Thursday, 5 September 2013

Most wanted terrorist captured from hotel in Pakistan



Updated 2013-09-04 13:49:40


ISLAMABAD: In a daring raid, Saudi Special Forces arrested one of the most wanted extremist leaders, Abu Jarara Al-Yemeni, from a hotel located in one of Pakistan’s most popular vacation spots in Murree.

The news spread like wildfire and people were seen cursing the Pakistani government for allowing the Americans to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty, again.

However, when it became clear that the raid was not conducted by the Americans but by the Saudis, the frowns turned into smiles and many were heard saying, ‘Jazzakallah!’

Only minutes after the raid, Pakistan’s Prime Minister appeared on state-owned television and congratulated the nation and thanked the Saudi regime for helping Pakistan in its war against terror.

Interestingly, religious parties like Jamaat-i-Islami, (JI) Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and some banned sectarian organisations, that had originally called a joint press conference to condemn the raid, changed their stance half-way through the conference when told that the raid was by Saudi forces and not the Americans.

JI chief was first heard lambasting Pakistan’s civilian government for letting the country’s sovereignty be violated by the Americans, but after a reporter confirmed that the raid was executed by Saudi forces, the JI chief turned towards the JUI chief and embraced him.

Mahshallah!’ he exclaimed. “Today is a glorious day for our Islamic republic!”

JI and JUI chiefs had earlier questioned the real identity of the man arrested from the hotel, saying that even if it was Jarara, we should be ashamed because he was a freedom fighter, conducting a liberation war against the Americans.

However, after it became clear that the arrest was made by Saudi forces, both the men then claimed that Jarara was no friend of Pakistan and that he was not even a Muslim.

In a joint statement, JI, JUI and the sectarian organisations congratulated the nation and said that they had been saying all along that the extremists were Pakistan’s greatest enemies and should be exterminated.

The statement also said that the JI and JUI (along with PTI) will continue to hold sit-ins against American drones, which were parachuting evil men like Jarara into Pakistan and violating the sovereignty of the country. For this, the statement suggested, that Ahmad Shah Abdali should be invited to invade Pakistan and defeat the Americans.

When told that Abdali died almost two hundred years ago, the religious leaders termed this to be nothing more than western propaganda.

PTI members at the conference added that Pakistan’s most prominent revolutionary and youngest nuclear physicists, Zohair Toru, was building anti-drone missiles.

Toru, who was also present at the conference, confirmed this while licking a lemon-flavored Popsicle. He said it was a very hot day and popsicles helped him concentrate.


Zohair Toru at the press conference.

However, soon things took another twist when sources suggested that the Saudis captured Jarara and handed him over to the Americans.

The Americans – who had accused Jarara for committing crimes against humanity – actually plan to use him to lead a revolt against the Syrian government that the Americans accuse of committing crimes against humanity.

After this, the chiefs of JUI, JI and the sectarian parties again changed their stance. In another joint statement, they said Jarara indeed was a great Muslim warrior. They then embraced each other and distributed Saudi dates among the gathered media personnel and asked them to pray for Jarar’s success against the evil Syrian government.

But when asked what they thought about Jarar working with the Americans and vice versa, they said they cannot answer this question because it was time for the afternoon prayers.

When asked whether they will answer the question after the prayers they said by then it will be time for the evening prayers.

When asked if they would be willing to give an answer after the evening prayers, they said by then all of them would be on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.


Members of religious parties after being told the raid was conducted by the Americans.


Religious party leaders after being told Jarar will be used by Saudi Arabia and US in war against Syria.

Religious party leaders after being told Jarar will be used by Saudi Arabia and US in the war against Syria.

The raid

A military spokesman also held a press conference to give the media a briefing on the details of the raid.

He said the raid was executed by Saudi Special Forces who came on four helicopters from Saudi military bases in Raiwind.

The helicopters then landed on the Margala Hills in Islamabad. On the lush hills, Saudi soldiers disembarked from the copters, got on camels and rode all the way to Murree in broad daylight.

They were twice stopped at checkpoints by the Pakistani police but were allowed to cross when some Saudi soldiers promised the cops jobs in Saudi Arabia and year’s supply of Zamzam water.

An eyewitness claims the cops smiled and waved to the departing camels, cheering ‘marhaba, marhaba.’


A passerby captured this photo of the Saudi Special Forces on their way to Murree.

The camel army reached the in Murree at 11:00 am and right away rode their way into the sprawling premises.

The camels were also carrying rocket launchers, sub-machine guns, pistols, grenades and popcorn, all concealed in large ‘Dubai Duty Free’ shopping bags.


One of the items left behind by the Saudi raiding party.

The military spokesman added that although the Pakistan Army had no clue about the raid, there were a dozen or so Pakistani security personnel present at the hotel.

When asked whether these men questioned the camel riders, the spokesman said that they did see them enter the hotel but were at the time busy interrogating a 77-year-old Caucasian male whom they had arrested for smoking in a non-smoking area.

“After the Abbottabad incident, we are keeping a firm eye on Europeans and Americans,” the spokesman said.

Even though the white man turned out to be an old Polish tourist, the spokesman praised the security men’s vigilance. “Our country’s sovereignty is sacred,” he added. “And, of course, smoking is bad for health.”

According to the Pakistan’s security agencies, the Saudis then rode their camels into one of the hotel’s kitchens and fired teargas shells.

This way they smoked out the chefs, cooks and other kitchen staff out into the open. From these, a Saudi commander got hold of a fat, hairy chef with an untidy beard.

The Saudi commander looked at the chef and compared his face with a photograph he was carrying. He asked: ‘Al-Jarara?’ To which the chef was reported to have said: “No, al-chicken jalfrezi. Also make very tasty mutton kebabs.”

The commander then asked, ‘Al-Yemeni?’, to which the chef said, ‘Yes make Yamani tikka too. You want?’


A photo of one of the raiders who entered the hotel disguised as a friendly camel.

A reporter asked the military spokesman whether the Pakistani security men present at the hotel witnessed the operation. The spokesman answered in the affirmative but said they didn’t take any action after confirming that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated.

The reporter then asked how the security men determined that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated. Answering this, the spokesman said that since the camel riders were speaking Arabic there was thus no reason for the security men to charge them for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.

This statement made the media personnel at the press conference very happy and they began applauding and raising emotional slogans praising Pakistan, Ziaul Haq and palm trees.

Soon after the announcement that Al-Jarara was arrested by Saudi forces, the country’s private TV channels became animated. One famous TV talk-show host actually decided to host his show in a Bedouin tent. And instead of a chair, he sat on a camel.


Set of a TV talk show held on a local channel to discuss the Saudi raid.

Though most of his guests — that included prominent ex-generals, clergymen and strategic analysts — praised the operation and heaped scorn and then praise at Al-Jarara, there was one guest, a small-time journalist who disagreed with the panelists.

He asked how a wanted man like Jarara was able to live in Pakistan undetected and that too while working as a chef in a hotel. He also said that Jarara had also been appearing on various cooking shows as a chef on TV food channels.


An alleged shot of Al-Jarara on a Pakistani food channel. Apparently, in this particular episode, he taught viewers how to cook biryani.

To this, the host snubbed the journalist telling him that he was asking irrelevant questions.

‘But before this raid, everyone was accusing the USA!’ the journalist protested.

This made the host angry and he slapped the journalist. He threatened the journalist by saying that he would lodge a case against him in accordance with the Islamic hudood ordinance.

The journalist responded by saying that the Saudis had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. Hearing this, the host slapped the journalist again, saying he will get him booked for blasphemy.

At the end of the show, the host and the panelists set fire to a Guatemalan flag and sang the Pakistani national anthem in Arabic. Then, after handing over the treacherous journalist to the authorities, they proceeded to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

However, they were soon deported by the Saudi regime for violating Saudi sovereignty.


American and Israeli officials welcoming the induction of Al-Jarara into the fold of the Syrian rebels.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Only a Mega Dam….

by Khurshid Anwer

Benazir Bhutto must be gloating in her grave to see her arch rival squirming in the hot seat. A hot seat that is of her making. She wielded a double edged sword to decapitate Pakistan. Inducted the IPPs to run on oil at 10 dollars per barrel, not knowing that the 10 dollars would become 100 dollars and the cost per unit would become 18 rupees. When she could have had the same unit for 1 rupee.

But God forbid that she would build a dam in Punjab. The ignoramus thought that Sindh would become a desert. Did she really think so or was she being too clever for her own good as usual. Nothing can save Sindh from becoming a desert now. More and more irrigated acres are becoming barren by the year, and of the 30 million acres lying fallow, 80% are in Sindh with no water for them.

The two blunders put together have brought the country to a standstill. No electricity to run the fan or light the bulb and no water to drink. The only thing that is more prolonged than the load shedding is the excruciating misery of the men, women and children, forced to come out on the streets, and this is just the beginning with no end in sight.

The wheels of industry have ground down to a halt, the workers too are out on the streets with no hope for work even in the distant future. Agriculture is thirsting for water and food shedding is round the corner. Power riots now and food riots to follow. The damage done to the country appears to be irreparable. Only a mega dam in the next few years can save the situation, but God forbid - - - - - .

How could one person have done so much harm to so many.  

Khurshid Anwer

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

What Punjab can do and what it has never done

Ayaz Amir, Friday, May 31, 2013
From Print Edition

Islamabad diary

Mystics and divines, poets and singers, men of enterprise and of daring, of quality and base instinct, the best dancing girls in the entire sub-continent, Punjab has given birth to them all. What, through some quirk of geography or history, it has never been able to produce is the able ruler.

Except of course for a single exception: for over 2000 years, from Alexander’s invasion to the Partition of British India in 1947, only one ruler of ability and distinction in its turbulent history, the great Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Apart from him, governors and vassals in plenty but no independent ruler, principally because Punjab was never an independent kingdom except when Ranjit Singh raised it to that status.

Afghan kings, kings of Turkish origin, Mughal emperors but only one Punjabi king. So while Punjab had other strong traditions, in agriculture, music, poetry, dancing, and, I daresay, the sycophantic arts which come so readily to subjugated people, the one tradition its superior classes lacked was that of leadership.

They knew best how to scrape and bow before authority. They were good at carrying out orders. But in 1947 history placed upon their shoulders the task of creating a nation and giving that nation a sense of direction. And they were not up to it, because nothing in their past had prepared them for this. True, Punjab’s elite classes, in alliance with the Urdu-speaking elites who had crossed over from India, managed to create order out of the chaos of Partition, a remarkable feat in itself. A country was thus born but something else as important proved elusive: the quest for nationhood.

Small wonder, misgiving arose from the very start, not everyone feeling that they were equal citizens of the new state, certainly not the people of East Pakistan who despite being in a majority felt excluded from decision-making. Baloch nationalists were unhappy, Pakhtun nationalists aggrieved, they who had been in the forefront of the struggle against the British. And winds of religiosity beat down upon the land, making what were still called minorities uneasy.

Jinnah had said that religion had no place in politics, the gist of his famous address to the Constituent Assembly just a few days before independence. But here something else was happening, religious rhetoric becoming more powerful even as political and economic performance lagged far behind.

Paranoia as regards India, an insecurity which sought relief in military alliances with the United States, an obsession with religious chest-thumping, truly bizarre in a Muslim majority country where Islam should have been the last thing in danger, or the least in need of artificial props – of such humours was concocted the doctrine that came to be hailed, and indeed flaunted, as the ideology of Pakistan.

The Baloch had no fear of India. For them Kashmir was a distant proposition. In Sindh where there was a large Hindu population, the people had no problem with India or Hinduism. Neither did the Pakhtuns have any mental problems with India, despite being very religious in their everyday outlook. In the tribal areas and in places like Swat there were Sikh and Hindu communities which felt safe and co-existed happily with their Muslim neighbours.

But it was altogether different with the official Punjabi mind and that of the Urdu-speaking elites where flourished the demons of fear and insecurity, more as a political tactic than a psychological necessity because it was a good way to keep the rest of the population in line. And because these classes dominated the upper echelons of the armed forces, the ethos of the services came also to be imbued by the same fears and compulsions.

Paradoxically, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who should have been the most enlightened man of his generation fanned the flames of this anti-Indianism more than anyone else, perhaps calculating (although there can be other theories on this score) that beating the anti-India drum would best appeal to the Punjab masses. But when the wheel came full circle the movement against him in 1977 received its most powerful impetus in Punjab, and it was the Punjab bazaar and trading classes which bayed the loudest for his blood.

When Gen Zia went looking for allies against Bhutto he found the fiercest in Punjab. When President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the ISI sought to contain Benazir Bhutto in her first prime ministership they groomed a champion in the form of one Mian Nawaz Sharif, a scion of Punjab. The fateful enterprises promoted in the name of ‘jihad’ found some of their first votaries and loudest advocates in Punjab.

Land of the five rivers – what hast thou not wrought? From thy bosom arising Guru Nanak and Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain and Waris Shah, Iqbal and Faiz and Munir Niazi, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Kundan Lal Saigal, Rafi and Noor Jahan, not to forget the great Sir Ganga Ram who had no equal when it came to giving, and Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his companions who had no equals when it came to laying down their lives in the cause of freedom. At the same time, land of our fathers, home to so much nonsense at the altar of faith and righteousness.

Pakistan today is largely what Punjab, for good or ill, has made it. Indian Punjab is a small part of India. Pakistani Punjab encompasses the best and worst of Pakistan. The social conservatism on display in our midst, the mental backwardness, the narrowness of outlook, the triumph of hypocrisy, the destruction of national education, the muddling up of national priorities, the temples erected to the false gods of national security – so much of this, alas, can be traced to the incapacities of Punjab.

Perhaps Ranjit Singh was an aberration, a historic anomaly – out of the mould and thus one of a kind.

Our Punjab certainly has nothing in common with his kingdom. In his army found service men of all races and religions. There were Mussalman battalions in his army and his head of artillery was Mian Ghausa, just as his principal wazir was from the Faqirkhana family of Lahore. And his favourite wife was a Muslim, Bibi Gulbahar Begam.

The PML-N has been in power in Islamabad twice before but in different circumstances, Nawaz Sharif not quite his own man in his first incarnation and, despite his huge majority, an unsure man in his second. He now comes as someone who has seen and experienced a great deal. So can he make a difference? Disavowing his past, does he have it in him to write a fresh history of Punjab?

Another thing to remember about the Lion of Punjab (the only lion, others all fake and imitations) is that he knew how to handle his Afghan problem. He defeated the Afghans and took Peshawar from them. Peshawar was part of the Sikh dominions annexed by the British. So if Peshawar and its environs are a part of Pakistan today it is because of that earlier Sikh conquest, half-forgotten in the mists of time. As Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan go prattling about talking to the Taliban they could do worse than study the Maharajah’s approach to the Afghans.

So can we get our historical compasses right? For over 2000 years on the soil of what is Pakistan today no independent realm or kingdom existed except two: the kingdom of Lahore and the state of Pakistan. The first was a success, a well-run entity, at least as long as the Maharajah was alive; the second is the shambles that we have made over the last 65 years.

Now there comes an opportunity to redeem our past. Question is, can the new rulers of Pakistan be half as good as their most illustrious predecessor, the one and only King of Punjab?


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Sethi’s gestures for the good of Punjabi

By Mushtaq Soofi | 5/31/2013 DAWN


Najam Sethi, after taking over as the care taker chief minister of Punjab, took some measure galvanizing the cultural scene that would have attracted little attention in the normal circumstances but as we all know, we do not live under normal circumstances in the cultural sense.

Thus his action is being perceived as very significant in view of the self-induced cultural amnesia the Punjab suffers from. In order to appreciate the implications of his cultural activism we need a perspective. The Punjab these days seems to be a cultural wasteland despite having more than 5,000 years glorious history. In view of our intellectual inertia, it will seem hard to believe that it was Punjab that created what we call civilization of the subcontinent as a result of confrontation and interaction between the Dravidians and Arya. It was Punjab where the Rig-Veda was composed or revealed to the `Rishis`, the sages. It was the universally celebrated Taxila University in the Punjab where great Panini wrote his Ashtadhyayi, the first book on linguistics and Chanakya Kautilya his famous Arthshastra, analyzing the dirty but real secrets of stat-craft for the first time in the recorded human history.

Ghandhara in Punjab produced some of the finest pieces of sculpture. And again it was Punjab that laid the foundations of synthetic Hindu Muslim culture after the arrival of Arabs from the south and that of Turks from the north, leaving indelible imprint on our collective life.

The visible sign of our cultural deterioration and decline is the disowning or rejection of our language by our elite, wallowing in its self created arrogant ignorance. If you lose language, the most vital element of culture, you are destined to lose your culture as it is language that enduringly preserves and transmits collective memory from generation to generation. Not just that! Language is a mode of thinking and each language has a mode of thinking specific to it. So by losing your lan-guage you lose your intellectual and spiritual evolution as well as your specific way of thinking.

The rot, as far as our language is concerned, started after the annexation of the Punjab by the British in mid nineteenth century. The British colonial administration deliberately demolished the vast network of indigenous system of education. The use of the Punjabi, the Persian and the Sanskrit was almost banned in the new European type schools set up by the colonialists where English was adopted as medium of instruction for upper class and Urdu for middle and lower classes.
Soon after the demolition of old educational infra structure, Punjabis were declared illiterate and ill cultured as Dr GW Leitner, one of the most celebrated linguists and educationists, pointed out in his famous survey known as `A report on education in the Punjab`.

According to Leitner`s findings Punjab was not only most literate in the entire subcontinent but also had the highest female literacy rate. The colonial officials were so hostile to the indigenous education imparted in the independent Punjab that after the occupation, an incentive oriented public order was issued which declared that a person who returned his sword would get prize of one `Anna` and the one who re-turned `Punjabi Qaida`(primer) would be rewarded with six `Annas` After the emergence of Pakistan, muddled vision of culture and language further confounded the issue. Linguistic and cultural diversity of the country was perceived to be a threat to the ill conceived notion of national unity.

The Bengalis, who spearheaded the Pakistan movement, were the first to debunk the newly invented myth of monolithic uniformity that denied the rich diversity of the federating units of the country. They rose in protest and got their language recognized as one of the national languages.

Sindh declared Sindhi its official language. Punjab, Balochistanand Khyber Pakhtunkhwa pretended as if no such issue ever existed in their territories. It is only recently that the government of KPK introduced the teaching of various languages spoken by the people in its area.

As a result of the struggle waged by Punjab`s writers and intellectuals against all odds the department of Punjabi language and literature was established in mid 1970s at the Punjab University. With the passage of time subject of Punjabi literature was offered at BA and FA level that attracted a huge number of students though a few teachers were appointed to meet the requirement. The teachers of other subjects voluntarily offered their services to teach the language and literature to the great delight of the students who opted for the subject.

Sadly top to down approach was adopted which was lopsided to say the least. It should have been other way round. Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board, a representative cultural body of all the Punjab, brought the situation to the notice of Mr Sethi requesting him to take remedial steps. And steps he took indeed and took very promptly. With no ifs and buts like a culturally conscious intellectual that he is, he approved generous grant for some of the institutions and ordered the immediate release of official ads for the regional newspapers and magazines.

He also discussed the issue of introducing the teaching of mother language at primary level with the officials concerned. He, to the delight of millions whose language is treated with contempt by the bankrupt elite of the Punjab, expressed himself in Punjabi in some of his public appearances.

Thank you Mr Sethi, you have done Punjab proud.
Nothing less was expected from an intellectual of your caliber.

A verse of Shah Latif, the great poet of Sindh, comes to mind: `Not all humans carry mark of beauty nor all birds are swans / rare are the men who emit the fragrance of spring`. Let us hope, the incoming chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, will build on what Mr Sethi has done in his short stint. Cultural infrastructure is as important as the material one if human development of holistic nature is the goal.

Monday, 13 May 2013


Just when the nation is licking its wounds after a most acrimonious election campaign, hounded by suicide bombings, an election rife with controversies thanks to the hapless election commission, all that was needed was for a national leader to come hoisting his petard:

- he taunts Nawaz Sharif, congratulating him on being elected prime minister by the Punjabis.

- he taunts Imran Khan, a man on his sick bed, where has your Tsunami disappeared in Punjab.

- his message for the protesters at ‘Teen Talwar’, ‘If you don’t like our mandate let us go our separate ways.

- ‘if you want we can put the three swords to the sword’.

- Yes Sir, we believe you, is this not what you did on May 12 six years ago when 50 people were put to the sword on your orders, actually fifty families, comprising fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and perhaps even wives and children of the dead ones, Karachi was shut down like it is often now whenever anything displeases you, which is often, the police was disarmed, the rangers were ordered to lock themselves up from the inside in their posts, so Asfandyar Wali khan told us, armed activists replaced the security police on the overhead bridges, so Sherry Rehman told us, I forget now what Talat Husain told us, containers were placed blocking the roads to the airport, to stop a visiting dignitary from entering Karachi, the whole city was made a no-go area, the killers were seen clearly on national television but  no one dare apprehend them, every time an attempt is made to investigate the heinous crime, you threaten to put the high court to the sword.

Yes Sir, we are fully aware of your abilities in this field. But the best is when you come crying about target killing of your people, having invented the game. 

Khurshid Anwer

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

""The Last Day Of PPP’s Government""

Lifted as received




PPP’s last day in power epitomizes how it ruled the country for 5 years. The steps taken on the last day are the concentrated version of what the PPP has done ever since it took power i.e. looted the national exchequer, made wrongful appointments and thrashed anyone who stood in their way while they shamelessly pillaged.


""The Last Day Of PPP’s Government""

Pakistans-Prime-Minister-Raja-Pervez-Ashraf & Deputy PM Pervez Illahi

70 CNG licenses issued even though the ECC under which the CNG sector had been put at the last in the gas allocation priority list. The ECC had also approved that now more CNG stations would not be built keeping in view the non-availability of the required gas in the country. But on its last day in the power, the government obliged many political figures by extending the licenses allowing more CNG stations to operate[1].

CDA Chairman, Tahir Shahbaz, sacked for resisting allotting choice plots in choice sectors of Islamabad to many key bureaucrats. Tahir Shahbaz, who unlike his predecessors and despite the authority’s policy had refused to get a residential plot from the CDA for being its chairman, has also been under pressure to allot plots to over 100 federal secretaries, four judges, 10 senior officers of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and some journalists in developed sectors of Islamabad[2].

Speaker NA, Fehmida Mirza, approved 100% increase in benefits and allowances of all members of the NA. Millions of rupees worth of new cars were bought on her orders. Approved life time benefits and perks for Speaker of NA[3].

All ministerial staff from the Information Minister, Qamaruz Zaman Kaira’s office given foreign postings. Before leaving the ministry, the Minister appointed all his office staff to foreign postings.

Sindh Assembly dominated by the PPP approved a bill recommending an increment in legislators’ salaries. The income of the speaker, deputy speakers, ministers and special assistants has also been increased by a massive 40 per cent. What’s more is that the changes are effective July 2011, meaning that the legislators will also be paid arrears amounting to the difference between their old and new salaries over the past two years. But the generous legislators didn’t stop here: two private bills proposing that the chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker receive 70 per cent of their current pay after retiring were also passed[4].agha-siraj-durrani


Former Minister of Local Bodies, Agha Siraj Durrani, thrashed a Secretary, Shaukat Jhokio, in his ministry for refusing to sign a list of appointments. Shaukat Jhokio claimed that the local bodies minister came to his office and asked him to sign a document carrying appointment list and on refusal he started beating him[5].

Despite the SC order, the PM appointed his Son-in-Law as the Deputy Managing Director of the Pakistan China Investment Company. This was done after the Governments spent 5 months trying to accommodate the Prime Minister’s Son in Law at the Pakistan Brunei Investment Company.

The government made all-out efforts to appoint the prime minister’s son-in-law Shahnawaz Mahmood as the managing director of Pakistan-Brunei Investment Company in the last five months but the Brunei government has rejected the move[6].

Billions of Rupees worth of funds were released by the government within the last day after making sure the banks remain opened to hand out the money to relevant parties. So much so that the federal government had to declare March 16 a working day so that it could get the bureaucracy to push through the last minute appointments, loans, promotions and transfers.

All the staff at National Bank of Pakistan and State Bank of Pakistan was on high alert throughout the day on March 16, 2013 to accommodate the last whim and desire of the people who were about to lose power within a few hours. Even private banks had to stay open on Saturday, March 16, 2013 so that all the cheques of government or other persons got cleared on that day[7].

PPP’s last day in power represents how it ruled the country for 5 years. The steps taken on the last day are the concentrated version of what the PPP has done ever since it took power i.e. looted the national exchequer, made wrongful appointments and thrashed anyone who stood in their way while they shamelessly pillaged.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Destabilization of Pakistan


By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, December 27, 2012

Url of this article:

Author’s Note

This article first published five years ago in December 2007 focuses on the historical process of collapse of Pakistan as a nation state following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Washington’s intent goes beyond the narrow objective of “regime change”. The thrust of US foreign policy consists in weakening the central government and fracturing the country.

The ongoing US drone attacks under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” are part of that process.

Washington had already envisaged a scenario of disintegration and civil war. According to a 2005 report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”.

What is not mentioned in this report is that the destabilization process (including the drone attacks) is part of a longstanding US led intelligence operation.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 27, 2012


The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored “regime change”, which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the “international community” scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:

“It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.

Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan’s military…

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

Political Impasse

“Regime change” with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of “decentralization”, to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan’s fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington’s ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country’s air space. According to a recent report: “U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units” (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the “war on terrorism”. Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the “terrorists.”

The Balkanization of Pakistan

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”. (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

“Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi,” the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, “are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?” (Ibid)

Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: “Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction,” (Ibid) .

The US course consists in fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Oil and Gas reserves

Pakistan’s extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan’s land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world’s daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia, 29 December 2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy’s ENI, Austria’s OMV, and Australia’s BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan’s State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists

Balochistan’s strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Baloch national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan’s military). In June 2006, Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of “abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran” [Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain’s Secret Service to Baloch separatists (Ibid). Also of relevance are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to the Pakistani military, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support to the separatist movement (according to the Pakistani Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to “Liberation Armies” ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.

Distribution of Balochs is marked in pink.

Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

“The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province. The ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy” (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: “Greater Balochistan” or “Free Balochistan” (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan “because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity”. This proposed fragmentation, which broadly reflects US foreign policy, would reduce Pakistani territory to approximately 50 percent of its present land area. (See map). Pakistan would also loose a large part of its coastline on the Arabian Sea.

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

“Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy.” (Ibid)

Map: click to enlarge

It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf (For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

“Strong Economic Medicine”: Weakening Pakistan’s Central Government

Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:

“State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade’s debt … . The republics were largely left to their own devices. … The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia’s federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)

It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of “economic mismanagement” as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.

“Economic mismanagement” is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the “economic mismanagement” and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty.

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF “economic medicine” as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d’Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan’s external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF’s “debt reduction” under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf’s Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street’s behest, a vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of CitiGroup’s Global Private Banking. (See, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called “developing World”. These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia’s federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored “civil war” launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar “civil war” scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA: From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist “liberation armies”, “Greater Albania” is to Kosovo what “Greater Balochistan” is to Pakistan’s Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington’s chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country’s elite forces. Rawalpindi is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the possible involvement of the ISI.

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports fail to mention two important and well documented facts:

1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI is virtually an appendage of the CIA.

2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence.

The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.

[Part Two: Pakistan and the "Global War on Terrorism" at]

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international bestseller America’s “War on Terrorism” Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.

Copyright © 2012 Global Research

Friday, 22 March 2013

How the Taliban gripped Karachi

BBC 21 March 2013 Last updated at 00:55 GMT



March against Taliban in Karachi - 2009

Political groups have warned of Taliban influence in the city

For years there have been fears that the Taliban were gaining ground in Pakistan's commercial capital, the port city of Karachi. There is now evidence that the militants' influence in the city has hit alarming new levels, reports the BBC's Ahmed Wali Mujeeb.

More than 20 people are gathered outside a ramshackle house in a suburb of Karachi - Pakistan's largest city.

They say a plot of land, which was the property of a local businessman, was forcibly occupied by a local mafia last September, and they are here to complain.

The difference now - and a source of much alarm to those in the know - is that this group of Karachi residents are choosing to bring their complaint to the Taliban.

After a two-hour session, the Taliban judge adjourns the hearing to another date and venue which he says will be disclosed shortly before the hearing.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

I do not know about the Taliban's presence - however if they come here I will welcome them”

Mohammed Yusuf Mehsud Karachi resident

This mobile Taliban court does not limit its interests to this one shanty town on the outskirts of Karachi. It has been arbitrating disputes across many suburbs in the metropolis.

The Taliban largely emerged in poor areas on the fringes of the city, run-down places with little or no infrastructure for health, education and civic amenities.

Their mobile courts have been hearing complaints for quite some time, but in recent months they have also started administering punishments - a sign of their growing clout.

In January, they publicly administered lashes to an alleged thief after recovering stolen goods from him. The goods were returned to the owner who had reported the theft.

Suburban Taliban

But the picture is complicated.

There is a tussle under way between mafia groups (becoming more prolific and powerful in Karachi) who seek to seize land and militant groups who are also grabbing land. This includes the Taliban, for all their willingness to arbitrate in these disputes.

It is clear that they want to tighten their grip in Pakistan's biggest city, its commercial centre. And they appear to have great influence in those suburbs dominated by the Pashtun ethnic group.

Protest in Karachi against operations cracking down on the Taliban in the north-west of Pakistan

There are also demonstrations protesting against crackdowns on the Taliban

These include many of the districts on the edge of the highways and roads leading to neighbouring Balochistan province.

They have long had a power base in the north-west of the country but this entry into Karachi is a more recent phenomenon.

Continue reading the main story

Karachi's East District/West District

Districts East and West in Karachi, with shops and street stalls selling chapli kebabs, fruit, sweets and clothes, have a very traditional Pashtun feel.

Many people earn their money as day labourers with a daily wage. They work in construction and in factories. Their income level varies from 7,000 rupees per month ($71; £48) to 20,000 rupees per month.

Pashtuns have been here since before the creation of Pakistan in 1947, but a major influx began in the 1960s. After the Afghan war of 1979 and military action in recent years in Swat and Waziristan, many more came.

There are many slum homes with poor infrastructure, amenities and low literacy rates.

People here express fears about "bias" on the part of the local administration towards this area and many attribute the area's poverty to such perceived attitudes.

Indeed while impromptu Taliban courts are increasingly settling small disputes over property, financial theft, robberies and feuds in Karachi, residents say major issues are decided in Pakistan's northern tribal areas - where Taliban strongholds abound.

And when they think their authority is being encroached on, they act with deadly force: The MQM lawmaker Syed Manzar Imam was killed by Taliban gunmen in January in Orangi town, which borders a Pashtun area.

One former leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) - a party of the ethnic Pashtun nationalists - recently left Karachi and said more than 25 of his party offices had been forced to close because of threats from the Taliban.

A senior police officer who does not wish to be named told me simply: "Taliban are swiftly extending their influence.

"There needs to be a strategy to stem the Taliban's rise, otherwise the city will lose other important and central parts to them," he says.

Taliban 'gangs'

Muhammad Usman is a 26-year-old Taliban commander from the Swat valley. He came to Karachi after the Pakistani army started an operation in Swat in 2009.

He says he was first part of a group of Swati Taliban in Karachi and was offered shelter and safety by them.

After some time, he gradually got involved in what he calls "eliminating rivals" in the city.

Woman sits outside her home after violence swept across neighbourhood

Violence and targeted killings across Karachi can bring people's lives to a standstill

When questioned about extortion and kidnappings done in the name of the Taliban, he said there were several criminal gangs involved and that the Taliban were trying to put them out of business.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

The police are scared of the Taliban and are therefore reluctant to take action against them”

Haji Afridi Trader

But the response of the public is the ultimate test for them. One resident of Kanwari Colony, Muhammad Yousuf Mehsud, says: "I do not know about the Taliban's presence in the locality, however if they come here I will welcome them."

Another, a 45-year-old resident in Landhi, Haji Afridi, says: "The Taliban have created discontent amongst Pashtuns."

He says that every Pashtun trader is threatened with extortion by the Taliban and whoever refuses to pay is killed. "The police are scared of the Taliban and are therefore reluctant to take action against them," he adds.

A 25-year-old Taliban foot soldier, who identified himself as Hussain, describes his mission in Karachi and his comments highlight the nature of the violence that has riven the city.

"First, my task was to work with groups that sought to eliminate members of the ANP party and people who spied for the police. I am now in a group that is fighting the MQM activists."

Volatile ethnic mix

The MQM, which is the dominant political party in the city, was one of the first groups to voice concern over the growing Taliban presence in Karachi.

But Karachi's ethnic and political landscape is complex.

The city has long suffered outbreaks of violence, some of which is down to militancy, but the bloodshed is also about turf wars between rival ethnic and indeed political groups.

boats at karachi

Karachi is a port city and Pakistan's commercial hub

In recent years the Pashtun community in the city has grown, and they are seen as competition for land and jobs with the Urdu-speaking community.

The MQM has long argued that there is a link between the growth of the Pashtun community and the "Talibanisation" of the city.

But there have also been separate battles over turf between the city's Baloch community - the original inhabitants of the city - and the MQM.

This violence also makes itself felt politically and there is profound antagonism between the local chapters of three political parties: the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the mostly Pashtun Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

So while many point to the increasing presence of the Taliban, the rate of targeted killings and spontaneous confrontations between supporters of these rival ethnic and political groups has not let up either.

Karachi's network of violence

Intelligence sources say that there is one Taliban chief for the city, and heads of groups operating in different areas answer to him.

"Though the government has expressed its resolve to eradicate militancy, other state institutions are not co-operating," analyst Professor Tauseed Ahmed Khan says.

He argues that the security forces are losing morale when it comes to the battle against the militant groups and adds that this is not improved when rebels find it easy to get released on bail by the courts.

Pakistani Shiite Muslims carry coffins during the funeral procession of bomb blast victims in Karachi on March 4, 2013

Shia Muslims have frequently been targeted by militant groups in Karachi

Prof Khan says that if the government fails to recognise the threat, the city will descend into chaos.

But Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inaam Memon says the government is planning an operation to clamp down on the Taliban. He adds that the government has already arrested a large number of militants.

The figures are sobering: at least 2,350 people were killed in violence in Karachi in 2012. Over the last six years, more than 6,000 people were killed, say police.

The fear for many observers is that the Taliban are drawing their strength from the continuing silence of the government and a lack of focus by the security forces

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Kerry, Hagel and the Indians.

(A good analysis, well done Bhadrakumar )
March 5, 2013 

by M K Bhadrakumar
Gnawing doubts arise as to what Kerry and Hagel signify for the spirit of our times and indeed for India’s interests.
Some of the key assumptions on which India's regional strategies were predicated for the past decade are being called into question. Source: AP
China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, the Philippines – the list of countries is freely extendable, which are carefully weighing the significance of President Barack Obama’s cabinet appointments of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel as the secretaries of state and defence. These are extraordinary times. The American economy is in distress; world situation is turbulent and dangerous; locus of world power is shifting; and the US’ capacity to “lead” is in difficulty. A long sunset has begun.

From all accounts, the Indian pundits are getting a sinking feeling, too. Some of the key assumptions on which the country’s regional strategies were predicated for the past decade are being called into question. Gnawing doubts arise as to what Kerry and Hagel signify for the spirit of our times and indeed for India’s interests. The heart of the matter is that these powerful statesmen broadly share a worldview that discounts the real worth of military force for the advancement of the US’s global reach and influence.

To be sure, Kerry and Hagel have brought into the discourse a refreshing sense of realism. In a manner of speaking, they are doing a favor to the Indians by making them realize a few home truths themselves. No doubt, India’s internal problems are mounting and there is great urgency to reset the national priorities. The accumulated systemic failures are impeding even the modernization of India’s armed forces.
Most certainly India too needs a re-prioritization of national policies, akin to what Obama has vowed in his own way for the direction of the US’s economic recovery and social regeneration. Besides, more than priorities, this is also a matter of self-awareness of the limitations of power in the contemporary world situation. Some most inspiring views and tenets have been attributed to Hagel and Kerry about the efficacy of solving regional issues through military force, and, more important, on the preference to ‘engage’ adversaries in a calm and rational manner.

Meanwhile, Hagel just walked into a storm in an Indian tea cup – rather, dragged into it – over a previously unreleased 2011 speech that he made at Oklahoma’s Cameron University, which has been brought to light by a US website with pronounced right wing leanings just as his appointment as defence secretary was about to be confirmed by the US Senate. Hagel apparently said, inter alia, in a wide-ranging speech:
“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border. And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years.”
The Indian pundits are hopping mad. But then, this is not the first time that such a thing has been openly said. Way back in September 2009, then American (and NATO) commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal made an assessment for the then secretary of defence Robert Gates that “increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.”

The general wrote in his report: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian.”
Suffice to say, the US policies always factored in that while India’s economic assistance to Afghan reconstruction is welcome, its political or security role needs to be circumscribed so as not to ruffle the sensitivities of Pakistan, which Washington consistently regarded as its key ally in the war.
The American officials are au fait with the decades-old Indian mantra of a ‘second front’ vis-à-vis Pakistan, but in the prevailing circumstances of western military presence in the Hindu Kush credited the Indian policymakers with the discerning capacity not to stray into gray areas. (Would anyone believe that India’s all-out support of Dr. Najibullah was out of enthusiasm for an unvarnished communist in its neighborhood?)
However, there was never any misconception in the American mind that India can ever be a match for Pakistan on the Afghan chessboard – a pawn at best, but not a rook by any reckoning. Again, Washington conceived certain selective use for India in Afghanistan, but there was never any doubt about Pakistan’s centrality.
Equally, the US recognizes that Pakistan has legitimate interests in Afghanistan, which relate to its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and its security and social stability. Even with regard to radical Islam, India and the US have had divergent opinions – and contrarian experiences – and Washington will never allow itself to be swayed by the Indian prejudices regarding the Taliban.

Hagel’s 2011 speech touched a raw nerve when India faces isolation once again in Afghanistan, but there was nothing stunningly new in it. However, the ‘course correction’ of great interest to Indian interests that Kerry and Hagel might have signaled relates to America’s ‘rebalancing’ in Asia. In the course of his Senate hearing, Kerry voiced support for the rebalancing policy, but added a caveat that he isn’t convinced that increasing the US’ military influence is critical yet, and pointing out that the US already has more bases in the region than any other nation. He also took note that Beijing is concerned about the increased number of US marines based in Australia. Kerry said:
“The Chinese ask what the United States is doing. ‘They try to encircle us, what’s going on’ – and so every action has its reaction. We have to think thoughtfully about not creating a threat when there isn’t one and understand where we can find bases for cooperation. I am not talking about retreating, I am simply trying to think about how we do this, not creating the reaction you don’t like to create.”

Why should these thoughtful views bring down the Indian roof?
Quite obviously, one key objective Obama had in mind in zeroing in on Hagel is the critical need to trim the US’s defence spending and the president’s firm conviction that this Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart is just the brave man to take the bull by the horns at the Pentagon, given the entrenched interest groups in the US military-industrial complex. Put differently, it was never quite realistic for the Indian pundits to imagine that the US is wedded to a cold-war style containment strategy toward China or that India would have a key role to play as the US’s partner in the vast ‘Indo-Pacific’ region stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to Vanuatu, which we have unilaterally decided is our ‘sphere of influence’.
Maybe, Hagel and Kerry disappoint us. But then, the fault doesn’t lie with Hagel or Kerry, but with the lotus-eaters amongst us who chose to be indolently forgetful and were drugged by the fruit of the ‘unipolar predicament’.

How does it all add up? What is there in it for India in the Obama-era US strategies? Actually, there is a lot. Only last week, the government-owned China Daily newspaper wrote that the US policies may create “friction” in Sino-American ties, but Washington “needs” cooperation – “The US needs cooperation with China, and vice versa, as cooperation helps promote the economic interests of both countries… The huge Chinese market potential will undoubtedly serve as an anchor for bilateral trade. If US exports to China grow by 12 percent annually over the next four years, a total of 143,000 jobs could be created in the US.”

India should take note that China is well on the way to figure out its logarithm after tabling the entries of exactly what is on the mind of Kerry and Hagel – and Obama.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

This is why George Galloway was chief guest of the KLF closing ceremony


By Zahra Peer Mohammed

Published: February 18, 2013

George Galloway. PHOTO: EXPRESS


“Stop invading Muslims lands! How can you expect Muslims to love you when you are forcefully occupying their lands and murdering their people?”

This one statement was enough to prove why scores of people had gathered at Beach Luxury Hotel to hear the closing speech of the chief guest of the fourth Karachi Literature Festival, MP George Galloway Sunday.

He spoke from the heart with such passion that many were wiping tears from their eyes – even those who had stood at the far corners of the ground for lack of space to sit.

Renowned British author, politician and journalist, Galloway’s speech focused on the War on Terror.

He made his disdain for Obama’s government obvious by quoting his foolish statement that the boys suddenly surrounding his daughters are like drones – in that you ‘don’t see them coming’.

“Well, yes you don’t see them coming, President until your wife is sitting without her head and your children are in pieces,” stated a clearly emotional Galloway.

The MP made it clear that drones are not the way to counter terrorism. “They only feed the swamp of hatred which is what 9/11 was — pure hatred for a country that has meted out injustice to Muslims.”

To end this hatred, the rulers of the world must do the opposite of what they are doing at present. And so he listed three points.

The first one, he stated, was addressed in part to a major soft drink company.

“Stop supporting the crimes of Israel against the Palestinians.”

Palestinians have no country, no papers; they are marginalized and oppressed. The Western support of Israel has undoubtedly led hatred to grow among Muslims. “The double standards and hypocrisy of the West,” he spat.

Iran is being openly threatened with war when it doesn’t have any nuclear weapons while Israel possesses loads of them and goes unpunished – how is that for double standards? As long as Western countries are giving Israel money for weapons, inventing one law for Israel and another for others, how can you expect Muslims to look with equanimity towards a crime of such importance in such a place?

“Support the victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of terrorism,” said the MP to huge applause.

Coming to his second point, Galloway stated that the West must stop invading and occupying Muslim countries.

“How can you expect Muslims to love you when you are occupying Muslim countries in the name of democracy? Occupation of Muslim lands can only feed the fanatics and fill this swamp of hatred. This has to stop.”

Finally, he stated that the West must stop propping up the dictators who rule the Muslim worlds.

“Muslims are not stupid – they know that you arm them, finance them and support them. You give them political and diplomatic support in order to stay in power. We help the tyrants stay in power – the people know this.”

The crowd was won over – nothing else needed to be said.

Galloway stated that although he has visited Karachi after 25 years – mainly due to political reasons – he would want his next visit to be much sooner.

“Believe me, I could stay here for the rest of my life – if you promise to gather every day to listen to me – believe me I would never leave,” said the MP, to a crowd that was now a fan for life.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2013.