Category Archives: Pakistan

Pakistan – ‘If TV cameras are removed from red zone, there will be no revolution’

 

Photo credits: Viewpoint Online

Photo credits: Viewpoint Online

By Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui

KARACHI: There has been a shift from one dominant institution to multiple institutions in Pakistan which has transformed into an urban country where provision of goods is now a privatised process. These thoughts were articulated on Wednesday by political economist Dr Akbar Zaidi invited by the Karachi University faculty of arts to deliver a lecture on “The Changing Nature of Pakistani State”.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1126627/if-tv-cameras-are-removed-from-red-zone-there-will-be-no-revolution

Pakistan – Sources in Sharif’s government said that with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.

PM Pakistan and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.

PM Nawaz Sharif.

From czar-like prime minister to deputy commissioner-type character

By Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Besieged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by military that there will be no coup, but in return he must “share space with the army”, according to a government source who was privy to recent talks between the two sides.

Last week, as tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the federal capital to demand his resignation, Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahirul Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.

According to a government insider with a first-hand account of the meeting, Sharif’s envoys returned with good news and bad: there will be no coup but if he wants his government to survive, from now on it will have to share space with the army.

The army’s media wing declined to comment.

Thousands of protesters marched to parliament on Tuesday, using a crane and bolt cutters to force their way past barricades of shipping containers, as riot police and paramilitaries watched on after being told not to intervene.

Military spokesman General Asim Bajwa tweeted a reminder to protesters to respect government institutions and called for a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the crisis.

Even if, as seems likely, the Khan and Qadri protests eventually fizzle out due to a lack of overt support from the military, the prime minister will emerge weakened from political crisis.

Sharif may have to be subservient to the generals on issues he wanted to handle himself — from the fight against Taliban to relations with India and Pakistan’s role in neighbouring, post-Nato Afghanistan.

“The biggest loser will be Nawaz, cut down to size both by puny political rivals and the powerful army,” said a government minister who asked not to be named.

“From this moment on, he’ll always be looking over his shoulder.”

A year ago, few would have predicted that Sharif would be in such trouble: back then, he had just swept to power for a third time in a milestone poll that marked the first transition from one elected government to another.

But in the months that followed, Sharif — who had crossed swords with the army in the past — moved to enhance the clout of the civilian government in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its history.

He irked the generals by putting former military head Pervez Musharraf, who had ended Sharif’s last stint as prime minister in a 1999 coup, on trial for treason.

Sharif is also said to have opposed a military offensive to crush Taliban insurgents and sought reconciliation with India.

Sources in Sharif’s government said that with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.

He also feared that if the agitations turned violent, the army would exploit the situation to seize power for itself.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1126545/

‘India calls off sec-level talks with Pakistan’

indNEW DELHI – India on Monday called off foreign secretary-level bilateral talks with Pakistan which was slated to be held on August 25, Times of India newspaper reported on Monday.

The paper reported that the Indian government decided this after a meeting between Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and senior Hurriyat Conference leader Shabbir Ahmad Shah in New Delhi. Earlier on Monday, the high commissioner met Kashmiri leader ahead of the proposed secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India.

Read more » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/18-Aug-2014/india-calls-off-secretary-level-talks-with-pakistan

Balochistan: August 11 Independence Day, Struggle against Pakistan Continues

BalochistanBefore it was annexed by Pakistan through military force, Balochistan had claimed its independence from the British on 11th August, 1947. The people of Balochistan have been fighting for their freedoms and against Pakistani oppression for nearly 65 years. This has often resulted in severe human rights violations on behalf of Pakistan, including extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, targeted killings and assassination against Baloch leadership and civilians.

Read more » UNPO

http://unpo.org/article/17427

Was Treated Well, Says BSF Soldier Sent Home From Pakistan

Wagah:  After spending 48 hours in Pakistan’s custody, a Border Security Force jawan returned home this evening. “I was treated well,” said 30-year-old Satyasheel Yadav, who was swept onto the Pakistan side of the border in Jammu after he fell into the River Chenab on Wednesday. (After Falling Into River, BSF Jawan is in Pakistan’s Custody)

“They made me comfortable. I was given food. I have no complaints. I am very happy I am going home,” he said in a brief statement, hours before he was released by Pakistani troops.

Mr Yadav walked back across the border at RS Pura in the Jammu region, dressed in his combat fatigues and flanked by his seniors.

“I am grateful to them (Pakistanis) for treating him well,” said DK Pathak, Director General of the BSF after the trooper returned. “I can’t answer why they took so long to hand him over. They did ask some questions, it isn’t uncommon,” he added

Read more » NDTV

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/was-treated-well-says-bsf-soldier-sent-home-from-pakistan-572881?curl=1407502809

111 Brigade: only the formality remains

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

Calling on the army to protect Islamabad, from dangers yet to be adequately defined, is no one-off affair. It is the latest addition to a pattern we have seen growing rather dramatically over the last three months: the army’s influence on the rise, its profile getting bigger, even as civilian authority recedes and comes close to a point of total collapse. This is a takeover in all but name.

As far as anyone can tell, no one has planned this outcome. It is the playing out of no strategic configuration. No one has ever accused General Headquarters (GHQ) of such subtlety before, and this is a subtle drama we are witnessing: almost a creeping coup, a coup by stealth, Pakistan’s first ‘soft’ coup. No “meray aziz humwutnon” – my dear countrymen, the familiar invocation heralding Pakistani coups – no seven-point national agenda a la Musharraf.

An assertion of army authority nonetheless but, and this is the crucial difference, propelled less by Bonapartist ambition than civilian dysfunctionality, a political government succumbing not to military plotting but the burden of its incompetence.

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Islamabad diary

Ayaz AmirThe case for a Kemalist intervention

By Ayaz Amir

Pakistani democracy has done things to itself which it now finds impossible to get rid of. We can take it as an axiom of ‘modern’ civilisation that the state has no business to legislate about religion. It is not for the state to say who is an infidel, who a pagan or who a righteous Muslim. And please let us not take Saudi Arabia as a model. The Saudi kingdom is unique unto itself. We can take its money and say thanks but it is not a model that any other country, while remaining sane, should care to emulate.

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New Indian army chief issues warning to Pakistan on first day

By Dawn.com

The new Indian army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on the first day of holding office issued a stern warning to Pakistan referring to alleged beheading incidents of soldiers, stating that the said actions would get an “intense and immediate” response, a report published on the Times of India website said.

The alleged beheading of an Indian soldier, Lance Naik Hemraj, by Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector on January 8, 2013 came under highlight.

The newly appointed army chief upon receiving the guard of honour addressed reporters on the occasion and said that there would be timely reciprocation of such incidents.

General Dalbir was asked how the Indian side had given a ‘befitting reply’ to Pakistan over Hemraj’s alleged beheading as stated by former army chief General Bikram Singh.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1122621

Sher Muhammad Marri

By Babar Mirza

Mujahid Barelvi remembers a forgotten hero of the Baloch struggle. Translated from the Urdu by Babar Mirza.

It is a great tragedy for this country in general and Balochistan in particular that Sher Muhammad Marri – who fought an armed struggle in the mountains during the 1950s and ‘60s and was imprisoned in different jails during the ‘70s – is hardly ever remembered in Baloch politics. Even most of the Baloch wouldn’t know where he is buried, for Sher Muhammad Marri was not a sardar or nawab whose politics and legacy had to be kept alive by his sons.

The day my lamenting eyes run out of tears

The eyes of the night of sorrow shall lose all light

My first meeting with Sher Muhammad Marri was entirely by accident. In Karachi, when Mir Bazan (the eldest son of Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo) heard that I was going to Lahore to participate in an inter-collegiate debate, he asked me to carry a message for BSO’s central leader Raziq Bugti who was then studying at the Animal Husbandry College. This was my first meeting with Raziq but he greeted me with such warmth as if we had known each other for years. He asked me to sit behind him on his bike and said, “You have reached here at a good time. I am going to Kot Lakhpat Jail to meet Sher Muhammad Mari,” adding, with a smile, “the same Sher Muhammad Marri nicknamed General Sherof by your Leader of the People to paint him as a Russian agent and keep him in jail for life.”

No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof

Sitting in the reception area at Kot Lakhpat Jail, I was about to doze off when suddenly I heard a noise. Sher Muhammad Marri made an appearance that was much more impressive and imposing than I had heard. A stocky build with medium height, his long, golden-white-and-black hair was well-kept, his red-and-white face carrying a set of fiery eyes. No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof. I for one did not have the courage to look him in the eye. Sher Muhammad Marri had a hurried chat with Raziq Bugti and left. Shortly after that, Sher Muhammad Marri was transferred to Hyderabad Jail. I used to exchange greetings with him in the visitors’ room on my trips to the jail to cover the Hyderabad Conspiracy case. But his authoritative outlook took away my courage to strike a conversation with him.

In 1978, after the Hyderabad Conspiracy case had been closed and the Baloch and Pakhtun leaders released, I went to Quetta as a journalist and had my first detailed interview with Sher Muhammad Marri. This interview proved how wrong my first impression of him was. In the Marri house, after Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri retired for the night, I felt that Sher Muhammad Marri had relaxed as well. He remembered our first meeting in the Kot Lakhpat Jail. He had also read my interview with Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo published that very week in the weekly Me’yaar. In contrast to his imposing personality, he had a very slow and soft voice. I had learnt from my Baloch friends that Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and Sher Muhammad Marri were not only angry with Wali Khan but also with the moderate Baloch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo. This estrangement became so bad in Hyderabad Jail that, upon their release, they left for Quetta in separate processions of their supporters. Balochistan would have looked very different today if the four pillars of Baloch nationalism during the ‘70s – Marri, Bugti, Mengal and Bazinjo – had put their differences aside. Faiz sahib penned a beautiful couplet about the myriad splits and divisions in secular and progressive movements during the ‘70s:

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Extremists Make Inroads in Pakistan’s Diverse South

MIRPURKHAS, Pakistan — In a country roiled by violent strife, the southern province of Sindh, celebrated as the “land of Sufis,” has long prized its reputation as a Pakistani bastion of tolerance and diversity.

Glittering Sufi shrines dot the banks of the river Indus as it wends through the province. The faithful sing and dance at exuberant religious festivals. Hindu traders, members of a sizable minority, thrive in the major towns.

But as Islamist groups have expanded across Pakistan in tandem with the growing strength of the Taliban insurgency, so, too, are they making deep inroads into Sindh. Although banned by the state, such groups are systematically exploiting weaknesses in Pakistan’s education system and legal code as part of a campaign to persecute minorities and spread their radical brand of Sunni Islam.

A central factor in the expansion of such groups is a network of religious seminaries, often with funding from opaque sources, that provides them with a toehold in poor communities. “If there were three seminaries in a city before, now there are tens of seminaries in just one neighborhood,” said Asad Chandio, news editor of the Sindhi-language newspaper Awami Awaz.

In May, a threatening crowd in Mirpurkhas, a small city in central Sindh, surrounded four members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who had set up a stall near the railway station. The mob accused the four of blasphemy because they were selling books that contained images of God and Moses. The crowd’s leader was a member of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a sectarian group that is ostensibly banned by the government, but that is now openly operating, and growing, across Sindh.

Fearing crowd violence, police officers led the four to a nearby police station where they were charged with blasphemy — potentially a capital offense. They were taken away in an armored vehicle, and are now in hiding as they await trial.

Locals said they were struggling to understand how, or why, the incident had taken place. “There are so many communities here, and we have all lived peacefully,” said Francis Khokhar, the lawyer for the four accused.

The Sunni supremacist ideology propagated by Pakistani sectarian groups is similar to the one that is proving so potent in the Middle East, where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is flourishing. In Pakistan, such groups do not pose a direct threat to the state yet. But their growth in Sindh is a sobering reminder that a future threat to Pakistani stability could stem from the provincial towns as much as the distant tribal belt, where the Pakistani military is trying to disrupt havens for the Taliban and other militants.

The provincial government in Sindh, concerned about what one government official called the “mushroom growth” of extremist seminaries, is trying to decide what to do.

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Pakistani universities climbing up international rankings: HEC chief

ISLAMABAD: While briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, this Monday, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairperson Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that although Pakistan may not have the best educational institutes in the world, the local educational institutions are continuously improving in rankings.

The commission, he said, has been constantly trying to improve the quality of education in the country.

Dr Ahmed said that there were two types of rankings of educational institutions. In the global rankings, National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has been ranked among the top 500 universities of the world.

In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) university rankings for Asia, Pakistan is improving steadily.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1119344

Pakistan’s Latest Lahore Interchange Flyover

Courtesy: DailyMotion

All aboard: Karachi’s metro bus project to run along same way as Lahore

Karachi: … On Thursday, the prime minister announced that they would launch the Metro Bus Project in the city and will have Rs15 billion set aside for it. “We have decided to take over the green line project in the city,” he said. “The metro bus service will start on the same pattern as Lahore.”

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/733869/all-aboard-karachis-metro-bus-project-to-run-along-same-way-as-lahore/

Sindhi Hindu exodus causing humanitarian red alert for India

By ZulfiqarShah

New Delhi: India has become the last destination of Sindhi Hindu from Pakistan, where the state-sponsored seminaries have been victimizing them since last two decades. Over 2000 Hindus have recently refuge in the premises of Delhi in last couple of years; however rough estimates suggest their number during last ten years have crossed one hundred thousand.

Hailing from the secular province of Sindh in Pakistan, their ordeal is the evidence of systematic exodus and their ethnic cleaning by the military establishment supported seminaries and Mullahs. Land grab, forced conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have been heart wrecking ordeal.

Sindh, the second largest province in Pakistan, is the richest in the natural resources like gold, oil, coal and uranium. Analysts believe that the exodus of Sindhi Hindus is being systematically orchestrated by the Pakistan’s establishment, which is monopolized by ethnic Punjabis, and want to take hold of resource rich lands of Sindh as well as intent to alter its demography. The recent reports after Pakistan Army’s operation in Taliban and their associates in the tribal Pashtun area has also been indicating the influx of tribal refugee to Sindh.

“We were either targeted by the criminal gangs in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur divisions of the province or harassed by the seminaries that house ethnic Punjabi or Pshrun Mullahs from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa provinces,” told a few refugee during their protest demonstration in Delhi after fledging from Pakistan.

They have camped in the various places of Delhi and Rajasthan States of India, where they are mostly hosted either by the refugee supporting organizations or by the Hindu political outfits. One such camp in the northern Delhi is looked after by OM-SPBPJM Trust, led by A. K. Solanki. The refugees of Dravidian origin, Baghris called in Sindhi, practicing thousands years old traditions of Hinduism and have sustained as gypsies community in Sindh after the epic war between Arian and Dravidians in 1500 BC India.

On December 10 last years, over one hundred Sindhi refugees protested outside United Nations headquarters in Delhi and demanded international community’s intervention against Pakistani authorities for the crimes against humanity they have committed in Sindh province.

Sindh is the centre-stage of the provinces – federation conflict in Pakistan. On March 23 this year, Sindh rebelled as at least five million Sindhis took to the streets of Karachi and demanded the independence. Sindh is a home of 50 million Sindhi people and is believed to be the historical land, where massive and outrageous freedom movement has emerged during last decade. Hundreds of the Sindhi activists have been killed and more have been involuntarily disappeared by the intelligence agencies like ISI and the Military Intelligence.

Courtesy: CNN

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1151626

The sheepification of Bakistan

By MINA MALIK-HUSSAIN

When we were small, there was a month and it used to be called Ramzan. It was Ramzan on television, it was Ramzan in the newspaper with the sehr-o-iftar timings and while nobody had a cell phone or Facebook to wish anyone, it would have been Ramzan Mubarik nonetheless. Sometimes if one was being quite linguistically adventurous it would be Ramazan, but nobody seemed to mind.
And then, insidiously, The Arabs crept up on us. It wasn’t like the return of Muhammad Bin Qasim, but somehow Ramzan became Ramadan. Nobody knew exactly how it happened, but almost overnight our crisp z’uad sound became a lisping Arab burr, and we—a nation of language speakers with no apparent consonant pronunciation difficulties—were flung into the downward spiral of an affectation obsession. Now it was cool to sound Arab, and soon enough it began to be increasingly desirable to look it. Cue Al Huda, cue our streets being lined with gangly palm trees that do nothing, either in terms of beauty or shade, cue the availability of the most bling Islamic cover-up gear you’ll see this side of Dubai.
Still, as a nation we were still fairly open-minded about this, so we fasted year after year and didn’t really pay attention to the semantics of it. We were busy trying to live our lives and be regular Pakistanis, but The Arabs kept making inroads onto our cultural minds. One year ‘khuda-hafiz’, that old and comfortable way of saying goodbye and Godspeed, became ‘Allah hafiz’ with the dubious reason of having to specify which deity to whose protection one was recommending you. Because here in multi-religious, multi-cultural and secular Pakistan there was actual leeway where one would wonder who exactly Khuda is, and perhaps not want to be entrusted to a pagan god. Some people resisted, and continue to resist Allah hafiz and keep saying khuda-hafiz with the logic and hope that whatever His name, He will still protect and love them. Also if it was good enough for one’s grandfather and great-grandfather, it was just fine for them too.

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Story of a Pakistani communist

A significant volume about the history of the Left movement in Pakistan

In 1956 A.B.A Haleem, then vice chancellor of Karachi University, declared Jamal Naqvi as an “undesirable element” depriving him of the chance to get a job in Karachi. At this stage, Mirza Abid Abbas, husband of Mrs Naqvi’s sister who had a private college in Hyderabad, Sindh, rescued him. Mirza Abid’s sons — Athar Abbas (Major General and former director ISPR), Mazhar Abbas, Zafar Abbas, Azhar Abbas (all journalists) and Anwar Abbas — were tutored and trained by Jamaluddin Naqvi.

Jamaluddin Naqvi (known as Jamal Naqvi) joined the Karachi-Sindh group of Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) in the mid 1950s, assumed all important posts in the party, and later ran his own faction of the party like a sole rider till late 1980s when he left the CPP on ideological grounds.

His autobiographical account has been published recently under the title Leaving the Left Behind, which is self-explanatory. If someone wants to know more, he can read the subtitle “An autobiographical tale of political disillusionment that took the life’s momentum away from the myopic politics of the Right and the Left to the enlightened concept of Right and Wrong”.

In a scenario where there is no archival record of the left, either in the form of official statements/documents or memoirs (Dada Amir Haider Khan’s biography being an exception), how can one evaluate our common progressive past politics? This is where the value of this book lies. Jamal has not made any disclosures or revelations in the book. Those who have met him during the last decade or so know this wellLike a bold and courageous political worker, he didn’t hide his change of heart.

When prominent Indian Bengali communist Mohit Sen penned his autobiographical account A Traveller and the Road: A Journey of an Indian Communist [2003], he too faced outright condemnation from the CPI rank and file; yet his book is considered a pioneering effort in unfolding the myth of the Indian left.

Unfortunately, there is a narrow space for rethinking or revisiting the past politics and ideologies among the South Asian left which is said to be dogmatic. We love to live in a black and white world; there is no room for gray areas especially for those who want to move away from their previous ideological positions. When someone changes his position, we treat him as a zandiq (heretic). So Jamal is another zandiq among reds.

Ironically, Jamal gave his whole life and career to progressive thoughts and spent many years in prison but when he amended his thoughts, he was discarded. These memoirs are the only way to revisit the past and to analyse the history of the left movement in Pakistan.

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What ISIS and the ‘caliphate’ mean for Pakistan

Taliban TerroristsBy Muhammad Amir Rana

Among many factors, the Pakistani state’s protracted apathy and inaction on the issue of security has provided non-state actors the spaces to grow and expand their influence. They used these spaces not only to propagate their ideologies and narratives but also to establish a ‘state within the state’ in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Even as counteraction is now underway, the sudden rise of ISIS has threatened to make matters worse for us.

The militants are jubilant over the success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has established a ‘caliphate’, or ‘Islamic state’ in parts of Syria and Iraq. This is not the first time militants have captured some territory and established their so-called Islamic writ.

Afghanistan, Pakistani tribal areas, Northern Mali and Somalia have experienced similar ventures by militants in the past, though on varying levels.

Rise of ISIS ≠ Fall of al Qaeda

Many experts see the decline of al Qaeda in the rise of ISIS, while analysing the recent developments happening in Iraq and Syria. That is a mistake.

A realistic review of militants’ strategies suggests that they first challenge the very foundation of the state by providing alternative socio-cultural and political narratives and then march onto its physical territory.

They may have differences over strategies, as ISIS and al Qaeda had, but ultimately they overcome their differences. Al Qaeda might feel stunned over the ‘victories’ of ISIS but now, instead of arguing with ISIS over strategies, will prefer to develop a consensus over a model of caliphate.

In some cases, militants develop alliances with nationalist groups.

That’s what happened in Northern Mali, where the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) had developed coordination with Islamist groups. But when they captured a territory, Islamist groups started imposing Shariah. The alliance was weakened due to ensuing infightings and eventually broke up after a military offensive was launched by the French forces.

A dangerous inspiration

Apart from group dynamics, inspiration plays an important role in militants’ efforts to replicate one success in other parts of the world.

The rise and success of ISIS could play a very dangerous, inspirational role in Pakistan, where more than 200 religious organisations are operating on the national and regional level.

These organisations pursue multiple agendas such as transformation of society according to their ideologies, the enforcement of Shariah law, establishment of Khilafah (caliphate) system, fulfilment of their sectarian objectives and achievement of Pakistan’s strategic and ideological objectives through militancy.

Such organisations could be influenced by the success of ISIS in various ways. A few would limit themselves to providing just moral support, but others might actively provide donations and financial assistance on ISIS’ call.

Common purpose: Establish the state of Khurasan

Still others — mainly religious extremist and militant organisations — could find inspiration in ISIS’ strategies and tactics.

This is possible since even groups operating in two different regions can find common ground in the Takfiri ideologies they believe in, and in the organisational links they share with each other.

The map released by ISIS shows countries for expansion marked in black across North Africa, into mainland Spain, across the Middle East and into Muslim countries of Central and South Asian region. It depicts exactly the states, which are or once remained under Muslim control.

According to this notion, the territory which has come under Muslim rule even once becomes a permanent part of Islamic caliphate. These territories, if later invaded by non-Muslims, will be considered as unjustly occupied territories and it will be obligatory for a Muslim to struggle to regain them.

Interestingly, the ISIS map shows both Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the Islamic caliphate state’s Khurasan province. Al Qaeda and its affiliates believe that the movement for the establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan will emerge from the region comprising of the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and Malakand region of Pakistan.

They consider Khurasan as the base camp of international jihad, from where they will expand the Islamic state boundaries into other non-Muslim lands. Mullah Fazlullah of Swat was inspired by the notion and considered himself the founder of the Khurasan movement.

Many other groups and commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan subscribe to the same idea, but only a few groups have dedicated themselves to the cause of establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan.

The current TTP leadership — mainly Fazlullah and his deputy Qayum Haqqani, and Khalid Khurasani group in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies of Fata — are leading this movement, not only on the militant, but on the ideological front as well.

The concentration of al Qaeda and TTP hardliner groups in Kunar and Nuristan are of the same mind; they intend to use the territory as a base camp for the establishment of the state of Khurasan. Though they are not strong enough to trigger a massive militant campaign like the one going on in Iraq, they will remain a critical security irritant and keep inspiring radical minds in the region.

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ANP leaders said military protected Haqqanis, other militants

KARACHI: In a meeting with an American diplomat in July 2009, ANP leader Senator Afrasiab Khattak claimed that the Haqqani network, a militant group the US holds responsible for multiple attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, was being protected by the Pakistan military.

The report is one of a number of American diplomatic cables obtained by Dawn that reveal a deep mistrust among the leadership of the ANP, the party responsible for governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about the military’s intentions regarding various militant groups in KP and FATA.

“Khattak described the Pakistani military as treating the Haqqanis ‘separately’ … from other militants,” reported Lynne Tracy, the Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Peshawar. “The Haqqani family, [Khattak] observed, has already moved out of North Waziristan.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/630875/anp-leaders-said-military-protected-haqqanis-other-militants

China tables railway project linking to Pakistan

By Dawn.com

A research study regarding an international railway project linking Pakistan with China’s Xinjiang province through Azad Jammu and Kashmir has been commissioned by China, according to a Times of India and China Daily report.

The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan, said state-run China Daily while quoting the director of Xinjiang’s regional development and reform commission, Zhang Chunlin on the subject.

“The 1,800-km China-Pakistan railway is planned to also pass through Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad and Karachi,” Zhang had said at the two-day International Seminar on the Silk Road Economic Belt being held in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital.

Due to geo-strategic implications the project would be hard to proceed with, as it would be a requisite for the rail project to run through the Pamir Plateau and Karakoram Mountains. Although once completed it would emerge as one of the most strategically beneficial transportation infrastructures on the China-Pakistan economic corridor, opined Zhang.

“Although the cost of constructing the railway is expected to be high due to the hostile environment and complicated geographic conditions, the study of the project has already been started,” he added.

President Xi Jinping had also spoken in favour of rejuvenating conventional trade routes connecting China, Central Asia and Europe.

A multi-billion deal has already been signed to initiate work on an Economic Corridor linking Kashgar with the port city of Gwadar through AJK. It also implied revamping the already in place Karakoram road link despite the cynicism expressed by political analysts in China.

The project exhibits tremendous potential as it would enable China to run a port alongside Gulf of Oman which is deemed to be a hub for activities relating to oil tankers.

India however has objected to the project citing concerns that the said route would involve a disputed territory. Pakistan had given the operational key of the port city of Gwadar to Beijing back in 2013, a move deeply detested by India as it alleged it could provide a chance to China to monitor its port activities.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1116104/china-tables-railway-project-linking-to-pakistan

Pakistan: A country at war with itself

By Lal Khan

Excerpt:

North Waziristan is rightly described as the centre of gravity of terrorist activity. Groups like Gul Bahadur, the Haqqani network (“good” Taliban), the so-called TTP, East Turkmenistan Islamic movement led by the Uzbeks, remnants of Al-Qaida and Al-Arab terrorists (“bad” Taliban) are running bloody havoc. The relations of these groups with the army, the US and other regional and imperialist powers have been dodgy and deceitful, with changing loyalties and affiliations. Their main sources of revenues are extortion, drug running, kidnapping and ransom, and other criminal activities. It is fear that guarantees their booty and hence they are all competing with the state and with each other to see who can carry out more heinous, cruel and inhuman acts of terror.

It is precisely because of this that the multinational companies, and imperialist and regional states, make deals and contracts with them to the advantage of their own financial and strategic policies and interests. Hence their connections with certain sections of the state, that has now vowed to obliterate them, are not so concealed anymore. This operation will not be a straightforward military campaign, as it is difficult to differentiate between friend and foe. After all, this has been the dilemma of the “good” and the “bad” Taliban that has been haunting and convulsing the establishment for decades now. It will be a long and a protracted and internecine war that has very remote chances of reaching any clear and decisive solution or conclusion.

And if this operation fails what will happen then? The political elite are so removed from reality that they can’t even dare to think about it. These billionaires and upstarts are not the ones who are suffering. It is the workers and the poor who are the victims of this fundamentalist onslaught and also of the economic terrorism being inflicted upon them by the system and the ruling classes through their state apparatus.

Read more » http://www.marxist.com/pakistan-a-country-at-war-with-itself.htm

Serbia 1914 and Pakistan 2014

By  Mani Shankar Aiyar

On the eve of the centenary of the first World War, Mani Shankar Aiyar draws an elaborate analogy between the events that triggered off the world’s bloodiest war and modern-day South Asia

Today, 28 June, exactly one hundred years ago, the Serbian terrorist, Gavrilo Princip, unwittingly started the First and Second World Wars that left more than a hundred million people dead before the madness gave over three terrible decades later. Along with five other young men, all about the same age as Ajmal Kasab and his companions, Princip and his companions lined up under successive lamp-posts along the quay that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was to drive down along with his wife, Countess Sophia Chotek, to the Sarajevo Town Hall for a formal welcome reception.

The five terrorists were infuriated because the Archduke and his consort had chosen the precise anniversary of the worst day in Serbia’s collective memory, the defeat of the Serbian Tsar, Dusan, by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, more than five centuries earlier, but which rankled as the day when the dream of Greater Serbia was ended for half a millennium. In the eyes of all Serbian nationalists and terrorists, with the Ottoman hold on the Balkans collapsing, the time had now come to avenge that defeat. Just as six centuries of Muslim rule in Delhi, from 1192 AD when Mohammad Ghori established the Sultanate to 1858 when the Last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was deposed had reverberated in the minds of the Kasab gang of terrorists as the order to be re-established, so did the Serbian terrorists propose to reverse the 1878 occupation of Bosnia by Austria and its annexation to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1908 to pave the way to the re-establishment of Tsar Dusan’s Greater Serbian Empire that had perished on the Fields of Kosovo on 28 June 1389.

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U.S. sanctions on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba Network Leaders

Treasury Sanctions Two Senior Lashkar-E-Tayyiba Network Leaders

Action Targets Leadership of Pakistan-based Terrorist Organization

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today targeted the financial and leadership networks of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) by designating Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry (Ahmad) and Muhammad Hussein Gill as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.  Ahmad and Gill are being designated for acting for or on behalf of LT, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan.  Treasury and the Department of State have designated 22 individuals and four entities associated with LT.

The State Department today also maintained LT’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and added the following aliases to its listing of LT: Jama’at-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal.  The State Department originally designated LT as an FTO in December 2001, and the group was added to the United Nations (UN) 1267/1989 Sanctions list in 2005.

“In targeting Lashkar-e-Tayyiba leadership, today’s action demonstrates our unrelenting commitment to combatting terrorism by disrupting terrorist groups’ financial activities,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “We will continue to target LT’s financial foundation to disrupt and impede its violent activities.”

LT was responsible for the deadly November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India that killed nearly two hundred people and injured more than three hundred.  The group’s leader is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.

Read more » U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY

http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2440.aspx

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More details » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/06/140625_jamatuddawah_terrorist_org_sa.shtml

The military will not decisively act against its own strategic assets unless an ideological shift occurs at mass level

OUR VIEWPOINT ON ZARB-E-AZB

Written by  Redaktion

Yet another military operation has been launched in Waziristan Agency. Post-9/11, this will be fifth operation in the Agency.

While Viewpoint is staunchly opposed to the Taliban and considers them the biggest immediate threat to working classes in Pakistan, we refuse to lend support to the ongoing military operation for the following reasons:

1.       Amputating cancerous hand, preserving cancer: A military operation in Waziristan Agency implies that terrorism in Pakistan is geographically located. This is a fake beginning. Hence, it will only prolong the fight against puritan terror. Fact of the matter is, taproot of terrorism is located elsewhere. To be precise, terrorism in Pakistan emanates from Islamabad/Rawalpindi. It is grounded in the official policy-making, anchored in military doctrines, and situated in foreign office. Viewpoint has repeatedly pointed out: unless a paradigm shift displacing the Doctrine of Strategic Depth takes place, the Taliban terror cannot be decisively defeated. Furthermore, without abandoning the Jihadi infrastructure [ consisting of Punjab-based, Kashmir-specific, and anti-Shia outfits as well as mosque-and-madrassa networks], terrorism cannot be successfully fought back. Likewise, only by deradicalising the entire state and society (military, judiciary, constitution, media, education system and so on) we can expect a beginning of terrorism’s end. There is no piecemeal solution. In the absence of such radical paradigmatic shifts, the Waziristan operation will be tantamount to amputating cancerous hand while preserving the cancerous arm. Therefore, it is an absurd position to take if one supports or opposes amputation of a cancerous hand by khaki messiahs without operating upon the source of cancer.

Read more » View Point Online

http://www.viewpointonline.net/2014/06/our-viewpoint-on-zarb-e-azb/3828-our-viewpoint-on-zarb-e-azb#.U6niUJmUsGk.facebook

Blast at Islamabad shrine wounds at least 54

By Dawn.com | Irfan Haider

ISLAMABAD: A powerful explosion at a shrine in the federal capital on Friday night injured at least 54 people, seven of whom are said to be in critical condition, DawnNews reported.

Chief Commissioner Islamabad Jawad Paul told Dawn.com that 54 people were injured in the blast. He said 34 were taken to PIMS Hospital where four are in critical condition, Nine are being treated in Benazir Hospital and 11were shifted to Poly Clinic Hospital. Locals, however, put that number of injured much higher at 70 to 80.

Read more » DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1114065/

PAKISTAN’S DOMESTIC JIHAD

By: Vikram Sood

Pakistan watchers would not find the current spate of terror in that country surprising because there has been a steady escalation in its lethality, its dramatic impact, geographical range and targets for some years. And that this has been mostly within Pakistan except for the attacks against Indian interests in Kabul and Mumbai in recent years. No one perhaps really noticed that Pakistani jihadis nurtured fondly for years, had gone into a catharsis of sorts soon after President Musharraf announced in September 2001 that he was reversing jihad. He was going to support the US in the war on terror in Afghanistan and, by implication, against some Pakistani jihadis. Musharraf had apparently been overawed by Washington’s “either you are with us or against us” message.

Unsurprisingly, for many more familiar with Pakistani behaviour and paranoia, it was known that this was going to be only selective reversal. The cooperation with the US was not meant to apply against the India-specific jihadis nurtured by Pakistan for years. Despite this selective approach to tackling jihadis, there were perhaps half a dozen attempts to assassinate Musaharraf by Islamic radicals between 2001 and 2003 — the most lethal being Christmas Day in 2003 when he had a miraculous escape. The attackers were professionals and they obviously had insider information about Musharraf’s movement that day.

The attack on the Karachi airport with instant media coverage, is perhaps the most high profile attack by Pakistani terrorists in recent years. Over time, Karachi has become a haven for the Taliban, sectarian militants, jihad financiers and Al Qaeda sleeper cells. With a high mix of criminal activity and a large Pukhtun population it is relatively easy for the Taliban to operate here. This would explain the ease with which there were two attacks on the airport on consecutive days.

There have been other, even more sinister and audacious attacks in Pakistan since the Lal Masjid episode in July 2007 in which 156 fundamentalist Islamists were killed in an operation by the elite SSG commandos. Attacks by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorists on the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi in October 2009, the Pak naval base PNS Mehran in Karachi in May 2011 in apparent retaliation against the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier that month, the Kamra airbase in August 2012, and in December 2012 and the Bacha Khan airport in Peshawar were particularly audacious and exhibited a well thought out game-plan. Even the ISI Office in Lahore was attacked by the Taliban in May 2009 and later the ISI office in Sukkur was targeted. SSG commando training headquarters and the Sargodha air base had similarly been targets. These attacks were carried out by highly trained suicide squads armed with sophisticated weapons and aimed at inflicting maximum damage. Besides, high-profile strategic targets derive international publicity and send a message. Meanwhile the world, including Pakistanis, haven’t noticed the killing of 25 Shia pilgrims in Taftan, Balochistan, by Sunni terrorists, the day the airport was attacked.

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Pakistan’s Federal minister for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal’s son Ahmed Iqbal’s remarks against Pak Army

“The responsibility of all terrorist attacks falls squarely on the armed forces & intelligence agencies. People of Pakistan have made enough sacrifices. It is time that that these institutions start doing their job of protecting Pakistan & not themselves. There would no war, no Taliban, no external threat if they would have done their job. It is high time to not only hit back at terrorists but to secure Pakistan’s future by dealing with this menace. Spend on education, health, development, people & …. the army!”  “Warna, yeh Taliban Ko Paalnay Waali, India Ko Ukssanay waali, Jamhoriat Ko Lapaytnay waali Fauj apnay bojh talay Is Mulk Ko Kuchal day gi.” ~ Ahmed Iqbal Chaudhary

Read more » http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=244363

More details »» Roznama Dunya

http://e.dunya.com.pk/colum.php?date=2014-06-16&edition=LHR&id=31946_74196307

Russia to supply Mi-35 helicopter to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Russia has decided to lift the ban on the Mi-35 Hind attack helicopter to Pakistan, said Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov, Express News reported.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the ambassador also said Russia had agreed to sell the helicopters to Pakistan to assist the country with terrorism and the security related issues.
Earlier this month, Russia was still holding talks with Pakistan on the supply of the combat helicopters, and had lifted its embargo on the arms supply to Pakistan.
“Such a decision has been taken. We are holding talks on supplying the helicopters,” head of state-owned Rostec, Sergei Chemezov said, adding that the negotiations were about Russian Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters.

Read more » The Express Trubune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/719921/russia-to-supply-mi-35-helicopter-to-pakistan/

Pakistan’s Latest Crisis

By 

In its increasingly violent effort to destroy the Pakistani state, the Pakistani Taliban have attacked, among other targets, army headquarters in Rawalpindi, a naval base in Karachi, an air base in Kamra and an airport in Peshawar. The brazen assault over the weekend on the international airport in Karachi takes the campaign to a new level, striking at the country’s largest city and one of its most important commercial centers. Though militants and gangs operate freely there, Karachi is home to Pakistan’s central bank, a stock exchange and its hopes for desperately needed economic resurgence.

Will this be the crisis that finally persuades Pakistan’s government and its powerful military to acknowledge the Taliban’s pernicious threat and confront it in a comprehensive way? It should be. The attack is proof that the security is crumbling and the military, the country’s strongest institution, is in danger of losing control.

The siege lasted five hours after 10 gunmen, disguised as security forces and armed with rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests, breached checkpoints near an old terminal used mostly for cargo or private flights for senior government officials and business leaders. Paramilitary security guards pinned them down; when the firefight was over, the militants and 19 others were dead.

It was another humiliating security breach for the army and the spy service, and many Pakistanis are rightly wondering why it was not prevented. Only weeks ago, the Pakistani Taliban appeared to be fractured and in disarray. One reason is the military’s long fixation with India. Wedded to an outmoded vision of India as the mortal enemy, the army plays a double-game, taking American aid while supporting and exploiting Taliban groups as a hedge against India and Afghanistan, and ignoring the peril that the militants have come to pose to Pakistan itself. While that attitude has slowly begun to change, the army still has not assigned enough urgency to the Taliban, the real threat.

The result has been a total absence of any sustained, coherent military response to the militants. Torn between fighting and negotiating, the army and government have undertaken episodic military strikes interspersed with peace talks, which invariably fall apart. The collapse of the most recent peace process undertaken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in February was followed by a campaign of airstrikes against Taliban strongholds in North Waziristan.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the airport massacre, which a Taliban spokesman said was in retaliation for recent attacks by the government. He said that more such assaults could be expected, meanwhile insisting that the group still wants to revive peace talks.

Which on the face of it seems preposterous — given recent events, one has to assume the militants will stop at nothing until the state is utterly destabilized and they have taken control. Pakistani political and military leaders need to be honest about the militant threat that they and their people are facing, and that time to find a solution is fast running out.

Courtesy: The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/opinion/pakistans-latest-crisis.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

Baloch nationalist leader Khair Bakhsh Marri passes away

By Dawn.com

KARACHI: Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a veteran Baloch nationalist leader has passed away in Karachi after a protracting illness for which he was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition last week, DawnNews reported late on Tuesday night.

He was being treated at Liaquat National Hospital’s intensive care unit where he had been unconscious for the last few days.

Marri was a leader of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) – a proscribed Baloch separatist organisation – and was one of the key leaders of the 1970’s insurgency in Balochistan.

He had returned to Pakistan after the fall of the left-wing government in Kabul after spending several years there in exile.

He had six sons including Balach Marri, Jangaiz Marri, Hyrbyiar Marri, Gazain Marri, Hamza Marri and Mehran Marri.

Khair Bakhsh Marri’s eldest son, Nawab Balach Marri was allegedly killed by Nato forces in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in 2007.

Courtesy: DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/news/1111835/baloch-nationalist-leader-khair-bakhsh-marri-passes-away

 

Pakistan and Terrorism; Rocket Science?

By Omar

Terrorists attacked Karachi Airport today. Fortunately the airport security force managed to keep them away from the passenger terminal and the army responded effectively and now claims to have killed all the terrorists with relatively limited damage to the airport.

This is not the first major terrorist attack in Pakistan and unfortunately it will not be the last.  Efforts to blame India for the attack have moved ahead remarkably quickly (both ARY news and Express News are highlighting that the weapons used by the attackers are of Indian manufacture).
Alhamdolillah, the script has not changed.

NOTHING it seems can ever change the script. Pakistan is always the innocent victims of conspiracies launched by RAW, MOSSAD and CIA. We are caught in someone else’s war. Yadda yadda yadda. You know the drill..
Who are we to challenge the geniuses who make policy in Pakistan, but is it possible that there could have been a different script? Let us try the following script (and dear Paknationalists, do take my word for it, its in YOUR interest to think about this version, it sounds harsh, but in the long run, it will help…a lot):

1. Pakistan was the base for an international operation directed against the Soviet/pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. For this operation we happily cooperated with the CIA, Saudi intelligence and others. We invited highly motivated mujahideen from all over the Muslim world to please come and join this effort. We provided them facilities, we provided them training and we provided them weapons. To improve the flow of Islamic fanatics, the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan spared no expense, building international networks of the same and building a network of thousands of Islamic seminaries across the length and breadth of Pakistan. In 1989, the Russians left Afghanistan and in 1992 the pro-Russian regime there collapsed and “our boys” won…and proceeded to rape and pillage across the length and breadth of the country. America having accomplished its mission of bleeding Russia and “avenging Vietnam”, left the place, but Pakistan’s strategic planners were not done.

2. The vast jihadist infrastructure created for the Afghan war was reoriented to Kashmir and towards internal “Islamization” in Pakistan, and continued to expand. More terrorists were trained in the 1990s AFTER the CIA had left than were trained during the Afghan war. An alphabet soup of terrorist organization was created and operated openly throughout the 1990s. Some of them went beyond the call of duty and attacked Shias in “settled areas” (attacking Shias in tribal areas was never a high-priority crime) and also attacked some “brother Arab regimes” (e.g. the Egyptian embassy). Such rogue elements were targeted by security agencies to various extents, but NO attempt was made to slow down (much less reverse) the larger Jihadi effort.

3. By chance or planning or both, a pro-Pakistan regime under the Taliban was established in most of Afghanistan and became a refuge for various groups of Islamic terrorists. Some of them were approved of, some were left alone, some were considered hostile by us. Details remains murky and confused.

4. In 2001 America was attacked in New York and Washington DC. The mainstream opinion is that this attack was launched by Islamist terrorists whose group was headquartered in Afghanistan. The US decided to invade Afghanistan to clear them out. Whatever other motivations the US may have had (let us assume there were some), it does seem that the US became more or less anti-Jihadist (at least in the Afpak region) at that point. Pakistan publicly announced it was switching sides and would henceforth support the US operation in Afghanistan and would no longer allow Jihadists to operate freely from Pakistan.

4. If various people who write about Pakistani security agencies are to be believed, we did not actually switch sides. In fact our president (Musharraf) even made a speech to the nation in which he gave the example of “sulah e Hudaybia” (a pact the prophet of Islam made with his enemies in Mecca, but which was followed a few years later by the complete defeat of the Meccan pagans; the link was EXPLICITLY made that we are making a similar deal with America; our aims remain unchanged, but we will adjust course temporarily). Instead of truly switching sides, our “strategic geniuses” decided to keep Afghanistan “simmering but not boiling” (to quote the most recent “authoritative” article by Waj Khan). We continued to support “good Taliban” in order to make sure the new regime did not stabilize in Afghanistan. We continued to maintain Kashmiri terrorist organizations in some sort of cold storage (these are not controversial claims. Bona fide patriotic strategic thinkers have said all this and more at various points). We cleared some areas of some terrorists but not all areas of all terrorists. We continue to try and separate good jihadis from bad jihadis etc etc.

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Pakistan’s Karachi airport under attack: officials

Karachi (AFP) – Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan’s busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights, officials said.

Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar said the militants were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security officials.

“Exchange of fire is continuing. We don’t know the exact number of the attackers but suspect four to six terrorists have attacked the airport,” he said.

Read more » Yahoo News

http://news.yahoo.com/pakistans-karachi-airport-under-attack-officials-191503030.html

Facebook under fire for blocking pages in Pakistan

By New York Times

By Declan Walsh and Salman Masood 

LONDON: Facebook said Friday that it had blocked users in Pakistan from access to the pages of a popular Pakistani rock band and several left-wing political pages, drawing sharp criticism from free-speech activists who accused the US company of caving in to government censors.

Members of the band, Laal, whose members have frequently spoken out against the Taliban, confirmed that their Facebook page, which had more than 400,000 “likes,” had been blocked.

After an outcry on so ..

Top US delegation meets exiled Baloch leaders

BalochBy Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: A delegation of the US Congressmen accompanied by top official from the US State Department met two exiled Baloch leaders and assured them of the open and clandestine help in their activities in Balochistan and abroad. Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Khan Dawood and Hyrbyair Marri held talks with a delegation of US congressmen at a central London location.

Sources have told The News that officials linked with America’s State Department were also present in the meeting where the situation in Balochistan was extensively discussed and the two asked the US officials to step up support for their efforts.

US Rep. Steve King, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher were confirmed present in the meeting but a source said that two other senators were also part of the meeting. Some of these representatives have been meeting the Baloch exiled leaders for many months now but the presence of some US government officials have provoked interest in this meeting. The meeting will be viewed with interest in Pakistan where a great level of suspicion at the official level exists that elements of the US establishment are deeply involved in Balochistan and have been helping some armed Baloch groups, directly and indirectly.

Rep. Louie Gohmert told the Baloch nationalist leaders that he would do his best to highlight their movement. For several years, Hyrbyair Marri and Khan of Kalat have been living in exile in London. Both have been given asylum status by the British government. Mehran Marri, Khair Bux Marri’s youngest son and Balochistan’s unofficial representative at the United Nation Human Rights Council, has also held several meetings in recent days with ambassadors of European countries in Geneva. A source told that a delegation of the US administration met Marri in Brussels a few days ago.

Mehran Marri and Brahumdagh Bugti, who have been given asylum by the Swiss government, work closely at the European level US Representatives have assured the Baloch leaders that they would continue to work on their behalf to speak against Pakistan. The issue of the discovery of the alleged mass graves in Balochistan was also discussed in the London meeting. Some US congressmen have been showing increasing interest in Balochistan in recent months and have taken it upon themselves to talk about the issue.

Balochistan and human rights officials say several bodies have been uncovered recently in Balochistan but Pakistani officials put the number at just over a dozen and its hoped that a judicial inquiry would be held into these allegations. Although US politicians and the government figures deny supporting the Baloch nationalist political movement or the armed insurgency but such meetings will only strengthen the view of those in Pakistan who believe that the US continues to grow interest in the resource rich province, which is also of huge strategic importance in the region.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-230061-Top-US-delegation-meets-exiled-Baloch-leaders