Indian anti-Pakistan role in Afghanistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

A recently released video by Washington Free Beacon pointed out that the US new Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel disclosed during a speech at Oklahomas Cameron University in 2011, India has always used Afghanistan as a second front and has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.

Earlier, the then NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal had revealed: Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistanis likely to exacerbate regional tensions.

These remarks are quite sharp to some of American top officials who had been accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. During his trip to India and Kabul, last year, US ex-Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta revived similar old blame game against Pakistan. He also encouraged New Delhi on October 26, 2012, saying that India has vital role to play in Afghanistan and it will be helpful for peace and stability in the region, adding, Our new defence policy hinges upon this strategy.

The US which signed an agreement of strategic partnership with Afghanistan, has finally decided to keep around 10,000 troops and six military bases in that country permanently after the complete withdrawal of NATO forces. In fact, America seeks to obtain multiple strategic designs by controlling the energy resources of Central Asia, and weakening Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.

In this respect, by availing the golden opportunity of the 9/11, India has left no stone unturned in getting its hold in Afghanistan by manipulating US strategy. In this regard, stiff resistance of the Taliban militants against the occupying forces created unending lawlessness in the country which has become a most suitable place for Indian secret agency RAW to implement a conspiracy to fulfill its countrys strategic designs against Iran, China and particularly Pakistan, while achieving collective goals of the US against these countries including Russia.

However, India which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on October 5, 2011 also includes to help train Afghan security forces, while assisting Kabul in diversified projects. Apparently, it is open strategic agreement, but secretly, India seeks to further strengthen its grip in Afghanistan to get strategic depth against Islamabad.

Besides, with the cooperation of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS), and with the tactical assistance of American CIA and Israeli Mossad, RAW has well-established anti-Pakistan espionage network in Afghanistan. For this sinister move, a religious Madrassa of Wakhan, located in Afghanistan is functioning under the patronage of Indian officials. It is being used for brainwashing of very young boys who are Afghans and so-called Indian Muslims. Posing themselves as Pakistani Taliban, they have joined the ranks and files of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and other banned extremist outfits. In this context, Indias several secret training camps are also present in Afghanistan from where highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons are being sent to Pakistans various places to conduct target killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, assaults on civil and military installations including religious leaders to foment sectarian violence.

Particularly, RAW has perennially been arranging similar subversive acts in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups such as Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (Gods soldiers) and other Baloch separatist elements. India is also in collusion with the Balochi separatist leaders who took shelter in Afghanistan. For example, on July 23, 2008, in an interview with the BBC from Afghanistan, Brahmdagh Bugti had stated that they have the right to accept foreign arms and ammunition from anywhere including India.

Notably, in the recent years, a series of international conferences were held in order to bring stability and peace in Afghanistan before the foreign troops commence withdrawal from that country in 2013, which would be completed in 2014. For this purpose, US-led developed nations also pledged billions of dollars for the development of Afghanistan. A recent meeting of NATO defence minsters, held in Brussels, decided a sum of $6.5bn for that war-torn country.

Besides, American top officials have repeatedly agreed that without the help of Islamabad, stability cannot be achieved in Afghanistan. Pakistan is also facilitating US-backed dialogue with the Afghan Taliban. Besides, NATO has started moving its equipments via Pakistani route.

Nevertheless, taking note of Indian negative approach, in the recent past, US Senator John McCain reminded the Obama administration that encouraging India to take a more active role in Afghanistan, while simultaneously criticising Pakistan could be a recipe for disaster.

In fact, India wants instability in Afghanistan, which favours its secret goals against Pakistan. But Pakistan seeks stability in Afghanistan, which is not possible owing to Indian presence in that country. Therefore, Pakistan has legitimate concerns in Afghanistan.

It is notable that that Pakistans civil and military leadership has repeatedly pointed out Indian interference, cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan including TTP location there, but US-led NATO and Afghan top officials have taken no action. And Federal Minister Rehnam Malik has openly remarked that based in Afghanistan, RAW has been supporting subversive activities in Pakistan.

Nonetheless, in the post-2014 scenario, despite the presence of American troops on small scale, New Delhi which has been assisting the Northern Alliance against the Afghan militants will not be in a position to maintain its network due to successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. Afghanistan will be thrown in an era of uncertainty and civil war. In that drastic situation, foreign donors will not be able to sustain their economic aid in that lawless country.

By showing realistic approach, US and other western countries should realise that unlike India, Pakistan shares common geographical, historical, religious and cultural bonds with Afghanistan, while there is a co-relationship of stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is essential for their global and regional interests. And by abandoning its faulty strategy in this region and double game with Islamabad, especially America must check Indian anti-Pakistan role in Afghanistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.


America Would Reign Supreme

By Saeed Qureshi

The United States of America has always been in making. America is known as the country of immigrants. Never in its history starting from declaration of independence in 1776 to this day, has it ever been under monarchy or dictatorship. It was always democratic country. It is country of paradoxes and extreme divergences.

It is the most indebted yet the leading donor nation on planet earth. The 9/11 cataclysmic incident was an unexpected tragedy, yet this nation has learnt invaluable lessons from that. This land is much safer now under a foolproof security system put in place after that earth shaking event.

While living in the United States, I can vouch that despite being under a staggering 16 trillion dollar debt, the domestic socio-cultural life and the living standards of the citizens have remained almost unaffected. The Americans enjoy the same perks and benefits that they have been enjoying for decades. This country sinks for a while and rebounds to the surface with new vigor and vitality.

The law and order is in excellent shape, the courts work with the decorum that is expected of them. The state institutions function within the framework of paramount national interest and are geared towards the service of the citizens.

The oversight or the accountability is an all encompassing and overarching umbrella over a grocery shops to huge departmental stores to a gigantic manufacturing factory. The taxation and revenue collection known as IRS is more powerful than any other organ of the administration. The tax and revenue collection system can serve a useful model for other countries.

The decision making at every level of governance is through a democratic process that is grueling but certainly betokens the respect for the public opinion. The appointments of the officials in city or county are made with the approval of the citizens. A bureaucrat or the head of department does not have the authority to make appointments on important posts. Most of the posts are filled through local elections. The development projects, new houses or offices; be these private or public cannot be launched without the approval of the residents of the respective areas and localities.

In the courts there are rigorous contests and legal bouts between the prosecution and the defense. Yet both the sides have to present their arguments before a panel of jury picked randomly from various sections of the society. The jury has to decide the case in a unanimous yes or no vote. This is truly a grassroots democratic culture and demonstrates that power belongs to the people.

The criminals and outlaws are hunted down and brought to justice finally. The healthcare facilities are available for everyone. The jobless are given unemployment allowances, the traffic runs orderly, the roads and lanes are free of dirt. There is no way one can park anywhere or violate traffic signal at free will. These are some of the glowing hallmarks of a civil and administratively well established society.

A country fighting aimless wars in foreign lands for pretty six decades has a meritorious and vibrant society at home. The ethnic divide is sharp but mutually tolerant. The constitution and the laws do not discriminate between the citizens on the basis of color, creed age or sex etc. It is a country that takes in maximum number of immigrants every year. This is one country where the dispossessed, traumatized and uprooted people from the oppressive societies stream in every year in huge numbers.

Yet we accuse of this country for blatant human rights violations, target killings through drones and otherwise, intimidation, hegemonic designs and arm-twisting around the world. However those perceptions and priorities are undergoing a transformation within US at the policy making levels.

If analyzed in the hindsight, one would tend to believe that if this country professes to be a capitalist country, and its economy based upon the capitalist system, then it has to oppose communism that runs a diametrically opposite economic system with the state ownership of everything produced and distributed.

We have seen the abysmal outcome of the centralized economic systems in the world during the past few decades. The communism miserably failed in the aftermath of the Second World War. Now its upholders mainly Russia and China are half way through shifting over to a traditional capitalist system. There is a trend of opening of societies both socially and economically in Russia and China. If this were not so then the largest portion of investment would not been made by the American entrepreneurs in China.

The United States was trenchantly braced against the growing challenge of communism in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was a cold war era that entailed in its wake both economic and military rivalries. In wars fought in the Far East, America suffered one defeat after another.

But finally in Afghanistan it turned the tables on the Soviet Union and scored a decisive and historic victory, although this was made possible through the Muslims guerrillas and Mujahids (crusaders) that fought a war of attrition against the Soviet Union for a decade forcing that military power to leave Afghanistan. America made the second blunder by invading Iraq an egregious highhandedness which cannot be justified by any logic or definition.

But those huge blunders are part of an unbridled militancy and uncalled for propensity for bellicosity may not be repeated by America after stark realization that those were injurious and counterproductive. And look the colossal prices America has to pay. In several wars initiated by America after the Second World War, thousands of American soldiers were killed, many more crippled and the economy overburdened with an astounding debt.

Ironically United States owes most of external debt to a prospective rival of future, the Peoples Republic of China. But it emphatically appears that Americas obsession for distant wars is coming to a close. The United State would not repeat the fallacies of sending its military contingents to wage overseas wars. If at all it has to mount any military engagement it would do so by proxy. It means not direct involvement but giving aid and technological and other similar inputs and assistance o the respective countries to fight the terrorists or those perceived to be the enemies of the United States.

The United States has set an admirable example of the establishment of facilitating democratic dispensations in the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East thus embracing those oppressive societies with the fragrance of Arab spring. That historic transformation could be made possible with the help of the United States.

One can reckon that the United States would not wage a war or even allow Israel for preemptive attacks on Iran as that would be disastrous as witnessed in case of such wars during the past several decades. That would be a last straw on the camel’s back for the dwindling American economy and cutting across its new role of a sincere facilitator for the world peace.

The Obama administration that has taken an incredible yet most sagacious decision of recalling the American forces from both Iraq and Afghanistan would not launch a fresh military adventure against Iran. President Obama is more riveted on research, space exploration, better education, healthcare for all and growth of economy and modernizing of the aging infrastructures by diverting funds from wars to such vital priorities.

There is no gainsaying that 9/11 and the measures taken thereafter have made America definitively a safer place and one can rule out any incident of similar nature ever in future. It is expected that with the time passage the condign conditions imposed on traveling and rigorous background checks or harsh racial proofing would be softened. Hopefully, the great and free American society with pleasant hallmarks of liberty, freedom and openness would bounce back.

The United States after massive upheavals and rude shock waves generated by scores of wars, involvement in making and breaking regimes, and posing as a bully state and delineating between friendly and unfriendly states would now embark upon turning the world into an abode of peace and fraternity among the nations. With China it should act more as partner for a better world than falling back upon belligerency and warfare.

With a formidable paradigm shift that is now taking place in the United States both externally and domestically, America with its enormous wealth and astounding resources and overarching clout, is to reemerge as the world leader. It is destined to reign supreme as a humane and righteous world leader. It has the capacity and resources to transform the earth into the kingdom of God where peace, human dignity and welfare for all the inhabitants prevail. A monumental change is in the offing.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Extrajudicial Killings through Drones

By Sajjad Shaukat

Under the pretext of American so-called counterinsurgency programme, the US President Barack Obama has broken all the record of human rights by extrajudicial killings of the innocent people through CIA-operated drone attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen in general and Pakistan in particular, while, the United States claims to be protector of human rights not only inside the country, but also all over the world.

Recently, the UN has opened probe regarding the predator strikes. In this regard, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism said, A UN investigation into targeted killings will examine legality of drone strikeswill investigate 25 strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian territories. It will also focus on civilian killings by the strikes.

First time, a US Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of the predator attacks, openly admitted that 4,700 people have been killed by the raids of Americas secretive drone war. The number exceeds some independent estimates of the death toll. According to the research of London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between June 2004 and September 2012, these unmanned aerial vehicles killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians including 176 children. In this respect, in a report, The Guardian pointed out on August 11, 2011, The CIA claims that there has been not one non-combatant killed in the past yearit is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.

Nevertheless, details collected by the Pakistani journalists show that civilian casualties through unmanned aircraft are higher as indicated by the US officials. In the last four years, more than 900 innocent civilians and only 22 Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by these aerial attacks.

While justifying these air strikes by the spy planes, counterterrorism advisor to Obama, John Brennan who faces a Senate confirmation hearing for his nominee as CIA director is the main player, advising Obama on which strike, he should approve.

Especially, during his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama had pledged to reverse excesses of the Bush era in relation to terrorism. He also promised to reformulate a counterterrorism policy in accordance with the legal and moral values of the US. Contrarily to his assertions, Obama followed the Bushs approach of counterterrorism in its worst form by expanding and accelerating the predator strikes.

In this context, The New York Time on May 26, 2011, in an article which was written with assistance of several counterterrorism advisers of the administration revealed, President Obama has become personally involved in the process and has normalised extrajudicial killings from the Oval Office, taking advantage of Americas temporary advantage in drone technology. Without the scrutiny of the legislature and the courts, and outside the public eye, Obama is authorising murder on a weekly basis.

Notably, American constitution explicitly grants the right to declare war to the Congress so as to restrain the president from chasing enemies around the world, based solely on his authority as commander-in-chief by waging a secret war. But instead of capturing militants alive and to avoid giving the right of due process of law to them in a court, President Obama has openly been acting upon a ruthless policy of targeting killings by supervising the CIA-controlled drone warfare.

Besides, a report of the New America Foundation disclosed that President Obama has authorised 193 drone strikes in Pakistan, more than four times the number of attacks that President Bush authorised during his two terms. The report explained, When the US drones attack Pakistans tribal areas, it is not just the 10, or 50 innocent civilians they kill, these killings provide reason to the youngsters for joining terrorist groups waging war against US and of course Pakistanwhile killing 10 militants, the US has murdered more than 1400 Pakistanis, not involved in any terrorist activities. Could it not imply that it gave birth to another 1400 militants?

Based on research, a report, Living Under Drones, prepared by experts from Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law disclosed that the US campaign of drone strikes in Pakistans northwestern tribal belt is terrorising civilians 24 hours a day and breeding bitter anti-American sentimenthave killed thousands of peopleeven stopping their children going to school for fear of being targeted. The report urged Washington to rethink its drone strategy, arguing it was counterproductive and undermined international law.

Citing unnamed US officials, The Washington Post reported on January 21, this year, The Obama administration is completing a counterterrorism manual that will establish clear rules for targeted-killing operationsthe guidebook would contain a major exemption for the CIAs campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan to continue striking Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan.

Defense Minister Leon Panetta has defended these attacks on Pakistans tribal areas under the pretext of North Waziristan-based Haqqani militants whom they blamed for several assaults on American and NATO bases in Afghanistan. On the other hand, US-led coalition forces have failed in stopping incursions of heavily-armed insurgents in Pakistan from Afghanistans side, who have killed more than 100 personnel of the Pakistans security forces in the last two year, while targeting the infrastructure of the areas. In fact, US seeks to make North Waziristan, a scapegoat of NATOs defeat in Afghanistan by continuing illegal mass murder of the innocent people through drones.

It is notable that Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam who visited America in August, 2012, emphatically told the then CIA Director David Petraeus that predator strikes which are violation of Pakistans sovereignty must be stopped. He pointed out that these strikes are proving counterproductive, giving a greater incentive to the fundamentalist and extremist elements in Pakistan, and are increasing anti-US sentiment among the people.

However, setting aside the parliament resolution, rallies and processions of Pakistans political and religious parties, and ignoring the new Pak-US rapprochement, without bothering for any internal backlash, these aerial attacks keep on going on FATA.

In fact, American such a duplicity contans a number of covert designs. The fresh wave of strikes by the pilotless aircraft has thwarted the offer of militants and Pakistani government for peace talks. And, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accelerated subversive activities in the country. Now, US wants to incite the Haqqani network as in the past 15 months, most of these strikes have targeted the North Waziristan. So, these aerial attacks are provoking the tribal people against Pakistans security forces, and increasing recruitment of insurgents. Another aim is to create a rift between Pakistans armed forces on one side and the political and religious parties on the other. Besides, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Hence, US India and Israel are determined to destabilise it. Drone campaign is also part of this game.

The CIA-operated these strikes which continued on Pakistans tribal areas since 2004 have intensified under the Obama era. In one of the major drone attacks, more than 40 civilians and policemen were killed on March 18, 2011 in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. In the past few months, these unmanned aircraft killed more than 150 people, especially in North Waziristan including South Waziristan.

On the one side, US top officials have repeatedly said that America needs Pakistans help not only for peace process with the militants, but also for stability in Afghanistan in the post-2014 scenario, while NATO troops have started transporting their equipments via Pakistani route as part of the exit strategy, but on the other, US spy planes on Pak tribal regions are undermining international efforts of stability both in Afghanistan and Pakistan including peace dialogue with the Afghan militants.

Recently, US ex-presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton have opposed Obamas faulty drone strategy. Even, new Secretary of State John Kerry has also criticised unabated use of unilateral drones in Pakistan, saying, US engagement with the world is not just about drones.

Besides, widespread criticism from some US allies and human rights groups which have remarked that these aerial attacks are illegal and unethical, and violation of the targeted countries sovereignty, the United Nations Charter, universal declaration of human rights and international law, but US warrior President Obama remains obstinate to continue extrajudicial killings through drones.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

All against terrorism

Professor Ali Sukhanver

In this world of conspiracies, spreading of depression has proved one of the very successful strategies used as the war tactics and its repercussions are more fatal and lethal than those of a nuclear bomb. Now survival is not the fate of the fittest ones but of those who dont fall a prey to depression and disappointment. Throughout the world, most of the countries have their own well organized and well trained wings in electronic and print media. The men belonging to these wings are simply the soldiers armed with pens and words and basically they have two responsibilities to perform; spreading disappointment and depression among the enemies and generating hope and determination among their own people. On the whole their assignment is to deform the facts and figures with the help of misinformation in the larger interest of their own country. But at the same time it is something more pathetic that a very few of these men armed with pen and words join hands with the forces hostile to their own land and start playing in the hands of those whose only objective is to shatter the very foundations of their country. Unluckily such men armed with pen and words are present in the Pakistani print and electronic media also, though they are few and far between. We always find these unfortunate soldiers trying to prove their loyalty to their foreign masters by acting upon the agenda provided to them. Defaming the Armed forces of Pakistan, slandering the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and above all framing the religious forces in every act of terrorism is the actual duty assigned to such media-men and media groups. Such elements are always eager to spread an impression throughout the world that Pakistan is facing the worst situation of sectarian divide and the blood thirsty sectarian extremists are butchering ruthlessly their religious opponents in the streets of Pakistan; but in reality the situation is altogether different.

Be it the streets and bazaars of Karachi, Quetta or Peshawar, it is not the sectarian conflict which has taken lives of countless Muslims in the name of extremism; it is something else. The people involved in such heinous acts of brutal killing in the name of religion neither belong to the Taliban nor to the Tehreek-Taliban and nor to Al-Qaeda because all these three claim to represent the Muslim community and to safeguard the Muslim interests all over the world. These organizations have a grave enmity with US just because they think US is working against the Muslim interests and it is US which has given all Muslims the name of Terrorists. The wave of targeted killings of the Deobandi, Barailvi and the Shia Ulamas and their respective communities is in fact the part of a well organized conspiracy against the Muslims and the sole aim of this conspiracy is to spread hatred based on misunderstanding among different Muslim sects. The terrorists, according to the agenda provided to them, target someone from the Deobandi sect and the very next day they target someone from the Barailvi sect and the third day their target is someone from the Shia community. The game does not stop here; the targets keep on shifting from the religious persons to the political figures; one day someone from the ANP and the next day someone from the MQM or from the Nawaz League. In short every killing, portrayed by some of the prejudiced media groups or media persons as sectarian killing, has another picture behind.

It is true that the Pakistani society is facing a lot of social and financial problems, yet it has an exemplary harmonized religious fiber. People dont hate others on religious or sectarian grounds. The Deobandis, the Barailvis and the Shias have family relations and connections with one another. They have inter- marriages, they participate in the religious ceremonies, they share the joys and sorrows of one another and above all they feel grieved at any loss the other community has to bear. Just cast a look at the brutal killing of over one hundred innocent people belonging to the Hazara Community in Quetta a few weeks back. Though most of the martyrs belonged to the Shia sect but the whole of the nation was grieved at this massacre. Though the provincial and the federal governments remained indifferent to this sad incident till the very end but people raised their protest against this genocide throughout Pakistan keeping away all sectarian differences. It was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that the protestants in such a large number demonstrated a sit in with eighty six dead bodies of their dear ones for more than three days. These demonstrators were not only the Hazaraz or the Shias; they were from all social and religious walks of life. Though it was really a heart-rending incident but it gave the world a very strong message that the whole of Pakistani nation hates and condemns every act of terrorism and that the terrorists do not belong to it. However, the demand of removal of the Provincial Government and an SOS call to the Army must be an eye-opener to all those who advocate democracy in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a non-violent and moderate society. People are very much loyal to their land and religion and tolerance is the basic lesson of Islam. They know very well that the secret of their survival as a nation is hidden in unity and harmony. Those who are trying to give an impression to the world that Pakistan is an extremist and intolerant society divided on sectarian grounds are simply distorting the real face of this society. Such people are nothing but the puppets whose strings are in the hands of their puppeteers and their target is to demoralize the Pakistani nation by spreading depression and disappointment in it.

Dual Policy of the Pakistani Taliban

By Sajjad Shaukat

Since the Pakistani Taliban led by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) offered peace talks with the government, a debate has continued in our country among the political leaders and analysts, showing divergent views. But they have ignored the fact that the militants offer is part of their dual policy by which they seek to fulfil a number of secret designs.

By following tricks, TTP wants to create a rift between the ruling alliance on the one side and between the ruling parties and their sympathisersreligious and political leaders on the other. In this regard, differences between these parties were most apparent in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly on January 4, this year when lawmaker of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Mufti Kifyatullah said that the government should engage in talks with militants. But Information Minister of Awami National Party (ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain stated, The ANP is trying to get all political parties on board to develop a single agenda over terrorism, and should settle with whom they should talk and on what grounds. He added, If the problem is not resolved by talks, then strict action should be taken. Earlier, chief of the ANP, Asfanyar Wali Khan remarked that talks with the TTP were possible if they renounced violence, and withdraw their unacceptable conditions.

In this regard, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik also pointed out on December 27, 2012 that the Talibans offer of conditional truce is unacceptable, saying, Taliban groups cannot dictate the state.

In fact, tough terms of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for reconciliation indicate double game. In this context, in a letter, Pakistani Taliban demanded that Pakistan should pull out of the Afghan war, abandon its pro-American and pro-western policies and change its constitution and foreign policy in conformity with Islamic Shariah. The militants also demanded from Pakistan to refocus on a war of revenge against India. The TTP dubbed the ANP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as agents of the US and warned that Taliban would target both the parties. The militants said they would not target the JUI-F, Jamaat-i-Islami, the PML-N and Imran Khans Tehrik-i-Insaaf because they had no problem with them.

Indeed, these certain conditions which are full of contradictions clearly show that the Taliban insurgents are not interested in peace dialogue nor are they serious about reconciliation. They want to create division among the political and religious parties through their duplicity.

It is tact of the Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, as he did not send any statement for peace deal with the government. The said letter was written by a Punjabi Taliban leader Asmatullah Muawiya outlining his leaders conditions for talks, though TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ahsan endorsed the offer. Through his dual policy, Hakimullah also seeks to check that after the recent suicide attacks, bombasts and target killings, especially in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, assaults on the Peshawar and Kamra Air Force bases including assassination of the ANP leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour and killing of 24 Levies personnel by the TTP militants have made the state to retreat and to accept their demands. In this context, while rejecting the ceasefire offer by the Taliban, Interior Minister Rehman Malik remarked, I dismiss every claim of Ehsanullah Ehsan unless Hakimullah Mehsud authenticates his claim of being his representative then as to why he himself does not come to open.

It is notable that TTP insurgents have even lost the sympathy of majority of people due to their subversive acts. Recently, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, leaders of the PML-N, ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI-F, PTI and MQM had denounced the shocking assault on Malala Yousafzai including the killing of Bilour. Besides, the Sunni Ittehad Council, Islamic scholars of various sects termed these terror-attacks as un-Islamic; pointing out that the assailants self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They clarified that Islam not only made it obligatory on every man and woman to seek education, but also strictly forbade taking life of any innocent person.

Pakistans members of civil societies, human rights groups, students of universities etc. have protested against the inhuman activities of the Taliban.

However, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while jihad is a sacred obligation, as targeting innocent women and children is not jihad. These Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, democracy, moderation and human rights.

In the past few years, the Taliban killed thousands of people across Pakistan through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence etc., and destroyed hundreds of girls schools including those of boys. In the Khyber agency, they are also indulged in murdering and torturing Shias in their majority areas, forcing them to flee.

Taking cognisance of their strong opposition by all the segments of society, the TTP-led Taliban might have felt that they could again get the favour of some people by offering meaningful dialogue to the government.

As part of their bluff, TTP leadership claims that the outfit is part of other Taliban who have been fighting against the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. On the other side, on September 17, 2012, in a rare interview by telephone from an undisclosed location, leader of the Haqqani militant network, Sirajuddin Haqqani had revealed that the group has become so confident after battlefield gains in Afghanistan that it no longer has sanctuaries in Pakistan, and instead, felt secure inside Afghanistan. Earlier a Haqqani leader also stated that Taliban chief Mullah Umer had instructed the militants to stop subversive acts inside Pakistan, and to continue their war of liberation in Afghanistan.

Notably, in their conditions for dialogue, like the blame game of foreign elements, the Taliban also demanded that Pakistan should stop pitting Afghan insurgents against the Kabul government. In fact, based in Afghanistan, US-led India and Israel are covertly assisting the TTP insurgents with arms and ammunition to destabilse Pakistan in order to obtain their collective secret designs. For the last two years, heavily-armed Taliban entered Pakistan from Afghanistans side and attacked security forces check posts, killing several soldiers of the Pak Army besides destroying infrastructure of various towns. Pakistans civil and military leadership has repeatedly protested against cross-border terrorism including TTP location in Afghan provinces of Nooristan and Kunar, but US-led NATO and Afghan top officials did not take any action.

Besides, the TTPs offer of peace talks with the present regime has coincided with the acceleration of drone attacks on North and South Waziristan. In the recent ten days, these CIA-operated unmanned planes have killed more than 60 people in these tribal areas. The main purpose behind is not only to provoke the tribesmen against the Pak Army, but also to cause more recruitment for TTP, and to provide it with justification of more terror-attacks inside Pakistan. The aim is also to regain the favour of PTI and other religious entities for Pakistani Taliban.

Another diplomatic tact of the TTP and drone attacks is to create a rift between Pakistans security agencies on the one side and the general masses led by political and religious parties on the other.

It is of particular attention that in 2007, military operations were stopped when an agreement was signed between Taliban leader Fazlullah and the government, but it failed as these militants violated the accord through their inhuman activates like hostage-takings, attack on the Shias etc. In 2008, setting aside American concerns, the government asked the Swat Taliban to lay down arms in accordance with the peace deal as their promise for enforcement of the Islamic law was fulfilled. But various transgressions by the Swat Taliban like refusal to disarm, murder of innocent people, beheadings, destruction of schools etc. clearly violated the peace agreement. They also occupied Dir, Buner and other adjoining areas. When the government writ was challenged, the civil government called army to re-launch military operations which ejected TTP militants out of these regions.

No doubt, latest offer by the Pakistani Taliban is part of their dual policy. Nonetheless, by uniting all the political and religious parties, the government must get a decisive upper-hand over them, developed through consensus. And the matter should not be left to military alone to cope with these foreign-backed militants.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Security Challenges to Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

Media reported on January 2, this year that while changing professional priorities, Pakistan Army has declared the internal threats such as anti-state terrorist groups as major challenge to the country. In the newly published Green Book, known as Army Doctrine, a new chapter, titled, Sub-conventional Warfare has been added which also mentions about the militant intrusion in Pakistani areas from across the border in Afghanistan, and the new warfare requires public support. However, the Pakistan Army is ready to face all conventional and unconventional security challenges.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also said on December 29, 2012 that the country was passing through a very critical phase and is pitched against an amorphous enemy, while the conventional threat has also grown manifold. He explained, Increasingly complex external environment and our precarious internal dynamics have created a myriad of security challenges. He added that the present spectrum of threats could be defeated through collective national efforts in which the armed forces had a pivotal role to play in harmony with other state instruments.

Armys new doctrine and Gen. Kayanis statement has come at a time when external enemies have intensified suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted-killings, beheadings, assaults on police stations, ethnic and sectarian violence inside the country. Besides the provinces of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the city of Karachi have become special targets of terrorism which continues unabated.

While, Pakistans security forces have been coping with sporadic battles with the militants in the tribal areas, and are target of surprise assault by the militants. In this regard, around 400 heavily-armed Taliban attacked two security posts outside Peshawar on December 27, last year. They killed 2 soldiers and kidnapped 22 Levies personnel whose dumped bodies were found. In the recent past, these insurgents had beheaded some soldiers through similar act. In Balochistan, several personnel of security agencies have been martyred by the foreign-supported separatists in defending countrys security.

Besides other terror acts, recent assassination of Senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister and the courageous leader of the ANP, Bashir Ahmad Bilour including eight people came like a fresh challenge from the Taliban. And Sectarian violence erupted in different parts of Karachi, killing more than 30 people after a terror attack on a leader of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and the killing of four men of the group believed to be the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. While on December 30, 2012, more than 20 pilgrims were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on three buses in Mastung area of Balochistan.

Apart from this perennial wave of sabotage, militants armed with suicide jackets, explosive-material, and automatic weapons attacked the Peshawar Airport on December 15, 2012, Kamra Air Force Base on August 16 same year and Pakistans Naval Airbase in Karachi on May 23, 2011. During all these assaults, after fierce gun battle with the insurgents, Pakistans valiant security forces foiled these terror attempts.
For all these subversive activities, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (Gods soldiers), Lashkar-e-Islam and some other militant outfits, especially the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility.

In fact, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW, Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Israeli Mossad which have well-established their collective network in Afghanistan have been dispatching highly motivated militants and suicide bombers along with sophisticated weapons to attack the security forces of Pakistan and to commit various forms of terror acts. These secret agencies have hired the services of many Muslims who have joined the ranks and files of TTP and other extremist outfits. Pakistans civil and military leadership has repeatedly protested against cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan including TTP location there, but US-led NATO and Afghan top officials have taken no action. Notably, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World; therefore, these entities are determined to denuclearise it.

As regards the conventional threat to Pakistan, US which has signed nuclear deal with India in 2008, has been supplying atomic technology and other modern arms to the latter to counterbalance China. In this respect, Balochistans Gwader seaport where China has invested billions of dollars can link Central Asia with rest of the world. As Sino-Pak strategic partnership irks the eyes of US-led India and Israel, hence, they intend to destabilise Pakistan through their affiliated insurgent groups.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has been facing a different war by coping with faceless enemies like foreign-backed terrorists. Besides collateral damage, more than 40,000 innocent persons and more than 5000 personnel of the security forces have been martyred in this new style war in maintaining the integrity of the federation. On the whole, Pakistan suffered the losses of more than 70 billion dollars due to war against terrorism.

In the past aggression, was openly being made between two sovereign belligerents through the traditional armies. But the arena of aggression has changed. In the present era, non-state actors like terrorists have made it difficult for the military to serve alone as the dominant sphere in every war. Now, different lethal weapons such as suicide attacks, bomb blasts and targeted killings used by the militants coupled with states non-lethal techniques of psychological warfare like propaganda, creation of division among government institutes, politicians, general masses etc. can be more harmful in damaging the interest of a rival country.

In these terms, a number of developments against Pakistan like US double game, pressuring Islamabad to do more against the militants by ignoring the internal backlash, intermittent drone strikes, accusation of cross border terrorism, perennial propaganda against Pak Army, countrys nukes, intelligence agency, ISI, exploitation of the Malala episode, distorting the image of Pakistan as a fundamentalist state etc. clearly show nefarious designs of the US-led India, Israel and some western countries. But it is due to lack of unity among our politicians, security forces and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfil their secret aims against the integrity of the country.
It is regrettable that on the one hand, security challenges to Pakistan indicate that it is rapidly advancing towards a failed state, while on the other, our media, particularly most of the TV channels conduct controversial debate between politicians and commentators, contesting internal politics. While speaking in the tone of anti-Pakistan elements, they have been following the external blame game in maligning the countrys security agencies.

Notably, present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion without logic. Therefore, they become unintentional victim of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift between the political groups, divided on ethnic and linguistic lines. These foreign enemies also seek to create a division between the political leaders and the Army.

Without bothering for Pakistans multiple threats, our political and religious parties have started old game of accusations and counteraccusations, while forming alliances and counter alliances to increase their vote bank in the forthcoming elections. It could be judged from the fact that Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, the chief of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) who recently returned from Canada has announced a long march to Islamabad for revolutionary changes in political and electoral system. Recently, Dr Tahirul Qadri and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) declared that their pro-revolution supporters would turn Islamabad into Tahrir Square of Pakistan. PML-Q leaders have also responded positively to their call. The ruling party, PPP and opposition party, PML-N have strongly condemned Dr Qadris at this hour when elections are going to be held in the coming months. Unlike Egypt under the ex-president Hosni Mubarak, parliamentary system is smoothly working in Pakistan. Therefore, some political analysts opine that by pursuing the guidelines of some foreign power, TMQ and MQM want to create civil war in the country by dividing the military on one side and general masses on the other.

Undoubtedly, today our nation stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing multiple challenges to the security of the country. So, it is not armys war only; it is nations war which demands a selfless unity among Pakistans security forces, politicians, media and general masses to castigate the sinister aims of the external and internal enemies.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Save Pakistan from ‘Talibanisation’

By Sajjad Shaukat

Although Pakistans provinces of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan including city of Karachi have been facing various forms of subversive attacks, yet wave of terrorism has intensified in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which has perennially been targeted by the Taliban militants on regular basis. Besides other terror acts, militants attack on Peshawar Air Port on December 15, this year, and a car bomb which killed 17 people in the Jamrud bazaar in Khyber Agency on December 18, the assassination of Senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister and the courageous leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) Bashir Ahmad Bilour including eight people on December 22 came like a fresh challenge from the Taliban. Bashir Bilour who escaped attempts on his life many times was a symbol of anti-Taliban resistance.

Like other terror assaults of the past and recent months conducted at various places of Pakistan, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility, justifying the attack on Bashir Bilour in the name of war against secular elements in the country. In this context, a spokesman of TTP Muhammad Afridi also stated that it has set up a new revenge wing to carry out such attacks, particularly on ANP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Earlier TTP has threatened to target more than twenty Journalists and anchors of TV channels.

Whenever any high-profile terror incident is conducted by these miscreants, foreign countries condemned the same, but directly or indirectly, it distorts the image of Pakistan, displaying it as a fundamentalist country. In this regard, besides other western leaders, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Ambassador Richard Olson have condemned the suicide bombing on Bashir Ahmad Bilour. Meanwhile, recently, nine people including women working on UN-backed polio immunisation programme were shot dead in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pakistani Taliban have denied responsibility, but they have threatened polio workers in the past and in June, they banned vaccinations in Waziristan.

Notably, under the cover of assassination attempt by the TTP on Malala Yousafzai, a female child educator in Swat on October 9, US-led foreign countries, India and their media have continuously been manipulating the incident in one or the other way to distort the image of Pakistan as well as Islam. Recently, Time magazine has published her picture on its title page. Earlier, November 10 was celebrated as international day for Malala to show that we all are Malalathe day can boost female education worldwide, as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education had stated. While some American lawmakers suggested awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Malala Yousufzai, and some of them including the UNHCRs special envoy proposed to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Besides, US President Barack Obama, UN secretary general and almost all the western countries including their human rights groups and media have appreciated the courage of Malala who stood against the Talibans oppressive policies, and have taken her as a symbol of hope for moderate elements, and inspiration of education in the world.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, leaders of the PML (N), ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI-F, PTI and MQM including all those of other parties had denounced the shocking assault on Malala Yousafzai. Once again, political and religious leaders have condemned the suicide attack which martyred Bilour.

It is mentionable that the Sunni Ittehad Council issued a joint fatwa on October 11, terming attack on Malala as un-Islamic; pointing out that the assailants self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They clarified that Islam not only made it obligatory on every man and woman to seek education but also strictly forbade taking life of any innocent person. Besides, scholars of other Islamic sects and those of Shias also condemned Talibans deadly attack on Malala.

In the past few years, the Taliban killed thousands of people across Pakistan through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence etc., and destroyed hundreds of girls schools including those of boys. In the Khyber agency, they are also indulged in murdering and torturing Shias in their majority areas, forcing them to flee. They are destabilising Pakistan.

TTP militants led by Maulvi Fazlullah who had left Swat after military operation have fully established their stronghold in Afghan provinces of Nooristan and Kunar. With the tactical assistance of US, their subversive activities against Pakistan are funded by Indian secret agency RAW and Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS). These secret entities have hired the services of many Muslims who have joined the ranks and files of TTP and other extremist outfits. Pakistans civil and military leadership has repeatedly protested against cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan including TTP location there, but US-led NATO and Afghan top officials have taken no action.

Particularly in some tribal areas and Swat these insurgents have been involved in a number of crimes such as drug-smuggling, forced marriages, hostage-takings for ransom and even car-snatching. They justify that they collect money through these unfair means to wage their holly war and in killing the moderate dissidents. They have discouraged womens education, keeping them ignorant and exploitable.

Nevertheless, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while jihad is a sacred obligation but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as targeting innocent women and children is not jihad. These Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, democracy, moderation and human rights.

After the Malala episode, despite the determination of the Pakistan government to take strict action against the militants, terrorist activities have continued unabated as shown by the assassination of Bashir Bilour.

In this connection, the President of ANP Asfandyar Wali has rightly remarked that these terrorists are not only carrying out ferocious attacks, but are also taking pride in claiming the responsibility for the same, and yet they are free to move around inside the country.

All this indicates that the Taliban could go to any extent to follow their self-perceived ideology. And these extremist elements do not want to see Pakistan a moderate, peaceful and developed country by isolating it from international community.

No doubt, Pakistans law-enforcing agencies and intelligence outfits remain vigilant and well prepared to deal with any eventuality created by heinous acts of terrorists. Despite the fact that these security agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants through pre-arrests, discovery of weapons and huge explosive material, suicide jackets etc., but terrorists kept on targeting the sensitive places. In this regard, intelligence agencies and security forces were also discouraged as their actions were being challenged through courts of law regarding the validity and legality of their decisions. The insurgents lawyers availed the opportunity by indicating procedural penal flaws. Thus many terrorists were freed by the courts due to lack of solid evidence in legal terms, though reality of their subversive activities existed.

It is a good move that the National Assembly on December 20, passed the Investigation for Fair Trial Bill-2012 which is a milestone in the history of legislation, providing legal cover to the concerned law-enforcing agencies and intelligence outfits to tape the phone calls and watch the e-mails as part of collection of evidence through electronic means. The bill envisages that electronic material and this relevant data would now be permissible in the court of law.

The bill sends a message to the terrorists that the entire nation was united in their efforts to bring them to books. It also asserts for the international community to evaluate as to how serious Pakistan is in fighting the menace of terrorism. Similarly media analysts must also think positively and support the bill which is essential to cope with these insurgents.

Now, the right hour has come to save Pakistan from Talibanistaion. So, instead of verbal slogans and condemnation of the Taliban, leaders of political and religious parties including general masses must show practical unity against all these fundamentalist elements. For better intelligence-gathering, people must also provide information to the law-enforcing and secret agencies about the presence and cover activities of the Taliban.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

The US will again ditch Pakistan

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Eleven-year war has not only given tremendous experience of fighting guerrilla war to both Army and militants but also has removed inhibitions and fears of each other. The militants could not have continued fighting for so long without external support and safe sanctuaries across the border. On the other hand, unlike the US military which is supported by Army contingents of 48 countries in Afghanistan, Pak security forces are fighting the war against militants at their own with meager resources and their performance has been much better than ISAF.

The low intensity conflict has caused substantial wear and tear to the weapons & equipment of Army and Frontier Corps (FC) and has also fatigued the troops living away from families and peacetime stations and living amid hazardous environment where life has become cheap. Situation will further worsen in coming years since militancy has spread to every nook and corner of the country.

In order to preserve arms and to keep the Army battle worthy to be able to confront the real enemy across the borders, there is a definite need to plan its de-induction from restive areas and to hand over counter terrorism responsibility to a separate counter terrorism force under a separate HQ or Interior Ministry. Counter terrorism force should be created for each major urban centre to deal with urban terrorism.

In 2007, there were active plans to handover frontline security duties to FC and Frontier Constabulary duly trained by the Army and US trainers. The US and British trainers had been imparting training to FC men in Warsak and some other locations from 2005 till November 2011. Not only several FC wings were raised to make additional battalions, their scale of weapons and equipment was also enhanced to add to their firepower and to enlarge their scope to carryout defensive and offensive tasks independently. By now, the FC has been sufficiently trained and enriched with considerable experience to tackle militant threat along the border regions independently. However, except for Balochistan, so far the FC has not taken over frontline duties in northwestern regions and relieved the Armys 147000 troops engaged in fighting war on terror.

Opinions on war on terror whether it is our war or someone elses war, and whether talks should be held with militants or not are sharply divided. Those claiming that it is not our war far exceeds those who think otherwise and view it as Pakistans existential war. This division in perceptions is to the advantage of militants and disfavors security forces embattled with militants.

It will be incorrect to assume that both external and internal intelligence shields are to be provided entirely by ISI. The ISIs primary responsibility is to act as a first line defence against external threats. Its internal wings primarily assess the pulse rate within armed forces and also perform counter intelligence duties. Its political wing has been dipping into political affairs of the country, but it is heartening that the same has been abolished.

The IB, Special Police, FIA and CID all under Ministry of Interior are principally responsible for internal security but have somehow taken up a backseat and left everything to the ISI and MI. Notwithstanding the urgent need to bring greater harmony between different agencies and to harness all intelligence resources and bringing them under one roof for national level coordination, there is a need to define the areas of responsibility and scope of each agency to avoid of duplication of work.

The US devised an effective homeland security system which helped in thwarting 9/11 type recurrence. In 11 years, no terrorist incident has occurred in USA. Likewise, Europe has also put in place modern techniques to prevent terrorism. Other than bombings in Madrid and London, no major terror incident has taken place in any European country. Even India has improved its security system. On the contrary, Pakistan which is the worst victim of terrorism has yet to devise a credible homeland security system to foil acts of terror.

With the death of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) and several al-Qaeda senior leaders as well as its operatives in Pakistan and Afghanistan, strength of this outfit has substantially shriveled in Af-Pak region but has not sapped. Attacks by Al-Qaeda and its affiliates to avenge the death of OBL were confined to Pakistan only and are continuing. Remnants of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan have become close partners of TTP and other affiliated terrorist groups. The nexus managed to strike sensitive targets such as Mehran naval base destroying two of the three PC3-Orions, Kamra airbase which was aimed at destroying AWACs, and Peshawar airbase to destroy fighter jets and gunship helicopters.

Al-Qaeda is still a potent force in Arabian Peninsula from where it can hit western targets more easily particularly after it managed to enroll many white-skin young recruits in Europe and USA. Talk of infighting within al-Qaeda over leadership may be far-fetched since OBL was out of action since 2002 and Ayman el-Zawahiri was ruling the roost.

Our response to US outright blatant aggression on 2 May was flawed and timid. President and PM responses were out of sync of the public enraged sentiments. Our apologetic stance and prompt acceptance of the US version that OBL was living in Abbottabad for the last five years and had been killed there on 2 May in my view amounted to showing red rag to the charging bull. We should have straight away denied OBLs existence in Pakistan and should have left it to the judicial commission to find out the truth. Till then, we should have stuck to our point that it was a false flag operation to besmirch the image of the Army and ISI, which was true. We should have drawn strength from the already published versions about death of OBL in December 2001. We should have vociferously condemned US intrusion and cried out that an ally had stabbed an ally in the back which had rendered maximum sacrifices and suffered the most and thus put the US on the defensive. We should have tried to earn the sympathies of the world and forcefully conveyed our point of view that Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism and that terrorism is promoted by the ones claiming to fight terrorism. Our sheepishness and timidity emboldened the US to justify its wrongful and immoral act and to further intensify its pressure on Pakistan. Our policy of appeasement led to Salala massacre on 26 November 2011.

The US continues to blame Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan to hide its militarys dismal performance. North Waziristan (NW) is being described as the safe haven of anti-US militants and sole reason of destabilization of Afghanistan. It is ironic that 130,000 US led ISAF equipped with superior technology and armed drones, six intelligence agencies and 3,50,000 ANSF cannot pinpoint a single terrorist haven or detect cross border movement into Pakistan, but can easily spot terrorist havens in NW and Balochistan.

Kunar and Nuristan are confirmed sanctuaries of runaway militants under Fazlullah from Swat and Malakand and are involved in cross border attacks inside Pakistan, but no action has been taken despite Pakistans protests that militants are patronized by Afghan warlords and foreign agencies.

Both Musharraf and Zardari went out of the way to accommodate US legal and illegal wishes. They were successfully brainwashed that the chief threat to Pakistans integrity and to their rule was from local extremists and not from India and that the US was Pakistans well-wisher. To keep our rulers scared and committed to fight militants with full strength, not only aid was made conditional to its performance in war on terror but also sponsored terror attacks were organized against sensitive installations. Our rulers have got so fixated with the US fed threat that they have become oblivious to the fact that as against the paltry sum of $10.5 billion allocated for the period 2002 to 2010, only one-third was received by Pakistan most of which was payment for services rendered. Army received only $1.8 billion as reimbursements. Against this measly amount, Pakistan has lost over $70 billion in fighting US war.

The much touted yearly $1.5 billion Kerry Lugar Bill aid flowed in at a snail pace. In 2010, only $ 179.5 million was received. For 2011, the promised tranche of $300 million was not paid. In the wake of soured relations, $800 million close support fund was suspended. Investments ceased and economic activity almost came to a grinding halt due to energy crisis and disturbed security and law and order situation. Human losses rose several times higher than the collective losses suffered by coalition forces in Afghanistan while social traumas were incalculable. Pakistan suffered grievously on all counts but our rulers having lost their nerves are still clinging to the aprons of haughty USA despite its discriminatory and distasteful behavior.

The US would like the present political setup to continue till political settlement with Taliban, or else it will make every effort to install another pro-US government in Pakistan, ready to facilitate smooth withdrawal of ISAF by end December 2014. The US for sure will ditch Pakistan if endgame doesnt culminate the way the US desired.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.

Two sides of the same coin

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja:

Pakistan is an unfortunate country whose destiny is intertwined with treacherous India in the east which lets go no opportunity to harm Pakistan, and Afghanistan on its northwest which is wild and unreliable. Afghanistan prefers Hindu India over Muslim Pakistan in spite of the fact that it doesnt share border with India and is not in sync ideologically. Except for Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, all regimes in Kabul were anti-Pakistan and pro-India. India and Afghanistan both patronized by USA are now strategic partners since October 4, 2011 and are jointly engaged in subversive activities against Pakistan.

While India was instrumental in blocking the economic and political growth of Pakistan and in subverting Awami League led Bengalis and truncating Pakistan in 1971, (refer to B Ramans book Role of RAW in Liberation of Bangladesh), Afghanistan was the only Muslim country which opposed Pakistans membership in UN in 1947. In collusion with former Soviet Union and India, Afghanistan supported Baloch insurgency in Balochistan in 1973. Since 2002 it is engaged in covert war in FATA and Balochistan in concert with USA and India. The trio is aspiring to detach the two regions from the body of Pakistan and establish Greater Pakhtunistan and Greater Balochistan.

Tutored by India, Northern Alliance heavy Karzai regime installed by Washington has been consistently blaming Pakistan for supporting Taliban and allowing cross border terrorism. However, it refuses to fence or mine likely crossing places along the border as suggested by Pakistan to prevent alleged infiltration. It ignores the fact that Pakistan has deployed over 1000 border posts while only 200 posts are established on its side. Following in the footsteps of India which has been persistently levying allegation against Pakistan of cross border terrorism into occupied Kashmir since 1990; Afghan regime too is singing this song to hide the secret war going on at a massive scale from Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan. Kabul is looking the other way to Pakistans protests that Maulana Fazlullah and his group that had fled to Afghanistan in 2009 after the launch of Operation Rah-e-Rast were provided sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan by Afghan government. The group backed by ANA, RAAM and RAW is involved in cross border terrorism in Mehmand, Bajaur, Dir and Chitral since 2010.

The ruling regime in Kabul has behaved offensively all these years despite being landlocked and dependent upon Pakistan land routes and seaport for its imports and exports. It ignores that three million Afghan refugees are being hosted by Pakistan since 1979 at a very heavy cost. They were not confined to refugee camps under strict watch but were given full freedom to move about, indulge in politics and buy properties. These refugees besides being a heavy burden on its fragile economy for the last 33 years are also a social and security nuisance. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is worst affected since the biggest concentration is in that province. CIA network operating in Pakistan hunt agents from among the Afghan refugees. But for their assistance to terrorists trained in training camps in Afghanistan by RAW in the form of shelter, intelligence and guidance, Pak security forces by now would have overcome the scourge of terrorism. Recent Uzbek heavy attack on Peshawar airbase was in all probability facilitated by them.

As against its ingratitude toward Pakistan, Afghanistan is indebted to India for having invested about $2 billion for various development projects and is bending over backward to express its undying gratitude. One reason for being so obliged is that Northern Alliance leaders were well looked after by India when they were out in the blue during Taliban rule and their foot soldiers were trained and equipped by Indian Army in Iran.

They are so much beholden to India that they fail to perceive that India with typical Bania mentality never spends a penny in a failing project and where it has no scope of making handsome profit. Indias increasing influence in Afghanistan helps it in encircling Pakistan and in making Afghanistan a captive market. It wants to have a share in the riches of Central Asia stretching up to Caspian Sea by making Afghanistan a jump off point. This desire impelled India to develop Chahbahar Port in Iran and to connect it with Road Dilaram-Zaranj. It is now developing a railway line to connect Chahbahar with Hajipak in Afghanistan. This road/rail connectivity will not only help Afghanistan in reducing its dependence on Pakistan but would also benefit India for its own trade with Afghanistan and beyond in case the shortest route via Wagah is unavailable. Having invested in Afghanistan, India is now looking forward for socio-politico-military-economic returns. It is greedily eying at Afghanistans vast reserves of iron, copper, cobalt and gold and Indian companies have already been invited by Kabul to tap one trillion dollars worth of minerals. Indian military is training Afghan security forces and is striving to make ANA dependent upon Indian defence products.

Karzai also forgets that he is a highly unpopular leader even within his own clan and his two-times election as president was largely made possible because of Pakistans cooperation. While Karzai has forgotten that he was treated as a guest in Quetta throughout the Afghan war against the Soviets and the civil war in Afghanistan. He and his colleagues have also forgotten the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in pushing out Soviet forces and bearing the brunt of fallout of Afghan war to this day.

Among the Afghans, seculars have traditionally opted to either flee to other countries whenever Afghanistan was invaded or to become collaborators. Even now they refrain from using offensive language against the occupation forces involved in heinous crimes against Afghans. They desire prolonged stay of US military in their country. However, their stance against Pakistan is venomous. Likewise, the non-Pashtun Afghan Tajiks, Uzbeks and Darri speaking Afghan Pashtuns also harbor rancor against Pakistan. Northern Alliance leaders and warlords carry a deep grudge that Pakistan had helped the Taliban to gain power. Their hatred has intensified as a result of sustained brainwashing by RAW managed cultural programs. Emphasis of indoctrination is on the youth in schools and colleges. India is providing 2000 scholarships to Afghan students annually. To show its soft face and to win over the population, India has been offering free medical care and medicines in clinics to the poor Afghans across the country.

The character traits of educated Afghan seculars and Northern Alliance warlords are similar to Brahman and extremist Hindus in India. They view Pakistan with abhorrence and are in the habit of blaming Pakistan for the sins committed by their countries. They are adept in throwing wool in others eyes by pretending to be innocent and victims of terrorism espoused by Pakistan. They pretend to be bosom friends when in need and once their purpose is achieved they become cold-blooded. It will not be altogether wrong to deduce that both are two sides of the same coin, or as mentioned by Zafar Hilali, birds of a feather. That is why both are flocking together.

Indian leaders have been religiously following the script left behind by their Guru Chankya. They have passed on some of the Chankyan recipes to Northern Alliance leaders to badger Pakistan. With such antagonist mindsets of the power wielders in India and Pakistan, one wonders how our leaders have jumped to the conclusion that trust deficit between Pakistan and India and Pakistan and Afghanistan has been bridged and all is well. India has not moved an inch closer toward the resolution of core disputes despite Pakistan having forgotten and forgiven grievous wounds inflicted by India. Afghanistan has also not reciprocated Pakistans magnanimity by way of accepting all the four demands of Chairman Afghan High Peace Council. Fazlullah has not been handed over, his safe havens not closed and Pakistan has not been given any role in peace negotiations. Unilateral concessions and policy of appeasement will lead us nowhere.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.

Afghanistan – A deceptive impression

By Professor Ali Sukhanver

While going through the details of suicide attack on Asadullah Khalid, the Intelligence Chief of Afghanistan, one feels that Khalid was strolling somewhere in a public park or enjoying a cup of hot Afghani Qahwa in a café along some deserted highway; he was not at a guesthouse used by the National Directorate of Security in a heavily guarded area of the capital Kabul.

How could it had been possible for a suicide bomber to introduce himself as a peace messenger from Taliban and reach the Intelligence Chief deceiving all security check-points if Asadullah Khalid were really at the National Directorate of Security. The incident no doubt puts a question mark at the abilities and talents of the Afghan security forces as well as at those of the NATO.

The time when the US troops were stepping into the Afghan lands, the US authorities were of the opinion that Afghanistan is suffering badly at the hands of the terrorists and the Afghan security forces dont have ability to counter the terrorist activities. That time they had assured the people of Afghanistan that the only aim of the US forces is to strengthen the Afghan security forces so that they might be able to counter the activities of the terrorists. Now at the end of 2012, the suicidal attack on the Intelligence Chief of Afghanistan is a proof that the Afghan security forces are still incapable of countering the terrorists. It means the situation would become horribly disastrous if the US forces say good-bye to the Afghan lands.

The suicide attack on the Afghan Intelligence Chief Asadullah Khalid is simply the beginning of another story in Afghanistan. Khalid was targeted when a suicide bomber struck at a guesthouse used by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a heavily guarded area of the Afghan capital Kabul.

The incident took lives of many officials present at the scene and left Khalid seriously wounded. Just at the closing of 2012, almost a year before the US proposed date of withdrawal of her troops from the Afghan lands, this incident indicates countless possibilities and probabilities, unfortunately all referring to an extension in US stay in Afghanistan. According to the details, the suicide bomber posed himself as a peace messenger from Taliban and exploded him during the negotiations but most of the analysts are not ready to accept these details.

The concocted stories of befooling the officials of Afghan security and NATO are nothing new. There have been so many occasions when different so-called imposters approached Afghan and NATO officials and claimed that they are the representative of the Taliban and have come to settle matters through table-talk and negotiations though the actual Taliban leaders have always maintained their firm public line that they would never consider any negotiations or table-talk until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Let us look back at a report published in the New York Times on 22nd November 2010 which said the Afghan and US authorities held face-to-face talks with a man who claimed to be Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the second highest official in the Taliban movement .but later on it was exposed that the man was lying about his identity. Just after the revelation was made public through western media, Joshua Foust commented the episode in a very logical and impressive way.

He says, The story is moderately shocking: a senior Taliban figure was being flown around the region, talking directly with General Petraeus, President Karzai, and other senior figures in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan government. Think about this for a moment: a man whose identity no one was able to verify was flown, by NATO, for face-to-face meetings with high-ranking members of the coalition.

All this is hugely embarrassing for ISAF, for the war, and for any prospects of ending it soon. Now two years after that episode, same seems the case with the suicide bomber who attacked Asadullah Khalid, the Intelligence Chief of Afghanistan. This incident was planned just to defame the Taliban and Pakistan and to give the world around a deceptive impression that the situation in Afghanistan is still so frightening that even the Intelligence Chief is not safe at the hands of the terrorists.

The fact of the matter is that the US conspirators are trying their utmost to find out some lame excuses which could provide logical justification for extension in the stay of US troops in Afghanistan. It is neither Pakistan nor the Taliban behind the assassination attempt on Asadullah Khalid, it is the handiwork of the US agents who are all time busy in disturbing the law and order situation both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Instead of taking care of his own people, unfortunately Mr. Karzai is also playing in the hands of these agents and safeguarding the US interests in the region. Everyone remembers that just after the suicide attack on Asadullah Khalid, Mr. Karzai abruptly issued his statement in which he blamed that the assassination attempt on the country’s intelligence chief was planned in Pakistan.

He said, We will be seeking a lot of clarifications from Pakistan because we know that this man who came there in the name of a guest to meet with Asadullah Khalid came from Pakistan.” The situation needs a very sympathetic and sincere analysis. Afghanistan could never be a peaceful land unless the foreign troops say farewell to it. Only the people of Afghanistan have ability and skill of dragging Afghanistan back to peace and prosperity and Pakistan is the only force which could give a helping hand to the people of Afghanistan in this regard.

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