Tag Archives: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

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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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

Tirah valley, the naukri pesha and corrupt politicians….

24 Apr

While the politicians and their hangers-on are preparing to go to polls on May 11, 2013, the brave sons of this nation are sacrificing their lives to safeguard the motherland in Tirah valley which is the latest safe haven of anti-Pakistan terrorists. Martyrs include the officers and men of regular army, para-military forces and brave sons of the valley. Those who have stashed billions to invest in the elections seem to be oblivious of what is going on in the backyard of Peshawar. The current fight with the Taliban going on in Tirah is one of the fiercest battles.

It was the right time to highlight and eulogize the sacrifices of young soldiers who are dying in big numbers to keep the evil away from Peshawar so that our political jokers can continue their election campaign in peace. These jokers, totally unconcerned about the loss of lives in last five years suddenly realized to appease TTP through negotiations. They only wanted their election rallies to be peaceful. They extended olive branch to the terrorists who refused to disarm as a pre-requisite to peace talks.

Tirah valley, though part of FATA, is not a remote location like South and North Waziristan. It is very next to Peshawar and if the Taliban onslaught in this valley is not stopped, there will be no stopping the killing beasts. The security establishment fully understands the gravity of this battle and significance of flushing out TTP terrorists from this area.

Originally started as a turf battle between Lashkar-e-Islam (a TTP proxy) andAnsarul Islam, it has turned into a full-fledged conflict of the scale that security forces have to intervene and save the valley from turning into TTP hands. Pakistanis who are being fed on hourly diet of weird anecdotes of elections, Article 62/63 and Musharraf’s so-called high-treason are being kept in dark by the media.

And the fighting is not about killing of terrorists and martyrdom of a few dozen soldiers; it has the collateral aspect associated with it and that is displacement of almost the entire population of this area. The displaced families, in many thousands, are seeking refuge in refugee camps and a host of agencies have been mobilized to help these people so cruelly dismissed as internally displaced people (IDPs).

According to latest news, at least 100 militants have been killed in a military operation in the area when Army seized control of strategic posts from the militants and ground troops established their positions. This achievement came at a price; 30 Pakistani troops were also martyred and another 13 injured fighting the joint forces of the Lashkar-e-Islam militia and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in Tirah valley. The high-pitch battle in Khyber agency’s Tirah valley started Friday, after the Pakistani Taliban occupied the valley last month, forcing an exodus of residents to Peshawar. According to U.N. estimates, some 40,000 people from the valley—most of them women and children—are now taking refuge in the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

There will be no let up as fighting is expected to continue. The military has established its position on ground, and is advancing gradually with additional support from gunship jets and helicopters. The offensive in Tirah valley was necessary to ensure that the security situation in Peshawar and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province does not get out of hand ahead of the May 11 elections for Pakistan’s national and provincial assemblies. Control over Khyber agency is also critical to ensure the protection of supply lines used by U.S.-led NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Why is it that precious lives of young men are being lost to keep the likes of Bilawal, Moonis, Hamza and others safe to continue another bout of loot and plunder after a peaceful election? Do these scions of political families not owe any obligation to this nation? Why can’t one or all of them visit the field of battle, of course in secure motorcades, to raise the morale of those who have put their lives in danger? Those whom a former premier had described in contempt as “naukri pesha” (wage earners).