In the dying days of the British Empire the colonialists perpetrated upon India a tragedy of massive proportions. Absolutely artificially and unnecessarily they partitioned the country. Mahatma Gandhi had wisely stood against the division of the country. He had told the British to leave. The Quit India Movement of 1942 was the clearest articulation of that message. Suddenly the British worried about the ‘safety’ of their Muslim subjects. It wasn’t that Indian Muslims and Hindus had rioted and killed each other every day before the British arrived to rule the country. The fact is the kings and queens in India fought each other just as they did in Europe. The real Hindu Muslim riots started well after the first war of Indian Independence of 1857 when the British had come close to losing the jewel of the empire. In its aftermath the British intensified their efforts to sow divisions amongst Indians. They escalated only when in response to the demand of the Indian National Congress for independence the British started seeking fragmented representation of Indians based on religion in different fora including elected assemblies. The round table conference participants to discuss home rule/independence were deliberately chosen based on religion and caste to fracture the Indian national interest. The Indian National Congress and the Muslim League fell for the deliberate and divisive machinations of the colonial rulers and foolishly accepted the completely unnecessary division of India. The British could have left just as they had come leaving the Indians to their own devices. The Congress could have just shown British Imperialists the proverbial finger and insisted on one undivided and independent India. There may have been bloodshed. But it would have been the bloodshed of Indians caused by Indians. Doesn’t make it any better but it would have been the Indians’ blunder. India would have survived.
The rulers of Pakistan must know religious ‘purity’ and ‘orthodoxy’ by definition have no limits. The state must never compete with the fanatics in the domain of fanaticism. No matter what their flavour or variety the fanatics are the enemies of reason; beyond reason.
The Indian sub -continent and the world is still paying for the British imperialist’s 1947 partition of India that bordered on the criminal. It set off the not so unanticipated largest peace time migration of population in the history of the world. Hundreds of thousands perished in the carnage that ensued. The bloody echoes of that insane and unnecessary partition have continued to haunt the Indian sub-continent. They now bedevil the world too; particularly the western world.
The bloody trails of the partition of August 1947 lead directly to the most recent massacre of the children of the Pakistani military run school in December 2014. The Pakistani Madarsas created the Afghani Taliban, initially sponsored by the United States of America for Jihad against the Soviets. The Madarsas also trained Jihadis for Kashmir. First Afghani Taliban and later Pakistan sheltered Al Qaida. The fanatics figured if the Pakistani trained fanatic terror was ‘good’ for Kashmir and Afghanistan it would be just as good for Pakistan. It thus begot Pakistani Taliban. In my mind’s eye when I imagine an undivided India bordering Afghanistan I see no Taliban. In that moment I see the India of Gandhi’s dreams personified.
Division of people and countries by religion perpetuates hate. Unfortunately for the people of the subcontinent Pakistan has not been able to shed its birth mark of hate. It could have embraced its natural culture and heritage of India. Pakistan would always be Indian by heritage just as India and Bangladesh are. It is not a crime to embrace one’s roots. Pakistan did not have to fashion it’s rootlessness out of it’s deep Indian roots. It did not have to become an Islamic state. But then it was only natural for a state created in the name of religion to be consumed by it.
The rulers of Pakistan must know religious ‘purity’ and ‘orthodoxy’ by definition have no limits. The state must never compete with the fanatics in the domain of fanaticism. No matter what their flavour or variety the fanatics are the enemies of reason; beyond reason.
Note: Writer is Former premier/ chief minister of Canada’s British Columbia province.
Courtesy: Ujjal dosanjh
See more » http://ujjaldosanjh.org/index.php/entry/no-taliban-without-a-pakistan#.VJce5O7MN-I.gmail
PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman said Wednesday that if anyone engaged in the apologist narrative when it comes to terrorism and terrorist attacks, they would be considered as terrorists and allies of the terrorists.
Time has come for a decision and anyone who presents justification for acts of terrorism will be regarded as a traitor.
“Whoever is a friend of the terrorists is a traitor,” Rehman said addressing media representatives in Peshawar.
Any attempt to harm me or arrest me would lead to an uncontrollable situation in Pakistan, says Mualana Abdul Aziz.
Suicide attack threats again ring out of Lal Masjid
By Kalbe Ali
ISLAMABAD: Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid has blamed two persons for whipping up the furore over his remark that the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar was a “reaction” to the military operation against militants.
“This campaign against me is a conspiracy hatched by Amin Shaheedi and Faisal Raza Abidi,” he told the Friday congregation, adding that “I warn that they are testing our patience”.
Journalist Raza Bangash, who was among the media persons covering the event, told Dawn that the maulana “also remarked that people who had gone astray construed his opinion as a confessional statement”.
Maulana Amin Shaheedi and Raza Abidi, whom Maulana Aziz accused of fanning public sentiments against him, are, respectively, leader of Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen (MWM – Unity of Muslims Council) and a former PPP senator.
Many congregation members and Raza said Maulana Aziz criticised the members of civil society who protested his views outside the Lal Masjid the previous day and had planned more protests on Friday evening against him equating the victims of terrorism and those killed for terrorism.
Maulana Aziz poured sarcasm on the civil society people demonstrating and lighting candles for the Peshawar dead and said they should also have felt pain for the 86 madressah students killed in Waziristan and other deaths in military operations.
“He stated that any attempt to harm him or arrest him would lead to an uncontrollable situation in the country,” the official told Dawn.
“My brother, his family and many people dear to me and a large number of students were killed in army operation here (in Lal Masjid in 2007), but I did not raise such hue and cry,” he said.
Maulana Aziz suggested to the military and political leadership to negotiate peace with the Taliban, ostensibly for a more worthy cause.
Some see ISI’s ambiguous approach towards different groups in effort to counter Indian influence as fuelling attacks
Within days of a militant attack earlier this year on the Indian consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat, intelligence officials in Kabul and Delhi were told by their US counterparts that communication intercepts indicated that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba group (LeT) was responsible.
A lucky shot from a guard had hit the leader of the assault team, giving defenders time to prepare and the four attackers had all been killed. US officials said they had aimed to take hostages and cause a drawn-out crisis intended to destabilise India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, just days after his landslide election win.
The new details of the operation will be seen as further evidence of the close relationship between LeT and Pakistan’s security establishment.
LeT was responsible for a 2008 attack on the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai in which around 170 people were killed by militants who had arrived by boat from the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi. A key figure in the attack told US and court officials that middle-ranking officials from the Pakistani military’s Directorate of InterServices Intelligence (ISI) had at very least facilitated the assault.
Western intelligence officials also believe the ISI has close relations with the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, an insurgent faction which has repeatedly struck international targets in Afghanistan.
“There have been intelligence reports that link the ISI particularly to the Haqqani network,” Joseph Dunford, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said in April.
The ISI also maintains links with a range of sectarian groups within Pakistan and outfits primarily focussed on fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir.
Some blame these continuing relationships for the carnage at the army-run school in Peshawar on Tuesday.
The link is indirect. Few say that there is any connection between the Pakistan Taliban (TTP), the rough coalition of groups that has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the country’s security establishment.
“The military formally and institutionally considers the TTP as an enemy of the state as it has killed many soldiers over the years,” said Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson centre in Washington.
Pakistan’s use of certain militant groups as strategic assets, however, makes concerted action against others impossible, according to Ajai Sahni, an Indian security analyst.
“If you allow space for armed Islamist groups you can’t really distinguish one from another,” Sahni said.
The policy of using militants as auxiliaries goes back to the earliest days of the new Pakistani nation and its partition from India following independence from Britain. Such forces were seen by the new country’s military commanders as an effective way of countering their eastern neighbour’s huge demographic, economic and military advantage. They have played a key role in Pakistan’s four wars with India. Auxiliaries were also deployed in Kashmir in the 1990s. When hundreds of Pakistani militants infiltrated across the de facto frontier in the disputed Himalayan territory in 1999, they sparked the most recent overt conflict.
Read more » The Guardian
Learn more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/17/pakistan-spy-agency-isi-relations-militants-blamed-school-massacre
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army and US-led forces in Afghanistan have decided to target Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah using drones rather than a ground operation in the areas where he is believed to be taking sanctuary.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was informed about the decision to take out Fazlullah nicknamed the “Radio Mullah”, who is said to be in contact with the Peshawar school attackers during the assault which left 148 people dead, mostly school children, The Express Tribune reported today.
Citing sources, the paper said that although Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI chief Rizwan Akhter have provided Afghan authorities the audio proof of attackers talking to Fazlullah during the assault, Army is currently refraining from chasing targets across the border.
“The audio recording, handed to Afghan authorities, was in Pashto,” he paper said, citing sources.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 25, says prime minister and Imran Khan letting down nation by not backing firm military action
By Jon Boone in Mohenjodaro
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the youthful heir apparent to one of south Asia’s most famous dynasties, has launched a scathing attack on his political opponents who he said must stop “making excuses” for Taliban violence.
The 25-year-old son of the assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto said Nawaz Sharif, the country’s current leader, and the opposition politician Imran Khan, were “letting down the people” by not backing firm military action against the Taliban.
“Perhaps they are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome,” Bhutto Zardari said, referring to cases of hostages who sympathise with or even assist their captors. “There is no reason why the national leaders, the so-called leaders, should not speak out against people who are murdering our citizens, murdering our armed forces and claiming responsibility.”
The remarks are likely to further burnish his reputation as both a brash new arrival on Pakistan‘s political scene but also the most outspoken politician in the country on the issue of militancy and extremism.
He does not sit in parliament, but wields significant influence over the Pakistan People’s party (PPP), of which he is “patron in chief”. The party has been led in the past by his grandfather, his mother – who was killed while campaigning in 2007 – and his father, Asif Ali Zardari. Khan and other right-wing politicians have been criticised for handling the Pakistani Taliban with kid gloves, in a so-far unsuccessful bid to lure them into peace talks.
On Saturday the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP ), as the country’s deadly coalition of militants is known, signalled its appreciation of Khan’s approach by announcing the movement wanted him to sit on a committee with four extremist clerics known to sympathise with militant aims. The TTP said Khan and the others could represent its interests in peace talks with the government.
Khan brushed off the embarrassing endorsement, saying “the TTP should select their own Taliban representatives for the peace talks”.
Even mass-casualty suicide attacks on civilians have at times elicited only meek condemnations. Many politicians are reluctant even to identify the culprits as the TTP.
Bhutto Zardari said the tactic had been disastrous, emboldening extremists to target civilians, including Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl education activist who nearly died in 2012 after being shot in the head by a Taliban assassin. “This is why people like Malala become targets because the politicians, or the so-called leaders of this country, can’t find the courage to speak out when a 16-year-old girl could. If we all speak in one voice, they can’t kill us all,” he said.
The TTP has used a highly effective intimidation campaign against liberal and left-leaning political parties and journalists to silence many of its natural critics. Bhutto Zardari said he could speak out only because of the vast security operation that surrounds him at all times and heavily restricts his travel in Pakistan, where he spends much of his time at his fortress-like family compound in Karachi.
“I have a lot of security – I lost my mother to the Taliban because of a lack of security – and that explains partly why I can be so vocal,” he said. “But so does Imran Khan. Nawaz Sharif is the prime minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif is the chief minister of Punjab. They all have more security than I do. They have no excuse.”
In the past Khan has said strident rhetoric might endanger the lives of his supporters and party activists. Bhutto Zardari has shown no such caution, even though he hopes thousands of members of the public will be attracted to numerous cultural events he has organised across Sindhin the coming weeks. They are part of a festival he has promoted as a deliberate challenge to extremists and militants he derisively calls “cavemen”.
Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/02/taliban-violence-excuses-bilawal-bhutto-zardini-pakistan-military-action
Pakistanis are still grappling with the tragedy of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that left at least 141 people, most of them children, dead and scores injured. There has been an outpouring of grief internationally, and the Pakistani public is visibly outraged. But the question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.
Even before this incident, Pakistan had one of the highest casualty rates at the hand of terrorists. About 19,700 civilians and 6,000 security force personnel have been reported killed in terrorism related violence in Pakistan since 2003. But the country refuses to develop a comprehensive approach to fighting or containing the 33-odd terrorist groups believed to be operating on Pakistani soil.
“The question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.”
The latest attack is the Taliban’s response to the Pakistan army’s military operation against the terrorist safe haven in North Waziristan, part of the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan. Jihadis from all over the world had congregated in the tribal areas to fight as Mujahedeen against the Soviets during the 1980s. After the Soviets left, Pakistan used the militants for its own objectives of expanding Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban.
Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/husain-haqqani/pakistan-school-attack-jihadis_b_6337112.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
New images from the school show the brutality of the attack, with pools of blood on the ground and walls covered in pockmarks from hundreds of bullets.
Mass funerals and prayer vigils for the victims are currently under way.
Gunmen had walked from class to class shooting students in the Pakistani Taliban’s deadliest attack to date.
Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30507836?OCID=twitterasia
There is no sight uglier than a child’s corpse. I can say this because I have seen one dying before my eyes.
When a child dies, no words can console the grieving hearts of parents. And a cowardly terror attack on a school just snatched over a hundred children from the warm embrace of their parents in Peshawar.
Just try understanding the magnitude, the size of this all. More than a hundred families will now have their child-shaped holes in their lives forever. Parents all over the country will think twice before sending their children to schools again.
The children that survived the ghastly attack will never be the same again; their innocence, their childhood gone. It takes years for trauma victims to recover. Some don’t recover even after that.
The question on every mind is, when the grieving is over, will the nation unite against the spectre of terrorism?
If the past is any guide, the sad answer would be no.
Pakistan is given a lot of credit for being a resilient nation. I think most of that is down to the state of denial we choose to live in.
There are always a myriad conspiracy theories circulating within our society. For reasons unknown, we choose to believe them.
We find the distant, often most improbable explanations for simple acts of violence plaguing our nation. Our workplaces, public places, government offices, security installations, hospitals, places of worship and now schools all have come under attack.
After every gruesome incident, TTP or one of its uncountable affiliates takes responsibility; often releases video clips with the assailant’s taped speeches before attack, and yet we refuse to believe it. That state of denial, in essence, is the terrorist’s biggest weapon and his ultimate victory.
Sorry rehabilitation facilities
The logical question after a tragedy of this magnitude is about the rehabilitation of those who survive. Of the amputees, the irreparably wounded, and in this case, the innocent minds scarred for a lifetime.
Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1151409
“This terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world”- Indian PM talked to his Pakistani counterpart and he appeals that schools all over Indian territory will observe 2-minute silence for Pakistan victims- Terrorism is a global phenomenon- A menace who is shattering our societies and killing our children and their hopes and dreams- Entire globe has standup to support us on PESHAWAR TRAGEDY- A visionary leadership has to capitalize this unprecedented international support- Pakistan has to behave like a reliable not hostile neighbor to its neighbouring states- PAK-INDIA peace is essential to kill terrorism in the region- Indian PM MODIs announcement of 2 minutes silence in schools of all over India is a great diplomatic and human gesture- let us play our role and do our part of job to illuminate terror from our land.T
News courtesy: vis Social media (Facebook)
I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.
My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me – I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.
I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.
When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire.
She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.
(a surviving student’s account)
Read more » Brown Pundits
See more » http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/12/massacre-of-innocents-death-comes-again.html
Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif offering his “deepest condolences” on the dastardly terror attack at a school in Peshawar.
Sharing Pakistan’s pain in the wake of the “dastardly” terror attack in a Peshawar school, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on phone offering “deepest condolences and all assistance” in the hour of grief.
As a mark of solidarity with Pakistan, Modi appealed to all schools in India to observe 2 minutes of silence tomorrow for the “senseless act of unspeakable brutality” in Peshawar, where terrorists attacked a school and 141 massacred people, almost all of them children, terming the incident as an “assault against the entire humanity”.
Modi told Sharif that “this terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world” and “that this moment of shared pain and mourning is also a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism so that the children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism.”
Read more » Financial Express
The burned-out buildings dotted the landscape of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled Swat Valley as veteran Canadian aid worker David Morley drove the bumpy roads with a local aid worker more than three years ago.
“This used to be a boys’ school, that used to be a girls’ school, that used to be a clinic,” Morley recalled his Pakistani colleague telling him.
“What’s he going to be thinking today?”
‘I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children’ -Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Morley, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Canada, did not mince words Tuesday as news emerged of the suicide attack that killed at least 141 people — the vast majority of them children — at a school in Peshawar, the Pakistani city abutting the Khyber Pass leading to Afghanistan.
“This is a crime against humanity and it’s against civilized norms because we want to nurture and care for our children,” Morley said in an interview.
“We want them to learn and educate, and this is heinous act against all of those norms.”
The attack sparked similar condemnation in Canada and abroad. Many viewed it as a new low in the behaviour of Taliban terrorists, who took responsibility for the attack.
Students ranging from Grade 1 through Grade 10 accounted for most of the dead. They were killed along with their seven attackers, all of whom were wearing explosive suicide vests. Another 121 students and three staff members were injured.
Harper offers condolences
Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families of the victims. It’s hard enough to understand the motives that underlie a terrorist attack, he said, but even more so when the targets are innocent children.
Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird has condemned the attack on the school, which he called cowardly and sinister. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Press)
“It’s hard for any of us, as rational and compassionate people, to understand terrorism — to understand why people would want, in the name of some political cause, to simply terrorize, hurt kill innocent people, whole sections of society,” Harper told a news conference in Quebec City.
“But I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children. As a father, your heart just breaks when you see that kind of thing.”
Read more » CBC
Learn more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-condemns-sinister-terrorist-attack-on-pakistani-school-1.2874900
Former President describes militants as Bokoharam of Pakistan
Condemns the Peshawar school attack, asks Party to mount relief and rehabilitation work
Calls for fighting to the finish ‘existential threat’ to Pakistan
Islamabad December 16, 2016: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has denounced the militants’ attack on the school in Peshawar killing over 130 innocent children as ‘most barbaric, atrocious and inhuman that will hang the heads of every civilized person in any age and any clime’.
In a statement denouncing the incident the former President said the Bokoharam of Pakistan striking in the fashion of their kinsmen in Africa on Tuesday morning in Peshawar by targeting school children is a dark day in the history of this country. The crime has been committed on a dark day of our history when Pakistan was dismembered this day in 1971, he said.
The monstrous cruelty and sheer barbarism together with the symbolism of perpetrating it today should open the eyes of all those who give the nation lectures that the exterminated militants are ‘martyrs in the cause of a noble fight’.
Let there be no doubt or mistake that the religious extremists and fanatics are the worst enemies of the country and its people. There is no alternative to fight them to the finish for the very survival of Pakistan and our future generations. The absence of alternative to fighting the monster must make the mind of every self proclaimed puritan very clear, the former President said.
Mr. Zardari said that this incident should also strengthen the resolve of the nation to stand together against this existential threat to the security and stability of the country. ‘Let us be clear’, the former President said, adding also, ‘the enemy is not external but internal; it lives and thrives in our midst and is nurtured and sustained in the name of religion’.
Expressing profound condolences the former President prayed for eternal rest to all the martyred, early recovery of those injured and patience to the bereaved families.
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari also directed the Party leaders to suspend all activities and immediately mount efforts aimed at relief and rehabilitation of the victim families. He also called upon the Party workers to visit the hospitals and donate blood to those injured.
Read more » Media Cell PPP
Learn more » http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/former-president-describes-militants-as-bokoharam-of-pakistan/
Peel schools lower flags in support of people killed at Pakistan school
TORONTO – Flags will fly at half-mast outside of Peel District School board schools in support of those killed at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. The flags outside of the schools will fly at half-mast until the end of day Friday, Dec. 19.
“We were all shocked and saddened by the tragic events that transpired at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, today. Our thoughts are with all those affected, and we acknowledge the bravery of everyone who reacted immediately to protect the children and staff,” a press release from the school board read. A spokesperson for the Pakistani military said Tuesday that 132 children were among the 141 people killed when the school was attacked by Taliban fighters.
Read more » Global News
Learn more » http://globalnews.ca/news/1729686/peel-schools-lower-flags-in-support-of-people-killed-at-pakistan-school/
Militant siege of Peshawar school over, at least 131 killed
PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, and authorities are now sweeping the area. Three officials, on condition of anonymity, told AP the operation to clear the school has ended. At least 131 people, most of them children, died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. …..
…. 6:42pm – Army chief in Peshawar, vows to hit terrorists hard
Army chief General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they are completely eliminated from the country.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa posted on twitter that the tragic incident has saddened that COAS, but at the same time he has said that, “our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination”.
Gen Sharif said that, “this ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.
“They have hit at the heart of the nation, but let me reiterate they can’t in any way diminish the will of this great nation,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR.
Pakistan Taliban kill scores in Peshawar school massacre
At least 126 people, mostly children, have been killed in a Taliban assault on an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials say.
All six of the militants who entered the building are said to have been killed, at least one of them in a suicide blast.
However, the army has not declared the operation over. Most of the 500 students have been evacuated.
The attack is being seen as one of the worst so far in Pakistan.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30491435
The gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as an Iranian refugee who was on bail facing a number of charges.
Man Haron Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia, was described by his former lawyer as an isolated figure, who was acting alone.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30481241
By Talat Masood
The military operation in North Waziristan has clearly met with some notable success. Apparently, more than 80 per cent of the area has been cleared and the TTP has become factionalised and is under considerable pressure. Last week, there was also the good news that the security forces killed a top al Qaeda commander, Saudi-born Adnan el Shukrijumah, in an encounter in South Waziristan. Undoubtedly, a lot of credit for turning the tide against the militants at the operational level goes to General Raheel Sharif and to our valiant soldiers who continue to sacrifice their lives to defend and maintain the integrity of the state. But this is only the clearing and to some extent the holding phase of the operation. The major work of rebuilding the devastated areas and rehabilitating the IDPs still remains.
The larger security threat facing Pakistan, however, is multi-dimensional and complex. In contrast, the interest, comprehension and response of our national leaders are intangible. We have four categories of militants — globally oriented, Afghanistan specific, India and Kashmir directed and domestically oriented. These groups work independently but also form alliances to boost their overall capability. In addition, there is an ongoing insurgency in Balochistan. We also cannot be oblivious to the potential emergence of the Islamic State (IS). There are unconfirmed reports that more than 15,000-20,000 volunteers from Pakistan are fighting in Syria and Iraq. Some of these may return and pose a threat, especially in less-governed parts of the country. Karachi remains a perpetual battleground for militant groups of the main political parties and the country frequently suffers at the hands of sectarian militias. This problem is allowed to fester and left to the provincial governments to deal with in a half-hearted manner. On the external front, volatility on the Line of Control and the working boundary has acquired a new life of its own. What I have described is well known, but lost in the din of everyday life and as we are distracted by ego battles of our leaders, we fail to grasp the grave implications of this overarching threat landscape. Our leaders have shielded themselves by living in houses that are fortresses and travel in vehicles with contingents of bodyguards to keep them protected. The most disturbing aspect is that the responsibility of dealing with all these threats has been left to the army. State institutions like the committee on national security and Nacta lie dormant although in a democratic country, security matters are major responsibilities of the civilian government. No wonder Narendra Modi’s government takes the convenient cover that there is hardly any point in talking to the Pakistani civilian government when the military (or the militants) seem to control policy. The Indian point of view is reinforced when Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million dollar bounty on his head, brazenly takes out a procession of jihadi elements on the streets of Lahore and makes scathing remarks against India and the US. The government, by giving him a free rein, undermines its case on Kashmir and weakens the political and moral basis of its stand.
On the one hand, the army chief has categorically stated that there are no good or bad militants and the army is operating against all of them without any discrimination. And then the world is presented with this spectacle.
This clearly indicates that we do not treat the Lashkar-e-Taiba, or its other face, the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), in the same category. It seems that it is used to pressure India to show flexibility on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Pakistan has been repeatedly accused of playing a double game and is pursuing a different policy in handling the Kashmiri jihadis and those of the TTP and its affiliates.
Such demonstrations reinforce this impression. Even if Pakistan were to ignore the negative aspects of the international fall-out, it has to seriously consider whether it would be possible to fight radicalism and extremism if it tolerates militant outfits that are spewing hatred and promoting violence as the primary tool of the freedom struggle in J&K. As it is, the spread and influence of militant organisations in southern Punjab is growing rapidly. Many of these groups have global and regional jihadist aspirations. Support for the JuD in Pakistan can even be found among some educated youth and professionals, which could be ominous. The world has changed after the 9/11 and Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the tectonic shifts in the global security structure. The JuD and other Kashmir-oriented outfits should now focus primarily on the political and humanitarian aspects of the freedom struggle. Major terrorist attacks occurred in four places in J&K on the same day when the JuD was taking out processions in Lahore. For India, it becomes easy to put all the blame on Pakistan and then justify the reticence in engaging in inter-state dialogue.
The PML-N had used its rapport with militant groups in Punjab to broaden its electoral support with obvious long-term deleterious affects. Moreover, our claim that the military is dealing with all militant organisations alike needs to be qualified. It would amount to far less change in policy and would be no different from that pursued for several decades when it comes to India.
It seems that we are unwilling or unaware that the world has changed and is not prepared to tolerate any militant groups irrespective of how just their cause may be. Pakistani elements promoting jihad are out of sync with the rest of the world.
The Indian establishment is myopic and too short-sighted, and fails to see the serious discontent in occupied Kashmir that has to be addressed politically and not through brute force. Of course, a negotiated political settlement with India on J&K will greatly reduce the incentive and support for the militant organisations. But that is unlikely to happen in the near future. The jihadists in Pakistan and the Indian hardliners are pulling the two countries further apart and holding the region hostage.
The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2014.
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/804309/pakistans-overarching-threat-landscape/
Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s interview. The language of the interview is in Hindi/urdu language.
Imran, Qadri and Altaf are friends of establishment and are anti-people: Says Left wing activists of Sindh
Peasants leaders as well as leaders of Communist Party of Pakistan, including its Secretory General Imdad Qazi has said that Imran Khan, Qadri and Altaf Hussain are the partners of establishment and are anti-people elements.
News Courtesy: Rights and Movements + Sindhi Daily Awami Awaz, 16 Nov. 2014
Read more » http://rightsupdate.blogspot.in/2014/11/qadri-imran-and-altaf-are-friends-of.html
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Monday said that Pakistan should not target militants who do not threaten the country’s security.
“Why should America’s enemies unnecessarily become our enemies,” Sartaj Aziz said during an interview with BBC Urdu.
“When the United States attacked Afghanistan, all those that were trained and armed were pushed towards us.
“Some of them were dangerous for us and some are not. Why must we make enemies out of them all?,” he said when speaking about the Haqqani Network.
He further said that the Afghan Taliban are Afghanistan’s problem and Haqqani Network is a part of it.
“It’s the job of the Afghan government to negotiate with them…We can try to convince them, however things are not the same as they were in the nineties,” Aziz said.
Read more » DAWN
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More details: BBC urdu
See more » http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2014/11/141117_pak_usa_strategic_cooperation_sq
A hardline cleric in Pakistan is teaching the ideas of Osama Bin Laden in religious schools for about 5,000 children. Even while the Pakistani government fights the Taliban in the north-west of the country, it has no plans to close schools educating what could be the next generation of pro-Taliban jihadis.
“We share the same objectives as the Taliban but we don’t offer military training. We work on minds. The Taliban are more hands-on,” says Abdul Aziz Ghazi, imam of Islamabad’s controversial Red Mosque.
“We teach about the principles of jihad. It’s up to students if they want to get military training after they leave here. We don’t discourage them.”
Ghazi runs eight seminaries – madrassas as they are known – the first of which was founded after his father went on a journey to meet Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.
“Osama Bin Laden is a hero for us all. He stood up to America and he won. He inspired the mission of the school,” says Ghazi.
In one of the seminaries, the library is named in honour of Bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan in 2011.
Read more » BBC
By Babar Sattar
How do you stay optimistic about the prospects of your country when the naked truth paints a dark picture? Is living in a make-believe world the true mark of love and loyalty or acknowledging your failures and faults with the object of stimulating change? An argument vociferously made by our ‘patriots’ is that the world paints Pakistan as a terrible place because we are too critical of ourselves. Can one really continue to sell a bad product even if the marketing campaign is swell?
How do you correct a wrong without first acknowledging it? How do you begin acknowledging wrongs in an environment where the hardened belief is that it is not the doing of a wrong but its acceptance that spreads the contagion of disgrace?
When did we become a people who have lost their ability to distinguish between an objective reality and the admission of it? Should we be concerned more about the harmful consequences of wrongs directly affecting our surroundings and us, or by the shame of others finding out about it?
Let’s flag some random unconnected events.
Two Pakistani Christians are burnt like pieces of coal in the brick kiln they worked at by fellow villagers after accusations of blasphemy were levelled against them from the bully pulpit of the local mosque.
Two Pakistani Christians are burnt like pieces of coal in the brick kiln they worked at by fellow villagers after accusations of blasphemy were levelled against them from the bully pulpit of the local mosque. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken ‘strict’ notice of the incident, as he did after the Gojra riots that claimed the lives of eight Pakistani Christians and the Joseph Colony attack in Lahore where 150 houses and two churches were torched (incidents also triggered by allegations of blasphemy).
Anjali Kumari Meghwar, a 12-year-old Pakistani Hindu child was reportedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to one Riaz Sial last week. According to a report released by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace earlier this year, almost 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men in Pakistan each year.
Anjali Kumari Meghwar, a 12-year-old Pakistani Hindu child was reportedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married off to one Riaz Sial last week. According to a report released by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace earlier this year, almost 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men in Pakistan each year. Bottom line? Whether it’s due to religion, gender or economic class, if you are part of the vulnerable segment of this society, you are damned.
Sixty Pakistanis lost their lives and 100 others were injured in a suicide attack at Wagah last week. Three indigenous terror outfits claimed credit for the attack. Did our state get riled up? Yes, because Pentagon noted in a report to the US Congress that, “Afghan- and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability,” and that “Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military”.
WASHINGTON: In a blunt assessment of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the Pentagon has told the US Congress that the country is using militant groups as proxies to counter the superior Indian military.
“Afghan – and India – focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military,” the Pentagon told the Congress in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan.
“These relationships run counter to Pakistan’s public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations,” the Pentagon said in the report running into more than 100 pages.
Referring to the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, the Pentagon said this was done just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India.
“In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants. The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack,” it said.
“In June, the US department of state announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan President Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India,” the report said.
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More details » BBC urdu
Almost every discussion of Pakistan, especially in India, inevitably tends to be about the logic and raison d’etre of the country’s creation.
The process of partitioning a sub-continent along religious lines did not prove as neat as Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah had anticipated. Mr. Jinnah was a lawyer who saw partition as a solution to potential constitutional problems in an independent India.
Pakistan must also overcome archaic notions of national security. Instead of viewing ourselves as a ‘warrior nation’ we should see ourselves as a ‘trading nation’ that can take advantage of our location for economic purposes.
In his first address to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 –exactly 67 years ago today – Mr. Jinnah had said: “I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of every one of us to loyally abide by it and honorably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all…. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done. A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it; but in my judgement there was no other solution, and I am sure future history will record its verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem.”
Armed with nuclear weapons Pakistan does not need to live in fear or insecurity. The state of insecurity fostered in Pakistan is psychological and should now be replaced with a logical self-confidence. Once pluralism and secularism are no longer dirty words in my country, and all national discussions need not be framed within the confines of an Islamist ideology, it will become easier for Pakistan to tackle the Jihadi menace.
It is clear from Mr. Jinnah’s statement that he only saw partition as a constitutional way out of a political stalemate, as he saw it, and not the beginning of a permanent state of hostility between two countries or two nations.
The first step in reimagining Pakistan would be to abandon the narrow ideological paradigm of Pakistani nationalism. Pakistan is here to stay and no one in the world wants it dismembered if it functions effectively as a responsible international citizen.
This explains his expectation that India and Pakistan would live side by side “like the United States and Canada,” obviously with open borders, free flow of ideas and free trade. It is also the reason why the Quaid-e-Azam insisted that his Malabar Hills house in Bombay be kept as it was so that he could return to the city where he lived most of his life after retiring as Governor-General of Pakistan.
We all know now that partition and the birth of Pakistan were not simply the end of an argument about constitutional options, as Mr. Jinnah had thought.
The entire country was plunged into communal violence, hundreds of thousands of people from both sides were butchered and millions had to flee their homes.
Instead of living as good neighbours like the United States and Canada, India and Pakistan have gone on to become adversaries in a state of constant war, a situation that has not benefitted either country but has damaged Pakistan even more.
By Adnan Rasool
Reality is always hard to stomach. In the age of inflated self-worth and significance, societies start having delusions of grandeur. But when the delusions are questioned, the society either goes into denial or starts spinning a new narrative.
For the last two years, our people have been going through a process where there was initially a denial of the harsh realities of Pakistan, and then the passionate spinning of a false narrative. This narrative initially blamed the system, then blamed the government and now blames everyone for everything.
Too much time has been spent criticising this false narrative that many believe to be the truth. What has been ignored are the basic set of realities that Pakistan continues to face.
To start with, as much as I hate saying this, politics in Pakistan is not for the voter to decide.
Pakistan is a case of elite adjustment. It has never been a case where the voter will decide anything; the voters are simply not a significant enough part of the equation to leverage the situation.
The form of governance does not matter either; be it a dictatorship or autocratic democracy, the political situation is a result of elite adjustment.
Read more » DAWN
Read more » BBC urdu
See more » http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2014/09/140924_new_isi_chief_analysis_rk.shtml
The video of two parliamentarians being forcibly offloaded a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad has gone viral. The incident is generally being viewed as an indicator of how a peculiar behaviour, which was associated with old style patronage politics, will get challenged. The national carrier may find it increasingly difficult to treat its passengers differently — trap over two hundred souls in an aircraft while allowing VIPs to sit in a comfortable lounge as the aircraft recovers for two hours from its technical problems. Surely we can all clap at the event as a forward movement, this also indicates militant attitudes creeping into our political and social lives. Here I am not taking a position for or against but only suggesting what has changed.
This is not even an isolated incident. Those enjoying video evidence must also see the manner in which the police have been taking a thrashing from the ‘Naya Pakistan’ protestors. While we can all sympathise with Imran Khan’s right to change the political tone, it would be worthwhile for him to envision how he would, if he did become the prime minister of this country, put the genie back into the bottle. Much that he likes to compare himself with Jinnah, Imran would not be able to ensure that the same police, which get battered and bruised during the rule of his opponents, will get respected when he becomes the man in charge. No one seems willing to tell the story of the tired policemen who have been doing their duty for the last 30 days with little to boost their ego.