Tag Archives: Taliban

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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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.

 

Doha Talks: Why are Karzai and his Indian handlers furious at ISI?

20 Jun

DohaAfghan president, Hamid Karzai’s frustration with, and his diatribe against, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency makes a lot of sense now with the events unfolding in Doha, Qatar where Taliban have an office to deal with the US through negotiations. The independent experts, and the US administration officials, attribute Taliban willingness to talk to Pakistan’s efforts who is believed to have some influence on Taliban through ISI. The Afghan president not only bashed ISI through an interview aired by a Pakistani channel, he suspended his government’s negotiations with the US on an agreement to leave behind a residual foreign force in Afghanistan post-2014. In a fit of rage, he declared that the High Peace Council will only participate in the Doha talks if they are “Afghan-led” — something the Afghan Taliban have showed little interest in.

By all means, this is great breakthrough for the US who wants to get out of Afghanistan mess which it created not only for itself but also for the region. Leave it will, bloody-nosed, but putting all eggs in Karzai’s, and by implication in Indian, basket would have been another blunder with far greater consequences. It seems that the Taliban and the US talking directly with ISI chipping in, Mr. Karzai’s role in the future of Afghanistan has been brought to a naught. This also keeps India out of the future Afghan calculus, something it was hoping to seize in order to keep its grip on Afghanistan. There is likelihood that Karzai and his Indian handlers will try their best to frustrate the negotiation process.

ISI received another attack from a Pakistani minister on Tuesday when a pro-India anchor made him spit his venom against a former chief of the agency. He said in that interview that army needs to be purged of generals like Pasha, referring to the ex-DG ISI who was not popular with the US and India and who has the singular distinction of receiving a bad press in Pakistan, India and the US. The said minister thinks that Gen Pasha during his time in ISI supported Imran Khan who gave tough time to him in the recent elections. The anchor, knowing the minister’s anger, conducted his show very brilliantly and extracted a strong statement from him who appeared totally clueless as to the real intentions of the anchor.

It is no secret that the US wanted India to handle Afghanistan post-2014 putting Pakistan’s security into serious jeopardy. India is trying very hard to get an access to Central Asia through Afghanistan and had invested in Pakistan’s political elite to get the status of MFN (most favorite nation) in order to use Pakistan as a transit route to Central Asian States through Afghanistan. This move has so far been resisted by security establishment further frustrating India’s designs. Indian presence in Afghanistan would mean Pakistan’s encirclement, a top-priority strategic objective of India and extending trade concessions through MFN status would hurt Pakistan, though it would surely benefit the traders’ community.

Pakistan and its ISI have so far played it cards very brilliantly but it has invited the ire of pro-India lobbies in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Original article appeared at: ALLVOICES

 

A country led by cowards has no sovereignty

1 Jun

By Hussain Saqib

ttp-and-nawazTehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the terror outfit fighting Pakistani State has withdrawn its talks offer and has threatened to avenge the death of its Second-in-Command. Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, the number-two in TTP hierarchy, was killed in drone strike on Wednesday. TTP has vowed to extract revenge from Pakistan, though the drone was controlled and operated by the Americans. The newly-elected leadership is in a state of panic. All those elected to power had promised end of drone strikes, and the newest among them had even gone to the extent of promising shooting down of drone. They also extended olive branch to these deadly terrorists and a chief minister had even declared the terrorists as brothers.

Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud is the second notable target of American drone; the first being TTP’s chief Baitullah Mehsud. The Americans have generally avoided targeting TTP because this outfit fights only Pakistan; it has so far killed around 50,000 Pakistanis including 5,000 security personnel. The drones target Afghan Taliban who attack Western targets in Afghanistan. Total casualties in drones so far number at 3,000 which include terrorists and civilians who happen to be in the killing range of intended target. The Americans dismiss the concerns and grief by calling these casualties as collateral damage.

Over the years, the narrative of drone deaths in public discourse has dominated the narrative of deaths in terror attacks. All those who wish to appease the deadly terrorists, including media and politicians, have helped to distract public attention from 50,000 casualties to 3,000. The number one problem is not bomb blasts and killing of innocents, it is drone attacks. The drone is the problem of terrorists, the bomb blasts and terrorist attacks is the problem of common man. The problem disturbing the terrorists has taken precedent over common man’s problem. Such are political expediencies.

The question is; why drone strikes? The answer is simple; Americans want to eliminate their enemies without sending on ground their troops. It saves them from un-necessary political questions and also keeps the human elements of their military out of the harm’s way. The drones, in nutshell, are the most cost-effective military means in terms of human cost.

Are these drone strikes a violation of national sovereignty?

Of course, the drone strikes mean military attack on another country and the worst kind of violation of territorial integrity and national sovereignty. But equally violative of national sovereignty is the forced presence of foreign militants on a country’s soil and their armed fight against the constitutionally established social order. The killing of civilians at the hands of these militants and their war against the armed forces is the biggest challenge to the writ of the state. No politician has accepted so far that the biggest threat to national sovereignty and security is not the drones alone; the militants are equally enemies of the State.

How can countries like Pakistan stop drones strikes? The answer is very simple; deprive the Americans of the excuse to operate drones. The State should purge its territory of the militants who attack foreign countries from its soil. And purge the terrorists who fight Pakistan and its people. The COAS has rightly described these militants as a major threat to national security, graver than the traditional threat; India.

There are reasons for the security establishment to believe that the militants, particularly those attacking Pakistan’s interests are fighting proxy war of foreign powers against the State of Pakistan. The recent drone strike killing Mehsud may be an attempt to keep TTP terrorists from talking to Pakistan. The intended objective has been achieved. The terrorists will avenge the death of Mehsud at the hands of US drone from the hapless people of Pakistan. The country will continue to reap the benefits of being on the wrong side of history.

The emergence of TTP terrorists and their modes operandi clearly shows that they are not mere criminals. They are fighting with a purpose and are following a well-written script. Akbar Ahmed, in his article, The Drone War is far from Over has described how TTP destroyed the tribal social fabric and killed the elders who were guarantors of peace and order in the tribal region; so much so that Pakistan never felt to deploy appropriate number of troops on its border with Afghanistan. But the Taliban unleashed a reign of terror and as the pace of the violence in the tribal areas increased, the Pakistani Taliban sought to strike the central government. They kidnapped Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, stormed Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, and assaulted a naval base in Karachi. In 2009, fighters attacked a military mosque, killing 36 people, including 17 children. Taking hold of children’s hair and shooting them point-blank, they yelled “Now you know how it feels when other people are killed.”

A country which is taken hostage by terrorists and a country which is being led by cowards cannot ask others to respect its sovereignty.

Let’s not forget those who died for an ungrateful nation

30 Apr

martyrsThe terrorists of TTP and BLA, aided and funded by international establishment are fighting the state to achieve strategic objectives of international players to destabilize Pakistan. The foot soldiers of these outfits are fighting under the illusion that in the case of victory, they will be in power. But those who are fighting these terrorists for the State of Pakistan are laying down their precious lives neither for power nor for money. They are offering the supreme sacrifices to defend the motherland. It was in in Swat, Waziristan, Balochistan and others areas yesterday; today it is 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. Their virtual surrender to the enemies of the State has paid off so far because the terrorists have declared spare their election rallies, the roadshows for the next round of loot and plunder.

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). All of them are dying to somehow make friends with the enemies of this nation.

And they have changed the definition of martyrdom; for them the martyrs are those who are killed during struggle for power. They want us to forget the real martyrs.

Lest we forget, it is the Martyrs’ Day to pay homage to those who fought and died for nothing. Their sacrifices will go waste if this nation does not unite against the enemies. As for politicians, they will leave no stone unturned to appease these enemies. They have their own political interests, far away from the national interests.

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).