Tag Archives: Arabian

Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

President Zardari announces Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

By:

ISLAMABAD: China took control of Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Monday as part of its drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential Arabian Sea naval base, sparking Indian concern. ….

Read more » DAWN

Link – http://dawn.com/2013/02/18/president-zardari-announces-chinese-takeover-of-gwadar-port/

Et tu Brute?

Islamabad diary

We know the kind of influence Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town has been famous for peddling: chummy with presidents and prime ministers, close links to all major political parties, ex-generals and air-marshals in his employ, leading champions of the fourth estate in his pocket, or at least beneficiaries of his largesse. We can even go a step further and for the sake of argument say that he is the biggest wheeler-dealer this side of Suez.

Continue reading Et tu Brute?

Washington Post : Why I support Baluchistan – By Dana Rohrabacher

Why I support Baluchistan

By Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, represents California’s 46th District in the U.S. House.

Excerpt;

…. Well, to paraphrase Shakespeare, methinks Islamabad doth protest too much. In fact, Pakistani elites are upset not about lies but the truth.

Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest province in area and lies in the south, near Iran and Afghanistan. It is replete with natural resources and treated like a colonial possession. Its natural gas, gold, uranium and copper are exploited for the benefit of the ruling elite in Islamabad; meanwhile, the Baluch people remain desperately poor. The province includes the port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, which China has been developing and may turn into a naval base. The Baluch have been dispossessed of land and fishing as a result, while construction jobs and land grants have gone to Pakistanis from other provinces.

First carved up in 1871 by Persia and Britain, the area has a distinct identity that dates to ancient times. In 1947, the ruler of the nominally sovereign and largely autonomous Baluch state of Kalat, which was established in the 17th century, declared independence as the British empire gave way to the nations of India and Pakistan. The Pakistani army marched into Kalat and ended this brief national independence. A popular uprising against this takeover was crushed in 1950. Subsequent revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 — the last of which is ongoing — and the Pakistani army’s use of terror tactics against Baluch civilians, indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad.

With this resolution, I do not seek to single out Pakistan. I have long championed the principle of self-determination. For example, every Pakistani ambassador to the United States for the past 20 years is well aware of my support for the Kashmiri people. Indeed, at the Feb. 8 House subcommittee hearing on Baluchistan, I compared Baluchistan to Kashmir. In 1995, I introduced a resolution that stated in part: “a cycle of violence exists in Kashmir as a result of the Indian Government’s refusal to permit the people of Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.”

This is consistent with my commitment to support freedom and people’s right to control their own destiny in accordance with their cultural values and sense of identity. There are many good people in Pakistan who understand that the abuse of human rights by security forces in Baluchistan is a stain on the honor of their country. Such heavy-handed oppression is also counterproductive. It drives people away.

We should not remain a silent partner to a Pakistani government that engages in monstrous crimes against its people and has been an accomplice to terrorist attacks on Americans, including those of Sept. 11, 2001. The real irritant to U.S.-Pakistan relations is not my resolution but the policies of the Islamabad government and military. Consider the plight of Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani physician who helped lead our Navy SEALs to Osama bin Laden. He has been arrested and threatened with a charge of treason. An inquiry commission deemed him a “national criminal” because he helped the United States put an end to the terrorist who plotted the deaths of thousands of Americans.

Islamabad has not only sheltered al-Qaeda but also provided a base of operations for the Taliban, who continue to kill Americans. With one hand officials thumb their noses at us and with the other hand they grab billions in our foreign aid. It is time Washington stopped aiding Pakistan and developed a closer friendship with India and, perhaps, Baluchistan.

I make no apology for submitting a resolution championing the oppressed people of Baluchistan in their dealings with a Pakistani government that has betrayed our trust.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-i-support-baluchistan/2012/04/06/gIQAQ17Z0S_story.html

Free Baluchistan – Selig S. Harrison

Selig Herrison

As the Islamist nightmare envelops Pakistan, the Obama administration ponders what the United States should do. But the bitter reality is that the United States is already doing too much in Pakistan. It is the American shadow everywhere, the Pakistani feeling of being smothered by the U.S. embrace, that gives the Islamists their principal rallying cry.

Evidence is everywhere of what the Economist calls “a rising tide of anti-American passion.” The leading spokesman of traditional Muslim theology, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), opposes the “war on terror” because “it is an American war” and blames a U.S. plot for the recent assassination of the moderate Punjab governor, Salman Taseer.

The endless procession of U.S. leaders paying goodwill visits to Islamabad, most recently Vice President Joe Biden, evokes sneers and ridicule in the Urdu-language press, accompanied by cartoons showing Pakistanis scratching fleas crawling over their bodies. The late special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, liked free-swinging encounters with Pakistani journalists that left a trail of bitterness expressed in the Urdu media, but this did not deter Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from return visits.

To calm the situation down, the United States should start by phasing out drone attacks in the Pashtun border areas with their massive civilian casualties and should end the $1 billion plus in annual subsidies to the armed forces that make them look like American puppets. At the same time, less visible education and development aid provided by the Kerry-Lugar bill should be continued, together with the International Monetary Fund credits that keep the Pakistani state afloat, and access to U.S. markets for Pakistani textile exports should be increased.

Instead of publicly prodding the Punjabi-dominated armed forces to step up their offensive against Pashtun tribal militants in the Afghan border areas, the United States should recognize that Islamabad is afraid of stirring up Pashtun ethnic sentiment there that could break up the fragile multi ethnic Pakistani federation.

The Pashtuns of the former­­–Northwest Frontier Province (now called Kyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have an ancient history of resisting Punjabi incursions, but the Army did not come into direct conflict with the Pashtuns following the creation of Pakistan until July 2002, when, at the behest of the United States, it sent a division into FATA to attack al-Qaeda and Taliban forces at key transit points on the Afghan border. Heavy casualties resulted, displacing some fifty thousand people. This was a historic break with the autonomy agreements negotiated by the British with FATA tribes and honored until then by Pakistan. As the “war on terror” has proceeded, the FATA Pashtuns have been politicized and radicalized as never before.

The underlying reason that Pakistan’s U.S. links are so unpopular and make such a tempting target for the Islamists is that America is perceived as anti-Muslim.

The Islamists focus not only on Muslim casualties in next door Afghanistan, but above all on U.S. support for Israel and on the American military presence throughout the Arabian Sea , the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf in areas near Pakistan.

Why does the United States keep pouring aid into Pakistan despite its active support for the Taliban in Afghanistan at the expense of U.S.-NATO forces and its inability or unwillingness to help the United States root out al-Qaeda from its mountain sanctuaries?

American officials point to its arsenal of seventy to ninety nuclear weapons, arguing that a tight U.S. embrace of the Pakistani military and intelligence elite is necessary to make sure that another nuclear-proliferation racket does not emerge like the one organized by nuclear czar A. Q. Khan.

This is an understandable concern because many of the same generals who colluded with Khan are still in high places. But the larger danger to the United States is that the nuclear arsenal will fall into the hands of the Islamist sympathizers inside the nuclear establishment, or that the Islamists will completely take over the armed forces, branding current military leaders as U.S. stooges.

Continue reading Free Baluchistan – Selig S. Harrison

Seeds of a bitter harvest

by Waseem Altaf

As for Muslims, they were to associate themselves with the Arabian Peninsula and not the subcontinent, with Mohammad Bin Qasim and not Raja Dahir, with Mecca and Medina and not Moenjodaro and Harappa. The relationship with the soil and the soul of the subcontinent was buried forever.

Although the Two-Nation theory did suit the interests of some, it was a total negation of the concept of pluralism and mutual coexistence. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Pakistan’s ‘secret’ war

Author: Karlos Zurutuza, Balochistan
Editor: Rob Mudge

Excerpt:

Armed groups of Balochs in southwest Pakistan are gaining momentum at a critical point for the country’s future. Deutsche Welle looks at the phenomenon which presents yet another problem in the troubled region.

A province marked by floods and images of burned-out NATO tankers, Balochistan is the land of the Baloch, who today see their country in southwest Asia divided by the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Balochistan is the size of France and boasts enormous reserves of gas, gold and copper, as well as untapped sources of oil and uranium. The exploitation of these natural resources in combination with repressive and discriminatory state-run policies have led to armed uprisings in the region.

In his book “Descent into Chaos,” best-selling writer and renowned Afghanistan commentator, Ahmed Rashid, says that the Baloch have instigated five insurgent uprisings to date. These insurgents take shelter in the rugged mountains of southern Pakistan and across the border, in Afghanistan.

The Baloch insurgents in Pakistan are fragmented into several groups: the BLA (Baloch Liberation Army), the BRA (Baloch Republican Army), the BLF (Baloch Liberation Front) and Lashkar-e Balochistan (Balochistan’s army). Several analysts say this fragmentation reflects the tribal element among the Baloch. Accordingly, the BLA, BRA and Lashkar-e Balochistan are led by the local main clans of the Marris, the Bugtis and the Mengals respectively, while the BLF is a more heterogeneous movement.

Despite the apparent fracture, all these groups are markedly secular movements – at odds with the Taliban – who share a common agenda focusing on the independence of Balochistan. They organize their actions around guerrilla attacks, primarily against military targets and government infrastructures like gas pipelines.

Growing discontent

“Given that parliamentary politics is a fake option for us, we are forced to make politics with weapons. Since the partition of India in 1947, we have had to chose between slavery and death,” Khair Bux Marri told Deutsche Welle from his residence in Karachi. The 90-year old Marri is the leader of the biggest Baloch tribe. His life-long struggle against Pakistan has taken him from years of exile in Afghanistan to terms in Pakistani prisons.

His son, Balaach Marri, led the BLA and was killed in 2007 by the Pakistani army. The portrait of this guerrilla leader, wearing a Baloch cap and holding an assault rifle, is almost ubiquitous in Pakistani-controlled Balochistan and can often be spotted alongside Hayrbyar’s, his younger brother, also considered to be a “national hero” by many Baloch.

From his London exile, Hayrbyar Marri calls for the independence of Balochistan and defends the right of “self defence” by his people. When asked about a possible dialogue with Islamabad, he is categorical. “There’s only one thing to negotiate with Islamabad and that’s the immediate pull-out of their occupation troops,” he told Deutsche Welle from his house in London. ….

Harrison also said that the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan enjoys sympathies in the neighboring Sindh province which, according to the journalist, “has brought back the ancient dream of a state or a Sindhi-Balochistan federation extending along the Arabian Sea, from Iran to India.”

Read more: Deutsche Welle

China’s Port in Pakistan?

China’s dream of Indian Ocean ports — the so-called string of pearls — is heightening geopolitical tensions in a rough neighborhood.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Pakistani officials have announced that the Chinese look favorably on taking over the operation of the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, and perhaps building a naval base for the Pakistanis there as well. The Chinese have apparently contradicted these claims, indicating that they have made no such decisions on these matters.

The fact that Pakistan should want deeper Chinese involvement with this strategically located port, even as the Chinese are hesitant to do just that, should surprise no one. Gwadar is where dreams clash with reality. …

Read more : ForeignPolicy

Fukushima lessons for Pakistan

by A.H . Nayyer

Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) is now forty years old. It is rated among the worst functioning reactors of the world. Situated on the Arabian Sea, it was originally far away from populated areas of Karachi, but now many residential schemes have moved close to it. The reactors at Chashma are relatively new. The site is on the bank of River Indus, situated between Indus and Chashma-Jehlum Link Canal. The reactor site is known to be on top of a series of tectonic plates …

Read more : View Point

Dubai on Empty

By A. A. Gill

Excerpt:

…. You look at this place and you realize not a single thing is indigenous, not one of this culture’s goods and chattels originated here. Even the goats have gone. This was a civilization that was bought wholesale. The Gulf is the proof of Carnegie’s warning about wealth: “There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.” Emiratis are born retired. They waft through this city in their white dishdashas and headscarves and their obsessively tapered humorless faces. They’re out of place in their own country. They have imported and built a city, a fortress of extravagance, that excludes themselves. They have become duplicitous, schizophrenic. They don’t allow their own national dress in the clubs and bars that serve alcohol, the restaurants with the hungry girls sipping champagne. So they slip into Western clothes to go out.

The Gulf Arabs have become the minority in this country they wished out of the desert. They are now less than 20 percent of the total population. Among the other 80-plus percent are the white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here. Everyone’s on a visa dependent on a job.

Then there is a third category of people: the drones. The workers. The Asians: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Filipinos. Early in the morning, before the white mercenaries have negotiated their hangovers, long before the Emiratis have shouted at the maid, buses full of hard-hatted Asians pull into building sites. They have the tough, downtrodden look of Communist posters from the 30s—they are both the slaves of capital and the heroes of labor. Asians man the hotels; they run the civil service and the utilities and commercial businesses; they are the clerks and the secretaries, the lawyers, the doctors, the accountants; there isn’t a single facet of this state that would function if they didn’t maintain it. No one with an Emirati passport could change a fuse. Yet, the workers, who make up roughly 71 percent of the population, have precious few rights here. They can’t become citizens, though some are the third generation of their family to be born here. They can be deported at any time. They have no redress. Many of the Asian laborers are owed back pay they aren’t likely to get. There are reams of anecdotal stories about the abuse of guest workers. I’m told about the Pakistani shop assistant who, picking up an Arab woman’s shopping bags, accidentally passed gas, got arrested, and was jailed.

Protests in Oman Spread

By NADA BAKRI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Demonstrators blocked roads and clashed with police on Monday in Oman, the normally quiet oil-rich country along the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, as three-day-old protests calling for political reforms and better living conditions spread to Muscat, the capital.

In the northeast port city of Sohar, where the protests originated, demonstrators blocked roads to the port, Oman’s second biggest, and an industrial area that includes a refinery and an aluminum factory, according to two witnesses in Sohar and news agencies. They also set a supermarket on fire and clashed with the police. Protesters have also been camped out for three days in the city’s main square, called Kurra Ardiyah Roundabout, despite efforts by police and army to push them out, a resident in Sohar said by e-mail. …

Read more : The New York Times

Sindh: Karachi turns deadly – Ethnic warfare in Karachi

Karachi Turns Deadly Amid Pakistan’s Rivalries – By JANE PERLEZ

KARACHI, Pakistan — This chaotic city of 18 million people on the shores of the Arabian Sea has never shrunk from violence. But this year, Karachi has outdone even itself.

Drive-by shootings motivated by political and ethnic rivalries have reached new heights. Marauding gangs are grabbing tracts of land to fatten their electoral rolls. Drug barons are carving out fiefs, and political parties are commonly described as having a finger in all of it. …

Read more : THE NEW YORK TIMES