Tag Archives: cantonment

This is not our war? Still?

By Kamran Shafi

So then, our ‘assets’ have attacked the extremely high security installation, the Kamra Airbase and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex killing one soldier and damaging an aircraft or two. Whilst earlier reports said that one terrorist had been captured alive, we are now being told that all eight, some say nine, have been killed.

If I had anything to do with the investigations, I would certainly look into the matter of the death of the terrorist caught alive, because you see, just like Mehran, I suspect that this was an inside job too.

There is a report also that says all the attackers were foreigners while others say only one was. Be which as it may this only proves the point that there is a collection of terrorists from across the Muslim world congregated in Fata and comfortably embedded with said ‘assets’.

Now then, after all of the attacks this country has suffered at the Taliban’s hands: Kamra; POFs; Sakesar; GHQ; Hamza Camp; ISI buses; Parade Lane; ISI HQs in Lahore and Faisalabad; Moon Market; Marriott; Lahore Cantonment; Mehran airbase; Lt Gen Mushtaq’s brutal murder in Rawalpindi; Peshawar Meena Bazaar and many others,  this is still not our fight; not OUR war? Till when will we live in denial, friends, till when will we call these murdering brutes our  ‘assets’?

Continue reading This is not our war? Still?

Imran Khan Fails in Sindh

By: Zafar Imam

Contrary to many media reports influenced by Imran-o-Phobia, PTI Jalsa in Hyderabad was a plain failure.

Imran Khan – the emerging Tea Partier of Pakistan- held a public meeting (so-called Tsunami) in Hyderabad on 22 June, 2012 which was not more than a small tide. It ran-over to coast, smashed and died. Here I am writing an eye witness account, because I was present in the SRTC ground where it was held.

This event started very late, after 8 p.m. in evening. Before Imran Khan, PTI’s other main leaders took to stage to address the crowd. His was the last speech, which he delivered round about 9.00 pm.

There was a huge deployment of Police and rangers. Barbed wires covered most of the surrounding area. All the nearby shops and hotels were ordered to shut off their business. It felt like he is not a man opposing the Government, but a man enjoying all official protocols and security arrangements which normally an in-government politician would enjoy. SRTC ground is on the same road a few kilometers ahead where Hyderabad cantonment falls. All security arrangements, official level protocol and strategic location of the event near Hyderabad cantonment did not surprise me. Today every Tom, Dick and Harry down the street knows that he is the new found darling of Pakistani establishment.

Most of the crowd was hired. Yes, hired. They belonged to backward areas like Tharparkar and local Muzhiks of nearby towns, who were loaded into buses and driven to SRTC ground in Hyderabad. Anybody visiting the ground from backside would know this truth. Crowd was cunningly arranged in a manner that those belonging to city and looking well-dressed ‘Jazbaati Nojwans’ (angry young men) were programmed to be present in front rows, and those belonging to backward areas, seemingly hired, were programmed to sit in back benches. This sitting arrangement was designed to dodge rolling cameras, which would focus front rows most of the time and will show blurred image of backward rows, such that the ground would seem filled with crowd and cast an impression of ‘Tsunami. Most of the fans of PTI flocking into Imran Khan’s public gatherings are usually his cricket fans too. He had already achieved status of a cricket celebrity in Pakistan before entering politics. Till date, people know him more as a cricketer than a politician. This identity crisis is a challenge for Imran Khan which will ultimately give him tough time in upcoming elections.

As soon as Imran Khan started his speech, people became restless because they were only waiting to see him and by now they had seen him. Finish. They had not gone there to listen to his speech; but for fun. Anybody present in middle of the ground could easily take this feeling with him that people were not listening to him; instead they were talking loudly, crying and whistling. One could hardly listen to what he was saying.

Just after about 8 minutes of his speech, people were seen flocking out of the ground. Groups of 30, 40 people during his speech started to leave ground.

And why?

Because celebrity had finally appeared and it was worth nothing more than his mere appearance.

Within 15 to 20 minutes, ground was almost half empty! Ghosh! Imran Khan failed in Hyderabad. And Hyderabad is political and cultural center of Sindh. We could easily deduce that Imran Khan failed in Sindh. Just 20 minutes after he had started speech, ground was short of crowd and he had to complete his speech in haste. Quickly after that lights were shut off, SRTC ground and nearby roads fell dead silent. It ended so quickly, so rapidly. Hardly 5-8 thousand people were present in the ground against the claims of PTI.

Sindh is different; it has no room for such neo-conservative Pakistani patriotic chauvinism.

Observations before Jalsa

Before this event I had visited nearby areas of SRTC ground at daytime. I snapped some photographs and talked to people to know how they’ll respond to Imran Khan’s Jalsa at night?

In nearby streets and neighborhood where wall posters were affixed and banners were hanged, people showed a silent dissent with Imran Khan. I knew it from torn wall posters and banners in nearby areas. Clearly, people did not want him here. Generally in Sindh, people leave political posters, wallpapers and banners hanged wherever they are. This was a clear message that people already recognize him as a phantom of establishment.

This so-called ‘Tsunami’ was a failed scene of a small tide dying away. Sindh is more politically aware in this regard because it knows who is for them and who is not for them. It recognizes Talibans in guise of Imran Khan; it knows who is who and what is what. Neo-conservative, revivalist, patriotic chauvinist brand of politics has to face very tough time in Sindh.

Courtesy: http://zafarimam.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/imran-khan-fails-in-sindh/

Balochistan – Heavy bombardment on Dera Bugti by the Pakistan Armed Forces

{{{{{{{{{{{{ Sarmachar News March 14, 2012 }}}}}}}}}}}}

According to Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), heavy bombardment taking place in Dera Bugti since this morning by Pakistan Armed Force at least 12 civilians confirmed to dead and over 26 wounded. Those who lost their lives in bombardment have been named as Hangal Bugti S/O Lal Khan, Wader Abdul Rehman S/O Wadero Shahi Bugti, Goddaa S/O Ezzat Bugti, Band Ali S/O Meer Dost Bugti, Gull Mohammad Bugti S/O Peer Mohammd Bugti, Durro Bugti S/O Rasool Bux Bugti, Karim Bux Bugti S/O Jamal Bugti , Janar Bugti S/O Wassna Bugti , Jalal Khan Bugti S/O Dhani Bux Bugti.

{{{{{{{{{{{{ B.L.F ZUMADAARI, March 15, 2012 }}}}}}}}}}}}

According to Waja “Dodo Baloch” of Balochistan Libration Front, in the retaliation, the Baloch Sarmachars have attacked on the cantonment of Pakistan Frontier Constabulary and in the battle of the 20 minutes, 9 F.C. soldiers shot dead and the Baloch Sarmachars also destroyed a check post that was under construction near Buleda area.

Source – News adopted from facebook.

Bruce Riedel – Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout

Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, an ex–security chief for Pakistan, accuses former president Pervez Musharraf of knowing where bin Laden was hiding and saying nothing.

By Bruce Riedel

Ever since the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the country’s national military academy, the question haunting American relations with Pakistan has been: who knew he was there? How did the most-wanted man in human history find a hideout in one of Pakistan’s most exclusive military cantonment cities and live there for five years without the Pakistani spy service finding him? Or did it know all along?

Now there is an explosive new charge. The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) says former president Pervez Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, was head of the ISI from 1997 to 1999. A four-star general, he fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. He was the first head of the Army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the country’s nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him director-general of the ISI in 1997 and promoted him to chief of Army staff on Oct. 12, 1999, when he fired Musharraf from the job. Musharraf refused to go and launched a coup that overthrew Sharif. Ziauddin spent the next two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the Army, and had his property confiscated and his retirement benefits curtailed. So he has a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf.

Bearing that in mind, here is what the former spy chief claims. Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.

Ijaz Shah is a colorful character. He has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. Saeed was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban. Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Shah of being behind the attempt to murder her when she returned from exile in late 2007. She was, of course, killed in another attempt later that year. Shah fled to Australia for a time while the situation cooled off.

Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad and Musharraf knew all about it.

Without a doubt, Ziauddin has an ax to grind. But he is also well tied in to the Pakistani intelligence world. When he was DG/ISI, he set up a special commando team to find and capture bin Laden with U.S. help. Elite commandos from the Special Services Group, Pakistan’s SEALs, were put on the hunt. Musharraf disbanded the group after he took power. Ziauddin’s successor at the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, refused American requests to go after bin Laden right up to 9/11. Then Musharraf had to fire him because, even after 9/11, he did not want to do anything to bring bin Laden to justice.

We don’t know who was helping hide bin Laden, but we need to track them down. If Mush, as many call him in Pakistan, knew, he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America. The explosive story about him, which was first reported in the must-read Militant Leadership Monitor, is more than an academic issue. If we can find who hid bin Laden, we will probably know who is hiding his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the al Qaeda gang.

Courtesy: The Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/pakistan-s-musharraf-has-been-accused-of-knowing-osama-bin-laden-s-hideout.html

Arshad Sharif of DAWN TV under threat

Censoring Dawn TV‏ – by A. H. Nayyar

A very interesting thing happened this evening (28th July).

DawnTV was airing Arshad Sharif’s talk show Reporter. The topic today was growth of Islamic militancy, especially Jundullah within Pakistan’s military and its connection with Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.

He started by showing a documentary on how Jundullah started in Quetta cantonment, how it spread across different formations of the military, showing some footage that looked original.

The discussants with Arshad were Air Marshall Shahzad Choudhry, Zahid Hussain and ret Gen Hamid Nawaz. As the documentary started, we saw, Hamid nawaz getting up and leaving.

Arshad then showed another short documentary which gave public sentiments on such trends in the military. Then came a commercial break.

After the break, the viewers saw that the program has been taken off the air. Instead Dawn started airing a completely different and old episode of Reporter. Clearly, the live program was censored. And clearly, from the top military brass.

What does the military have to hide that needed this censoring? Any comments from anyone knowledgeable?

I truly fear for the life of the brave journalist who had prepared the documentary.

Courtesy: → LUBP

via → LIC blog

The cost of Pakistan’s double game

By Daud Khattak

Excerpt:

…. Yet even after militants were allowed to settle in the tribal areas with little resistance from the Pakistani state, the tribesmen were (and are still) told that it was because of U.S. drone strikes that these “holy warriors” fled to their areas. Hence, each missile against foreign militants or their Pakistani counterparts increased the potential number of militants flowing in and fueled rising anti-Americanism in Pakistan, serving the short-term political interests of pro-Taliban elements in the country’s security establishment, while allowing the army to play on anti-American sentiment domestically while still occasionally offering militants to the United States, either for arrest or targeting by drones, as a sign of good faith and in order to maintain a steady flow of military aid.

Recent history provides ample room for suspicion that the relationship between militants and the Pakistani military or intelligence agencies continues. Some key points should lead informed observers, for instance, to suspect some knowledge of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s presence in the highly-secured cantonment town of Abbottabad among Pakistani intelligence officials. For instance, the structure of the house is very different from the rest of the buildings in the area, and that plus the barbed wires atop its 18 to 20 feet high boundary walls would have likely drawn some suspicion to the compound’s residents.

The compound is located less than a kilometer from Pakistan’s Kakul Military Academy. Security officials, who keep a strict watch on anyone entering and living in a cantonment zone, somehow managed to miss the compound, which sticks out from the others around it. The Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani even visited the Kakul Academy less than 10 days before the May 2 raid, something that was undoubtedly preceded by security officials combing the nearby areas for any suspicious people or activities, as is the standard practice for such visits. Additionally, locals told the writer that three gas connections were provided to the house within a few days after its construction, which otherwise takes weeks if not months. But again, no alarm was raised.

Additionally, groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Sipah-e-Sihaba Pakistan (SSP) continue to operate openly despite being nominally banned. Indeed, locals I have spoken with in Kurram agency blame Pakistani intelligence for bringing the Sunnis against the Shi’a there, simply to show the world that Pakistan is heading towards de-stabilization and only U.S. and international support can save the society from becoming radical (not to mention the benefit accrued by the Haqqani network, who now have space to operate if their North Waziristan sanctuary is compromised). And a brief look at some of the militants operating in Pakistan currently raises questions about how they have been able to implant themselves and continue operating.

For instance, is it believable that Khyber agency-based militant and former bus driver Mangal Bagh, a warlord with no more than 500 volunteers, can operate just 15 kilometers away from Pakistan’s 11 Corps headquarters in the town of Bara, kidnapping people from Peshawar and other parts of the country, attacking powerful tribal elders, ministers, and journalists from Khyber agency, attacking NATO supply convoys, and carrying out public attacks and executions? Maulana Fazlullah, a leading warlord in the Swat Valley, a man who was once a chair-lift operator on the Swat River, became the most powerful commander in the area in a span of two years, with little government opposition. When the military conducted an operation in Swat upon the request of the secular Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) government in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, Fazlullah somehow managed to break a cordon of 20,000 soldiers backed by helicopters and jets to escape. And in Bajaur, Taliban commander Faqir Muhammad’s forces were “cleared” in 2008, but though hundreds of thousands of locals were displaced, their houses destroyed, their crops burnt and their cattle killed, Faqir Muhammad continues to leave peacefully in the agency.

And those who rose up to confront the Taliban received little protection from the government. When the ANP, after coming into power in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, raised its voice against the Taliban, party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan was attacked by a suicide bomber inside his house in his hometown of Charsadda. Since then, the party leadership has lived in Islamabad. The party’s spokesman and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar’s son was killed by armed men close to his house last July. Mian Iftikhar and another outspoken minister of the KP government, Bashir Bilour, escaped several attempts on their lives; Asfandyar Wali Khan’s sister Dr. Gulalay, who is not involved with party politics, was attacked in Peshawar, and ANP lawmaker Alam Zeb Khan was killed in a bomb attack in the same city, before finally the party leadership and members were forced to stop their vocal opposition to the militants.

To read complete article: Foreign Policy

via Wichaar

The hornet is dead, near the nest – Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Pakistani brass was caught red-handed and was not given an option to say no to the operation. But the Pakistani deep state still does not get it, for its ideological sympathies are elsewhere.

Doveryai, no proveryai! This Russian proverb, meaning ‘trust, but verify’, popularised by Vladimir Lenin and later by Ronald Reagan, has not rung truer than in the events surrounding the assassination of Osama bin Laden (OBL) earlier this week. And we may see it applied much more intensely in the months to come.

Phone calls from friends in Abbottabad about an ongoing military action there, were enough to suggest that something big was happening in what the locals had always believed to be an ISI-run facility, but the e-mail news alert from The Wall Street Journal announcing OBL’s death was still a major surprise. Against the norms of punditry, this time one hoped that we were wrong and this was not happening in Pakistan. But it was, and yes, we now stand vindicated: all of us who had been saying and writing for years that the US’s most wanted man was not under the protection of any major Pashtun tribe but was guarded by the clan that has anointed itself as the guardians of Pakistan’s ‘ideological’ and geographical frontiers. It is this same clan that had actually codified in its curriculum that “you are the selected lords; you are the cream of the nation”. Where else could this syllabus have been taught but at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul — less than a mile from OBL’s last lair?

There is no polite way of saying it but these masters of Pakistan’s fortunes got egg on their face and that too with the whole world watching. A Peshawarite calling in on a television show said it most aptly: “Koilay ki dallali mein haath to kalay hotay hein per moonh bhi kala hota hai” (Those, whose business is foul, not only get their hands dirty but a blackened face too). But they still have the nerve to say with a straight face that a million-dollar fortress under their nose had been “off their radar”!

Not only that but they also have the gall to mobilise the right-wing media to create the smokescreen of sovereignty yet again while simultaneously playing up their ‘role’ in support of the US action in Abbottabad. The world, however, is not buying that in a cantonment city, the army — which keeps track of every inch of land around its facilities — did not know what was going on in the high-walled compound next to its primary training academy. The paid spin masters will have to do better than this. No matter what President Asif Zardari or his ghostwriter is made to say in op-ed articles in US papers, it is the top brass that is under scrutiny. Using the civilian political leadership as the human shield is not going to work, as the calculus has changed dramatically.

Barack Obama’s token acknowledgment of Pakistan’s non-specific cooperation is being construed by the Pakistani establishment and its minions to imply that the US can be taken for a ride again. It is too early for the specifics to surface but conversations with several sources in Washington and Pakistan point only to the deep mistrust that the US has had vis-à-vis Pakistan. There was no deal initiated by General Shuja Pasha to ‘trade in’ OBL for a bigger Pakistani role in Afghanistan. On the contrary, in response to the chest thumping by the Pakistani security establishment and its ultra right-wing political acolytes, they were confronted with damning evidence about the Haqqani network and possibly the Quetta Shura, while the OBL lead was not shared. The no-fly zone over Pakistan was created through phone calls, minutes after the OBL operation got underway. While the Pakistani brass is clutching at straws like blaming the ‘two Pashtun guards’ for protecting OBL’s compound, it was caught red-handed and was not given an option to say no to the operation. But the Pakistani deep state still does not get it, for its ideological sympathies are elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton’s nuanced diplomatic statements notwithstanding, the mood of the US leadership is almost reflective of the immediate post-9/11 days and was conveyed well by Senator Carl Levin in his remark: “(Pakistan has) a lot of explaining to do … I think the army and the intelligence of Pakistan have plenty of questions that they should be answering.” In a complete paradigm shift, any leverage that the Pakistani junta was hoping to gain from the bravado that started with the Raymond Davis affair has been lost completely. What will follow is a steady demand within the US to hold Pakistan’s feet to the fire. While maintaining a semblance of a working relationship, a very tough line will be adopted in private. The question bound to come up is not just why Pakistan was hanging on to OBL but also if there was any connection of its operatives to the 9/11 tragedy.

From a tactical standpoint, the OBL operation is likely to serve as a template for future action against the jihadist leadership hiding in Pakistan, especially with General David Petraeus assuming his new role in the near future. To get closer to the strategic objective of a certain level of stability within Afghanistan and potentially a political reconciliation there, it is imperative for the US to neutralise the next two key hurdles, i.e. the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network. Both these entities have so far been able to evade the US’s reach, thanks to the Pakistani security establishment’s patronage.

Members of the Haqqani clan have been roaming freely in the vicinity of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Khalil Haqqani has conducted several meetings in the previous few months to broker the ‘peace deal’ for the Kurram Agency. It is inconceivable that he could act without the knowledge of the Pakistani security agencies. Similarly, Quetta is home to the Pakistan Army’s XII Corps, ISI regional headquarters, the Balochistan Frontier Corps, an army recruitment centre, the Pakistan Air Force base Samungli and the Pakistan Army’s prestigious Command and Staff College. One wonders if the Pakistani brass would still be able to say that they do not know the whereabouts of Mullah Omar.

A window of opportunity perhaps still exists for Pakistan to make a clean break with the past but its incoherent blame-game and constantly changing story says otherwise. The Pakistani establishment has given the world very little reason to trust it without verifying — unless, of course, another hornet is to be missed hiding near a major nest.

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201155\story_5-5-2011_pg3_2