Archive | July, 2013

Who rules KPK; Terrorists or PTI?

30 Jul

DIKThe shameless politicians of Pakistan have the audacity to blame intelligence agencies for their own failures. This was evident in the classic case of attack on DI Khan jail where the police virtually facilitated the attack yet the chief minister is adamant that his hands are clear and neither he nor his government was responsible in what could be termed as one of the worst jailbreaks in the history of the world.

According to various news sources, TTP terrorists attacked the Central Jail in Dera Ismail Khan on Monday night and freed more than 200 terrorists besides killing a handful of prisoners and security staff. DI Khan is a major city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and is close to South Waziristan Agency. The attackers sixty in number, who moved and charged unnoticed by the local police, overpowered security personnel deployed at the prison who did not even make an effort to offer resistance. According to initial investigations, the first prison gate was destroyed by the attackers equipped with hand grenades and automatic weapons, but the other two gates were let open by security personnel. The police personnel who were responsible for security of the prison’s outside building were not present at the time of attack and arrived there four-and-a-half hours later. It seems that the first and second defence lines of the jail offered no resistance leaving no room for the army to engage the attackers to protect the prison.

This is a clear example of collapse of governance in a province which is ruled by Imran Khan’s PTI who is perceived to be a sympathizer of the terrorists. The fact that intelligence agencies had forewarned the government of the imminent attack and there was no preparation to meet it head-on only substantiates the fact that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration was totally incompetent. As usual, the Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak attributed his government’s failure to intelligence agencies. This is a poor case of passing the buck on.

This could be an inside help provided to the attackers which would suggest that terrorists have not only ingress in the political hierarchy, but also the lowest level of administration. This would indeed, be very dangerous and would amount to ceding the entire province to the terrorists.

Related stories:

ALLVOICESDI Khan jail break shows governance in KPK of Pakistan has totally collapsed


Why everyone is out to claim responsibility for Sukkur ISI attack?

25 Jul

SukkurIn a brilliant move to distract the public attention from the real perpetrators of Sukkur suicide attack on ISI office, various terrorist organizations have been tasked to claim responsibility and further confuse the public opinion on who could have done it. Social media is abuzz with the theory that the real target of the attack was some major of ISI identified as Zeeshan who is said to be in possession of some sensitive documents containing evidence of involvement of foreign intelligence agencies in terrorism in Pakistan. The terrorists, as per this theory, wanted to destroy the evidence. Major Zeeshan was killed in the attack.

There was no immediate call to take the responsibility after the attack as is the norm in such cases. Interestingly, various people called media houses a day after the attack to claim that they were the actual perpetrators. A Taliban commander told The Express Tribune on Thursday that the deadly attack was orchestrated by the elements of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) based in Mohmand tribal region and the Taliban faction in Punjab. It was their joint venture. The commander disputed the claim by a splinter faction of the Taliban, which also claimed responsibility for the same attack.

Separately, a man named Ahmed Marwat, who introduced himself as the spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Jundullah Group) had called various media persons to claim responsibility for the attack. Marwat had claimed that the attack was revenge for the death of TTP deputy chief Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan tribal region in May. He said the group had sent four bombers to “achieve the target.”

Now there is a conflict of claims between two outfits, Jundullah, Pakistan and TTP. The Jundullah group had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack on security forces but TTP former spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan, denied the association of Jundullah group with the Taliban.

Now this is an interesting development. First the stated motive of the attack is highly questionable, if not laughable. The terrorists claim that the attack was in retaliation of the death of Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud in a US drone attack. Everyone knows that ISI does not operate drones and is, in fact, against the drone strikes. How can militants take revenge from ISI for an act which was perpetrated by the mighty Americans? Then there are rumors that the coordinates of the whereabouts of Mehsud were given to the Americans by the hard core TTP themselves to have Mehsud, another contender to the slot of TTP head, eliminated. This is frivolous excuse and points the finger to Pakistan’s enemies who have perpetrated this and every attack on civilians and security forces.

But the conflict of the claim is even more interesting. Jundullah or BLA or even TTP and all its factions are being directed by one coordinator sitting somewhere in Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities should exactly know the center of gravity of Pakistan-specific terrorism. The evidence available so far points out that India is spearheading the campaign to destabilize Pakistan through attacking security forces, innocent civilians and through the game of perception using media houses and funding them with generous handouts.


Sukkur Attack should be the last eye-opener for security agencies

24 Jul

SukkurBlast-police-isi_7-24-2013_110825_lPakistan’s establishment and its security agencies are under three-pronged attack from Pakistan’s enemies; from India, Afghanistan and their allies in fourth generation warfare (4GW), from international establishment through international media in connivance with some elements of the local media and from Pakistan’s emerging power center, the apex judiciary. The attack from the third front only reinforces the attacks from other two sides but is only either under pressure from the media or to reassert its authority and occupy the space ceded by the establishment in the last five years. The media has helped built up the image of this new power center and any pressure from this side is too hard to resist.

It is now no secret that after Pakistan becoming a nuclear power, there is no chance for an all-out war as demonstrated in the past; the Kargil conflict, the Indian parliament attack and Mumbai attacks. The last two events have received a renewed limelight and there are questions as to who was the real perpetrator of these attacks. In view of the possibility of a nuclear conflict, India has already drawn the battle lines to keep Pakistan under pressure of terrorists’ attacks on its innocent civilians and military facilities to break the resolve of security agencies to fight. The media, now fully exposed to be recipient of generous funding from India, is unleashed simultaneously to attack the security agencies to establish that Pakistan’s security apparatus is not capable of defending the country.

Terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s soil are planned and war-gamed in Afghanistan where pro-India regime notwithstanding, India has not been able to secure a foothold in post-2014 era. The Kunar province of Afghanistan is the actual epicenter of terrorism against Pakistan. Pakistani authorities are in possession of incontrovertible evidence that India arms and funds anti-Pakistan TTP operating from Afghanistan with a nod from CIA. The separatist movement in Balochistan has clear stamp of Indian involvement. The major resistance to crush anti-Pakistan elements comes from a particular media house and opportunist politicians.

The latest attack on ISI center in Sukkur clearly suggests that the terrorists of India-funded Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have deeply penetrated into the heretofore peaceful province of Sindh in Pakistan. The Rural Sindh, home to countless saints and peace-loving populace, was peaceful so far in the wake of terror attacks in the rest of country but the Wednesday evening bomb attack on ISI office and other administration buildings in a heavily guarded compound in Sukkur indicates that the terrorists can strike any target anywhere with impunity.

According to reports, a least five terrorists attacked the ISI office, adjacent to the Rangers office, Commissioner’s House and office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, soon after Iftar. One ISI official and an employee of the Commissioner House were killed in the attack. Sources said that a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of ISI office while two others detonated explosives rigged with their bodies inside the office. A suspected bomber has reportedly been arrested following the explosions, which damaged several vehicles and buildings and left a deep crater near the ISI office. According to a Rangers spokesman, two militants blew themselves up while three were shot dead by forces. He added that several security personnel sustained injuries during the operation against attackers. According to police sources, the city headquarters of the ISI was the main target of the terrorists.

This latest attack should be the last eye-opener for the security agencies. The time to look towards nincompoop political leadership for direction is now over. It is the time that army and other security agencies reject political meddling and media influence and take action indiscriminately against terrorists of all hues including those under the shelter of political and religious parties. TTP, BLA and LeJ terrorists are Pakistan’s enemies and should be dealt with accordingly.

Indian influence in Pakistani media escapes Supreme Court’s attention

16 Jul

SCThe proverbial cat is out of bag and Pakistan’s populist Supreme Court has announced its decision on the Report of Media Commission. As expected, the court in its ruling made public on its website has chosen not to touch the sensitive parts of the Report. The most sensitive is dubious interest of foreigners in Pakistan’s electronic media.

There are two most sensitive issues mentioned in the Report:

a)      Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association alleged that entertainment channel Urdu 1 was owned by Rupert Murdoch and two Afghan brothers (Mohsini brothers) who were based in Dubai. This channel (Urdu 1) was granted landing right much before it went on air anywhere in the world. The trail of dubious grant of license can be traced to Musa Gilani, son of former Prime Minister and Faryal Talpur, sister of the sitting President.

a)      Media watchdog, PEMRA informed the Commission a couple of media houses are reported to have received large grants in the form of advertising contracts from overseas sources. It is said that one such grant is 20 million British pounds. Any attempt by PEMRA to probe such matters immediately leads to claims that there is an attempt to curb freedom of the media and there is always the recourse to obtaining a stay order if an inquiry is held. Most of the funds are channeled through the cover of a Norwegian NGO named Friends without Borders but it was found the footprints of this funding lead to Indian sponsors including the Indian state television, the Doordarshan.

Who is Keith Rupert Murdoch and why the Indians send their money to one Pakistani channel? If the influence of Murdoch and Indians was not checked in Pakistan, then PEMRA was in breach of trust and an accomplice in the crime of allowing foreigners making inroads into Pakistani airwaves through their money.

Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian American media mogul. In July 2011, he faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the US. On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International.

The allegation of PEMRA that one channel (GeoTV) received huge amounts in the name of sponsorship is most disturbing. That the amounts were actually sent by Indians should have rung alarm bells in the court room and media watchdog taken to task but the Supreme Court did not utter a single word in its order. The Supreme Court could do was to order an investigation. But this very serious breach of trust on the part of PEMRA escaped the attention of the court which strengthens the perception that the said channel is enjoying strong influence in the court room.

What are the services that Geo is delivering for India? Numerous. From showing excessive Indian contents to bashing Pakistan’s ISI and armed forces for anything happening anywhere in the world. This was the first channel which blamed in unison with Indian media that Mumbai Attacks of November, 2008 were perpetrated by ISI. Not only that, it helped Indian establishment’s line that Pakistanis were involved in the attacks when it prepared a package and informed the world that Ajmal Kassab belonged to a Pakistani town Faridkot. Now when this line of propaganda has been questioned in India with Indian security officials blaming their own government, the cover of this channel has been blown off.

Why this channel bashes ISI and armed forces? Because ISI and armed forces must be weakened at the point in time when they are fighting India’s proxies in FATA, Balochistan and even in Karachi. This is something enemy does to pressurize the security establishment of the rivals and break their resolve to fight. The Pakistani channel is doing exactly the same and earning millions of dollars of Indian money it has received. The security establishment should realize that even this channel is an Indian proxy and needs to be fought. The Supreme Court owes its popularity to this channel and may not take any action or utter any word to displease it.

Fear of Supreme Court deters from checking anti-Pakistan contents, says media watchdog

13 Jul

PEMRAThe calculated leak of Abbottabad Commission Report through Aljazeera has clouded another explosive report of Media Commission. This report contains revelations by the media regulator, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and observations of the Commission. As expected by those closely watching and monitoring the contents of one media house, it was revealed that its Channel GeoNews receives foreign funding for its various programs. In its version before the Commission, PEMRA informed that a couple of media houses receive large grants in the form of advertising contracts from overseas sources; one such grant is 20 million British pounds. Some part of this amount may be for paid advertising or sponsorship of a program.

The actual facts are still under the wraps as the said channel is perceived to be very powerful and exercises strong clout in the Establishment which in today’s Pakistan is the Supreme Court. Almost every news items becomes a subject of suo moto notice by Iftikhar Chaudhary Court. This channel and some of its anchors are known for spitting venom against the State of Pakistan and are working overtime in undermining the security apparatus when the armed forces are busy fighting India-funded insurgency in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi.

Why PEMRA is afraid to take any action against the said channel?

According to the Report, all or part of this amount is received by an entity which is part of the media group and is used to sponsor non-advertising campaigns. Any attempt by PEMRA to probe such matters immediately leads to claims that there is an attempt to curb freedom of the media and there is always the recourse to obtaining a stay order if an inquiry is held.

PEMRA knows fully well who will win the case if it lands in the Supreme Court.

Specifically identifying the programs which received funds from foreign sources, the official statement of the Regulator before the Media Commission alleged that Zara Socheeya had received sponsorship to the tune of Pounds 20 Million. Citing another instance of Aman ki Asha the PEMRA officials alleged the program was being funded by Norwegian NGO named Friends without Borders. It was found by PEMRA that the footprints lead to Indian sponsors including the Indian state television, the Doordarshan.

The programs stated to have been funded by foreigners deal with contents that are, prima facie, harmless. For instance, who would object to peace with India and people-to-people relations that the media group is promoting? The Regulator, however, failed to identify that the Indian funding is actually and indirectly meant for those programs which have launched sustained campaign against Pakistan armed forces and security establishment. The armed forces are engaged in a fierce battle against Indian proxies in Balochistan and FATA and also in Karachi. Running anti-army programs by this channel at the moment is like stabbing Pakistan in the back and weakening the resolve of armed forces to fight. The flagship program, Capital Talk, is used for maligning the ISI and security establishment and pressuring the apex court to distract the security establishment through humiliation and indictment.

How Morsi should have pre-empted a military take-over?

4 Jul

MorsiA coup or military rule may be the most detestable option in the eyes of the beneficiaries of a sham democracy, but in certain cases it is the last choice to save a country and its institutions from falling into chaos. President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, a representative of Islamists in his country, has hardly completed one year in office, but the people, in millions, are rallying against his government and asking for his resignation. He is increasingly being isolated, with his close aides and cabinet colleagues resigning after having read the writing on the wall. The military, which was subdued after former President Hosni Mubarak was removed from power, has given an ultimatum to the civilian government to put its house in order or be ready to face the eventuality of implementing military’s roadmap, which means takeover by the Egyptian military. The opposition is not in a mood to talk and, unless some miracle happens, Morsi is all set to pack, lock, stock and barrel.

The question is, when do military coups happen? The answer is simple: When the civilians fail miserably to govern and as a consequence, put the country at risk. No military can dare to take over when the public stands behind the politicians. The case in point is Pakistan, where the military has ruled during half of the country’s 66-year history.

The first military takeover was staged in 1958, nearly 11 years after the country’s establishment. The politicians were busy in the game of musical chairs with a government hardly staying in office for a year on average. The governance was not in the list of priorities of the politicians, whose attention was focused on getting into power and then surviving. The common man was sick and tired of the games being played by politicians at his cost. The army chief was invited by the president to impose martial law. When the constitution was abrogated and the civilian government sacked, the military commanders finally took over in October 1958. The military was in the saddle for more than 10 years and the country witnessed prosperity and development.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over in 1972 and promulgated a constitution in 1973, it was hoped that the country would see a stable democracy, but unfortunately democracy is not only about elections and powers and perks, it is also about delivery of service. Bhutto proved to be the worst dictator, in whose tenure basic rights remained suspended, the economy nosedived, and poll rigging was at its worst.

The agitation of 1977 turned violent due to police atrocities, and the country was at the brink of civil war. The people had a sigh of relief when the military commander walked in and dismissed Bhutto. The circumstances for the next coup by Musharraf in 1999 were no different; the civilian government dismissed the army chief when he was in the air and the pilot was asked not to land till the change of command effectively took place. The military commanders thwarted the civilian attempts to divert the military chief’s flight to archrival India and took over the airport, TV station and prime minister’s house. Musharraf landed safely and consolidated the coup. According to a survey, 70 percent of Pakistanis were jubilant about the military takeover.

Then there were demands for a military takeover when a wave of Hazara genocide gripped the province of Balochistan nearly six months ago because people had lost faith in the capacity of the politicians to deliver law and order.

In countries where there is true democracy, the people are treated fairly, their basic rights are ensured, their lives are comfortable and prosperous as much as those of their leaders, no military can dare attempt to take over. The situation in Egypt has many lessons for countries where the only trace of democracy is the system of elections which throws up scoundrels only. If the people are unhappy and their lives are miserable due to increasing poverty and violence, they would welcome military rule.

Pakistani leaders can learn a lesson or two from the developing situation in Egypt. If the country’s survival is at stake and people have no recourse to undo the elections, no amount of deterrence in the form of Article 6 of the Constitution can stop a coup. This country that witnessed its first smooth civilian transition after the 2013 elections can also learn lessons, not only from Egypt but also from its own history. Its present government has to focus its energies to steer the country out of financial bankruptcy, a power crisis and an unjust taxation system. Remember: A happy and prosperous majority never looks toward the military for deliverance.