Severe flooding in Pakistan

August 16, 2010

It is only the start of the monsoon season, but already Pakistan is experiencing some of the worst flooding it has seen in over 80 years. Entire villages have been washed away, an early estimate of over 1,600 deaths so far and over 2 million displaced

A boy hangs on to the front of a cargo truck while passing through a flooded road in Risalpur, located in Nowshera District in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province July 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
A boy hangs on to the front of a cargo truck while passing through a flooded road in Risalpur, located in Nowshera District in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province July 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Men take refuge on a boat during heavy rain in Pakistan's Nowshera District on July 29, 2010. (REUTERS/K. Parvez)
Men take refuge on a boat during heavy rain in Pakistan’s Nowshera District on July 29, 2010. (REUTERS/K. Parvez)

Residents watch water pour through a street on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan on July 28, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents watch water pour through a street on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan on July 28, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani villagers move to high ground escaping a flood-hit village near Nowshera, Pakistan on Thursday, July 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Pakistani villagers move to high ground escaping a flood-hit village near Nowshera, Pakistan on Thursday, July 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Nimra, a three-year-old girl, who was rescued along with her family from Kaalam in the northern area, kisses the window glass of an army helicopter after their arrival at Khuazakhela in Swat district located in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province on August 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)
Nimra, a three-year-old girl, who was rescued along with her family from Kaalam in the northern area, kisses the window glass of an army helicopter after their arrival at Khuazakhela in Swat district located in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province on August 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)

Residents watch from a nearby hill as army helicopters rescued trapped residents from Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
Residents watch from a nearby hill as army helicopters rescued trapped residents from Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Residents stand by flood water that entered a residential area of Muzaffarabad, Pakistan on July 30, 2010. (SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents stand by flood water that entered a residential area of Muzaffarabad, Pakistan on July 30, 2010. (SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)

An aerial view of a man and his animals surrounded by floodwater in Taunsa near Multan, Pakistan, flooded on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
An aerial view of a man and his animals surrounded by floodwater in Taunsa near Multan, Pakistan, flooded on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)

A Pakistani villager struggles to reach his village through a fast-moving flood water caused by heavy monsoon rain in Bakhtiarabad, 250 km (155 mi) north of Quetta, Pakistan on Friday, July 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Fida Hussain)
A Pakistani villager struggles to reach his village through a fast-moving flood water caused by heavy monsoon rain in Bakhtiarabad, 250 km (155 mi) north of Quetta, Pakistan on Friday, July 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Fida Hussain)

An aerial view shows Nowshera city submerged in flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
An aerial view shows Nowshera city submerged in flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

A Pakistani volunteer uses a small boat to evacuate locals in a flood-hit area of Nowshera on July 30, 2010. (A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani volunteer uses a small boat to evacuate locals in a flood-hit area of Nowshera on July 30, 2010. (A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani flood survivors cross a bridge near a damaged home in Medain, a town of Swat valley on August 2, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani flood survivors cross a bridge near a damaged home in Medain, a town of Swat valley on August 2, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan army soldiers pass a baby across a channel in the floodwater as they help people flee from their flooded village following heavy monsoon rains in Taunsa, Pakistan on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
Pakistan army soldiers pass a baby across a channel in the floodwater as they help people flee from their flooded village following heavy monsoon rains in Taunsa, Pakistan on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)

Villagers try to catch trees floating in the flooded Nelum river in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Aftab Ahmed)
Villagers try to catch trees floating in the flooded Nelum river in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Aftab Ahmed)

Residents help a man untie a chicken from his neck after he evacuated his flooded home with the fowl by swimming to higher grounds in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
Residents help a man untie a chicken from his neck after he evacuated his flooded home with the fowl by swimming to higher grounds in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

A family being rescued by army soldiers passes a cargo truck with men on top taking shelter from heavy floods in Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
A family being rescued by army soldiers passes a cargo truck with men on top taking shelter from heavy floods in Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

A soldier evacuating residents carries a flood victim to a helicopter in Sanawa, Pakistan's on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)
A soldier evacuating residents carries a flood victim to a helicopter in Sanawa, Pakistan’s on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A Pakistani boy named Jeeshan stands outside his tent in a camp set up by the Pakistani army inside a college on the outskirts of Nowshera on August 2, 2010. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Pakistani boy named Jeeshan stands outside his tent in a camp set up by the Pakistani army inside a college on the outskirts of Nowshera on August 2, 2010. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani flood survivors line up beside a damaged bridge in Medain, a town of Swat Valley on August 2, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani flood survivors line up beside a damaged bridge in Medain, a town of Swat Valley on August 2, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)

A boy is flung back by the force of a Pakistan Air Force helicopter rotors as it drops water supplies to residents on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
A boy is flung back by the force of a Pakistan Air Force helicopter rotors as it drops water supplies to residents on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Evacuees wade through a flooded area following heavy monsoon rains in Peshawar on Saturday, July 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Saeed Ahmad)
Evacuees wade through a flooded area following heavy monsoon rains in Peshawar on Saturday, July 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Saeed Ahmad)

People wait to cross a flooded road in Bannu, northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Ijaz Mohammad)
People wait to cross a flooded road in Bannu, northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Ijaz Mohammad)

A boy walks through flood destroyed homes on August 4, 2010 in Pabbi, near Nowshera, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
A boy walks through flood destroyed homes on August 4, 2010 in Pabbi, near Nowshera, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

A family portrait is seen, attached to a bookcase buried in mud on August 4, 2010 in Pabbi, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
A family portrait is seen, attached to a bookcase buried in mud on August 4, 2010 in Pabbi, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

An aerial view of floodwater covering the land as far as the eye can see, around Taunsa near Multan, Pakistan, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
An aerial view of floodwater covering the land as far as the eye can see, around Taunsa near Multan, Pakistan, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)

A flood survivor carries a soaked mat in a flooded area of Nowshera on August 3, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
A flood survivor carries a soaked mat in a flooded area of Nowshera on August 3, 2010. (A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)

A man gathers up some of his belongings outside his flooded house in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 2, 2010. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man gathers up some of his belongings outside his flooded house in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 2, 2010. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani women pray at sunset by the Ravi river in Lahore on August 2, 2010. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani women pray at sunset by the Ravi river in Lahore on August 2, 2010. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

A boy sits on a bed as his family members salvage belongings from their destroyed house in Pabbi, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)
A boy sits on a bed as his family members salvage belongings from their destroyed house in Pabbi, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)

Flood victims line up to collect relief supplies from the Army in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 2, 2010. Islamist charities, some with suspected ties to militants, stepped in on Monday to provide aid for Pakistanis hit by the worst flooding in memory, piling pressure on a government criticized for its response to the disaster that has so far killed more than 1,000 people. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
Flood victims line up to collect relief supplies from the Army in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 2, 2010. Islamist charities, some with suspected ties to militants, stepped in on Monday to provide aid for Pakistanis hit by the worst flooding in memory, piling pressure on a government criticized for its response to the disaster that has so far killed more than 1,000 people. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Flood-affected people jostle for food relief in Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Flood-affected people jostle for food relief in Nowshera in northwest Pakistan on Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

A Pakistani worker pushes back flood-stricken women who are trying to enter a relief center to get food supplies on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
A Pakistani worker pushes back flood-stricken women who are trying to enter a relief center to get food supplies on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Families set in for the evening in their makeshift tent homes located on a median strip after having abandoned their flood-destroyed homes, on August 3, 2010 in Pabi, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Families set in for the evening in their makeshift tent homes located on a median strip after having abandoned their flood-destroyed homes, on August 3, 2010 in Pabi, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Children, whose families have declined to be rescued, wade in rising flood waters on August 6, 2010 in the village of Panu Akil, near Sukkur, Pakistan. Rescue workers and armed forces continued rescue operations evacuating thousands in Pakistan's heartland province of Sindh. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Children, whose families have declined to be rescued, wade in rising flood waters on August 6, 2010 in the village of Panu Akil, near Sukkur, Pakistan. Rescue workers and armed forces continued rescue operations evacuating thousands in Pakistan’s heartland province of Sindh. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Residents evacuate to safety in a flood-hit area of Nowshera, Pakistan on July 30, 2010. (A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents evacuate to safety in a flood-hit area of Nowshera, Pakistan on July 30, 2010. (A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)

Onlookers perched on a damaged bridge watch a flood survivor use a rope to cross the river in Chakdara in Pakistan's Swat Valley on August 3, 2010. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Onlookers perched on a damaged bridge watch a flood survivor use a rope to cross the river in Chakdara in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on August 3, 2010. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

A young flood survivor cools herself with water at a makeshift camp in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A young flood survivor cools herself with water at a makeshift camp in Nowshera, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

A man tries to cross a makeshift bridge to escape his flooded home in Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)
A man tries to cross a makeshift bridge to escape his flooded home in Nowshera, Pakistan on July 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

A Pakistan army helicopter evacuates stranded villagers in Nowshera, Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
A Pakistan army helicopter evacuates stranded villagers in Nowshera, Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

A family takes refuge on top of a mosque while awaiting rescue from flood waters in Sanawa, a town located in the Muzaffar Ghar district of Pakistan's Punjab province on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)
A family takes refuge on top of a mosque while awaiting rescue from flood waters in Sanawa, a town located in the Muzaffar Ghar district of Pakistan’s Punjab province on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A woman yells as her child is evacuated from the roof of a mosque where residents were taking refuge from flood waters in Sanawa, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)
A woman yells as her child is evacuated from the roof of a mosque where residents were taking refuge from flood waters in Sanawa, Pakistan on August 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Stringer)

“We want to believe that things last for ever, whether it is love, life, God, or the laws of nature. But death, as Freud continually reminds us, is what certainty looks like. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to live in uncertainty for as long as we can bear it.


Kandahar and “Counter-Insurgency-in-a-Box”

July 9, 2010

Amb. Marc Ginsberg
Former US Amb. to Morocco

This 4th of July weekend, war weary Americans are being force-fed more foreboding Afghan geography, just as they were force-fed Iraqi geography. “Marja,” “Helmund,” and now “Kandahar.”
These names of the Taliban’s birthplace and heartland mean little to most Americans, but everything to the thousands of U.S. soldiers deployed in southern Afghanistan, and their families back in the U.S. who know that the pending battle for Kandahar is shaping up to be the pivotal engagement in the war against….against….whom exactly? The Taliban? Al Qaeda? The Taliban that matter?

Many empires have fought over the centuries to control Kandahar — a city of 450,000 and Afghanistan’s second largest — due to its strategic location. It has also once served as the capital of the Afghan empire, and more recently, as the capital of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan until the Taliban were routed from it after 9/11. But when America turned its back yet again on Afghanistan to invade Iraq, a good part of it was recaptured by the Taliban; and a small part was recaptured by Hamid Karzai’s corrupt warlord half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.

So why should Americans and their fellow NATO soldiers die for Kandahar? I frankly don’t know…since the dots just don’t seem, at least on paper or via media reports, to connect.

The cornerstone of General Petreaus’ military strategy comes down to this…to weaken the Taliban into a more defensive, negotiating posture, Americans will have to fight door-to-door in Kandahar to rid 4 of its 10 parishes of entrenched Taliban and in so doing win the hearts and minds of its inhabitants and turn them away from the Taliban — classic counter-insurgency surge doctrine…but not classic counter counter-terrorism doctrine. Then turn the city over to Hamid Karzai (who will inevitably turn it over to his corrupt half brother) to administer.

Gen. Petreaus testified this week before Congress that capturing Kandahar is pivotal to NATO’s strategy in Afghanistan. Sen. Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee echoed that by stating that America’s support for the war in Afghanistan “…will depend on this Fall (i.e., NATO offensive) in Kandahar.”

I am not a general, and have no pretentions of becoming an arm-chair general. But the decision to pin a Petreaus — directed revised counter-insurgency strategy on the conquest of Kandahar — let alone the real-life cost of American lives and treasure – waves a red flag right in my face.

One need not wear a uniform to read a map….the Taliban’s real sanctuary lies not in Kandahar, but across the border in Pakistan, in the city of Quetta. How can NATO sufficiently weaken the Taliban if it can evaporate across the border once we invade Kandahar? And, we have been telegraphing to them for months of our intentions to invade.

General Petreaus is a visionary military strategist and a remarkably accomplished leader. I greatly admire him. In an increasingly grim situation in Afghanistan deferring to his military judgment is understandable. But even he is not superhuman and even he cannot change what lurks in the dark vestiges of Hamid Karzai’s heart.

Is it fair, therefore, to him and to our brave men and women to pin so much hope on a goal that even he has difficulty reducing to a believable elevator speech.

The Kandahar offensive is way behind schedule because the ingredients Petreaus needs to replicate his brilliantly executed Iraqi “take and hold” surge strategy are MIA , and it seems unlikely the ingredients will miraculously arrive by the Fall – like a cavalry relief column – to sustain any U.S.-led Kandahar battleground gains.

And what are some of those missing ingredients?

  1. An adequately trained, capable Afghan army and police force to take over from NATO. This week, an Inspector General’s Report issued by the Pentagon exhorted the Defense Department for greatly exaggerating the real capability of Afghan troops and U.S. training results.
  2. A leadership in Kabul that the inhabitants of Kandahar respect. As a test in Marja, NATO parachuted in a “government-in-a-box” to win the hearts and minds of its inhabitants. Today, as Gen. McChrystal stated, Marja is a “bleeding ulcer; ” and U.S. troops are under regular attack; the Taliban are slaughtering anyone who dares cooperate with NATO and by all accounts, there is nothing that resembles a sustainable Afghan government military or civilian presence.
  3. A trustworthy cadre of local officials working transparently and tirelessly with NATO to protect supply lines instead of the corruption prone organized crime-like war lords on whom NATO is banking (and opening its bank) to protect supply lines. It is common knowledge that while Kandahar is mostly in Afghan government hands – the hands that it is in are dirty. Ahmed Karzai by ALL accounts, runs a city hall that makes Tammany Hall look like a nursery school. His small tribe — the Popalzai — are the source of his mafia-style militia.
  4. A sustainable presence of allied NATO troops who will remain with us in and around Kandahar to help shoulder the American burden. Instead, Petreaus confronts the likelihood of a withdrawal of Dutch, Canadian and British troops just as the Fall offensive is about to commence, and responsibility will fall into the hands of 23 unregistered security companies who answer to their quartermaster, whoever that may be. Question: what do our allies know that we don’t know?
  5. An ability to stop the Taliban’s assassination spree of local officials, foreign aid workers and tribal elders before there is no one left inside Kandahar who can help sustain the hard-fought NATO gains. Not a day goes by when reports seep out of Kandahar of how successful the Taliban’s own counter-U.S. insurgency campaign has been. In recent weeks, there has been report after report of beheadings, death threats, bombings and the like by the Taliban that is slowly ridding the city of anyone who can aid the surge from within. And there is growing local opposition to a military invasion among anti-Taliban elements inside and around Kandahar.
  6. Most importantly, a way to choke off the Taliban’s access to its Pakistani sanctuaries. These sanctuaries inside Pakistan are like the oil spill: the source of a seemingly endless Taliban torrent that may undermine the best counter-insurgency strategy. Without a change of heart inside Pakistan against those sanctuaries, General Petreaus is about to wage a battle with two hands tied behind his back. That is no way to dispatch our best general to the battlefield.

If Gen. Petreaus is to convert a battlefield surge into a sustainable victory against the Taliban, it is increasingly unlikely that, under present conditions, Kandahar will yield even a modest return on investment.

The potentially insurmountable challenges NATO forces face before the gates of Kandahar are breached are shaping up to be a clarion call for compelling a major rethink whether Kandahar — as General Petreaus most important Afghan experiment for applying “counter-insurgency in-a-box” is the right target. Mr. President, General Petreaus, it is not too late if it means saving even one American life.


Al Qaeda, RAW plan attacks in Pakistan

June 25, 2010

Important personalities, army men and Ahmedis can be targeted

By Asad Kharal

LAHORE: The intelligence agencies of Pakistan have revealed that al Qaeda, the Afghan Intelligence Agency, India’s Research Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Afghan Taliban have joined hands to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan, according to an Aaj Kal report. The agencies have also warned that other anti-state elements plan to target important personalities, armed forces’ personnel, sensitive government installations, public places and business centres owned by the Ahmedis. The terrorists have acquired a huge quantity of explosives to carry out the attacks, the agencies reported. An intelligence agency source informed Aaj Kal that according to Threat Alert-253 issued by the agency, al Qaeda leadership based in the Tribal Areas was planning large-scale attacks on unspecified targets. According to Threat Alert-250, anti-state elements in Afghanistan – the Afghanistan Intelligence Agency, RAW and al Qaeda along with the Afghan Taliban were planning various terrorist activities including the assassination of high profile officers of the armed forces. According to Threat Alert-288, Miranshah-based terrorists were planning attacks in major cities of Punjab and Quetta. Such activities are likely to start after June 15.

According to Threat Alert-287, Mubashar and Idrees – residents of Faisalabad – are planning to target an Ahmedi man who owns a Toyota showroom in Amin Town, Faisalabad.

These reports have been forwarded to the Interior Ministry, the home secretary and the Punjab inspector general of police.


US laud Pakistan law enforcing agencies for curbing narcotics trafficking

April 8, 2010

Associated Press of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: United States Wednesday appreciating efforts of Pakistan’s law enforcing agencies for taking effective measures to curb drug trafficking and poppy cultivation, assured to provide more help and cooperation in achieving the targets of ‘poppy free Pakistan’. Talking to newsmen, David T. Johson, U.S. Assistant Secretary Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcing Affairs here at American embassy , said the US is working on a dollars 150 million programme with the cooperation of Pakistan’s anti-narcotics forces to fight the menace of drugs.

He said over 93 per cent poppy being used in the world, was being supplied from Afghanistan while Columbia, Mexico, Burma and some other countries contributed rest of 7 percent. He, however said, Pakistan’s share in supply of poppy was very low.

Replying to a question he rejected the reports that NATO or international forces are helping the local population in promoting poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

About achieving ‘poppy free country’, status by Pakistan, Johnson said,” it depends on the control by the law enforcing agencies in the areas where operation is going on against the terrorists”.

Read the rest of this entry »


332 terror hits claimed 5,704 lives since 9/11

March 18, 2010

By Sabir Shah

LAHORE: The extent to which Pakistan has borne the brunt of the US-led War against Terror can be gauged from the fact that during the last 102 months since the 9/11 episode, the country has averagely been rocked by terrorists every 10th day during this period, which has witnessed 332 terrorism-related incidents inflicting 5,704 deaths till date.

While 58 terrorism-related incidents have jolted Peshawar (Charsadda and Darra Adamkhel included) since September 11, 2001, the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have been hit 46 times by terrorists in these last eight and a half years.

A research conducted by The News, using statistics and chronology recorded by the US Department of State, archives of Pakistani newspapers and websites carrying

information about global terrorism, has revealed that while the port city of Karachi has been struck 37 times by terrorists during this period under review, Lahore has confronted such happenings on 21 occasions, the same number as the Swat valley.

While Quetta has so far seen blood pouring down its drains 18 times, Dera Ismail Khan has been attacked 16 times by the terrorists during this still ongoing war. The Pakistan Army personnel and installations of country’s armed forces, outside the war zones of Swat, South and North Waziristan etc, have been targeted at least 22 times during this time period under review.

Meanwhile, not fewer than 105 terrorism incidents have taken place since in the war-ridden Bajaur Agency, Kurram Agency, Orakzai Agency, Lower and Upper Dir, Mohmand Agency, South Waziristan and North Waziristan agencies etc.

The NWFP cities mainly hit include Hangu, Kohat, Shangla, Buner, Bannu, Mansehra, Buner, Haripur, Nowshehra, Lakki Marwat and Parachanar etc. Terror has also whacked the calm of Dera Bugti four times.

The residents of Bahawalpur, Sialkot, Hub, Sargodha and Faisalabad found themselves strapped in the grip of fear on two occasions each.

Horror also haunted Multan, Mian Channu, Taxilla, Pishin, Panjgur, Gujranwala, Wah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Kalat, Kamra, Bhakkar, Chakwal, Mianwali, Hassan Abdal and Muzaffarabad etc, at least once each.

During this fright-studded period, high-ranking al-Qaeda officials like Abu Zubaida and Ramzi Binalshibh were arrested by Pakistani officials on March 23, 2002, and September 14, 2002, respectively.

Similarly, on March 1, 2003, Wall Street Journal newsman Daniel Pearl’s killer Khalid Shaikh Muhammed was arrested during CIA-led raids on a suburb of Rawalpindi.

At the time of his capture, Khalid was the third highest ranking official in al-Qaeda and was believed to have supervised the planning for the September 11 attacks on the US.

Khalid Sheikh Muhammed was also linked the USS Cole bombing, an attempt to blow up a civilian airliner with a shoe bomb and the terrorist attack at a synagogue in Tunisia.

Claiming that it has lost around $35 billion since joining the still-continuing War on Terror, Pakistan witnessed only two terror-related incidents in 2001, 14 in 2002, just 8 in 2003, 18 in 2004, 11 in 2005, 16 in 2006, 56 in 2007, 72 in 2008, 130 in 2009 and 29 in the first two-and-a-half months of 2010 till the fling of this report.

The year 2009 of course remained the bloodiest of all with 130 incidents claiming around 1,800 lives, followed by 2008 which saw 1,565 people falling prey to 72 such attacks.

Terror in Pakistan claimed the lives of eminent personalities like the two-time Premier Benazir Bhutto (December 27, 2007), banned Anjuman-e-Sipah-e-Sihaba chief Maulana Azam Tariq (October 6, 2003), former Interior Minister Lt Gen (R) Moinuddin Haider’s elder brother Ehteshamuddin Haider (December 21, 2000), noted religious scholar Ghulam Murtaza Malik (May 7, 2002), eminent Deobandi scholar and head of Islamic religious school Jamia Binoria, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai (May 30, 2004), leading Shia scholar and Chief of Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan, Allama Hassan Turabi (July 14, 2006), Chief of Peshawar City Police Malik Saad (January 27, 2007), former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam MNA and Wafaqul Madaris Vice Chairman Maulana Hassan Jan (September 15, 2007), Pakistan Army’s top medic Lt Gen Mushtaq Baig (February 25, 2008), former head of Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group Maj Gen (R) Ameer Faisal Alvi (November 19, 2008), Awami National Party Provincial law-maker Alam Zeb Khan (February 11, 2009), leading Sunni Barelwi cleric Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi (June 12, 2009), Punjab-born Balochistan Education Minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan (October 25, 2009), Balochistan’s Deputy Inspector General Nizam Shahid Durrani (November 19, 2009), ANP politician Shamsher Ali Khan (December 1, 2009), former NWFP Education Minister Ghani-ur-Rehman (January 3, 2010), Peshawar’s District Police Officer Iqbal Marwat (February 12, 2010) and Jamaat Ahl-e-Sunnat’s key leaders Mufti Saeed Jalalpuri (March 11, 2010) and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem (March 14, 2010).

During this particular period, former President Pervez Musharraf survived three life attempts.

While Musharraf saw death close to him twice in December 2003, he also managed to survive the July 6, 2006, attack aimed at his life.

Then Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat also narrowly escaped on June 10, 2004, when gunmen opened fire at his convoy in Karachi.

On July 30, 2004, there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the Prime Minister-elect Shaukat Aziz, while he was campaigning for a by-election in Attock District.

On August 2, 2004, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yousaf also managed to deceive death.

On April 28, 2006, the then Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, survived an assassination bid at Charsadda.

On July 17, 2007, another suicide bomber blew himself up outside the venue of the district bar council convention in Islamabad, just be-fore the arrival of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto also escaped unhurt on October 18, 2007, when her convoy was attacked in Karachi upon her return from a long exile, but could not ride her luck the second time she was fatally targeted on December 27, 2007.

On October 30, 2007, a suicide bomber struck a police checkpoint in the high security zone of Rawalpindi, less than a kilometre from President Musharraf’s Camp Office.

The blast also splattered the checkpost outside the residence of then Chief of the General Staff General Tariq Majid.

On November 9, 2007, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the house of the then Federal Political Affairs Minister Amir Muqam in Peshawar. The minister escaped unhurt though.

On December 21, 2007, a suicide bomber again unsuccessfully targeted former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao.

On June 9, 2008, controversial Swat cleric and chief of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi Maulana Sufi Muhammad survived a remote-controlled bomb.

On October 2, 2008, a suicide attacker targeted the Charsadda house of ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, who survived the attack.

On October 6, 2008, a suicide attacker targeted a gathering at PML-N legislator Rashid Akbar Nawani’s house in Bhakkar. Nawani luckily survived the attack.

On November 11, 2008, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a packed Qayyum Stadium in Peshawar, minutes after the NWFP Governor Owais Ghani had left the venue and just moments prior to the departure of Senior Provincial Minister Bashir Bilour.

On March 3, 2009, a convoy carrying Sri Lankan cricketers and officials in two buses was fired upon near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Six members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were injured.

On March 11, 2009, senior minister of the NWFP Bashir Bilour survived yet another assassination attempt in Peshawar.

On June 11, 2009, the NWFP Prisons Minister, Mian Nisar Gul Kakakhel, was

seriously injured when his convoy was ambushed by suspected militants in Darra Adam Khel.

On September 2, 2009, sitting Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi was injured in a brazen attack in Islamabad.

On February 9, 2010, renowned politician Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was attacked by militants in Rawalpindi, though Sheikh Rashid managed to live on by ducking the bullets.


Lest We Forget

March 4, 2010

Hamid Hussain

Pakistan and India are now seen through the prism of mutual hostility. However, armies of both countries share a common heritage. During the Raj, an amazing feat was achieved when a fine army consisting of local soldiers and commanded by British officers was built from scratch. Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Gurkha soldiers served together on all battlefields. After First World War, officer rank was opened for Indians and a number of young men joined the army after graduating from Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and then Royal Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. A generation which trained together and fought together as comrades in Second World War later served with Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh armies.

First native Commander-in-Chief of Indian army General K. C. Cariappa (nick named Kipper) and first native Chief of Staff (COS) of Pakistan army Lieutenant General Nasir Ali Khan were both from 7 Rajput Regiment (it consisted of 50 percent Punjabi Muslims and 50 percent Hindu Rajputs). In August 1947, when army was divided between the two countries, Muslim element of Rajput Regimental Center at Fatehgarh consisting of four officers and six hundred other ranks was given a cordial farewell. Among the four officers was Tajjamal Hussain who joined 7 Rajput as a young man but later fought against India in 1965 and 1971 wars. His parent regiment was fighting from Indian side. In more recent times, a Pakistani officer deployed along border walked to the Indian sentry who was a Rajput and started a conversation. The Pakistani officer told him that they were also Rajputs. Indian soldier promptly replied that ‘taan Ranghar nain; kyon key taan zamin te daroo donoon chad ditte’ (you are no more Rajput because you have given up both your land and alcohol’.)

In 1927 a young man from Hazara left for Sandhurst to become officer in Indian army. He was in number 5 company. One of his course mates in the same platoon was a Bengali Hindu boy. A picture of the platoon shows both young lads who were commissioned on February 02, 1928. Both served with British Indian army; Muslim boy joining 1/14 Punjab Regiment (now 5 Punjab of Pakistan army) and Hindu boy elite 7th Light Cavalry (now an armor regiment of Indian army). In 1947 after partition of India, they joined the armies of newly independent India and Pakistan. In 1965 war, the young Muslim man from Hazara Field Marshal Ayub Khan was President of Pakistan while Bengali Hindu General Jayanto Nath Chaudri (nick named Mucchu Chaudri) was Commander-in-Chief of Indian army.

In Sandhurst, two young men Brij Mohan Kaul (nick named Bijji) and Akbar Khan were together. In 1942, Kaul and Akbar were again together for staff course in Quetta. In 1947 Kaul was defense attaché in Washington but came back to India when hostilities between Pakistan and India started over Kashmir. He was with Jawaharlal Nehru on his trip to Jammu while from the other side now Brigadier Akbar Khan was orchestrating the war with code name of General Tariq. After graduating from Sandhurst, B. M. Kaul joined 5th Battalion of 6th Rajputana Rifles (5/6 RR). Battalion Quartermaster was Captain Umrao Singh. Battalion was stationed in Razmak, Waziristan. At the same time another battalion stationed at Razmak was 6th Battalion of 13th Frontier Force Rifles (6/13 FFR). Lieutenant Muhammad Musa of 6/13 FFR (now One Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan army) was Kaul’s friend. In Razmak, Waziristan at one time there were several young Indian officers serving with elite 6/13 FFR. The list included Muhammad Musa (later General), Akbar Khan (later Major General), Mohammad Yusuf (later Major General) and Mohindar Singh Chopra (later Major General). After a stint at Army Service Corps when Kaul tried to get back to infantry, he asked for transfer to his friend’s 6/13 FFR (then commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Russel nick named Russel Pasha) but could not get the transfer. Hostilities between India and Pakistan started in the fall of 1947 in Kashmir and continued for over a year. An audacious Kaul rang up now Lieutenant Colonel Musa stationed at Lahore that he was going to visit him. The uniforms of both armies looked alike. Kaul crossed the border and all along he was saluted and waved by Pakistani soldiers. He went to Lahore cantonment and showed up at Musa’s office. Musa was shocked to see him in his office as Musa’s boss Major General Muhammad Iftikhar Khan was in the next room. Musa quickly put Kaul in a jeep and under escort sent him safely back to India through Ferozpur border. Kaul later became Chief of General Staff (CGS) and Corps Commander of Indian army and Musa commander-in-chief of Pakistan army.

Nawabzada Sher Ali Khan was the scion of princely state of Pataudi. He graduated from Sandhurst and joined one of the oldest cavalry regiment; 7th Light Cavalry. After partition, he opted for Pakistan. In 1947-48 Kashmir war he was commanding 14th Parachute Brigade. His parent battalion was also in Kashmir theatre fighting from Indian side. Tanks of Pataudi’s parent battalion 7th Cavalry then commanded by Lt. Colonel Rajindar Singh ‘sparrow’ (later Major General) captured Zojila. This was a first rate performance by 7th Cavalry operating tanks at such high altitude.

In December 1924, S. P. P. Thorat and Nawabzada Agha Mahmud Raza sailed together from Bombay to join Sandhurst. Thorat joined 1/14 Punjab (now 5 Punjab of Pakistan army). In December 1928, in Aurangabad, Second Lieutenant Muhammad Ayub Khan joined the battalion. Thorat as a senior Indian officer groomed newly arrived Ayub Khan. After 1947-48 Kashmir conflict, Thorat visited Lahore several times as part of Indian delegation. Every time, he made sure to visit his parent battalion; the rear party of which was stationed in Lahore. Raza became Major General in Pakistan army and Ayub Khan Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of Pakistan army. 1930 batch of Sandhurst included Mian Hayauddin (4/12 Frontier Force Regiment, now 6 FF) and Umrao Singh (5/6 RR). Hayauddin (nick named Gunga) served with the Sikh company of the battalion and was fluent in spoken and written Gurmukhi (Sikh language). In 1948, he was commanding Bannu Brigade and fought against India in Poonch sector in Kashmir winning gallantry award of Hilal-e-Jurat. He later rose to become Major General in Pakistan army. Umrao commanded 5th Infantry Brigade of Indian army in Kashmir in the same conflict (he was wounded in action). He later became Lt. General and in 1962 Indo-China conflict with China was commanding XXXIII Corps.

K. S. Thimayya (nick named Timmy) joined 4/19 Hyderabad regiment (now 4 Kumaon Regiment). His colleagues were Lieutenant Ishfaq ul Majid, Captain Kunwar Daulat Singh and Captain S. M. Shrinagesh. Thimaya became Adjutant of the battalion and groomed many new officers including Mohammad Azam Khan. Thimayya became Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Indian army and Azam Lieutenant General and Corps commander in Pakistan army. Captain Akbar Khan and Captain T. P. Rajan served together with 7/13 FFR when battalion was stationed in Kohat. Akbar became Major General in Pakistan army while Rajan retired as Colonel of Indian army. During Second World War, several Officers Training Units (OTUs) were established in India to grant emergency commissions to new officers. The first one was established in Mhow. Three company commanders chosen for this OTU were Majors Mohammad Musa, Moti Sagar and Pritam Kirpal. Musa trained many non-Muslim officers who served with Indian army and Sagar and Kirpal many Muslim officers who later served with Pakistan army. Moti was from 1 Rajput and later rose to become Lt. General and GOC-in-C of Southern command of Indian army.

Gul Hassan joined 9/13 FFR in 1942 and served with the Sikh company of the battalion. Later he served as Quarter Master and Adjutant of 3rd Cavalry when it was commanded by Lt. Colonel K. M. Idris. After partition, he joined 5th Probyn’s Horse (where he served as Adjutant, Second and in command and finally Commanding officer). Later, he became Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan army. Many of his comrades served with Indian army and his old 3rd Cavalry fought in many conflicts with Pakistan. Muhammad Khan Jarral was commissioned in 1942 from Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. His company commander at the academy was Major Satyawant Mallanah Shrinagesh (He served as Adjutant of 4/19 Hyderabad and commanded 6/19 Hyderabad). Jarral joined 2nd Jammu & Kashmir Rifles (J&KR) and fought in Second World War in different theatres. Pakistan and India got entangled in Kashmir immediately after independence. Jarral was appointed adjutant of Gilgit Scouts. In Zoji La he was commanding A and B wings of Gilgit Scouts against Indian troops. Lieutenant General Srinagesh was commanding Indian troops in Kashmir. Jarral fought against his previous company commander at Dehra Dun in this conflict.

During Second World War, in African theatre, several British Indian army regiments fought against Italians. In the battle of Keren, 6/13 FFR, 3/2 Punjab and 2/5 Marhatta fought side by side. 6/13 FFR was commanded by Lt. Colonel Dudley Russel (he won Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Military Cross (MC) and later rose to Lt. General rank). Subedar of the Sikh company of 6/13 FFR just before the attack told his men ‘Guru de saun, Unnath di kasam, char jao’ (in the name of Guru, swearing by 59th, attack). 59 was the old number of 6/13 FFR when it was designated 59th Sindh Camel Corps. In view of many troubles which the battalion caused in the past, it was also nick named ‘Garbar Unnath’ (troublesome 59th). Captain Anant Singh Pathania (later Major General) of 6/13 FFR won MC in this battle and another officer of the battalion Major Vidya Dhar Jayal (later Brigadier) won a DSO. Both officers served with Indian army later. 6/13 FFR is now One Frontier Force (FF); senior most battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan army.

In the battle of Casino in the spring of 1944, 17th Infantry Brigade consisting of 4/12 FF (now 6FF), 1/10 Baluch (now 6 Baloch) and 19th Infantry Brigade consisting of 6/13 FFR and 3/8 Punjab (now 3 Baloch) participated. Muslim, Hindu and Sikh soldiers and officers fought under the same flag. When Pathan company of 6/13 FFR was severely mauled, Dogra company led by Major Kashmir Singh Katoch (later Lt. General) cleared many machine gun nests. In 1965 war, Kashmir Singh was Lieutenant General commanding XV Corps of Indian army against Pakistan. Kashmir Singh’s parent battalion (now 1 FF of Pakistan army commanded by Lt. Colonel Shabbir Ali Khan) was fighting Indian army in Khem Karan area. In the spring of 1945, at the battle at Gothic Line, 1/5 Marhatta (now 1 Marhatta Light Infantry of Indian army) and 6/13 FFR (now 1 FF of Pakistan army) fought together. Both battalions were held by heavy German machine gun fire. Soldiers of both these battalions fought with utmost gallantry against the common foe and won two well deserved Victoria Crosses. Namdeo Jadhao of 1/5 Marhatta and Ali Haider of 6/13 won Victoria Cross for their bravery. On Burma front, two elite cavalry regiments 5th Probyn’s Horse and 9th Deccan Horse were part of 255 Tank Brigade. 5th Horse is now elite regiment of Pakistan army and 9th Horse holds the same position in Indian army. In Rangoon, many young officers including Captain Gul Hassan, Captain Riaz ul Karim (nick named Bacchu Karim later became Major General), Captain I. U. Babar, Captain S. S. Mustafa, Major S. S. Kalha (Artillery), Major Ranbir Singh (7 Rajput Regiment), D. C. Basapa (16th Cavalry) and many others belonging to different religions and ethnicities lived and fought together.

Sam Manekshaw (later Indian army chief) and Haji Iftikhar Ahmad (later Major General in Pakistan army) were buddies at military academy in Dehra Dun. Sam won his Military Cross in Burma with his parent battalion; 4/12 Frontier Force regiment (now 6 FF of Pakistan army). His friend in the battalion was Atiq ur Rahman (nick named Turk). In 1947, Lieutenant Colonel Sam, Major Yahya Khan (later Pakistan army chief) and Major S. K. Sinha (later Vice Chief of Army Staff of Indian army) were serving together at Military Operations Directorate in Delhi. After 1971 war, when Sam came to Pakistan for negotiations, his host was now Lieutenant General Atiq. Dinner was served in silverware of Sam’s parent battalion; 6 FF.

Second Lieutenant Permindra Singh Bhagat of 21 Field Company was attached to 3/12 Frontier Force Regiment (now 5 FF) when he won his Victoria Cross at the battle of Keren. Bhagat later rose to become Lt. General of Indian army; however he still had some bond with old PIFFERS (nick name of Frontier Force). At the time of partition, Sikh company of 3/12 FF was absorbed in Sikh Light Infantry (SLI). Bhagat remained Colonel of SLI even after his retirement. Zorawar Chand Bakhshi (nick named Zoru) joined 16/10 Baluch Regiment and was posted to Pathan company. He fought Second World War with his Pathan comrades. Once he was asked by his Commanding Officer (CO) to take Dogra company soldiers for a task and Zoru was not happy as he wanted to take his own Pathan soldiers. It was in this action led by Zoru that Sepoy Bhandari Ram won Victoria Cross. In 1965 war he fought against his former Pathan comrades now part of Pakistan army as Brigadier (commanding 68th Brigade) and in 1971 as Major General (commanding 26th Division).

In Libyan theatre, Rommel’s Africa Corps overran 7th Armored Division of Indian army (GOC Major General Frank Messervy escaped capture by posing as an orderly). Many Indian officers became prisoners and the list included Major P. P. Kumaramangalam (2nd Field Regiment of Artillery), Yahya Khan, Tikka Khan and Yaqub Khan (18th Cavalry). Many of these prisoners were housed in a camp together. This camp had the distinction of holding a record number of future senior officers including three future army chiefs of two countries under its roof. The senior most officer Major Kumarangalam (later General and Indian army chief) was appointed commanding officer of the camp. His assistant was Lieutenant Shamsher Singh, his adjutant Captain Yahya Khan (later General and Pakistan army chief) and Quartermaster Captain Tikka Khan (later General and Pakistan army chief). Other inmates were Captain Yaqub Khan( later Lieutenant General of Pakistan army but demoted to Major General rank when he declined to launch military action in 1971 in East Pakistan), Ajit Singh (later Lieutenant General), Captain Kalyan Singh (later Major General), Naravne (later Major General), Lieutenant Shamsher Singh (later Brigadier) and Lieutenant Hissam Effendi (later Brigadier).

In Second World War, some of the captured Indian officers and soldiers were organized into Indian National Army (INA) by their Japanese captors. Several who refused to join INA were tortured and kept in very difficult circumstances. Among them were two brothers Lt. Colonel Gurbakhsh Singh then commanding Jind State Forces and Captain Harbakhash Singh (later Lt. General) of 11th Sikhs as well as men of 5/13 FFR. Harbakhsh later commanded 11th Sikh in 1947-48 Kashmir conflict against Pakistan and in 1965 war he was GOC-in-C of Western Command. The case of 1/14 Punjab (now 5 Punjab of Pakistan army) in Second World War is a very strange one. Before their capture by Japanese, the battalion performed very well against Japanese and had lost three officers, five Viceroy Commissioned Officer (VCOs) and thirty eight men killed in action. Several officers of 1/14 Punjab including Shah Nawaz Khan, Gurbakhash Singh Dhillon, Gurdip Singh Dhillon, Mohan Singh Deb, Muhammad Zaman Kiani and Abdul Rashid joined INA during their captivity. Many soldiers of the battalion followed their Indian officers. Later, Ayub Khan re-raised the battalion in 1946 in Mir Ali Waziristan. His Second-in-Command was a Sikh Major G. S. Brar. After partition, Shah Nawaz Khan stayed in India and served as Minister of State for Railways in Nehru cabinet. However, he sent his son Mahmood Nawaz to Pakistan where he joined his father’s parent battalion 1/14 Punjab now designated 5 Punjab. He fought in 1965 war from Pakistan side against India. 1/14 produced two Pakistan army chiefs; Ayub Khan and Asif Nawaz and several generals of Pakistan and Indian army including Lt. General S. P. P. Thorat and Major General Anis Ahmad Khan of Indian army (Anis opted for Indian army at the time of partition. He was Director Supplies & Transport of Indian army from 1949-53. After retirement he moved to Pakistan where his brother-in-law Major General Shahid Hamid was Master General of Ordnance of Pakistan army) and Lt. General Alam Jan Mahsud of Pakistan army. Ayub’s son Gohar Ayub also joined his father’s battalion.

After Second World War, Field Marshal Claude Auchinlek asked two Indian officers to travel to cantonments to assess the causes of lower morale of officers. The two chosen officers were Azam Khan and Man Mohan Khanna. Both later became Lt. Generals in Pakistani and Indian armies respectively. Lt. Colonel Sarabjit Singh Kalha CO of 2/1 Punjab (now 2 Punjab of Pakistan army) was one of the most decorated officer of Indian army winning DSO, MC and Bar. He was killed in Indonesia when after Second World War some Indian troops were stationed there.

Many infantry and cavalry regiments which became part of Indian and Pakistani army after partition served together in higher formations. Many battalions fought together in different theatres in First and Second World Wars. 3rd Indian Motor Brigade consisted of three elite cavalry regiments; 2nd Lancers, 11th Prince Albert Victor’s Own (PAVO) Cavalry and 18th Cavalry. 2nd Lancers and 18th Cavalry were allotted to India and 11th Cavalry to Pakistan. 3rd Independent Armored Brigade consisted of three elite cavalry regiments; 17th Poona Horse, 18th Cavalry and 19th Lancers. In 1947, 17th Horse and 18th Cavalry were allotted to India and 19th Lancers was to Pakistan. 17th Poona Horse was stationed at Risalpur and when it embarked for India, it left its equipment to incoming 13th Lancers. Indian army regiments had class squadrons and companies from a single class. In 1947, Muslim companies and squadrons of regiments allotted to India were sent to Pakistan and vice versa. Sikh C Squadron of 13th Lancers joined 17th Poona Horse while Muslim Rajput Squadron of 14th Sindh Horse joined 13th Lancers.

In 1947 when regiments were divided between the two countries some interesting incidences occurred. It was decided to assign elite Guides (10th) Cavalry to India and 14th Sindh Horse to Pakistan. The reason was that Guides Cavalry had two non-Muslim (Sikh and Dogra) squadrons and one Muslim (Pathan) squadron. On the other hand, Sindh Horse had two Muslim (Muslim Rajput and Pathan) squadrons compared to one non-Muslim squadron. Commanding Officer of Guides convinced the military authorities that in view of the long association of Guides with frontier as well as regimental center being located at Mardan in Pakistan, Guides should be allotted to Pakistan. In return Sindh Horse was allotted to India. Punjabi Muslim Squadron of 4th Hodson Horse and Pathan Squadron of 14th Sindh Horse joined Guides Cavalry when later was allotted to Pakistan. Muslim Rajput Squadron of 14th Sindh Horse went to 13th Lancers. After partition, during transition times, several non-Muslim officers continued to command many battalions allotted to Pakistan. CO of 7/1 Punjab (now 18 Punjab) was Lieutenant Colonel Budh Singh till November 1947, CO of 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment (now 6 FF) was Lt. Colonel Gupta till November 1947 and CO of 1/13 Frontier Force Rifles (now 7 FF) was Lt. Colonel Brieshwar Nath till November 1947.

In 1947-48 Kashmir conflict, comrades who fought together in Second World War so recently were now facing each other. Kalwant Singh, L. P. Bogey Sen and M. M. Khanna fought from Indian side while Mian Hayauddin, Azam Khan, Sher Ali Khan Pataudi and Akbar Khan from Pakistani side. 4/10 Baluch (now 11 Baloch), 7/10 Baluch (now 15 Baloch), 2/1 Punjab (now 2 Punjab), 1/15 Punjab (now 9 Punjab), 2/12 Frontier Force Regiment (now 4 FF), 1/13 Frontier Force Rifles (now 7 FF) had barely said goodbye to the non-Muslim companies (Dogra and Sikh) of their battalions when they faced them in Kashmir. Commander of 50 Para Brigade Brigadier Y. S. Paranjpye and commander of 77 Para Brigade Brigadier Mohammad Usman who until very recently did a superb job of internal security duty in Pakistan found themselves fighting from Indian side in Kashmir. The Sikh company of 1/1 Punjab (now 1 Punjab of Pakistan army) commanded by Major S. S. Pandit said goodbye to their Muslim colleagues and on reaching India was sent to Kashmir. They were attached to 2 Dogra during the war and later absorbed in 1 Sikh. In October 1947, Dogra B Company of 4/13 Frontier Force Rifles (9 FF) left for India. Barely two months later, Dogra PIFFERS ended up in Kashmir where they became E company of 4 Kumaon then commanded by Lt. Colonel M. M. Khanna. Khanna was buddy of Pakistani officer Brigadier Azam Khan who had joined 4 Kumaon as a young lad and was now commanding 25th Brigade of Pakistan army against his former comrades. Khanna narrowly escaped death at the hands of his former comrades when his party was ambushed and fourteen out of fifteen members of the CO’s party were killed. G. G. Bewoor, L. P. Sen and D. K. Palit were all Baluchis (all three had joined Baluch regiment when they got their commission). In 1947 in Kashmir, Bewoor commanded 2 Dogra, Palit commanded 3/9th Gurkha Rifles and Sen was commander of 161 Brigade against Pakistanis. On Pandu, First Bihar was fighting against Pakistani troops while their former second in command and first ‘native’ commanding officer Habibullah Khan Khattak (later Major General) was now serving with Pakistan army. In 1948, Colonel M. G. Jilani took command of Gilgit Scouts. His parent battalion was 1 Mahar which was fighting form Indian side in Kashmir.

In 1965 war in Sialkot sector, Indian Ist Armored Division commanded by Major General Rajindar Singh slugged it out with Pakistan’s 6th Armored Division commanded by Major General Abrar Hussain. Elite cavalry regiments of India; 4th Hodson Horse, 16th Cavalry and 17th Poona Horse fought some sanguine battles with elite Pakistani regiments; Guides (10th) Cavalry and 11th PAVO Cavalry. Lt. Colonel Nisar Ahmad of 25th Cavalry who fought against 17th Poona Horse commanded by indomitable Colonel A. D. Tarapur in 1965 war admired his opponent and later told his superiors that ‘it was a quite an education to listen to tarapurwala’s wireless intercepts. He maintained a total grip over his command’. At the battle of Assal Uttar in 1965, 5th Probyn’s Horse, 6th Lancers and 19th Lancers of Pakistan army fought against 3rd Cavalry (Pakistan’s then Director General Military Operations Brigadier Gul Hassan has served as Adjutant of this battalion before partition) and 9th Deccan Horse of Indian army.

In the tragic days of partition, horrific violence was perpetrated on both sides of the border. In these times of madness, Muslim and non-Muslim officers and men of Indian army performed the difficult task of internal security duty to the best of their abilities. 77 Para Brigade commanded by Brigadier Y. S. Paranjpye was moved from Quetta to Multan on internal security duty. 1 / 2 Punjab (2 Punjab group of Punjab Regiment was allotted to India) of the brigade commanded by Lt. Colonel Gurbachan Singh safeguarded non-Muslim and Muslim convoys on both sides of the border. Punjabi Muslim, Dogra and Sikh sepoys of this fine battalion performed their duties and India could be proud of having such a fine battalion among its army ranks. In several cases, Muslim officers commanded non-Muslim troops and vice versa and they shot at their fellow co-religionists without any fear or favor to protect life and property. Second in command of 5/6 Rajputana Rifles Major Haq Nawaz commanded Hindu Jats and Hindu Rajputs and they protected Muslim convoys in eastern Punjab and Captain Syed Ahmad Mansur of 1 Mahar took his Marhatta company to escort Muslim and non-Muslim convoys on both sides of the border. In Sialkot, Major Iftikhar Janjua (later Major General) was officiating commanding officer of 3/10 Baluch (now 10 Baloch). A group of Muslims approached him and told him that they will be searching the houses of non-Muslims of the area and he should not be concerned. Iftikhar kicked their spokesperson out of the room with the warning that if anybody tried to take law in their own hands he will shoot them. Many other fine men and officers of Gurkha Rifles, Baluch Regiment, Garhwal Rifles, 1 Kumaon and 2/15 Punjab (now 10 Punjab of Pakistan army) performed splendidly in those trying times.

There was a degree of comradeship among many officers despite problems between India and Pakistan. Thimayya was stationed in Jallandhar in 1947-48 and he visited Lahore where his host was his old friend Major General Iftikhar Khan who was then commanding 10th Division of Pakistan army. General K. M. Cariappa also used to stay with his old friends during his official visits to Pakistan which was frowned upon in India. In the winter of 1947 while fighting was going on between Indian and Pakistani troops, Cariappa was stuck in Jammu due to high floods in rivers and a blocked Banihal pass due to landslide. The only good road was from Jammu to Sialkot. Cariappa wanted to go to Sialkot and via Lahore enter India. He had his GSO-2 call GSO-1 of his good friend Major General Iftikhar Khan then commanding 10th Division in Lahore to get his permission. He got the reply that Iftikhar was out of town and Mrs. Iftikhar was not well therefore they will not be able to receive General Cariappa. In 1948 after cease fire, Indian delegation consisting of Lt. General Srinagesh, Major General Thimaya, Brigadier Sam Manekshaw and Major S. K. Sinha (later Lt. General) was entertained by Brigadier Shahid Hamid (later Major General) of Pakistan army. In 1965 war, General ® Cariappa’s son Flight Lieutenant K. C. Carriappa (nick named Nanda) flew sorties against Pakistan. His jet was shot down and he was captured in Pakistan. Cariappa had served Ayub Khan’s brigade commander and children of Cariappa and Ayub were known to each other. When young Cariappa was recuperating from his injuries in a military hospital in Pakistan, Ayub’s wife and son Akhtar Ayub visited him. There is unconfirmed report also that Cariappa was given a tour of President House where he roamed around calling President Ayub Khan uncle. However, both Pakistanis and Indians denied that this happened and it may just one of the folklore. Ayub also sent a message to General ® Cariappa that his son was fine. He offered to release him but as was expected from the fine officer and gentleman like Cariappa he said ‘I will ask no favor for my son which I cannot secure for every soldier of the Indian Army. Look after all of them. They are all my sons’. In January 1966, Cariappa was repatriated to India along with all other Indian prisoners of war. He later rose to become Air Marshal of Indian Air Force.

In 1963, Indian aircraft carrier Vikrant was commanded by Vice Admiral N. Krishnan. Pakistani cruiser ‘Babar’ commanded by Syed Mohammad Ehsan was sighted very close to Vikrant. Krishnan knew Ehsan from old days and sent a warning message stating ‘Syed, don’t come closer we are ready for you’. Ehsan replied ‘Krish; I have Ayub (Pakistani army chief) on board – bound for Colombo. Thought will have a dekho (look) at my old country. Cordial greetings’. Even during war there was a certain elan and respect between soldiers of both armies. In 1971, a Pakistani officer on patrol along Sindh border saw a lone Sikh soldier. He yelled at the soldier accompanying him saying ‘ Oye Khalsa ye; bandooq dey, bandooq hey’ (I see the Sikh; give me the gun, give me the gun). The Sikh soldier was close enough to hear all this commotion. Excited officer took his soldier’s automatic gun and fired a burst of bullets towards the Sikh soldier at close range. Bullets hit the Sikh and his body went in the air. The Sikh soldier yelled ‘thand pay gaye ye’ (are you satisfied now) and dropped dead on the ground. In 1999, during Kargil war, commanding officer of 8th Sikhs sent a recommendation for bravery award for his worthy opponent Captain Sher Khan (27th Sindh & 12th Northern Light Infantry). Sher Khan was awarded the highest gallantry award of the country.

Indian and Pakistani armies share a common history and the memory of that shared bond is fading away. There is some limited interaction between two armies in United Nations peace missions in different parts of the world. In an ironic twist of history, in early 2005, in war torn Congo, nine Bangladeshi soldiers were ambushed and killed by a militia force. Pakistani troops (along with South African troops) avenged the deaths of Bangladeshi soldiers by overrunning one of the militia bases killing fifty militiamen. In this operation, Indian attack helicopters provided air support to Pakistani troops. Both countries should work towards peaceful coexistence and strive to decrease the animosity so that they can address more acute problems of national integration, internal cohesion and economic prosperity. Peaceful and confident India and Pakistan can then contribute more soldiers to peace missions around the globe where next generation of soldiers and officers can interact in a more friendly and cooperative manner thus reliving the memories of their forefathers.

Author thanks many for providing details of interesting historical events and anecdotes. All errors are author’s sole responsibility.


Making A Virtue Of Taliban

February 8, 2010

By B. Raman

The growing Afghan fatigue is clearly discernible among the NATO powers. There is a palpable fear that the NATO forces can’t beat the Afghan Taliban. The question is no longer how to win in Afghanistan. It is how to avoid a defeat and an embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The search for a face-saving formula is already on so that the NATO forces can contemplate an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. The objective is no longer a modern dewahabised Afghanistan. It is an Afghanistan, which will not once again become the launching pad of Al Qaeda for its attacks on Western targets.

The various proposals and ideas being aired at the London conference on Afghanistan, which started on January 28, 2010, and in its margins reflect a Western willingness to legitimize sections of the Taliban and give them a role in the governance of Afghanistan provided their return will not mean the return of Al Qaeda and they are prepared to share power with President Hamid Karzai and his associates.

The West is prepared to contemplate co-existing with an Afghanistan half modern-half Talibanised. Mr. George Bush and Mr. Tony Blair projected the “war” in Afghanistan not only as a “war” against the Taliban and Al Qaeda as terrorist organisations, but also against the medieval ideologies they represented. After the London terrorist attack of July, 2005, Mr. Blair stressed the importance of winning the war ideologically too — not merely on the ground.

If the West is now prepared to make a deal with the Afghan Taliban as an organisation or at least with elements in it which are prepared to make peace with the NATO forces, how about its wahabised ideology? Is it prepared to accept the ideology of the Taliban and face the prospect of its coming in the way of the post-9/11 goal of the modernisation of Afghanistan? If the Taliban ideology is OK in Afghanistan if it gives up violence, how can one say that it will not be OK in Pakistan and the rest of the Islamic world?

If the West is prepared to legitimise the Taliban or sections of it in Afghanistan, how can it refuse to legitimise the Pakistani Taliban and give it a role in the administration of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan? If it is prepared to legitimise its ideology and objectives in the FATA, how can it refuse to do so in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)? If it is prepared to legitimise the Afghan and the Pakistani Talibans, which are essentially a Pashtun phenomenon, how can it refuse to legitimise the Punjabi Taliban consisting of organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ)?

If the West legitimises the Pashtun and the Punjabi Talibans, will it not weaken the moderate elements in Pakistan and give a fresh momentum towards the Islamic radicalisation of the Af-Pak region? The trend towards the Talibanisation of the Pakistani Pashtun belt gathered force when Pervez Musharraf bought peace with the Islamic fundamentalist organisations and helped them to win power in the elections of 2002 and rule the NWFP for five years. The Afghan Taliban staged its spectacular come-back during this period helped by the fundamentalist parties ruling the NWFP and having a share of the power in Balochistan. The trouble in the Swat Valley of the NWFP started during this period.

The 2002-2007 experience in the NWFP showed how short-sighted ideas to buy peace in the short-term produce long-term damages. The US deal with the Afghan Taliban post-1964 in the hope of using it for facilitating the construction of oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Taliban-controlled territory by Unocal, the US oil company, enabled the Taliban to strengthen its position in the Kandahar and Herat areas. The Taliban under Mulla Mohammad Omar captured power in Kabul in September 1996, and became a thorn in the Western flesh. Musharraf bought temporary peace with the Mehsuds of South Waziristan in 2005-06 when his Army faced difficulties in countering them. The peace was short-lived. The result: the emergence of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after the commando raid in the Lal Masjid of Islamabad after July, 2007.

What the Taliban wants is not re-integration into the Afghan mainstream. It wants its re-conquest of power in Kabul so that it can resume its original mission of setting an Islamic Caliphate in Afghanistan. If the Taliban succeeds in establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Afghanistan, will an Islamic Caliphate in the rest of the Islamic world under the leadership of Al Qaeda be far behind?

There are so many questions which would require detailed analysis before the question of the re-integration of even sections of the Taliban into the Afghan mainstream can be considered. Instead of analyzing these questions and working out a comprehensive strategy, attempts are being made to work out another half-cooked strategy, which will be counter-productive. The two Af-Pak strategies worked out by the advisers of Mr. Barack Obama during his first year in office proved to be non-starters. The bleeding stalemate between the NATO forces and the Afghan Taliban continues. The international community cannot afford another half-cooked strategy, which may end up returning power to the Afghan Taliban on a platter.

Any feasible Afghan strategy should start with the question: how to neutralize the Afghan Taliban’s sanctuaries in the Quetta area of Pakistan? The US is reluctant to act against those sanctuaries. In the absence of action against sanctuaries, it is not able to make headway in its counter-insurgency operations in Afghan territory. Instead of finding some other way of putting an end to those sanctuaries, it has started toying with the idea of winning over sections of the Taliban, who may not be as radicalized as the Taliban leadership. This is not going to work.

Either you have a modern, democratic Government in Kabul or you have a Talibanised one. You cannot have a hybrid— with a mix of the modern and the medieval.

B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com


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