Pages

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Terrorising Pakistan: part 2

A guest post by Asif Haroon Raja 


In accordance with the chalked out plan, terrorism was intentionally pushed into Pakistan to destabilize the country. The two extreme flanks of Pakistan , FATA and Balochistan were inflamed to make things difficult for Pak Army, fundamentally poised to guard eastern border. Apart from CIA and FBI gaining a strong foothold in Pakistan under the pretext of chasing and nabbing terrorists’ right up to Karachi , the US Administration increased its influence inside Pakistan so comprehensively that Boucher and Negroponte started to micro manage its domestic affairs including local bodies’ elections and 2002 general elections and reduced the parliament into a rubber stamp. American intelligence agencies helped RAW to make inroads in trouble spots.    
Pakistan was first harried on account of nuclear proliferation in 2004. Hue and cry was made over AQ Khan Network, and Iran and Libya put under intense pressure to establish a connection. Although Pakistan refused to make available Dr AQ Khan for interrogation after he made a public confession under duress, Pakistan inadvertently accepted that nuclear proliferation had taken place. It assured USA and IAEA that network had been effectively disabled. Pakistan thought that the matter was closed but it was never let off the hook and its nuclear program came under unceasing vicious smear campaign.
After 2005, The US began to change colors and became more intrusive and difficult. This change occurred because of resurgence of Taliban in southern and eastern Afghanistan , development of Gwadar Port with Chinese assistance, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, and Pakistan economy getting robust. Pakistan was whipped by USA , India and even landlocked Afghanistan holding it responsible for their difficulties in Afghanistan. Pakistan bore the pain of whips and degradation to ensure US support and flow of US dollars. Pakistan kept chasing the faceless enemy without a comprehensive plan, intelligence, low intensity conflict training, counter terrorism equipment and motivational program. These shortcomings became serious impediments in tackling terrorism and allowed the Tehrik-e-Taliban to gather strength and expand its influence.
Having sufficiently embroiled the Army in war on terror and weakened its institutions the US started to inch closer towards achieving its goals and became more demanding. It repeatedly asked Pakistan to do more without compensating it for the immense sacrifices it was rendering. Instead of rewarding Pakistan for taking the main brunt of war on terror, the US rewarded India in the form of lucrative civil nuclear and defence deals, well knowing that instead of curbing terrorism India had inflamed it through covert means. Ironically Pakistan didn’t raise even an eyebrow on this grave development. Its lackadaisical stance resulted in materialization of Indo-US nuclear agreement in 2008.
After vainly trying to put the ISI under Ministry of Interior in August 2008, the US exerted extreme pressure on Pakistan leadership to let its military intrude into FATA. Several aerial raids, artillery fire and a ground attack in Angoor Adda in September 2008 were carried out. These blatant intrusions indicated American growing impatience and their desperation to directly meddle in Waziristan . While Pakistan gave its tacit approval to drone attacks since this understanding had already been given by Gen Musharraf, Pak military under new commander Gen Kayani did not agree to the proposal of joint operation or any unilateral action and took a firm stand. Had this proposal been ceded to, it would have amounted to allowing the head of a camel to enter the tent. Entry in FATA would have encouraged US military to keep creeping forward and to gradually envelope whole of Pakistan under the pretext of striking non-state actors. Mention of Quetta , Peshawar and Karachi as hiding places of high profile terrorists and main base of Al-Qaeda in FATA and Taliban Shura in Quetta exposed its intentions.
While attitude of US officials became belligerent, Indo-Israeli-US propaganda campaign became fiercer. Mumbai drama was stage managed on 26 November 2008 to give an excuse to India to heat up eastern border. Throughout 2009 India remained in a highly offensive mood. Pakistan’s policy of appeasement was taken as sign of weakness and subjected to unabated pressure to make Pakistan agree to Indian unfair demands of proceeding against suspects without evidence and to dismantle Indian specific terrorist network. The US instead of acting in a fair and unbiased manner brazenly supported Indian stance.
None of the accusers took into account the hard fact that Pakistan had suffered as no other country in the world had from foreign sponsored terrorism. Its economy suffered a loss of over $45 billion and it lost over 8000 lives in the blowback of the militants in retaliation to military operations. Pakistan bore maximum brunt of foreign sponsored terrorism during the years 2008-09 and is still suffering. After targeting Peshawar incessantly, Lahore is the current target of RAW. From March 2009 onwards, dozens of terrorist and suicide attacks have taken place in capital city of Punjab and hand of RAW was visible in each incident.
Slight change in Indo-US-Afghan belligerence occurred after Pak Army’s successful fight against well-entrenched militants in Malakand Division, Swat, Bajaur and South Waziristan (SW) at a heavy price. These successes were achieved at a time when nothing was going right in Pakistan . Political situation was in a mess, economy had become fragile, law and order had worsened and Pak Army’s image had been badly dented due to an orchestrated smear campaign. Pakistan was being viewed as a failing state unable to protect its nuclear assets. Stories of balkanization or break up were in circulation and a very gloomy picture was painted. It was propagated that Pakistan’s security forces were incapable of fighting the militants and protecting nuclear assets. US Special Forces started to fine tune their contingency plans to take away the nukes before falling into wrong hands. Indian strike formations had taken up a forward posture and Indian military had started beating drums of war.
It was under such daunting challenges that Pak Army fully supported by the government and the public turned the tide and blunted coordinated external and internal onslaughts and left the detractors gaping with wonder. CIA-RAW-Mossad supported Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is on the run; its liberty of action is curtailed. During the operations, the Army came across irrefutable evidence of involvement of RAW in all the restive regions. Besides arresting Hindu RAW agents, some disguised as Taliban, heaps of Indian origin weaponry was captured. Israeli made Uzi weapons and telescopic rifles were also found. It was a surprise to find highly encrypted communication system in use of TTP which could not be intercepted but could jam and listen to Army’s telephone/wireless network. Mossad had provided Israeli made specially designed transmitters for FM radios to Fazlullah which played a key role in expanding his influence in Swat and Malakand Division?
In June 2009 when Pak officials confronted Washington with evidence that terrorists in Pakistan were using sophisticated American weapons, the US media quickly leaked stories about US weapons missing from Afghan National Army. The figure of losses ran into thousands and it couldn’t be that ANA soldiers were operating without weapons or with locally manufactured weapons without being noticed by superiors.
No sooner was TTP base routed in SW that the US started exerting pressure on Pakistan to mount another offensive in North Waziristan (NW), painted as epicenter of terrorism. Several RAW created terrorist groups including Asian Tigers and some runaways of TTP have sprouted in NW to create anarchic conditions. Gen Kayani has rightly remained firm that no further stretching into NW till full consolidation of Swat and SW, which includes rehabilitation of IDPs, rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure and transfer of power to civil administration. For this he needs expeditious delivery of promised funds. He has also desired speedy delivery of counter insurgency equipment for achieving long term tangible results.
148,000 troops are already committed in FATA and Swat. Army cannot afford to further thin out troops from eastern border as long as Indian intentions are hostile. India has so far not closed training centres and Pakistan specific consulates in Afghanistan wherefrom covert operations are being launched. The US has been told that Pakistan would not like any military role for India in Afghanistan including training of ANA after the departure of US-NATO troops. Kayani prefers training of Afghan security forces by Pakistan Army. This has been partly agreed to and hopefully Afghan officers would be sent to attend training courses in various schools of instructions.
Pakistan has also been urging Washington to facilitate settlement of disputes with India . While little headway has been made on Pakistan ’s requests, the US is relentlessly asking Pak Army to speedily jump into boiling cauldron of NW irrespective of consequences. Hilary Clinton, Holbrooke and Adm. Mike Mullen are fixated on NW and have hinged successful outcome of Afghanistan war on neutralization of NW. All three in quick succession have issued tough statements to maximize pressure on Pakistan . They see Osama hale and hearty living in Pakistan . Minuscule Haqqani network and diminutive Lashkar-e-Taiba are being portrayed as most dangerous monsters. As a super power, the US should have felt ashamed in even making a passing mention of these insignificant entities. But such are the ways of bullies who by design project a Lilliputian into a Gulliver.
The US rules out scope for negotiations with Haqqani network in NW whereas it has given a blank cheque to Karzai to hold negotiations with Taliban and has not put any pressure on Gen Petraeus as to why he is not expediting operation against Kandahar. Instead of making some headway, visitors from 27 countries in Kabul were given fanciful news that ISAF would be able to hand over security of Afghanistan to ANA by 2014. While remaining fixated on NW, the US is least concerned about fast deteriorating security situation in Balochistan and Karachi where RAW and Blackwater in concert with local anti-state elements are actively involved in target killings. It betrays US sincerity of intentions.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja is Staff College and Armed Forces War Course qualified, holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously. He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo . He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir . He is multi-lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently. He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir ’ is ready. He is a defence analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defence and political matters for numerous international/national newspapers/websites. Email: asifharoon7751@yahoo.com
Tailpiece


This article was first published at the 'People of Pakistan' blog on 26 July 2010. This article touches on some of the issues I raised in my last blog post and it introduces some new ones. I do not necessarily agree with everything that Brig Asif Haroon Raja says but I do think that he raises important issues which need to be more widely known. 


You can see the original article by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Terrorising Pakistan

A conspiracy of silence.

Already this year there have been five deadly attacks in Pakistani cities resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis. The most recent act of savagery occurred on 9 July in Mohmand in the North West of Pakistan, close to the border with Afghanistan, when over 100 ordinary citizens lost their lives and some 200 were injured (see Tailpiece for a full list of attacks since 2007). This crude suicide attack is clearly the work of “Pakistani Taliban”. Other attacks, requiring considerable planning and a degree of sophistication, point to an altogether more sinister and better organised presence in Pakistan.

The head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, gave a briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security last week, which told a tale of foreign intrigue and sinister collaboration between an ostensible “friend” and a sworn enemy of Pakistan. The complicity of foreign states in the sort of terrorist activity that we have previously witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan has been an open secret for a long time. It is good to see someone in authority acknowledging it at last. But we need to go further and shout the reality underlying terrorism in Pakistan from the rooftops – speak up boldly at international forums and provide the incriminating evidence, though it will inevitably incur the wrath of the USA.

In Pakistan itself a strange silence hangs over the country. Save for a few brave souls in Pakistan’s journalistic community, and some outspoken politicians such as Imran Khan, people who occupy influential positions in Pakistani society have either sealed their lips or they deflect all suspicion on to Pakistani Taliban, shielding the stars of this macabre drama of murder and intrigue. Many of Pakistan’s top politicians and functionaries are neck deep in corruption and various fraudulent acts, which makes them susceptible to blackmail. Others are bought off with a combination of monetary bribes and threats of violence. Generally, there is little honest attempt at analysing Pakistan’s complex, rapidly changing situation and relating it to preceding events.

Separating reality from illusion

Let us take the three most recent attacks to see if there is a pattern we can observe. 

1.  The massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore
On 28 May a group of people attacked two mosques belonging to the Ahmadi community at a time when they were overflowing on the occasion of Friday prayers. Some 90 members of the congregation died and as many as a hundred were injured. Immediately, Pakistan’s westernised “intellectuals”, with pockets and hand bags bulging to bursting point with wads of American dollars, declared that the attack amounted to inhuman persecution of the Ahmadi community, blah blah blah. That the Ahmadis are indeed a persecuted minority in Pakistan is a well known fact but linking a terrorist attack to such persecution showed that a conscious attempt was afoot to deceive Pakistanis about the origin of the terror unleashed on them. As you can see from the Tailpiece, this attack was simply one of a series intended to terrorise and destabilise Pakistani society. My own response to this atrocity was given in my blog post Self destruction of Pakistan, and in comments elsewhere:

“……… please remember that the tragic loss of life on Black Friday was not the result of sectarian violence. It was an attack by sub-human creatures who had previously murdered Pakistanis of all religious denominations.

The situation in Pakistan is so warped at the moment that it is difficult to understand what is going on. The horror story that is being acted out on the vast Pakistani stage can be witnessed by all but the hands directing this nightmarish scene are hidden from view. Hence the preponderance of what some people have termed "conspiracy theories", a most unfortunate term that discourages people from uncovering the ugly truth.

At several blogs run by Pakistan's self-styled "liberals" this tragedy has been used as a ploy to divert attention away from other issues of great national importance. I have felt sickened by the hypocritical public chest beating of these liberals, some of whom clearly have ulterior motives. What conclusion can you draw when people start suggesting that Pakistanis should focus only on their internal sectarian problems - on this occasion, at least, it is NOT a case of sectarian violence - and stay away from protesting against Israel's murder of Turkish citizens taking relief supplies to Gaza!”

2. The massacre at the shrine of Ali Hajveri, “Data Ganj Bakhsh”, Lahore
This occurred on Thursday night, 1 July, when the shrine was full of devotees of the saint. A single suicide bomber killed himself and some 45 others, and some 200 people were injured. There have been reports of suspicious foreigners taking photographs of the Data Darbar shrine some days before the suicide attack.
 
 Once again, the westernised chattering classes of Pakistan have had a field day, talking loudly about religious intolerance and sectarian strife. Very cleverly, two new phrases  ‘religious intolerance’ and ‘sectarian violence’ have replaced ‘religious persecution’ this time. As before, the real culprit behind the wicked deed is cleverly covered up.

There seems little doubt that there is a conspiracy to refuse to analyse and investigate each deadly act of violence and to draw appropriate conclusions. This, in my opinion, shows the extent to which the USA agencies have managed to deflect suspicion away from their own anti-Pakistan activities towards the dormant cancer of sectarian hatred that blights Pakistani society.

3. The massacre of Pakistanis awaiting rehabilitation in Mohmand Agency (North-West Pakistan)

Close to the Pak-Afghan border, this is an area where “Pakistani Taliban” - an organisation which owes its birth to American patronage - had earlier been defeated by the Pakistan army and they had escaped further north. The army had declared the area to be safe from Taliban and the government was asked to arrange for the return of people who had been displaced by the fighting. The government responded by telling the people to return but it made no effort to establish a viable civic administration to offer security to people going back to their ruined towns.

On 9 July the unfortunate souls awaiting re-settlement were mercilessly cut down by two suicide bombers, in a car and on a motorbike. Over a hundred people died and some 200 sustained horrible injuries. This attack was launched by Pakistani Taliban as a revenge for their earlier defeat.

The hands of the murderers

There are three distinct pairs of hands:

1. The Pakistani Taliban, who carry out atrocities in places like Mohmand. They are an obvious target, and they are being pursued relentlessly by the Pakistan army.

2. Pakistan’s avowed enemy India, which has been given a free hand by our treacherous friend in Afghanistan, the mighty USA. The Indian influence in Afghanistan is massive – Indians are said to work closely with Afghanistan’s “Northern Alliance” and with the Israeli experts in urban terrorism. To understand it fully requires a separate article – suffice it to say that India, which forcibly occupies Kashmir by stationing a huge army there numbering 700,000, is delighted to help the USA destabilise Pakistan. The Indians in Afghanistan finance, train and provide sophisticated weapons to mercenaries and Taliban, who are then sent over the Pak-Afghan border to attack pre-determined targets. The USA, which is supposed to maintain high tech surveillance of the long Pak-Afghan border, is a willing accomplice in these dastardly terrorist operations.

3. The vast presence of the USA operatives, contractors and mercenaries in Pakistan (CIA agents and those belonging to Dynacorp and Blackwater/Xe Services). It is these who are suspected of planning and executing attacks in the large cities such as Lahore and Rawalpindi.
 
A historical perspective

What we have to ask is: who will benefit from the spread of terror and insecurity in Pakistan? Pakistan's descent into hell has been preceded by similar experiences in two places: Iraq and Afghanistan. What is the common factor between them? You don't need rocket science to work that out - all you need is simple common sense and some basic honesty.

The USA government is adept at launching “false flag” operations. An utterly obscene example of this “art” was the staged farce of 9/11, which was promptly linked to backward Afghanistan though no evidence has ever been produced, then or since. To deceive the world about the 9/11 outrage, the USA government destroyed all evidence of that heinous crime against humanity. They then spun a weird tale which defied the facts and gave rise to a whole industry devoted to unearthing the truth about 9/11.

The Americans swung their formidable propaganda machine into action, responding to all criticism by rubbishing it as “conspiracy theories”. In 2002, when the USA appeared to have Afghanistan in the palm of its hand, George Bush’s White House aide spoke the chilling words which revealed the real intentions of the neoconservatives surrounding Bush:

“We’re an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors …. and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”



Since then the USA’s “false flag” operations have multiplied. Iraq is a good example, where the targeted killings of Shias were used to inflame passions against the Sunnis, and vice versa. The internecine violence weakened the Resistance against the occupiers and the USA government claimed a pyrrhic victory.  The architect of that strategy, General David Petraeus, is now trying out his evil schemes in Pakistan. He is clever enough to recognise that, unlike Iraq, Pakistan has a free press and he has to muzzle journalists by bribing them heavily.

Remember that Americans are roaming all over Pakistan, among them Urdu and Pashto speaking “contractors” and CIA agents. A compliant Pakistani government, installed by the Americans under a false façade of “democracy”, issues visas freely to Americans in accordance with the demands it receives from the USA government.

Though Pakistan is not a desperately poor country, the lack of governance and general mismanagement of the country’s resources, have produced a perilous situation where families routinely suffer starvation and dishonour. It is not uncommon to hear of whole families committing  suicide. There is thus a vast pool of people from which the sinister foreign presence in the country can recruit willing suicide bombers.

The ugly reality

Let us learn to think critically: what you see may only be an illusion, hiding an ugly reality underneath.

 That ugly reality behind the attempts to terrorise the civilian population of Pakistan is the increasing USA pressure on Pakistan to send its troops into North Waziristan and attack the Afghan Resistance to USA occupation from the Pakistani side of the Pak-Afghan border. Since an action in North Waziristan will trigger a civil war in Pakistan, a second aim is to destabilise Pakistan and to weaken its army, which will enable the USA to take possession of Pakistan’s  nuclear arsenal, and India to gobble up Kashmir (where India's occupation army has gunned down 17 youths recently).
  
The Americans have been in Afghanistan nearly 9 years and, by all accounts, they are staring defeat in the face. To put things in perspective the number of Americans who have died in this totally unnecessary conflict stands at a little over 1000 while the Nato forces have probably suffered under a thousand casualties. To the Americans these are very high figures and they are putting pressure on Pakistan to get its army to do the fighting for them. Pakistani lives, it seems, are dirt cheap when it comes to achieving the evil designs of USA politicians, who do not acknowledge that Pakistan army’s loss so far is several times that of USA’s. 

Pakistan’s servile obedience to the USA’s war aims has resulted in the loss of thousands of our soldiers and our citizens, and it has brought us close to financial ruin. Having lost so much already as a “friend” of the USA, what more is there for us to lose? Let us, for once, sample the blessings that will ensue from breaking that bond of enforced friendship.



Tailpiece

The following is a list of major attacks since July 2007 [source: The Nation, 9 July, 2010]:


2007

July 19: Three suicide attacks in the northwest of the country kill 54 people, including more than 20 soldiers and police officers.


October 18: Bomb attacks targeting two-time former premier Benazir Bhutto kill at least 139 people in Karachi, just hours after she returned to Pakistan for the first time in eight years. She survives unhurt, but is killed along with around 20 people in another gun and suicide attack on December 27.


December 21: At least 56 are killed in an attack on a mosque in the northwest of the country.


2008

August 21: Twin suicide attacks kill at least 64 people outside Pakistan's main arms factory in Wah, near Islamabad.


September 20: At least 60 people are killed when a suicide attacker rams a massive truck bomb into the gates of the five-star Marriott hotel in Islamabad.


2009
October 28: A massive car bomb destroys a Peshawar market crowded with women and children, killing 125 people.


December 7-8: Four attacks, including two almost simultaneous blasts on a market in the eastern city of Lahore, leave at least 66 dead.


2010

January 1: A suicide bomber blows up a car packed with explosives in the middle of a crowd gathered for a volleyball game in a northwest village, killing at least 101 people.

March 12: Twin suicide attacks seconds apart target the Pakistani military in Lahore, killing 5.


May 28: Gunmen wearing suicide vests storm two mosques belonging to a  minority sect in Lahore, bringing carnage to Friday prayers and killing at least 82 people.


July 1: At least 43 people are killed when suicide bombers strike at the tomb of an Islamic saint in Lahore.

July 9: Two suicide bombers blow themselves up in a crowd of people in a busy market in Mohmand district, killing over 100 people and wounding some 200.




Search This Blog