December 31, 2009

Threats to the survival of Pakistan

http://khyberwatch.com/nandara/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=791&Itemid=1

Friday, 18 December 2009
Dr. Khurshid Alam

As a political worker I feel Pakistan has three biggest threats to its survival as a state. I used the word survival because political doctors have already diagnosed us as a failed State and failed government. Now do we have the acumen to answer to the question posed by Dr. Tariq Ali,” The death of a State… Can Pakistan survive?”

Sixty-two years history of Pakistan is always of grave concern to every one, whether it will survive or not? Initially we were completely bombarded by state media that India is bent upon to destroy this ideological Islamic state. The propaganda was so forceful that we had no option but to believe. The hatred was a part of our educational curriculum.

With the passage of time the history proved contrary to what we taught, soon it was realised that the real threat to Pakistan is the ruling clique. The logic of disintegration lies with in not outside.

It is the power struggle on the top and the denial of the rights to the lower stratum of the country and smaller nations that is eroding the very basis of the country. The birth of Bangla Desh proved the strengthen this further. Those who were dubbed as anti Pakistan and pro India proved to be correct in their analysis.

As a political worker right from the early sixties I watched the convulsive history of Pakistan and contributed in my humble capacity to the democratic process and federal set up in this country with social justice.

To day when my I am 65, three years older than Pakistan we are still there where we started. Initially we were pro Americans and now some senior analysts think that we are on their contract. From the secret flight of Henry Kissinger to the active involvement in Afghanistan were our contract jobs.

Whether it was Suez Canal in 56 or war between Iran and Iraq our air facilities were used not used only by America but Israel as well. Not only the rulers were for sale but also the country was mortgaged again and again.

It was all due to unaccountability and lust for power. As a political worker I feel Pakistan has three biggest threats to its survival as a state. I used the word survival because political doctors have already diagnosed us as a failed State and failed government. Now do we have the acumen to answer to the question posed by Dr. Tariq Ali,” The death of a State… Can Pakistan survive?”

Those sold cannot be buyers as Bacha Khan told me once. It is befitting for Pakistani rulers. They had never been through a political process and the heights they achieved had nothing to do with their contribution but were installed by armed forces. These political disabled pundits were always on crutches on a slippery floor. They had neither mission nor vision so, were always readily available for sale.

Our political leadership are the product of Kakool political academy and when our generals decide to quit they install their cronies, easy to deal with.

Looking at the leadership none of them had ever been to a prison or police station for a single minute except Sardar Nishtar. He went to jail before he joined Muslim league when he was in Ahrar.

The lack of leadership and institution led us to the state of condition where we are to day. The state has no credibility and the survival is a big question mark?

Even the Indians are not ready to have composite dialogue with us on major issues, because of lack of credibility. They logic is on their side as pacts are made with a sustainable and credible state and government not with persons or personalities. So to expect the same from USA is ridiculousness. No sensible government will put it credibility at stake for non-credible state with most corrupt unaccountable rulers.

If we look at the history the personality were always first than the country. The outsider bidders are bidding on the horses and the country was ignored. This attitude resulted in that the international fraternity dealt with us on daily wages basis. The rulers and journalists were all sailing in the same boat with megalomaniac frame of mind and total disregard for the ground realities.

Pakistan is sitting on a volcano. We have failed to establish institutions and solve the questions of small nations. Our rulers and a strong lobby of analysts having loss of recent memories. Bangla Desh was born, as we had neither of the above.

The process of Bangla Desh creation started in Jinnah lifetime and the mission completed by Yahya and Bhutto. Bhutto was brought by two generals to become martial law administrator and his dead body was flown to his birthplace by two colonels in the pitch dark after his judicial murder. It is painful to note that he was already dead when he was hanged. There were 101 reason to hang him and many others but not the one for which he was hanged.

Baluchistan is on the way out. The ground of fall of Qalat is in progress. The present committee dealing with constitutional amendments and quantum of provincial autonomy is stuck on two three major issues. The name of NWFP, NFC award and constitutional rights of the different nations has become the stumbling blocks. The obstructionists are the Muslim Leaguers particularly Mian Nawaz group.

In my view the very discussion on the name of NWFP is direct an interference in the spirit and meaning of provincial autonomy. It is the unitary form of frame of mind and the Punjab chauvinism at work.

This is totally a provincial subject and the right of the provinces to choose a name as for as it is the in the framework of the true federation. The Punjabi chauvinism has increased in its ferocity since they found a leader of their own in the name of Mian Brothers of Raiwand estate.

Discussion on this topic and creating obstructions are tantamount to absurdity and political bankruptcy. Is it imaginable that while the Quantum of provincial autonomy is being discussed and the right of the naming a nameless province should be the choice of some one else. It speaks volumes of their mentality. They will never surrender their ideas even if they have to surrender Islam Abad.

This is the main reason that the Baloch does not believe in their package and insists first on constitutional national rights and accountability of the killers of their leaders. Same should be policy of our nationalist movement of Pukhtoons too.

It is extremely important to renew our friendship with small nations and build the old alliance stronger in case we are forced by Punjab to go to mountains. It should not be considered as a threat or our option but if the non-violent, political and legal doors are shut on us we have to be ready for the alternatives.

It is not only the question of death and life of Pukhtoons nationalists but a matter of national survival, which include any body claiming to be Pukhtoon. There may be exception to the rule like Maulana Fazlu-r – Rahaman. Nether he is ready to cut his umbilical cord with neither ISI nor he would undo the knot between ISI and the Terrorist. Mahmud Khan Achakzai has put the same question more politely to him, I am sorry to be blunt but the time is running out.

The constitutional national rights according to the UN charter and Pakistan’s resolution are the basis of keeping the federation. Neither MOD nor the constitution can do it. It must be backed by international guarantees.

We are quite open to the demand by M.L. (N) that it is not acceptable to Sardar Mehtab, though a silly argument. It was during his tenure as CM of our province that the resolution of giving the name to the province was moved and was unanimously adopted by the whole house with exception of two Saifullahs, Anwar and Salem proving their genetic mutation.

We were cheated by Mian Nawaz Sharif at that time. He shamelessly counted those votes for his presidential nominee but refused to accept them for the change of the name of the province, showed his political and moral bankruptcy. Now it is a surprising that he is the champion of fair play and democracy. A person who is he a product of foul and non-democratic plays.

Mian Nawaz Sharif mind frame exactly match that of his mentor. Zia dismissed his P.M. late Junejo while he was in the air and Mian sahib did the same to his chief of Staff but couldn’t get away.

Surprisingly he is the second opposition leader who refused to sit in opposition, the first one was late Mr. Bhutto. History has to reveal his intentions?

A new political and constitutional break through which can really satisfy the smaller nations is not in sight.

Zardari bad governance and the cases of corruptions have created new dimensions. There has always been NRO when there was change of government in last 62 years but no name was given to them. The only difference this time is that it is having a name.

There was a NRO between Nawaz and Musharaf and Ayub khan had two NROs, the first one with Sikandar Mirza and the second one with Yahya.

The court has to decide the fate of Zardari political career. It will be a good step at a wrong time if it goes against Zardari. The alternative is worse and will bring the federation near to its logical end. It will be Punjabi chauvinism VS the rights of small nations.

The judicial enquiry and disappearance of Mian Nawaz Sharif rings the bell of another dirty game.

The duty of moderates, democrats, and nationalists is to reach to the people that if constitutional rights are refused, what could be our next action? In the present state it will be impossible to live with respect and honour.

We have no objection if Mr. Nawaz Sharif wants to please Sardar Mehtab. It should be clear to all that we are ready to go re demarcation of the provinces and to restore the pre-colonial boundaries.

There cannot be a greater proof of the artificiality of the present demarcation. If one has to go to Haripur or Abbot Abad he has to travel for 30 kilo meters in Punjab to re enter the present NWFP.

Will it not be a good idea to be Taliban with a name rather than Pakistanis without name? After all Afghan Taliban is a nationalist movement with religious fervour.

Let the Khalistan be restored with its old capital Lahore and Mian Nawaz Sharif, as its P.M. or emperor.

Mian Sahib is a political fish. His survival without power is impossible. Pakistan is of least importance for him he needs a country where he is the ruler.

By Prof.(Dr). Khurshid Alam khurshidalam5@hotmail.com

The Pakhtun, the Taliban and Imran Khan


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hate for the US is the problem of Imran Khan or his anti-Pakhtun allies. It is not the problem of the people of FATA. Their problem is occupation of their land by the international jihadi gangs. There are clear signs that the people of FATA are cooperating with the Americans in liberating their land from the jihadi occupation

Farhat Taj

This is in response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s recent declaration that he is ready to mediate and start negotiations with the Taliban to secure a peace agreement if the government is willing to guarantee that it would not scrap the peace deal with them under US pressure. He made this offer in an interview with Dr Moeed Pirzada on a private TV channel. By now Imran Khan stands fully exposed that he is one of the forces of darkness — the jihadi generals like Hamid Gul, the Jamaat-e-Islami and other pan-Islamists like the Deobandis, neo-Wahabis and Akhwan ideologues. Together they have given the Taliban identity to the Pakhtun and caused massacre of over three million of them on both sides of the Durand Line. They continue to destroy the Pakhtun for a great game against India and in the name of global Islamism. It is, however, the duty of all educated Pakhtuns to challenge the bizarre fabrications that Imran Khan attributed to the people of FATA to justify his offer.

Imran Khan said one of the Taliban groups is made of tribesmen who hate the US and attack the state and society in Pakistan because they see the country in alliance with the US. This is a bizarre fantasy of Imran Khan having nothing to do with tribesmen in FATA. There are no tribesmen who are killing innocent civilians and security forces due to anti-US sentiment. The tribesmen who have joined the Taliban groups are seen as criminals by their fellow tribesmen. The tribesmen who have joined the ranks of different Taliban groups are lost to the global jihadi ideology of the al Qaeda and stand stripped of Pakhtunwali. They are no more Pakhtun! They themselves have given up their Pakhtun identity. They claim to fight for global Islam that disrespects ethnic sensitivities.

The militants, in Imran Khan’s own words in the interview, are 15,000. Clearly not all of them are tribesmen. They include the Punjabi Taliban and foreign terrorists. There are no signs that these 15,000 or so terrorists are backed by tribal society. There has never been any grand tribal jirga in any tribal area that backed the terrorists, local or foreign. The Taliban groups in FATA are Hafiz Gul Abrader Groups, Haqqani Group, Mullah Nazeer Group, Turkistan Brittani Group, Tariq Afridi Group, Mangal Bagh Group, and Maulvi Omar Group. These terrorist groups are killing indiscriminately inside and beyond FATA. None of them had ever been backed by tribal jirgas. In fact, some of them have banned jirgas and termed them as ‘un-Islamic’ institutions. These groups have to be crushed for peace in Pakhtunkhwa and wider Pakistan. Anyone seeking dialogue with such groups is the enemy of the Pakhtun and Pakistan.

Hate for the US is the problem of Imran Khan or his anti-Pakhtun allies. It is not the problem of the people of FATA. Their problem is occupation of their land by the international jihadi gangs. There are clear signs that the people of FATA are cooperating with the Americans in liberating their land from the jihadi occupation. The drone strikes could not have been successful in killing so many al Qaeda and Taliban leaders without the help of the people of Waziristan on the ground.

Moreover, the Taliban kill people every single day in Waziristan on suspicion of spying for the US. They think that with terror they can deter the people of Waziristan from coordinating with the Americans. This has not been successful so far. Why is Imran Khan ever so silent over the daily slaughter of innocent people of Waziristan on charges of spying for the US? Are they not tribesmen and women and even human beings?

The most outrageous statement he made is that the assassinated tribal leadership in Waziristan was pro-US. The leadership has been eliminated by the Taliban with state collusion according to the families of the assassinated people. I challenge Imran Khan to prove that even a single person among the assassinated 600-plus tribal leaders, religious scholars, teachers, doctors, etc., was pro-US! Were respectable tribal elders like Shah Alam Wazir, Khandan Mehsud, Mirza Alam Mehsud, Mohammad Nawaz Mehsud, and Farooq Wazir pro-US? The Taliban beheaded Mufti Sibghatullah and killed Maulana Mohammad Hussain, Imam of Godam Mosque, Tank. Does Imran Khan believe that those religious scholars were also pro-US? Imran Khan must tender an unconditional apology to the people of Waziristan, especially to the family of the assassinated people for making this bizarre statement.

Exploiting the infamous anti-Indian stance, he argues that the government of Pakistan is pleasing India by making the soldiers of the Pakistan Army fight with the Taliban. This is the interpretation of the pro-jihadi forces in Pakistan. It is not the view of the people of FATA. This war is not about India or the US. It is about us — the citizens of Pakistan, whose lives are disrupted by the terrorists who are hell bent upon subjugating us to their version of shariah. The jihadi pursuit of our state created these terrorists and it is now the duty of the state to eliminate them if Pakistan has to survive as a modern democratic state.

Both the PPP and the ANP have lost near and dear ones in terrorist acts of the Taliban. They must continue the fight against the Taliban and ignore the offer of Imran Khan, who is in any case not a neutral party but one of the pro-Taliban forces. In this regard I wish to refer to one of the points of the joint declaration of a grand jirga of all democratic political parties, intelligentsia and civil society organisations held in Peshawar on December 12-13, 2009. The declaration says, “All those political or non-political forces that defend the Taliban and Talibanisation in Pakistan in one way or the other like the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Tehreek-e-Insaf and other outfits are considered anti-Pakistan, anti-people and anti-Pakhtun by the people of Pakhtunkhwa.”

The Pakistan Army must continue fighting the Taliban until their complete elimination. The military establishment must know that lack of protection of the state from the Taliban atrocities has already thrown the people of Waziristan into cooperation with the US in terms of spying for the drone attacks on the terrorists occupying the area. A time may not be far when the rest of Pakhtunkhwa will be cooperating with the US. What would become of the federation of Pakistan in such a situation? Up until now most Pakhtuns are loyal to the federation of Pakistan, but this loyalty is definitely not limitless and requires that the state must protect them and their way of life. By eliminating the Taliban, the army must prove that it stands with the Pakhtun who suffer under the Taliban. In the long run, this may be important for a constant inflow of Pakhtun loyalty with the state of Pakistan.

The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. She can be reached at bergen34@ yahoo.com

Daily Times

Sanskrit singalong

http://www.punemirror.in/index.aspx?page=article§id=2&contentid=2009122820091228005311624207d353e§xslt=

Language learning is easy if you start to learn it at a young age, they say. But unfortunately people hardly follow India’s classical language, Sanskrit, as it is hardly taught at primary level.

At higher level too, the language is taught via the tedious grammar translation method.

With an aim of popularising Sanskrit among youngsters, a Sanskrit teacher has penned Sanskrit rhymes, on the lines of nursery rhymes, for children.

Varsha Sarda, a Sanskrit enthusiast, has come up with the novel idea of Sanskrit rhymes in a book form along with its audio CD.

Her book called Moda Sanskritam will be launched on Wednesday. Moda Sanskritam contains 11 jingles or rhymes along with illustrations.

She deliberately has not provided translation, so that one can learn it the natural way. “I want kids to learn the language without the usual translation method. They can get the meaning from illustrations.”

The book will be sold along with audio CD in which all these rhymes are transformed into jingles. “Prasad Ranade has given music to the rhymes”, she said. Varsha says it is for easier learning that the musical method has been developed. “Kids can easily sing the songs.

Then they won’t find Sanskrit as a difficult language, which is regarded so because of the traditional method of learning with translation,” Varsha explains.

Varsha, who is currently pursuing Ph D, is also a Bharatnatyam dancer and teacher. She is a visiting faculty at the University of Pune and Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Performing Arts Centre, where she teaches Natyashastra.

“I was associated with Sanskrit Bharati, an NGO which work for popularisation of Sanskrit as a spoken language.

Every time when I meet students pursuing Sanskrit at higher level, I found that they don’t think the language is facile because of its teaching methodology. So I ended up finding a solution to promote easy Sanskrit use. So I made these Sanskrit rhymes.”

The subject of these poems written by Varsha include day-to-day experiences such as children’s play, rains and even earthworm. “I deliberately kept the subject easy, so that everybody can understand it.

When I took this book to schools, they liked it. Almost 30 primary and nursery schools from Pune have agreed to take this book to teach.

Sanskrit pronunciation is a good speech therapy too,” Varsha adds. The release of Moda Sanskritam is scheduled for December 30 at 6.30 pm in Udyan Prasad Hall

COUNTER-PENETRATION & COUNTER-SANCTUARIES

B.RAMAN


There can be no effective counter-terrorism without effective counter-penetration and counter-sanctuaries techniques and capabilities.


2.Penetration refers to one’s capability to penetrate the set-up of a terrorist organization to collect human and technical intelligence about its future plans. The impressive success rate of the unmanned Drone flights of the US in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan since August,2008, spoke of a significant improvement in the penetration operations of the US intelligence community in their continuing fight against Al Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.


3. Similarly, the impressive number of instances of detection and neutralization of indigenous and Pakistan-sponsored terrorist cells by the Indian intelligence community and police during 2009 was the outcome of an improvement in their penetration operations----after the series of explosions in the urban areas organized by the so-called Indian Mujahideen since November,2007, and after the 26/11 terrorist strikes by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan in Mumbai.


4. Effective penetration is important for successful counter-terrorism, but the gains made by effective penetration can be diluted if it is not accompanied by effective counter-penetration.


5.Counter-penetration refers to one’s ability to thwart the attempts of the terrorists to penetrate one’s set-up-----sometimes to collect the intelligence required for planning their operations and sometimes for the planning and execution of their terrorist strikes.


6. A weak counter-penetration capability facilitates a terrorist strike. Weaknesses in the counter-penetration capability of the Indian counter-terrorism community were brought out by the ease with which David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana of the Chicago cell of the LET managed to obtain visas from the Indian Consulate-General in Chicago without a proper scrutiny of their visa applications and the equal ease with which they repeatedly managed to pass through the Indian immigration manned by intelligence officers without a proper scrutiny of their passports and their landing and departure cards.


7.The success of Headley in visiting different places in India in order to collect operational information, staying in hotels and making a network of contacts without being suspected even once by the police Special Branches in different states showed the disturbing state of our counter-penetration capability. One of the principal tasks of the police Special Branches and the regional offices of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) all over the country is to detect and neutralize attempts of indigenous and foreign terrorist organizations to penetrate our set-up. The fact that neither the passport-visa section of the Ministry of External Affairs nor the airport set-ups of the IB and the R&AW nor the Special Branches of different States and the regional offices of the IB and R&AW suspected Headley and Rana even once till they were ultimately arrested by the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in October,2009, speaks poorly of them.


8. Weaknesses in the counter-penetration capabilities of the US in the US homeland were brought out by an incident in a US military base in Fort Hood, Texas, on November 6, 2009.Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist of the US Army born to Palestinian migrants to the US from Jordan, suddenly went on a killing spree killing 13 soldiers with a handgun before he was injured and overpowered. Initially, it was presumed to be an isolated attack of an angry Muslim individual in the US Army, but subsequent enquiries have brought out worrisome details of his alleged contacts with Anwar Al Awlaki, an extremist cleric born in the US, who has been living in Yemen since 2002. Many regard Awlaki as an ideologue of Al Qaeda in Yemen. There were adverse indicators about Major Hasan in the past, but these were either not noticed or, if noticed, not taken seriously.


9.Even now, there is a reluctance in the Obama Administration to admit that the case of Major Hasan indicates a possible success of Al Qaeda in penetrating the US Army and was made possible by a weak counter-penetration capability in the US homeland. This is similar to the reluctance of the Government of India to admit weaknesses in our counter-penetration set-up, which were exploited by Headley and Rana.

10. Weaknesses in the counter-penetration capabilities of the US in the Af-Pak region have now been revealed by the ease with which the Afghan Taliban penetrated the Afghan National Army (ANA) by having one of its members recruited into it and used him to kill seven officers of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deployed near the Pakistan border in the Khost province of Afghanistan through an act of suicide terrorism.


10. Details available till now indicate that the CIA set-up in the Khost area was playing an important role in facilitating the Drone strikes in the FATA. If this is correct, the Afghan Taliban not only managed to identify the CIA set-up in Afghan territory, which was behind the increasing successes of the Drone strikes against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also managed to penetrate it without its penetration efforts being thwarted by the counter-penetration capabilities of the US intelligence community.


11. Counter-penetration is a difficult task in an operational area such as Jammu & Kashmir in India’s fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism or in the Af-Pak region in the USA’s fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Failures are bound to be there despite the best efforts at counter-penetration. One should keep admitting and analysing those failures in order to identify and close gaps in counter-penetration security.


12. Counter-penetration failures in non-operational areas such as in the Indian hinterland in the case of Headley and Rana and in the US homeland in the case of Major Hasan should be a matter of serious concern. In the case of India, the failures lasted nearly three years before they were noticed after the arrest of Headley and Rana by the FBI in October,2009.


13. If such failures have to be reduced, if not prevented, in future, one must have the political courage to admit them and go into them thoroughly. One does not find evidence of such courage either in Washington DC or in New Delhi. The reflexes in the two capitals are similar---- play down the gravity of the failures and avoid a thorough probe.

14. The post-1967 escalation in terrorism by organisations such as the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the Abu Nidal Group, the Hizbollah, the set-up of Carlos, the Baader-Meinhof of the then West Germany, the Red Army factions of West Germany and Japan, the Irish Republican Army etc was made possible partly by the support received by them from the Muslim States such as Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Iran and partly by the support from the USSR and other communist states.


15. While the PLO, the Abu Nidal Group and the Hizbollah were the beneficiaries of support from the Muslim States, the other organisations received the backing of the communist states in East Europe, North Korea and Cuba. In both cases, the support consisted of not only money, training, arms and ammunition and false documentation, but also, more importantly, sanctuaries.


16. It was the realisation that no counter-terrorism fight against a foreign-sponsored terrorist organisation can be effective unless action is taken against the guilty State, which motivated the US Congress in the late 1970s to make it mandatory for the US Administration to act against foreign state-sponsors of terrorism. The post-1991 collapse of the Communist States in East Europe practically brought an end to the activities of the ideologically-oriented leftist terrorist groups. Without sanctuaries and other assistance from countries such as the then East Germany and Yugoslavia, they could not survive.


17. It was again the pressure exercised by the US against States such as Syria and the Sudan, which made organisations such as Al Qaeda shift their sanctuaries to the Af-Pak region. It is the present reluctance of successive US administrations to act as vigorously against Muslim States sponsoring or aiding jihadi terrorism in foreign territories as they used to act against communist states in the past which should account for the continuing successes of organisations such as Al Qaeda and the LET.


18. India paid a heavy price on 26/11 for the continuing inaction against Pakistan’s state-sponsorship of jihadi terrorism. The US almost paid a similar price at Detroit on 25/12 when a Nigerian terrorist, trained in a sanctuary in Yemen, narrowly failed in his attempt to blow up an American plane over Detroit. Whereas Pakistan has been using terrorism as a strategic weapon to advance its foreign policy objectives, there is no reason to believe that Yemen is doing the same. But Yemen’s inability to act effectively against the sanctuaries in its territory is posing the same threat to the security of the US homeland as Pakistan’s active complicity with the terrorists is posing to the security of the Indian and US homelands.


19.Unless effective counter-penetration and counter-sanctuaries strategies are devised and enforced vigorously, we will all continue to bleed at the hands of the jihadi terrorists.

(1-1-10)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Displaced Minorities in Pakistan Need Blankets and a Livelihood as Bitter Winter Sets In



Displaced Minorities in Pakistan Need Blankets and a Livelihood as Bitter Winter Sets In

"We have been assured by the Social Welfare department that these families will be registered as IDPs next month. But in the meantime, we have to cater for their winter needs," said Herdyal Singh, UNITED SIKHS Aid coordinator based in Peshawar.

29th Dec, 2009, Peshawar, Pakistan: Minorities who have taken shelter in Peshwar after escaping from the Taliban regime with only their ‘shirts on their backs’, feel the biting winter cold as night temperatures drop to -4C and they are in urgent need of blankets, warm clothes and a source of livelihood. UNITED SIKHS Aid project volunteers have rehabilitated nine of these families by helping them set up small businesses in the regions of Peshawar, Hassan Abdal, Rawalpindi and Nankana Sahib. In all, there are 24 Sikh families who have been uprooted from the NWFP region and have still not received any government relief because they are not registered as IDPs. More families have been arriving lately in Peshawar, as Pakistan continues its military efforts against the Taliban and as cruel winter conditions leave them destitute in the mountains. These families have been affecte d by communal armed conflict in the Orakzai (Feroz Khel) and Khurram Agency (Sada) and need urgent assistance whilst UNITED SIKHS continues to pursue their registration as IDPs.
“We have been assured by the Social Welfare department that these families will be registered as IDPs next month. But in the meantime, we have to cater for their winter needs,” said Herdyal Singh, UNITED SIKHS Aid coordinator based in Peshawar.
The immediate need for blankets and warm clothes is acute as host families face extreme hardship. Please donate via paypal, cheque or a monthly recurrent donation at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate/

We will purchase the supplies in Pakistan. We will need $1,000 USD to help set up each of the 15 families with a means for a livelihood.

As concern for displaced persons (IDPs) from the South Waziristan Khyber Agency and other agencies grows among humanitarian workers, last month UN agencies called for measures to ensure the security of all civilians caught in the conflict, including relief workers. “All those who are involved in the military operation in one way or the other should ensure human safety and security to aid organizations to reach out to the affected population,” Martin Mogwanja, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, said in a joint press conference with the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme and other international organizations on 5 November, 2009. Further, Mogwanja said assistance would continue to IDPs whether they were from Malakand Division or South Waziristan or from other agencies.

As UNITED SIKHS is also a cluster member of UN agencies coordinating with the World Food Program, UNICEF and other cluster partner NGOs, we are currently working with local partners to assist the displaced. On 26 November 2009 a joint cluster meeting held in UN House Islamabad. Different International NGOs including UNITED SIKHS and World Food Programme (WFP) participated and discussed on many issues especially on safety and security.

You may read a previous press release on our Sikh Aid relief efforts for Pakistan IDPs at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-29-09-2009-00.htm
Issued by:
Herdyal Singh
UNITED SIKHS Aid coordinator, Pakistan
Email: sikhaid@unitedsikhs.org

A milestone year ends for Swiss banking secrecy

Dec 30, 2009 - 17:12



How it will evolve in 2010 will depend on the stance taken by the government and the Swiss voters, two experts told swissinfo.ch.


Official stance
Switzerland has decided to refuse the automatic exchange of information.

Administrative assistance is granted on a case by case basis in response to specific requests and justified.

“Fishing expeditions” – where tax authorities request information without having grounds for suspicion - are prohibited.

The exchange of information is limited to taxes covered by the relevant double taxation agreements.

Under existing laws, banking secrecy obliges banks to keep information about their clients confidential, except in cases of criminal investigation.

The idea is anchored in legislation passed in 1934 after the global turbulences caused by Wall Street's 1929 crash.

2009 Milestones
February - UBS is authorised by the Swiss authorities provide the United States with the identity of 255 customers it helped evade the IRS - without waiting for a decision on appeals filed by these clients (a violation of the law on banking secrecy).

March - The government announces its decision to relax banking secrecy in order to comply with international standards set by the OECD on the exchange of information. The government announces the renegotiation of double taxation accords. International assistance will be granted in cases of tax fraud, but also for offenses involving tax evasion.

April - The G20 puts the pressure on Switzerland by placing it on a grey list of uncooperative tax havens.

August - Switzerland and the US reach an agreement on UBS. The Americans request details of 52,000 account holders. A deal is reached to provide data of 4,450 accounts.

September - After 12 revised double taxation accords are signed, Switzerland is removed from the OECD grey list.

November - The government proposes to parliament that the people should be given the right to approve each new double taxation agreement via a referendum





The year saw two major shifts in the history of Swiss banking secrecy.

In August, in violation of Swiss law, the UBS bank was forced to hand over customer data to the United States Internal Revenue Service after admitting that it had aided some US citizens to evade taxes.

Earlier in the year, Switzerland had to abandon its cherished distinction between tax evasion and tax fraud
- used for deciding in which cases to share information - and agree to comply with an international system of cooperation in exchanging client data

To set the change in motion, the government has negotiated revisions to its double taxation agreements with a number of countries.

But before they come into force, both chambers of parliament have to approve them. The first ones should have gone through parliament’s scrutiny by the summer. However, even that may not be the end: opponents will still have the option of trying to call a referendum to give the Swiss people the last word on whether the agreements should be ratified or not.

Banking circles would certainly be unhappy if that happened, whatever the result: if voters rejected the agreements, it would damage Switzerland’s credibility, but if they accepted them, it could undermine negotiators in their fight to defend banking secrecy, according to tax lawyer Philippe Kenel, who is based in Switzerland and Brussels.



“Complete abandonment”
Henri Torrione, a tax law professor at Fribourg University, explained to swissinfo.ch that nothing would change for Swiss residents as their home tax authorities could not request information about them from banks, except in cases of fraud.

But for non-residents, information will be communicated to the relevant tax authorities, even for the simple act of failing to declare income. Assessment of the banking secrecy situation will ultimately depend on how double taxation agreements are interpreted.

Torrione described the government’s approach as “cautious”. "Its tactic is to say that an approach which does not include a client's name and bank amounts to a [so-called] fishing expedition, which is not a basis for information exchange. If this tactic succeeds, it will de facto retain bank secrecy vis-à-vis foreign tax authorities. But I very much doubt that it will work."
As far as Torrione is concerned, the change of policy decided by the cabinet when it adopted the standards laid down by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development implies “a complete abandonment of secrecy".

In its double taxation agreement with France, Switzerland agreed that the authorities should specify the name of the bank "if possible" when applying for client data, Torrione pointed out. "If the French authorities cannot provide it, Switzerland will still be obliged to supply information."


" It's basically a psychological phenomenon. And it is clients who will decide whether they have faith in it or not. "

Philippe Kenel Unrealistic expectations

Under the double taxation agreement with the US, the client will "typically" be identified by a name provided by the IRS. In other words, there may be exceptions, said Torrione. In the case of UBS, Switzerland agreed to provide information in cases of tax evasion, without obtaining the names beforehand.

"To think that Americans have reached an agreement with Switzerland that will prevent them from getting as much as in the past is unrealistic," he said.

For Torrione, the government’s “cautious” interpretation of the rules governing the exchange of information will make it "very vulnerable" in the future battle over automatic exchange which the European Union is soon likely to demand.

"To defend itself against the automatic exchange of data, Switzerland must comply fully with exchange on request. It must take a clear, logical, coherent stance in line with OECD rules," said Torrione.



Stability
According to Kenel, nothing has changed for the prudent customer. “But for those who keep their bank details at home or cross the border with money or documents, then yes, they are taking a risk. For them, bank secrecy has taken a battering."

He agrees that the clause "if possible" in the France tax accord is a "huge mistake". But with other countries, "the situation is clear, the name of the bank is required".

Kenel says the question is rather whether bank secrecy has survived in the minds of customers. "It's basically a psychological phenomenon. And it is clients who will decide whether they have faith in it or not. The real issue is there."

“To judge by their reactions, it has been affected. French customers, for example, who leave France to settle in Switzerland, no longer trust it, even if in fact they are as well protected as before.”

To regain that trust, things need to regain some stability.

At this stage, Kenel tells his customers that the pressures on the banking secrecy will continue.

"But the Swiss government will never yield on the issues of the automatic exchange of information. If there was a vote on automatic exchange imposed by other states, the people would reject it. Today, customers’ security is the Swiss people!"

Pierre-François Besson, swissinfo.ch (Adapted from French by Jessica Dacey)


Galleries
Banking secrecy


If you don't want to cry about it...

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VideosOne-man bank
Clients trust him more than big banks.

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Official stance
Switzerland has decided to refuse the automatic exchange of information.

Administrative assistance is granted on a case by case basis in response to specific requests and justified.

“Fishing expeditions” – where tax authorities request information without having grounds for suspicion - are prohibited.

The exchange of information is limited to taxes covered by the relevant double taxation agreements.

Under existing laws, banking secrecy obliges banks to keep information about their clients confidential, except in cases of criminal investigation.

The idea is anchored in legislation passed in 1934 after the global turbulences caused by Wall Street's 1929 crash.

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2009 Milestones
February - UBS is authorised by the Swiss authorities provide the United States with the identity of 255 customers it helped evade the IRS - without waiting for a decision on appeals filed by these clients (a violation of the law on banking secrecy).

March - The government announces its decision to relax banking secrecy in order to comply with international standards set by the OECD on the exchange of information. The government announces the renegotiation of double taxation accords. International assistance will be granted in cases of tax fraud, but also for offenses involving tax evasion.

April - The G20 puts the pressure on Switzerland by placing it on a grey list of uncooperative tax havens.

August - Switzerland and the US reach an agreement on UBS. The Americans request details of 52,000 account holders. A deal is reached to provide data of 4,450 accounts.

September - After 12 revised double taxation accords are signed, Switzerland is removed from the OECD grey list.

November - The government proposes to parliament that the people should be given the right to approve each new double taxation agreement via a referendum.

LinksUBS (http://www.ubs.com/)
Fribourg University (German, French) (http://www.unifr.ch/home/welcome.php)
Swiss Finance Ministry (http://www.efd.admin.ch/index.html?lang=en)



URL of this article

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/index/A_milestone_year_ends_for_banking_secrecy.html?cid=7990318

CHINA’S INTEREST IN NAVAL BASE: GWADAR OR HAMBANTOTA OR ELSEWHERE?

B.RAMAN



Ships from the Chinese Navy patrolling the seas on anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden area for over a year now could not go to the rescue of De Xin Hai a Chinese bulk carrier with a Chinese crew of 25 members transporting coal which was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates 400 miles North-East of Seychelles and taken to the waters off Somalia in October last.


2. Their demand for ransom was initially resisted by the Chinese. How can China, which views itself as a power on par with the US, pay ransom? The Government-controlled media in China gave its people very few details of the hijacking, but those, who had been following the incident through the Internet, were certain that the Chinese would not cave in. They were hoping and expecting that the Chinese Navy would emulate the example of the US, Dutch and French Navies, whose special forces had rescued their seamen from the custody of the pirates during 2009. The US Navy’s Sea Air Land Commandoes (SEAL) had rescued the master of the US ship “Maersk Alabama” in an operation on April 4,2009. There were similar instances of intervention by the naval special forces of Holland and France.


3. Independent experts outside China were not hopeful of the Chinese Navy’s ability to intervene. They were certain that the Chinese Navy would ultimately have to cave in to the demands of the Somali pirates. The Jamestown Foundation, a prestigious American think-tank based in Washington DC, had predicted that China was unlikely to use its special forces in a rescue operation because it had too few ships in the area and its ships had no combat experience, especially in dealing with pirates. Moreover, there was the danger that while a botched-up operation could embarrass the Chinese Navy, a successful operation might worry Asian nations who have territorial disputes with China.


4. While Chinese Internet surfers and bloggers were eagerly waiting for news of the rescue of the Chinese bulk carrier and its crew by the Chinese Navy vessels patrolling in the area, news came from international shipping circles, which monitor the activities of the pirates, that the Chinese authorities managed to get back their ship and crew from the pirates on December 28,2009, after air-dropping sacks containing US $ four million on board the ship from a helicopter. The pirates collected the money and left the hijacked ship, which is now reported to be on its way back home.


5. The Chinese Government has so far not told its people that it paid a ransom in order to get the ship and its crew back. The “China Daily” News merely told its readers that the ship had been “successfully rescued”.


6. Their embarrassing experience with this incident has brought home to the Chinese the limitations from which their Navy suffers. One of the lessons mentioned by their experts is that the Chinese Navy could not hope to be the equal of its US counterparts unless it had overseas bases in areas of concern. Another lesson is that their ships on anti-piracy patrol feel handicapped due to the absence of a base in the area being patrolled by them where they can go periodically for refueling and re-stocking and for rest and recreation for their crew.


7. In an interview over the State radio on December 28,2009, Rear Admiral Yin Zhou, an expert of the Chinese Navy, said: “"I believe that a relatively stable, relatively solid base for resupply and repair would be appropriate. Such a base would provide a steady source of fresh food, along with facilities for communications, ship repair and recreation. Any definite decision to establish such a base would have to be taken by the Communist Party. Supplying and maintaining the ( Chinese) fleet off Somalia was challenging without such a base. Other nations were unlikely to object.”

8. He did not say where such a base could be located, if the Party ultimately accepted his suggestion. China already has two options before it---- Gwadar on the Balochistan coast in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It has already constructed for Pakistan a commercial port at Gwadar, which is now being managed by a Singapore company. During a second stage, it is proposed to construct a naval base for the Pakistan Navy there. This could serve the purposes of the Chinese Navy too. The Chinese are helping Sri Lanka in the construction of a modern commercial port at Hambantota. There is presently no talk of a naval base there.


9. Pakistan would be only too happy to respond positively to any Chinese request for naval base facilities at Gwadar. The only inhibiting factor for China would be the bad security situation in the area due to the ongoing Baloch freedom struggle. From the point of view of security, Hambantota could be ideal for the Chinese, but would the Sri Lankan Government agree to any such proposal if it comes from Beijing? (31-12-09)


(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

December 30, 2009

SECTARIAN TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN DURING 2009

B.RAMAN


The year 2009 ended with two attacks by suicide bombers on processions to mark the culmination of the period of Muhurrum observed by the Shias of Pakistan. Fifteen persons were killed in the first incident at Muzzafarabad, the capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), on December 27. Forty-two were killed in the second incident in Karachi on December 28.


2. Sectarian clashes between Shias and Sunnis occur frequently in the Northern Areas consisting of Gilgit and Baltistan, where the Shias constitute the largest single sectarian group. To counter the growing influence of Shia sectarian organizations such as the Tehrik-e-Jaffria Pakistan and its militant wing called the Sipah Mohammad, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had over the years encouraged and helped Sunni extremist organizations such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) to set up a presence in the Gilgit area. This has led to periodic clashes between the two communities.


3. The POK itself, where the Shias are in a very small minority, was till now relatively free of anti-Shia incidents. The attack on a Shia procession in Muzzafarabad has, therefore, comes as a surprise. One possible reason could be the anger of the Sunni organizations of the POK over the recent decision of the Government of President Asif Ali Zardari to upgrade the political status of the Northern Areas in order to make it a de facto separate province without giving it the de jure status of a separate province. This amounted to a rejection of the long-standing demand of the Sunni leaders and political organizations of the POK to merge the Northern Areas with the POK. The Shias were strongly opposed to it. It is quite likely that the attack on the Muhurrum procession at Muzzafarabad was in retaliation for this decision of the Zardari Govt to virtually recognize the separate status of the Kashmiri Shias in Pakistan.


4. Anti-Shia incidents and targeted assassinations of Shia professionals in Karachi have been a frequent occurrence ever since Pakistan became independent in 1947. When Pervez Musharraf was in power, a large number of Shia doctors were killed in Karachi by Sunni extremists. Sindh and the Baloch majority districts of Balochistan are the only areas of Pakistan where the extremist ideology of the Deobandi-Wahabi sects have spread the least. The majority of the Sunnis in these areas follow even today the more tolerant Barelvi sect and have kept away from the Deobandi/Wahabi groups. The Barelvis have more cordial relations with the Shias than the Deobandis and Wahabis. This has made both the Barelvi Sunnis and Shias of these areas the targets of periodic attacks by organizations such as the LEJ and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In 2006, the entire leadership of the Barelvi Sunni Tehrik in Karachi was wiped out in a terrorist attack by a Sunni suicide bomber.


5. Since 2007, the sectarian strife in Pakistan has been rendered more virulent by certain developments such as the following:


(a). In an interview disseminated in December,2007, by As-Sahab, the propaganda wing of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, its No.2, accused Iran of stabbing the Ummah in the back by allegedly colluding in the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iran. He said: “Iran stabbed the Muslim Ummah in the back and recorded a historic mark of shame against itself and against the Shites who follow it. The effects of this stab will stay in the memory of Muslims for a long time to come.”


(b). Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban suspected that the Pashtun Shias of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and the Dera Ismail Khan area of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) were colluding with the Americans in their operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They nursed similar suspicion against the Hazaras of Balochistan, who are Shias.


6.This resulted in Al Qaeda joining hands with the Pakistani Taliban and Punjabi organizations such as the LEJ and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in attacking the Shias in the Kurram Agency of the FATA, where there are a large number of Shias and in the Dera Ismail Khan area of the NWFP.

7.The "Post", a Pakistani daily published from Peshawar,, reported as follows on December 31, 2007: "A delegation of notables from Kurram Agency has appealed to President Pervez Musharraf and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to stop the ongoing violence that has resulted in the loss of more than 100 lives and billions of rupees' worth of property. Haji Latif Hussain, President, Kurram Welfare Society, said the residents had been fighting the Taliban infiltrating from Afghanistan, North and South Waziristan and Al Qaeda operatives in the area who were thousands in number. He added over 70 people had been killed in furious clashes during the last 45 days. "The armed forces of Pakistan are playing the role of silent spectators instead of countering the attackers and protecting the residents under attack," he said. Latif Hussain said Al Qaeda fighters had occupied various areas of Kurram Agency and blocked the main road from Peshawar to Parachinar, resulting in a shortage of basic commodities. "There is an acute shortage of medicines, food, electricity and water," he added. The Kurram Welfare Society President said that as a result of the war, hundreds of women, children and the elderly had taken refuge in Peshawar while over a hundred students who were unable to move to their native areas because of the war had been forced to stay in Islamabad. Mehdi Ghulam from Kurram Agency said Alizai, Balyamin, Tangi Amro Khail, Arravali, Santikot, Singk, Burqi and Pevar were under Taliban and Al Qaeda attacks while dozens of injured were waiting for their death in the Parachinar hospital owing to a shortage of medicines.”


8.Muhammad Hussain Turi, Secretary of the Ittehad-e-Ummat Committee, said: "We are not only fighting for our lives and the area but also for the sovereignty of our country. We are fighting the international war against terrorism on our borders by shedding our blood but, instead of helping us, everyone is creating trouble for us by trying to stop us from defending our area." Turi appealed to the President and the Chief of the Army Staff to issue a directive to the army to intervene to save the lives of thousands of people. The Turis of Kurram, like the Hazaras of Afghanistan and Balochistan, are Shias.

9.Gull Ishrat, member, Kurram Welfare Society, said: "We are fighting the battle of the Pakistan Army against those who managed to escape from Swat, Bajaur, North and South Waziristan and Afghanistan and are involved in furious attacks on the Pakistan Army."

10.The clashes picked up fresh intensity since the beginning of July, 2008, reportedly resulting in over a thousand fatalities on both sides. The Shia leaders of Karachi strongly protested against the failure of the Pakistan Government and Army to protect the Shias in these areas. On September 1,2008, the Shias of Karachi held a large demonstration to protest against the attacks on the Shias of Kurram and Dera Ismail Khan by Al Qaeda and the Taliban and threatened to take out a long march of the Shias from Karachi to these areas if the Govt. did not stop the atrocities on the Shias in those areas by Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the LEJ.


11.This made matters worse for the Shias all over Pakistan and particularly in the Pashtun tribal belt with many murderous acts of terrorism against the Shias during 2009. Among the major acts of terrorism against the Shias during 2009 before the Muzzafarabad and Karachi attacks were the following:


January 4 : At least seven people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Government Polytechnic College near a Shia imambargah on Multan Road in Dera Ismail Khan.
January 26 : At least five people were killed in a bomb blast in Dera Ismail Khan. Hussain Ali Yousafi, Chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, was shot dead in Quetta.
February 5: 32 people were killed when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up amidst a crowd of Shia worshippers outside a Dera Ghazi Khan mosque. Police said the blast targeted dozens of people converging on the Shia Al Hussainia Mosque after dark, shortly before a religious gathering.
February 20: A curfew was imposed in Dera Ismail Khan and the army called in to quell riots immediately after a suicide bomber killed at least 30 Shias and injured another 157 who were attending a funeral in southern Dera Ismail Khan district. Witnesses said police ran away when gunfire broke out after the blast at the funeral of Shia leader Sher Zaman – who was gunned down a day earlier.
March 2: A suicide bomber killed five and injured 12 people at a Shia girls’ religious school in the Pishin District of Balochistan.
March 5: One person was killed and 19 others injured when a hand-grenade hurled by unidentified elements at the worshippers exploded in the Ameer Hamza mosque in Dera Ismail Khan. In Peshawar, unidentified elements blew up the mausoleum of the most-revered mystic poet of the Pakhtun land Rahman Baba.
March 27: 76 persons were killed and over 100 injured in an apparent suicide attack on a mosque on the Peshawar-Torkham Highway in Jamrud in the Khyber Agency.
April 5 : A suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia religious gathering in an Imambargah in Chakwal , killing at least 22 people and wounding 60.
June 5: At least 40 people were killed and another 70 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in Hayagai Sharqai village in the Upper Dir District.
June 12: A leading Sunni Barelvi cleric, Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi with anti-Taliban views, and six others were killed by a suicide bomber at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa on the Allama Iqbal Road in the Garhi Shahu area of Lahore. In Nowshera, five worshippers were killed and 105 others injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden van into a mosque in the Cantonment area on the Grand Trunk Road. The TTP claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks in Lahore and Nowshera.
December 18: A suicide bombing occurred just outside a mosque in Taimergara in Lower Dir District.At least 12 people, most of them policemen, were killed and 28 wounded.


12. Jihadi terrorism in Pakistan was the outgrowth of anti-Shia terrorism encouraged by Zia ul-Haq after the success of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979 in order to intimidate the Shias. Most of the jihadi terrorist leaders of Pakistan occupying important positions in the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the JEM had initially been members of the anti-Shia Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the LEJ. After it captured power in Kabul in 1996 with the help of the ISI, the Afghan Taliban under Mulla Mohammad Omar indulged in a wave of violence against the Hazaras. The Shura of the Afghan Taliban, which now operates from the Pashtun majority areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, its capital, has been trying to intimidate the Hazaras of Balochistan.


13.The Mohajir Shias of Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh are largely migrants from India’s Uttar Pradesh, the then undivided province of Bombay and Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh and their descendants. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the ISI tried to weaken the leadership of Altaf Hussain, the Mohajir leader, who now lives in exile in the UK, by making overtures to the Mohajir Shias, but when they remained loyal to Altaf the ISI instigated the Sunni extremist organizations to attack the Shias. When the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) did well in the elections of December 1988 after the death of Zia, the Army then headed by Gen.Mirza Aslam Beg and the ISI then headed by Lt.Gen.Hamid Gul opposed Benazir Bhutto from becoming the Prime Minister on the ground that her mother Nusrat Bhutto was a Shia. Ultimately, she became the Prime Minister on strong US backing.


14. The post-2007 escalation in anti-Shia violence has been due to Al Qaeda, the TTP and the LEJ, which is now allied with Al Qaeda. It is difficult to explain the Army’s silence and inaction in the face of this escalation. No campaign against jihadi terrorism in Pakistan can succeed unless anti-Shia terrorism is eliminated. Hardly any attention is paid to it by any Government----whether headed by the Army or by the political parties. (31-12-09)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

INTERVIEW: Baluchistan and the Af/Pak War

An Interview with Ahmar Mustikhan

By STEWART J. LAWRENCE

http://www.counterpunch.org/lawrence12302009.html

US news reports about the widening war in the “Af-Pak” region have made increasing reference to the presence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Baluchistan, a Texas-sized swath of territory located in southern Pakistan. Yet Americans remain surprisingly unaware that Baluchistan is home to an insurgent movement that is not aligned with either Al-Qaeda or the Taliban and that has fought for national independence from Pakistan for more than 60 years. In this exclusive interview conducted on December 27, noted Pakistani Baluch journalist, Ahmar Mustikhan, founder and director of the American Friends of Baluchistan, spoke with me about the current regional conflict and about Baluchistan’s appeal to the West for military and diplomatic support for its struggle.

SL: The Obama administration has been pressuring Pakistan to allow the US to launch drone and Special Forces attacks on the Taliban insurgent leadership that is reportedly based in Quetta, Baluchistan, near the Afghan border. Why is Baluchistan becoming so important?

AM: Because the road to peace in Afghanistan actually leads from Baluchistan. The problem for foreigners who come to the region is that they are oblivious to the political and social history of the region. We were not a part of Pakistan when the British left India in August 1947. We were incorporated in Pakistan against our will on March 27, 1948, and we have lived under some form of military occupation ever since.

Historically, our people have had more in common with Afghanistan than with Pakistan. In the 19th century, whenever Afghanistan came under threat, it reached out to the Baluch people. There a number of inter-marriages between Pashtuns, the dominant nationality in Afghanistan, and the Baluch. In my own family there have been a number of such nuptial knots with Pashtuns, including those tied with Pashtuns from Afghanistan.

In reward for Baluch help to Afghan rulers, the Afghan king gave huge tracts of Pashtun territory to the Baluch ruler. This is today called the Pashtun “belt” of Baluchistan, for instance, the Pashtun pockets of Quetta and areas such as Chaman, Zhob, Pishin, Loralai. Unfortunately, these are some of the areas where the Taliban leaders have found refuge.

There are 15 million Baluch people worldwide, and about 8 million live within the territorial boundaries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The future of all three countries is bound up with our future. Baluchistan is also located on the northern lip of the Straits of Hormuz through which much of the world's oil supply passes. We ourselves have an estimated 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore. Therefore, many nations, including China and Russia, as well as the West, see Baluchistan as a strategically important, indeed critical - zone of influence.

Right now, the issue of the Taliban is foremost in Western minds but real stability in the “Af-Pak” region depends on the recognition of Baluch independence claims. With outside support, an independent Baluchistan could be a major force for stability and development, certainly far more stable than either Pakistan or Afghanistan is today. However, if America continues to massively arm the Pakistan military, for strictly short-term political gain, the entire region will remain unstable.

SL: How does the Baluchistan movement view the current Taliban insurgency?

AM: We are a secular people, and therefore, natural allies of the West. Of course, we are extremely anguished by the Taliban. However, we look upon the Taliban as merely the "B team" of the Pakistan military. We know that Pakistani intelligence agencies are hiding many Taliban leaders in Baluch areas. This doesn't help us but contributes to instability, and religious extremism. We don't expect the Pakistan army to object, since they are aligned with the Taliban. However, if the United States really wants to get rid of the Taliban it needs to work with us not with the Pakistan army.

Some Baluch might favor US drone attacks in the sense that they would give the Pakistan military many sleepless nights trying to explain how a proud Islamic nation could let the Americans violate its sovereignty. However, one of our most respected national leaders, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, has rightly warned that drone attacks could turn Baluchistan from a “wound” into a “cancer” – that is, they could inflame anti-Americanism and religious extremism among our own people, which is not what we want.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda do not exist in the air but on the ground. Our Baluch forces must be given a chance to take them on the ground. It is for this reason the U.S. must support the Baluch struggle and actually talk to, and recognize, our leaders.

SL: Are you proposing to fight with US forces against the Taliban?

When I met with US State Department officials recently, I asked them to take the Baluch leadership on board to help solve the “Af-Pak” crisis. Condemning human rights violations against our people by the Pakistani army – which the US did last April – is only a starting point. The US should expand the area of operations of the International Security Assistance Force to include Baluchistan. Help us get rid of, if you will, the 'Taliban in uniform', the Pakistani soldiers from our homeland. This is the golden key to peace in Afghanistan. In return we are going to open our doors for you.

Right now you are playing with the lives of young American boys and girls from the countryside by not talking to us. You are proposing drone attacks but the Voice of America doesn’t even have a Baluchi language service! A simple language service would cost you less than what it costs to maintain a single US soldier in Afghanistan.

SL: Pakistan has accused the Baluch of receiving military aid from India, which it says is one of the reasons it has backed insurgents in the Kashmir. Is this true?

AM: I really wish this were true. If it were, we wouldn’t be suffering so badly at the hands of Pakistan. We would like India - just like we want the United States - to openly support the Baluch struggle, and with more than mere words. Why won’t secular nations like India and the US support our secular struggle instead of backing Islamic Pakistan, which is secretly working hand in glove with the Taliban? If you want to counter the Taliban you need to support Baluch nationalism. If our forces received even one-tenth of the support Pakistan gets annually, many American lives lost fighting the Taliban would be saved.

SL: Aren't you afraid that the Americans might use you tactically, against the Taliban, and then, like the Kurds, abandon you once you have outlived your purpose?

The U.S. has the image of an international “Dracula” when it comes to freedom movements. It's a shame. Just look at the role the U.S. played during the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. Washington completely supported the Pakistan military. The late senator, Edward Kennedy, was among the few in the U.S. who condemned the Nixon administration’s policies. The U.S. consul general in Dhaka at the time also protested and was sacked.

There are risks in a venture of this kind, but there are greater risks of standing still. We would hope that good Americans would stand by us so that US support to Baluchistan, once begun, is sustained.

SL: Some people, even some of your allies, argue that it might be difficult for Baluchistan to become economically and politically self-sufficient.

AM: That’s nonsense. The pre-1948 Baluch Congress unanimously rejected the idea of a “merger” or limited “autonomy” agreement with Pakistan or with any other state. Frankly, it’s the decadent thinking of white, Western nations that nations in the East can’t run their own affairs. You don’t have to look too far. Bangladesh separated from India and Pakistan in 1971, and despite its many problems, is better off today than Pakistan, both financially and politically.

If we really thought Baluchistan would be poorer without Pakistan and Iran, we wouldn’t be crazy enough to demand full independence. With our natural resources and our strategic 1000-kilometer coastline, we are in a strong position. We would like to become a respected member of the Gulf Cooperation Council that includes countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Our only demand is that NATO/US forces must extend their operational base to include Baluchistan. The stereotypical thinking in the Pentagon is that without the Pakistan army in control, nuclear weapons would fall into Taliban hands. But the very hands that are feeding the Taliban also have their hands on the nuclear button.

SL: Now that Pakistan has returned to civilian rule, at least nominally, can we expect any change in the way Baluchistan is treated?

Nothing has changed since the advent of civilian rule under President Asif Ali Zardari, who obtained the presidency simply by virtue of his marriage with slain premier Benazir Bhutto. Killings, abductions and torture are routine in Baluchistan. There have been five Baluch national uprisings against the Pakistan military since the March 1948 occupation. We call these uprisings wars of liberation and one of them is continuing as we speak. According to conservative estimates 20,000 Baluch people have been killed to date. Pakistan has used U.S. fighter jets and helicopter gunships against our people, without regard for the Geneva Conventions.

Those targeted by Pakistan have included our most respected and revered leaders like Nawab Bugti, Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, Mir Asadaullah Mengal, and Mir Balaach Marri. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of Baluchistan, was killed in an air raid by the Pakistan army on August 26, 2006 on the personal orders of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a close US ally. Every Baluch loved and respected these martyrs because though they were powerful tribal personalities they gave their lives not for their tribes but for Baluchistan.

It’s time for America to think outside the box. There's always been a huge support base for Baluch independence among the smaller Pakistani nationalities, including the Sindhis, Seraikis and some of the Pashtun tribes with their own national claims. Revising Pakistan's existing boundaries – which are illegal as applied to Baluchistan – won’t be the end of the world. The heavens won’t fall. The world will be a safer place once Baluchistan is recognized and supported. But none of us has the luxury of time on our side. The world must act before the entire region is set ablaze, with truly unforeseeable consequences.

Stewart J. Lawrence is a foreign and defense policy specialist based in Washington, DC. He is grateful to numerous US-based Pakistani commentators for their insights. He can be reached at stewartlawrence81147@gmail.com

China floats anti-pirate hub idea

BBC

A senior Chinese naval officer has suggested that China establish a permanent base in the Gulf of Aden to support its anti-piracy operations.

Rear Admiral Yin Zhou's proposal was posted on the defence ministry website.

Mr Yin said supplying and maintaining the fleet off Somalia was challenging without such a base, and said other nations were unlikely to object.

China's navy currently has no overseas bases, but there are calls in the media and web forums for this to change.

The proposal comes after a Chinese cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates on Monday, amid reports that a $4m (£2.5m) ransom had been paid to their kidnappers.

'Appropriate'

The Chinese navy has already been patrolling the Gulf of Aden for more than a year, protecting cargo vessels that are increasingly threatened by pirates based on Somalia.

Yin Zhuo, a prominent spokesman on naval matters, made his suggestion to establish a permanent base in the area during a state radio interview on Tuesday. A transcript was later published on the defence ministry's website.


"I believe that a relatively stable, relatively solid base for resupply and repair would be appropriate," he said.

Such a base would provide a steady source of fresh food, along with facilities for communications, ship repair and recreation, Mr Yin added.

He offered no suggestion on where such a base should be located.

Any definite decision to establish such a base would have to be decided by the Communist Party, Mr Yin said.

Allaying foreign concern

Other countries have been closely monitoring China's international deployments for signs it is increasing its assertiveness in its foreign defence policy.

Beijing's leaders are sensitive to these concerns - and the first ships deployed in the Gulf spent more than four months at sea without docking anywhere.

"We didn't want to arouse unnecessary suspicion from some Western countries," Mr Yin explained.

"Gradually, everyone saw we are there to carry out legitimate international duties and we are helping ships from other countries as well," he said, adding that when his vessel finally docked at a French base, his crew were warmly welcomed.

Mr Yin said he believed other nations in the region would understand China's need for a naval supply base so that it could meet its international commitments.

The United States, Japan and European Union countries already have bases in the region.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8435037.stm

Published: 2009/12/30 14:31:55 GMT

India 2009: Steadfast in a Turbulent World

.

By T.P.Sreenivasan

Today, January 2009 looks like it was a long time ago. Although India
was in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in history, it
seemed capable of contributing to the restoration of calm after the
storm in the global community. The world was excited about the
election of Barack Obama, who promised change, including an escape
from the global economic and financial crisis. India was preparing for
an election, whose outcome was uncertain, but there was some
expectation that the Congress would come back to power in a weak
coalition. India-China parleys on the border were taking place
intermittently and high level contacts were common between the two
countries. The excitement over the signing of the nuclear deal was
tempered by some apprehensions about the nuclear policy of the
Democrats, but there were assurances of continuity. Iraq war was
abating and the Afghan front was not too critical. An increasingly
assertive Russia was finding its way to work out a new equation with
the United States.

If change in the US was the biggest event of the year in the world, no
change in the Government in India was the most significant development
in India. The foreign policy makers of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh and
Mr. M.K.Narayanan remained at the helm and Mr. T.K.A.Nair and Mr.
Shyam Saran continued at crucial positions in the Prime Minister’s
Office (PMO). The appointment of Mr. S.M.Krishna as the Minister for
External Affairs gave gravitas to the post, but ensured that the PMO
continued to call the shots on foreign policy. The change of Ministers
of State or the Foreign Secretary did not signal any policy shift. The
infinite promise of Dr. Shashi Tharoor was “twittered” away in days.
The Prime Minister, rejuvenated by a strong mandate and a heart
surgery, was clearly at the helm, with strong support from the Party
President.

With an eye on his foreign affairs legacy, the Prime Minister led
India with the sure touch of a captain piloting his aircraft through
turbulence. He preferred to steer clear of the storm rather than risk
heading to the eye of it. But he did not turn away in fear or change
course dramatically. By the end of the year, the foreign policy
appears to be in good shape, though still buffeted by the winds of
change blowing across the globe.

Among the many foreign policy challenges that the UPA Government,
particularly Dr. Manmohan Singh, faced in 2009 was how to preserve the
gains in India-US relations registered during the Bush Administration.
Many Democrats were convinced that India got away with many
concessions from the Bush Administration on nuclear matters and that
it was necessary to restore a certain balance in the relationship. The
rise of China in the US calculations imposed its own pressures on
India-US relationship. The United States revamped its policy towards
Afghanistan and Pakistan and consequently India became one of the
minor pawns on the US chess board. New tensions developed in trade and
environment negotiations. Issues, which were circumvented in the
nuclear negotiations, such as NPT, CTBT and FMCT surfaced once again.
Nuclear trade with the US seemed to recede further.

India stood firm in all this turbulence, sticking to the terms of the
123 agreement and conducting business as usual in other areas. It
moved slowly, but steadily on the unfinished agenda of the nuclear
deal and kept throwing the ball to the US court. It reacted in no
uncertain terms to the United Nations Security Council resolution on
non-proliferation, which demanded universal adherence to the NPT. The
new question raised by certain circles as to what was India prepared
to do in return for the favours received was answered in concrete
terms, listing out the tremendous gains the US had made in the Indian
market, particularly defense market and the strategic gains in Asia.
India did not feel obliged to announce any concessions on nuclear
issues during the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington. At the end of
the visit, India had nothing to show as concrete gains, but the
continuity in the relationship was stressed and the indispensability
of India was conceded.

China was more inscrutable than ever before in 2009 in its dealings
with India. As Ambassador Jaishankar said at Sichuan University,
“rarely a week went by without an alarmist or negative story about
India-China relations’, but when he went to work, “the challenge was
to keep up with the increasing engagement between the two nations.”
This disconnect was perplexing, with the pendulum swinging between the
“bhai-bhaism” and the prospect of another 1962. India did not provoke
China in the least, except that the Prime Minister visited Arunachal
Pradesh and let the Dalai Lama visit his followers in Tawang. Where
was the need to threaten to cut India into thirty pieces or to build a
string of pearls to contain India? China, which is in a tight embrace
with the United States, kept complaining about India seeking
friendships far away while neglecting its neighbours. Here again,
India remained calm to a fault, even denying the incursions and the
tensions on the border and thus losing credibility. The year of
friendship is still in place in 2010 and we harmonized positions on
climate change and Doha Round as though nothing had happened. Gandhiji
must have been proud of his countrymen for their patience and
perseverance. But one hopes that the apparent projection of normalcy
does not result in a corresponding lethargy about India’s preparedness
for an explosion in the Himalayas, which is not unthinkable.

In dealing with the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India has
demonstrated both calm and determination. Nobody believed that a war
was the right response, but nobody doubted that there would be no
alternative to war if a similar attack took place again. Perhaps, it
was that message that worked with Pakistan. The people of India
rejected the soft approach of Sharm-al-Sheikh and brought the
Government back on track. Pakistan, which had declared the composite
dialogue as pointless, is now clamouring for its resumption. India
lost nothing by refusing to do business with a Pakistan, still seeking
to make its choice among Zardaris, Gilanis and Kayanis. It is not
enough that Pakistan refrains from further attacks. It must pay for
its past sins.

The Afpak strategy may have its flaws, but the US is undoubtedly
fighting the Indian battle too, though their focus is Al-Qaeda. They
may have a deal with the Taliban as part of the exit plan for 2001 and
they may let the Lashkar-e-Toiba play havoc in Kashmir and India, but
if the US breaks the back of terrorism in the region, it cannot but
help the Indian cause. The problem may come when the US abandons
Afghanistan and allies itself with Pakistan and we may have to fight
our own battles, but the US action till then will be to our advantage.
It was not for nothing that the PM virtually endorsed the US presence
in Afghanistan for the first time.

The clash on climate change in Copenhagen is yet to be played out, but
nothing that happens there is going to make any material change to
India. We are pledged to do what we can to protect the environment and
if there is any funding or technology comes in the way, it will be a
bonus. No damage will be done to our relations with anyone even if we
remain unmoved under the pressure on us to accept legally binding
commitments. No one doubts India’s need to deploy its resources for
economic development and the Prime Minister’s assurance that our per
capita emissions will never exceed the per capita emissions of the
developed world is a clear enough commitment, which cannot be
challenged.

The visit of the Prime Minister to Russia and the deal struck there on
nuclear matters came as the jewel in the crown for the UPA Government
in 2009. Russia still reaps the harvest of the seeds sown by the
Soviet Union and it can do no wrong in the eyes of the Indian public.
Ambassador Kanwal Sibal, till recently our envoy in Moscow, found the
Russian positions in the Joint Statement short of expectations and
claims. But, unfettered by domestic laws, it gave India a nuclear
agreement, free of the constraints imposed by the 123 Agreement. But
President Medvedev made it clear that Russia was not interested in
expanding the nuclear club any more, in an apparent to the Prime
Minister’s statement in Washington that India was ready to sign the
NPT as a nuclear weapons state.

India’s policy to move from nonalignment to multiple alliances, with
those who share the Indian perspectives and even limited alliances on
specific issues seemed to succeed in the year that has become history.
Many of our international aspirations have remained unfulfilled and
the challenges are many, but India remains steadfast in a turbulent
world.




--
T.P. Sreenivasan,
Former Ambassador of India,
Director General, Kerala International Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
Member, National Security Advisory Board, New Delhi
Cell (91) 9847721656
www.ananthapurimusings.blogspot.com
www.tpsreenivasan.com
twitter.com/sreeniv

India's Contingency Plan: Breaking up of Baluchistan

Rajiv Malhotra

I agree with the analysis below. (AFGHANISTAN: INDIA'S CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR "THE DAY AFTER" )By Dr. Subhash Kapila .
http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3576.html

I have been writting for over a year that India is foolishly relying upon USA to secure itself against the AfPak talibanization threat. Most of the denial mode is based on: emotional weakness to consider scenarios that are unpleasant, the euphoria of "incredible India" that the stock market does not want to spoil, the Bollywood and cricket bubble in which india's middle class and elite want to remain blissfully intoxicated. The article below brings much needed realism.

I would add two more points to it:

1) USA's departure might in fact INCLUDE a Pak deal in which it seems that US withdrawal is a "victory" because Pak army has "agreed" to "protect" US interests on its behalf. In other words, US might announce that it has outsourced the war to the Pak army for another few billions of dollars. Taking this further, USA might accept the "good Taliban" as those elements which sit down and sign an agreement under which the US can announce withdrawal, the PR move being to claim that the "bad Taliban" has been isolated. For those who understand how the Good Cops and Bad Cops function in American society, this would be the reversal of that game - the Taliban would be playing Good and Bad Cops in dealing with the US. Such a US policy would be seen as the least of the evil options available, by a pragmatic US politics wanting to avoid further bleeding. It would seem like the Taliban anger has been diverted towards "other infidels" (i.e. Indians).

2) India's contingency plan should include the breaking up of Baluchistan. It would kill the Iran-Pak oil pipeline. It would kill China's naval base in Pak. It would kill China's route from the ocean to China via Tibet that includes road, rail and pipelines. Only this could bring security for India that is at least 10 to 20 years long, and thereby giving India time to develop further economically.






My understanding of this US-Pak_India -Afghanistan issue is:
1. The US knows full well that India is in no position to directly bring any serious harm to the US but Pakistan can harm US interests seriously in Asia and perhaps even in the middle east.

2. Therefore in extricating itself from the Afghan mess the US will try to be good to Pakistan in financial terms with a secret understanding that what Pakistan does in India or in Kashmir will not really bother the US. That is a blank Check for heightened Pakistani mischief tyrough Taliban or some other Islamic extremist outfit.

3. The UPA govt. is completely wrong to imagine that the US will pull India's chestnuts out of the fire in respect of terrorrism in India or in the matter of Kashmir.Man Mohan Singh is a novice in the art of foreign policy.In fact he is a novice in many other internal matters of policy too!

4. India, therefore, has to become pro-active in Baluchistan. Being pro-active is, however, unknown to India except during Indira Gandhi's time. Even then it was she who pushed the military and the bureaucracy including Intel men. To become pro-active India should be less lethargy in its military build up.Antony the Defence Minister is very honest and very incompetent.

-- R Venkatnarayana

December 29, 2009

The announcement of Balochistan package

Hafeez Hassan Abadi
Source: Daily Tawar Newspaper
Translated by: Archen Baloch


The issue of Baloch and Balochistan has now attained the attention of entire world community. And it seems that the thinking of world community, towards Baloch issue, is taking a new form and shape. Baloch nation, once punished by British Empire by dividing Balochistan land into parts for being patriotic and liberalist who defied death to depend their homeland, has compelled world into thinking of new perspectives to address the new requirements and apprehensions, that if a nation adores its identity and homeland in either way, whether in love or hate, is far better than the hired slave, who is all set to do anything for its interests.

Despite being a polarized and backward nation, Baloch are struggling to defend every inch of their homeland to the last drop their blood, even with desperate conditions, the courage, with which it’s confronting two powerful countries, has drawn the attention towards a real power which is capable of providing the world community a rare pleasant opportunity to bring relative peace in the region. That real power is possessed by Baloch nation, if pulled together, can rectify the imbalance of power in the entire region, even after a great chaos. The world community is undergoing through the same punishments by the hand of Iran and Pakistan, which were once inflicted upon Baloch for the sins they have never committed before, albeit under the compulsion of new exigencies. These two countries have plunged the world community into insecurity to the extent that it has now started to regard them scrupulously otherwise. Yet, both countries have the realization, that the world community does not tolerate their double-crossing anymore. Therefore, at state level, both have skillfully started to create new hurdles to detract the world attention towards the real problem.

The announcement of Balochistan package and the program to pacify the Baloch people is nothing more than a time being self deception, so that it could pay full attention towards Afghanistan for inflicting a shameful defeat upon America and its allies as soon as possible, and compelling them to withdraw from Afghanistan leaving behind them the "dirty job", so that it could sustain its survival for a few more time. Therefore, Pakistani state has now launched a systemic media war against America. On the one hand, at state level rulers talking about unified efforts to tackle the terrorism, on the other, all Pakistan media is engaged in a malicious campaign against America, where hardly an affective program is aired, in which America is not depicted as the biggest Satan in Sketches, songs, and dramas.
In short, America and its allies are hardly being spared in their campaign, but the most dangerous point here is that in this storming propaganda what is emerging out of it, is that once again Islam being used, this famous sentence is widely being used in the media war; "conspiracy is being hatched against Islam". In this ardent campaign, as if a public opinion is being created to pave the way of a war between Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, which could be much more lethal for world community then the Al Qaeda and Talban, in the shape of a will organized power.

To say less, it seems that an unnecessary and meaningless hue and cry about Baloch and Balochistan is being created as a part of a wider campaign where it gives a cover to their 'real intention' to turn the entire region into a hell for America and its allies.

Apart from all these shenanigans, Balochistan package is nothing more than a jugular box used to get the trained political monkeys of the establishment play deception act. But Baloch nation has abandoned the habit of paying any attention to such a package a long time ago. They are struggling for their survival, for even a slightest moment, Baloch are not oblivious of the fact that jugulars are playing sophisticated tricks to trap them in. It is not hard to see how biased Islamabad has become in devising this Balochistan package towards Baloch, which has not only been rejected by those who are engaged in different level of struggle for freedom from Iran and Pakistan, but also by those political parties who have not yet abandoned parliamentary politics. Every sentence of this package is implying that Baloch are enslaved by dominant prejudiced Pakistani state. Each and every point of this aforementioned package is a box filled with deception. Had they taken into confidence anyone, then why prime minister and president had to release a press statement that they had taken all into confidence?

According to BNF spokesperson, no political prisoner has been released of the front, except Shafique Baloch. Then what was the necessity of resorting to bluffing in parliament, that "all Baloch missing persons will reach their home from today"? Let alone the thousand missing persons, those who have been taken notice of by prime minister himself have not yet reached their homes. Even worst, after the statement of the prime minister, BSO's ex vice chairman Sangat Sana and Gaffar Langu along with their friends became the added victims packed up by state agencies. In addition, the martyrdom of 10 BRP innocent workers and almost 25 other injured Baloch in Dera Bugti area are worthy to be mentioned here. Surpassing all limits of meanness, in the cover of withdrawing the fabricated cases against the workers of BNF, all the cases of criminals have been withdrawn, hired by the government salaried politicians and chieftains.

It must not be forgotten that all political parties in BNF (Balochistan National Front) have constantly demanded that if there are cases against the missing persons, then it is the moral obligation of the government to produce them before the courts. If proven, of course, should be punished.

Similarly regarding the military operation in Balochistan, all tricks of Machiavellian are deployed in broad daylight. The Persian saying that "what happens if an ass comes and a cow goes" is fully justified if said about the announcement of the deployment of the Frontier Corps in the place of regular army in Balochistan. These are the two most sensitive crises which have turned Balochistan into an erupting volcano. If the irresponsible attitude of the government towards these sensitive issues is as such, than it is not hard to imagine what rulers would do with other issues.

In short, no improvement is going to take place in Balochistan situation by this package; however, here rises the question, eventually there comes a result out of this situation, but what kind of a result would emerge?

We believe that Pakistan has to pay a heavy price for the ridiculous jokes, Islamabad used to play with Balochistan. As usual, This Balochistan package is designed to cater to salaried privileged class and ridicule Baloch nation.
Naturally, the people who have been taken in by the government statement would start believing those who have been saying all along, that this package is a jugular box filled with deception.

As consequences, this package, designed to weaken Baloch resistance, would backfire and Baloch youths in a greater number join the resistance movement. There should be no doubt about these facts that the majority would join the ranks of Sarmachars (freedom Fighters) and those who were vacillating so far, would throw their weight behind the pro independent parties and help them to hold successful rallies and protests in cities. It spurs the freedom movement in entire Balochistan to new heights and increases their power of resistance in cities and mountains, and the government grip loosens eventually. The Government stance and the arguments about Balochistan to remain within Pakistan not only would be rendered ineffective, but would rather intensify the unacceptability of Pakistani state.

The parties, which are So far bogged in the marsh of opportunism, demanding that three or four subject, should remain with federation and the remaining should be conferred to provinces, not only would be unable to justify their stance, but also would remain silent.

In the event of intensification of the resistance movement, Pakistani forces, out of sheer desperation, would commit such heinous crimes, thereby the hatred increases against Pakistan. It would urge Baloch liberalists within Balochistan and Karachi to close their ranks and draw new strategies. The leadership leaving in abroad, particularly Khair Beyar Marri would have to intensify his activities. His bold and candid speeches, about independent Balochistan in different international forums, have made him a popular leader. Now it is the call of the hour for all political parties in Baloch National Front to jointly persuade him into accepting the job of representing the Baloch nation in abroad. And at the same time it is his job to form a five or seven member's team, so that it could substantially present Baloch national case for freedom in the international forums in the event of the possible intensity of Pakistan's volatile situation.

Meanwhile, it is highly possible that BHRC based in London, would get its acts together in a proper manner and disassociate itself from the parties who are bogged in the marsh of opportunistic Pakistani parliamentary politics, demanding the right to self determination, (according to the current situation it is a Hippocratic slogan). And it is hoped that it categorically reminds the world about the violation of Baloch human rights and that Baloch on both sides of the border living a slavish life. Along with Eastern Balochistan, pro independent parties in western Balochistan, particularly Baloch Raaji Zrombresht and Baloch Liberation Organization would also get more active, because, nowadays Raaji Zrombrsht leaders are ardently participating in all those programs and seminars where Baloch national Leader Hair Beyar Marri participates. Thus, it is how the government joke (the rights package) would serve as a wakeup call for all hibernating Baloch on both sides of the border to rise on occasion.

The virus of this package is not so potent; one might fear that it would kill off Baloch national movement. But it’s not so, the virus that cannot kill would surly fortified the defensive system of the host body.

It is highly possible that Pakistan's some of those problems would get exacerbated and go beyond the control of the government, which were once Pakistan's own making invented to detract the public attention from bigger problems. During all this while the state establishment would be able to avail itself from two fronts; first, in the cover of the chaotic situation, it would allow the Talban's selected leadership to elapse into save heaven. And on the other side it would succeed in creating loyalty for extremists and hatred for other religions, which would eventually help exhaust American and its ally's patient about Pakistan. It would be an unexpected surprise for Pakistan. While on the other side, during all this while, the sure footed Baloch national struggle would be moving towards its destination with rather confidence, and the world community would regard Baloch nation as a potent power to bring relative peace in the region.