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Posts Tagged Spreading Terrorism in Pakistan:India & CIA Joint OPS

USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

 by

Asif Haroon Raja

 

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The US leaders and media often cite Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. If it is true, it didn’t attain this status at its own. Outsiders are responsible for making Pakistan a nursery of terrorism, or epicenter of terrorism, as recently described by Manmohan Singh, or the most dangerous country. Ironically, the ones responsible for converting a law abiding and peaceful country into a volatile country are today in the forefront censuring it. Till the onset of Afghan Jihad in 1980, Pakistan was a moderate and nonviolent country. It did suffer from the pangs of humiliation for having lost its most populous East Pakistan and  grieved over non-resolution of Kashmir dispute pending since January 1948 UNSC resolution. Both wounds had been inflicted upon Pakistan by its arch rival India. Pakistan had to perforce go nuclear in quest for its security because of India’s hostile posturing and nuclearisation.

 

Invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces in December 1979 brought five million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. These refugees disturbed the peace of Frontier Province and Balochistan where bulk got permanently settled. 2.8 million Afghan refugees have still not returned to their homes and besides becoming an economic burden, have posed serious social and security hazards. Foreign agencies carrying an agenda to destabilize Pakistan have been recruiting bulk of terrorists from within them.

 

Once the US decided to back proxy war in Afghanistan, CIA commissioned thousands of Mujahideen from all over the Muslim world and with the assistance of ISI, motivated, trained and equipped them to assist Afghan Mujahideen in their fight against Soviet forces. Large number of seminaries imparting religious training to the under privileged children were tasked to impart military and motivational training as well and prepare them for Jihad. FATA and Pashtun belt of Balochistan contiguous to Afghanistan were converted into forward bases of operation from where young Jihadists were unleashed. For next nine years the youth were continuously recruited and launched to fight the holy war against evil empire. Saudi Arabia became the chief financer of Jihad. It provided heavy funds to Sunni Madrassahs only. ISI took upon itself as the chief coordinator of the entire war effort while CIA restricted its role to providing arms, funds and intelligence only.

 

The whole free world led by USA enthusiastically applauded the heroics of holy warriors and none cared about astronomical fatalities and critical injuries suffered by them. The maimed for life, widows and orphans were patted and told that it was a holy war fought for a noble cause and huge rewards awaited them in the life hereafter. The single point agenda of the US was to defeat the Soviet forces with the help of Muslim fighters. Not a single soldier of any country including Pakistan took part in the unmatched war between a super power and rag-tag, ill-clothed and ill-equipped Mujahideen.

 

None bothered about the ill-effects this long-drawn war will have upon this region in general and Pakistan in particular acting as the Frontline State. Although Pakistan was only supporting the proxy war and was not directly involved, but it remained in a state of war and it faced continuous onslaughts of KGB-RAW-KHAD nexus as well as attacks by Soviet trained Afghan pilots and soldiers in the form of air assaults, artillery barrages and missile/rockets attacks.  Throughout the nine-year war, Pakistan faced twin threat from its eastern and western borders. By virtue of occupation of Wakhan corridor by Soviet troops, USSR had become immediate neighbor of Pakistan and had hurled repeated threats to wind up training centres and stop meddling in Afghanistan or else be prepared for dire consequences. Moscow’s age-old dream of reaching warm waters of Arabian Sea through Balochistan haunted Gen Ziaul Haq, but he stoutly held his ground. Pakistan’s relentless support ultimately enabled the Mujahideen to achieve the miracle of the 20th century. They defeated the super power and pushed out Soviet forces from Afghanistan in February 1989.

 

All foreign Jihadists who had come from other countries were not accepted by their parent countries. They had no choice but to stay put and get settled in Afghanistan and in FATA since they had collectively fought the war and had developed camaraderie with the Afghans and tribesmen. The US who had enticed and displaced them and used them as cannon fodder to achieve its interests was morally bounded to resettle them. It was honor bound to help Pakistan in overcoming the after effects of the war. FATA that had acted as the major base for cross border operations deserved uplift in socio-economic and educational fields. Afghanistan required major rehabilitation and rebuilding after its devastation. Nothing of the sort happened.

 

The US coldheartedly abandoned Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jihadists and instead embraced India which had remained the camp follower of Soviet Union since 1947 and had also partnered Soviet Union in the Afghan war and had vociferously condemned US-Pakistan proxy war. This callous act opened the doors for religious fanaticism and militarism. Pakistan suffered throughout the Afghan war and continues to suffer to this day on account of the debris left behind by Soviet forces and proxy war. By the time last Soviet soldier left Afghan soil, Pakistani society had got radicalized owing to free flow of weapons and drugs from Afghanistan and onset of armed uprising in occupied Kashmir.

 

Pakistan’s efforts to tackle the fallout effects of the war got seriously hampered because of harsh sanctions imposed by USA under Pressler Amendment in October 1989 and political instability throughout the democratic era from 1988 to 1999. Besides, Iran and Saudi Arabia started fuelling sectarianism in Pakistan throughout 1990s in a big way. Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan and Majlis-e-Wahadat ul Hashmeen were funded by Iran and Sipah-e-Sahabha Pakistan, now named as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Sunni Deobandi) were supported by Saudi Arabia, which gave rise to religious extremism and intolerance and sharpened Shia-Sunni divide. Masjids and Imambargahs as well as religious clerics were incessantly attacked by the zealots of two communities. Threat of sectarian violence that had become menacing in Punjab in 1997-1998 had to be dealt with sternly. But the Punjab Police operation had to be curtailed because of severe pressure from Human Rights activists and NGOs on charges of extra judicial killings. Resultantly, the disease remained uncured.

        

Unseating of democratically elected heavy mandate of Nawaz Sharif led government by Gen Musharraf and the latter opting to ditch Taliban regime and to fight global war on terror at the behest of USA energized anti-Americanism, religious extremism and led to creation of Mutahida Majlis Ammal (MMA), an amalgam of six religious parties, which formed governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. MMA on the quiet nurtured extremist religious groups that were also funded by foreign powers.

 

The fact that after 9/11, the US chose Pakistan to fight the war as a Frontline State is a clear cut indication that Pakistan at that time was viewed as a responsible and valued country and not a dangerous country. However, Pakistan’s nuclear program was an eyesore for India, Israel and USA. The planners had made up their minds to intentionally create anarchic conditions in Pakistan so that its nukes could be whisked away under the plea that it was unstable and couldn’t be trusted.

 

The initial attempt towards that end was to first allow bulk of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and their fighters to escape to FATA from Afghanistan and soon after forcing Pakistan to induct regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) to flush them out. This move created a small rivulet allowing terrorism to seep into FATA, which kept gushing in because of RAW led and CIA backed covert war at a massive scale and turning the rivulet into a river. Likewise, another rivulet was created in Balochistan. Concerted and sustained efforts were made to destabilize FATA and Balochistan and gradually sink Pakistan in sea of terrorism. Six intelligence agencies based in Kabul kept sprinkling tons of fuel on embers of religious extremism, sectarianism, ethnicity and Jihadism.

 

The US instead of helping in resolving Kashmir dispute misguided Gen Musharraf to forget about UN resolutions and float an out of box solution and try and resolve the dispute in accordance with the wishes of India. In order to woo India, Musharraf gave it in writing that he will not allow Pakistan soil to be used for terrorism against any neighboring country including India. While making this commitment unilaterally, he committed the fatal mistake of not imposing this condition on India. To further please USA and India and make the latter agree to sign peace treaty, he bridled all Jihadi groups engaged in Kashmir freedom struggle as well as in sectarianism. He also allowed India to fence the Line of Control. These moves did please India but angered Jihadis and sectarian outfits and in reaction, they hastened to join Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and turn their guns towards Pak security forces dubbed as mercenaries of USA fighting US war for dollars.

But for phenomenal clandestine support by foreign powers to the TTP in the northwest and to the BLA, BRA and BLF in the southwest, extremism and terrorism could have got controlled after major operations launched in Malakand Division including Swat, Bajaur and SW in 2009 and minor operations in other tribal agencies. The disarrayed network of TTP was helped to get re-assembled and regrouped in North Waziristan and that of Maulana Fazlullah in Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan. As opposed to good work done by Pak security forces in combating and curbing terrorism in Pakistan, the US-NATO forces operating in Afghanistan along with Afghan National Army kept making one blunder after another and in the process kept sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire. Rather than correcting their follies, they chose to make Pakistan a scapegoat and declared it responsible for their failures. Rather than doing more at their end, they asked Pakistan to do more which was already doing much more than its capacity.

 

Since the aggressors underestimated their enemy they took things too lightly. Their intentions lacked sincerity and honesty and their stated objectives were totally different to their actual unspoken objectives which were commercial in nature. Above all they had no legitimate grounds to destroy a sovereign country and uproot its people which had played no role in 9/11. As a result, rather than devotedly fighting to win the war in Afghanistan, the assailants got deeply involved in drug business and other money-making schemes. The ruling regime led by Hamid Karzai became a willing partner in such shady businesses. American security contractors, defence merchants, builders and intelligence agencies started multiplying their wealth and lost their moral and professional ethics. Other than materialistic ventures, they got more involved in money-spinning covert operations against Pakistan, Iran, China and Middle East than in fighting their adversary. Taliban and al-Qaeda combine took full advantage of their self-destructive activities and opening of the second front in Iraq. After regrouping and re-settling in southern and eastern Afghanistan, they started striking targets in all parts of the country. War in Iraq helped al-Qaeda in expanding its influence in Arabian Peninsula and turning into an international organization.

 

The US has made a big mess in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Libya and is now making another mess in Syria. It has lost the confidence of its most allied ally Pakistan by mistreating and distrusting it. Having lost on all fronts because of its tunnel vision and mercantile greed, it now wants the most dangerous country Pakistan to ignore the raw deal it gave all these years and to not only help ISAF in pulling out of Afghanistan safely but also to convince the Taliban to agree upon a negotiated political settlement. At the start of the Afghan venture, Pakistan was chosen by Washington to ensure success and in the endgame Pakistan is again being relied upon to bail it out of the mess. In the same breadth, the US is unprepared to cease drone attacks in FATA despite repeated requests that drones fuel terrorism. It is still focused on carving a lead role for India in Afghanistan. It is not prepared to stop its interference in internal affairs of Pakistan or to dissuade India from destabilizing Balochistan. Whatever socio-economic promises made are futuristic in nature and tied to conditions. US media and think tanks continue to demonize Pakistan. Its tilt towards India is too heavy and prejudicial behavior towards Pakistan conspicuous.

 

As a result of the US skewed policies with ulterior motives, Pakistan is faced with the demons of ethnicity, sectarianism, Jihadism, religious extremism and terrorism. While TTP is aligned with about 60 terrorist groups, in Balochistan there are more than two dozen terrorist groups. In Karachi, other than armed mafias, political parties have armed wings and are involved in target killings. Rangers and Police are engaged in targeted operation in Karachi and are producing productive results. 150,000 troops combating the militants in the northwest enjoy a definite edge over them. Major parts of Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and Police are fighting the Baloch separatists and sectarian forces targeting Hazaras and have contained anti-state forces. All major cities are barricaded with road blocks and police piquets and yet terrorists manage to carryout acts of terror. The miscreants are fighting State forces with tenacity because of uninterrupted financial and weapons support from foreign agencies. Once external support dries up, their vigor will wane rapidly and sooner than later they will give up fighting.

 

With so many grave internal and external threats, most of which were invented and thrust upon Pakistan by foreign powers and duly exacerbated by meek and self-serving political leadership, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s hands remained full. He has saddled the COAS chair for six years and during this period he had to face many a critical situations. It goes to his credit that he handled each crisis competently, astutely and honorably. During his eventful command, he tackled the challenge of terrorism, which he rightly described as the biggest threat to the security of Pakistan, boldly and produced pleasing results. Above all, he kept the morale of all ranks in the Army high and earned their respect and admiration. The list of his achievements is long and I have been highlighting those in my articles off and on. His successor has so far not been named but whosoever replaces him will find it difficult to fit into his shoes. I am sure he will breathe more freely and relax once he retires on November 29, 2013. We thank him for his laudable contributions and wish him sound health and happiness in all his future doings. Let us hope and pray that this senseless war comes to an end at the earliest, putting an end to chirping tongues deriving sadistic pleasure in describing Pakistan as the most dangerous country.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, historian and a researcher. asifharoonraja@gmail.com 

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SUBVERTING PAKISTAN: CIA ‘Free Baluchistan’ op to carve Pakistan under China’s nose

CIA ‘Free Baluchistan’ op to carve Pakistan under China’s nose
 
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William Engdahl, August 09, 2013
 

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Developing Pakistan-China ties which can drastically change the economic map of the region are threatened by Pakistani separatism, which might suddenly transform into another ‘terror ground.’  

As Washington continues sending its development assistance aid in the form of drones to bomb civilians illegally inside Pakistan’s borders, allegedly to go after Taliban fighters, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently completed a trip to Beijing where he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, his first foreign visit after the May elections. The Pakistani Federal Cabinet subsequently approved the start of negotiations and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on developing a “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”long-term plan, and an action plan between the development ministries of the two countries.  

 
The core of the new agreements between China and neighboring Pakistan calls for accelerated development of a 2,000-km trade infrastructure corridor linking Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast to Kashgar, the westernmost city in China’s Xingjiang province. Pakistan has offered China a‘trade and energy corridor’ via Gwadar, linked to inland roads. The plan would import oil from the Middle East, to refineries at Gwadar and sent on to China via roads, pipelines or railway (China’s strategic interests in Pakistan’s port at Gwadar).  
 
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A view of the Beijing-funded “megaport” of Gwadar, in southwestern Pakistan (AFP Photo)
 

Xinjiang is also the heart of China’s known oil resources and a transit area for major oil and gas pipelines. The development will cost billions of euros, which China reportedly has now pledged in the form of ‘soft loans’. The railway infrastructure will provide crucial links for transporting oil and gas from the Persian Gulf and minerals and food from Africa will be the heart of the newproject.http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_61094.shtm

However, in six months this area will “suddenly” become a major “terror ground” that conveniently will disrupt the rail infrastructure link. It reminds me of the German Berlin-Baghdad Rail link to the Ottoman Empire before WWI that was the major cause for Britain to ally with Czarist Russia and France in the Triple Entente that became WWI in 1914.

Gwadar is the world’s largest deep sea port. It lies in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan in the warm water Arabian Sea. The design and construction of the final stages of the port, which began in 2002, is being carried out in collaboration with China. It has an immense geostrategic importance at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and is a likely substitute for the Port of Dubai. In 2011 Pakistan invited China to build a Naval base at Gwadar, something the Pentagon is eyeing very closely. China has yet to respond on that.  
 

Asian-gulf economic powerhouse?

 

China’s needs for energy resources, food and minerals from the Gulf and Africa have boosted trade between the regions in the recent years. China’s trade with the UAE alone has grown 15-fold since 2000 to reach $37 billion. It is expected to reach $100 billion by 2015. Some 2,500 Chinese firms have offices in Dubai. China’s largest bank ICBC and the Bank of China also have branches in the Gulf sheikhdom where they are beginning to transact bilateral trade in Chinese renminbi rather than dollars.

The Chinese are currently upgrading some 600 kilometers of the China-Pakistan highway. The KKH was built in 1986 from Kashgar through Pakistan and the upgrade will make it suitable for heavy container traffic and linking it to Gwadar Port. China and Pakistan are also working to link Gwadar port and Xinjiang through a new Chinese-financed railway network. This will turn Gwadar Port and the KKH into a trade corridor for China and other Central Asians countries and create in Gwadar an energy, transport, and industrial hub providing direct and economical access to the Arabian Sea for both China and resource rich Central Asian states. 

On January 30 this year, Pakistan turned over the management and operation of the Gwadar Port Authority to a Chinese company at the same time the Pakistan government signed  up to the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, tying Pakistan, Iran and China more closely, something that caused pain in Washington.

It will generate billions of dollars in revenue for Pakistan and likely create about two million jobs.

  

Pakistan and China have signed agreements to help energy starved Pakistan to utilize the hydro-electric potential offered by the area by constructing the Diamer-Bhasha and Bunji dams.

China also wants to import gas from Iran by joining the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline that will pass through Gilgit Baltistan on the Pakistan border to Xinjiang in China. Also Pakistan and China have signed agreements to develop entirely new industrial cities in various parts of Pakistan along the route of the rail link, including at Gwadar.

Close to the Straits of Hormuz, Gwadar has the potential to become the gateway to Central Asia and China. It’s at the junction of the world’s three most important strategic and economic regions–Middle East, South Asia and Central Asian states—giving it the potential, barring new wars, to generate billions in annual transit trade. As part of a shift in policy, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have recently been eagerly pursuing trade and economic links with China. 

In 2006 the US Armed Forces Journal published an article by Colonel Ralph Peters titled Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. In the piece, which appears to bear uncanny relevance to subsequent Pentagon and US State Department policy in the region, Peters calls for the  creation of aFree Baluchistan

His call was echoed by US Pakistan “expert” Selig Harrison, who reportedly enjoys strong ties to the CIA. In 2006 after Peters published his sensational article Harrison wrote in Le Monde Diplomatique and the New York Times that a Free Baluchistan movement was “simmering.”  The call by Peters and Harrison for a Free Baluchistan began four years after China began building the first phase of the Gwadar Port. 

 

The availability of a major alterative trade route that cuts distance and time from the present long and slow 8000 km route by ship from the Persian Gulf through the Malacca Strait to the eastern seaboard of China will give both the Gulf states, as well as parts of Africa where China is very active, and Asia, huge economic benefits.  

Enter Baluchistan ‘Separatism’

Conveniently for Washington, which has no interest in fostering greater Chinese independence of energy supply, in recent months a growing militant separatist movement has erupted on the scene in Baluchistan, the Pakistan province where Gwadar is located. On June 15 this year, terror attacks including a suicide bombing of a bus filled with students and a gunfight in the city that left two dozen dead, hit the Baluchistan provincial capital of Quetta. 

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a militant separatist group, claimed responsibility. The BLA wasn’t acting alone. As the injured students were being rushed to hospital, they ran into an ambush by the ‘Pakistani Taliban’Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ)The BLA has been involved in attacks on government oil fields and gas pipelines. The Pakistan government accuses India of being behind the BLA. India recently has been moving closer to the US and to Japan in a military alliance that has a distinct anti-China bent.

Further, on July 29, jihadist militants armed with rockets and heavy weapons launched a concerted assault on a major prison in Dera Ismail Khan, close to the South Waziristan tribal agency in northwestern Pakistan, along the route of the rail-highway-pipelines from Gwadar to Xinjiang, freeing an estimated 250 militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Terror attacks in Xinjiang too

Xinjiang has recently suffered from new rioting by separatist Muslim Uyghurs. In late June in Xinjiang, home to some 10 million Uyghurs, two terror attacks killed 35 people days ahead of the fourth anniversary of the July 5, 2009 riot in the capital Urumqi that left 197 people deadThe Jihadist Uyghur terrorists apparently are being recruited in Turkey by an Uyghur independence organization, sent to Syria for combat experience and, if they survive, sent back to Xinjiang to carry out terror deeds there. China’s official daily, Global Times, reported in early July that a Muslim Uyghur from Xinjiang, Memeti Alili was arrested in Xinjiang during the new wave of terrorist acts and riots.

The Chinese daily reported that the 23-year-old Alili confessed to police that he had been recruited as a student in Istanbul by something called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Aili was arrested when returning to Xinjiang to complete his mission to “carry out violent attack and improve fighting skills.” He confessed that he had been assigned to return by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). ETIM is a terrorist group that aims to create an Islamist state in Xinjiang, which works alongside the East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association (ETESA), an Istanbul-based exile group. 

 

This picture taken on August 5, 2013 shows the shell of a burnt out bus being towed by a rescue vehicle along a street in Urumqi in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (AFP Photo)

This picture taken on August 5, 2013 shows the shell of a burnt out bus being towed by a rescue vehicle along a street in Urumqi in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (AFP Photo)

 

Muslim Uyghur youth are being recruited to go to Istanbul to “study”, then recruited by ETIM and ETESA to fight as Jihadists in Syria with Al Qaeda and other jihad groups, according to China’s anti-terrorism authority. If they survive the Syrian battlefield training, the Uyghur jihadists are recycled back to Xinjiang in China, the end-point of the new Gwadar to China rail and road infrastructure “land bridge.”

The headquarters of ETESA, located in Istanbul include research, media, social affairs, education and women’s affairs departments. It aims to “educate and train Muslims” in Xinjiang and “set them free” by forming a Muslim state, according to a Chinese official.  In 2004, in Washington Anwar Yusuf Turani established the East Turkistan Government in Exile. Washington seemed not to object, though many other countries did, including China. The Istanbul link of ETIM and ETESA is no accident. Istanbul’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly backed the Uyghur separatists in 2009 during the riots, calling them fellow Turkic peoples.

Meanwhile, as if to further underscore how vulnerable any China-Pakistani energy and trade corridor from Gwadar to Xinjiang would be, on the eve of US Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Islamabad to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister just after the China deal of Pakistan, the US made several drone attacks inside Pakistan in the North Waziristan tribal region. They killed at least six people. It was the fourth US drone strike since Sharif was re-elected as Prime Minister in June, all in the crucial North Waziristan en route to Xinjiang. Despite Pakistan’s strong protests Washington refuses to halt the CIA-run drone attacks

With the CIA drone attacks, the Baluchistan attacks of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Baloch Liberation Army, as well as Jihadists being sent into Xinjiang from Turkey and Syria, we can expect unrest to increase in Baluchistan province and upwards to Xinjiang as the huge China-Pakistan infrastructure plans materialize in coming months.

 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

 
William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.

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