are Muslims like people of Pakistan. US, Britain, Italy and Israel in tune with their own vested interests have an agenda not to let Pakistan and India to come closer. In the same regard, a CIA’s conspiracy against Indian union is in full swing nowadays in which Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have been shown as party. Mughalistan or Greater Pakistan is the name of an independent homeland proposed for the Muslims of India. This Muslim state in the Indian subcontinent will include all of North India and Eastern India, and will be formed by merging Pakistan and Bangladesh through a large corridor of land running across the Indo-Gangetic plain, the heartland of India. This Mughalistan corridor will comprise Muslim-majority areas of Northern India and eastern India that will be partitioned for the second time in history. It will run through Jammu, Mewat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. The comprehensive plan for a second partition of India after being prepared by CIA was floated through the Mughalistan Research Institute (MRI) of Jahangir Nagar University, Bangladesh. The Mughalistan Research Institute has even released a map where a Muslim corridor named “Mughalistan” connects Pakistan and Bangladesh via India. The CIA’s carefully crafted scandalous conspiracy of “Mughalistan” was intentionally leaked to Indian Intelligence so that a hate-hate relation between India and Pakistan, which was being successfully neutralized by Confidence Building Measures, should remain unhindered. Confidence Building Measures started from a positive note and after the passage of each year, relations between the two countries improved and resulted in a number of breakthroughs till it was sabotaged by Mumbai attacks of November 2008. CIA also dragged Al-Qaida and Taliban in Mughalistan plot to liberate the Muslims of India from the Hindus. Other prominent names included in the plot are Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Bangladesh’s Director General of Forces Intelligence, (DGFI), Mumbai underworld led by Dawood Ibrahim, Jamaat-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. In this struggle the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahideen (IM) have also been shown engaged in waging Jihad against the Hindus of India. CIA through manipulation of websites is projecting that Muslims have announced “holy war” against India, in which the Lashkar-e-Taiba has openly declared Hindus to be the enemies of Islam who should all be converted or killed. Quotes from the journals of Lashkar-e-Taiba that its main aim is to wage Jihad against Hindus to liberate Kashmir is being misreported as if they want to occupy whole India and want to hoist the Islamic flag on the historic Red Fort. The Indian reaction over Mumbai attacks proves that CIA and its other partners have been successful in sabotaging the Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan. India must understand that Pakistan is an independent sovereign state which is neither interested in increasing its boundaries nor is interfering in the India’s internal affairs. Pakistan is neither sponsoring indigenous movements like SIMI nor has any intention to do the same in the future. However, Pakistan will always be concerned about the Muslims living in any part of the world. As regard to Indian Muslims, Pakistan would like India to deal with them on the basis of “Protection of Minorities” agreements already concluded between both the states in 1948. If still India has any doubts, it must resume the bilateral talks and resolve the issue once for all. We have the speeches and writing of our founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which need to be taken as policy statement to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan. I am sure that if we adopt the tracks of our leader immediately before and after the partition, all the bottlenecks in the path of good relations between India and Pakistan would be amicably removed and resolved.

The neighbour next door – a persistent pain in Bengal’s neck

April 6, 2009

Posted by Ishaal Zehra

Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina has said that the recent mutiny in the paramilitary force Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) which killed 73 army officers was aimed at triggering a civil war and warned that the masterminds behind the bloody revolt still wanted to achieve their goal. The 33-hour mutiny by the rebel BDR soldiers on February 25-26, 2009 was initially believed to have been caused by disputes over pay and command structure.

Commerce Minister Lt Col (Retd) Faruq Khan, who heads a high-power committee to coordinate the foreign and local investigations into the February 25-26 carnage, said “a dangerous conspiracy is going on to destroy the development of the country”. Whereas the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hassan Mahmoud admitted that terrorist outfits with alleged cross-border links still existed in the country despite years of massive anti-terrorism campaigns.

At a glance, Bangladesh’s 37-year history has been a turbulent one, with many incidents of political turmoil and violence, where most of the time cross-border linkage was confirmed at the public level (even if not acknowledged at government level). This recent mutiny reminded me of the tempest that rocked Dhaka University and other educational institutes of Bangladesh, in August 2007 which ended up in the imposition of curfew like situation in the country. At that time too the sole purpose of the tempest creators (master minds), seemingly, was to start a civil war by bringing the people face to face with the armed forces through the so-called student movement. The Bengali media reports later disclosed that the havoc was actually masterminded by the Indian Intelligence Research and Analysis Wing – RAW. In an exclusive interview with VOA Bangla service, the first elected mayor of Rajshahi City, Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman Minu said that he feels that India is behind the terrorist activities in Bangladesh. Minu said that because of the Indo-Bangladesh porous border, it has not been possible for the government to apprehend the terrorists.

Yet today the same situation is again being sensed in the country. “Foreign hands” had been detected by the new Chief of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Brigadier General Mohammed Mainul Islam who revealed the involvement of outsiders wearing BDR uniform in the mutiny. Ironically, had there been no revelation from General Mainul Islam, people would have believed that BDR personnel targeted Army officers on account resentment over biased treatment as well as difference in their pay, allowances and other benefits. Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, Matiur Rahman Nizami, in the same regard, also claimed that the killing mission was executed from Indian intelligence headquarters through close monitoring. Analytically, Mr. Nizami might be true as the increasing frenzy in Bangladesh is only paving an easy way for India to increase her hegemony in political, economical and cultural arenas.

The story is quite simple if considered logically. Bangladesh, having the population of more than 140 million – 40% of whom are below the poverty line – and it is dependent on foreign aid and investment, seems a soft target to digest. And by initiating a civil war in the country many disrupted plans could have been fulfilled like crippling the economy of Bangladesh, disrupting and destroying the road communications and infrastructures thus proving Bangladesh a dysfunctional and failed state and finally paving the way for Indian military invasion.

To achieve the objective, the people of Bangladesh were being targeted in an ingenious way and from all dimensions of life. RAW is exploiting this civil force to meet its own evil objectives. India’s agenda does not obviously end in creating and keeping Bangladesh as a nominally independent country. Since 1972, India has been pouring in huge material and intellectual support to Indianise the mind and psyche of Bangladeshi people. The so-called modern school educational curriculum, in general, and the social sciences, in particular, have been said to be shaped and oriented to Vedic philosophy rather than to Islamic values and virtues. Besides the promotion of narcotics in the society RAW is said to be supplementing terrorism via educational institutes in Bangladesh and the recent BDR mutiny exhibits the reach of Indian tentacles.

There lies a real dilemma for Bangladesh in forging some form of much needed unity to stand concrete against constant onslaught of Indian hegemony. Indian policy makers are well aware that the traditional method of occupying a country by force is neither appreciable nor acceptable in the recent scenario. Today, to run over a country, an aggressor cripples psychologically of the civil force of the nation and reduces its economy to shambles and creates such a situation that its citizens no longer possess mental strength and inspiration to be self- reliant. And RAW is persistently attempting to create such a situation in Bangladesh. It is known to all that Indian intelligence agency is engaged in disruptive activities in Bangladesh since it came into being in 1971 to create the demand for Indian intervention from within the country. As a matter of fact, India has a condemnable history of swallowing Hyderabad, Manvadhar, Goa, Dumn, Deue and Kashmir and of course not forgetting the illegal and conspiratorial annexation of Sikkim, a tiny and rocky mountainous kingdom of Himalayas. Recalling all this it would be quite naive to believe that India is not interested in capturing a strategically important country like Bangladesh as this annexation seems necessary for them to suppress the on-going liberation struggles in North-Eastern Indian states bordering Bangladesh.

It wasn’t surprising at all when General Mainul Islam said that the BDR mutiny was a conspiracy by outside forces. Even history is evident that India’s assistance in the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, did not originate from their sense of humanity for the people of Bangladesh, but to dismember Pakistan and finally merge them to ‘greater Bharat, what Nehru termed as ‘Aakhand Bharat’. At that time probably the Indian leaders thought that dismemberment of Pakistan would lead to the accession of Bangladesh to India but unfortunately this dream of them could not materialize even after the lapse of 38 years but hats off to the consistent nature of India that she has still kept her dream alive and is still working for its establishment.

This post was submitted by Ishaal Zehra.


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