How to Encounter Terrorism?

By Sajjad Shaukat

Despite the fact that Pakistans law-enforcing agencies and intelligence agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants through pre-arrests, discovery of weapons and huge explosive material, suicide jackets etc., but terrorists keeps on targeting the installations of security forces, intelligence agencies and police including government buildings through bomb blasts, suicide attacks and targeting killings. They are also murdering political and religious leaders in order to fuel ethnic and sectarian violence.

In the recent months, militants high profile subversive activities include attacks on Peshawar Airport, Kamra Air Force Base, the assassination of leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) Bashir Ahmad Bilour, attempt on the life of Malala Yousafzai, blast in Hangu. Besides, they are conducting terror attacks in various cities of the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and city of Karachi. In this regard, on February 2, this year, militants martyred 15 soldiers including 25 people at a military camp in Serai Naurang Lakki Marwat, while Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has owned responsibility. Similarly, on January 10, more than 100 people, a majority of whom belonged to the Hazara community lost their lives in the twin bombings in Quetta. The militant group, Lashkar-i-Janghvi claimed responsibility for this deadly attack. In the recent past, sectarian violence erupted in different parts of Karachi, killing more than 30 people after a terror assault 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. A perennial wave of these acts indicates that terrorism has increased in Pakistan.

It is a challenge for the whole nation that various terrorist organisations like Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (Gods soldiers), Lashkar-i-Janghvi, Lashkar-e-Islam,
Sipah-i-Sahaba and some other militant outfits, especially the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) feel pride in murdering the innocent people and killing the personnel of the security forces, while claiming responsibility for their heinous terror assaults. These culprits are free to move inside the country.

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.

Every Pakistani must understand that unlike the conventional war which was being waged between two sovereign belligerents through traditional armies and intelligence agencies, the arena of aggression has changed. In the present era, non-state actors like terrorists have made it difficult for the security forces to serve alone as the dominant sphere in this different war.

Complex phenomenon of terrorism cannot be left on the security forces and law-enforcing agencies alone, as it is everyones war. There are a number of impediments in fighting war against terrorism, and these must be overcome to encounter terrorists.

No doubt, Pakistans law-enforcing agencies and intelligence organisations which are well-prepared in coping with terrorism are engaged in identifying and locating the terrorist networks and their support bases including informers and accomplices. While remaining vigilant, these agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants through pre-arrests, but were 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. Due to this practice, efficiency of law-enforcing agencies drops to zero level, giving a greater setback to war against terrorism and making the concerned official insecure in face of judicial grilling.

Terrorist presently under custody, if released by the court due to judicial discourse will certainly join their main terrorist networks, thereby strengthening terrorist groups. Consequently, this new style war will turn in favor of terrorists instead of law-enforcing agencies and intelligence agencies which may suffer more in the hands of terrorists.

In this respect, Pakistans media must recommend to the legislative and law-making authorities to change the complex procedures and evidence-related issues, and to make new laws against terrorists in order to provide the legal cover to law-enforcing and intelligence agencies which are fighting the menace of terrorism. For this purpose, the concerned agencies should be allowed to detain the certain suspected individuals so that the intensity and frequency of occurrence of terrorist activities could be reduced.

While fighting against the militants, Pakistans security forces and intelligence agencies require maintaining high degree of morale and confidence. In this context, our media should appreciate the sacrifices and services of countrys security forces and agencies in their fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile, it is a good move that the National Assembly on December 20, last year passed the Investigation for Fair Trial Bill-2012 so as to provide legal cover to the concerned law-enforcing agencies and intelligence outfits to tape the phone calls and watch the e-mails. The bill envisages that electronic material would now be permissible in the court of law as evidence.

Another impediment in war against terrorism is that by misconception of Islam, terrorist groups manipulate the feelings of innocent Muslims who are naturally prone to favor the cause of Muslims. Hence, they become targets of terrorists propaganda who project their unfair designs in the name of Jihad, and undertake criminal activities of terrorism, inflicting serious loss of innocent lives and damaging property. The militant outfits also recruit very young boys, and after their brainwashing through indoctrination, they train them for suicide bombings. The planners misguide these Muslims by convincing that they will have a noble place in the Heavens in exchange of suicide attacks.

However, 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.

In this connection, 50 Islamic scholars and muftis of the Sunni Ittehad Council have issued a joint fatwa (edict) on February 7, 2013, and unanimously declared killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombingsin Karachi and Balochistan, along with sectarianism as against the spirit of Islam. They added that those involved in the killing of innocent people are condemned to hell. Their Fatwa also declared, The suicides attacks and related violence smeared the name of Islam and weakened Pakistan.

Earlier, these Islamic scholars had said in their joint Fatwa, the terrorists self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. Besides, Shia religious scholars also condemned terror attacks.

Although our rulers, leaders of political and religious parties have repeatedly condemned the terror attacks of the Taliban and other extremist groups, yet instead of verbal statements, they must show practical unity against these elements which seek to create anarchic situation in the country to accomplish their self-motivated power designs.

While indicating internal threats of terrorists, recently, Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also said that the country was pitched against the faceless enemy. He explained that the present spectrum of threats could be defeated through collective national efforts in which the armed forces had a pivotal role to play.

Now, people from all segment of life and majority of politicians including general masses want that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-created ideology in the country.

In these terms, it is war of entire nation against terrorism. But such a war needs better intelligence-gathering which is possible, if people provide information to the law-enforcing and secret agencies about the presence and covert activities of the Taliban and other militants. People must also point out foreign agents who have joined the ranks and files of these terrorists or are backing the latter.

Nevertheless, this is the right hour for the nation to practically cooperate with the security agencies to encounter terrorism.

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.

Pakistan not nuked so people bitten by corrupt leadership, says Dr. AQ Khan

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The country is in grieved situation. The leaders and the rulers destroyed all the fabrics of the state. They had been warned repeatedly by the patriotic people of Pakistan but no use. These remarks were given by the President of Tahreek e Tahafuz e Pakistan (TTP), Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, while arguing on the current political dilemmas in the country.

The remarks were given in the letter, written by Dr. AQ Khan of TTP to the head of Minhaj ul Qur’an, Dr. Tahirul Qadri.

Dr. AQ Khan said that my team and I did not nuked Pakistan so that people get bitten by the corrupt class of politicians and ruler. He said that due to inefficiencies and lack of interest of the rulers to solve the problem of Pakistan, the people have to come on streets again and again.

He reminded the popular lawyers campaign to restore the judiciary sacked by dictator Musharraf. “Even now, the people of Pakistan have to come to streets, once again, to stabilise the democratic system of the country.” He said.

He appreciated Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s long march, which was ended pre-maturely last night, for providing the platform to the people to express their grief concerns. Which forced the rulers to revive their attitudes towards the messes.

The President of TTP, Dr. AQ Khan stressed for the need of unity of patriotic people of Pakistan, to drive out Pakistan from crisis after crisis.

Dr. AQ Khan said that he is fully aware of the challenges faced by the nation and he is ready to be part of any effort to get Pakistan out of troubles.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan is the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and for this reason, the nation not only knows him well but also considers him the biggest hero of Pakistan after the founder of Pakistan Hazrat Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

He warned the government against any possible misdeed in elections and said that the government should avoid taking any illegal and unconstitutional steps.

Dr. AQ Khan said that the Judiciary in Pakistan today is independent and consist of honest judges and that it is fully trustable.

Dr. AQ Khan lays down the four point Charter of Demands from the government

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The founder of Pakistan’s Islami Nuclear Bomb and the President of fast emerging political party, Tahreek e Tahafuz e Pakistan (TTP), Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan says that the government should announce the elections dates immediately.

In a press release issued from his Party’s office in Islamabad, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan says that the country does not afford any delay in elections.

“The government should immediately announce the dates for upcoming elections,” he says further in the press release, “Any delay in elections would not be good for the country as well as for the system.”

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan also laid down a four-point charter of demands from the government. The charter of demands includes the essential steps to be taken to end the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan.

In charter of demands, the President of Tahreek e Tahafuz e Pakistan (TT), Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan demands for the election dates, implementation of decisions of Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP), establishment of Caretaker Government with consensus of all political parties and the holding of elections under the supervision of Judiciary and the military.

The press release from the office of the TTP also demanded the serving Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to resign immediately after the decision against him from SCP. “Tahreek e Tahafuz e Pakistan demands the decisions of Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding rental cases should be implemented immediately and the Prime Minster should resign to secure the system and the country.”

It is worth mentioning here that SCP had ordered to arrest 17 officials, including then serving Water Minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, within 24 hours. The petition was filed by Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat of PML-Q. The then serving Water Minister later nominated as Prime Minister by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the President.

In the press release, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan also demanded that all political parties should be taken into confidence before announcing the Caretaker Prime Minister.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan said that the elections should hold under the supervision of Military and the Judiciary. He also demanded to ensure the presence of representatives of both Judiciary and the military in each poling both.

Talking about the Long March of Canadian nation Dr. Tahirul Qadri, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan said that the objectives of Dr. Tahirul Qadri are good but the ways to follow these objectives are not appreciatable.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan is well known personality in Pakistan and lives in hearts of each Pakistani. He worked on Pakistan Atomic programme for decades and blessed this nation with Nuclear deterrent, which later pronounced as Islami Bomb by western media and their Indian counterparts.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has recently formed his political party named, Tahreek e Tahafuz e Pakistan (TTP) and vowed to find against corruptness of the political class. Due to his overwhelming popularity in Pakistan, TTP is expecting to emerge as one of the biggest political parties in Pakistan.

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.

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.

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.

Govt’s economic performance dismal: traders

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Governments economic policies have failed to produce peoples friendly results as it has admitted that food cost has increased by 130 per cent since 2005-2006 to 2011-2012, a business leader said Tuesday.

The wheat prices rose by 128 per cent, sugar161 per cent, pulses194 per cent, vegetable ghee151 per cent and meat by158 per cent during this period, said Malik Sohail Hussain, Chairman Media, Diplomatic Affairs and PR.

Speaking to business community, he said that economic mismanagement is so rampant that bogus companies owned by influential received Rs 63 billion as refund and illegal tax input adjustments during just first four months of the current fiscal.

At one hand peoples life has become economically unbearable while on the other terrorism is increasing of which the most recent example is the killing of Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Senior Minister of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, he said.

Malik Sohail said that army is doing best to check militancy and insurgency. It is doing whatever asked to do to assist the nation and the government while it has lost four thousand soldiers and officers.

He said that renewing the Lal Masjid issue can disturb the military strategy against militancy as refusal by personnel serving in various insurgency-hit areas can compromise armys ability to defend country from threats.

Questioning soldiers will open up floodgate for chaos as they are trained to obey orders and sacrifice for the defence of motherland. Armed forces are serving in life threatening environment in Siachen, against TTP and Balochistan, he said.

National business leaders Tariq Sayeed, Iftikhar Ali Malik and Munawar Mughal of ICCI have always acknowledged the sacrifices by army from top to bottom, he said adding that business community has always paid tribute to those who laid down their lives in defence of motherland, said Sohail.

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