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.


Hostile friends

By Professor Ali Sukhanver

A few weeks back the Pakistan army published its new Green Book which identified internal insurgent forces as the countrys principal national security threat. The book also indicated a shift of concentration of the Pakistan army from Eastern borders to the western front. This doctrinal change was warmly welcomed by various sections of the national and the international society and it was being hoped that the relations between Pakistan and India would get better as a result of this shift of concentration.

Moreover it was also expected that the process of giving India the status of the Most Favoured Nation would also expedite. But unfortunately just after the announcement of the policy of this shift in concentration, the Indian army started an intentional effort of creating a situation of disturbance along the Line of Control. The National Turk reported on 16th January, Indian troops again violated LoC cease last evening.

Indian army men carried out unprovoked firing on Pakistani posts at LoC in Hot Spring and Jandrot sectors from 2200 to 2300 hours. As a result of the Indian army firing, Pakistani soldier Naik Ashraf posted at Kundi Post died. Thus the death toll of Pakistani soldiers killed in cross-LoC firing since January 6 has risen to three. Just ten days before this incident, on the sixth day of the New Year the Indian troops crossed the Line of Control and stormed a military post of Pakistan.

A Pakistani soldier was killed and another injured in a fire exchange between Indian and Pakistani troops. A press release from the Pakistan Army says, The Indian troops came across the de factor border in the Haji Pir sector, 80 kilometers north of Islamabad, and physically raided a check post named Sawan Patra. Pakistan Army troops effectively responded to the attack. One Pakistani soldier embraced martyrdom while another was critically injured. The Indian troops retreated, leaving behind a gun and a dagger.

It seems something very difficult to decide about Pakistan and India, the two South Asian nuclear neighbors, whether they are friend or foe. For the last many years, some of the media groups in Pakistan and some hi-ups of the so-called NGOs are trying their utmost to paint a picture of Pak-India relations with colours of friendship and cordiality. Moreover there have been a lot of efforts from various think tanks in Pakistan that Pakistan must rank India as the most favoured country but the on ground realities are altogether different.

In spite of a successful cricket and trade diplomacy one can feel a very hot air of hostility and disliking for each other between the two countries. India and Pakistan announced a cease-fire along the Line of Control in the valley of Kashmir in November 2003 but the cease-fire has been violated again and again many times by India during all these years.

It is not only the matter of violation of cease fire along the Line of Control; India has always been using different tactics to destabilize the very foundations of Pakistan. Sometimes the Indian agents are caught involved in airing the sectarian conflicts in Pakistan and sometimes they are found involved in ethnic clashes in different parts of the country.

Recently it has been learnt through reliable sources that Indian Embassy Economic and Commercial Counselor, Mr. Arvind Saxena at Islamabad is facilitating Indian based companies for striking deal between Sind Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and TATA & DEHL. The report indicated that Sind Engro Coal Mining Company which is a subsidiary of Engro Group has been preparing a feasibility report on the coal mining projects in the area of Thar for the last three years.

Reportedly Mr. Arvind Saxena is arranging visits of SECMCs technical and administrative hi-ups to Naveli Mines, Tamil Nadu and Gujrat Mineral Development Corporation Limited of India. The aim and objective of these visits is simply to pave way for selling Pakistani coal to India for their projects in Gujrat and Naveli Tamil Nadu and provide an opportunity to the Indian coal mine developers to take charge of the Thar Coal Project.

Some of the well-known Pakistani politicians belonging to Sind are also lending a helping hand to Mr. Saxena in his efforts. Rumours are in air that USA-India supported corrupt Political Business mafia is deeply involved in this multi billion dollars hidden scam. It is the need of time that the government of Pakistan must take keen interest in the matter of the coal mining development program in Sind.

Pakistan has a lot of big names in the field of coal mining and it would be in the larger interest of the country if Thar Coal project is preferably developed under their supervision and command. It is against the logic that on one hand India is taking lives of our soldiers posted at the line of control and on the other hand we are facilitating India by promoting trade relations with it. No doubt trade activities bring the friendly countries closer but trading with the hostile countries could never be fruitful.

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.

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.

Two sides of the same coin

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.

Pakistan-Afghanistan will keep bleeding

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon RajaL:

Despite Obamas desperation to declare victory in Afghanistan, triumph is not in sight. The US is now striving to end the war in Afghanistan in a manner that its honor doesnt get bruised. It wants the world to believe that its troops are abandoning Afghanistan of their own accord after achieving most objectives. While all the power centers in USA undoubtedly want to end the war on a winning note and are on one page on this count, differences have cropped up between Pentagon-CIA and White House-State Department over the culmination of endgame. The former wants continuation of use of brute force padded up with intrigue and trickery to gain an edge over Taliban, the latter seeks political settlement with Taliban so that troops could return honorably. So far, efforts to make the Taliban agree to hold talks have failed.

The US militarys false claim of gains made against Taliban got a jolt after the big jailbreak in Kandahar in April 2011. Most of jail breakers were Taliban commanders and it was feared that they would give fillip to raids and ambushes during this summer. As predicted, from May onwards the Taliban accelerated their attacks on US-NATO targets as well as against key Afghan personalities engaged in brokering peace at the behest of USA and Karzai. Cases of ANA soldiers killing ISAF soldiers as well as desertions increased, while casualties owing to IEDs mounted. Figure of soldiers suffering from mental diseases also increased sharply. On June 28, 2011, Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a hotel in Kabul. Half-brother of President Karzai, Ahmad Wali Karzai was killed in Kandahar in June. Bigger disasters befell upon ISAF in August and September 2011 during which high profile attacks were carried out by the Taliban.

On August 19, 2011, suicide blast and gun attack occurred at British Council in Kabul. Suicide attack on NATO base in Wardak seriously injured 77 US troops many of whom succumbed to injuries later on. The US helicopter was shot down by the Taliban near Wardak in August killing 38 US troops including 23 NAVY SEALs soldiers who had taken part in Get Geronimo operation in Abbottabad on 2 May. On September 13, the US Embassy, NATO Command HQ and Afghan Central Directorate of Security building were attacked by six Taliban with rocket grenades and machine guns from a nearby building in Kabul and the siege continued for 20 hours. The attackers managed to make good their escape. On 20 September, Chairman Peace Council Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed by a suicide bomber at his home in Kabul. These attacks flabbergasted the US military NATO and ANSF. These occurred at a critical time when military command was changing/had just changed, less volatile regions were being handed over to ANA, the drawdown had just begun and the US military was making tall claims of progress.

The US spelt out three conditions for peace. These were dropping of arms and sitting on negotiating table, detaching from al-Qaeda, and acceptance of constitution framed by Afghan Parliament. The US also expressed its desire that after withdrawing bulk of forces by end 2014, it may continue occupying five military bases for next ten years till complete stability was achieved.

The Taliban rejected all the demands and stuck to their stated position of withdrawal of all occupying forces without condition and leaving the Afghans to sort out matters among themselves. This stance was unacceptable to USA and hence application of force continued to force the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. Use of kill teams and night raids and induction of tanks in southern Afghanistan were undertaken to weaken Taliban and wrest the initiative from them. US air attacks were also stepped up in 2011 as was seen in rise of civilian casualties in Helmand, Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan. As per reports of James Cogan, Human Rights Unit of UN assistance to Afghanistan (UNAMA), upsurge in reckless US-NATO aerial attacks soared civilian casualties in Afghanistan by 24% since 2010.

Pakistan which is an important stakeholder has so far not spelled out its role in the endgame although it is often heard that it desires to have a friendly regime in Kabul since it cannot afford to have two hostile fronts in east and west. It is also believed that Pakistan is not in agreement with the policy of pre-conditions and wants that composition of future broad based Afghan government should be proportionate to ethnic demography.

Had the US or Afghan regime been on Pakistans side, it would have been much easier for Islamabad to emphasize its position openly and assertively. Since Indo-US-Afghan nexus has common goals and is jointly playing the endgame so as to terminate it to its advantage and Pakistan doesnt fit into the scheme of things, it makes things that much difficult for Pakistan. Disagreeing with the perception of Pakistan, the US wants the Taliban to be given role of a junior partner in a coalition government so that it can leave behind a regime friendly to USA and India and not so friendly to Pakistan.

The US admitted that Mullah Omar led Shura and Haqqani network (HN) were two most important players who could not be ignored, and without their cooperation no political settlement was possible. However, while it strove to hold parleys with them, at the same time it desperately searched them to eliminate them since without their cooperation or riddance; no headway could be made in Afghan imbroglio. It was this inherent desire which impelled US leaders to provoke Pakistan to fight them and earn their enmity rather than befriend them. Finding that HN was unprepared to tow its agenda, it was declared a terrorist outfit.

Mullah Omar and HN are acceptable to USA only if they cede to its three conditions and not otherwise. While Karzai regime, Afghan Peace Council now under Salahuddin Rabbani, moderate Taliban, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Britain, Germany and India are authorized to contact the Taliban, Pakistan is the only country which is debarred. This is despite the fact that out of all the countries claiming to have some access to Taliban, Pakistan is in a far better position to negotiate with them. The reason why Pakistan is being kept out is that the US doesnt want Pakistan to develop camaraderie with Taliban or to play a role in political settlement. The US wants Pak Army to hunt, weaken and isolate HN and elements of Mullah Omar, leaving them with no option but to come to terms with the US. One wonders what would be fate of US-NATO forces stuck in the quagmire of Afghanistan if the lone door that has been kept open by Pakistan is also closed and security situation spins out of control.

Irrespective of concerted efforts of US trainers to make the ANA battle worthy, performance of ANA is still not up to the mark. There has not been any drop in desertion and discipline cases including cases of firing upon foreign forces mainly because of their meager pay scale, economic hardships and insulting attitude of US-NATO officers and men. Indiscriminate firing by NATO resulting in heavy deaths of civilians is another cause of their heart burning. Possibility of revolt within ANA cannot be ruled out particularly when larger numbers of Pashtun soldiers are now being recruited to correct the ethnic balance. Surge in green-on-blue attacks is an indication in that direction.

While the Americans do not foresee any possibility of recovering southern and eastern Afghanistan, they still feel that central, northern and possibly western Afghanistan can be retained since the influence of Taliban in these regions is so far not as strong as in Pashtun dominated regions of Afghanistan. In case the Taliban do not come to terms as per US wishes, as a last resort the US intends giving up the two regions dominated by Taliban and consolidate their power base in the north. The other way is to shift responsibility of US failure to Pakistan and to realize its long desired plan to defang Pakistans nuclear capability. The two contingencies will be played by retaining 10,000 US Special forces disguised as trainers and technical advisers in five military bases in Afghanistan till 2024.

As long as foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan, both Afghanistan and Pakistan will keep bleeding. Tragedy is that even after departure of bulk of occupying forces by December 2014, probability of recurrence of civil war in Afghanistan with its spillover effect on Pakistan is quite high. All those who had taken part in destroying Afghanistan would go back to their respective countries but Pakistan alone will have to face the residual impact of 13 year war for times to come.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.

Hype over attack on Malala

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Attack on 14 years old Malala Yousafzai in Swat was an abhorrent act which has rightly been condemned by great majority. Like others, I also condemn the deplorable attack in strongest words. It generated not only an extraordinary sympathy blitz both in Pakistan and rest of the world but also evoked vociferous denunciation against the perpetrators. She captured attention of the world since she had earned the distinction of Pakistans youngest Peace Award winner and had been vocally advocating the cause of girls education despite threats hurled by TTP. The onslaught of censure which is now waning may have continued to surge particularly after the TTP audaciously claimed the responsibility, had the media and certain segments within Pakistan not gone overboard in overplaying the incident and foreign powers not jumped in to add fuel to the sympathy wave. Undue interest exhibited by the US, UK and the UN Secretary General aroused suspicions among certain quarters and led to a whispering campaign aimed at deflating Malala hype. The religious forces got activated when the US started pressing Pakistan for an operation in North Waziristan (NW) to avenge the attack on Malala and the ruling regime encouraged by the public outpouring showed signs of caving in. The US has been putting extreme pressure since early 2010 to mount a major operation in NW and eliminate safe havens of the terrorists allegedly involved in cross border terrorism but its pressure was deflected by GHQ.

Extraordinary coverage given to Malala and projecting the incident as the most vicious and callous were other reasons which agitated the Islamists and they decided to block governments efforts to build consensus for a decisive operation irrespective of the consequences. They argued as to why so much of hullabaloo over Malala who fortunately has survived and is in safe hands with a bright future waiting at her doorsteps. They say why no tear was shed on the tragedy of Lal Masjid in July 2007 where many innocent women and children died as a result of a military operation? They question why such hype has not been unleashed for the drone victims? They ask if anyone has seen the remains of the victims of hellfire missiles. While a single bullet pierced through the skull of Malalas skull, which miraculously didn’t damage the brain and was safely removed, and she is now fast recuperating in Birmingham Hospital, the ones hit by missiles are blown to pieces. Small body parts in charred condition lay scattered all over the place, which are collected in a bag for burial. There have been number of instances when funerals were also targeted by drones. It is now an established fact that 95% of the victims of drones are innocent and most are women and children.

The dreaded flying machines which the tribesmen cannot hit and Pak forces do not shoot down because of secret complicity of the government with the US, keep hovering over NW freely sometimes for hours. The sickening noise of the drones has affected the women and children of the region with acute stress disorder. Each time the drone appears they think it will be their turn to die a horrible death. The drone ordeal which started in 2004 got accelerated in 2009 and now it has become an almost daily routine. Except for lip service, no worthwhile protest has been made by the so-called enlightened secular class. Only Imran Khan picked up courage to organize a peace march to South Waziristan. Rather than joining him or as a minimum encouraging him, he was callously criticized by other political leaders since they felt left out and outclassed. It is to the great credit of Imran that he managed to assemble such a large convoy and took along 80 foreign guests including American guests irrespective of threats and impediments and brought the convoy back safe and sound. It was indeed a big event which had jolted the US administration and for the first time was put on the defensive. Before further momentum could be built, Malala episode took place which eclipsed Imrans venture. Not only that, airing of a blasphemous movie on U tube which had triggered massive protests all over the world was also forgotten.

As far as brutality of Taliban is concerned, particularly by the band led by Fazlullah, they have indulged in far greater gruesome cruelties when they were sitting on a high horse in Swat and Malakand. Have we forgotten their insane acts wherein soldiers were kidnapped and slaughtered like animals? Videos were released showing the whole ghastly act and beasts like men with knives in their hands dancing around the handcuffed person lying on the ground and joyously cutting his throat. Khooni chowks in Mingora and Saidu Sharif where the decapitated bodies were strung on poles upside down still haunt the people of Swat. On pronouncement of judgment by the Qazi, the accused were stoned to death or flogged in public square. These gory practices were in vogue till as late as April 2009.

It was in the backdrop of their heinous deeds and non-acceptance of Pakistans constitution and breakage of peace deal by Fazlullah in February 2009 that a consensus was developed and Operation Rah-e-Rast launched in Swat and surrounding areas in end of April 2009. Despite formidable opposition, the operation was a grand success. Not only the network was dismantled and the militants flushed out, further progress was made by the Army in the form of resettlement of over two million displaced persons and reconstruction and development works and bringing complete normalcy in Swat. What went wrong was that like the civil administration, the judicial arm didn’t keep pace with the Army. Thousands of terrorists captured and handed over to the police for trial and conviction were released by the law courts. Not one militant was convicted and punished thereby not only encouraging the older militants but also the fresh recruits to continue with militancy. The courts failed to deliver because of threats received by the judges. This quandary is present in Karachi and Balochistan as well, but the government has not addressed this problem by enacting special clauses in penal code and granting extra powers to the troops employed in fighting war on terror and establishing special anti-terror courts. Rather, the ones like Asma Jahangir and Najam Sethi, the spokespersons of USA and India, have been accusing the troops employed in Swat for carrying out extra judicial killings. She and her types support the Baloch separatists in Balochistan and accuse the Army, FC, ISI and MI of extra judicially killing Baloch nationalists.

Despite external and internal pressures, the Army managed to not only clear and hold on to the captured areas of Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, and tribal agencies of Mehmand, Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai, South and North Waziristan, but also has kept the foreign paid and equipped militants at bay. However, peace which had been restored in the troubled northwestern regions at a heavy cost was disturbed by Fazlullah group. After their ouster, they were accommodated in Kunar and Nuristan by the Afghan government and with the blessing of USA and India. The two districts have become safe havens for this band where the militants are funded, trained and equipped by ANA and RAW under the supervision of CIA and Central Directorate of Afghan Security. From 2011 onward, trained groups after getting fully regrouped were launched to carryout cross border attacks on border villages and security forces border posts in Mehmand, Bajaur, upper and lower Dir and Chitral. Dozens of attacks have taken place and are still continuing despite loud protests made by our government. Repeated attacks forced GHQ to reinforce the levies and police with regular troops. Attack on Salala on 26 November 2011 was also a consequence of Fazlullah militants trying to barge into Mehmand. In one of the attacks in Dir, 19 soldiers were captured and later on beheaded by the militants. The purpose behind patronizing Fazlullah is to put added pressure on Pakistan and make it agree to launch an operation in NW in return for reining in Fazlullah.

In the backdrop of what has been narrated, it is strange that the US is asking Pakistan to launch an operation in NW when Haqqani network or even Hakimullah led TTP has no connection with Malala attack. It was Fazlullah who was behind the dastardly attack. The foremost requirement is to wind up Fazlullah groups sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan, arrest Fazlullah and hand him over to Pakistan. Visiting Marc Grossman has been asked to cooperate. If the US-NATO troops as well as ANA have no writ in the two provinces, why cant CIA use its choice weapon (drones) which it is using so mercilessly in NW? These dichotomies have given rise to suspicions that the US and its allies have hatched yet another conspiracy to provoke Pakistan government and the Army to launch an operation in NW. PML-N says that the government is trying to make the intended operation as a pretext to postpone elections. Since the public opinion is divided and political parties are also thinking differently, and Malala fever is over, there seems no plausible reason to open another front in NW. Even if an operation becomes essential, it should not be governed by the US or by individual acts but by national interests.

Taliban & North Waziristan Operation

Written by Sajjad Shaukat: Since October 9, when a teenager Malala Yousafzai, children rights activist, a child educator and National Peace Award winner has been critically injured by the Talibans dreadful attack in Swat, Pakistan witnessed unimaginable reaction by all the political, religious parties and civil societies in wake of protest rallies across the country. In this regard, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for this brutal act.

On October 11, President Asif Ali Zardari chaired a meeting with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who had already condemned attack on Malala, agreed to formulate a new strategy to prevent such incidents. Gen. Kayani informed the meeting of actions being taken against terrorists and preparedness of the Army for further action. Afterwards, rumours started that they have decided action against the Taliban and military operation in North Waziristan.

Although all the leaders of political and religious parties strongly condemned this cowardly assault on Malala, yet polarisation exists among them in relation to strict action against the Taliban and military operation in North Waziristan. In this context, the PPP targeted Imran Khan of PTI, who supports Taliban, and suggest the rulers to engage in talks with TTP.

PML-N’s spokesman Senator Mushahidullah Khan stated that Malala incident should not be linked with any proposed offensive in North Waziristan.

Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Syed Munawar Hassan and chief of JJUI-F Fazlur Rehman remarked that the attack on Malala Yosafzai has no connection with TTP but it was conducted to create justification for military operation in Waziristan, while many innocent girls and children are being killed in US drone attacks.

It is interesting to note that division exists even among those politicians who favour Taliban, and also oppose military action in North Waziristan. In this context, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while strongly criticising Imran Khan said on October 14 that during his march to South Waziristan, he did not say a word against America.

However, these leaders also pointed out that the government seeks to launch operation in North Waziristan to fulfill a long standing US demand.

Notably, in his telephonic address, MQM chief Altaf Hussain stated that the citizens should decide whether they supported the Taliban or wanted to see Pakistan as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam. He asked the heads of the armed forces and the countrys intelligence agency, ISI, to crush the Taliban.

Leader of ANP, Bushra Gohar who condemned the assassination attempt on Malala, suggested on October 15 stern actions against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and supported military operation in North Waziristan where Taliban have their hideouts.
However, we need to grasp reality in wake of controversial debate regarding clean up operation against all the Taliban.

In the last six years, the Taliban who have killed thousands of people across Pakistan, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA through suicide attacks, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence etc, destroyed hundreds of schools of girls and boys. They have discouraged womens education, keeping them ignorant and exploitable. But they justify them to wage their holly war by killing the moderate dissidents.

When Taliban had their hold in Dir, Swat, Buner and other adjoining areas, they imposed their self-styled religious agenda far removed from Islamic teachings. It was due to Talibans inhuman activities that when in 2009, Pak Army ejected them from these areas through military operations, general masses did not protest against the armed forces.

Meanwhile, more than 50 Islamic scholars of the Sunni Ittehad Council issued a joint fatwa, terming attack on Malala as un-Islamic. They pointed out that the assailants self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual Islamic teachings. They clarified that Islam made it obligatory on every man and woman to seek educationstrictly forbids taking life of innocent persons, which is not jihad. Besides, Shia religious scholars also condemned Malala incident.

In fact, Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, moderation and human rights.

It is also mentionable that foreign agents backed by American CIA, Indian RAW, and Israel Mossad are also penetrated in Taliban outfits. By availing the anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan activities of the Taliban, these agencies are defaming Islam and are propagating abroad that Muslims are terrorists, besides undermining the security of Pakistan. In this context, just after Malala event, a new wave of suicide attacks and bomb blasts have started in the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

Nevertheless, Talibans dreadful attempt on Malala has distorted Pakistans image in the world as various countries like US, France, Australia, Germany and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have condemned this heinous attack by protesting against the Taliban.

Nonetheless, these extremist elements do not want to see Pakistan a moderate, peaceful and developed country by isolating it from international community.

Now, a majority of people wants that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to impose their self-created ideology in the country.

Regarding drone attacks, we should know that we are facing unjust world order as IMF and World Bank are under the influence of US-led major countries. Every time, Pakistan which has been facing multiple crises, gets loan after American green signal Despite it, opposition has started in other western countries and even in the US against these aerial attacks. So US would be compelled to stop these predator strikes.

As regards military operation in North Waziristan, recently, while dispelling speculations of foreign media, Gen. Kayani reiterated, We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing as determined only by our political and military requirements. It will never be a result of any outside pressure. Earlier, he stated, the army has always considered peoples support vital for its operations against terrorists.

Recently, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik ruled out any possibility of military operation in North Waziristan.

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.

{tags Waziristan, Taliban, Military, Terrorism, MQM, Malala, Islam, USA}

Malala shooting no justification of NWA operation: PESA

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-servicemen Association (PESA) on Wednesday strongly opposed suggestions from different quarters to launch military operation in North Waziristan in the aftermath of assassination bid on Malala Yousafzai.

The people of North Waziristan are patriotic Pakistanis and have nothing to do with Malala shooting, it said.

These observations were made in a meeting chaired by President PESA Lt. Gen (Retd) Ali Kuli Khan. Vice Admiral Ahmad Tasnim. Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, former ambassador Salim Nawaz Gandapur, Brig Riaz Ahmed, Brig Masud ul Hassan, Major Farouk Hameed and others were also present on the occasion.

The PESA members said that attack on Malala has already been condemned by a jirga attended by leading Maliks who have called it as anti-Islamic and against Pakhtun values and traditions.

A military operation against them would be a cruel injustice as they are already suffering irreparable losses from the Drone attacks, they added.

The warning issued by tribal notables that they will move over to Afghanistan if operation is launched cannot be taken lightly as it could have serious implications for Pakistan, the former military strategists warned.

The meeting observed that the actual culprit is group led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, an affiliate of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He is enjoying Afghan government’s hospitality and is carrying out frequent raids in Dir, Bajaur, Swat and other areas of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province, from his bases setup inside Afghanistan.

PESA members said that government should immediately demand and ensure extradition of Fazlullah. US Government is in a position to exert pressure in this regard, they added.

Efforts should also be made for earliest repatriation of over three million Afghan refugees. Their camps could also be used as launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan, they demanded.

Osama bin Laden – a myth or reality

Among the 19 hijackers that struck targets in New York and Washington on 9/11, none was an Afghani or Pakistani. They were Arab Muslims, mostly from Saudi Arabia, based in Europe and trained in USA, in all probability by Jews. Yet all hell broke on Afghanistan and now Pakistan is being punished for its uncommitted crimes and US blunders. It may be recalled that when the US and its allies decided to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 on a flimsy excuse of getting hold of Osama bin Laden and disrupting and dismantling Al-Qaeda to avenge terrorist attacks allegedly masterminded by Osama, in that timeframe Al-Qaeda was an unknown entity. If nabbing or killing blue-eyed boy of CIA Osama and his 2-3000 ill-organised and ill-equipped henchmen from different countries was the real purpose, there was absolutely no reason for carrying out grand mobilisation and invading Afghanistan where he was based. Either dialogue together with coercive diplomacy should have been carried out for another month or so, or some proof of his involvement furnished to Mullah Omar as asked by him to justify handing over his guest, or his rational suggestion of putting Osama on trial in a neutral country heeded to. In case these efforts failed, the US should have then carried out a combined covert cum commando operation backed up with well-coordinated intelligence backup support to round them up. Drones or cruise missiles could have been used to for the purpose. However, the US tried to kill a fly with a huge hammer, which still managed to fly away. The real purpose of invasion was not Osama but to topple Taliban regime that had disagreed with unjust terms and conditions of US oil and gas tycoons wanting to pipe down energy resources from Central Asia to European and US markets via Afghanistan and Pakistan. Eager to give practical shape to its New World Order, the US wanted to convert Afghanistan into a permanent military base wherefrom it could monitor regional countries of its interest.

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