Armed forces invincible: Asif

October 7, 2010

KARACHI (Online) – In yet another farewell meeting, General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on Wednesday called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidential Camp, Bilawal House.

Sources informed Online that the meeting lasted for quite a while. On the occasion, President Zardari highly lauded the gigantic services of General Majid, terming him invaluable for the Army. He opined that General Tariq has played a major role in consolidation and modernisation of the Armed Forces. Gen Majid thanked President Zardari, saying that undoubtedly Pak Army will continue to bring laurels in the country. He told President Zardari that during his three-year term, he was given full cooperation and he will remember it.


July deadliest month of Afghan war for U.S

August 2, 2010

By Katherine Tiedemann

Wonk Watch: The Pakistani Army’s changing officer corps, by Shuja Nawaz and C. Christine Fair (Journal of Strategic Studies).

Bloods on the hands

Investigators have reportedly found concrete evidence linking Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst already charged with leaking classified information about Iraq to Wikileaks, to the Wikileaks Afghanistan disclosures (WSJ). U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, and criticized the disclosures, saying, “The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world” (BBC, AP, Reuters, NYT, Tel, Times).

A Taliban spokesman has said the group is examining the Wikileaks documents, commenting of the names of Afghan informants in the disclosures, “If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them,” as chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen asserted that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family” (Tel, Wash Post, Channel 4).

Some of the Wikileaks documents reportedly suggest al-Qaeda may have planned 9/11-style attacks in 2009 on Hamid Karzai’s presidential palace, NATO headquarters in Kabul, British and U.S. embassies, and the Ariana hotel (Guardian, Times, FT). The reports, however, are imprecise and categorized as “C3,” meaning the information was “possibly true” and the source was regarded as “fairly reliable” (Guardian).

Yesterday, the Obama administration’s Afghanistan-Pakistan team met for the seventh time and reportedly focused little on the Wikileaks disclosures, instead focusing on the recent Kabul conference, U.S.-Pakistan dialogue, and a briefing from top commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus (USAT, VOA). Gen. Petraeus reportedly made his first visit to the southern province of Helmand earlier this week, where British, U.S., and Afghan forces have just launched the biggest operation of the summer, Operation Tor Shezada (“Black Prince”) (Pajhwok, Tel, BBC). The 6,000-person town of Saidabad is the last population center fully under Taliban control in central Helmand (Channel 4). In neighboring Kandahar, continued insecurity and threats of Taliban assassination have made it difficult to fill local government positions (AP).

South and north

July is now the deadliest month ever for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as 63 soldiers have been killed so far, surpassing last month’s record of 60 fatalities (AP, BBC). Coalition commanders had warned that casualties would rise as forces make moves against Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

In the northern Afghan province of Baghlan, the Taliban continue to make inroads: in June, a group of 80 Taliban fighters briefly gained control of a bazaar in one of the troubled districts; have since blocked many roads in the district; and have ordered the closure of local cell phone towers at night (NYT). The area’s corrupt judiciary, lack of government services, and ethnic differences have all been exploited by the Taliban.

And Karen DeYoung reports that the “Afghan First” program designed to give Afghans contracting jobs to support U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, rather than promoting small and medium business and spreading the wealth, may be enriching traditional power brokers and creating new ones instead (Wash Post).

The crashing waves

As many as 320 people have been killed in the last three days of severe flooding triggered by monsoons across Pakistan, with Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa the hardest hit province (AP, AFP, Geo, Dawn, ET, Daily Times, BBC). Pakistani officials say the floods are the worst in 80 years; hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.

A poll released yesterday at the New America Foundation by the Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed 2,000 Pakistanis about concerns about the extremist threat in the country, views of foreign powers, aid from the United States, Pakistani domestic politics, drone strikes, and other topics (Pew, AJE, AP, BBC). The headline finding is that Pakistanis are less concerned about a potential Taliban takeover of Pakistan than they were last year. Bonus watch: discussion of the poll with Steve Coll and Andrew Kohut (NAF).

Pakistan’s Daily Times reports that 10 people were killed yesterday in Kurram in northwest Pakistan after Shia men attacked a Sunni village, and Dawn writes that 12 militants were killed by security forces in central Kurram (Daily Times, Dawn).

Flashpoint

Indian forces opened fire on a crowd of rock-throwing anti-India protesters in the summer capital of Indian Kashmir earlier today, wounding two (AP, PTI). A police officer said the separatist protesters had marched on the main road in the Chanapora neighborhood of Srinagar; security forces also used tear gas to quell the protests.

A big deal

The department of education in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province has started a program to offer free health care to 6,500 teachers (Pajhwok). The program could be extended to include the families of teachers in the future.


US delivers 4 overhauled Mi-17 helicopters to Pak

July 15, 2010

ISLAMABAD (PTI): The US has delivered four refurbished Mi-17 helicopters to the Pakistan Army.

The overhaul programme, carried out at an American facility, provides critical support to the Pakistan Army by expediting maintenance and returning urgently needed aircraft for flight operations, the US embassy said in a statement.

The US has funded maintenance overhauls for 24 Mi-17s in Pakistan Army, 12 of which were completed and returned to Pakistan last year.

The remaining eight helicopters are scheduled for delivery later this year.

The US is coordinating with the Pakistan Army to fund overhauls for another ten Mi-17s, and recently delivered to them two Bell 412 helicopters.

Another 13 Cobra gunship helicopters have been procured for use as spare parts to further enhance the Pakistan Army’s aviation operations.

Since 2001, the US has provided more than $12 billion to Pakistan in security assistance, training and equipment, which includes $8.1 billion reimbursed from the Coalition Support Fund.

Other security assistance delivered to Pakistan has included three F-16 Block 52 fighter aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force, an additional 14 F-16 fighter aircraft delivered to the PAF in 2008, five fast patrol boats to the Maritime Security Agency, two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft for the Pakistan Navy, 115 M109A5 Howitzer self-propelled field artillery cannons and more than 450 vehicles for Pakistan’s Frontier Corps.


Afghan Taliban deny being supported by Pakistan

June 17, 2010

By BILL ROGGIO

The Taliban’s executive council has denied a recent report that stated the Pakistani military and government provides direct support to the Afghan group.

In a statement released on it website, the Voice of Jihad, the Afghan Taliban described a study released by the London School of Economics as “a merely baseless propaganda launched to promote British and American interests” and “a dictated drama of the political rulers of the West.”

The Taliban claimed that it is fighting the US and Afghan governments with the support of the people in Afghanistan and that it has no need for Pakistani support.

“The current Jihad and resistance against the invaders are being led by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate based inside Afghanistan – obviously with the help and support of the Afghan Mujahid people,” the statement read. “The enemy itself admits, the Islamic Emirate has control over 70% of the Afghan soil. The Islamic Emirate does not need to have such councils outside the country in order to continue the current popular resistance.”

The Afghan Taliban have long attempted to portray their movement as a localized, nationalist insurgency seeking only to restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, and they did so again in yesterday’s statement denying links to Pakistan. “The present resistance is completely an home-grown Afghan Islamic resistance against the aggression of the invaders,” the statement read.

The Taliban said that it wasn’t “rational” for the Pakistani government to back them as Pakistan has declared its support of the US and that “manifestations and impact of their support would have categorically become visible.” The Afghan Taliban offered no criticism of Pakistan or the Pakistani military, however, while repeatedly lashing out at the US, Britain, and NATO.

The London School of Economics report, titled “The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents,” was released last weekend and created a stir as it accused the Pakistani military, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, and even the Pakistani government itself of providing support across the spectrum for the Taliban.

“Interviews strongly suggest that support to the Afghan insurgency is official ISI policy,” the paper stated.”It appears to be carried out by both serving and former officers, who have considerable operational autonomy.”

The London School of Economics report even claimed that top political leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari, have met with detained Afghan Taliban leaders and promised to free them as soon as was politically expedient.

Direct Pakistani support for the Taliban has been an open secret for years. The Pakistani government, through the ISI, helped found the Taliban and helped it gain power during the 1990s. Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government.

After the US ousted Mullah Omar from power in 2001 and 2002, the Taliban and al Qaeda regrouped in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan as well as in northwestern Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban teamed up with Pakistani Taliban factions and maintain safe havens and training camps in Pakistan to this day. The Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban’s executive council, is named after the Pakistani city where it is based. The ISI, through the Haqqani Network, is known to have directed suicide operations against the Indian Embassy and other targets in Kabul. Several Pakistani military officers have been detained inside Afghanistan in connection with terrorist attacks on Afghan soil, while numerous Afghan Taliban commanders have admitted to receiving support from the Pakistani military over the past several years.

Full text of the denial of Pakistani support by the Quetta Shura

A Study Team of the London School of Economics has claimed in a report that the intelligence agency of Pakistan has been supporting the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan militarily and logistically. It has claimed that Pakistani intelligence officials practically participate in meetings of the alleged Quetta Council and impose their discretions on members of the Leadership Council.

While considering this report of the London School of Economic as a merely baseless propaganda launched to promote British and American interests, the Islamic Emirate, meanwhile, declares its stand as follows:

1. The military power of the Evil Coalition including American, British and NATO forces have failed to prevent the victorious operations of the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Now they want to utilize their academic and research institutes in the work of the occupation of Afghanistan and for oppression of the Afghan Muslim people. The baseless report of the London School of Economics is a case in point. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes, the said report by the so-called research institute is a dictated drama of the political rulers of the West. It is not an investigative report based on facts and reasons, ethically carried out by academic research institute.

2. The current Jihad and resistance against the invaders are being led by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate based inside Afghanistan – obviously with the help and support of the Afghan Mujahid people. The enemy itself admits, the Islamic Emirate has control over 70% of the Afghan soil. The Islamic Emirate does not need to have such councils outside the country in order to continue the current popular resistance.

3. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always emphasized that the present resistance is completely an home-grown Afghan Islamic resistance against the aggression of the invaders. It is not possible to lead such resistance simply by foreign support instead of the native support of the Afghan masses. Had a foreign support rather than indigenous support , ever played a role in such cases, then the surrogate administration of Karzai has military, espionage, economic and political support of 49 countries, why it has failed to prevent the growing national resistance of the Afghan Mujahid nation despite the support of the foreign invaders that the Administration enjoys?

4. Rulers of the government of Pakistan claim that they are the frontline pioneers of the American ignited war. They have not spared to do whatever was in their capacity to do. Hence, it is not rationale to say that they are supporting the jihad and resistance against the Americans in Afghanistan. Had Pakistan supported the Mujahideen, then manifestations and impact of their support would have categorically become visible.

5. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan openly invites all academic and research institutes, military and intelligence entities of the world including the London School of Economics to come to Afghanistan and behold the ranks of the Islamic Emirate with their own eyes that whether the Afghan gallant people or any foreigner make up the Mujahideen and leaders of the Jihad. Then again, they should check the ranks of the Karzai stooge administration to see whether their leaders are the gallant Afghans or the open enemies of our country and the invaders. After that, they should put, their academic and investigative report conducted on the basis of the ground realities, at the disposal of the public of the world. Had they done so, these academic institutes would have abided by their recognized norms and principles; would have saved their caliber and reputations, and produced useful academic report. At least, it would not have been a fabricated drama, ironically ordered by the arrogant powers.

6. To end, the Islamic Emirate calls on all independent countries of the world, particularly, the neighboring countries to extend their support to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to put an end to the occupation of the arrogants so that our oppressed and suffering countrymen can get rid of the occupation of the tyrants and form an independent system.

Leadership Council

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.


Pak Army’s Contributions in Fight Against Terrorism

April 5, 2010

Spearhead Research

View Full Report Here : PAK ARMY’S CONTRIBUTIONS IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM


Role of Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan and Afghan Taliban

March 1, 2010

Brig. Asif Haroon Raja (Retd)

After 9/11, when Gen Musharraf was telephonically coerced by Washington, he quickly gave in to American seven demands. He agreed to side with untrustworthy USA which had a track record of leaving Pakistan high and dry in testing times, and to ditch Taliban regime which was anti-India and pro-Pakistan and had assured Pakistan of safe western border. He took a u turn at a critical time when both were badly in need of Pakistan support.

Musharraf took hasty decisions to change Afghan policy and to fight US war on terror in accordance with the wishes of Washington without taking into account its long term implications. His unwise decision to push the Army into South Waziristan antagonized the tribesmen compelling the defenders of our western border to turn their guns towards Pak Army, seen by them as a mercenary army of USA. It paved the way for our strategic assets in FATA becoming assets for our adversaries. Pakistan continues to suffer the blowback to this day.

Logically and morally, the US should have been highly obliged and indebted to Pakistan’s crucial support and should have gone out of the way to reward Pakistan handsomely for taking such a difficult decision which had grave ramifications for its security. Pakistan suffered grievous losses on social, political, economic and military planes while fighting futile war on terror. In terms of casualties, its losses far outnumber all other countries involved in war on terror. Pakistan having staked its security for protecting US interests was distrusted, maligned, coerced and destabilized. It was accused of double game and not doing enough.

India which did not shed a drop of blood was not only materially rewarded by awarding nuclear and defence deals but also made a strategic partner and given all out help to expand its influence in Afghanistan to emerge as a key player in Afghan affairs. Worst of all, CIA and FBI actively collaborated with RAW to cultivate Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in FATA, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-Shariat-Muhammadi (TNSM) in Swat and dissident elements within Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes in Balochistan to create lawlessness. Activities of rebellious forces were supplemented by foreign agents infiltrated from Afghanistan. The US strove to deprive Pakistan of its nukes and its media indulged in defamation campaign.

India is aiding TTP in FATA and BLA-BRA-BLUF in Balochistan. These outfits are being used for multiple purposes. Apart from the main objective of destabilizing Pakistan, these outfits are used for spoiling Pakistan’s relations with its neighbors. Kidnapping and killing of several Chinese officials working on development projects in Balochistan and in FATA were undertaken at the behest of India. Establishment of ETIM, a separatist organization vying for independence of Xingjiang province of China was reportedly based in FATA under the protection of TTP. Likewise, attacks on Imambargahs and targeting of Shia clerics and notables as well as acts of terror in Zahidan province of Iran using Jindollah group from Balochistan were RAW-CIA-MI-6 sponsored to fan Shia-Sunni conflict and to mar Pak-Iran relations. Jindollah’s leader Abdol Malik Regi who has recently been arrested was operating from Afghanistan and Dubai.

The Afghan Taliban should have carried a deep grudge since Pakistan not only betrayed them but also provided air bases, intelligence and logistic support to make US invasion successful. Pakistan is still continuing to make available its soil for transportation of war supplies to ISAF in Afghanistan. Several Taliban leaders including Abdul Salam Zaeef were handed over to USA to earn US goodwill and dollars. Conversely, Afghan Taliban should have joined hands with Pakistani Taliban, both driven by common ideological motivations, to avenge Pakistan’s betrayal. On the contrary they never fired a shot at Pakistan’s security forces. They refused to come to the rescue of beleaguered Hakimullah led militants in October-November 2009, even when the NATO-Afghan forces deliberately left the border facing SW open.

Finding that the US in connivance with India and Israel was playing dirty by indulging in covert operations in FATA, Swat and Balochistan, Pakistan wisely decided not to hound whatever few elements of Afghan Taliban and Haqqani group were present in Waziristan and to concentrate on quislings. In the wake of anti-Pakistan and pro-India Northern Alliance ruling the roost in Kabul and India striving to carve out a principle role for itself in Afghanistan after the departure of USA from the region, Pakistan is justified in keeping discreet contacts with friendly Pashtun Afghan factions.

It is ironic that Pakistan deceived Taliban and supported Karzai regime laden with Northern Alliance elements to earn the goodwill of USA but lost the goodwill of all three. It was greatness of Taliban that they ignored the great betrayal due to which they suffered a great deal and did not take it to their heart. It was black ingratitude of both Karzai led regime and US to deceive Pakistan and befriend India. Had the duo in league with India not played a double game to encircle and harm Pakistan, the latter would not have opened a window for the Taliban.

The coalition forces are fighting a protracted war in Afghanistan for the last eight years with least number of fatalities but they have got tired and weary and their morale has sunk low. The Afghan fighters on the other hand are fighting for the last three decades without any respite and have suffered colossal human and material losses. Still their resolve to continue fighting has not diminished. They show no sign of fatigue or loss of heart nor do they get over awed by the overwhelming numerical, technical, technological and firepower superiority of occupation forces. It is USA that has come down from the high pedestal and is eager to negotiate a deal with Taliban.

While the US has been constantly pressing Pakistan to do more, in actuality it is former that needs to do more. Pakistan Army with bare minimum resources, pitched against foreign trained and well equipped militants and having suffered heavy casualties has performed exceptionally well; high tide of militancy has been decisively enfeebled; morale of all ranks is high and each member is determined to root out the scourge of terrorism. Conversely, US led coalition forces enjoy vast superiority over their rag tag foes in men, material and intelligence resources. Despite being laced with all the advantages and with very low casualty rate, their performance has been dismal.

Near 80% of Afghan territory has been lost to the Taliban despite US leadership self professed claim that entire leadership of Al-Qaeda and Taliban is in Pakistan. US leaders claim that 80% of Taliban are moderate and are prepared to ditch 20% hardcore Taliban led by Mullah Omar. They also say that not more than 100 Al-Qaeda operatives are in Afghanistan. If all these claims are true, why the heavy troop surge and why so much fuss over biggest offensive in Helmand province when the expected opposition is so insignificant? Isn’t it ideal situation for beefed up coalition forces to effectively seal the border through mining, fencing and establishing posts along the border to prevent Pakistan based leaders from influencing the battles in Afghanistan and then deal with the leaderless Taliban and win the war hands down? The woven story to cover up failures needs lot of fine tuning.

Of late there is a noticeable change in the overall demeanor of USA towards Pakistan. It has belatedly dawned upon the US military that victory is not possible and safe withdrawal is the only realistic course of action left. They have realized that Pakistan in connivance with Afghan Taliban and not India or Northern Alliance would be able to arrange an honorable exit. But for this changed security situation, the US would not have changed its offensive posture towards Pakistan.

Subtle shift in US policy is not because of change of heart but because of self serving expediency. Pakistan should therefore remain wary of American moves rather than feeling euphoric that it has regained trust and confidence of USA. Under no circumstances should Pakistan hand over recently nabbed Afghan Taliban leaders like Mullah Ghani Baradar, Maulvi Kabir, Mulla Abdul Salam and Mulla Mir Muhammad either to USA or to Afghanistan since it will bring back the memories of black deeds of Musharraf. Ajmal Kasab being Pakistani national is in Indian captivity since November 2008 and has not been handed over to Pakistan. Why should Pakistan be in a hurry to hand over Afghan captives to Afghanistan ruled by US installed puppet regime whose days are numbered? After the withdrawal of foreign forces, if God forbid another bout of internecine war takes place in Afghanistan, it will not be among the Pashtuns but possibly between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns in which the former would emerge victorious. It is therefore a strategic compulsion of Pakistan to keep the Afghan Pashtuns friendly. They must not be betrayed again.

Unlike Afghan Taliban, the TTP does not have a strong cause. While the former are fighting against occupation forces and US installed Afghan regime and US trained so-called Afghan National Army which is national in name only (over 70% are non-Pashtun) to free their country, the TTP are up against Pakistan security forces. They succeeded as long as the people believed that they were better Muslims who wanted to replace un-Islamic parliamentary and judicial systems with Sharia and were genuinely keen to provide cheap and instant justice to the poor. Their barbaric acts of suicide attacks, kidnappings for ransom, slaughtering of captives, targeting mosques, destroying schools and denying women rights created serious doubts in the minds of the people since these practices went against the teachings of Islam. They still remained in two minds since they had got utterly disgusted with the role of parasitic rulers and rich class totally callous and insensitive towards the poor. Absence of justice and extreme poverty had driven them to a state of hopelessness and despair. They prayed for a healthy change and thought that the Taliban might redress their grievances and make their lives better.

The people felt ebullient when a treaty was inked in Swat in February 2009 for the establishment of Islamic courts in Swat and Malakand Division in return for Fazlullah militants giving up militancy. Amidst rejoicing by the people of Swat, the detractors of Pakistan unhappy with the changed security situation nudged Maulana Sufi to declare that he didn’t believe in Pakistan’s constitution, democracy and legal system. As if this bomb shell was not enough, Swat militants joined by Uzbek and Tajik fighters gave a new twist to the situation when they entered Lower Dir and Buner and started harassing the public. Western media upped the ante by raising alarm bells that the militants were too close to Islamabad and might takeover the capital city as well as nukes. These unprovoked offensive acts brought a sudden change in the perceptions of the people and for the first time they saw the other side of face of TTP and TNSM. Sufi-Fazlullah threw away the battle they had won through imprudent acts. From that time onwards, public support veered towards the Army.

Once the people saw with their own eyes the connection of RAW, CIA and Mossad with Swat militants and also learnt that several Imams of mosques as well as sizeable numbers of Taliban fighters were Hindus posing as Muslims, their revulsion for fake Taliban espousing the cause of Islam got intense. They vacated their houses to let the troops deal with foreign paid militants without any let and hindrance and to restore the pristine tranquility of Swat once again. Nearly 2.5 million people got displaced but the people of NWFP bore the brunt of 80% IDPs by sharing their homes and resources smilingly. They bore the economic burden at a time when prices of daily commodities had sky rocketed, there were no jobs and load shedding was at its peak.

Encouraged by the response of the people, the Army went about performing its tasks in its usual professional manner and succeeded in toppling well entrenched strongholds of the militants in Swat within -weeks as against the estimated timeframe of -weeks. Roaring success of operation Rah-e-Rast helped the Army to seize initiative and brought a happy change in the overall security environment. Going by the military principle of maintenance of momentum, the Army kept the militants on the run giving them no respite to rest and refit. Riding on the crest of success, the Army leadership took the critical decision of locking horns with the main base of TTP in South Waziristan (SW) where it was the strongest.

With active foreign support spread over several years, late Baitullah had filled up hundreds of unapproachable caves and tunnels with all sorts of sophisticated arms, explosives and ammunition. Some tunnels were converted into field hospitals while house compounds were utilized for training. Factories producing IEDs, suicide jackets and other gadgets were in operation. Militants were equipped with high-tech telephone and wireless sets and jamming devices. Hiace and toyata hilux vehicles were in plenty to move from one place to another. The two flanks of Mehsud belt were well protected by Ahmedzai Wazirs under Maulvi Nazir within SW and Othmanzai Wazirs under Gul Bahadur along with Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Baitullah’s successor Hakimullah Mehsud had 10,000 fighters and 2000 foreigners. Terrain and weather together with home ground also suited the militants. Despite enjoying all these advantages, Pak Army took just -weeks as against stipulated time of -weeks to uproot TTP defences and is holding the captured ground with absolute firmness.

The writer is a retired Brig and a freelance defence analyst who contributes regularly for local and foreign newspapers.


Altaf Hussain’s Misperception about Balochistan

January 29, 2010

Sajjad Shaukat

Every responsible politician of the country knows that Pakistan has been facing multiple crises of grave nature in wake of suicide attacks and target-killings. At this critical juncture, instead of emphasizing national unity, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain said on January 19 that there are “plotters who are bent upon sowing the seeds of hatred between the Baloch and the MQM…these conspirators are trying to pit the Baloch against the MQM.” Under this misperception, he further alleged, “Balochistan is a province and should not be treated like a colony.” Ignoring ground realities, he also demanded that the military operation should be brought to an immediate end. Especially, it was his is telephonic address to eminent Baloch personalities whose sympathies, Altaf wants to gain at the cost of Pakistan.

Altaf’s address evoked an instant reaction a participant who drew his attention to the Gutter Bagheecha dispute between the Baloch of Karachi and the MQM in which noted Baloch persons were shot dead.

At the same time, while urging the government and the rebel Baloch nationalists to resolve differences through dialogue, MQM leader left no stone unturned in manipulating the drastic situation of Balochistan where terrorist events such as attacks on government buildings, kidnappings, blowing the gas pipelines and target-killings have become a routine matter.

In fact, through his duplicity, Altal Hussain has been implementing the shrewd diplomacy of Machiavelli who advises the leaders to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act upon the traits of goat inwardly. In his sense, a good leader should be a good opportunist. Although Machiavelli suggests this cunning diplomacy in order to protect the overall interests of the state, yet Altaf has started applying the same for disintegration of Pakistan’s federation.

However, the main of Altaf Hussain’s statement was to give an indirect signal to the separatist elements so as to intensify their anti-Pakistan move.

As regards the province of Balochistan, we cannot blame MQM chief without some concrete evidence. In this regard, silence of Altaf over the foreign conspiracy against Balochistan clearly shows that he is encouraging the anti-state elements, and his integrity is doubtful.

It is notable that in 2008, Pakistan’s government had launched a successful approach of reconciliation particularly with the Baloch landlords. The level of violence had fallen to the minimum. It was in these circumstances that the then Corps Commander, Lt-Gen Khalid Shamim Wyne had claimed on November 9, 2008, “We have moved from the insurgency phase to the reconciliation phase, however, if foreign elements continue to infiltrate in Balochistan, they could stir trouble and undermine our efforts to restore peace.” His observation proved quite true as covert support to the militants by the secret agencies like Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and Afghanistan’s Khad with the tactical aid of American CIA succeeded in sabotaging the peace process in Balochistan.

It is of particular attention that after meeting the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani remarked on July 18, 2009 that during the talks, he also raised the issue of Indian interference in Balochistan.

In this context, on April 23 last year, in the in-camera sitting of the Senate, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik displayed documentary evidence of Indian use of Afghanistan to create unrest in Balochistan. The main aim of in-camera session was also to show the engagement of CIA against Pakistan.

In the recent past, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have openly stated that India and some external elements are backing the Baloch separatists. During the ongoing military operations, ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas, while showing to the media larger quantity of arms and ammunition, revealed that foreign hands has been helping the insurgents of the Frontier Province and especially those of Balochistan.

Apart from the above facts, as to why MQM chief is taciturn in relation to the external plot against Balochistan which is part of the conspiracy against Pakistan because the latter is the only Islamic nuclear state-not tolerated by the US, India and Israel. In this respect, by covertly backing the Baloch nationalist leaders, foreign elements have been fulfilling a number of covert designs. While foreign agents kidnap and kill the political leaders in Balochistan and elsewhere, but Baloch people, openly, accuse Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in this context. This is what these external plotters intend to achieve. Another purpose is to gain the sympathies of Baloch general masses for Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) which has been fighting for secession of the province. In this regard, on July 23, 2008, Akber Bugti’s grandson, Brahmdagh Bugti told the BBC that they had the right to accept arms from anywhere including India.

There is another CIA and Indian-supported separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which is also working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran. In the past few years, its militants with the cooperation of foreign agents kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan.

In this regard, question arises as to why MQM leader Altaf did not issue any statement about the involvement of RAW and other foreign agencies which are tying to separate Balochistan in order to fulfill their anti-Pakistan aims.

The unrest actually started in Balochistan when various projects such as construction of Gwadar Deep Sea Port, Mekran Coastal Highway, IPI gas project etc. were undertaken by the previous government to develop the backward regions of the province. The sole aim was to eliminate frustration among the people by providing infrastructure and employment opportunities.

The Baloch Sardars (feudal lords) who are being backed by external powers started opposing 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, which the world had witnessed during the Middle Ages. However, Baloch Sardars became hostile towards any initiative which could give a greater blow to their so-called prestige entailing brutalities, being perpetrated on the innocent people. These Sardars contacted the foreign elements which were already conspiring against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, MQM chief’s opposition to the military operation in Balochistan is quite illogical. It was Pak Army which eliminated the farrari camps and private jail of the Baloch Sardars, and thus set free hundreds of innocent people.

Notably, as to why strategic game, being played by India and America is not known to Altal Hussain who does not take cognizance of the fact that Balochistan with its ideal geo-strategic location with Gwadar seaport could prove to be Pakistan’s key junction, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia. It is due to multiple strategic benefits that the US which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to control Balochistan as an independent state in counterbalancing China and containing Iran. Owing to these reasons, Washington and New Delhi are creating instability in Pakistan by supporting Baloch separatists to complete their hidden agenda.

In that backdrop, on October 15, 2008 Pakistan and China signed eleven agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors including energy, trade and space technology. China also agreed to supply two nuclear reactors to Pakistan. From time to time, both Beijing and Islamabad conclude various agreements to further strengthen their mutual cooperation.

Besides silence of Altaf on the kidnappings and killings of Iranians and Chinese engineers in the last three years also displays his double standard which itself indicates that he is only deepening rift between the people of Balochistan and the Centre.

It is noteworthy that on August 8, 2007, Major (Retd) Tanvir Hussain, the parliamentary secretary for defence accused the American CIA of killing Chinese nationals in Pakistan to harm the cordial relations between Islamabad and Beijing.

Despite the recently announced Balochistan package, and the settlement of issues, relating to National Finance Commission in favour of Balochistan by the government, Altaf Hussain’s misperception is not without sinister designs. He may criticise the policies of the government to increase his vote bank, but in order to get the sympathies of the Baloch by encouraging them through his own self-assumed perceptions amounts to incitement of the Baloch people for secession which in fact proves his conspiracy against Pakistan.


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