Saleem Shahzad, Al Qaeda and ISI

By Khaled Ahmed

Murdered journalist’s findings show Al Qaeda is winning in nuclear Pakistan more effectively than in Somalia and Yemen

Anyone who has read Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad (Pluto Press 2011) will come to the following conclusions:

1) It is Al Qaeda rather than the Taliban who plan militant attacks in Pakistan and that the Taliban execute no operations without the permission of Al Qaeda; 2) Jihadi organisations are subservient to Al Qaeda at the same time as some are also extensions of the Pakistan Army; 3) TTP was shaped by Al Qaeda through Uzbek warlord Tahir Yuldashev after the 2007 Lal Masjid affair; 4) ‘Retired’ army officers earlier handling proxy jihad defected to Al Qaeda but continued to use contacts within the military on behalf of Al Qaeda; 5) Benazir was killed by Al Qaeda and not Baitullah Mehsud; he was merely an instrument; 6) Mumbai was done by Al Qaeda through former Pakistan Army officers with help from Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) without the knowledge of the ISI despite the fact that LeT was on ISI’s leash; 7) Army officers or freedom fighters trained by army for Kashmir jihad spearheaded Al Qaeda’s war against Pakistan Army; 8) Islamic radicalisation of Pakistani society and media mixed with fear of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents – who include ex-army officers – have tilted the balance of power away from the state of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; 9) Punjabi Taliban are under Haqqani Network which is supposed to be aligned with Pakistan Army; 10) Pakistan Army has ex-officers in Al Qaeda as well as serving officers collaborating with these ex-officers. …

Read more: → The Friday Times

Military strategy and the flight of capital – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The Malaysian Consul General, General Khalid Abdul Razzaq, told the press that in the last few years, about 700 Pakistanis had transferred Rs one trillion and 80 billion to his country in a specific programme. If one includes the most popular places for Pakistani capital in the Gulf States, Europe and the US, the transferred amount would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If capital is flying out so ferociously, the Pakistani economy has a very dim future. The more depressing aspect is that the policies that created such conditions are not changing in the foreseeable future.

First of all, it is mindboggling how a country wracked by all kinds of law and order problems and power shortages can still generate such a mammoth surplus that is being transferred abroad. This reflects the vibrancy and tenacity of the Pakistani population that it can survive against all odds the way it has been doing for centuries. Probably, this is one of the reasons that our rulers, specifically the military, are continuing the perilous policies that they adopted three decades ago.

Last month, Pakistan’s economic division estimated that the Pakistani economy has suffered losses of about $ 68 billion due to the war on terror. However, the figure was based on certain unproven assumptions and less than solid stipulations. It seemed that the figure was touted in the international press to convince foreign governments about the cost Pakistan is bearing for the war on terrorism and tell them that their aid is too little when compared to the losses. One could have questioned Pakistan’s projected loss figure on various grounds but the capital transfer to Malaysia cannot be questioned because it is coming from the horse’s mouth.

Every economist knows such a huge surplus that is being transferred abroad is gained through extreme exploitation and skimming of the masses. The surplus, whatever way it is gained, is called ‘the savings of an economy’. And, if the savings are not invested back into the economy, the country can never grow — on the contrary it can only degenerate. Pakistan’s rate of inflation, rising poverty and unemployment, which may be as high as 70 percent if one includes the redundant rural workforce, is a manifestation of how the export of Pakistani savings abroad has jeopardised the revival of the economy.

The migration of Pakistani savings to other countries shows that its top wealth holders — whatever their percentage — do not see a safe future in Pakistan. Insecurity is the fundamental reason for such a prevalent view among prosperous Pakistanis. The rise of religious extremism and acceleration of jihadism through the Taliban, al Qaeda and other private militias is the root cause of insecurity in Pakistan. Therefore, the state institutions that have given rise to such forces are directly responsible for the disaster Pakistan is facing.

The flight of capital from Pakistan started during the 1970s and 1980s, long before 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan. Rising sectarianism in the country and ethnic violence in Karachi, engineered by secret agencies with no US input, started scaring potential domestic and foreign investors. It is interesting that this violence-ridden environment opened another chapter of economic plundering in Pakistan by all kinds of exploiters. The attitude had been to squeeze as much as possible in the shortest period. Somehow, the deepening of anarchy provided more opportunity to the exploiting classes and we witnessed unprecedented accumulation of wealth and its transfer abroad in this period. Who is responsible for creating such conditions?

The Pakistan military’s doctrine of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban and al Qaeda added to the anarchy, insecurity and, strangely enough, economic exploitation. Military spending kept on rising at the expense of the impoverishment of the masses. Therefore, the policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan has caused misery for common Pakistanis from many angles.

Despite the international pressure and domestic rejection, Pakistan’s military is continuing its failed policy. Besides the US, every international power, including China, has asked Pakistan to clean up its jihadi mess and change its direction from India obsession-cum-seeking-strategic depth in Afghanistan to being friendlier towards its neighbours. Domestically, after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s declaration that we should end hostilities towards India and that the military should get out of civilian matters, other than a few religious parties no mainstream political party shares the military’s strategic vision. The PPP and ANP may be toeing the military’s line for opportunistic reasons for the time being but both parties are far from India-haters.

Therefore, it is the military strategy that is causing insecurity in the country and forcing Pakistani capital to flee. The quantity of outflow of capital is so huge that a few billion from the US, any other country or international agencies (the World Bank and IMF) cannot compensate the losses. Therefore, the first sign of stability in Pakistan would be seen when Pakistani capital outflows stop and domestic savings start getting reinvested in the country.

On the contrary, if the military keeps walking on the suicidal path, the economy will be squeezed and, if India grows steadily, Pakistan will become irrelevant in the region. The outcome of the ongoing military strategy of Pakistan will result in just the opposite of what is desired.

Courtesy: WICHAAR.COM

India charges Hindu extremists for blowing up peace Train in 2007. Earlier, India blamed Muslims for it

By Bibhudatta Pradhan

India charged five Hindu activists for their involvement in the 2007 bombing of a Pakistan-bound train service that killed 68 people, an attack earlier blamed on Muslim extremists.

Two of the accused are in custody, one is dead and two others are absconding, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement yesterday in New Delhi. The National Investigation Agency told a special court in the northern state of Haryana that the men conspired to cause the blasts to avenge attacks on Hindu temples, the statement said.

Explosions ripped through two carriages of the Samjhauta Express near Panipat, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of New Delhi, on Feb. 18, 2007. Most of those killed were Pakistanis travelling home. ….

Read more: → Bloomberg.com

How Indian Muslims see Pakistan

Concerns about growing religious extremism in the neighbouring Islamic republic have been growing since 2001

By Aakar Patel

How is Pakistan seen by India’s Muslims? Since 2001, the view has turned increasingly negative. Let’s have a look at such views in three very different Indian publications. One is the conservative Urdu daily Inquilab, read almost exclusively by Muslims. The second, the liberal online paper New Age Islam, published in Urdu and English. Lastly, the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s organ Panchjanya, published in Hindi and read almost exclusively by Hindus.

In India’s biggest Urdu newspaper Inquilab, Khalid Sheikh wrote under the headline ‘ Pakistan ka kya hoga?’ He felt Pakistan’s current problems were the result of its own doing (” jaisi karni waisi bharni“). The nation should have known the consequences of using terror to combat India, he said. The world was not unaware of its breeding of Al Qaeda and the Taliban (” sanpolon ko doodh pilaya“). Now the snakes were poised to swallow Pakistan (” nigalne ke dar pe hain“).

Pakistan’s leaders were unconcerned (” kaanon par joon tak nahin rengi“). But the world was watching it. The ease with which the Taliban had attacked and destroyed the P3C Orions in Karachi had worried America, Sheikh wrote. It was now concerned about how safe Pakistan’s atom bombs, which numbered between 70 and 120, were.

In 2001 Pakistan was viewed as a failed state (” nakaam riasat“). After Osama bin Laden’s killing, it won’t be long before it is seen as a rogue state (” badmaash riasat mein tabdeel hote dair nahin lagegi“).

At the time of Partition, it had been predicted by the wise (” sahib-e-baseerat“) that Pakistan would find it difficult to exist (” apna wajood rakhna dushwar hoga“). Sheikh quoted Maulana Azad as writing in ‘India Wins Freedom’ that Pakistan would be unable to find its bearings (” Pakistan kabhi paedar aur mustahkam na reh sakega“). Its foreign policy consisted of hating India (” Hindustan dushmani“) and pleasing America (” Amrika khushnudi“).

The writer thought Pakistan’s insistence that relations with India would improve if the Kashmir issue was settled was untrue (” dhakosla hai“). Pakistan was an unreliable neighbour (” ghair-mu’atbar padosi“) which was a master of creating tension. If Kashmir was resolved, something else would be conjured up.

Sheikh praised Nawaz Sharif’s statement that Pakistan had to stop hating India if it had to progress. US President Barack Obama had said the same thing and America ought to, as France had, terminate military assistance to Pakistan.

Answering the question he had first raised, Sheikh said it was difficult to say what would become of Pakistan because it seemed beyond redemption (” aise mulk ke bare mein kya kaha jaye jahan aawe ka aawa hi bigda hua hai“).

In New Age Islam, Dr Shabbir Ahmed wrote on the blasphemy law under the headline ‘ Pakistan mein tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) ka wahshiana qanoon‘. Ahmed said Pakistan was obsessed by this issue (“ hysteria mein jakda hua hai”). Narrow sectarianism had divided the nation, and every sect thought of others as faithless and hated them.

This frenzy was plunging Pakistan into a state of barbarism (” jahiliyat mein ghota zan hai“). Ahmed feared Pakistan might succumb to civil war (“ aisa na ho ke Pakistan khana jangi mein gharq ho jae“).

He said Pakistanis had divided Islam (” deen ko tukdon mein baant diya hai“), and quoted verses from the Holy Quran on the Romans (30:32) to support his argument. It was unfortunate that the majority of Pakistanis, including the educated, were in agreement with disagreeable mullahs. Even intellectuals and lawyers had signed on (” scholars aur wukla ne tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) qanoon ki puri himayat ki hai”).

People believed that punishing blasphemy with death was law in five out of 54 Islamic states, but when asked, only two could be named: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It was difficult to name other states with such harsh laws, though Afghanistan, Sudan and Iran came to mind.

Ahmed wrote that the Holy Quran prescribed no punishment for blasphemy. No one could be ignorant of the clarity of the ayat ” la ikraha fi ad-deen” (there is no compulsion in religion) because Allah had sent this message to all humanity. This principle was independent and absolute (” is usool mein kisi tarah ki ki riayyat bhi nahin hai“). With many examples, Ahmed pointed to the pardoning and gentle nature of Islam and of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which he felt was being distorted by Pakistan’s law.

In Panchjanya, the RSS Hindi weekly, Muzaffar Hussain wrote on May 22 under the headline ” Adhikansh Pakistani Islami khilafat ke paksh mein” (A majority of Pakistanis favours khilafat).

He reported the findings of an opinion poll. The market research company MEMRB had surveyed Pakistanis to ask them what sort of government they wanted. Did they want khilafat as prescribed by Islam? They were also offered the option of tyranny (” anya vikalpon mein janta se poocha hai ke kya woh tanashahi pasand karenge?”). Hussain wrote that by this was meant martial law, and it was related to something found commonly in Muslim nations. This was the presence of sheikhs and kings (” Islami deshon mein aaj bhi raja aur sheikh hain”) who ruled through lineage for generations. The last option offered was democracy “as the world knew it”.

The results were unsurprising to Hussain. The majority of Pakistanis picked khilafat, for which the Taliban were also agitating. How was it possible, then, that anybody could defy the Taliban?

Neutral Pakistanis (” Tattastha log”) were merely being realistic in staying silent against extremism. Why should anyone endanger their life by opposing khilafat? (” Islami khilafat ka virodh karne ki himmat kaun kar sakta hai?”)

The survey was conducted in 30 cities and 60 villages. Those in favour of khilafat were 56%. These people said that Pakistan’s creation was rooted in religion and the state should therefore be Islamic. Those favouring dictatorship were 22%. They felt Pakistan had progressed only under military strongmen (” jo pragati hui hai woh keval sainik tanashahon ke karan hui hai“). Only 11% of Pakistanis preferred secular democracy. These figures did not vary significantly between urban respondents and those in villages, those who conducted the survey said. There was some difference however with respect to the residents of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In these cities, 40% preferred martial law and 39% preferred khilafat. In Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, those who wanted khilafat were 60%. In Balochistan and Sindh, about 35% preferred martial law.

The survey did not vary much by age. Those between 16 and 60 preferred khilafat by 66%. Surprisingly, both the illiterate and the very literate approved of khilafat.

Hussain felt that the collapse of the Turkish caliphate had left Muslim nations in disarray (” Islami jagat titar-bitar ho gaya hai”). Both Bhutto and Gen Zia had wanted Saudi Arabia’s king to be crowned caliph of all Muslims.

Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media, Mumbai.

Courtesy: → The Friday Times