Monday, March 29, 2010

Pakistan's Impressive Rebuilding Program In Afghanistan

Forget Indian aid to Afghanistan for a minute. Have you heard about Allama Iqbal Faculty at Kabul University? Sir Syed Science Faculty Block at Nangarhar University? Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering Faculty at Balkh University in Mazar-e-Sharif? Rehman Baba High School in Kabul? And the sprawling ten-tower Jinnah Hospital Complex in Kabul and the Nishtar Kidney Hospital in Jalalabad?

Welcome to Pakistan's impressive -- and little known -- contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan in the past eight years. Add to this 500,000 Afghans who study in Pakistani schools, 28000 Afghan graduates from Pakistani colleges in 30 years, and three million Afghans who continue to live with us as our brothers and guests, add all of this and Pakistan easily beats India's one billion dollars in aid.  The Indians and their backers in the Am-Brit media have frequently referred to the Indian aid to underline why India should continue meddling in Afghanistan at Pakistan's expense.  It is interesting how very few American writers have acknowledged the Pakistani contribution.

One reason for this is Pakistan's weak public diplomacy skills. Most Pakistanis don't know about this, let alone Afghans and the international media.  Pakistanis wouldn't have discovered what different departments of the Pakistani government have been doing in Afghanistan if not for Pakistan's dynamic young Ambassador in Kabul Mr. Mohammad Sadiq.

On March 23, 2010, Pakistan Day celebrations in Kabul, Ambassador Sadiq wrote an op-ed that was published in English- and Dari-language newspapers where he listed the Pakistani contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan. 

I am thankful to Mr. Mohammad Sadiq for sending me a revised version of the piece, and for opening our eyes for the first time to Pakistan's rebuilding effort in Afghanistan. I wonder what our sprawling Federal Information Ministry, the state-run APP news agency, the state-run PTV and the military's ISPR have been doing all these years hiding this information from Pakistanis and the rest of the world and leaving the field open to the Indians and their Am-Brit backers to spread disinformation.

ANP Shouldn't Be Allowed To Revive Its Old Pashtunistan Agenda

A billboard in 2008 on Pakistani soil showing the map of independent Pashtunistan. ANP denied any involvement. [Picture courtesy of Online News Agency-Nov. 2008]

ANP, a party whose founders opposed the independence of Pakistan, is once again pushing its shady agenda through a manufactured crisis over the renaming Pakistan's NWFP province.  By doing this, the party is trying to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of Pakistani Pashtuns, who are an integral part of the Pakistani state and one of its main pillars.

One of the heroes of the Pakistan Independence Movement had actually proposed the name Afghania for the province. So respect for the Pashtun identity, which makes the larger Pakistani identity, has always been there. But the manner in which ANP is whipping up linguistic sentiments, coupled with a daring attempt within the Parliament to change the constitution to give provinces unprecedented freedoms, indicates something bigger is happening than just renaming a province and revising the constitution.

A few months after ANP came to power in 2008, billboards showing the map of 'Greater Pashtunistan' mysteriously appeared in some parts of Pakistan's northwestern province. 'Greater Pashtunistan' is supposed to replace a disintegrated Pakistan, according to the proponents of this theory.

The ANP denied any link to the billboards at the time.

But whoever was behind that billboard knew there was a lot of talk going on in official and informal circles in the United States about the concept of Pashtunistan.  This was probably part of a larger psy-ops program that aimed at pressuring Pakistan to align itself more with the US agenda.

Starting sometime in 2007, the US media and think-tanks launched a campaign for independent Pashtunistan and independent Balochistan. This campaigned has slowed but has not completely ended.  Washington DC was the venue for several seminars attended by advocates of this theory. The origin of these theories is India, where analysts with links to the Indian security establishment have been advocating the breakup of Pakistan on linguistic basis, feeding on real grievances created by a failed bureaucratic and political ruling system. Indian officials have always bragged privately to their foreign guests about how they successfully used this method to cut Pakistan to size in 1971. [Click here to read how Indian analysts introduced the idea of breaking up Pakistan along linguistic lines to Washington after 9/11].

Blatant anti-Pakistanism in the US media has gradually decreased during the past year, mostly because US officials are now showing respect to Pakistan to gain its support to avert a defeat in Afghanistan.  Much credit for this change also goes to the Pakistani military establishment and to the army chief. 

But it is not completely over. While Pakistan has friends in Washington and others agree they need Pakistan, the anti-Pakistan elements in the US establishment took their latest 'seminar' on Pakistani Balochistan to Bangkok, apparently because such an event on Thai soil won't draw attention to its US backers. 

There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that lends credibility to the theory that ANP's rise to power was part of the secret understandings that former President Musharraf agreed to with the Bush administration in 2006 and 2007 on the shape of future government in Pakistan.

Now three pro-US parties [ANP, PPPP, MQM] are running the show in Pakistan. PPPP has been busy enacting the American agenda of containing Pakistan's military and intelligence from within. This has failed. MQM is campaigning for a bill on provincial autonomy that will effectively end Pakistan as a strong country and turn its provinces into semi-independent states that can secede anytime they choose. This will bring Pakistan one step closer to the fate of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. 

As for ANP, instead of improving services and governance, the party is creating language-based hatred and divisions in Pakistan under the guise of renaming NWFP, which is a nonissue. Pakistanis are suffering a massive energy shortage and a general decline in the quality of life across the nation while these failed politicians are wasting time on creating ethnic- and linguistic-based divisions among Pakistanis.

The above is probably the most accurate context for understanding the latest political crisis in Pakistan over renaming a province and over passing a radical plan for changes in the constitution that would weaken the Pakistani state.

Pakistan will continue to suffer this type of instability as long as some of its political parties continue to work on foreign agendas, and as long as Pakistan's people and the armed forces tolerate foreign governments creating and maintaining proxies at the highest levels in Islamabad.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fighting Pakistan Through SMS Messages

Two reports say a lot about India's intentions for peace with Pakistan.

One is a campaign launched by the Indian government to discourage Indian citizens from calling their friends and acquaintances in Pakistan. If you are an Indian and you call Pakistan using your cellphone, you will receive a text message from your service provider that says:

"You just made a call to ISD Code 0092 (Pakistan’s international dialing code). We urge you to exercise caution while calling unknown numbers and sharing personal details as it can be misused."

[See the report Anti-Pakistan SMS campaign launched in India.]

There is more.  Earlier this month, Afghan resistance groups attacked and killed several Indian civilian and military officers in Kabul.  A few hours later, five Pakistani construction workers were brutally murdered near Kandahar.  No awards for guessing who was behind it. Not India of course which is only investing a billion dollars in Afghan resconstruction for no reason except charity and has no other kind of presence on Afghan soil.

Too bad that a Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Mail, came out with a fairly credible evidence of the Indian fingerprints in the Pakistanis' murder: see RAW’s Chhota Rajan goons kill 5 Pakistani workers in Kandahar .

The American and British media -- what I call the Am-Brit media -- routinely portrays India as a country striving for peace and whose good intentions are thwarted by Pakistan.  The reality is that way before the Mumbai attacks and any alleged Pakistani connection to them, Indian military intelligence officers burned alive 59 Pakistanis aboard a so-called friendship train who believed official propaganda and decided to visit India to further peace. This happened in 2006.  New Delhi accused ISI of masterminding the attacks to sabotage peace. Today, a group of Hindu terrorists and serving Indian military officers are on trial in the case.

I won't talk about 1971 and how India launched a one-sided unprovoked invasion of East Pakistan exploiting a domestic post-election crisis.

And now, when sanity appears to be gradually returning to Washington, where warmongers have taken a backseat to those who can see a looming defeat in Afghanistan, Indians will do anything now to perpectuate war in Afghanistan and try to convicne Washington and London to stay the course.

All of this brings into question the theory that peace tops Indian strategy in the region.

India and Israel Against Islamic Terror: Old Nations, New Leaders
In Bad Faith?: British Charity and Hindu Extremism
Hinduism and terror.(Opinion): An article from: First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Hindu Terrorist Is A Wanted Man In Pakistan

India's most famous actor is a closet Hindu Taliban, standing here with terrorist Thackeray

Imagine senior military officers heeding a call to form suicide squads to attack followers of a different faith. No, not Pakistan. It is India. A Hindu extremist named Bal Thackeray made the call. At least two organizations founded and managed by retired Indian Army officers namely Lieutenant Colonel Jayant Rao Chitale and Lieutenant General P.N. Hoon (former commander-in-chief of the Western Command), answered Bal Thackeray's call to set up the suicide squads in India. Lieutenant General Hoon claimed, Thackeray instructed him to set up the training camps. Another Balaji follower is Indian Army's serving Lieutenant Colonel Srikanth Prasad Prohit, wanted by Pakistan for his complicity in torching the Samjhota Express which took a toll of 59 Pakistani passengers.

Click here to read more.

A Pakistani Elder's Statement - Pakistan Destined To Defeat India - Riles Indians

The Nation newspaper of Pakistan reported that its editor in chief Mr. Majeed Nizami, who also heads the Foundation for Pakistan's Ideology, accused India in a story published recently that it "is bent upon destroying Pakistan." 

Mr. Nizami then went on to make a dire warning cloaked in satire. "If India," he said, "did not refrain from committing aggression against us, then Pakistan is destined to defeat India because our horses in the form of atomic bombs and missiles are far better than Indian ‘donkeys’."

Mr. Nizami was apparently making a refernce in jest to several incidents recently where Indian missile tests flopped, nuclear security was breached, and a story where foreign experts charged that the famed Indian nuclear tests of 1998 were not as successful as portrayed by New Delhi.

This statement riled some Indians so much that it unleashed a flurry of emails from Indians to Pakistani newspapers and news Web sites accusing Mr. Nizami of promoting hatred against India.

The Indians were so angry they apparently picked up every Pakistani newspaper columnist and sent them emails. I received one of them in my capacity as a columnist for The News. 

I had not read the original statement by Mr. Nizamy but judging by Indian reactions I thought Mr. Nizami might have really gone hard this time on the Indians.

But I was disappointed. My first reaction after reading him was that his statement is peanuts compared to the anti-Pakistan drivel that virtually fills the Indian airwaves and newsprint. There isn't anyone in Pakistan who can match the Indian hatemongering against Pakistan.

Mr. Nizami's statement was reasonable and conditional on Indian actions. I can list over 20 references quoting Indian public figures, political leaders, and religious leaders who've made statements that encourage extreme hatred toward Pakistan and Pakistanis. I can't recall a single incident in Pakistan where a Pakistani Hindu was attacked or killed because of his or her religion. In India, 2100 Indians were killed because they were Muslims. And this happened in the 21st century, not in the 1920s.

Serving Indian military officers joined Hindu terrorists to burn 50 Pakistanis alive in 2006. India not only has the world's biggest concentration of poverty and health issues, it also has the biggest concentration of religious nutcases, disgusting religious practices, and outright hatemongering against followers of other religions, especially Christians and Muslims.

For every case of an old Saudi man marrying a 15-year-old girl, there are at least a hundred similar cases in India, not to mention the unique tradition of burying newborn girls alive as a custom across many Indian villages and towns. And this happens today, not a century ago.

All of this doesn't come to the surface very often because the American and British media is biased in favor of India for political and strategic reasons. Otherwise, India's ugly face is worse than anything we've seen anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lahore Bombings: Indians Are Suspects, So Are Americans

US Ambassador complains to Pakistani Government that media reports have exposed the location of American residences inside Lahore’s military zone, but fails to mention why US personnel with diplomatic cover have been found at wrong places, sometimes carrying weapons that diplomats are not supposed to

Lahore’s military zone is not only exposed to covert Indian operatives but also to undercover US agents with their suspicious heavy-duty equipment placed in several houses inside a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military area. This has been going on since 2007. 



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The eastern city of Lahore is exposed not only to the Indians who have been sending terrorists to plant bombs in public places for the past quarter of a century, but also to the Americans who expanded their covert presence inside Pakistan in the last three years of President Musharraf’s rule.  After the return to democracy in 2008, the US presence [beyond diplomatic requirements or disguised under diplomatic cover] is reported to have increased manifold.

Last year, Pakistanis were stunned to watch several incidents where US citizens were caught by the Military Police at checkpoints leading up to the city’s military zone known as Cantt.  Most of the time, these US individuals refused to say what business took them to the military area. The US Consulate in Lahore is located far away from this zone, which compounded the mystery. These US nationals also refused to allow the police to check their vehicles, which is a standard procedure that all Pakistanis undergo considering the terrorist attacks. On a couple of occasions, US vehicles whose drivers refused to cooperate with MP caused long queues at checkpoints. Military Police officers impounded these vehicles. This led to US officials complaining to their media that Pakistan was ‘harassing’ US diplomats.

But the truth is that the Americans have covertly maintained an outpost of several houses in a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military zone. This zone is so sensitive that a half-constructed Sheraton Hotel lies abandoned on one of Cantt’s main streets because the Pakistani military complained that the new hotel’s upper floors provided an easy view of the residence of the commander of the Pakistan Army Corp that guards Pakistan’s northeastern border with India. 

This makes the covert US presence in this area intriguing to say the least. The exact location of these houses, in the elite Sarwar Colony, is shown in the pictures that accompany this report. Most of the residents of this colony are senior retired Pakistani military officers. A handful of them have apparently leased out their homes to the Americans at exorbitant rates that far exceed the normal level of leased property rates in the Colony, according to a fascinating expose published by TheNation and is reproduced below in full.

Why are we talking about a few houses rented out by Americans linked to US government in a sensitive part of the eastern city?

The reason is a wave of terror targeting Lahore over the past two years. This is not to suggest that the US government has something to do with this.  The suspicion centers on local terrorists indirectly or directly aided by intelligence operatives from multiple countries based in Afghanistan.  The point here is that the city of Lahore is exposed not only to local terrorists working with foreign handlers, but also to Indians and possibly to private American security contractors. These contractors expanded their presence in Pakistan in the past two years, mostly using diplomatic cover. The US Embassy in Islamabad under the incumbent Ambassador has been instrumental in pushing for an expanded role for private US defense contractors in Pakistan over the past two years.

Many Pakistanis feel that such penetration of Pakistan by foreign countries is detrimental to our national security and has unnecessarily exposed us to outsiders pursuing interests that may not overlap with our own.

Today, the US Embassy in Islamabad leaked key points of a letter that US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has sent to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In the letter, Ambassador Patterson complained about TheNation report on the American presence in Cantt, Lahore. More interestingly, she made a veiled threat that Pak-US relations would suffer if those Americans became targets for a terror attack. The letter was leaked to the Dawn newspaper.

The most interesting part of her letter was an acknowledgement on her part that the security of US diplomats in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan. This is important because it was Ms Patterson who only a year ago was lobbying the Pakistani government to allow US private defense contractors into Pakistan and was running from one government office to another to ensure that these private US contractors are allowed to carry banned weapons anywhere in the country.

When Ms. Patterson was asked why she needed these private security contractors, she said it was to protect US diplomats. Critics said that was the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan and that the Ambassador should not cross a line. Her acknowledgement of this indicates a shift. Probably it has to do with recent understandings between Army Chief Gen. Kayani and US military officials where the army chief reportedly asked US to stop indirect methods of coercion, including media leaks, the role of private contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the role of CIA in the region.

So how did the Pakistani military allow such a breach to occur in a sensitive area of Lahore?

One explanation is that the Americans moved with their gadgetry and equipment to this place sometime in late 2006 and early 2007. This means that the arrangement had the blessings of former President Musharraf.  This is significant because it means the US presence in this sensitive location is part of the sovereign understandings that Pakistan entered with the United States during that time. And no matter how damaging this is for Pakistani security interests, Islamabad and the Pakistani military are forced to put up with this foreign presence for as long as those understandings are effective.

Another explanation is that Mr. Musharraf’s regime allowed the Americans to setup shop here without the full knowledge of all the relevant branches of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.  If this is the case, then it is alarming indeed.

This story becomes relevant in the aftermath of a series of attacks in Lahore over the past two years, including one that targeted a visiting Sri Lankan cricket team. The strange part is that all of these attacks either target Pakistan’s allies [Sri Lankans, Chinese] or attack ordinary Pakistanis to kill the largest numbers of them.  Americans or American and British interests have never been attacked in this manner throughout this so-called war on terror that Pakistan has been executing on America’s behalf. If anything, much of this terror is linked to a proxy militia in South Waziristan that claims to be a Pakistani Taliban but receives all its arms and funding from US-controlled Afghanistan where the Indians also maintain a vast intelligence network aimed at Pakistan.

For a list of recorded incidents in Pakistan where private US mercenaries or defense contractors were caught at places where they should not be, see this story, What Robert Gates Didn’t Say - And US Media Hides - About Blackwater In Pakistan.

The question is: What are the Americans doing in Cantt’s Sarwar Colony?

The easiest answer is taking up residence. But there is something more to this than homemaking. The location indicates that the Americans want to keep an eye on movements and chatter in Cantt, which could indicate where Pakistan’s relations with India are headed. Washington is keen to convince Pakistan that India is trustworthy enough for Pakistan to move its army units away from India’s border and get busy in fighting America’s war in Afghanistan.

The Americans could also be interested in keeping an eye on some of the nearby military installations, including one of the largest Pakistan Air Force bases, and also a couple of nuclear installations. There are indications that the US is also interested in seeing the war on terror extended to the heartland of Punjab province in the mistaken belief that this would hurt the base of Pakistani military [Indian intelligence analysts have convinced their American counterparts that Pakistan’s military is all about Punjab province and hitting this province can help subdue Pakistan’s military and ensure its full alignment with US objectives.]

Here is the report published by TheNation on Feb. 21 on the covert US presence in Sarwar Colony in Cantt, Lahore, since 2007 and how scores of Pakistani families have become unwilling neighbors of foreigners they don’t want to see around:
“The mystery of why US personnel were being constantly caught entering into the sensitive area of Lahore Cantonment and thereby getting caught by the Military Police, has finally been resolved. However, in the process some serious questions have arisen.

In 2007, under the Musharraf regime, Americans moved into Sarwar Colony, located behind CSD Cantt just off Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Road. This gated colony contains around 200-250 houses and they are owned by retired or serving generals of Pakistan Army. The Americans have been comfortable ensconced here in a few rented houses since 2007 in what is a highly sensitive location. So question number one: Why were the Americans given permission to locate themselves in this area and who gave the permission?

Their activities really caught on only recently when they acquired Houses 87 and 88 (see pictures), ostensibly for the US embassy staff relocated from Peshawar to Lahore! The rents paid for these houses are also far higher than the average for the Colony which is around Rs 150,000 maximum. The Americans are paying around Rs 320,000 for each house per month.

Towards the end of the last year and the start of this year, the Americans intercepted at the Cantt bridge several times were all those coming to this location. However, these Americans refused to tell Military Police officials what their destination was inside Lahore Cantt. So question number two is: Why, if the Americans had rented these houses genuinely for residential accommodation? Linked to this is question three: How come the Military Police were not in on this vital piece of information? Why were they being kept in the dark?

When these houses were rented, in the first three months high security measures were taken for them -grilling, the glass was all changed probably to bullet proof, and infrared security devices were installed with a lighting system. Then, four months ago, big container trailers entered the colony (which is restricted) about seven or eight in number, and they were off loaded into the houses in the predawn hours. After the offloading, the security of the premises was given to Elite Force Punjab and Wackenhut private security guards. The covert usage of these buildings became apparent because anyone seen coming too close to the properties was mistreated and threatened.

Children playing in the park right in front of these two houses often threw balls inside the porches of these two houses. Usually Americans come out swearing. Once, children reported that a growling and angry American came out and flattened the ball before returning it to them.

Some of the Pakistani guards outside the two houses told residents in the neighbourhood that the Americans were transporting and installing hi-tech equipment in the houses. At least one resident in the neighbourhood reports that some of the guards took photographs of some of this equipment and showed them to the residents. One of the residents who saw the pictures reports that a US citizen was watching the guard from inside the house and came out, snatched the mobile phone and threatened the resident not to contact the guards again or come near the house.

But the real issue and core question is: Why the Americans are being allowed to use houses in this sensitive area of Lahore cantonment when there now exists a decision of the Government that foreigners cannot even enter the cantonment areas without prior permission?

To find out how the local residents are taking to their American neighbours, TheNation sent its reporter to the Colony and discovered a terrorised Pakistani community right in the heart of their own country. His account speaks for itself since of some unidentified private American security guards equipped with M4s. The offloaded stuff was professionally packed in layers of plastic and wood.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: This Is How US Agents Sneak Into Pakistan

See The Video Here

For a few hundred dollars, low-paid border guards are allowing entry into Pakistan to spies and agents of multiple foreign intelligence agencies operating in Afghanistan. In this story and video, see how a US lady entered Pakistan through Torkham on Saturday, Mar. 13, 2010, without visa and without the knowledge of Pakistani intelligence officers posted there. This happens in a country that faces terrorism exported by both US-controlled Afghanistan and its Indian ally.

Saturday, 13 March 2010.

TORKHAM, Pakistan—Rampant corruption and a weak Pakistani state are helping the entry into Pakistan of spies and terrorists from multiple foreign intelligence agencies operating in Afghanistan. Almost all terror in Pakistan is coming from Afghanistan.

This American woman tried to sneak into Pakistan through Torkham on Afghan border today, Saturday, Mar. 13, 2010, around early afternoon. She was wearing an Afghan woman’s burqa and apparently spoke local dialects. She would have successfully crossed into Pakistan safely hidden among a group of Afghan women but something about her demeanor raised the suspicion of a Pakistani border guard.

However, the border guards, known as Khasadars, made sure that Pakistani intelligence officers posted in the area are not told about this arrest. Torkham is considered a hot station within Kasadar tribal force circles. With salaries that go less than PKR 10,000 per month [less than US$ 130], major checkpoints such as Torkham provide an extra source of income for the Khasadars through bribes from travelers.

The guards kept the woman in a room for about thirty minutes and then let her enter Pakistan in her burqa. She paid the Khasadar guards a handsome amount of money as bribe. According a source in the Khasadar Force who witnessed the whole thing, the woman didn’t panic. She appeared composed and familiar with the ways of the border guards. She knew what to do in such a situation.

Thanks to my contacts in the border force, I was able to make a cell phone video of her passport while the Khasadar chief at the checkpoint talked to her.

Her name on the passport was Zohra Rehmati, which makes her an American from either Iranian or Tajik-Afghan extract.

Over the past four years, a large number of US agents have entered Pakistan through Afghanistan. Several have been arrested in different parts of the country disguised  as Afghan men, complete with beards and Turbans and fluent in Pashto, Dari and Urdu. Unfortunately, much of this covert American activity was sanctioned first by the Musharraf government and now by the pro-US Zardari-Haqqani combine in the incumbent government.

Ms. Rehmati, if that is her real name, may or may not be a CIA operative, or one of its private contractors associated with either DynCorp or Xe International.  But such lax security in a country that is a target of terrorism, DynCorp managed to create quite a covert network in Pakistan before being busted by Pakistani security last year. DynCorp remains in Pakistan, thanks to backing from both the US Embassy in Islamabad and the pro-US government, despite repeated attempts by the country’s security officials to force the US defense contractor to wrap up its operations here.  Xe International, formerly known as Blackwater, also operated in Pakistan until 2005 before being moved to Afghanistan, according to an earlier report in the New York Times. But going by the number of incidents in Pakistan over the past couple of years where US private agents were seen operating in major Pakistani cities, it is safe to say that both contractors continue to quietly operate in Pakistan in one

Private contractors help give CIA the benefit of deniability if an agent is arrested on foreign territory.

CIA has been known to send US citizens of foreign descent to their home countries for espionage.

The most recent example is Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American who was busted in Tehran carrying sensitive documents handed to her by an informant. Ms. Saberi was sent to Iran posing as a journalist. CIA even managed to get her newspaper accreditation from a major American newspaper. The US government was embarrassed at the arrest because Ms. Saberi was arrested red handed receiving official documents from a contact.

In Pakistan, a State that is falling apart at the seams, with no central figure or department to control the rot, is providing the perfect environment for meddling in the country not only by the United States, UK, India and other established powers based in Afghanistan, but also by a puppet regime like that of Mr. Hamid Karzai and his spymasters, who in eight years are in a good position today to wreak mayhem inside Pakistan while the politicians in Islamabad and the military in Rawaplpindi have little recourse beyond words of appeasement or caution during closed-door meetings with foreign powers in Afghanistan that are never translated into action to reestablish Pakistan’s writ domestically and in the region.

Mr. Shah is an independent journalist based in Peshawar.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pakistani Openness And Indian Censorship

I relish the moment an Indian comes to this blog and complains about the 'height of intolerance' when his or her official Indian propaganda is deleted.

Intolerance? No, just reciprocity really.

Almost all the major Indian news websites, the same ones that claim secular democracy, regularly block the accounts of any Pakistani visitor who registers and writes something that punctuates the official Indian propaganda on Kashmir or bilateral relations.

The only Pakistani comments that are accepted by Indian news websites are those that either praise India or at least criticize Pakistan. Anything else, even if it was a measured comment peppered with praise for India, is deleted and its author is blocked.

And I am not talking about unknown Indian blogs. I am talking about mainstream Indian newspapers and television stations. All of them follow the same policy of blocking any Pakistani comment maker. They also never publish op-eds by any Pakistani commentator unless the author is either praising India or clearly opposing Pakistan's policies.

Moreover, all Indian media outlets follow a quiet policy of sticking to the Indian official position on Kashmir and on rape cases by Indian soldiers not to mention the mass graves found recently. I, of course, dare not say 'mass gaves' and 'Saddam's Iraq' in one sentence on any Indian news website.

In contrast, the Pakistani media not only publishes Indian authors who openly criticize Pakistan, but discussion on Kashmir in Pakistani media always gives space to the Indian viewpoint as well.

Indian claims about openness are just that. Claims. But of course the Am-Brit media won't see that, especially when Wall Street Journal, for an example in yellow journalism, never hesitated in publishing lies planted by US government in the runup to the invasion.

So I tell all the young administrators and Web editors editing the various forums run under PakNationalists to keep our Indian visitors on a short leash and make frequent use of the delete buttion. Because we're not here to foster debate with them. We're here to tell our story. Period.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Evidence On The Unprovoked Indian Invasion Of Pakistan

Bangladesh Leader Admits India Conspired To Invade East Pakistan

Mujeeb’s daughter admits her father was a traitor, says Indian helped him raise an Indian-backed terror militia that raped and plundered in order to malign Pakistan Army

India’s advocates in Washington and London have argued for years that Pakistan is the cause of tension with India.

They conveniently forget where it all started: the unilateral, unprovoked and premeditated Indian invasion of Pakistan in 1971, preceded by careful planning over two years to recruit a terror militia and spread violence and mayhem to engage lisolated Pakistan Army units in East Pakistan, paving the way for a direct Indian military invasion, which was a one-sided violation of international law.

Of course the Indians exploited what essentially were Pakistani mistakes and political instability. But that does not absolve India from being an aggressor in the South Asia region. This happened way before there ever was an uprising in Kashmir or any Pakistan-based Kashmiri freedom fighters wanting to free their lands from Indian control. Pakistan’s policymakers are right in demanding a mindset change in New Delhi for peace to prevail.

Click here to read the full report. 

A Pakistani Minister Steals US$ 20 Million From A Pakistani Ambassador

A young democracy reverts back to corruption as a battle ensues between two Pakistan Government titans over a commission worth US$ 20 million

Published by Tania Khan on Facebook and reproduced here verbatim

Pakistan hit a new high in corruption when ‘state actors’ joined a resourceful cartel to create a fake nationwide shortage in a major commodity – sugar – and made millions.

Now some very powerful people in Islamabad are on their way to hitting another jackpot: a commission between US$ 15 to 20 million on a sugar consignment meant to plug the hole created by the fake shortage.

Two senior figures in the government, a federal minister and an ambassador to a Gulf state, have locked horns to grab the millions of dollars in commission. But only one of them will win and bag the bounty.

This is also a classic case of how corruption by junior government officials is hijacked by big fish when the commission is high.

Responding to a tender floated by the federal government for the import of 600,000 tons of sugar, Al Khaleej Sugar Trading (Pvt.) Ltd. submitted a bid of US$ 740 (London sugar price) plus US$ 80 as freight and premium charges on a per ton basis.

The initial negotiations for this bid were handled by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Mr. Khursheed Ahmed Junejo.  Apparently the final deal that Amb. Junejo reached with Mr. Jamal al-Ghurair, the CEO of Al-Khaleej Sugar Trading, involved a hefty kickback of somewhere around US$ 15 to US$ 2o million.  In return, Mr. Junejo committed himself to pulling all the necessary strings to ensure Mr. al-Ghurair’s bid is not only accepted but that the bid is exempted from federal government’s ceiling of US$ 50 on freight and premium charges.

What Ambassador Junejo did not anticipate is that the sweet deal might go sour on him and the rewards – the commission – would be bagged by people more powerful than him in the present government in Islamabad.

At some point, federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik jumped into the fray, backed apparently by no less than the President of Pakistan. Now, according to sources in the federal government, Mr. Malik is poised to win the race for the millions in commission in the Al-Khaleej Sugar Trading deal. According to sources, Mr. Malik will grab this deal instead of Mr. Junejo thanks to backing from no less than the President. No brownie points for where the commission is bound for.  Suffice to say that it will be far from the pockets of the man who was supposed to have pocketed it in the first place.

In an agricultural country where sugar cane is a major crop, the sugar shortage crisis is highly suspicious in the first place. It has become a case of state actors backing a resourceful mafia for the exploitation of national resources.

And once again, Pakistan’s democracy is under the threat of reverting back to the well known corruption stories that resulted in the failure of the entire political system in the past. has reproduced this report verbatim from the post of Tania Khan on Facebook where it first appeared.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting For a Pakistani Mao

Just two years after the the return of Pakistan's shady democrats to power, even moderate commentators are calling for change. And in the case of commentator Ms. Anjum Niaz, they talk about revolution.

Pakistan is a country where even democracy will fail without some iron-handed intervention to set things right. Sometimes reform can't be put to vote, as I argue in my column, A Smart Coup: Why One Last Military Intervention In Pakistan Remains A Possibility. Here is an excerpt from Ms. Niaz's column today in The News International that sums up the stagnant governing culture in Pakistan these days, one that has been created by both political and military rulers, and one that needs to be changed to make Pakistan viable in the 21st century:

"Last Sunday on a PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad, we had a VIP travel in the first-class cabin. When the flight landed in Islamabad, we were made to wait until the VIP was safely seated in his waiting Mercedes flying two flags – the Pakistan and perhaps the PPP flags. The wait for us was not long, but what was shocking was to see the car drive up to the apron, as close as it could get to the aircraft. Was the VIP a foreign guest warranting maximum security? No. He was in fact Raza Rabbani! To make sure I was not hallucinating, I double-checked with a member of the crew as we alighted. The airhostess confirmed it was the senator. Rabbani is currently chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and also heads the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reform. Do his handlers think that ordinary passengers like us are a threat to his life and therefore he must be whisked away the minute he sets foot on the ground?
"Raza Rabbani is one of the very few politicians who have been able to attain and sustain a high level of credibility in the eyes of public as well as among all the political parties," says a Google search I did on him today. "He is one politician who does not have any scandals associated with him; financial, moral, or political. He does not come from a feudal background, but earned his credibility as a competent lawyer and then as a principled political leader."

Why then does Rabbani fall for the VIP trappings? Surely, his life is not threatened the way Rehman Malik contends that his is? Malik has excused himself from appearing in person at courts because our security czar claims that there are people out to kill him.

I wrote on the chief secretary Punjab last week. He's on leave these days because the car that he was sitting in killed a man. The chief secretary's chauffeur is perhaps behind bars. But here is what he said against his boss according to a Lahore-based English newspaper report appearing on January 28. Permit me to reproduce it verbatim: "Ghulam Murtaza, the Punjab chief secretary's (CS) driver who was arrested on Tuesday for running over a retired colonel, has alleged that the CS had slapped him for not driving fast, shortly before the car hit and caused the death of Col (r) Muhammad Ikram, sources privy to the investigation told the daily. 'Most of the drivers left due to Javed Mahmood's unruly behaviour... the CS is known to use rough language and has sometimes even slapped drivers, telling them to drive faster,' sources in the Punjab Civil Secretariat said. They also claimed that in the past week, the CS had manhandled and humiliated Murtaza in front of the camp office staff over a minor oversight. On the day of the accident, the driver himself was under great psychological pressure, sources said. A number of drivers, who had worked for the CS, told the daily that Javed Mahmood had a habit of humiliating his drivers during out-of-station trips. Interestingly, Javed Mahmood has replaced around 15 staff drivers since his posting as the head of the province's civil administration in March 2008. According to the sources, Ghulam Murtaza has claimed that soon after the incident the CS got out of the car and walked away, directing him later on the phone not to disclose to anyone that he (Javed Mahmood) was in the car at the time of the accident."

If the damning testimony by the driver as reproduced above is baloney, the ex-chief secretary must set the record straight. It's most damaging. But more often than not, it's a reflection of how our bureaucrats treat their inferiors, especially servants, who dare not protest. The issue here is the cold hauteur of civil servants, trained to be rude, rough, boorish and harsh towards their servants and lower staff. Their wives and children too treat those who serve them with arrogance. It becomes a part of their DNA.

Pakistan is cursed with a VIP culture that will just not go away. There is no cure. From Zardari down to the thanedar or the patwari, we the ordinary citizens must accept these holy cows and be meek, submissive and servile before them. God forbid, should one come in their path, one is pushed aside like a speck of dust and told to remove himself/herself, even reprimanded and warned for polluting the stratified air the VIP breathes. 'Get lost' is the message!

Some even get killed! Like the colonel and the unlucky motorcyclist who happened to be on the same road as the senior adviser to the Punjab chief minister, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, driving from Derawar Fort after the conclusion of the Cholistan Jeep Rally. He was squished like a fly by the fleeting police escort 'guarding' Khosa. Two other riders survived the swat but are probably maimed for life.

Nothing short of a revolution will scorch this bumper crop of VIPs from our land."

Raise Your Price, Pakistan

Raise Your Price, Pakistan

How about exchanging Taliban Number Two Abdul Ghani Baradar for terror master Brahamdagh Bugti and the dismantling of the terror network targeting Pakistan’s Balochistan?

By Ahmed Quraishi
Tuesday, 2 March 2010.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Pakistan has agreed to hand over Afghan Taliban’s number 2, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to Afghanistan. How about asking for Mr. Brahamdagh Bugti in exchange? Or for the dismantling of the Afghan-based terror infrastructure targeting Pakistani Balochistan?

There are signs that Afghanistan’s role as a base for anti-Pakistan operations over the past seven years is gradually shrinking. But it is not completely over yet. The rollback in that role is directly linked to what the United States wants. And Washington’s recent change of heart regarding Pakistan’s role and legitimate regional security interests are the result of the Pakistani military standing its ground, not any genuine change of heart in US policymaking circles. This is why you did not see any US official jumping in excitement at the idea of Pakistani military training the Afghan National Army, which is what our army chief has proposed.

So the change in the US position may be tactical, forced by Pakistani straight talk. Examples abound, including how CIA dragged its feet before it finally began targeting anti-Pakistan terror groups and leaders in the border area.  There might have also been some visible decrease in the level of logistical support that the so-called Pakistani Taliban received from the Afghan soil [and not all of it from the proceeds of Afghan Taliban’s drug trade, as Afghan and American officials have been trying to convince their Pakistani counterparts].  Pakistani officials are yet to certify this decrease publicly. Granted that Admiral Mike Mullen is someone who genuinely tries to understand Pakistani concerns. And he has been doing his bit with apparent sincerity in the past few months. But there are still some tensions below the surface. A Time magazine story over the weekend tried to delink US connection to the Jundullah terrorist group and throw the entire responsibility at Pakistan, targeting Iranian paranoia by suggesting a Pakistani intelligence support for Jundullah ‘as a tool for strategic depth.’  This type of media leaks and background intelligence briefings have to stop. Enough of the demonization of Pakistan that the US media unfortunately spearheaded over the past three years, apparently through some kind of semi-official patronage. If US officials can bluntly accuse their Pakistani counterparts of sponsoring ‘anti-American articles’ in newspapers, whatever that means [What is ‘anti-American articles’ anyway?], surely Islamabad can pose the same question, especially when Pakistan’s case is stronger.

The same goes for the admirable US nudge to India to resume peace talks with Pakistan. Had things not gone wrong in Afghanistan for the grand US project, Washington was all set to introduce India as the new regional policeman in Afghanistan following the eventual pullback of NATO and US militaries from that country. Pakistan was being pushed to accept this as fait accompli and Mr. Zardari’s pro-US government was more than willing to play along. Again, a Pakistani public opinion that is not ready for such a major one-sided Pakistani concession probably threw a spanner in the works.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir must be commended along with his team for stating the Pakistani bottom line. Forget the US statements on the need for peace between Pakistan and India. The fact is that the US played the two countries against one another in Afghanistan in the past eight years. If Pakistan accepts, a photo-op would work just fine for Washington as it does for New Delhi. We’d be asking too much if we think anyone in New Delhi or Washington is really itching to help Pakistan resolve its grievances with India. It’s just that the regional dynamic is helping us at this point in time. So let’s make the most out of it while we retain the initiative. Instead of the theatrics, we must ask for something substantial this time. No more prolonged people-to-people exchanges. There is no problem between our peoples. And please, no more equating Pakistan’s responsibility for peace with India’s responsibility. The onus is on India. It is the bigger country. It can change the entire mood in the region by taking small steps to alleviate Pakistani insecurities. It can do so by taking steps in the water dispute, in improving how it treats Pakistani visitors, and by reducing tensions with the Kashmiri people on the ground.

Bottom line: Enough of selling ourselves cheap over the past eight years. Pakistan should secure its interests and accept nothing less.

An edited version of this op-ed was published by The News International.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium
without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CIA's Rogue Afghanistan Operations

The face of a CIA-recruited drug lord. Read below for details.

CIA needs authorization from US Congress before launching covert operations in other countries. Congress approves releasing funds for the operations.

Because of this requirement CIA has to give people in government details about the covert operations it is asking money for.

To avoid this disclosure, CIA has been looking for funding from other sources to launch 'rogue' operations, ones that are not fully endorsed by the government. 

In Afghanistan, CIA has launched several covert operations since 2002 meant to target not al-Qaeda or Taliban but some of the neighboring countries whose policies may not sync with US interests.

For example, Pakistan allowed Chinese personnel to build a huge strategic seaport called Gawadar. This Chinese presence was not in US interest. So CIA used Karzai's intelligence people and India's offer of help to target Chinese engineers in Pakistan. CIA did this quite successfully by slipping terrorists inside Pakistan pretending to be Taliban or al Qaeda.

It was easy for CIA agents to carry out this operation because Pakistan under former president Pervez Musharraf had granted US personnel, civilian and military, unprecedented freedom of movement within the country.

When these CIA agents killed a couple of Chinese engineers back in 2004, CIA psy-ops used the incident to put the blame on Afghan Taliban, thereby creating doubts in the minds of Chinese officials that Pakistani intelligence might have had something to do with this since Pakistan maintained ties with the Afghan Taliban government in Afghanistan before 2002.

Similarly, CIA launched covert operations against Iran, western China and Pakistan. It used Afghan soil in all of them, which made logistical issues pertaining to these operations much easier.

Where did the money come from for all of these operations?

Some of the money came from the US government, which has an anti-Iran covert program running until now from the Bush days. Nothing secret here.  But not all CIA operations in Afghanistan are funded by the US government.

It is believed that many CIA operations inside Pakistan and China received partial or no funding from the US government. These operations were meant to create ethnic, sectarian and political turmoil in Pakistan, and ethnic turmoil in China, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang.

CIA developed a new source of funding to finance these rogue operations.

The Afghan Taliban almost destroyed the Afghan opium trade, a feat unparalleled in the history of Afghanistan. It was near impossible for anyone to impose such discipline on a chaotic nation like Afghanistan.

After 2002, drug production and trade grew by leaps. CIA introduced latest drug production and transportation tehniques to Afghanistan, learned from CIA operations in South America.

CIA also recruited all the main Afghan drug barons. Almost all of them are on CIA's payroll, or were so until early 2010.

Some of these AFghan drug barons were actually rewarded. CIA recommended some of them to US government and military as legitimate powerbrokers who deserved a share in the Kabul government.

This is one facet of the multidimensional role that CIA played in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2010 to distrub regional balance of power and pursue US strategtic interests beyond the immediate goals of America's war on terror.