Tag Archives: Swat

Taliban claims assassination of Pakistani minority MPA Sardar Soran Singh in Buner

TTP claims assassination of PTI minority MPA in Buner

SWAT: Sardar Soran Singh, special assistant to chief minister KP on minorities’ affairs and an MPA, was gunned down in a targeted attack near Pir Baba in Buner district on Friday.

“Gunmen riding on two motorbikes came in front of the car and started indiscriminate firing which killed the minister on the spot,” Khalid Hamadani, district police chief told AFP.

He was shifted to the hospital immediately after the incident, where he succumbed to his wounds.

“Soran Singh was shot in the head and eye,” Pir Baba SHO Mir Ghazab confirmed.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the assassination.

Soran Singh belonged to the Sikh community

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1253730

Malala speaks at UN, vows not to be silenced

By: AFP

NEW YORK CITY: Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taliban.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said on her 16th birthday, which she spent making calls for greater global efforts to get children into schools.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born,” she said in a speech given several standing ovations.

The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she road on a school bus near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on October 12 last year.

She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1028531/malala-speaks-at-un-vows-not-to-be-silenced

The ‘other Punjab’ is at the heart of Pakistani extremism

By Manzar Zaidi

Most of the fighting between Pakistani troops and the Pashtun Taliban has been in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. But the less-reported aspect of recent developments in Pakistan is the endemic radicalisation of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The continuing mobilisation of Punjabi militants – the so-called “Punjabi Taliban” – is just one way that this growing extremism is becoming evident.

Punjab is vital: almost half of Pakistan’s 182 million people live in the province. About 44 per cent of Pakistan’s 20,000 madrassas are there. Of the 1,764 people on government “wanted” lists, 729 are from southern Punjab alone.

Continue reading The ‘other Punjab’ is at the heart of Pakistani extremism

Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

ISLAMABAD – MANY say they now realise it has taken a 14-year-old schoolgirl to teach Pakistan the meaning of courage. Back in 2009 Malala Yousafzai began chronicling the dark grip of the Pakistani Taliban on her homeland, the pretty Swat valley in the country’s north. She had a clear-eyed conviction that girls had a right to an education, something the Taliban did their best to prevent, even after their local rule was broken in an army offensive. She called the Taliban “barbarians”. On October 9th the barbarians took their revenge, shooting her in the head. She is now in a British hospital, in Birmingham, with a specialist unit for war injuries. Doctors are impressed by her resilience.

Back home, says Nusrat Javed, host of a popular political show, “Malala has liberated Pakistan.” Pakistanis have voiced unprecedented anger against the Pakistani Taliban, calling for the peaceful majority to reclaim the country’s destiny from gun-toting, head-chopping extremists.

The question is whether political, military and religious leaders have Malala’s gumption. Most condemned the attack without condemning the Pakistani Taliban. A few went further. The army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who had already taken a more aggressive stance against extremists in recent months, sounded ready for action. After visiting Malala in hospital in Pakistan, he said: “We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost. We will prevail.”

Continue reading Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

Long Live Malala Yousufzai, Long Live Pakhtoon resistance. Death to her attackers & to this terrorist mindset. Sindh salutes Malala.

Taliban says it shot ‘infidel’ Pakistani teen for advocating girls’ rights

By Haq Nawaz Khan, By Michele Langevine Leiby

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A 14-year-old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for speaking out for girls denied education under the Taliban was shot and seriously wounded Tuesday on her way home from school, authorities said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on ninth-grader Malala Yousafzai, who officials said was shot in the head by at least one gunman who approached a school bus in Mingora, a city in the scenic Swat valley in the country’s northwest.

Yousafzai was flown by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar, where officials said a bullet was lodged near her spine. Surgeons were unable to operate immediately because of swelling in her skull. ….

Read more : The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/taliban-says-it-shot-infidel-pakistani-teen-for-advocating-girls-rights/2012/10/09/29715632-1214-11e2-9a39-1f5a7f6fe945_story.html

Geo Tv – Kamran Khan on the failure of Pakistan Army & ISI

The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Sath), YouTube

via WICHAAR.COM

Dirty talk

By Saroop Ijaz

Excerpt;

…. The terrorists are fanatics who wish to destroy society and life as we have known it. The cliché “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” is overrated and in any event they are nobody’s freedom fighter. If all this sounds as dreary sentimental nonsense and hollow distant bravado to you, remember it is in our self-interest to fight and defeat them. Any capitulation or one-sided peace deal with them is by its nature doomed to fail and once it does, they will come back with a vengeance as they did after Swat. The precedent of negotiating and ceding to the edicts of people threatening to kill is one which is susceptible to permeate and will be applicable to your local gangster before you know it.

Read more » The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2011.

NATO’s perilous Kunar mission

By Tim Lister

The mistaken NATO air attack on Pakistani military outposts at the weekend, in which 24 soldiers were killed, was an accident waiting to happen.

The border between Pakistan and the Afghan province of Kunar is probably the most volatile of the entire 1,500-mile frontier that divides the two countries. It is rugged, remote and home to a variety of insurgent groups – including the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani), al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and the Hezbi Islami Group run by veteran warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In the words of one Afghan analyst, Kunar represents “the perfect storm.”

READ also Pakistani-U.S. relations back at the bottom

In addition to the sheer number of insurgents in Kunar, the border with Pakistan – amid peaks and ravines – is not clearly marked, and in some places disputed.

Nor was it the first such accident. On June 10th 2008, US troops and their Afghan allies engaged Taliban fighters some 200 yards inside Afghanistan – along the same stretch of border. Grainy video from a U.S. surveillance drone that day showed a half-dozen Taliban retreating into what the US military said was Pakistani territory. Several air strikes followed using precision bombs. The U.S. military insisted none hit any structure. But Pakistan maintained eleven soldiers were killed and described the attack as “completely unprovoked and cowardly.”

That incident took place in daylight; the firefight at the weekend was at night. And since 2008, the border between Kunar and the Pakistani tribal agency of Mohmand has become even more violent. Attempts by U.S. forces to build combat outposts close to the border have provoked firefights lasting several hours; resupply convoys are greeted with roadside IEDs and ambushes.

To further complicate the picture, Pakistani forces frequently fire artillery into Kunar against Pakistani Taliban elements who use Afghan territory. At least one senior Pakistan Taliban leader, Mullah Fazlullah, is said to take refuge in Kunar after being driven out of Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2009. …

Read more » http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/28/natos-perilous-kunar-mission/?hpt=hp_bn4

A Rubberband Kind of Year: See You Later Pakistan – By Bryan Farris

Excerpt;

…. Pakistan is a land of extremes: from extreme heat to extreme hospitality. From extreme religious sentiment to extreme devotion to food. From extremely exaggerated journalism to an extremely undervalued global reputation.

What most of the world fails to realize is just how beautiful this country is and how spectacular its people truly are. It is impossible to overlook the problems: Pakistan is facing lawlessness in Karachi, a violent political system, jaw-dropping inflation, an insufficient power supply and terrorists staking claim over the northern areas. These are real issues that do exist: but they do not define Pakistan—as much of the world would have you believe.

While it may be impossible to overlook the problems, it is (apparently) quite possible to overlook the splendor that a country like Pakistan offers.

Where else do you greet every stranger with the phrase “Peace be with you”?

Where else do you find BBQ Chicken Tikka that melts in your mouth?

Where else is being 20 minutes late considered on-time? ….

…… Pakistanis are hospitable. I’ve spent my entire time here living with a host family. At first I was a guest, but Jean, Wilburn, Asim, Maria, Susie, John, Ben, Thomas, Annie, Tashu and Ethan made me feel so welcome that they became family. I know I have a home here forever. Anywhere you go in Pakistan, people will welcome you with open arms (and probably a even a hug—from strangers too).

Pakstanis are loyal. I mean…crazy loyal. When you make a Pakistani friend, you’ve created a serious bond. Leaving is so hard because I feel such powerful ties with people here. For my farewell dinner, a co-worker (but really a new best friend), Jamshaid, made two 9 hour trips between our site in the flood affected areas and Lahore just to join for dinner. Another friend of mine who had moved out of Lahore months ago made a 250Km round trip to meet me for Sehri breakfast at 3am. I’ve never felt so honored.

Pakistanis love tea. If this isn’t self-evident, I don’t know what is. Pakistanis love to sit down, stir their chai and chat. Spending time with others and building quality relationships is so important. Back home people tend to fly through their days, but in Pakistan, every moment with another is cherished.

Pakistanis are optimistic. I’ve never been somewhere where young people were as energized about opportunities in their own country as here. There is a bright future ahead and Pakistan’s youth are driving it. A few friends of mine—Ali, Babar, Zehra, Saba, Jimmy, Khurram—have inspiring aspirations for change in PK.

This is the Pakistan that the world needs to come to know. Yes, there are terrorists and violence, and that can’t be forgotten, but if that is your perception, then you are judging a book by the headlines.

Sure, there are probably safer ways I could have spent this year, but then I wouldn’t have been stretched in the way that I have been.

Pakistan has become a part of me; it has forever changed me, my perspective on the world, and my trust in humanity.

To read complete article  → RisingPyramid

Where are Taliban’s apologists who justified these actions through linking it to American highhandedness in the region.

Execution Videos Strike Terror in Pakistan

By Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR, Jul 19, 2011 (IPS) – A video showing a group of 16 Pakistani policemen, hands tied behind their backs, being executed by Taliban gunmen in the Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is only the latest in a series showing brutal acts designed to strike terror in the areas bordering Afghanistan.

In the video, released on Monday, an unknown member of the Taliban (Islamic scholars) explains that the policemen are being punished for abandoning Islam and to avenge the deaths of six Pakistani children killed during security operations in adjacent Swat district.

The policemen are believed to have been abducted by the Taliban during a raid on a security post in the village of Shaltalo on Jun. 1.

“We first thought that we were watching a scene from an action movie and could not believe that it was an authentic recording of executions,” Imranullah, a resident of Dir, told IPS. …

“But, given the Taliban’s reputation for brutality, we were soon convinced that it was genuine,” Imranullah said. “We still remember how the Taliban murdered a popular female dancer called Shabana in Swat and strung her body up from an electricity pole as warning.”

Read more → IPS News

The sham operation in Kurram – Dr Mohammad Taqi

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people, making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks

On July 4, 2011, the Pakistan Army announced that it has launched an operation in the Central Kurram Agency with the primary objective of clearing the ‘miscreants’ and opening of the Peshawar-Thall-Parachinar Road (why Tal has become Thall in the English press beats me). The geographical scope of the operation is rather circumscribed, if the army communiqués are to be believed, and its focus, ostensibly, would be on the Zaimusht, Masozai and Alizai areas. But speaking to the Kurramis from Lower, Central and Upper Kurram, one gets a different sense.

At least one General has reportedly been heard saying during the recent operational meetings leading up to the military action that he intends to teach the Turis (in Upper Kurram) a lesson that they would never forget. The Corps Commander’s communication delivered to the tribal elders of the Upper Kurram literally ordered them to acquiesce in and sign on to the operation. But quite significantly, many other leaders among the Turis, Bangash and Syeds of Upper Kurram have vehemently opposed the military action as well as their own elders who seem to have caved in under duress.

The Turis and Bangash tribesmen are of the opinion that on the Thall-Parachinar Road, the only extortionists bigger than the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are the officers of the army — and they specifically name two colonels — who have made life miserable for the people of Parachinar. These security officials levy protection money even on the supply of daily provisions and medicine to Upper Kurram, resulting in jacked-up prices and in many instances unavailability of life-saving drugs, resulting in deaths that otherwise could be preventable.

The more ominous and geo-strategically important aspects of the current army operation are twofold and are interconnected. We have noted in these pages several times that the Pakistan Army has no problem securing Central and parts of Lower Kurram for its jihadist asset, i.e. the Haqqani terrorist network, who have essentially had a free reign in this region for almost a decade using the Sateen, Shasho and Pir Qayyum camps. The army has also helped the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups set up humungous compounds on the Durand Line such as the Spina Shaga complex.

The problem the security establishment has faced is to secure a thoroughfare between Central Kurram and the assorted jihadist bridgeheads along the Kurram-Afghanistan border, including but not limited to the Parrot’s Beak region. The key hindrance to such movement is the resistance by the Turi and Bangash tribesmen, which neither the security establishment nor its jihadist proxies have been able to neutralise, coerce or buy off. Projecting the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar’s operatives into Afghanistan from Tari Mangal, Mata Sangar, Makhrani, Wacha Darra and Spina Shaga and other bases on the border is a pivotal component of the Pakistani strategy to keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan and for the post-US withdrawal phase. But with the recent wave of drone attacks on the hideouts of these groups, their vulnerability to the US/ISAF — buoyed by the OBL raid — has also become evident and hence the need for secure routes to retract the jihadists back when needed.

Several attacks on the Turi and Bangash, including by Pakistan Army helicopter gunships last year killing several Pakistanis, have not dented the resolve of the locals to fight back against the jihadists. I had noted in these pages then: “The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement [to relocate the Haqqanis to Kurram]. When the local population reversed the Taliban gains in the battle for the village Khaiwas, the army’s gunships swooped down on them to protect its jihadist partners” (‘Kurram: the forsaken FATA’, Daily Times, November 4, 2010).

The option that the army wants to exercise now is to disarm the Upper Kurram’s tribesmen, especially the Turis. The security establishment has told them that they will have to surrender their “qawmi wasla” (an arms cache that belongs to a tribe as a whole). To disarm and thus defang the tribesmen, who have held their own against the disproportionately stronger and state-sponsored enemy for almost half a decade, is essentially pronouncing their death sentence.

Without their weapons, the Turis and Bangash will be at the whim of an army that had literally abandoned Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala and Pir Samiullah in Swat and the Adeyzai lashkar (outside Peshawar). Afzal Khan Lala lost several loyalists and family members and Pir Samiullah was murdered, his body buried but later exhumed and mutilated by the Taliban, while the army stood by and did nothing. My co-columnist and researcher, Ms Farhat Taj has highlighted the plight of the Adeyzai lashkar several times in these pages, including the fact that it was left high and dry by the security establishment against an overwhelming Taliban force. And lest we forget, it was this same army that made Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party (ANP) negotiate with Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban, with suicide bombers standing guard on each men and blocking the door along with muzzles of automatic rifles pointed into their faces.

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people (IDPs), making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks. Also, the establishment’s focus has been to ‘reorient’ the TTP completely towards Afghanistan. The breaking away from the TTP of the crook from Uchat village, Fazl-e-Saeed Zaimusht (who now interestingly writes Haqqani after his name) is the first step in the establishment’s attempt to regain full control over all its jihadist proxies.

The offensive in Central Kurram is not intended for securing the road; it will be broadened to include the Upper Kurram in due course, in an attempt to bring the Turis and Bangash to their knees. After their arms have been confiscated, it could be a turkey shoot for the jihadists and Darfur for the Kurramis. It is doubtful though that the common Turi or Bangash tribesman is about to listen to some elder who is beholden to the establishment, and surrender the only protection that they have had. The Pakistan Army’s track record of protecting jihadists and shoving the anti-Taliban forces off the deep end speaks for itself.

Pakistan’s security establishment can perpetuate on the US and the world a fraud like the hashtag de-radicalisation on Twitter and buzzwords like de-programming suicide bombers by trotting out the so-called intelligentsia whose understanding of the Pashtun issues is woefully flawed. But it is unlikely that Kurramis are about to fall for this sham of an operation that paves the way for their genocide.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

PAKISTAN: Another Pakistani woman is killed, yet officials remain silent

AHRC-FAT-033-2011, July 5, 2011 – An article from Radio Free Europe forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Another Pakistani woman is killed, yet officials remain silent

Shazia, 19, was stoned, burnt with acid, and then shot dead for an unknown sin

By Daud Khattak

No one noticed last month when Shazia, 19, was stoned, burnt with acid, and then shot dead for an unknown sin in Mardan, the second largest town in northern Pakistan after Peshawar.

Originally from a village in the Swat Valley, Shazia was snatched by her ex-husband from her mother, taken into the mountains, tortured, and eventually killed.

Her mother, Noor Jehan, a widow with no male relatives, has lodged complaints at three different police stations about her daughter’s fate, but her wailing, so far, has fallen on deaf ears. Law-enforcement agents keep telling her that “investigations are under way.”

Days before Shazia’s heinous murder, another woman was stripped and paraded around Haripur, a city near the now-infamous suburb of Abbotabad, the last dwelling of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. …

Read more → ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (AHRC)

Is Imran supporting the Taliban? – by Naeem Tahir

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read complete article: Daily Times

The cost of Pakistan’s double game

By Daud Khattak

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read complete article: Foreign Policy

via Wichaar

Nawaz Sharif refuses to attend Army briefing

ISLAMABAD: PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif refused to attend Friday’s in-camera joint session of the parliament in protest against the increasing role of the ISI and army in politics.

During Friday’s in-house session,the army chief is due to brief the legislators on the U.S. strike in the Garrison city of Abbottabad and answer their questions.

The military command is said to be taking this parliamentary briefing a lot more seriously than the one it had given about the Swat operation two years ago.

Although Sharif is not a legislator, he was especially invited by the Prime Minister to attend Friday’s briefing. However, the PML-N chief said he declined the invitation, adding that Pakistan will not be able to progress unless the role of the ISI and Army is restricted.

As mentioned in a previous report published in The Express Tribune, the military command is expecting a barrage of sharp questions from the political leadership, most notably the opposition led by PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, during the course of the briefing.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan gave a fiery speech this Tuesday, accusing both the military and civilian leaders of incompetence and deceiving the Pakistani people, demanding an independent national commission to investigate the events of May 2, when a US special forces unit killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a ‘black’ operation in Abbottabad.

The PML-N chief, who demanded a judicial inquiry into the Abbottabad security failure, said he is ready to extend his three-day deadline if the government agrees to consider his demand.

Nawaz Sharif, who came under attack after his brother Shahbaz Sharif secretly, met the army chief, assured that there will no more be such secret meetings in the future.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

As Pakistan battles extremism, it needs allies’ patience and help

By Asif Ali Zardari, The writer is president of Pakistan.

Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”

Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.

A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.

We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.

Read more : The Washington Post

Taliban & The Girl from the Swat Flogging

The Girl from the Swat Flogging

An interview with Saira Bibi

Tell us about the day of the flogging.

I don’t remember the exact date, but it was in January 2009. My husband works at a coalmine in Hyderabad and he was away. He had asked us to organize a lunch for one of his friends who had recently got married. After the lunch guests left, we heard noises at our door. They were shouting for us to quickly come out of the house. My mother-in-law asked them who they were. They said they were the Taliban. They said there were some allegations against me, and they wanted to question me. I told my mother-in-law I had no reason to face them. They kept shouting, threatening to drag me out themselves. My brother-in-law took me to them. He said we have no choice, that I should trust Allah.

What did the Taliban say to your family? How were you feeling when you left with them?

They said I would have to defend myself in their Shariah court which was set up at a government-run primary school for girls about 200 meters from our home. So we walked there. I was scared. In my mind, I was walking toward my death.

What happened at the school?

When I got to this self-declared Shariah court, I saw three men with long beards who were fully equipped with weapons. One of the Taliban there accused me of having an illicit relationship with the friend of my husband whom we had had the lunch for. He said I would have to face punishment; that I will have to be flogged because that is what Islam says. I denied the allegation, but they didn’t listen to me. One of them told me to bend my head toward my knees, and then they started flogging me. Another one counted up to 15 for each time I was struck. They told me to walk to the nearby ground for the final decision. As I walked there I was thinking they are going to slit my throat and kill me like they have others. There was a mob gathered there. I was told to lie face down on the ground. Two men held my hands down, another had his hand on my neck, a third one held my feet. I kept shouting I am innocent. I kept crying to Allah to help me. They lashed me another 15 times. After the second round of flogging, I wasn’t able to walk and my brother-in-law had to assist me back home. ….

Read more : http://www.newsweekpakistan.com/the-take/244

Must read : Pakistan Predictions

Pakistan Predictions 2009 – by Dr. Omar

I wrote this in April 2009 for Wichaar.com and am posting it unchanged. Its interesting to see how our predictions look 2 years later….

http://wichaar.com/news/294/ARTICLE/13790/2009-04-23.html

I recently went on a road trip across the North-Eastern United States and at every stop, the Pakistanis I met were talking about the situation in Pakistan . As is usually the case, everyone seemed to have their own pet theory, but for a change ALL theories shared at least two characteristics: they were all pessimistic in the short term and none of them believed the “official version” of events. Since there seems to be no consensus about the matter, a friend suggested that I should summarize the main theories I heard and circulate that document, asking for comments. I hope your comments will clarify things even if this document does not. So here, in no particular order, are the theories.

1. Things fall apart: This theory holds that all the various chickens have finally come home to roost. The elite has robbed the country blind and provided neither governance nor sustenance and now the revolution is upon us: the jihadis have a plan and the will to enforce it and the government has neither. The jihadis have already captured FATA and most of Malakand (a good 20% of NWFP) and are inevitably going to march onwards to Punjab and Sindh. The army is incapable of fighting these people (and parts of it are actively in cahoots with the jihadis) and no other armed force can match these people. The public has been mentally prepared for Islamic rule by 62 years of Pakistani education and those who do resist will be labelled heretics and apostates and ruthlessly killed. The majority will go along in the interest of peace and security. America will throw more good money after bad, but in the end the Viceroy and her staff will be climbing rope ladders onto helicopters and those members of the elite who are not smart enough to get out in time will be hanging from the end of the ladder as the last chopper pulls away from the embassy. Those left behind will brush up their kalimas and shorten their shalwars and life will go on. The taliban will run the country and all institutions will be cleansed and remodelled in their image.

2. Jihadi Army: The army is the army of Pakistan . Pakistan is an Islamic state. They know what to do. They will collect what they can from the Americans because we need some infidel technologies that we don’t have in our own hands yet, but one glorious day, we will purge the apostate officers and switch to full jihadi colors. The country will be ruled with an iron hand by some jihadi general, not by some mullah from FATA. All corrupt people will be shot. Many non-corrupt people will also be shot. Allah’s law will prevail in Allah’s land. And then we will deal with Afghanistan (large scale massacre of all apostates to be held in the stadium), India , Iran and the rest of the world in that order.

Continue reading Must read : Pakistan Predictions

Bin Yameen “Notorious as the ”Butcher of Swat” killed in drone attack

Bin Yameen negotiated peace deal before American missile killed him

Notorious as the ”Butcher of Swat” in the Pakistani military circles for his merciless nature, Al-Qaeda commander Bin Yameen (also known as Ibn-e-Amin) was ready to strike a ceasefire deal with the Pakistani security forces to divert fighting to neighbouring Afghanistan when he was killed last week in an attack by US drone aircraft.

Yameen, the chief of operations in northwest Pakistan’s Awat Valley and the chief of the Tora Bora Brigade, one of the six brigades in Al-Qaeda’s Shadow Army called a meeting of other insurgent commanders but his movement was tracked by American intelligence.

His aim was to broaden operations in the Khyber district as well as in the Afghan province of Nangarhar to close down the NATO supply route.

Bin Yameen’s death has indicated a strange dimension in the South Asian war on terror theatre where American drones have successfully eliminated the big number of the vertical command of Al-Qaeda and its affiliated group leaders, but has developed a new situation in which thousands of freshly trained men have split in to small cliques, after the killings of their commanders. This is the most little known aspect behind the much boasted American drone strike successes in the AfPak war theatre. …

Read more : Asia Despatch

If emerging threat of Panjab Taliban is not tackled then Pakistan will face a huge disaster.

A foregone conclusion —Dr Mohammad Taqi

Only after the disaster in Swat spilled over into Buner and the media spotlight showed the true colours of Sufi Muhammad, did both the military and civilian leadership spring into action

The Pakistani parliament’s Special Committee on National Security (SCNS) received a briefing this past week from the Secretary Defence Lieutenant General (R) Syed Athar Ali and Director General ISI Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Read more >> DAILY TIMES

Collective Volunteerism: An Approach that May Work to Rebuild Pakistan

by K. Ashraf

Social, cultural, economic and political problems are growing in leaps and bounds in Pakistan on daily basis. The situation is so fluid no one can really predict the events of next moment. Is there going to be a suicide bombing, or sniper attack, or some other devastating accident, no one really knows. Fear, desperation, and helpless are the real rulers of Pakistan.

The other day the world press simultaneously broadcasted two news: One out of Mogadishu Somalia and the other from Swat Pakistan. A suicide bomber killed 20 people offering prayers in a mosque in Mogadishu . Another suicide bomber killed 11 people in Swat in Pakistan.

Is Pakistan any better than Somalia ? Perhaps, it is. Somalia does not have a government where as Pakistan does. However, Pakistani government is not any better than non-existent government in Somalia.

Like there is no government in Somalia to control the things there is a government in Pakistan but like Somalia it does not control anything. Pakistani government is nothing, but a herd of incompetent individuals who know how to boast but do not know how to deliver. There incompetence, or lack of desire to deliver, is further complicating the matters.

Pakistan is a country of one hundred and seventy million people. With several large size cities with completely broken life supporting systems, Pakistan is worse than Somalia . One can see horrible scenes across the country every second and feel sorry for the people, but without any effect or impact on its purblind rulers.

President and Prime minister look more sort of jackasses not up to the job they are holding. They are creating more problems in the country through inappropriate actions instead of helping the country move out of shadows of miseries, death and destruction. They spend more time on blaming others than spending half the time on fixing Pakistan’s problems.

There is a parliament in the country. Common Pakistani folks describe it as a rubber stamp or the debating club of thieves and thugs which is not interested in solving peoples’ problems. Within last two years, they have not taken up any issue faced by the people of Pakistan.

Is there a way out for the people of Pakistan? What should they do to resolve their problems? How should they compensate government inadequacies? We suggest they should develop the habit of collective volunteerism. They should form committees at street and city levels to deal with their day to day problems. If they develop the mechanism of collective volunteerism in all communities throughout the country they may start solving their trivial problems. They can help each other fix their broken systems and improve the quality of life in their communities. If they become really organized they can do miracles.

In many countries, the common folks have done these miracles. The people of Pakistan are not any lesser than any other people. They can also rebuild the broken social, cultural, economic and political systems in their communities through collective volunteerism.

Pakistanis are great charity givers. They should erect system to pool in their charities to rebuild the broken systems.

With every thing falling apart, may be collective volunteerism is the approach that may help Pakistanis to rebuild their communities and improve their lives.

Courtesy: CRDP, May 2, 2010

800 kg of explosive recovered from terrorists in Islamabad

Disaster averted as 800kg explosives recovered

By: Kashif Ali Abbasi

Courtesy: The Nation

ISLAMABAD – While averting a possible disaster in Federal Capital, CID police recovered 800 kg explosive materials from suburb area of Islamabad besides arresting three key members of a banned militants outfit.

Police sources said that CID police on Saturday raided at a house situated in New Abadi, a locality of Bharaku, and recovered 800 kg explosive material, cables and other devices from the possession of three terrorists.

Continue reading 800 kg of explosive recovered from terrorists in Islamabad

Pakistan on course to become Islamist state, U.S. experts say

McClatchy

A growing number of U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials have concluded that there’s little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing a greater threat to the U.S. than Afghanistan’s terrorist haven did before 9/11.

Continue reading Pakistan on course to become Islamist state, U.S. experts say

Pakistan : ANP, MP killed in suicide attack

Suicide bomber kills ANP lawmaker – by Hameedullah Khan

Courtesy: Dawn, Tuesday, 01 Dec, 2009

MINGORA: A teenaged suicide bomber blew himself up, killing ANP lawmaker Shamsher Ali Khan as he was seeing off guests who had come to his house here to offer Eid greetings on Tuesday. Shamsher Khan’s two brothers and nine other people were injured. The man with explosives strapped to his body had walked unchallenged into the Hujra of the MPA’s house, witnesses said. Shamsher Khan died on the spot while his brothers Shaukat Ali Khan and Mohammad Ali Khan were injured.

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Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Courtesy: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

First, the bottom line: Pakistan will not break up; there will not be another military coup; the Taliban will not seize the presidency; Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will not go astray; and the Islamic sharia will not become the law of the land.

That’s the good news. It conflicts with opinions in the mainstream U.S. press, as well as with some in the Obama administration. For example, in March, David Kilcullen, a top adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, declared that state collapse could occur within six months. This is highly improbable.

Now, the bad news: The clouds hanging over the future of Pakistan’s state and society are getting darker. Collapse isn’t impending, but there is a slow-burning fuse. While timescales cannot be mathematically forecast, the speed of societal decline has surprised many who have long warned that religious extremism is devouring Pakistan.

Continue reading Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast

Most wanted Taliban

From much sought after to ‘most wanted’

By Zahid Hussain

Courtesy: daily dawn, Sunday, 31 May, 2009

The faces of militant commanders for whose capture the government has announced millions of rupees seem all too familiar. Just three weeks before the start of the latest round of military operation in Swat I met most of them — not in their mountainous hideouts, but in the official residence of a top bureaucrat in Mingora, barely a few hundred metres from the army garrison.

Accompanied by dozens of well armed Taliban fighters, Muslim Khan, Sirajuddin, Mahmmod Khan and some others (who are said to be responsible for killings of hundreds of soldiers and civilians) were being hosted by the former commissioner of Malakand, Syed Mohammad Javed.

Continue reading Most wanted Taliban

Military seeking revenge against Taliban in Swat for heavy causalities, senior offical says

Pakistan army tied to killings

by Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah, Islamabad

Courtesy: Toronto Star, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

Mingora – Two months after the Pakistani army wrested control of the Swat Valley from Taliban militants, a new campaign for fear has taken hold, with scores, perhaps hundreds, of bodies dumped on the streets in what human rights advocates and local residents say is the work of the military. In some, cases, people may simply have been seeking revenge against the ruthless Taliban, in a society that tends to accept tit-for-tat reprisals, local politicians said.

But the scale of the retaliation, the similarities in the way that many of the victims have been tortured and the systematic nature of the deaths and disappearances in areas that the military firmly controls have raised suspicions. Local residents, human rights workers and some Pakistani officials conclude the millitary has had a role in the campaign. The Pakistani army, which is supported by the United States and in the absence of effective political  leadership is running much of Swat with an iron hand, has strenuously denied any involvement with the killings. The army has acknowledged the bodies have turned up, but its spokesmen assert they are the result of civilians setting scores with collaborators. “There are no extrajudicial killings in our system,” said army spokesman Col. Akhtar Abbas. “If something happens, we have a foolproof accountability system.” Neighbours of the victims and Swat residents say there is something more going on than revenge killing by civilians. A senior politician from the region and a former interior minister, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, said he was worried about the army’s involvement in the killings. “There have been reports of extrajudicial killings by the military that are of concern,” he said. “This will not help bring peace.” The operation in Swat, begun under public pressure from the United States, has been hailed by Washington as a showcase effort of the army’s newfound resolve to defeat the militants. The American ambassador, Anne patterson, visited Mingora, the biggest town in Swat, last week, becoming the first senior American official to go to Swat since the army took over. Now, concerns over the army’s methods in the area threaten to further taint Washington’s association with the military, cooperation that has been questioned in Congress and has been politically unpopular in Pakistan. The number of killings suggests the military is seeking to silence enthusiasm for the Taliban and to settle accounts for heavy army causalties, said a senior provincial official who declined to be identified for fear of reprimand by the army. – Source – Toronto Star, page – A12, Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009.

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To read more about Army Torture video at BBC Urdu, click here or click the following link of BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2009/10/091002_army_torture_video_zs.shtml

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Link to watch video of human rights abuses click here or click the following link;

http://pkpolitics.com/2009/10/01/human-rights-abuses-by-pakistan-army/

There is no Islam in Swat. The Taliban have finished it.

The Women of Swat and ‘Mullah Radio’

By a group of NWFP women

Courtesy: AIRRA.ORG

Islam started as soon as we fled from Malakand. People outside Swat think we had Islam and Shariat. There is no Islam in Swat. The Taliban have finished it.

woman from Mingawera, Swat, in a Sawabai camp

Where does one begin to tell you what they have been saying? It is difficult to explain because it is difficult for some of us to believe, to understand, and at times, even to empathise with. Between their rage and their tears, between giving each other solace and laughing at lighter moments, they opened up to talk to us. They shall not be named but they shall be heard by all of us today.

Continue reading There is no Islam in Swat. The Taliban have finished it.

Taliban – Fazlullah and his gang!?

by Abdul Nasir Khan

The following news items in two different dailies, if put together, would seem to indicate that there may be a surrender deal in the offing with Fazlullah and his gang. Maybe we will get to hear the good news before Eid. The News also suggested in a news item today that Muslim Khan’s capture was also a surrender under some deal (probably to release his family members) and made to look like a catch in order to protect him from his own Taliban.

Continue reading Taliban – Fazlullah and his gang!?