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Archive for August, 2012

Clear N.Waziristan & Hot Pursuit into Afghanistan’s Terrorist Sanctuary

Pakistan Army needs to take its gloves off and go on hot pursuit of these fanatical Taliban of Hakeem Ullah Mehsud. Otherwise, this wound will keep festering. On large operation using forces from the following Corp, and the SSG division to do a Swat type operations in N.Waziristan. If and only if, the current behind the scences  negotiations with Haqqani, Gul Bahadur, and the minor entities fail. Pakistani people are fed-up with the bleeding process.
XII Corps§
7 Infantry Division
33 Infantry Division
9 Infantry Division
41 Infantry Division
§ The accuracy of this information cannot be confirmed.


For any army in the world, the biggest nightmare is when its personnel, installations and assets stand vulnerable to attacks from within its own territory. This is a sign of the erosion of the writ of the state and its failure in resolving the internal contradictions that allows disgruntled small or big armed groups or sections of the population to flout the law of the land and take on the civil and military institutions. It is considered a bigger national security threat compared with the one emitting from abroad or a hostile nation. The decay in the writ of the state creates chaos and lawlessness and the establishment of parallel centres of power. The situation, if allowed to fester for long, often results in the collapse of the state from within or its dismemberment.


Unfortunately, today Pakistan faces a similar grave challenge to its national security and cohesion in which non-state actors not just hold large swaths of land in the rugged northern parts of the country, but are also trying to undermine the country’s most powerful institution – the armed forces – by waging direct assaults on its personnel and bases.


The August 16 attack on the Kamra airbase is just one of the many against the Pakistani security forces by Al-Qaeda-inspired local Islamic militants that underlines the severity of the crisis. The official assertions that preparedness of the security personnel at Kamra prevented any major loss of lives or Air Force assets remain only a small consolation, given the fact that our protectors now stand unsafe in their own backyard.


The ever-looming internal threat is, indeed, more ominous for the armed forces rather than an external one for which they are basically trained and should ideally remain focused.


If these are not the worrying times for the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and his top brass than what other calamity could they be waiting for? No wonder, in his August 14 Independence Day speech, the general finally declared that the fight against extremism is our own war.


But this war has not suddenly become “our war” following General Kayani’s statement. It has always been “our war” for more than a decade now when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf tried to shift Pakistan’s policy, with limited success, by banning various militant groups in 2002 and starting a selective crackdown on these retrogressive forces which remain bent upon using Pakistani territory not just for terrorism in various parts of the world, but also within the country.


The loss of more than 40,000 lives, including thousands of security personnel, during this period is living testimony to how the local Taliban and their allies brutalised the society and tried to undermine the state in line with their narrow interpretation of Islam.


Yes, there has been frequent wavering in this war against extremism as the civil and military establishment struck doomed peace deals and attempted to neutralize various bands of militants through a policy of appeasement.


This produced only confusion in the minds of many Pakistanis about the legitimacy of this war and gave more space to these non-state actors, creating an international perception that Pakistan is a reluctant partner in the global fight against terrorism and is following a policy of duplicity. As a result, the country suffered on every front – politically, socially and economically. Its international isolation grew, providing an opportunity to the critics of Islamabad to portray the country as an irresponsible state. This negative international perception remains ironic given the fact that the kind of price Pakistan paid in the fight against al-Qaeda and their local allies, both in terms of human lives and financial and economic losses over the last one decade.


The civil and military leadership’s half-hearted measures, an apparent lack of commitment and absence of a cohesive anti-terrorism policy, focusing both at operational details and an ideological narrative, also hurt the overall morale of the country regarding this fight.


Our soldiers need clarity of purpose and conviction to fight and win this war. It is a must to keep the unity and cohesion of the armed forces, which by-and-large have maintained their discipline barring a handful of dissensions at the lower and mid-level when security personnel were found involved in aiding terrorists or themselves becoming part of terror plots.


General Kayani’s statement of owning the war against extremism will certainly help in removing the cobwebs in the minds of some of the confused not just within the rank-and-file of the armed forces, but also those civilians who are being duped in the sacred name of Islam by militants and radical Islamists.


What is now required is to aggressively push and reiterate General Kayani’s message at every level to counter the organised propaganda that this war is not our war. In Pakistan, the army alone has the operational capacity and ability to stand up to and defeat the extremists. The political leadership – both in the government and the opposition – should take the cue and provide an ideological narrative to help build and mould popular public opinion on the need for winning this war and defeating the extremists who threaten the Pakistani state and should be seen as enemy number one.


Luckily, a vast majority of Pakistanis are moderates and they abhor religious zealotry, violence and extremism which also directly hurt their social and economic interests. This remains an encouraging factor.


However, there is also no dearth of those religious and rightwing forces who try to misguide the people by portraying the conflict as an American war. Some of these religious parties have their direct vested economic interests tied to this stance. For supporting and sponsoring militancy has become a huge business empire since the early 1980s when Pakistan decided to join the war in Afghanistan against the former Soviet troops through its proxies and non-state actors with the support of the United States and its allies. It is now big money raised in the name of donations and charity.


For some other forces opposing the fight against extremism, it is just one quick way to fame and tapping into the rightwing vote. They intentionally or unintentionally choose to live in a state of self-denial and find a foreign-hand in our misfortunes, which in fact are of our own doing.


This happened again in the case of the Kamra attack in which many so-called analysts, public opinion makers, politicians and even television anchors were seen trying to find a grand international conspiracy behind the assault, conveniently forgetting all about the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. But this kind of self-denial is always self-defeating.


If one would have listened to the advice and recommendations of Pakistan’s politically astute clerics and closet clean-shaved Taliban, who want the Pakistan Air Force to engage US drones, seal the NATO supplies and give a free-hand to militants to plot terrorism across the world, Pakistan would have long ago been declared a rogue state or gone into a self-destructive war with its neighbours and the world powers. We should thank God that despite our penchant for adventurism in our civil and military corridors of power, somehow a little bit of sanity always prevailed and we managed to avoid the doomsday scenario. But perhaps this is the time for us to shed the weight around our neck once for all and free the country of warlords, militant movements and private armies. For this is now a battle for Pakistan.


The writer is editor The News, Karachi. Email: [email protected]


The enemy within
Amir Zia
Wednesday, August 29, 2012


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INDIA EXPORTING TERRORISM: Declare India a Terrorist State


Claiming itself to be a democracy, the largest one at that, India sets standards for the world to follow in the domains of democracy, secularism and patriotism. Indian strategists believe that by aligning with India even USA and Israel could benefit enormously. India seeks to make their regular killing of innocent Kashmiris as a yard-stick to meassure Indian hatred for Islam and Muslms.

Loud talk of democracy and secularism in Indian streets are taken quite seriously by its neighbors, especially Pakistan and Bangladesh and their media, at least some of them, shower praises effortlessly on Indian system. Even though it made strides in all walks of life until recently,Pakistan joined the world chorus of “resurrecting democracy” which means rampant corruption and nepotism, state terrorism and anti-Islamism and combating Islam. As a result, Pakistan is gradually becoming a weak nation. 


Poverty of Weapons?

Armed with latest weapons, “democratic” India occupies Kashmir forcefully, killing thousands of Kashmiri Muslims. Not only India glorifies terrorism, but it also finances it by paying huge sums to those who have got medals for exhibiting the terrorist skills like shooting and boxing in the just concluded 2008 Beijing Olympics. A whopping Rs. 50 lakhs to the shooting medal holder has been announced by central government without any audit objections. Provincial states also would announce equal amounts to the player who got a medal by playing for just a couple of minutes, while millions of poor toil for hours together every day without being able to meet both their ends.   Known for its poverty record apart from criminal and state terrorist records, India wastes huge resources on conventional-cum-nuclear weaponization of the country. The amounts wasted on such glamour purposes could as well be spent on poor in the country. But premier Manmohan & Co propped up by the Indian big businesses and American transnationals that benefited from him as Reserve bank chief, Planning commission deputy chief and finance minister and now as premier, does not think poor merits any attention in India once the polls are over.   Apart from poor, Muslims inIndia are the worst hit thanks to Indian anti-Muslim policies and practices both at the centre and states. Muslim representation in government sectors is meager but many Muslims are coerced by Hindus, directly and with the help of remote terror gadgets, to leave jobs, seek voluntary retirement, but they are never paid the benefits, in spite of repeated reminders. Indian can use their extra cash to pay the balances to them as well.    If governments don’t want to pay their dews to Muslims, let them at least take care of other poor people. In the name of security and weaponization, Indan leaders loot the nation’s resources. In deals huge commissions are paid to the agents and brokers.   However, India skillfully uses cricket matches to divert the popular attention from the fate of common people in the society of every raising prices

Greed for prizes, praises and awards

Any foreigner observing the Indian media both print and electronic would detect a strange phenomenon. Indians crave for fame, praise, prizes and awards and very badly. Lust for money is one thing that West has influenced the East about, but the neo-ambitions for prizes and awards at any cost is making a mockery of Indian mind-set. The way the media went about showering prizes on a person who got a gold medal at Olympics displaying his shooting ability, needed for terrorist activities, is nothing but amazing. Indian president made a special mention of it in her Independence day address to nation and now the government has decided to grant him a whopping 50 lakhs of rupees without any shy and any financial problems. Many Muslims have been forced to take retirement form services as per a long planned strategy to rid them off the government scene, and even retirement benefits are not paid for years together. Governments expect the Muslims to knock at the courts for that, but it can give such huge among to any one it wants without any reference to any agencies. When many people suffer without being able meet their both ends meet, the efforts to get some prizes and awards look funny indeed. Apart from shooting, another area which garnered the second bronze medal is boxing- the conventional ability in terrorism.    This explains why this writer receives too many invitations from different national and international forums and agencies informing me of “winning” special prize’ or award. Many of them ask me to pay a fee or some payment to claim that prize and medal. One such invitation came from Cater Foundation Grant, but some amount was sought to claim the prize amount. But after a while it came to fore that the senders expected me to canvas for Democratic Party in the President’s run. One is astonished at the way the elections are conducted and won world wide.     


Democracy and Decency

Over years since its independence from United Kingdom in 1947 and subsequent occupation of Jammu Kashmir, India has played its cards pretty well both at home and externally. It projected itself as a decent democracy caring for secularism and fellow Muslims in the country. It also cries loud that Pakistan has terrorized Indians and that that country sends “terrorists” to cross over to India to execute terror attacks. Indian media very sumptuously portray non-Hindus, especially the Muslims, are no promoting interests in India and abroad and they are “terrorists”. Of course, it can do even much more since Indian media are totally anti-Pakistan, anti-Bangladesh and essentially anti-Islam. There is not even a single India newspaper either in English or vernacular that talks well of Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.    While the media inKashmir have been bent to cater to the needs of New Delhi on wholesale as well as retail basis, one can see a few newspapers both inPakistan and Bangladesh supporting India, its cause, its goals. But it is strange that in India, the so-called largest democracy that always blames its neighbors for its wrongs, there is not even one newspaper of electronic medium either in English or in vernaculars that at least indirectly talks nice of its neighbors. Ok, let them not support and praisePakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir, but at least stop ridiculing and use filthy _expressions to describe them.    When India intrudes intoPakistan or Bangladeshi territories, it clams it did so only by mistake. When Indian guns fire at Muslims on either side of the Indian borders, it again cites innocence.    Indian media and foreign missions have successfully created the Indian illusion. “Muslims are bad guys, Kashmiris are bad guys and Pakistanis are very bad guys”. Every Indian journalist is allowed only to write praises about India as the ancient kings did. As a result foreigners read only the golden and silver pages about India while India cleverly hid the ugly sides of reality in India andKashmir.     Indian leaders, especially the so-called “patriotic” sections keep harping on “anti-national and “anti-India themes to gain popularity with anti-Muslims sentiments of electorates and that is illegal and judiciary should note this. The media men support such anti-human sentiments for making money and a name among the anti-Islamic forces.   But neither leaders nor media lords have even pretense of elementary decency in public speeches and reporting on its neighbors.

Terrorism and Territory

India tactfully annexed its neighbor Kashmir, heavily militarized it and killed the freedom fighting Kashmiris and also branded them as “terrorists” and “cross-border-terrorists”. Top of that, India accusesPakistan and Bangladesh of training “terrorists” against “innocent” India.  India trains all sorts of peoples, from terrorists to militants to fanatics to suit its national and international needs. But in order to cover up its nefarious activities it focuses on Islam, Muslims, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  Saudi Arabia, Hajj, etc. blames its neighbors and Indian intelligence agencies are frustrated over the strong lobbying for highlighting the Kashmir human rights violations at international forums by some  NGO’s working  in Europe and USA with the support of Indian human rights and Peace activists.    A huge lot of resources are being wasted on propaganda purposes by Indian government directly throughout its missions and various NGOs and other secret agencies world over, including in Arab World. But it makes strenuous efforts to see that Muslims in India and Kashmir do not make any anti-India propaganda by placing before the world about the reality situation in the country.   The intelligence wings in India have marked the Indian Muslims into different categories. The major chunk of Muslims is described as “terrorists”, spies and agents of Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh. In order to create make believe strings, they link the freedom fighting Kashmiris abroad and their media supporters with ISI. Kolkatta based female Professor, who was reported to have strong links with Pakistan’s spy wing Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), an Ahmedabad based Advocate, a New Delhi based “human rights activist” and about half a dozen “influential persons” of Kashmir to carry out a strong anti-India propaganda on Kashmir and raise funds for the ‘terrorists’. A pro-Kashmir activist presently operating in USA, was said to have utilized all his resources in Europe for pro-Kashmir or “anti-India propaganda” and utilizing the occasion for raising funds for ‘terrorism’.  Large sums are being cast and spent on intelligence networks and other secret services in India. Main talk assigned to them all is propaganda. Intelligence agencies, on the basis of newspaper reports, keep writing nasty about Muslims in and around the country. But they also focus on tracking those who oppose these ant-Muslim propaganda and report correct things about hidden Idna life. They don’t want any organization to support these ant-India propagandists. They seek action against a Netherlands based NGO, a Kolkatta based female Professor, an Ahmedabad  based Advocate and a host of “anti-India Indians” who have joined hands not only to carry out strong “anti-India propaganda” in Europe but were also found in raising funds for ‘terror’ outfits operating in Kashmir.   The Intelligence agencies try to block any funds for Kashmir freedom struggle. After obtaining a detailed report of “anti-India propaganda” and ‘terror’ funds raised in Europe they have written to the government to take action against the Indian citizens involved in the plot and cancel their visa. The Intelligence agencies have identified nearly a dozen citizens of India, who had recently joined hands along with some Kashmir based “separatists” operating in USA and Londonand a Netherlands based NGO, to project what they described “strong human rights violations” in Kashmir at different forums in Europe. They were also reported to have raised funds worth several crores through different forums for ‘terror’ funding in Kashmir. Now Indian intelligence agencies are badly affected by the recent discovery of secret grave-yards in Kashmir.     Any movement any where exposing Indian misdeeds in general and against Muslims in particular is viewed by Indians with anger and criminal response. Accordingly, Pakistan Embassies in Europe have also played a significant role in “anti-India” resolutions including a warning to India that the country would be fully responsible if anything happened to Kolkatta based woman and a “human rights activist” of Kashmir, who continued to insist that a large number of people were missing in Kashmir while as the agencies have asserted that most of them have joined militancy and the number of “actually missing persons” was very few. India does not want any misleading information about this “democracy”  or the “data far from truth” in Europe againstIndia on Kashmir. The Government is likely to seek complete ban on any international aid for Netherlands NGO. The Ministry, sources revealed, was also actively considering cancellation of visa of Kolkatta based woman and Ahmedabad based Advocate. That is Indian brand democracy and secularism.     It may be Ok that some of the media in both Pakistan and Bangladesh don’t hurt the minds and feelings of Indian strategists, and they try to appease Indan leaders and keep cool even in the thick of Indian criticisms and routine accusations of terrorist acts in India, Afghanistan and Kashmir, but it might help India  to retain Kashmir any case. Now a few right thinking people do write about Indian real scene as it exits now, but Indians astonished at the facts being presented get annoyed too.

A Word

It is high time India realizes the crude fact that sovereignty, independence and freedom are the birth rights of every human being and nation. Kashmiris do have the same right. And any kind of misinformation about the freedom fighting Kashmiris will not work in favor of India, rather it will work against India and its global interests. By branding the freedom fighting Kashmiris whom Indian terrorist forces have killed in thousands, as “terrorists, and calling them as “separatists”, India, its intelligence, its media lords and leaders are not going to retain Kashmir under its nasty military boots.   Daily murders are a common sight in Kashmir. What has been going on in Kashmir for the last two weeks is result of outburst of common people against Indian occupation and India has to vacate Kashmir earlier than later.

It is time UN declred India a state terrorist torturing and killing Muslims in India and Kashmir and encourage, through various ways, destruction of  Jammu Kashmir and destabilzation of its neigbors.


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Khurram Shaikh


The Deceptive Hindu Mind and US Ignorance About it.

Unlike the US and UK, Russia has never double-crossed Pakistan. It had a consistent policy towards Pakistan, even though hostile, partly due to dysfunctional foreign policies of Pakistan towards it and the rest of the Urals and Central Asian States region. It is also partly, an Asian nation. Its interests are more in harmony with those of Pakistan, than that of US, which has time and again, (except for Nixon era and Republican Administrations), back-stabbed Pakistan.  Pakistan has always been betrayed by Democratic Party Governments in US. The Republican Party has always had a balanced policy towards Pakistan. President Nixon also understood the deceptive nature of the Indian Hindu mind.  

Pakistan’s Importance in the Islamic World

US does not understand the leadership role of Pakistan in the 57 nation of Islamic world. Pakistan is admired by global Muslim populations for having achieved the nuclear status. It has given them pride, that their brethren in Muslim Ummah, have achieved, the extraordinary in nuclear and ballistic missile technology. US and its allies are choking Pakistan, economically, socially, polItically, and in the US Zionist controlled media. New York Times, Washington Post, and thousand of US News journals launch propaganda against Pakistan. Demonization of Pakistan and insinuation about the security of its Nuclear assets is the biggest propaganda orchestrated from Zionist controlled newspapers and Think Tanks.

The India-Israeli Axis and the Safety of Pakistans Strategic Assets “Red-Herring” used by Zionist Controlled US media and Think Tanks

The cleverly stealth argument is, “Pakistan’s nuclear assets safety is questionable.” US and its allies know better, Pakistan has the most secure nuclear program. It assets are guarded by a dedicated force of commandos trained in combating CBN attacks. Israel and India, through, Afghanistan has tried to interfere in FATA area and sent agents out to locate Pakistan’s nuclear assets. They have been caught and eliminated by Pakistan. Pakistani ISI was merciful to Raymond Davis, a CIA agent, because, it was at that time co-operating with US. But, the duplicitious and back-stabbing game is over. Pakistan has been bitten several times, the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan are quite aware and alert to the international games of Hindus and Zionists. 

Pakistan’s Nuclear Response, if Attacked

If Pakistan is attacked by any nation than it will retaliate immediately against it forces in the area, and its neighborhood allies like India. The secret transfer of Russian missile and nuclear technology and its codes has been done by India, a nation based on Chanakiya’s doctrine of Double-Cross, if it is in one’s interest.As early as the third century BCE, India claims to have had the first “double cross agent” named Chanakya. It was his work that governs India’s strategy towards its neighbors and its foreign policy. Chankiya promoted “double cross,” as a tool for national policy during ancient times. He promoted spying on the king’s enemies with his accomplices disguised as traders, merchants and students that earned him the added title of back-stabber.

President Putin, a Great Statesman, who understand Indian duplicity

Pakistan should welcome President Putin, with open arms. He is extremely smart and understands the machinations and subversions of US in Asia. He has also dealt with Zionists during the Gulag days and their duplicitious loyalties, not to Russia, but to Israel. No wonder, he kicked most of them out. But, to the Soviet emigre’s chagrin, Israel, is only for Western European and American Jewry. Russian Jews, African Jews, South Asian Jews, and Sephardic Jews are struggling to find jobs and emigrating in large numbers.

The third rail of Jewish politics is not the Palestine question, or even the issue of secular against religious that has so divided Jews in Israel and the Disapora. No, buried deep inside the contentious issue of Jewish identity is the primordial split between European Jews, Ashkenazim, and Jews of the Arab-Muslim world, Sephardim.

For all the fractiousness and infighting that constantly takes place in the Jewish world, the vast majority of those whose voices are heard so loudly and often piercingly in the discourse are closely united by their history and culture, a history that begins and ends in the Shtetls of Europe.”

David Shasha, Director, Center for Sephardic Heritage in 

Russia and Pakistan Common Interests

Russia is separate nation from the old Soviet Union. Pakistan should offer Russia trade access from Karachi and Gwader. It is a win-win proposition. Russia is also our neighbor,and it can help control the influx of terrorists coming fro Central Asian States and causing havoc in Pakistan. Russians have found the true nature of India and its Hindu character, “Muhn pay Ram!Ram!Baghul mehn Churi.” 

Many Pakistanis can trace their ancestry to Central Asian states and Russia. Pakistan has never caught a Russian spy, unlike, Raymond Davis. Hats off! To Pakistan Air Chief for rebuilding relationship. India is passing russian Sukhoi technology to US, including inspection of its Su-30 inventory and its IFF systems.

India is an existential threat to Pakistan, so is the United States, with its large Zionist population. To combat, this menace Pakistan needs to re-align with nations, with which it has common interest. The biggest mistake, Zia-ul-Haq made was to trust Americans and cause the destruction of the Soviet Union. Now, Pakistan should re-align with China-Russia-Islamic world (as its nuclear leader).


Pakistan can make Russia Queen of Asia. 47849.jpeg

The relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, despite the numerous attempts to revive them, are falling apart. Therefore, establishing close cooperation with Pakistan will give Russia a real chance to gain a foothold in Central and South Asia. In addition, Russia will be able to access the Indian Ocean, and make the U.S. troops in Afghanistan directly dependent on its logistics.

The constant and rude attempts of the United States to interfere in the internal affairs of a nuclear power raise overt anger in this country at all levels. An opinion poll conducted by Pew Research Center (USA) in the beginning of this year showed that 74 percent of Pakistanis view the U.S. as an “enemy.” Not that long ago, the whole country was discussing the scandal connected with the resignation of the Pakistani ambassador to the United States. Husain Haqqani wrote a secret letter, in which he asked for help in preventing a military coup, which was allegedly plotted in Pakistan, and promised certain concessions in return.

But even this pro-American official said last week that the goals and priorities of the two countries would not be the same in near future. That is why, he said, the USA and Pakistan should give up their attempts to build a partnership and pay attention to their own interests instead. “If in 65 years we haven’t been able to find sufficient common reasons to live together … It may be better to find friendship outside the family ties,” Haqqani told Reuters.

The brazen drone bombings of the Pakistani territory, the uncoordinated military operation to destroy Osama bin Laden, the accusations of supplying materials for Iran’s nuclear program have prompted Pakistan to seek cooperation with Russia. A special envoy of the President of Russia visited Pakistan in May 2012. Putin himself accepted the invitation to come to Pakistan for a bilateral meeting in Islamabad, prior to the IV quadrilateral meeting on Afghanistan. The meeting is to be held in Islamabad on 26-27 September 2012 with the participation of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Russia. A new strategic partnership is brewing in the region.

Pakistan was one of three countries that officially recognized the power of Taliban movement in Afghanistan. There is no logic in the decision of the USA to make Pakistan its ally after 9/11. Indeed, Afghanistan and Pakistan are two brotherly nations. Ten billion dollars that the States invested in Pakistan’s economy during ten years are not enough to make the country “sell and destroy itself,” as Minister of Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati said.

In case of partnership with Pakistan, Russia could take control of the logistics of the U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. Russia already controls the Northern Distribution Network in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that border on Afghanistan. If we add the southern routes from Karachi to Chaman and Torkham, then all deliveries will have to be coordinated through the Russian-Pakistani alliance.

If this scenario becomes reality, Russia will obtain enormous leverage over the United States. In one fell swoop, it will remove the Mideastern loop, which can not be tightened today just because of Iran. What is more, Russia will receive access to the Indian Ocean through the Arabian Sea and the ports of Gwadar or Karachi and then to the Strait of Hormuz, bypassing the alliance with Iran, which is not beneficial for Russia now.

In addition, Pakistan has been an observer at the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization – a regional international organization, founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) since 2005. One could go further on the geopolitical level, and make the country a permanent member of the SCO. Given that Afghanistan, India and Iran also look for partnerships in the bloc, one should welcome them as members too. The U.S. would thus face a dilemma: either give away South Asia for the SCO (to Russia and China that is) or try to retain the region at all costs.

With Pakistan’s help, Russia would be able to control terrorist activities in Central Asia. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is the largest Islamist political organization in Central Asia. It is present in Afghanistan on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, and Pakistan’s role could be crucial in the fight against this menace.

The Commander of Pakistan Air Force, Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, visited Russia in August. He told Thenews.com.pk portal that “it was a great visit with a positive result, and we can expect closer cooperation with Russia in the field of defense, particularly air defense.” According to experts, Pakistan is interested in buying Mi-35 attack helicopters, Mi-17 transport helicopters, engines for JF-17 program, missile defense systems, submarines and so on.

Russia made another thoughtful decision as it offered Pakistan help in solving the country’s energy crisis. Gazprom is ready to invest in Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, rather than in the risky TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India), which has the support of the United States. In addition, Russia’s Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Factory (MMK), with 75 percent of shares, will help expand the capabilities of Pakistan Steel Mills from 1 million to 3 million tons of production a year. Pakistan, in turn, can provide access to mineral resources in Balochistan and the Thar coal deposit.

It is important to remember that Pakistan sits on the crossroads of east to west and north to south trade corridors, including the new Silk Road Project in South Asia, which the Americans cherish. Russia needs to firmly define its economic priorities and defend them strongly. If the resources are not needed, then one should keep the  transportation routes of those resources under control. A mega breakthrough is possible in the future: the “Persian Gulf – Bering Strait” railroad. The road will cross the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Turksib and the Trans-Asian Railway from China to Europe.

Lyuba Lulko



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Zardari on Drone Attacks: Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.

In a meeting with ex-Ambassador Anne Patterson in August 2008, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is reported as having brushed off criticisms of the drone program, saying “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”5 In Bob Woodward’s recent book, Obama’s Wars, Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari is said to have privately voiced an identical sentiment to ex-CIA chief Mike Hayden, around the same time: “Kill the seniors. Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.” (6 Bob Woordward, Obama’s Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 26.)

AS IS well known, in recent years the United States has greatly expanded the scope of its operations in and around Pakistan. Nobel Peace Prizes aside, Obama has launched more than four times the number of drone strikes ordered under Bush—and this, after only two-and-a-half years in office.1 The fact that the American antiwar movement has regained some momentum, then, is to be welcomed, as is the fact that it finds itself on surer footing than in previous years. The recent protests in April saw the beginnings of important efforts to connect the domestic antiwar movement to movements overseas, as well—links that will prove essential if we’re to succeed in our aims.


Nevertheless, for a few on the American left, Pakistan remains a source of some confusion. With an eye on the challenges ahead, it may be useful to review a few basic facts about the country’s history, the current standoff with the United States, and the state and future of the left.

Imperialism and its lackeys

As is widely known, more than half of Pakistan’s history has passed under military rule. Dictators wielded power between 1958 and 1971, between 1977 and 1988, and between 1999 and 2008. 
There are many reasons for this, of course, but the most straightforward explanation is perhaps also the most compelling. Pakistan, at independence and after, has been in the hands of a political class with an exceedingly shallow grip on the territories it has come to rule. The “movement” behind the country’s creation, the All-India Muslim League, had always had its most meaningful base of support in a region of the subcontinent that actually became part of India in 1947.2 Thus, upon independence, the areas the Muslim League was called on to govern were almost uniformly places in which the movement had no roots.3Because the League’s political line hewed firmly to the reactionary mandates of its vanguard (landlords and lawyers, in the main), its connection to Pakistan’s masses lay principally in its alliances with their tribal and provincial overlords.

This, the thoroughgoing political weakness of the country’s elite, suffices as a proximate explanation for the frequency of authoritarian rule. More often than not, the Pakistani ruling class has found the imperative of holding on to the levers of power to be incompatible with democratizing access to the state apparatus.

The United States, unsurprisingly, has an unmistakable record of backing each of the three dictatorships to the hilt. In this sense, the history of the Pakistan-U.S. alliance demonstrates well what has only been confirmed by the current administration’s response to the popular struggles in North Africa and the Middle East: for all the hot air about “democracy” and “human rights,” the American establishment retains impeccable commitments to its own strategic interests.

In the 1950s, Muhammad Ayub Khan’s military dictatorship was a pillar of America’s anti-communist pacts, SEATO and CENTO. In the 1980s, when the Soviets were in Afghanistan, the United States happily poured billions of dollars into the coffers of General Zia ul Haq. This, it’s worth remembering, is the same Zia who was simultaneously introducing an unprecedented series of repressive laws to punish social and political dissent: ranging from public flogging, to the amputation of the hands of burglars and criminals, the stoning to death of adulterers, etc. The Blasphemy Laws recently in the news were given their weight by his administration.4 And in the last decade, the United States gladly propped up General Pervez Musharraf as reward for playing second fiddle as the United States conquered Afghanistan.

The current conjuncture

While today Washington finds itself allied with an elected government, many of the fundamentals of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship remain unchanged. Precisely because U.S. policymakers are animated entirely by their strategic interests in the region, dynamics that recall the earlier periods are very much still in evidence today.

For one, the arrangement with the current democratic dispensation works, for the United States, precisely because the civilian leaders are weak-kneed and eager satraps. For all of its bluster, the current Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) regime hastily fell in line after taking power.

The leaked WikiLeaks cables are chock-full of evidence of the PPP’s submissiveness. For instance, in a meeting with ex-Ambassador Anne Patterson in August 2008, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is reported as having brushed off criticisms of the drone program, saying “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”5 In Bob Woodward’s recent book, Obama’s Wars, Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari is said to have privately voiced an identical sentiment to ex-CIA chief Mike Hayden, around the same time: “Kill the seniors. Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.”6

In this sense, the corollary of the PPP’s subservience to Uncle Sam is a deep-seated contempt for the Pakistani people. It’s worth noting, after all, that even by the most conservative estimates, the drone program has killed several hundred civilians.7

Secondly, despite the formal ouster of the dictatorship, the army remains absolutely pivotal to the alliance. This comes out quite clearly in the leaked cables, as well. Much of the real action of negotiating Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war rests with the military brass, and not with the civilians. This is a property of the incomplete character of Pakistan’s democratization—despite the 2008 transition, the civilians cannot claim to have brought the generals under their sway.

Of course, much has been made of the rapid deterioration in the U.S. relationship with the Pakistani military, following first the Raymond Davis affair, and now the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Here, though, we need to be careful to set the fracas in its historical and strategic context.

It bears remembering, after all, that the current brouhaha comes on the heels of a couple of years of relatively warmer relations. In this period, the Pakistani military greatly expanded the scale, scope, and brutality of very heavy-handed counterinsurgency offensives in the Northwest. As a consequence, in 2009 more people were displaced by military conflict in Pakistan than in any other country in the world.8

This had improved the relationship between the army and the U.S. to no end. In fact, one of the major “revelations” of the WikiLeaks episode, viz-a-viz Pakistan, was the information that the army was allowing U.S. Special Operations Forces to embed with Pakistani troops. As the relevant cable makes clear, the U.S. had long waited for permission to do this, and it was only their growing understanding that made the arrangement possible.

One needs to tread carefully, then, when evaluating the endless speculation doing the rounds after the Abbotabad raid. Certainly, if it’s true that the Pakistani military was housing bin Laden, the most persuasive explanation is Tariq Ali’s: as long as the bogeyman remained at-large, a healthy flow of American aid was guaranteed.

At the same time, there is reason to question this. To my mind it’s not settled that the Pakistani military is committed to a long-term NATO presence. The bounty of U.S. aid competes with the goal of reestablishing Pakistan’s influence over Afghanistan (of the kind enjoyed in the mid- to late- 1990s), which remains a central strategic priority. And the protracted U.S. presence, together with the collaborationist role this forces on the Pakistani establishment, has engendered unprecedented levels of persistent violence within Pakistan’s borders. If handing over bin Laden would have expedited U.S. withdrawal plans, why wait?

Moreover, whatever Osama represented in his last years, he was hardly of strategic value to the military. Unlike other militants based in Pakistan (about which more below), neither he nor al-Qaeda have any meaningful role in organizing the insurgency in Afghanistan. This is why, despite all the circumstantial evidence to the contrary, the possibility that the military was oblivious to his presence in Abbotabad can’t be ruled out.

More important than speculation about the army’s role in offering bin Laden exile and/or assisting in his assassination, however, is clarity around the larger facts in Af-Pak. The current imbroglio is as good a time to take stock as any, since it only helps to clarify that there remain permanent tensions between U.S. and Pakistani planners regarding the endgame in Afghanistan.

The crux of the issues centers on what the Americans regard as the Pakistani army’s unwillingness to abandon its support of elements of the Afghan insurgency that have based themselves in North Waziristan. The key protagonist here is a group known as the Haqqani network, to which the military has well-established links, but the problem is more general.

Publicly, for the United States, Pakistan’s ambivalence towards these groups explains the difficulties the U.S. surge is having in Afghanistan. The White House December strategy review, for example, was dominated by discussion of these “safe havens.”

This assessment, of course, is inaccurate. The insurgency is hardly puppeteered from Pakistan; rather, it’s driven by the criminality and corruption of the United States and its quislings in Afghanistan. That is to say, even if these safe havens didn’t exist, the insurgency still would. For U.S. planners, harping on Pakistan’s “double-dealing” in North Waziristan serves a dual purpose: as a public test of Pakistan’s loyalty, as well as a ready excuse for the calamity that is their occupation.

For the Pakistanis, U.S. demands require an ever-more-delicate balancing game. On the one hand, there’s the obvious necessity of cooperating with Washington, given the more than $11.5 billion in military aid that has come the army’s way, since 9/11.9 On the other, there’s the aforementioned strategic imperative of guaranteeing a favorable settlement in Afghanistan. The ever-present worry that India will exert influence in a post-occupation regime means Pakistan’s ties to the Afghan insurgency aren’t likely to be rethought in the near future.

Thus far, granting permission to the U.S. drone program has been the government’s way of handling this conundrum. It’s very unlikely that something like a full offensive against these groups (which the United States has been demanding) is actually in the cards, both because of the army’s deep investment in these networks, but also because the blowback from any operation is guaranteed to be formidable.

However—and this is important—all this will depend centrally on the pace of American withdrawal. The longer the United States ends up staying, the more difficult it might prove for Pakistan to avoid some sort of reckoning with these groups. Of course, it’s worth stressing that if some kind of negotiated settlement is eventually brokered by the United States, it is precisely Pakistan’s “treacherous” links to the insurgency’s leadership that will prove essential to ensuring an orderly transition.

The very possibility of this settlement, it must be said, invites a larger clarification. This strategic quandary that the Americans find themselves in, viz-a-viz Pakistan, is almost always cited as evidence that Pakistani “duplicity” will be the undoing of America’s struggle in Afghanistan. At best, we’re told that the military can’t abandon its irrational obsession with India; at worst, the suggestion is that the Taliban have infiltrated the ISI.

This framing, however, is colossally misguided. The Pakistani state’s patronage of elements of the Afghan insurgency is neither pathological, nor evidence of an imminent fundamentalist takeover. On the contrary, as many a U.S. strategist no doubt understands, the military’s behavior is eminently rational in the present context; in many ways, it is competitive, bourgeois statecraft at its most honest.

For this reason, the left’s diagnosis has to be different. The irrationality plaguing Af-Pak is emphatically systemic. It is a property not of conniving Pakistani generals but rather of the larger “Great Game” raging in the region, which is an indictment of the U.S. occupation, specifically, but also, more generally, of a social system that can produce wars and state rivalries of this duration and intensity.

The left and the road ahead

And last, a few words on Pakistan’s progressives. In the aftermath of the assassinations of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti,10 both murdered for their opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, many seem convinced that the Pakistani masses have been lost, irreparably, to the religious right. This, it must be said unequivocally, is hogwash. While it would be foolish to underplay the scale of the challenge that confronts the left in the country, principled concerns have to be distinguished from the mindless babble of the Islamophobes, for whom Pakistan has never been much more than an army, a smattering of sensible politicians, and the 180 million-strong “barbarian horde” that they hold back.

The facts are quite different. For one, the right-wing religious parties have actually never done well at the polls—peaking at roughly 11 percent of the vote in 2002, but down to 3 percent in 2008. They have no chance of making significant inroads on a national scale, where the PPP and the PML-N have no rivals. In a handful of parts of the country the left can match the Islamists for street power. In Balochistan, Sindh, and even Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the nationalists—overwhelmingly secular, in inspiration—are considerably stronger.

The world was abuzz, for example, when the Islamists put 50,000 on the streets of Karachi after the governor’s murder; but no one will have heard that secular Sindhi nationalists managed to mobilize more than three times that number a year earlier. Or that 100,000 textile workers, organized by a left-wing trade union movement in Faisalabad, went on a successful seventeen-day strike this past summer.

None of this is to suggest that the left is strong, of course. There’s nothing to be gained by disguising the fact that progressives have their work cut out for them. But what we should remember, here, is that the left’s relative weakness hardly makes Pakistan exceptional—on the contrary, it’s a plight with which much of the world is quite familiar. And it is this—the fact of a shared predicament—that has to be our starting-point, as we move forward.

Today, the urgency of a left revival is indisputable. Pakistan’s vast majority remains centrally preoccupied by hunger, poverty, and war, not by sectarian prejudices or anti-blasphemy crusades. Scattered protests against the everyday miseries of life in our country—layoffs, land grabbing, employer impunity, government heavy-handedness, etc.—are routine. As I write, workers from the recently privatized utility company in Karachi sit on a prolonged hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club.

In step with the global march to austerity, the Pakistani people find themselves subject to the criminal mandates of an ongoing IMF program. The Fund is withholding the last chunk of an $11.3 billion agreement until the government meets certain spending benchmarks.

In order to do this, the government has already taken some unforgivable measures. Despite the monstrous damage wrought by last summer’s floods, the development budget has been slashed.11 What is no less shocking is that all of the flood-related reconstruction and rehabilitation projects have been canceled for lack of funds.12 Unsurprisingly, in January the deputy head of UNICEF reported rates of malnutrition in Sindh that rival “the worst of the famine in Ethiopia, Darfur, and Chad.”13 (It’s worth adding that—despite the requisite fanfare in the first few weeks after the floods—the United States has contributed only $400 million, which is about a fifth of what it spends in one week on its Afghan adventure.)14

Amid this “fiscal emergency,” the military budget has been increased by 25 percent. This wasn’t announced publicly, nor does it seem to have been subject to parliamentary scrutiny. In fact, Pakistanis probably wouldn’t have found out had the hike not been revealed in a memo submitted to the IMF last September.15

In short, it’s difficult to imagine that there will ever be a better time to stress the fact that people across the world find themselves locked, against the machinations of their ruling classes, in a common struggle to forge something resembling a habitable world. If the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have taught us anything, it is that people once readily dismissed as apolitical, fundamentalists, sectarian, etc. (dismissed, mind you, not just by the mainstream, but also by some on the left), harbor both enviable courage and serious political convictions.

Undoubtedly, the road to rebuilding our movements, at home and abroad, will be long and uncertain. Nonetheless, as the United States scrambles to maintain regional hegemony, we can’t afford a lack of clarity on these few, critical points of departure.

Adaner Usmani is a graduate student in sociology at NYU. He works with Action for a Progressive Pakistan, as well as the Labor Party Pakistan.

1 See the drone database maintained by the New America Foundation, available at counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones.

2 See Hamza Alavi, “Pakistan and Islam: Ethnicity and Ideology,” in State and Ideology in the Middle East in Pakistan, Fred Halliday and Hamza Alavi, eds. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1988).

3 One illustration of this is the fact that Urdu, which was the ideological bedrock of the Muslim League’s project, was spoken by only 7.3 percent of Pakistan’s population in 1951. Tariq Ali,Pakistan: Military Rule or People’s Power (London: Jonathan Cape, 1970), 136.

4 See Urooj Zia, “No Defense for Archaic Judaeo-Christian Law,” Pakistan Today, January 10, 2011. Available at www.uroojzia.com/work/?p=578.

5 Tim Lister, “Wikileaks: Pakistan quietly approved drone attacks, U.S. special units” CNN, December 1, 2010. Available at 

6 Bob Woordward, Obama’s Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 26.

7 See Adaner Usmani, “Drones and left-wing politics,” Viewpointonline, November 29, 2010. Available at www.

8 “Pakistan suffered most displacement in 2009,” Express Tribune, May 18, 2010. Available at tribune.com.pk/story/14035/pakistan-suffered-most-displacement-in-2009/.

9 “Pakistan got $18bn aid from US since 2001,” Times of India, February 23, 2010. Available at articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-02-23/pakistan/28138643_1_civilian-aid-

10 Salman Taseer was governor of Punjab until his assassination by a member of his own security team, in January 2011. Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was Federal Minister of Minorities when murdered in March 2011 by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Both Bhatti and Taseer had been outspoken in their criticism of the Blasphemy Laws, and in their defense of those persecuted under the legislation.

11 Shahnawaz Akhter, “Development budget cut by Rs 100 bn,” The News, January 23, 2011. Available at www.thenews.com.pk/

12 Khaleeq Kiani, “Projects in flood-hit areas shelved,” DAWN, January 25, 2011. Available at www.dawn.com/2011/01/25/projects-in-flood-hit-areas-shelved.html.

13 Declan Walsh, “Pakistan flood crisis as bad as African famines, UN says,” Guardian, January 27, 2011. Available at www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/pakistan-flood-crisis-african-famines.

14 John W. Miller, “Clinton suggests conditions on Pakistan flood relief,” Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2010. Available at online.wsj.com.

15 “Pakistan increases its defense budget,” BBC News, September 23, 2010. Available at www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11391644.




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Probe: US Burned 100 Qurans in Afghanistan in February No Criminal Charges for Burners, Officials Say

Probe: US Burned 100 Qurans in Afghanistan in February

No Criminal Charges for Burners, Officials Say

August 27, 2012

The investigation into February’s huge scandal in which US soldiers burned copies of the Quran at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan has come to an end, with officials concluding that the action was far greater than anyone thought.

According to investigators, the troops actually burned some 100 copies of the Quran in the incident, which sparked mass rioting across Afghanistan and which led, after “consultations” to something of an apology from the Obama Administration.

And just like the Marines who aregetting off more or less scot-free for desecrating corpses in Afghanistan on video, as was announced earlier today, those responsible for the Quran burnings likewise will not face anycriminal charges.

Officials say six Army soldiers involved in the burnings received “administrative punishments,” likely little more than a reprimand, while a Navy sailor involved ended up entirely off the hook, with no reprimand at all.

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