Tag Archives: Frontier

A ray of hope? or Akhtar Jan Mengal’s capitulation?

A ray of hope? — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

There is no denying that Sardar Akhtar Mengal has influence but his capitulation has alienated many Baloch people and his powerbase will erode rapidly

Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s unexpected capitulation and appearance before the Supreme Court (SC) has pleased a few but angered a majority of the Baloch. He has climbed down from his position of demanding an independent Balochistan. In the Daily Times of May 8, 2009, its then Quetta correspondent Malik Siraj Akbar reported Akhtar Mengal’s speech from the western Panjgur district bordering Iran. Mengal said that the ultimate goal of his party (BNP-M) was to seek Balochistan’s independence from Pakistan, for which the party was striving to prepare the ground and ensure unity among all Baloch nationalist political groups. The BNP-M chief said the Baloch had become tired of the unabated military operations and the excessive exploitation of their natural resources by the federal government, and now the BNP-M wanted the separation of Balochistan from Pakistan. Such climbdowns certainly have good reasons, the good reason here being a shot at the lucrative chief ministerial post. A bad bargain for sure, because Baloch rights would be bartered for a pittance. Wading through Baloch blood to this coveted position is insincerity personified.

Mengal’s six points, not akin to Sheikh Mujib’s six points, are certainly not the demands that the Baloch have fought and shed blood for, but are his spin on his capitulation in preparation for participation in the elections in the hope to once again adorn the post of chief minister that the Baloch label the ‘Cheap Minister’ seat. He has called for measures for the alleviation of symptoms but, unfortunately, has conveniently forgotten the disease that caused these symptoms in the first place. He has forsaken the Baloch sacrifices on the altar of uncertain personal gains and has tried to sabotage the Baloch demand for their inalienable rights. His submission to the wishes of the Pakistani state and going along with the SC charade of recovering the missing persons will simply lend legitimacy to all the past, present and future atrocities and excesses against the Baloch. He has thrown in his lot with the very establishment directly responsible for the disappearance of his brother, Asadullah Mengal, and Ahmed Shah in 1976.

Continue reading A ray of hope? or Akhtar Jan Mengal’s capitulation?

No Expectations – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The state simply sees the Baloch aspirations and their demand for rights as an obstacle to their strategic and economic plans

The Supreme Court (SC) hearings on the missing persons in Balochistan are ending inconclusively without having done anything for the majority of the missing or reducing the agony of their relatives. Moreover, it seems that these hearings may become a reason for further aggravating the already bad conditions for the Baloch because the Chief Justice’s statement ‘there is a constitutional breakdown in Balochistan’ has serious implications. It implies that a constitutional breakdown requires special and emergency measures. Already one Baig Raj, president of Punjab Forum, in a national daily demanded that the government give it serious consideration and suggested that the situation in Balochistan be normalised by initiating a massive military operation after imposing governor’s rule. The Baloch are wondering if all these hearings were for laying the groundwork for justifying just this eventuality.

These hearings have been marked by the stubborn adamancy of the Frontier Corps (FC) in rejecting what the SC terms incontrovertible evidence against it. During the last hearing, the SC ordered it to produce the missing persons, but in a written statement, the FC submitted that it had conducted “internal inquiries” and found the group of missing people “was not held in the custody of FC”, adding that in many cases, insurgents dressed in FC uniforms committed “high profile acts of terrorism and heinous crimes…thus bringing (a) bad name to this federal organisation”. Period. End of story. They do not have the missing persons; moreover, imposters dressed in FC uniforms do evil to give the ‘saintly’ FC a bad name. Surprisingly, it also sought police powers to conduct a door-to-door search for the missing as if their vast arbitrary powers were not enough. Resorting to denial helps them because here no authority has the authority to verify and disprove their bogus denials.

Ironically, the FC’s claim that insurgents don their uniforms to kidnap people belies their other claim that insurgents have no influence in Balochistan, amply showing how inefficient the FC and police actually are. These unbelievable childish fairy tales are an insult to human intelligence. Simply put, the army and the FC want to persist with the policy of repression and brutality to subdue the Baloch. It seems that all these claims and disregard of law are aimed at prompting the SC to come up with a verdict about the need to right the situation created by the constitutional breakdown. It needs to be emphasised that as far as the Baloch are concerned, they are being ruled by emergency powers that the army and FC enjoy. The ‘constitutional breakdown’ verdict may just formalise the emergency powers but these will neither bring back the missing persons nor end the frequent sectarian attacks.

Continue reading No Expectations – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Balochistan: middle-class rebellion

Dr. Allah Nazar

By: Mahvish Ahmad

QUETTA: The state sees them as unruly men serving power-hungry sardars, but the six 20-something Baloch Student Organisation-Azad (BSO-Azad) members sitting cross-legged on the floor of their dorm room come across as more diligent than unruly, and more revolutionary than submissive.

As active sympathisers of a rebellion calling for outright independence, they embody a new kind of Baloch freedom fighter – or sarmachar.

And a new kind of victim of the kill-and-dump policy practised, they claim, by the Frontier Core (FC) and intelligence agencies.

These six young men are urbanised, middle-class, educated, and typically allied as equals rather than serving as underlings to the separatist Bugti and Marri sardars of Balochistan.

“We are united in our call for an independent Balochistan. And we have sacrificed our lives for our cause. Ninety-five members of BSO-Azad have been picked up, tortured and brutally murdered by the establishment. Many of them were students at educational institutions like Balochistan University,” says Khalid, an office-holder in BSO-Azad.

Malik Siraj Akbar, the editor of the online newspaper, Baloch Hal, which has been banned in Pakistan, agrees. “Today’s Baloch movement is headed not solely by […] tribal chiefs, but [by] educated middle class youth,” says Malik in the introduction to his book, “The Redefined Dimensions of the Baloch Nationalist Movement”.

Continue reading Balochistan: middle-class rebellion

Bin Laden lived in ornate house while waiting for Abbottabad compound to be built

By Associated Press

HARIPUR, Pakistan — It’s an ornate but not lavish two-story house tucked away at the end of a mud clogged street. This is where Pakistan’s intelligence agency believes Osama bin Laden lived for nearly a year until he moved into the villa in which he was eventually killed.

The residence in the frontier town of Haripur was one of five safe houses used by the slain al-Qaida leader while on the run in Pakistan according to information revealed by his youngest wife, who has been detained.

Retired Pakistani Brig. Shaukat Qadir, who has spent the last eight months tracking bin Laden’s movements, told The Associated Press that he was taken to the Haripur house last November by intelligence agents who located it from a description they got from Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada.

Al-Sada, a 30-year-old Yemeni, has been in Pakistani custody since May 2 when U.S. Navy SEALs overran the Abbottabad compound, killing bin Laden and four other people inside. Since then, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, known as the ISI, has been trying to uncover the trail that brought him to Abbottabad villa in the summer of 2005. …

Read more » The Washington Post

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.

Witnessing ethnic cleansing of Balochs – Balochistan ministers eye-witnessed 3 execution style slayings: Umrani

By Ahmar Mustikhan

A Balochistan minister and provincial  president of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party dropped a bomb shell on the floor of the Balochistan assembly Monday when he revealed that he and two other government minsters saw with their own eyes the execution-style killing of three Baloch youths by the Frontier Corps.

Sadiq Umrani,, Balochistan minister for communistaion and works, told the shocking story on the floor of the House, pro-independence web sites reported Monday.

“Few months back I (Sadiq Umrani), Zaffar Zehri and Younas Mullahzai were returning to Quetta from Kalat after offering our condolences to Agha Irfan Karim on demise of his mother. All three of us saw the FC shooting at three people; their hands were tied behind. The next day bodies of the three men were found dumped [in Mastung]. We are eye-witnesses of that incident,” Umrani told the Balochistan provincial assembly.

Umrani’s remarks come just two days ahead of the Oversight and Investigations Sub-committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, summoned by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday.

Zaffar Zehri, who is home and tribal affairs minister, oversees much of the law-enforcement work in the bloody province and is an estranged brother of the chief of the Zehri tribe and servbices and general administration minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri.

Mullahzai is the information minister of Balochistan.

Umrani made the speech during a debate on the killing of family members of opposition member Mir Bakhtiar Domki.

Domki’s wife Zamur Domki, 32, daughter Janan Domki, 13, and family driver Barkat Baloch were allegedly gunned by agents of Pakistani secret services in the wee hours of January 31 in Karachi, commercial capital of Pakistan.

Umrani has strong feelngs for Baloch patriots.

Though a member of a federalist party, Umrani has been a close friend of Baloch patriotic leader Dr. Abdul Hayee of the National Party since the time they were in jail together four decades ago.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Balochistan ministers eye-witnessed 3 execution style slayings: Umrani – Baltimore Foreign Policy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-baltimore/balochistan-ministers-eyewitness-to-execution-style-slayings-umrani#ixzz1n4KUDI00

Retaliation for the assassination of Bugti’s grand daughter and great grand daughter?

Pakistan: 11 Soldiers Killed In Battle With Baluch Militants

By RFE/RL

QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say militants in the southwestern Baluchistan Province have killed 11 soldiers in an attack.

A senior official in Pakistan’s military said two Frontier Corps posts near coal mines came under attack in the Margut area about 60 kilometers east of Quetta.

RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal’s correspondent in Quetta reports that an ethnic Baluch separatist group called the Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

That group is comprised of members of the Bugti and Marri clans in the area to the east of Quetta.

They have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan’s oil, gas, and mineral resources.

More than 30 members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps have been killed in Baluchistan Province during the past three weeks in clashes with Baluch rebels.

Courtesy: Rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/soldiers_killed_by_baluch_rebels_in_pakistan/24470002.html

Killing of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece could be sending him a chilling message by Pak military

DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL: Balochistan: a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Balochistan Assembly passed a resolution against the brutal murder of MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife and daughter in Karachi. A complete shutter-down strike was observed all over Balochistan to condemn their murders. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for a retaliatory attack on four Frontier Corps (FC) checkposts near Margat coalmine area in which at least 15 FC personnel were killed and a dozen sustained injuries. This attack, according to the BLA spokesman, was in reaction to the murders of the Domki women. Karachi is no stranger to target killings and it seems that this horrible trend along with bhatta (extortion) activities have started again after a brief lull. But the murder of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) chief Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi was unlike any other target killing. The claim by the Karachi police that this could be the result of a ‘tribal feud’ could not be further from the truth. It is highly unlikely that women and children would be targeted even in a feud between the Baloch tribes. This is completely against the culture of the Baloch. Reasonable suspicion thus arises that this was not the work of any Baloch tribe but our own intelligence agencies that are busy harassing and assaulting the Baloch.

The murder of Mr Domki’s wife, daughter and driver is political, and there are genuine reasons to speculate that it is related to Brahamdagh Bugti, who is one of the leaders of the Baloch resistance movement and has often been hounded by our military and its operatives. So far, they have not been successful in extraditing him from Switzerland, where he has obtained political asylum. Killing his sister and niece could be one way of sending him a chilling message. It also points to the military’s callous attitude towards all norms of humanity. Women, children and old people are not deliberately targeted in wars. What kind of a despicable regime is this that would kill women and children in cold blood just to make a point? The police are still clueless about the murderers but they must investigate properly and get to the bottom of this horrific incident. No words can do justice to the sense of outrage at this atrocious crime.

It seems that there is now a sinister plot to hunt the Baloch outside Balochistan too. In December 2011, Faisal Mengal — a Baloch activist — was killed in Karachi. The death of two Baloch females along with their driver in Karachi also points to this new ‘trend’. The military’s ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan has wreaked havoc in the lives of the Baloch. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently pointed out that “…the [Pakistan] military and its spy agencies have supra-constitutional authority to deal with the Baloch people, who are struggling for their constitutional rights of self-rule in the province”. The policy of eliminating members of the Baloch resistance movement, moderate nationalists, intellectuals and youth has led to more hatred and more alienation in the province. Now this policy is seemingly being extended to women and children. Independence from Pakistan is now being demanded openly all over Balochistan. The death of two Baloch women will certainly stoke the fire even more. Nobody can blame the Baloch for this demand given the atrocities being committed against them every single day by our military. Even the veteran Baloch leadership has nothing to offer the disgruntled Baloch youth fighting in the mountains because of the criminal military operation. The military’s highhanded policies have hardly left any space for a political solution now. The federation is definitely in trouble.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201222\story_2-2-2012_pg3_1

Pakistan’s TTP “Taliban” Prove Once Again That They Are Really Monsters – TTP claims killing of 15 abducted FC troops

Mullagoris mourn death of 15 FC men

PESHAWAR: Villagers in Mullagori area in Khyber Agency continued to mourn the death of the 15 Frontier Constabulary (FC) men who were kidnapped by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants last month and killed on Thursday.

All the slain men were from Painda Lalma village and belonged to the Mullagori tribe. Their bodies were transported to the village on Thursday after collective Nimaz-e-Janaza was offered for them at an official event at the FC offices in Peshawar’s Hayatabad town.

Relatives of the dead FC personnel had also reached there to take possession of the bodies. The FC men were overpowered when the TTP fighters led by Commander Asmatullah Shaheen stormed the FC Fort in Mullazai area in Frontier Region Tank in a night-time attack on December 23. They abducted the 15 FC personnel and later killed them. ….

Read more » The News

An appeal to International Community – “We want to attend universities, not funerals” – Young Women of Balochistan

Below please see a letter from Young Women of Balochistan, forwarded by a friend who received it via email on Dec 10, 2011, Human Rights Day – a day commemorated around the country and dedicated to the people of Balochistan by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (See this report by Rabia Ali). Ironically and tragically, that very day, a young Baloch human rights activist, 35-year old Faisal Mengal, was gunned down in Karachi (details in this report). As Rabia Ali reports, from July 2010 to November 2011, around 300 dead bodies were found — some even of 14-year-olds, according to Tahir Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter. Those killed include two HRCP activists, while the number of people missing range from 5,000 to 6,000.  Read on for this brief appeal by the Young Women of Balochistan…

We are young women from Balochistan, belonging to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Khuzdaar, Lasbella, Sibi, and Qila Saifullah.

On International Human Rights day, we want to send forward our message.

Each of us has horror stories; each of us has lived through nightmares. We want to tell you our fears.

We want to tell you that we no longer sleep at night. Because we fear the midnight knock. We don’t sleep in the day either, because when men we love go out, we don’t know if they will ever come back or not.

We want to tell you that when our loved ones ‘disappear’, we don’t know what to pray for – whether we should pray for them to come back broken, tortured and maimed, or whether to pray for their quick and painless death. We know unharmed return is not a possibility.

We fear that our daily battles for dignity within our homes and communities will be lost; that our fight for equality and progress will vanish in our fight for survival as an ethnic group.

We fear our own blindness.

We fear the Frontier Constabulary, the army, the state, and the ‘unknown assailants’ that all FIRs record. We have now started to fear ourselves. We fear that years later, when others tell us ‘We didn’t know what was happening in Balochistan’, we will not be able to accept that.

We fear we will lose our capacity to forgive.

We need you to help us fight our fears.

We ask you to help us fight for our future. A future in which the FC and the army does not rule over our lives and deaths.

We want to attend universities, not funerals.

From: Young Women of Balochistan

Courtesy » Journeys To Democracy

http://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/we-want-to-attend-universities-not-funerals-young-women-of-balochistan/

Nato air attack on Pakistani troops was self-defence, says senior western official

US-Pakistan relations strained further after attack allegedly kills up to 28 and prompts ban on Nato trucks crossing Afghan border

By Jon Boone in Kabul

An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.

According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

via » Siasat.pk

Baloch blood on our hands : DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL

Finally the Federal Ministry of Human Rights has woken up to the woes of the people of Balochistan and taken notice of the rising number of deaths in the province. The human rights ministry has decided to form a task force that will probe human rights violations in Pakistan’s largest province. A report was earlier compiled by the interior ministry’s Crisis Management Cell (CMC). According to this report, Rs 900 million has been spent by deploying 17 regular units and paramilitary troops to put an end to rising violence in Balochistan. This is astonishing considering that the money is being spent on the same forces that the Baloch people hold responsible for their miseries. A military operation is going on in the province and the ‘kill and dump’ policy being pursued by the military and its intelligence agencies is no secret. Various NGOs and human rights organisations, both local and international, have documented this in their reports. The human rights ministry’s task force needs to take into account how deploying more paramilitary troops is part of the problem, not part of the solution, to the ongoing crisis in Balochistan. Although it is not in the hands of the federal and/or the provincial governments to end the military operation since they do not call the shots when it comes to the military’s policies, it is pertinent for the human rights ministry to act according to its nomenclature by persuading GHQ that its policies in Balochistan are hurting the federation.

Killing innocent Baloch whose only fault is to ask for their basic and just rights is criminal. Thousands of Baloch are missing. Tortured and bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch missing persons are found every other day in the province. Under these circumstances, pursuing a repressive policy is not just the height of injustice but also a threat to the country’s unity. The military made the same mistake in East Pakistan. Instead of learning from past mistakes, our military keeps making new and more senseless mistakes.

The need of the hour is to stop the military operation at once. The Frontier Corps (FC) has terrorised the Baloch for many years now. It is time to stop their brutal activities. Kidnapping, torturing and murdering our own Baloch brethren is not something that can be allowed to take place. Baloch insurgents have taken up arms in frustration. The calls for ‘freedom’ are a result of the FC’s ‘kill and dump’ policy.

Trying to solve the crisis in Balochistan through military means is a disaster waiting to happen. This is the fifth military operation in Balochistan. The last four operations only alienated the Baloch further and this one could well be the last nail in the federation’s coffin. A political solution is the only way out of this quagmire. Talking to the Baloch leadership — those in the mountains and those in exile — can bring peace pack. The democratically elected civilian government may be weak but it should not sweep this issue under the carpet because in the end, the blood of the Baloch will be on the hands of the whole Pakistani nation that silently watched this massacre and did not raise its voice. Let us not bloody our hands any further; let us raise our hands for justice instead.

Courtesy » Daily Times

Mini cold war on Afghan frontier – by Dr Mohammad Taqi

– You know something has gone really awry in the Pak-US relationship when the Pakistanis bring out their heavy political artillery against the US. Now who would not take Pakistan’s Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar seriously? Speaking to a television channel, the defence minister has threatened to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Pak-Afghan border as a response to the US decision to suspend roughly $ 800 million in military aid to Pakistan.

One can imagine that this tit-for-tat reaction from a minister who is indispensible to Pakistan’s security planning must have sent Admiral Mike Mullen, along with the joint chiefs committee, looking for cover. So indispensible is the minister that he was on a personal trip to the US — attending graduation ceremonies at Harvard, among other things — when the defence committee of the cabinet met twice in the wake of the OBL fiasco this past May. Can it not get more farcical than the security establishment firing from Chaudhry Mukhtar’s shoulder while General Kayani pretends to be a cool customer presiding over the corps commanders’ meeting?

Under the prevailing situation along the Durand Line, with both Pakistan and Afghanistan alleging that the other is violating the frontier, Pakistan would not venture into pulling back a single soldier. More than that, the Pakistan Army officials have declared on record that many of the Taliban-affiliated groups are their strategic assets. A pull-back would mean loss of protection for these assets rendering them to be likely targets for the ISAF, especially if the militants try to escalate things. So who is the Pakistani establishment kidding? Even the lamest bravado has to be tad tangible.

A few weeks ago, I had noted in these pages: “Osama bin Laden’s lair, less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, is not a pinprick that the world, let alone the US, would forget so easily. The Pakistani parliament may have been duped with it, but there is every indication that the US Congress and the White House consider the ‘intelligence failure’ excuse an insult to their intelligence. Senator Kerry’s soft but measured tone indicates that the Pakistani brass still has some time, perhaps through July, to make serious amends but all options, including moving the UN, remain on the table. The senator also seems to have spelt out some of the bare-minimum metrics for any rapprochement…the dismantling of the Haqqani network is at the top of the confidence-building agenda. The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first” (‘Pakistan and the US: beyond the tailspin’, Daily Times, May 19, 2011).

So here we are in mid-July and the US has issued what is still a relatively mild rebuke, through suspension of the military aid. However, the way the geopolitical narrative in the post-OBL phase is shaping up, the current US measures have the undesirable potential of snowballing into more robust sanctions and further isolation of Pakistan. Both the US and Pakistan have few good options in the mini cold war, which they are fighting on the Afghan frontier but obviously the Pakistani choices are much more limited. The much-trumpeted Chinese support will subsidise neither the technological nor budgetary shortfall. Also, the détente that exists between the US and China and is not about to change soon. Admiral Mullen took off for China immediately after his remarks that implicated the Pakistani brass in Syed Saleem Shahzad’s murder. Short of threatening a regional destabilisation by militant proxies, including through blocking NATO routes, or its perpetual staple of ‘you cannot mess with a nuclear-armed country’, Pakistani deep state has little to fall back upon.

For some reason, the Pakistani establishment — and indeed a large section of the population — remains of the view that the world, especially the US, is out to get them and the regional and world powers are setting up tripwires for them at every step. This is followed by the perennial chorus about how the US ditched us after the Soviet withdrawal and the relations with the US having been transactional and utilitarian rather than strategic. The establishment, then, like Don Quixote, riding on his horse Rocinante –the right-wing media in this case — goes tilting at the US-Indo-Zionist windmills. But what really takes the cake is invoking the anti-US sentiment prevalent in Pakistan and how it will become worse if the aid spigot is turned off. What is lost on the Pakistani brass is that a zero-sum security paradigm is ancient history.

The Pakistani military leadership has been betting on a US withdrawal from Afghanistan that leaves the field wide open for them. It is an erroneous assumption and will likely result in the Pakistani security establishment biting off more than it can chew. It is equally wrong to assume that Afghanistan would portend any threat to Pakistan in foreseeable future. Also, in the wake of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s assassination, a continued US presence in Afghanistan after 2014 is almost a foregone conclusion. Three large US bases along with at least 25,000 troops, supported by robust air power is what the Pakistani brass will be grappling with if they are eyeing the Kabul throne for their chosen militants. The Pakistani civil and military leaders must recognise that their objective of imposing a 1996-style Pakistani puppet government in Kabul is neither legitimate nor attainable. After his brother’s murder, even the capricious Hamid Karzai — known for his occasional footsie with Pakistan — is unlikely to go along with any Pakistani designs on Kabul.

The mood in the US is reflective of an Americanism: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” The Obama administration had bad and worse choices vis-à-vis Pakistan to select from. The US government is not known to rush into making decisions and the present one is no different. It appears to be a considered opinion of the US administration and the lawmakers that in the fight against the extremist forces, the Pakistani army and the civilian government cannot be counted on due to lack of will and power, respectively. What the US must not lose sight of is the difficult but imperative task of helping ensure a relatively stable Afghan government, without which a prolonged US presence in Afghanistan is meaningless. And equally important is continued US support for Pakistan’s democratic dispensation, which is likely to get caught in the crossfire as the mini cold war escalates.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Pakistani journalists threatened after covering killings

New York, June 10, 2011–Two Pakistani journalists who captured images of apparent military violence against unarmed foreigners and a local man are being threatened, their colleagues told CPJ. The threats have come amid calls from high-ranking Pakistani military leaders to quell public criticism of their policies, made at a Thursday meeting of top level commanders.

According to Pakistani journalists, Abdul Salam Soomro of the Sindhi-language television station Awaz has received anonymous death threats after his footage of an apparently unarmed teenage boy being killed by paramilitary troops in Karachi was shown nationally. Public protests and criticism from political leaders forced President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday to order an investigation into the killing, according to The New York Times.

A Quetta-based freelance photojournalist, Jamal Tarakey, photographed members of the army-organized Frontier Constabulary shooting five unarmed foreigners in Quetta on May 17. ….

Read more: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

The Economic Times report: ISI hand in Taliban’s free-run in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

NEW YORK: Taliban has been given a free-run in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and its hardscrabble capital city of Quetta, which has been declared off-limits by Pakistani military to US predator strikes.

The outfit’s military chief Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir , ranked number two after Mullah Omar, and his men are operating with impunity in the high-desert landscape and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI )) seems to be giving them a free hand, ‘Newsweek’ reported.

“They are coming and going in groups without end,” says a senior Quetta politician, an ethnic Pashtun.

“Whatever the Taliban is doing is supervised and monitored by the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies”, he said.

Old hands among the insurgents say it reminds them of 1980s Peshawar, where anti-Soviet mujahedin operated openly with the ISI’s blessing and backing, the magazine reported.

The free rein to the Taliban fighters, the magazine said comes at a time when the terror outfit is planning its biggest surge- Operation Badr, the spring offensive in Afghanistan, where it is hoping to push in every single cadre.

The magazine however said that the Taliban preparations were overshadowed by the America’s commando assault which felled the al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The assault has left Taliban cadres and commanders stunned, despondent and uncharacteristically worried, ‘Newsweek’ quoted Zabihullah, a senior Taliban adviser. “It conveys a message to all Taliban leaders that no one is safe”.

The new Taliban military chief 38-year-old Zakir, a former Guantanamo inmate who was released to Afghan authorities holds eight to ten meetings a day in Quetta’s teeming, impoverished ethnic-Pashtun neighbourhood trailed by half-a-dozen aides on motorcycles.

‘Newsweek’ said, thousands of Taliban slogans cover the walls in and around the dusty frontier town of Kuchlak, some 14 kilometres northwest of Quetta. “The Only Solution Is Jihad Against the Invaders,” says one. “Mullah Omar Is a Dagger Raised to Strike Each Occupier,” says another.

A local government councillor says the area’s mosques and madrassas are packed with insurgents in need of temporary lodging as they head back to Afghanistan. Way stations have been set up all over the region in rented houses, he says, and swarms of Taliban pass through town on motorbikes every day. Most carry Pakistani national identity cards. “They’re enjoying the hospitality of the ‘black legs’ [derogatory slang for the ISI],” he says. He worries that the local culture is being Talibanized.

At least 20 local madrassa students have disappeared, most likely to join the fight in Afghanistan, he says, and Taliban backers are even trying to stop the traditional music and dancing at weddings. “‘How can you sing and dance when we’re dying?’ they tell us.”

A senior intelligence officer says he’s heard that Mullah Omar considers this year an important test for Zakir. “Our emir is giving Zakir a chance to prove himself,” he says. “If he does well, he stays; if not, there are others who can take over.”

Of course, no one has seen Omar since he fled into the mountains on the back of Baradar’s motorcycle nearly 10 years ago. And Zakir might do well to remember what happened to Osama bin Laden.

Courtesy: The Economic Times

Who can check them? Unfortunately no body !

Who can check them? — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpt:

…. The ‘establishment’ with its ‘solution by force policy’ has created irresolvable resentment among a majority of Baloch. ‘Balochistan: Waiting for justice’ editorial in Daily Times on February 28 has put the matter in proper perspective, “Pakistan’s security establishment has dealt with Balochistan in a very heavy-handed manner. The largest province of Pakistan has seen little development over the last six decades. Lack of education, infrastructure and political power has alienated the Baloch from the rest of the country, particularly Punjab, which they see as their ‘enemy’. The recent policy of eliminating moderate nationalists, who are in open national politics, is a dangerous trend. Thousands of Baloch have disappeared under mysterious circumstances or have been picked up by unknown elements. They are not only tortured but many of them are killed brutally and their bodies are later found from different parts of Balochistan. This policy adopted by our security establishment is leading to an increase in separatist sentiment among the Baloch.

“It is no secret that neither the federal government nor the provincial government has any real say when it comes to Balochistan. The real power lies with our security establishment, which has a narrow and non-political repressive policy. It is time that they understand that force, repression and killing cannot resolve this issue. A political solution is needed and for that the democratic government needs to run the show. The Baloch have been waiting for justice for decades now. It is time to address their grievances.”

Significantly even Balochistan’s Advocate General (AG) Salahuddin Mengal stated in Supreme Court that, “We are recovering dead bodies day in and day out as the Frontier Corps (FC) and police are lifting people in broad daylight at will, but we are helpless. Who can check the FC?” Who would know better than him about perpetrators of brutal killings of which my old student Faiz Mohammad Marri is the latest victim. Only the iron-will and determination of the people can check the oppressors because history moves relentlessly however brutal the repression. …

Read more : Daily Times

Balochistan: A student leader abducted and four bodies of disappeared persons are found

PAKISTAN: A student leader abducted and four bodies of disappeared persons are found

Case: AHRC-UAC-032-2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a student leader from Balochistan was abducted from the check post of the Frontier Corps in Quetta while he was returning from an interview for internship at Pakistan Telecommunications, a public sector company. In the campaign of killings of disappeared persons four more bodies of disappeared were found with bullet and torture marks. No a day goes by in Balochistan province without agitation and ‘shutter-down’ strikes in protest of killings and abductions allegedly by the law enforcement agencies. …

Read more : AHRC

Siraj Haqqani moved to ‘secure safe house’ outside FATA

By Ali K. Chishti

Daily Times can confirm that Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani Network, who had earlier been moved from Miranshah, North Waziristan to Kurram Agency, has been moved to a secure “safe house” outside FATA. The decision was taken after the September 27 NATO incursion near the village of Mata Sanger, which left two Pakistani FC guards dead.

“Apparently, Siraj Haqqani was pretty close at a safe-house when the NATO incursion at Kurram took place,” confirmed a top Western diplomat. It should be noted that Siraj Haqqani was earlier moved to Kurram Agency from Miranshah in North Waziristan after his brother, Mohammed, was killed in a US predator strike and another military commander, Saifullah Haqqani, was killed earlier this year.

The Haqqani network, which is considered as a ‘strategic asset’ by the Pakistani security establishment due to their considerable influence in Afghanistan, had first been moved to Kurram Agency where a new operation centre had been set up to intensify attacks in Afghanistan in co-ordination with a break away section of the Lakhkar-e-Tayyaba and other groups. It is now reported that the Shia tribes that make up most of the base for the Frontier Corps, who had earlier given most of the resistance to Gubuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami in Spina Shaga, have turned against the Haqqani network, who they see as an ideological threat to their existence. While most of the Pakistani mainstream media reported the recent clashes in Kurram Agency as ‘water wars’ between various tribal groups where more than 70 militants had been killed in strikes, it was in reality a section of the security establishment’s supporting pro-government tribal killings to pave a way for the Haqqanis. Daily Times can now confirm that it was a story to cover and allow the military to intervene on behalf of the Haqqanis, who are viewed as ‘strategic assets’ and ‘good Talibans’. ….

Read more : Daily Times

The question of Balochistan

By: Urooj Zia

If you see the flag of Pakistan in Balochistan, you are either on the Balochistan University campus in Quetta or at the provincial assembly – or, more alarmingly, within metres of a checkpost manned by the Frontier Corps (FC), the paramilitary force that controls the province. Nowhere else in this, the country’s largest province by area, will you see the national flag. On the contrary, flags of Azad Balochistan are a dime a dozen, adorning shops, houses, streetlights and random poles. Schools in the province – even those administered by the government – start their day not with ‘Pak ser zameen’ (the national anthem), but with ‘Ma chukki Balochani’, the anthem of Azad Balochistan. Here, the Pakistani state, army and paramilitary forces are figures of hate, while the sarmachar (Baloch ‘freedom fighters’) are considered heroes.

Read more >>- HIMAL