Tag Archives: conflict

Indus River: Water Scarcity And The Conflict Between Sindh And Punjab

The basic source of irrigation for Pakistan agriculture is the Indus River. Water resources are becoming shorter due to the irregular flow of water in the Indus River. To overcome the problem of water shortage and to meet the water demands of rising populations, the Punjab and the federal governments are in favor of constructing more dams in order to store the water which is being wasted otherwise. On the contrary, the Sindh holds the point that the construction of dams such as KBD and Bhasha dam would deprived them of their due shares from IBIS. There has been a distrust regarding water sharing between the two provinces.

The conflict between the two provinces exists since pre-partition and the issue is still a bone of contention between the two provinces as Sindh have reservations regarding the construction of KBD and other dams i.e. they see the building of KBD as a cause of desertification and water scarcity, however Punjab feels it necessary to construct more dams in order to save our coming generations from severe water scarcity.

Read more >> Water Politics
http://www.waterpolitics.com/2013/03/03/indus-river-water-scarcity-and-the-conflict-between-sindh-and-punjab/

Russia hits back at Turkey by changing Syria ‘game’

Moscow’s retaliation after Turkey downed its military jet could tie Ankara’s hands in Syria.

By Zeina Khodr, Roving Correspondent

Russia is striking back after a “stab in the back by an accomplice to terrorists” by changing the “game” in Syria.

Moscow’s retaliation is not just about severing economic and diplomatic ties. It is pursuing a policy that could tie Turkey’s hands in Syria.

Ankara never received international backing for a safe zone across its border, but Russia has now ruled that out.

The deployment of S-400 anti-air missiles means Russia has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over Syria.

And now, Moscow seems to be moving closer to a group that has been the US-led coalition’s main ground force in Syria – a group which Turkey, itself a member of that coalition, calls “terrorists”.

The Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG) is a US-backed Kurdish group that has pushed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from areas along the border with Turkey.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/europe/2015/11/russia-hits-turkey-changing-syria-game-151129172933416.html

Jammu Kashmir Conflict: Potential Variables Leading to Clash of Civilizations in Himalayas

By Nayyar N Khan

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Armed conflicts both on micro and macro level have always played a significant role in shaping the political trends in South Asia when visualized through the prism of modern day evolving tendencies. The entire region has been shadowed by the alarming apprehension of security concerns, cross-border conflicts and poor connectivity. The fragile situation of the one of the thickly populated region in the world has made it one of the least integrated in the world besides having certain common bonds across the international borders. India and Pakistan being two nuclear rivals and key states of the region have always been on forefronts since their creation in 1947. Religion has always been a dominant factor in classifying the geo-political trends while analyzing the Indo-Pak relations. Although India maintained her secular traditions as promised by her founding fathers but in practice religion was one of the fueling elements that impacted the Indian politics. 2014 victory of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) headed by Prime Minister Modi have altered the designs and corridors of South Asian politics in general and that of India in particular. While Pakistani politicians, on the other hand have consistently failed to identify the common “Political Nomenclature” as a characteristic symbol of their country. Instead of looking for the common bonds among masses to strengthen the democratic character politicians have always preferred to take refuge under the imported umbrella of identification and sadly ignored the true sentiments of the struggling masses. With the new Indian identity after BJP’s victory the dimensions of regional conflicts also shifted from political to more deeply implanted in religious ones.  The conflict over Jammu Kashmir has its historical roots in human rights and right of freedom and development. Over the years and decades both India and Pakistan have turned the Kashmir conflict into a religious one and have deliberately ignored the important variables to find the lasting solution of the conflict.

While, on the other hand, the emergence of China as a regional and global leader and her stature as an influential economic giant has further complicated the regional conflicts in South Asia because of the growing Chinese political influence accompanied by the goods and services of Beijing in the region. At one hand China has influenced the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of disputed state of Jammu Kashmir bordering Xinjiang, while on the other continuous diplomatic muscles are used while determining the border issues with India. Rising fundamentalism within the Chinese territories and counter strategies to tackle and handle the deteriorating situation has widen the range of conflict from territorial to an ideological and regional one ranging from China to Central Asia and on the other side of the border into Pakistan.

NATO and U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan to combat and curb extremism had put a halt on the other regional conflicts in the region. Organized extremist movement in the tribal areas of Pakistan have provided shelter to the Islamic militants of the region that would probably ignite the situation after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Continue reading Jammu Kashmir Conflict: Potential Variables Leading to Clash of Civilizations in Himalayas

Yemen’s Houthi rebels take over government in coup

Rebels announce five-member presidential council tasked with forming technocrat government and dissolve parliament.

Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebels have announced that they have dissolved parliament and installed a five-member “presidential council” which will form a transitional government to govern for two years.

In a televised statement on Friday from the Republican Palace in the capital, Sanaa, the rebel group said that it would set up a transitional national council of 551 members to replace the dissolved legislature.

Read more » Aljazeera
Learn more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/02/yemen-houthi-rebels-announce-presidential-council-150206122736448.html

UN call to prevent Iraq massacre

Iraq conflict: UN warns of possible Amerli ‘massacre’

The UN has called for action to prevent what it says may be a possible massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Amerli.

Special representative Nickolay Mladenov says he is “seriously alarmed” by reports regarding the conditions in which the town’s residents live.

The town, under siege by Islamic State for two months, has no electricity or drinking water, and is running out of food and medical supplies. The majority of its residents are Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by IS.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28910674

‘Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies’: Israelis And Palestinians show solidarity online

by Lauren O’Neil

As political tensions between Israel and Hamas continue to escalate this week in the Gaza Strip, a growing number of Jews and Arabs from around the world are coming together in solidarity against the conflict.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/07/jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies-israelis-and-palestinians-show-solidarity-online.html

The Dalai Lama speaks out against the killings.. “Killing people in the name of religion is unthinkable.. I pray for them (the Buddhists in Myanmar) to think of the face of Buddha.”

Dalai Lama Urges Peace In Myanmar, Asks Monks To ‘Remember The Buddhist Faith’

As the violence in Myanmar continues, the Dalai Lama urged monks to act according to the peaceful principles of their religion and told them to “remember the Buddhist faith.”

The Dalai Lama made his remarks to reporters at an annual human rights conference in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. He went on to say that there was “too much emphasis on ‘we’ and ‘they'” in the world, and declared that “this century should be a century of dialogue, not wars.”

Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority have been the main victims of the sectarian clashes that last year left around 200 people dead in the state of Rakhine, and a further 140,000 without homes. They are especially vulnerable as about 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are deprived of citizenship rights due to discriminatory policies.

Read more » Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/dalai-lama-peace-myanmar_n_3947838.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=222930b=facebook

Via Facebook

Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister

By Anwar Iqbal

“Democracy is the only option for Baloch nationalists,” says Balochistan’s new chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch. “We need to connect with national democratic forces to achieve our objectives. We need to work within Pakistan. We have no other option.”

In an interview to Dawn.com, Dr Malik said that a move by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to create a separate state for Balochs will further confuse the Baloch struggle for their rights.

“In the past, we were told the revolution will come from Moscow. Now we are told it will come from Moscow. I disagree with such suggestions. We need to struggle for our rights within Pakistan. We need to work with other democratic forces in the country.”

He said that relations with neighboring states, particularly India, Iran and Afghanistan have a direct impact on the situation in Balochistan.

“Our institutions need to sit together and work out a new foreign policy if we want peace, particularly in Balochistan.”

The sectarian violence, he said, was directly linked to the Iran-Saudi conflict and “we need to device a balanced approach to prevent these two countries from fighting their war on our turf.

Continue reading Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister

Iraqi al-Qaida and Syria militants announce merger

By BASSEM MROUE and MAAMOUN YOUSSEF | Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq said it has merged with Syria’s extremist Jabhat al-Nusra, a move that shows the rising confidence of radicals within the Syrian rebel movement and is likely to trigger renewed fears among its international backers.

A website linked to Jabhat Al-Nusra confirmed on Tuesday the merger with the Islamic State of Iraq, whose leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi first made the announcement in a 21-minute audio posted on militant websites late Monday.

Jabhat Al-Nusra has taken an ever-bigger role in Syria’s conflict over the last year, fighting in key battles and staging several large suicide bombings. The U.S. has designated it a terrorist organization.

The Syrian group has made little secret of its ideological ties to the global jihadist movement and its links across the Iraqi border but until now has not officially declared itself to be part of al-Qaida.

Al-Baghdadi said that his group — the Islamic State of Iraq — and Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra will now be known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham. Sham is a name for Syria and the surrounding region.

“It is time to announce to the Levantine (Syrian) people and the whole world that Jabhat al-Nusra is merely an extension and part of the Islamic State of Iraq,” he said.

He said that the Iraqi group was providing half of its budget to the conflict in Syria. Al-Baghdadi said that the Syrian group would have no separate leader but instead be led by the “people of Syria themselves” — implying that he would be in charge in both countries.

For such a high-profile Syrian rebel group to formally join al-Qaida is likely to spark concerns among backers of the opposition that are in the global terror network’s crosshairs, including both Western countries and Gulf Arab states.

Continue reading Iraqi al-Qaida and Syria militants announce merger

The Next Korean War: Conflict With North Korea Could Go Nuclear — But Washington Can Reduce the Risk

By Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press

As North Korea issues increasingly over-the-top threats, officials in Washington have sought to reassure the public and U.S. allies. But the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is far from remote–and the United States should adjust its military planning accordingly. ….

Read more » Foreign Affairs
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139091/keir-a-lieber-and-daryl-g-press/the-next-korean-war?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-the_next_korean_war-040213

Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo attack

U.S. looking into allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria

Syrian state TV blames rebel ‘terrorists’ for the attack near Aleppo, in which around 25 people were killed, but rebels blame Assad regime; Russia says rebels to blame for attack.

By Reuters, The Associated Press and Amos Harel

Israeli security sources said on Tuesday that the reported use of chemical weapons in an attack near Syria’s Aleppo looks reliable, but stopped short of confirming the incident.

The Syrian government and rebels accused each other of launching a deadly chemical attack near the northern city of Aleppo, in which at least 25 people were killed early on Tuesday.

The United States said on it was evaluating allegations of chemical weapons use in the attack but dismissed charges that the opposition had used such weapons in the two-year-old conflict.

“We are looking carefully at allegations of … chemical weapons use, we are evaluating them,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“We have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons,” he said.

“We are deeply skeptical of a regime that has lost all credibility and we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons.”

The State Department echoed those comments and the Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.

“I have no information at this time to corroborate any claims that chemical weapons have been used in Syria,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said. “The use of chemical weapons in Syria would be deplorable.”

Carney reiterated that President Barack Obama has said there would be consequences and the government of President Bashar al-Assad would be held accountable if chemical weapons were used. Carney would not say what those consequences would entail.The United States has been concerned that the Assad government would consider using chemical weapons as it becomes “increasingly beleaguered and finds its escalation of violence through conventional means inadequate,” Carney said. “This is a serious concern.”

He said the U.S. position is still that it is supplying only non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. “Our position is and remains that we are not supplying lethal assistance to the opposition,” Carney said.

Earlier Tuesday, Russia accused Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in the morning attack, and said it was an extremely alarming and dangerous development.

“A case of the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition was recorded early in the morning of March 19 in Aleppo province,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said after President Bashar Assad’s government and rebels accused each other of launching a deadly chemical attack.

“We are very seriously concerned by the fact that weapons of mass destruction are falling into the hands of the rebels, which further worsens the situation in Syria and elevates the confrontation in the country to a new level,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia has been the main ally of President Bashar Assad’s regime since the start of the uprising, in which more than 70,000 have died.

Moscow has warned Assad’s government not to use chemical weapons and said in December that Damascus had taken steps to ensure that chemical agents were secure by concentrating them at a smaller number of sites.

Syria’s state news agency accused rebels earlier Tuesday of using chemical weapons in the attack.

“Terrorists fired a rocket containing chemical substances in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo and initial reports indicate that around 15 people were killed, most of them civilians,” SANA news agency said in an initial report.

A Syrian rebel commander denied reports that the opposition forces were behind the chemical weapon attack in Aleppo, saying the government had fired a rocket with chemical agents on the town of Khan al-Assal.

Continue reading Russia accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo attack

A Letter by Akhtar Mengal, head of BNP to Sen. John Kerry to take notice of endless atrocities against Balochs

BALOCHISTAN NATIONAL PARTY

December 28, 2012

The Honorable John F. Kerry,

218 Russell, Senate Office Building United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

Honorable Senator Kerry, Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year. At the outset of this letter please allow me to congratulate you on your nomination as the next U.S. Secretary of State. We are confident that your vast knowledge and experience in Asia, both in peace and conflicts will prove to be a gain for the people around the globe. I am writing to you concerning heightened Balochistan conflict in Pakistan, in your new capacity as secretary of state and as the co-author of the “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009.”As you are very well aware about volatile situation and conflicts in Pakistan and particularly about strategically significant region of Balochistan where the Pakistani Security Forces on Christmas Day have launched a scorched earth policy, attacking the town of Mashkay and destroying the nearby tiny hamlet of Mehi in district Awaran.

Continue reading A Letter by Akhtar Mengal, head of BNP to Sen. John Kerry to take notice of endless atrocities against Balochs

Sindh rejects “SPLGO” – Statement of writers, intellectuals and civil society of Sindh

Press Release – We the writers, poets, intellectuals, artists, and civil society members of Sindh strongly condemn the government of Sindh for unlawfully passing SPLGO-2012 in the Sindh Assembly. This act (illegal) exposes PPP of betraying Sindh and Sindhi people. This act has virtually created state within state in Sindh and has encroached upon the sovereignty of Sindh over its big cities.

This act has seeded permanent division and conflicts among different people living in Sindh. The PPP government did not realize that through this act, Sindh

has been plunged into chaos, unrest and conflicts, making the lives of people of Sindh unbearable. The PPP government in the name of reconciliation

has destroyed the governance, social and economic fabric of Sindh. No peace will return to cities in the presence of the act. This act has given limitless power to mayors and has created big cities as fiefdoms for them.

The PPP government was given mandate to curb terrorism, introduce good governance, promote economic development and protect the rights of Sindh and Sindhi people. But it has sold the people of Sindh and created the division of Sindh. The new political developments indicate that the PPP government is creating conditions, which may destroy peace in Sindh. The responsibility squarely rest on the PPP government.

Sindhi writers and intellectuals have gathered here to take firm stand against the act and pledge to fight against it like they fought against One-Unit.

They will not only struggle against this act in Sindh and Pakistan but all over the world. They will raise voice against the black act in international forums including-the UN. We feel that this black act will not only lead to the division of Sindh. But specially so called metropolitan corporations in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas will facilitate illegal migration from India, converting Sindhis in a minority in their own land, which we will never allow and will prefer to die.

This black act will support terrorism, target killing, ethnic cleansing of Sindhis in Karachi, Hyderabad and MirpurKhas. It will promote all types of organized crimes in these cities.

We appeal to the people of Sindh to be united against this black act. We demand from the PPP government to withdraw the black act and leave to next government to introduce local government bill observing all democratic norms including consultation with the all stakeholders. We do not have trust on the PPP government and it has already betrayed the people of Sindh on all fronts.

We notice that recent events may cause highly tense among Sindhis and the PPP government will be squarely responsible for it. Once again we demand to avert the situation if she calls herself democratic by withdrawing this act immediately, call all stakeholders to concern and introduce new bill acceptable to all.

Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

By: Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Russia have held high-level discussions focusing on how to expand their political, economic and military relationship. But analysts believe Afghanistan is at the center of the intensified diplomacy as both countries are positioning themselves in anticipation of expected withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani traveled to Moscow this week while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad.

The high-level exchanges took place just days after President Vladimir Putin cancelled his much anticipated trip to Pakistan, which would have been the first visit by a Russian head of the state. He was supposed to be in the Pakistani capital this week to attend a summit involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia, which was also postponed. The cancellation is seen by many as a setback for efforts to improve ties.

Continue reading Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

In his latest exclusive dispatch from Deir el-Zour province, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets fighters who have left the Free Syrian Army for the discipline and ideology of global jihad

By: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Deir el-Zour

As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder’s men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.

Continue reading Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria

What to Do About Pakistan

BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR

With an “ally” in a state of perpetual dysfunction, it’s time for Washington to reconsider its options: containment or benign neglect.

Excerpt: …. “At long last, it seems, various agencies of the United States government have come to the conclusion that Pakistan cannot be changed. Islamabad’s behavior in the region will remain staunchly pegged to its antipathy toward New Delhi. It will pursue policies that threaten the integrity of the Pakistani state for no other reason but the chimerical objective of resisting the obvious rise of India, while clinging to the delusion that it is India’s peer competitor — despite obvious and ever-growing disparities. Finally, Americans are asking what Pakistanis have long concluded: How can the United States and Pakistan have any kind of positive relationship when our strategic interests not only diverge but violently clash?…….While some may view these offerings as unreasonable, reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible, it is equally fair to ask whether Washington’s decades of policies toward Pakistan have been unreasonable, dangerous, and irresponsible? Moreover, what good have they accomplished? While many policymakers and analysts are willing to bank everything on the gamble that Pakistan is too dangerous to fail, we should be willing to consider what failure would mean and the inherent costs and benefits of this happening. After all, when the Soviet Union fell, none of the worst fears materialized. And Pakistan is hardly the Soviet Union” ….

Read more »Foreign Policy (FP)

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/21/what_to_do_about_pakistan?page=0,1

Daily Times Editrial : More loyal than the king

In a matter of days, the allegations of the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has taken on the hue of a full blown conflict between the accuser and the judiciary. In shocking but unsubstantiated accusations of a bribe amounting to Rs 340 million, and financing of lavish foreign trips, the Riaz claim, notwithstanding its yet to be proved veracity, points to the most important judicial body’s head. The accused is the son of the CJP, thus presenting a more than unpleasant scenario where the establishment of proper distance between the two parties — the accused and the CJP — must be maintained at all costs. A simple civil matter (with possible criminal implications), no matter how preposterous or outrageous it may appear, did not merit a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court (SC), the redundancy of which was proved during the first hearing for lack of concrete evidence. This case must be pursued through the normal course. The recusing of the honourable CJP from the initial bench is a positive step, and the future proceedings of the case would be transparent and unbiased too if the consideration that the accused is the son of the CJP is not allowed to influence the proceedings.

Continue reading Daily Times Editrial : More loyal than the king

Video of discussion about Baloch freedom fight struggle with Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The aim of the Balochistan Series at T2F is to encourage open and informal dialogue about the Balochistan conflict, and especially to bring out voices that are generally not heard.

The first event in the series took place at T2F on Friday, 18th May, 2012 and featured BM Kutty and Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur. The session aimed to discuss the rise of Baloch nationalism and the major features of its history, and was moderated by Nazish Brohi. The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: YouTube

In the shadow of the gun – I

By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced

Mr Ikram Sehgal’s “Of Empire and Army” (Newsline, March 2012) is a bundle of misinformation and bias against the Baloch. Perturbed that the media holds the security establishment solely responsible for the Balochistan crisis, he claims, “Most of our problems stem from jumping to conclusions that are based on misinformation, and then deliberately distorting those half-truths to suit mass perception.” He feels, “Disproportionate media projection of the separatist leaders encourages ethnic divisions and violence.” He probably thinks the Baloch struggle and the atrocities by the state are a figment of the media’s imagination.

The state’s brutal kill and dump policy seems justified to him. He half-heartedly admits, “No one denies the fact that targeted killings of the Baloch are taking place, that people are being picked up and that state actors are involved in the killing and the disappearances.” Then he offers a lame justification that “sons of the soil” are killing an equal number of settlers. Balochistan Home Department’s recent report said that the majority of the ones killed are ethnic Baloch.

Sehgal tells us that on December 29, 1973, as his son was being born in Karachi, his company came under heavy fire from Marri insurgents near Kahan, after the dismissal of Ataullah’s representative government. The Baloch considered them aggressors rightly, and could not be expected to throw a party. He then says, “Throughout that year, many soldiers were martyred and several injured,” and adds, “In one instance, the insurgents beheaded 19 of our soldiers.”

Well, I too was in the Marri area with the Baloch nationalists then and assuredly, the Marris never indulged in such abhorrent practices. His claim defies reason as no guerilla could possibly have time to ambush and behead soldiers. Ambushes invite response and with helicopters, jets and motorised transportation at the army’s disposal, only fools would linger after an ambush.

The columnist adds that the army could have retaliated against the Marris in kind but relented because they understood that their Sardar (tribal chief), who was living comfortably in Kabul, misguided the Marris. Incidentally, Sardar Khair Baksh Marri and other Baloch leaders, including Sardar Ataullah Mengal, were in jail until 1978. He blames the media for misinformation and distortion. During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced, social and economic life was disrupted, flocks were stolen, crops destroyed, and the entire Balochistan was terrorised. Eight persons, whom I knew personally, including my dear friend, Daleep Dass, aka Johnny Dass, went missing, never to be heard of again. Sher Muhammad Aliani — a sept, an elder, a septuagenarian — was picked up because of an ambush in the vicinity of his settlement near Kahan; his brutally tortured corpse was later recovered. Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri too was similarly killed. The valiant Asadullah Mengal and Ahmed Shah Kurd were abducted and killed in Karachi. The examples of the ‘consideration’ shown are too numerous to note.

Continue reading In the shadow of the gun – I

Rotting From Within – Investigating the massive corruption of the Chinese military.

BY JOHN GARNAUT

In many fields of international competition, China is less sanguine about its abilities than outsiders. Chinese leaders often remind Westerners that China is a developing country, with hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, an unbalanced economy, and high social tensions. What should most worry Beijing, and provide some comfort to those who fear Chinese military expansionism, is the state of corruption in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

True, the world underestimated how quickly a four-fold jump in Chinese military spending in the past decade would deliver an array of new weaponry to prevent the United States from interfering in a regional military conflict. Top American generals have worried publicly about “carrier-killer” ballistic missiles designed to destroy U.S. battle groups as far afield as the Philippines, Japan, and beyond. Last year, China tested a prototype stealth fighter and launched its maiden aircraft carrier, to augment new destroyers and nuclear submarines. What is unknown, however, is whether the Chinese military, an intensely secretive organisation only nominally accountable to civilian leaders, can develop the human software to effectively operate and integrate its new hardware. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

After decades of turning a blind eye, the government seems helpless in the face of attacks on Shias and other minorities

By: Mustafa Qadri

While banned political groups preach hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan’s major cities, a conflict along sectarian lines is spreading across the country, even to areas not previously associated with violence. Having spent decades turning a blind eye to the calculated violence of groups with a clear agenda based on hatred and intolerance, Pakistan’s government appears helpless in the face of continuous attacks on Shia Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian attacks are not new in Pakistan, but there has been an upsurge, especially in Balochistan since at least 2010, in the Khurram and Orakzai tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, the port city of Karachi and across the Punjab. Now the frosty, picturesque mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the northern border with China, are seeing an increasingly violent sectarian conflict pitting Muslim Sunnis against Shias.

Continue reading Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

ISI’s classic blunder in Siachen Conflict (1984)?

By: Tausif Kamal

1984 Siachen was another debacle by Pakistan Army. Shouldn’t our COAS and GOC Siachen should be held accountable and resign? Of course don’t count our shameless generals to resign in the long tradition of our Army. They did not resign upon loosing wars or even loosing half of the country. Did they resign when the GHQ was attacked, or Mehran base or Kargil or 1965 or surrendering of whole battalions to Talibans, other fiascos. Most probably they got more bonuses and DHA plots and promotions …

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, April 9, 2012.

Why Karachi bleeds

Q: What type of conflict is taking place in Karachi?

A: The classification is “Ethno-political” – ethnicity, identity, politics and crime are all in conflict with each other.

Q: Who are the primary actors in the conflict?

A: MQM, ANP and PPP.

Q: Who are the secondary actors in the conflict?

A: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), organised criminal gangs, sectarian entities and foreign intelligence agencies.

Continue reading Why Karachi bleeds

DAWN Editorial – A dangerous mindset

GIVEN the scale of radicalisation across Pakistan, it is clear that methods other than military strategy must be brought into play to quell it. The Pakistan Army set up de-radicalisation centres to provide interventions to those deemed ‘radicals’ – mainly persons detained in conflict zones. But, as editorialised by this newspaper last month, there are a number of points of concern, including the fact that the public has no idea about the details of the programmes. What do they entail, what process is followed or expertise offered – and how are ‘radicals’ delineated from ordinary citizens? For example, has it been conclusively proved that those in de-radicalisation centres were involved in militant or extremist activities? Now, it has come to light that the programmes have not been working. On Thursday, an official of the Pakistan Army’s judge advocate general branch told the Peshawar High Court that despite having been through the de-radicalisation process, several militants from Swat had rejoined militant groups.

Radicalisation is an ideological state of mind, and not something empirical of which a person can reliably be said to have been cleansed. No doubt there are people who were absorbed by militant outfits involuntarily and would welcome rehabilitation. But militancy in Pakistan is linked to a peculiar set of ideologies that have a lasting hold on the minds of its subscribers. For militants who have vowed to fight the very nature of the state and federation, a de-radicalisation programme may be the softer option whilst in detention.

For Pakistan to control radicalisation, it must counter the growing extremism evident in society as a whole. This is emerging as a greater threat to the country than terrorism, as was pointed out at the launch of a related report in Islamabad on Thursday. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the gun; the task requires methods of long-term persuasion and extensive societal change. Concurrently, the state must face up to the fact that it has for decades followed a duplicitous policy towards militancy. Cosmetic measures, such as banning certain outfits but allowing them to operate under other names, were bound to prove insufficient. The ideological underpinnings of militancy in Pakistan, which were endorsed by elements within the state during the ’80s and after, have never been honestly or fully rejected. That mindset has not just become more entrenched, it is fast gaining new subscribers. If Pakistan is to be saved, this mindset must change. That requires formulating a definitive state policy on the factors that pro- vide militancy with its moorings.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

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New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict – Major Amin’s prophesies? Is he right?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict

By Agha H. Amin

A brother human being Mr Giani 240 was a catalyst for this reflection on an IndoPak conflict.

At some stage historical forces, greater than main or key decision makers takeover and take states to war. This has already happened! no one can reverse the tide! how it happens and how many major cities may be destroyed is the question?

Mad men on both sides! Extreme suspicion and paranoia! Situation compounded by fear and ambiguity! The Pakistani military an army with a state versus India a state with an army makes the role of Indian army more limited than the Pakistani military who also control foreign policy and internal politics! The Pakistani military is not really qualified foreign policy nor are they statesman! But they think that they are both! This makes it far more dangerous! The Indian state is at a loss to decipher Pakistani intentions! Ambiguity leads to confusion and as the adage goes ” Fear made men believe in the worst “! The use of non state actors initiated by the Pakistani military and now in full use by both countries has already gone out of control!Non state actors now have many masters, both state and non state and this complicates apportioning of blame in any incident! Above all population, limited resources, a human psyche deforming rapidly into collective neurosis as well as psychosis is complicating the situation. With man basically irrational, decisions military and political are not made with rational reasons.This was discovered by Freud long ago and discussed in detail in his classic ” The Future of an Illusion“. As a historian with a unique insight based on personal contact with many key decision makers on the Pakistani side and some interaction with Indians as a contractor in Afghanistan convinces me that a major Indo Pak conflict is not far away. Now the process is in hands of a remote and unknown pilot. Even the major and the key decision makers on both sides cannot reverse it. Although they may decide on the time and space and choice of targets. Why states go to war? A detailed study of history proves that it is for reasons more irrational than rational but nevertheless compelling reason. All is understood if we start from the premise that man is irrational! One thing I know .The Indian and Pakistani nukes will not be wasted and rusted in secret storages! God help us all!

Courtesy: Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28060478/The-Next-Indo-Pak-Conflict-Agha-H-Amin

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New vibes in Sindh politics

By Haider Nizamani

PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.

What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.

The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.

Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.

Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.

English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.

The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.

What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.

The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.

Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.

He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.

He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.

In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.

As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.

Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.

If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.

Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.

Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.

The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.

Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.

Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.

If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.

The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, hnizamani@hotmail.com

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/31/new-vibes-in-sindh-politics.html

Pakistan: a coup by other means

– Tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict

By guardian.co.uk, Editorial

Messages were delivered in Islamabad on Wednesday. Through a megaphone. Minutes after the prime minister sacked the defence secretary, a retired general who acted as the army’s representative in government, the Pakistan army replaced the commander of the Triple One Brigade in Rawalpindi. This happens when a coup is about to be launched. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has called an emergency meeting of his principal staff officers for Thursday.

Simmering tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict in the latest episode of a scandal dubbed memogate. A former ambassador to Washington was accused of having dictated, or solicited, a memo written by a Pakistani American businessmen to Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting his help in preventing a coup. The ambassador, Husain Haqqani, who denies knowledge of the memo, has been recalled and is effectively under house arrest in the prime minister’s heavily guarded residence, fearing for his life. Kayani and the head of the military’s spy agency, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, pressed the supreme court in affidavits to investigate the allegations against Haqqani that could lead to treason charges. The prime minister said that these affidavits were “unconstitutional and illegal”. The military responded with a statement that darkly hinted at “potentially grievous consequences”.

What is happening is a coup by other means. The army has staged four coups in the past, but this time, its instrument is a blatantly partisan supreme court, which is attempting to force an elected government to resign. The timing of the traitor tag is not accidental. In March the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) could win control over the upper house of parliament and then – whatever happens to President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP in the next election – the next government could not change the constitution.

Mr Zardari and the PPP government can be faulted for many things. The political charge sheet is long: incompetence, weakness, venality. They reacted terribly to the worst floods in living memory. They have pandered to fundamentalism over the blasphemy law rather than facing it down. A weak state has grown steadily weaker under their civilian control. Mr Zardari carries much personal baggage, which is almost certainly worthy of further investigation, but while president, he enjoys immunity from prosecution and he is right to face down the military. The place to oust an administration enjoying a two-thirds majority is at an election, and the people to do so are voters, not judges, generals or intelligence chiefs. Anyone who allows generals to remove politicians must be aware that the same could happen to them.

Courtesy: guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/11/pakistan-a-coup-by-other-means?newsfeed=true

Musharraf’s Interview with Israeli Daily Haaretz

Relations with Israel could help Pakistan, says former president Musharraf

In his first interview with an Israeli newspaper, former president Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan tells Haaretz about Pakistan-U.S. relations, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and how he would solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

By Danna Harman

Excerpt;

And I have read about all the Israeli-Arab wars and that is how I know about Ariel Sharon,” he says. “I know how he contributed toward the victories of the Israelis. In every war it was his contribution that counted. Every time this man contributed. He is a great military leader … My admiration comes from a place of realistic assessment of his military exploits, which were very impressive. I think he was a great military commander and I appreciate that.” ….

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