Tag Archives: base

Sindh known a Center of Peace and Tolerance is now ruled by Armed Gangs

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

Although every one is shocked by the daring attack by Taliban on a Naval Air base in Karachi, an article in DAWN titled “Armed gangs outnumber police in Karachi” provides eye-opening statistics about other armed groups (http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/23/armed-gangs-outnumber-police-in-karachi.html in the same city.  According to the newspaper this assessment is by an American official. The article The following are some key data quoted in the article:

1. Sunni Tehreek (ST), organized itself on the lines of MQM and created a very strong armed group that is organized in small teams with commanders in many parts of Karachi. The article says that “it is disproportionately powerful because of the influx of MQM-H gunmen.”

2. There are several areas in Karachi where police would not enter and ISI folks show reluctance to go to those areas.

3. MQM is the largest such armed group with 10,000 active armed personnel and another 25,000 organized as a reserve force.

4. MQM-H has very strong armed presence in Landhi and Korangi.

5. The report says that although traditional PPP has avoided having any armed wing in Karachi, a significant number of licensed and unlicensed licenses are being being obtained by PPP workers and its armed presence in Karachi will soon rival to that of MQM.

6. The Awami National Party (ANP) has a large cache of personal weapons and soon Karachi will become the “the largest Pashtun city in the world.” The report further says that the “hard-line’ Pashtuns in the Sohrab Goth neighborhood.”

It is a very dark assessment that if true does not bode well for the future of  Sindh and it’s capital city of Karachi.

Reflections by an ex-army officer

by Masood Raja

We were told to avoid talking politics in the dining hall, as it was against the spirit of the army rules, General Zia, our then dictator, was canvassing the nation to gain support for his sham referendum. No general has left the service for Abbottabad episode. But then, our generals are known for losing half a country without feeling any remorse

Read more : ViewPoint

Is Imran supporting the Taliban? – by Naeem Tahir

Excerpt:

…. His political stance needs a careful and serious analysis. The main point of concern is that he has never taken a clear stand against the activities of the Taliban. Instead, he has been pleading for a ‘negotiated’ settlement, knowing full well that all negotiations and ‘peace’ agreements have been used by the Taliban for the purpose of consolidating and then continuing terror activity. He should have offered to negotiate himself if he was confident of this course of action. The failure of the infamous Swat agreements must still be fresh in the public memory. Imran has never supported the army action. This includes army action in Swat and in South Waziristan. He has not even condemned the attacks on army General Headquarters (GHQ) and, more recently, the attack on the Pakistan Navy Station (PNS) Mehran base.

On the other hand, he is prominent in demanding the blocking of supplies to NATO forces through Pakistan — a step which would help the Taliban. He is against drone attacks. It is true that the drones cause regrettable collateral damage but they also target the al Qaeda and its supporters. The Taliban also demand an end to drones. Imran is prominently part of anti-US campaigns. True that many American policies have been self-serving, but then it is our responsibility to protect Pakistan’s interests against any foreign country, not just the US. Just being against the US and the war on terror is again an indirect help to the Taliban. Most significantly, his calling the war on terror as an American war is the standard Taliban slogan. Over 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed due to the Taliban’s terror attacks. Is it still not our war?

Looking at these factors, one is forced to question: what side is Imran on?

He is agitating in Karachi against the supplies to NATO forces, and the drone attacks. He was active with the extreme Right in protesting against Raymond Davis’ release. He has been doing sit-in protests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In fact, the PTI has been doing so many protests that it may be aptly called Tehreek-e-Ehtijaj. Imran’s group seems to be joining every protest and playing to the gallery.

This strategy has also given certain advantages to Imran Khan. Consistent ‘exposure’ is one of these. Perhaps more significant is the fact that he has won over a sizeable portion of the supporters of Nawaz Sharif. This support primarily comes from the Taliban or their sympathisers. So Imran Khan is obliged to toe their line. As a politician he realised that the white collar will not win him an election but the rightists may. They get together, provide street power as well as loud noises, and this works to collect crowds. Imran is the preferred choice of extreme Right also because of his energetic style, which is more convincing than that of Nawaz Sharif; his eloquence is impressive against Nawaz Sharif’s limited capability, and indeed Imran is a ‘fresh’ image as compared to the repeatedly tried image of Nawaz Sharif. He may find it very hard to risk alienating himself from this segment. He also likes to have them because it is quieting down the critics of his flamboyance and flirtations of youth.

Soon there will be the final stage when Imran may need to do some soul searching once again, and decide if he is going to flow with the tide of extremist groups or stand on his own and refuse to be their cover politician.

To read complete article: Daily Times

Kitnay aadmi thay? — Char

by Waseem Altaf

Commodore Irfan-ul-Haq said that since they came at night hence they could not be effectively countered. Earlier on, the Air Chief complained that during Abbotabad operation the US choppers entered our airspace at night, hence could not be engaged. Well our armed forces should issue a communiqué to all our possible adversaries that all enemy incursions should take place during daytime so that they can be effectively intercepted.

One of the most memorable dialogues of the 1975 blockbuster Sholay was “kitnay aadmi thay” and in reply the bandit ashamedly says “do aadmi thay”, this response turns Gabbar Singh the gang leader, in a fit of rage, who then shoots the three cowardly dacoits.

The outlaws of “Sholay” faced two; the lead pair Veeru and Jai, while the fantastic four who conducted the Rambo Class operation on the night of 22nd May 2011, at Mahran air base were facing elements of 25th mechanized infantry division, navy commandos (SSGN), navy marines, Zarrar battalion of the SSG, rangers, elite force and the police, both deployed and in reserve.

The ground forces also enjoyed support of choppers from above. However those four guys whose average age was 20 mocked a brigade plus strength of the sixth largest army of the world for a good 16 hours. The planning, determination, execution and the level of motivation was simply superb. Two of them fought till death while the other two blew themselves up. None tried to flee and none surrendered. However before being liquidated they had transformed two P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft into pulp. The two machines cost rupees six billion while 10 personnel of the security forces were eliminated. Damage to any other installations is still being kept a secret. This was at the tactical level.

Read more : ViewPoint

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Tuzk e Jahangiri

by Hakim Hazik

I am very sad today. I am crying. They have tacked the Suzuki Mehran Base and killed innocent innocent peepal and destroyed the Orions we loved so much, on which we had spent so much money. With this money the Shriek Chairman could have baught at least ten thousand Qingchis and opened at least three counts in Sweezerland.

Shriek Chairman has gan to Mascow. He has seen the Sukhois. He has ridden in the Ladas. Shahsab has gan to Peeking. He has seen the janyan madels of Qingchis and given the Cheeni brathers the punkha which they are going to change into the helicapter once again. Our determination as a nation should nat be underestimated. Democracy is the best revenge.

We will protect our ideology even if we have to eat grass. Feez Shaikh has pramised that the grass will be free of the (reformed) journal sales tax. However the IMF has opposed gornamint subsidies on grass as it can lead to distortions in the Free Market and add to the already huge current account deficit. Strauss-Kahn Sab has said that he will look sympathetically into the matter, as soon he receives his bail.

The Field Marshall has been quiet. I think so, he is depressed. He sent Pashasab to taak to the parliyament. He was not pleased when Choinisar started shouting mother sister. When the Field Marshall is depressed, Nawab Din Halwai says we should store bread and water. He thinks any thing can happen such as Kargil or 5th of July. May Allah (SWT) protect the bottom of the Ummah from the floggings of illegal dictators and innocent Secty Journals fram the dungeons of the Shahi Qila. Ameen.

There has been an outcry fram the free and independent media anchors, driven by a sense of selfless devotion to the freedom of press and a madest stipend fram the ISPR, that that we should provide spoat to our armed forces. I fully spoat this spoat. I gree that this is nat the time to put the ISI under the control of Malik Sab. This would lead to anarchy, chaos and disintegration and will shake the foundations of our ideology. It is our duty as a nation to accept the sovereignty of God and the ISI over every walk of life. Only then we can succeed in this world and the next.

I think so, we need a regional slooshan to the prablem of Fghanistan. We can sit down with our brathers in Central Asia, Roos, Cheen and Araan and ask the Mreecans to get out. That way we can keep our strategic depth without loosing our Strategic Deterrent. We can keep Hafiz Sab with Lashkar, Qani Sab with network, Headly Sab in Chicago, Mullah Sahib with Shura, and Maulana Sab with Jaish. In this way, my brathers and sisters, we can have our falooda and eat it too. …

Read more : ViewPoint

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

Writer, columnist, and intellectual, Najam Sethi’s honest views

Pakistan’s estimated losses by terrorists during attack on Mehran Navel Base is 10 arub rupees (about $13.0 million). The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aapas Ki Baat – Najam Sethi Kay Saath, views On Current Affairs – 23 May 2011)

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CARTE BLANCHE: Horror, of which I am dying – Mehmal Sarfraz

Excerpt:

It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture. ….

…. There are many reasons why most people in Pakistan continue to live in denial but the main one is our security paradigm. For decades we have been fed lies by our military. The military has overtly and covertly supported terrorist networks. A large chunk of our budget goes to defence without anyone questioning our armed forces on where it is spent. Between loan repayments and the defence budget, hardly any money is left to be spent on education, healthcare, development, etc. India is made out to be enemy number one. To counter the ‘Indian threat’, we need the vile Taliban on our side in Afghanistan since they are our “strategic assets”; we nurture terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) to carry out militant jihad in Indian Kashmir and cross-border attacks inside India; we are soon going to be “the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power” as per some reports. Lest we forget, we have lost all official and unofficial wars against India (most of which, by the way, were started by Pakistan). An atomic bomb and stockpiles of nuclear weapons is no guarantee that we can win in the unlikely event of another war. The only reason why our military has kept this threat perception alive is because it is hard for them to part with the moolah that keeps coming their way and the power they wield over this country. It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture.

The Pakistan military’s double game in the war on terror was never a secret yet the US kept pouring in billions of dollars in military aid to secure our help in the war on terror. Young soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives in combat and terrorist attacks because of the flawed policies of the military establishment.

The day Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad by the US, the world’s suspicions were confirmed. Our intelligence agencies claimed incompetence, but not many buy this excuse, given how bin Laden was living in such close proximity to the Pakistan Military Academy. The world turned on our military and intelligence agencies but our government chose to give them a clean chit. Mian Nawaz Sharif, for whatever reasons, was the only one who took a principled stance as far as civil-military relations were concerned but he found no takers in the current democratic set-up who stood by him. After decades our civilian leadership had a golden opportunity to take the military to task but in order to pursue their political interests, the government and its allies let them off scot-free.

The problem is that, however much we try to hide our flaws, the world is not blind. Our security establishment cannot keep on harbouring terrorists. It is time to wake up to the reality that we cannot go on like this forever because it is a sure-shot recipe for self-destruction.

Pakistan’s name has been tarnished by those who claim to be our ‘guardians’ and ‘protectors’. As Pakistanis, we must vow not to let anyone wreak havoc in the name of ‘strategic depth’. Victor Jara, a Chilean political activist and revolutionary poet, was arrested and taken to the Chile Stadium in September 1973 following a military coup. He wrote a poem — ‘Estadio Chile’ — which spoke of the horror in front of him. His words, though written in a different context, haunt me every time a terrorist attack takes place:

“How hard it is to sing,

When I must sing of horror.

Horror which I am living,

Horror which I am dying.”

Pakistanis are living and dying a horror of which we must all sing. Let’s stop this horror now. It may take years but we must break our silence and speak the truth for once.

To read complete article: Daily Times

via Wichaar

Pakistan media ridicules military after attack

By Chris Allbritton

ISLAMABAD: (Reuters) – Pakistan’s military was ridiculed and accused of complicity in the media on Tuesday after a small group of militants laid siege to a naval air base, holding out for 16 hours against about 100 commandos and rangers.

As few as six militants infiltrated the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi, the headquarters of Pakistan’s naval air wing, on Sunday night, killing 10 security forces and wounding 20.

“Our mujahideen who conducted this operation were equipped with faith as well as with sophisticated weapons and that’s why they fought with hundreds of security forces and inflicted heavy losses on them,” Pakistan Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters from an undisclosed location. …

Read more : Reuters

Pakistan nuclear security ‘of concern’: NATO

KABUL: The head of Nato said Tuesday he was confident Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe, but admitted it was a matter of concern, the day after the worst assault on a Pakistani military base in two years.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Afghanistan on a one-day visit and met President Hamid Karzai to discuss the transition of security from Nato-led troops to Afghan security forces, which is due to begin in July.

Rasmussen was asked if Nato was concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons after it took Pakistani forces 17 hours to reclaim control of a naval air base from Taliban attackers and following the death of Osama bin Laden.

“I feel confident that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is safe and well protected,” said Rasmussen. “But of course it is a matter of concern and we follow the situation closely.”

The attack in Karachi, the worst on a base since the army headquarters was besieged in October 2009, piled further embarrassment on Pakistan three weeks after the al Qaeda leader was found living in the city of Abbottabad, close to the country’s military academy.

Rasmussen was scheduled to wind up his Afghan visit on Tuesday after spending a night and a full day in Afghanistan.

Courtesy: DAWN

Pakistan’s Military Faces New Questions After Raid

By SALMAN MASOOD

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Battered by the fallout of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s army and navy chiefs came under fire again from analysts and raucous political talk shows for lapses in security that allowed militants to storm Karachi’s naval base, leading to a 16-hour standoff that ended Monday.

Journalists and retired service members repeatedly questioned how the militants could have breached the security of the naval base. The Navy chief, Admiral Nauman Bashir, was particularly pilloried for denying there was any security lapse when he spoke to journalists in Karachi after the attack.

The frenzied questioning on all of Pakistan’s news channels was an indication of the shock that the attack on Karachi’s naval base has caused around the country, still reeling from the scandal of the killing of Bin Laden on May 2, and the questions it further raises about the ability of Pakistan’s military establishment to safeguard its vital assets and nuclear installations.

The Pakistani military has come under unusual criticism for allowing Bin Laden to live for five years near the top military academy in Abbottabad, a small city about 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, and the latest attack was seen as yet more proof of the parlous state of Pakistan’s armed forces.

“The repeated failure of the Pakistani security forces to preempt terrorist activity has demoralized not only the Pakistani soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but has also severely dented the reputation of the three services in the eyes of the people they are expected to defend” wrote Javed Husain, a security analyst on the website of DAWN daily newspaper. “Worse still, the servicemen and the people have begun to see the terrorists as ten feet tall.”

The attack would have serious repercussions not only for the military but also for the security and unity of the country, Arif Nizami, editor of Pakistan Today, a Lahore based daily, warned on another show. The Pakistan Navy was a relatively weak flank and could be easily targeted, he said.

Hamid Mir, the influential host of Capital Talk on GEO TV, even dared criticize the military for its handling of previous attacks by militants. The attack in Karachi was similar in scale and seriousness to the 2009 storming by militants on the army general headquarters in Rawalpindi, and could have been avoided if there had been a public enquiry into the earlier attack, he said.

Mr. Mir said he feared an inquiry could be initiated against him or anyone else who raised this question. He has long advocated that Pakistan should not side with the United States, but he has also denounced the Taliban.

The attack in Karachi comes as the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has been indicating in private meetings with senior editors and defense analysts over recent days that he wanted to improve morale and dispel the impression of incompetence of the armed forces by redoubling efforts against terrorism and insurgency.

Reflecting the overriding concern the Pakistan military has about its nuclear weapons program, General Kayani repeatedly emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe from any attack or foreign intervention, according to one analyst who was present at one of the meetings.

The general added that Senator John Kerry gave him assurances during his visit to Pakistan last week that the United States is not interested in seizing Pakistan’s nuclear weapon. Senator Kerry told him he was ready to write down with his own blood that America was not interested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, he said.

In an indication of the divide in Pakistani society, commentators differed in their reactions to the 16-hour battle, with some urging political and military leaders to come together on a united counterterrorism policy to combat militancy, while others repeated familiar anti-American, anti-Indian theories, calling for a change in foreign policy and relations with the United States as the way to end the violence.

The conflicting narratives were evident in a talk show on DUNYA TV Monday afternoon with the hosts repeating conspiracy theories but some of their guests speaking more plainly.

Much of the reaction to the attack on its southern port, Karachi, also revealed Pakistan’s deep seated insecurity and sense of vulnerability regarding its longtime rival, India.

“This is a security failure,” Shehzad Chaudhry, a retired air vice marshal, said on the show. The need of the hour was to focus on the security forces and their capability, instead of focusing on the question that who could possibly be behind those Taliban, who are attacking Pakistani military, he said. “There is a need to develop national counterterrorism policy and bring our own house in order first.”

Talat Masood, a retired Lt. Gen and defense analyst, said on the same show: “We should not go into self denial. This insurgency is against you. They want to destabilize the state of Pakistan.”

Yet many commentators remain reluctant to criticize the powerful military establishment in Pakistan and tend to fall back on repeating conspiracies that the world is out to destabilize Pakistan and remove its nuclear weapons by force.

Pakistanis, on the whole, are unwilling to accept the idea that their own Muslim brothers based in the tribal areas are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Pakistanis since 9/11,” said Arif Rafiq, a political analyst based in Washington in an interview. …..

Read more : The New York Tiems

Air force and Navy base attacked in Pakistan by terrorists

Militants storm Pakistani navy base

By ADIL JAWAD, Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan – Islamist militants stormed a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late Sunday, destroying a U.S.-supplied surveillance aircraft, firing rockets and battling commandos sent to subdue them in one of the most brazen attacks in years, officials said.

At least four navy personnel were killed and nine wounded in fighting at the Naval Station Mehran that was going on more than four hours after the strike began, said navy spokesman Irfan ul Haq. He did not know how many militants had been killed or wounded.

Between 10 and 15 attackers entered the high-security facility before splitting up into smaller groups, setting off explosions and hiding in the sprawling facility, he said.

“We are receiving fire from different directions,” said another spokesman, Salman Ali.

The coordinated strike rocked the country’s largest city just under three weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden in an American raid on the northwestern garrison city of Abbottabad, an event al-Qaida allied extremists here have vowed to avenge. ….

Read more : Yahoo News

More details: BBC urdu

Pakistan looks towards China for building naval base in Gwadar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Saturday it wanted China to build it a naval base, in the latest sign of moves to strengthen ties with Beijing as relations with Washington falter.

The announcement from Pakistan’s defence minister came a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani returned from a four-day visit to China, Islamabad’s biggest arms supplier.

“We would be … grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is … constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan,” Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said in a statement, referring to the deep-water port in Pakistan’s southwest.

The statement did not say whether Pakistan had asked China to build the base at the port in Balochistan province.

Islamabad is trying to deepen ties with Beijing as relations with the United States have strained following the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month.

Many in Washington have called for a review of billions of dollars of US aid to Pakistan after discovering bin Laden had been hiding for years in a Pakistani garrison town.

China invested $200 million in the first phase of the construction of the port, which was inaugurated in 2007.

The development, 70 km east of the Iranian border and on the doorstep of Gulf shipping lanes, was designed to handle transhipment traffic for the Gulf. ….

Read more: The Express Tribune