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A wake up call

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IBN-E-REHMAT:
Individual or national dreams can only be built with planning and right course of actions. If someone is keen to build a house, he will first think about the budget, determine the location to buy a plot, its size, design, covered area, choice of the contractors etc. His list may have several questions, some of them even riddled with fears about the dirty business tricks, official bottlenecks and finally his string of decisions. Similarly in the politics of hostility, the enemy prepares its master plan, based on his objectives, followed by the course of actions to execute all the tasks. But secret war demands a different set of action, stitched with bits and pieces, without being conspicuous, to ensure complete secrecy not to be intercepted or catching the attention of the intelligence.

This list may include such jobs which ultimately converge on a one-point agenda like the disintegration of Pakistan by first fomenting insurgencies, generating economic turmoil, tightening the noose around the necks of peoples of certain communities, to trigger a chain action, as recipe of an invisible warfare. If we prepare the list of all such tasks, it might run into hundreds. An intrigue, India played in former East Pakistan. Now Balochistan, Swat and FATA are its targets. Has our counterintelligence failed to detect? But our masses need to be educated. The purpose of this exercise is to highlight just one or two such moves to create awareness about the times to come. How one stroke by the enemy like the water issue can open up a Pandora’s Box for many other troubles – leading to the collapse of the whole edifice of our polity?

The list of such dirty acts by India to inflict harm to our dear country is quite long. If we sit and meditate all the mischief which the enemy has planned and executed during the last three years, it might require many volumes, to assess losses of human life and property during the suicide bombings, and the burning and looting spree in various parts of the country. Still worse, it (the enemy) might have even shifted the blame on some other country to avoid international condemnation. To start with the simple proposition, let us first start with the political dynamic that engulfed the business nerve centre of Pakistan, Karachi, a couple of weeks ago, as target killings helps the enemy to create chaos, an unfavourable climate for investment and inflict heavy losses beyond anybody’s guess. At the same time, it has also generated mistrust and eliminated the people, who our foes regarded as obstacles in their jobs.

At the same time, the list of any country’s vulnerability is also long. But the tragedy is that New Delhi intends to spare no event to cause as much damage as it could. There is no comparison between the loss of human life and property that Pakistan has had to sustain as a result of Indian machinations and the Indian claims in the Mumbai mayhem. Nobody can deny the fact that blowing up trains, setting public property on fire, target killing of innocent civilians and playing havoc with the security personnel is not the handiwork of any Pakistani, but the enemy’s agents.
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Rigi met US, Indian envoys in Afghanistan before arrest

Sikander Shaheen:
ISLAMABAD – The presence of Jundullah’s top man Abdol Malek Rigi in Afghanistan, a day prior to his arrest, is seen as part of covert meetings between US and Indian diplomats with Taliban and some unidentified leaders.

This newspaper, earlier, first published a story on January 30 last and a subsequent story on February 7 that a series of covert meetings were taking place between US and Indian diplomats with Taliban leaders, however, the whereabouts and origins of these leaders could not be ascertained due to the lack of sufficient details and highly covert manner in which these meetings were arranged.

UN based sources in Afghanistan informed this scribe on Wednesday that they were frequently getting reports regarding the presence of top brass of some banned outfits including those jihadi outfits the chiefs of which had lucrative head-moneys and were involved in terrorist activities in this region. Although the exact details regarding the visits of Abdol Malek Rigi to Afghanistan at any specific venue are still required because of his “lack of facial familiarity and acquaintance” within the locals, yet his frequent covert visits remained under heated discussions in informed Afghan quarters lately.

The fact stands undisputed that CIA had very strong links with Jundullah and was actively backing its operations against Shiite Muslims in Iran as well as in different parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Stealthy visits of the banned militants in Afghanistan, off and on, have much to do with the incompetence of Afghan government and active collusion of US and India using Afghanistan as cross-border militancy card against Pakistan.

Just recently, the arrests of three top leaders of Taliban by Pakistani authorities were not welcomed by Afghanistan and India at all, and soon after these arrests that had been termed by Pakistani authorities as a major breakthrough in combating militancy, voices were heard from New Delhi and Kabul that the pertinent development was a major blow to ‘peace efforts’ and arrested brass was presumably willing for talks with Afghanistan government! This policy of cribbing from both these states reflects the malice on part of Afghanistan that blindly follows the dictates of US and its cronies to avail of every bid that undermines Pakistan’s dignity. Read more of this post

Highlighting Kashmir

A conference at London, organised jointly by the Nawa-i-Waqt group and the all-parties group of the House of Lords on Wednesday, on the eve of the Kashmir Solidarity Day, stressed the urgent need to settle the festering dispute of Kashmir in line with the people’s wishes, as outlined in UN resolutions.

Participants – British parliamentarians, including Lord Nazir, political and diplomatic figures from Pakistan, Kashmiris and others – passed a unanimous resolution that spelled out both the issue and its only solution that could put an end to the Kashmiris’ suffering and ensure peace in the region. New Delhi has to concede that the real issue is its persistent denial of the right of self-determination to the people of the state, which Prime Minister Nehru had committed to grant. Palliatives like the Amn ki Aasha movement launched by some peaceniks cannot hoodwink those who daily suffer death and humiliation at the hands of the Indian armed forces. Lord Nazir, who played a key role in organising the “Kashmir – Peace and Justice” conference, spoke on the occasion and pointed to the futility of an exercise like Amn ki Aasha without its focus on Kashmir. PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal rightly felt that solving the dispute was a UN obligation because it threatened global peace. High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan stressed that no government could compromise on the issue and the present one was committed to solving it in accordance with Kashmiris’ aspirations. British MPs, John Hemmings, Rob Fielo, Gerald Coffman and Dr Brian, all dilated on the urgency to tackle the problem, pointing to the dangers inherent in sleeping over it. Read more of this post

Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan

S.m. Hali

February 5th is being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day, which is a yearly practice since 1990 as a day of protest against the unjust occupation of Kashmir. The day is marked with renewed firm resolve to continue the struggle for the achievement of the birthright of Kashmiris to self-determination through getting the valley liberated from the Indian yoke of tyranny. Kashmiris observe the solidarity day every year not only to renew their deep-rooted love and affection with Pakistan, but also to reiterate their commitment and dedication to their liberty from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been struggling since 1947 to secure their freedom, which was assured by the UN Resolutions; however, subsequent Indian governments have not only remained oblivious to the UN Resolutions, but also continued to subject the Kashmiris to their reign of terror. Pakistan’s endeavours to resolve the issue through dialogue have also been spurned by India.

The Palestinians too continue to suffer atrocities inflicted upon them by Israel, which was created unjustly after evicting the Palestinians from their territory in 1948. Since then the Palestinians have struggled to regain their homeland but have failed despite extreme sacrifice and war against Israel by its Arab neighbours to liberate Palestine.

Two other Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, which were occupied by the US/NATO forces during the 21st century, are close to being liberated from the tyranny of their invaders. Afghanistan was conquered by USA and its allies, following the 9/11 debacle. The US declared Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon and demanded the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan to hand over purported culprits for trial. Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader demanded proof of Osama’s complicity to the 9/11 attack. The Taliban query was interpreted as refusal and Afghanistan was subjected to one of the most ferocious attacks in history and occupied by US and its allies.

Iraq was attacked in 2003 by a US-led coalition force under the plea that Saddam Hussain’s regime possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which would pose a threat to the rest of the world. That is another aspect that the WMDs were never found during the seven years of occupation.

A number of conspiracy theories were floated to the rationale behind occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Iraq, control of its oil reserves is the apparent reason for subjugating Iraq and installing a pliable and malleable regime there. The case of Afghanistan is slightly different. Michael Klare, author of the book Resource Wars, which has a major focus on the Caspian region, and Ahmad Rashid, Pakistani journalist and author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, opine that in the 10 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a new great game between Russia, the United States, China, Iran, the European companies, for control of the new oil and gas resources that have been discovered in the Caspian Sea and in the Caucuses and Central Asia. They deduce that “because Central Asia is totally landlocked, distances are huge, and the US strategy has been essentially to keep, new oil pipelines not to be built through Russia or through Iran or China.”

They quote US government Energy Information fact sheet on Afghanistan dated December 2000, which reveals: “Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographic position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes proposed multi-billion dollar oil and gas export pipelines through Afghanistan” which is the shortest route to the Pakistani coastline on the Indian Ocean. To achieve this Afghanistan had to be conquered and a pliant regime installed there.

After tremendous bloodshed and financial losses, the US administration is now considering ways and means of exiting both Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama, in his maiden State of the Union Address on January 27, presented strategies for reviving the sick economy of USA. What he failed to mention, but has been disclosed by the Information Clearing House Newsletter of January 31, 2010 that a number of Iraqis slaughtered since the US invaded Iraq so far is “1,366,350”, while the number of US military personnel sacrificed (officially acknowledged) In America’s War on Iraq is: 4,692. On the other hand, the number of International Occupation Force Troops sacrificed in Afghanistan is 1,611, while the civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 9/11 range between 11,760 and 31,357. To top it all, the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan is a whopping $955,465,013,902. No wonder plans for the egress of the US and other international forces from Afghanistan and Iraq are underway.

General Viktor Yermakov, the Commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, while talking to CNN after the proposed troop surge in Afghanistan, commented that the “US is repeating the Soviet blunder of adding more troops in Afghanistan.” He stated that at the height of the Soviet-Afghan War, there were 300,000 Soviet troops deployed in Afghanistan, out of which 15,000 Soviets were killed, 469,685 got wounded while 500 are still missing. What he did not say was that the invasion contributed to the demise of USSR.

It is ironical that during the London Conference, General Stanley McChrystal’s despite being a fighting general, pronouncement that “there’s been enough fighting,” and Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, proclamation: “The Taliban…are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan,” are being used to bolster Hamid Karzai’s plea that negotiations must be opened with the Taliban. The London Conference went a step ahead and approved a multi-million integration fund to lure the Taliban fighters to join the political mainstream.

We hope and pray that peace returns to Iraq and Afghanistan, but what a pity that Kashmir and Palestine continue to bleed since they neither have oil nor are situated on the oil-gas trade route. May their predicament be over and the simmering trauma gets resolved at an early date.

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Pakistan acts to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan

* Islamabad believes India is looking to Afghanistan for destabilising Pakistan


By Sajjad Malik

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has successfully mobilised the defunct six-plus-two talks formula to counter the US pressure regarding giving India a “greater role” in warn-torn Afghanistan’s rehabilitation.

Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours – Pakistan, Iran, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the US, are meeting today (Tuesday) in Turkey to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to take stock of measures for the restoration of peace in the country.

The original “six-plus-two” also included Russia, but in the new set up Moscow representation has been replaced by the United Kingdom.

The Chinese foreign minister and senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan will attend the conference, which will also be attended by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s deputy, Paul Jones.

Diplomatic sources said Pakistan has been lobbying for the renewal of talks among Afghanistan’s neighbours in order to foil Indian designs of gaining a foothold on Afghan soil.

Pakistan believes India is not an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and therefore should have limited role in the country.

Turkey has been asked to convene the meeting, as it enjoys the backing and trust of Pakistan and is accepted as a neutral party for promoting a common approach to the conflict. The conference will urge regional players to work together in order to stabilise Afghanistan and the region.

The revival of the talks group has come at a crucial juncture – on Thursday, around 50 nations will be meeting at the London Conference to discuss the Afghan issue and deliberate on measures to help the war-ravaged nation.

The organisers of the London Conference, like the US, are trying to convince Pakistan on accepting the greater Indian role in Afghanistan.

Destabilisation:

“It is not possible for us to give India a role in Afghanistan as it is using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan. Also, India has been traditionally aligned with Russia and played a part in the destruction of Afghanistan,” sources said.

They said the last meeting of the six-plus-two group was held before the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban had agreed to give 80 percent of representation in the Afghan government to the Northern Alliance. “Since then, fortunes have reversed and the Taliban have lost the government. Now the six-plus-two group will try to pave the way for the participation of the Taliban in the new government,” sources said.

The coalition forces badly need breathing space in Afghanistan following a deadly 2009, in which the force lost at least 504 soldiers, including 305 US and 108 British troops. Sources said US-led forces were giving a thought to Pakistan’s viewpoint on the Afghan conflict, an idea substantiated by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ statement during a recent visit to Pakistan that said that Washington was with Pakistan and supported its efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

The presence of both the UK and the US at the Turkish initiative speaks volumes about their interest in a regional solution.

Dangers of sabre rattling

India is a country with superpower ambitions without presently having the wherewithal that the status requires. It is meanwhile trying hard to acquire and develop the capabilities needed. A report published in the Times of India early this week reveals New Delhi is revising its five-year-old military doctrine to meet challenges of a possible ‘two front war’ with Pakistan and China.

This comes amidst additional reports of the 1.13 million strong Indian army having tested, through several wargames over the last five years, its ‘proactive’ war strategy to mobilise fast and strike hard to pulverise the enemy. This ‘cold start strategy’, under an NCB (nuclear-chemical-biological) overhang, has supposedly been formulated on the basis of lessons learnt during Operation Parakram, generally described as a disaster, where it took army’s strike formations almost a month to mobilise at the border launch-pads in the wake of the December 2001 terrorist attack on Indian Parliament.

This, India thinks, provided sufficient opportunity to Pakistan to shore up its defences as well as enough time to the international community to intervene. Similarly Indian leadership could not proceed beyond giving vent to impotent rage after the Mumbai attacks, which caused a lot of chagrin to those who had developed a perception of India as a mini US.

The Indian army thinks that the lack of clear directives from the Indian government on both occasions only made matters worse. Speaking at a closed-door seminar on Tuesday General Deepak Kapoor summed up the issue in these words: “A major leap in our approach to conduct of operations (since then) has been the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly).

According to the report the plan now is to launch self-contained and highly-mobile ‘battle groups’, with Russian-origin T-90S tanks and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours. Indian plans envisage the ending of the war decisively in New Delhi’s favour within the first 96 hours forcing the other sides into a fast submission of cease-fire.

India is also unhappy about Pak-China military co-operation and has presumably factored in the element in its strategy. Pakistan government has already blamed India for using its consulates, established in a number of small Afghan towns along the Durand Line where there was no real need to set them up, for encouraging, financing and training terrorists to operate inside Pakistan.

Sophisticated weapons, laptops, imported medical supplies like plastic bags with fresh blood plasma for transfusion and canned food items found in areas in Swat liberated by the army from the Taliban also point to the Indian connection. Islamabad has also blamed New Delhi for involvement in the destabilisation of Balochistan.

It is maintained that New Delhi is unhappy with the Gwadar deep-sea port for it gives Pakistan an alternate port out of reach of most Indian bombers. It is also presumably unhappy with the Chinese, who made a major investment in the construction of the port, making use of the facility to access the Middle East markets. Threat perceptions of the type have led General Kayani to respond strongly to the Indian moves.

Maintaining that peace and stability in South Asia and beyond was the logical and fundamental principle underlining the security paradigm of Pakistan, he warned any proponent of adventurism of the dire consequences arising out of it. On Friday he told senior army officers at the GHQ that the army was alive to the full spectrum of threats that continued to exist both in conventional and unconventional domains.

“Proponents of conventional application of military forces, in a nuclear overhang, are charting an adventurous and dangerous path, the consequences of which could be both unintended and uncontrollable,” he said. A day later, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid came up with a tough reaction to the reported remarks from the Indian army chief that Indian military is ready to battle China and Pakistan at the same time.

In his statement, General Tariq expressed his doubts over the veracity of Indian media report attributed to General Deepak Kapoor, stating that “he [General Kapoor] could not be so outlandish in strategic postulations to fix China on a self destruct mechanism”. General Majid also said: “But if the news report is correct, the uncalled for rhetoric only betrays a lack of strategic acumen”.

While it is not unusual for militaries to review and modify their strategies from time to time, to leak out their details is likely to be interpreted as an attempt at sabre rattling, which is rife with dangerous implications. Both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons and the required delivery systems capable of being launched from land, sea and air.

Any of the two countries fearful of a strategic and irretrievable set back can be tempted to take recourse to this deadly arsenal with catastrophic effects on both sides. There is a need therefore to seriously undertake the measures required to end all possible causes of confrontation. India has to stop its agencies from supporting terrorists in Fata and Balochistan. It also needs to reciprocate to Pakistan’s continuous overtures to initiate the composite dialogue to resolve mutual disputes particularly the core issue of Kashmir.

—Business Recorder

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