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.

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Gwadar Seaport Needs Special Attention

By Sajjad Shaukat

When during the Musharraf regime, Pakistan government initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in the Balochistan province in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, a siren went off in the capitals of the United States, India and Israel. The US took it as a threat to its global plans, and India felt that it threatened its integrity. Israel also took it as a greater threat from an Islamic country. Some defence analysts had opined that development of Gwadar port would shift the great game of Central Asia to Pakistan, though Afghanistan would remain its gateway.

As regards its strategic importance, due to its proximity to the vital sea lanes, Gwadar is the major important seaport in the world. Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, it is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its ideal location between three key regions, South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia have further increased its significance.

If once becomes fully operational, Gwadar Seaport could connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Otherwise, big vessels cannot move from and to Karachi Seaport owing to dearth of depth. Therefore, small cargo ships with low weight are sent to Dubai from where containers are re-loaded on big vessels. This practice causes many problems for businessmen, discouraging Pakistans imports and exports.

In case of its completion, Gwadar project will not only uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan by providing thousands of employment opportunities and is likely to develop whole the province by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity would trickle down to the Baloch people and damp the separatist sentiment.

Besides, as an alternative deep water port, it is situated 470 km away from Karachi making it less vulnerable to the Indian naval blockade which Pakistan faced in 1971 during the war with India.

As Pakistan has close friendship with China, so in the long term, the Gwadar Seaport could serve as a port of entry for oil and gas to be transported by land to the western region of China. If Beijing wants to emancipate itself from transportation or military problems along Asias southern coastline, direct access to the Indian Ocean may be the solution.

In this respect, Balochistans Gwader project where China has invested billions of dollars irks the eyes of US-led India and Israel; hence, they have been supporting Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (Gods soldiers) and other separatist elements which are arranging subversive activities in the province as part of their covert designs. In this regard, Pakistans civil and military leadership has repeatedly said that training camps are presence in Afghanistan from where arms and ammunition are being sent to the militants in Balochistan in order to dismember Pakistan. In the past few years, a number of Chinese engineers, working at Gwadar were kidnapped and killed by the foreign-affiliated insurgent groups. The main aim behind is to discourage Beijing for the development of Gwadar port.

Although secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have been arranging acts of sabotage in Balochistan including other parts of the country for their countries collective strategic interests, yet it is our misfortune that Pakistans political leadership has caused delay in the completion of Gwadar Seaport owing to lack of interest and willingness, instead of vigorously pursuing the project. Unfortunately, short term vested interests of these politicians have prevailed over the long term national interests, creating differences between the state institutions which further complicated the situation rather than a progress for the rapid development of the project.

In this context, Pakistans Minister of Port and Shipping, Senator Baber Khan Ghauri has often found involved in blame game so as to shift his responsibilities and failures in relation to the Gwadar project. On August 28, 2012, in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Ports and Shipping, he pretended that governments failure to transfer 584 acres of land in possession of Pakistan Navy at the mouth of the port was a major obstacle with Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and resolution of the related issues.

Notably, in 2006 after completion of the Phase-1 construction work, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) invited offers from experienced port operators for the management of the project, and in February 2007 signed an agreement with Concession Holding Company (CHC), a subsidiary of PSA for operational control of the seaport. PSA was to invest $ 550 million during the next five year for development of the port, but since than, no substantial progress was achieved. In fact, GPAs lack of thinking in strategic terms in maritime sector and its inability to persuade PSA in marketing and operationalisation of the current terminal area has failed to capitalise on the immense potential which resides on this project.

However, actual facts which have delayed the completion of strategically important deep-seaport of Gwadar have not made public. In this regard, the agreement between GPA and PSA was flawed, and the Minister of Port and Shipping, Senator Baber Khan Ghauri is largely to be blamed. It was because of the minister that contract rules were violated and laws were bent wherever these were needed to ensure the interests of the concession holders rather than to safeguard the business interests of both the parties. In this context, a former chairman of Gwader Port Authority disclosed in 2009, People fear that PSA Gwaders name is only being used as a cover and the party is really interested in running the port will come to the fore after the former disinvests.

While Senator Baber Khan Ghauri who is from Karachi-based MQM political party, is not interested in the operationalisation of the Gwadar port because it will reduce national dependence on Karachi Port Complex. As a result, his party will lose political leverage and in turn control of Karachi city. So the minister who has deliberately neglected development of Gwadar project, himself is involved in land grabbing in Gwader city rather than acquiring land for completion of this key port. It is owing to these reasons that even after the lapse of several years, Gwadar city still lacks road and rail track connectivity due to which, its usage is severely limited.

Now, Pakistan has decided to give the operations at Gwadar port to China as soon as the terms of agreement with the Singapore Port Authority expire. In this regard, the Planning Commissions task force on maritime industry has proposed that an operational agreement with PSA be cancelled, which had undertaken to spend $525 million in five years, but nothing was spent during the last three years. No commercial vessel had arrived at Gwadar port during the same period.

Nevertheless people regret that like PIA, railways, power and energy sector, steel mills, poor performance of the government on the Gwadar Seaport is yet another tale of woes. But reality remains that the project has been victim of deliberate carelessness by the Senator Baber Khan Ghauri who can not be exonerated from his responsibilities as Minister of Transport and Shipping.

While the ball is in governments court, so it is the right hour that an amicable solution of the issue with effective plan so as to take corrective measures, and appointment of sincere leadership could play a positive role in completion of the Gwader project which is in everyones best interest. Nonetheless, this port needs special attention for its completion. Otherwise, immense benefits like advancement of the strategic value of Pakistan including socio-economic development of Balochistan will remain a dream.

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

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.

Obama’s Secret War through Drones

By Sajjad Shaukat:

In his second tenure, it was expected that the US President Barack Obama would reassess American controversial foreign policy, especially by ceasing CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan. But these aerial strikes continue on Pak tribal areas.

It is mentionable 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.

While, addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, President Asif Ali Zardari said, Drone strikes and civilian casualties on our territory add to the complexity of our battle for hearts and minds through this epic struggle against terrorism.

Besides, after her meeting with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on September 21 in Washington, Pakistans Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stated that they had discussions on drones, saying, These are illegal and counterproductive. She explained when a US drone carries out a strike; Pakistani officials have to hear remarks that this is the US war. Khar elaborated that in 352 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, many of those killed were Pakistanis as opposed to foreigners.

While justifying these air strikes by the spy planes, counterterrorism advisor to Obama, John Brennan and Defense Minister Leon Panetta have 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 predator strikes.

However, setting aside the parliament resolution, rallies and processions of Pakistans political and religious parties against drone attacks, and ignoring the new rapprochement between Islamabad and Washington, without bothering for any internal backlash, these strikes 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 in accelerated subversive activities in the country. Now, US seeks to incite the Haqqani network as in the past 14 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 of these strikes is to create a rift between Pakistans armed forces on one side and the political and religious parties including general masses on the other. Besides, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Hence, US India and Israel are determined to weaken it. Drone campaign is also part of this game.

The strikes by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) 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 100 people in North Waziristan.

As regards civilian casualties, on August 11, 2011, a report of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said, The Guardian published some of the pictures, we have obtained…as many as 168 children have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan during the past seven years. While rejecting CIAs false claim, the report disclosed, It is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.

Besides, a report of the New America Foundation revealed, 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?

A latest 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. Based on research, the report urged Washington to rethink its drone strategy, arguing it was counterproductive and undermined international law.

Nevertheless, details collected by the Pakistani journalists show that civilian casualties through drone strikes are higher as indicated by the US officials. In the last four years, more than 800 innocent civilians and only 22 Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by these aerial attacks.

Particularly, 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 respect, 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.

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.

Notably, President Obama has broken all the record of human rights by extrajudicial killings of the innocent people through CIA-operated unmanned aircraft which are part of his so-called counterterrorism operations in Somalia, Yemen etc. in general and Pakistan in Particular, while, the US claims to be protector of human rights not only inside the country, but all over the world.

On the one hand, US top officials, particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 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, 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.

Meanwhile, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism said on August 16, this year that it was time for the US to open itself up to scrutiny as to the legality of such attackseach strike is visually recorded and videos could be passed to independent assessors. Recently, US ex-presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have also opposed Obamas faulty strategy of drone strikes.

Nonetheless, these strikes are illegal, unethical and violation of Pakistans sovereignty as well as the UN Charter. But US warrior President Obama remains intransigent to continue his secret war through drone attacks.

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.

Drone’s Phobia & Obama’s Strategy

President Barack Obama has finally announced his long-awaited new US strategy on Afghanistan after extensive consultations with his advisers: some wanted to increase 30,000 additional troops so that they could concentrate their effort in the south and southeast, in the provinces that border Pakistan, while others advocated at concentrating on the strongholds from where the terrorists are launching their attacks including areas in Quetta, Pakistan. While spelling out the new US Strategy for AfPak on December 2, 2009, President Obama said we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear. The Americans have become more vocal in warning Pakistan leaders that if they dont act the United States will, including with more attacks by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Despite strong resistance from Pakistans leadership, Obamas new policy envisaged the “broadening of the target area” to include “a major insurgent sanctuary in and around the city of Quetta” for drone attacks. Jane Mayer of The New Yorker magazine revealed in October edition, that the number of US predator drone strikes on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border by the C.I.A., has risen dramatically under President Obama. Mayer cited a new study by the New America Foundation that claims 82 U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, killing nearly 1,000 innocent people since 2006. (However, according to Wikipedia, a total of 65 attacks have been conducted till December 10, 2009).

Article Source: http://www.markthetruth.com/terrorism/253-drones-phobia-a-obamas-strategy.html

India and USA hand-in-glove

India-US-UK-Israel nexus is hand-in-glove and conspiring to harm Pakistan. Pakistan has been profusely bled by the nexus based in Kabul for the last eight years but they call themselves as friends of Pakistan. Our leaders reciprocate their sentiments and go out of the way to please them. There has been no change in this policy of appeasement despite having collected irrefutable proof of involvement of RAW in all our troubled spots. Once the Army unearthed huge caches of Indian origin weaponry and literature from Swat and South Waziristan Agency (SWA) during Rah-e-Rast and Rah-e-Nijat Operations, our rulers after naming RAW reluctantly became tight lipped. Despite causing immeasurable harm to Pakistan, the Indo-western media continue to churn out vicious stories blaming Pakistan for the sins committed by the said nexus. The US media in particular spread gloom and doom and apart from overplaying the existential threat posed by religious extremists, it comes out with never ending sensational tales ranging from Taliban stealing our nukes to their taking over power. The two premier institutions of Pakistan, the army and ISI, responsible for safeguarding security interests of the country are demonized and maligned. After the US weird allegation that Mullah Omar led Shura was based in Quetta and then shifting it to Karachi, Gordon Brown, the poodle of USA has reconfirmed Hillary Clinton’s bizarre claim that Osama bin Laden is in FATA. Such harebrained chronicles are dished out off and on to keep Pakistan on the leash.

Article Source: http://www.markthetruth.com/letter-to-editor/222-india-and-usa-hand-in-glove.html

Nuclear Iran: A Headache or a Heal? – IV

Source: http://www.markthetruth.com

by Sohail Parwaz

In my first column on this subject I wrote, “Interestingly, the issues on which the US, France, and the UK are making a hue and cry were once hatched and sponsored by them. How could one forget that it was the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who had signed the National Security Decision Memorandum that very generously laid out the niceties of the sale of nuclear energy equipment to Iran?” I still maintain my words that the baseless and bogus logic given now by the US and the Western world are not acceptable to the world. I would insist upon my earlier saying why the logic given now did not strike the astute Americans at that time when, out of sheer sincerity and love, they were…

Read full article at http://www.markthetruth.com/current-affairs/73-nuclear-iran-a-headache-or-a-heal.html

Foreign Hands in PAK Blasts Wave

Source: http://www.markthetruth.com

Zaheerul Hassan

In July 02, 2009 a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle banged into a bus carrying employee of a sensitive defense department in Rawalpindi. The blast led to the killing of at least six people and 20 injured. It was a latest suicidal attack and would be taken as the continuity of series of on going suicidal attacks. The suicidal missions though are being under taken by the brain washed youth of the locals but actually mastermind behind them are being sponsored by RAW…

Read full article at http://www.markthetruth.com/terrorism/69-foreign-hands-in-pak-blasts-wave.html

Taliban and Jihad – what’s the thought? by Nadia Khan

Source: http://www.markthetruth.com

What if we read Holy Quran and Hadiths of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) without the context of Jihad, there could be number of people, both in West & East, who would feel happier than before? Because they feel that the root cause of today’s crisis is Jihadi approach of radical Muslims. If radicals could give it up then the world would be much safer!

This argument for world’s peace looks…

Read full article at http://www.markthetruth.com/pakistani-politics/68-taliban-and-jihad-whats-the-thought.html

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