Tag Archives: Imran Khan

Anti-drone sit in: Is it a genuine protest?

5 Dec

PTIIf Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-philanthropist-turned-politician Imran Khan, widely perceived as a pro-TTP fundamentalist was hoping to arm-twist the US into stopping the drone strikes through his party’s sit-in to block NATO supply routes, he has not only failed to achieve what he stated to be achieving, he has failed his party as much as the country he so loudly claimed to change for the better. The initiative fizzled out; first through a drone attack when the sit-in was in progress and through US decision Wednesday to stop, temporarily, using Pakistani overland routes for retrograde movement of equipment out of Afghanistan. Bulk of trucks carrying US military cargo pass through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a North Western Pakistani province where Khan’s party ruling in coalition with another pro-Taliban religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Was this sit-in organized to protest against the drone strikes and was it a sincere protest?

The answer, so far, is not in affirmative. Khan has to answer some more serious questions being asked by the people echoed through Social Media. The terrorists, who are the actual target of drone strike, have killed around 50,000 Pakistanis including security personnel and have established their own writ in a part of Pakistan’s restive tribal area but Khan has never protested or even condemned these deadly beasts. Drones are a weapon against terrorists which they find themselves unable to stop. The drones have killed around 3,000 of which 410 were identified as non-combatant. But opposing drone strikes and forgetting thousands of deaths of innocent civilians place Khan with the terrorists.

Another serious question that Khan may not be able to answer is that why those Afghan Taliban leaders, killed in the latest drone strike on a Hangu seminary, were allowed by his government to enter into settled areas of the province without valid travel permissions and why their dead bodies, a fundamental evidence in any crime, were allowed to disappear? Khan’s party was quick to nominate CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, by name, as the principal murderer in the drone strike. This information, the identity of the CIA chief is privileged information only available to top security outfit of the country. By blasting the cover, the angry politician has caused embarrassment to security establishment.

So far, there are the following outcomes of the sit-in to block NATO supplies; (a) The US has remained undeterred and will continue to hit targets at the time and place of its choosing, (b) Pakistan will continue to be internationally isolated by annoying US and NATO countries, (c) the US could be forced to pursue other routes, not necessarily the Northern Distribution Network and with a thaw in US-Iran relations, Chabahar port, built and managed by Indians could be a preferred, and (d) the government of Nawaz Sharif at the Center will have additional problems in its already over-filled plate of foreign policy, security and economic issues.

The sit-in is, thus not a genuine protest as it would benefit neither Pakistan nor the terrorists. It would be naïve to say that Khan is not aware of the costs associated with his ill-intentioned adventure. But in the ultimate analysis, it has become clear that Khan is advancing his political interests, and those of his coalition partners at the cost of national interests.

 

 

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Drone Strike on Hakeemullah Mehsud and weird reaction of Pakistani leaders

4 Nov

109437Hakimullah_MehsudPakistani government is in a real fix; civilian leaders are confused over the recent drone strike which killed Hakeemullah Mehsud, TTP commander and Pakistan’s Enemy Number One. They are unable to decide whether the drone which killed the terror prince was a blessing in disguise or an attack on their political asset. In life, the terror chief carried a bounty of Rs 50 million on his head.

In death, he has been instantly turned into a martyr by the leaders who are perceived to be coward and are trading State’s sovereignty with the terrorists in return for a peaceful tenure. The slain terrorist leader had blood of thousands of Pakistani men, women and children and security personnel on his hands. The reaction of political class has baffled everyone, including the foreigners who fail to understand that while the politicos were mysteriously silent on killing of innocent civilians and high-ranking military officials, why are they mourning the death of the chief killer?

Their reaction can be explained in simple words; the current lot of rulers of Pakistan owes their political power to Hakeemullah Mehsud. And this is the time to return the courtesy.

The elections which brought them into power were manipulated, if not rigged as widely believed, by Mehsud. He very generously allowed right-wing parties like PML (N), PTI, JI and JUI (F) to continue with their election campaign peacefully and threatened to bomb election rallies of ANP, MQM and PPP, the liberal parties. They attacked election rallies of these parties and forced them to stay inside giving open field to the parties of their choice. Had it not been the threats and attacks and there was a level-playing field for launching election campaign, the electoral results could have been different.

The right-wingers, immediately after coming into power, decided to pay back. They held an All Parties Conference (APC) in September and elevating the anti-state terrorists to the position of stakeholders in peace, decided to offer them an olive branch. The peace negotiations were to be held when the drone took out Mehsud on November 1, 2013. The Americans were after him as he was wanted by them with a head money of $ five million. He was their Enemy Number One too because of his attacks on American interests and close affiliation with al Qaeda.

After killing of Mehsud in the drone attack, ruling PML (N) has termed it as an attack on peace initiative and has promised to review US-Pak relations, Imran Khan has threatened to block NATO supply routes, JI has branded the slain terrorist leader as a martyr, the clerics of extremists Deobandi Islam have demanded retribution and the public is confused. The people are confused because the very same people mourning the death of one terrorist were never furious over death of tens of thousands innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

The questions is; if Mehsud was not killed in drone attack, would he cooperate the government in bringing peace to the country and give up arms to allow the State establish its writ in the area where TTP is holding the territory. The answer is, very unlikely. There are two reasons for being skeptic; one, the preconditions for peace talks like withdrawal of army from FATA and freeing of all criminals belonging to TTP without trial would be unacceptable to any honorable government, and two, it has now been established that TTP was an outfit working as proxy of Pakistan’s adversaries like India and Afghanistan. There is no reason that talks would be held to benefit Pakistan. At least five major terrorist attacks in the run up to so-called peace negotiations bear testimony to the fact that terrorists wanted such talks which could cede territories to them with the assurance that they would not be questioned on making further ingress into Pakistan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is under immense pressure to block NATO supplies passing through Pakistan’s GLOC and shoot down the drones. He has convened an extraordinary Cabinet meeting today to deliberate on the issue. The outcome of the meeting is expected to be not more than cheap political rhetoric.

Time for Imran Khan to learn ABC of statesmanship

15 Sep

ttp-mullahPakistan’s immature and angry politician, Imran Khan has been screaming at the top of his voice demanding to pull out army from terrorists-infested Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). As the decision about FATA rests with the federal government where he is not a decision maker, he has proceeded to implement the demand in his own province. The government of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ruled by his party has approved phased withdrawal of army from Swat area. Unmoved by his generosity, the terrorists returned the favor by launching attack on a convoy of Pakistan Army killing a major general and a lieutenant in a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The officers, identified as Major General Sanaullah and Lieutenant Colonel Tauseef, were undertaking a routine patrol and were returning from Pakistan Afghanistan border after meeting the troops deployed on border posts.

The worst fears that Swat Valley was being handed over to Pakistani Taliban through this decision on Saturday were confirmed the very next day. The area is adjacent to Swat district and is a part of the valley where army launched a military operation in 2009 to flush out TTP terrorists under Mulla Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio for his fiery speeches through an illegal FM channel. After successful operation, the peace was restored in the area and the terrorists fled to Nuristan province of neighboring Afghanistan. Swat TTP has no means to return to this area except through sympathetic politicians. Emboldened by the cowardice of the politicians, they attacked a military convoy thinking the area will be theirs in next couple of weeks.

Even the FATA terrorists have taken a cue from Imran Khan’s word of support. Their preconditions to come to negotiation table include pulling out of army from tribal areas. The stance of Pakistan’s politicians to appease the terrorists through the offer of dialogue has emboldened them. Though the government did not attach any precondition to dialogue offer like cessation of attacks or laying down the arms, the Pakistani Taliban demanded Sunday that the government release militant prisoners and begin withdrawing troops from the group’s tribal sanctuary before they participate in peace talks, raising doubts about prospects for negotiations. The demand that Pakistan Army be pulled out from FATA, a restive tribal region, was first made by Imran Khan who is also known as Taliban Khan for his sympathies with the terrorists. Pulling out the army would effectively mean that the government has recognized terrorists’ writ in the area they hold as their safe haven. The resolution offering olive branch to terrorists has already been dubbed as an instrument of surrender by analysts.

The puzzling question is; why Imran Khan is making such demands which only favor the enemies of the State? This has not even been demanded by the principal stakeholders of tribal areas; the tribes themselves. They want the state to deliver them from the clutches of TTP and their atrocities. Let’s assume that he has no sympathies for the terrorists and he has his heart for the State of Pakistan. But then the question arises as to why he makes such demands. Is he a spoiler? Or does he need a lesson or two in the fundamentals of statesmanship?

 

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

Elections-2013; don’t shrug off rigging allegations

13 May

rigPakistan’s Elections 2013 were unique in all respects; the youth was enthusiastic to the scale not seen heretofore, voters were very much committed to cast their votes without contestants’ logistical support and there was a festive mood all around. The polls were fun with families very much a part of the festivities. The spirit of changing the fate through ballot was no doubt infused by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. A new political culture has taken over where rallies were held and votes cast in relative peace and calm. Everyone was politically motivated to use his force of ballot to make a new Pakistan.

Pakistan’s history is replete with ugly incidents of violence by the goons of political parties in rallies and at polling stations. This did not happen exactly like the past for the violence was perpetrated by the terrorists opposed to democracy and not the parties. There was no wide-spread rigging like the one witnessed in 1977 and afterwards. The Election Commission (ECP) had made fool-proof arrangements for the voters to locate their polling stations without much hassle, via mobile text service. There was a Code of Conduct and the watchful media.

The elections have thrown up a mandate of sorts; PML (N) in Center and Punjab, PTI in violence-ridden KPK, PPPP in Sindh and a hotchpotch of various parties in Balochistan. All the parties in power till March 2013 were routed. The voters spoke loudly.

However, the party holding power in Karachi consider responsible for all the violence in that city has continued to hold its grip on the city. And this has happened through the power of muscles and not the ballot as it is generally perceived by a cross-section of voters. There are complaints of wide rigging in order to keep the city under the thumb of one party.

The allegations may or may not be correct but there are some interesting incidents; the polling at nearly all constituencies could not start before noon, one candidate a convert from PPPP to MQM got record 170,000 votes in a period of three hours’ polling and the when the affected parties staged a protest rally next day, the chief of MQM threated violence and secessions if his party’s “mandate” was challenged. These very facts alone make the integrity of the entire polling exercise in Karachi very questionable. The MQM chief’s reaction shows that everything was not normal; there was some game being played somewhere. The protest rally against MQM electoral victory is significant in the sense that no party in Karachi had the courage to challenge the party in the past, and if this was being done now, it was the real change.

Anything said about the city of Karachi would never sound exaggeration to those who have been living under fear in that city. The TV footages only substantiate what people think of who is the boss in that city.

The complaints of rigging in Lahore also should be taken seriously if the transparency of electoral exercise is to be ensured. The complaints are generally about a constituency where one of the stalwarts of the winning party has won the election. There will be no harm to investigate.

Remember, PTI has emerged as a force to reckon with, it is a breath of fresh air in the stinking air of Pakistani politics. This is the party which has given hope to millions. It has mobilized voters to exercise their right. If the truth is not brought out and those millions disappointed, it will cost the system very dearly.