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Archive for May, 2015

Youm-e-Shuhada: The Real Heroes By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

 

 

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Every year, the Pakistan Army commemorates Youm-e-Shuhada (Martyrs Day) on April 30 and the whole nation joins it to pay tribute to the departed souls of those valiant army officials who sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of the country and its people.

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Several ceremonies are being held at the Garrisons all over the country, but the main ceremony is being held at Yadqar-e-Shuhada, General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi. The families and relatives of the martyrs (Shuhada), serving and retired officers including people, belonging to various segments of society are invited to attend a function at the GHQ to pay tribute to the national heroes. Similarly, a sizeable number of near and dear ones of the martyrs are invited to attend the functions at the Corps Headquarters.

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This time, Youm-e-Shuhada has come at a time when Pakistan and its armed forces have been facing a different war, while enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. In these terms, Pakistan is in the state of new war.

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In this respect, our Armed Forces have almost successfully obtained their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) including Khyber Agency through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. Pakistan has perennially been facing subversive activities and sectarian violence in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including tribal areas where security forces are coping with the militants.

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Externally, Pak Army and Rangers have boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary in Sialkot. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, solution.

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And, Pakistan’s security forces have also faced cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan side, encountering heavily-armed militants who from time to time, targeted Army’s check posts, and other civil and military installations.

 

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However, services of Pak Army cannot be explained in words. They always make us proud. They stood first in the time of national crisis and natural calamities. Their untiring sincere efforts mark the defence of Pakistan with an ultimate assurance to safeguard the country at all heads.

 

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We are proud to have such great sons, because these are the heroes who really make history— the martyrs. The sacrifices of our Shuhada are what make our defence unconquerable.

 

 

 

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Pakistan’s armed forces are our strategic assets and first line of defence. Whether it be frustrating enemy’s nefarious designs on the borders and fighting off internal enemies, horrifying the state or it may be the difficult times of natural catastrophes, these bold soldiers have strengthened and fortified the motherland by leaving no stone unturned. Every Pakistani salutes to those brave sons of the soil, who always ensure our safety by keeping the frontiers safe. The alertness and resolve of our soldiers in looking out—day and night for all internal and external enemies, and who are always ready to confront the mayhem of severe conditions from the scorching deserts to the icy glaciers in the face of death with no fear—help the persons in tiring times of calamities, leaving their families behind in their determination to provide protection to all the families of our country, and thus make them real national heroes.

 

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Today, the whole nation stands by our soldiers who are guarding our borders and days will prove that the war against terrorism will not finish us, while the terrorists themselves will be eliminated by our valiant soldiers who desire to be martyrs and are not afraid of death. Caravans of Shuhada will continue forever. We salute all the soldiers of Pakistan, who are sacrificing their today for our tomorrow. However, surely martyrs are gladly giving up their bodies to torture and death-the trustworthy heroes of our history.

 

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Nevertheless, the importance of the Youm-e-Shuhada, this year has been increased, as the nation stood by forces when they have also been made target of malevolent campaign, being launched by the anti-Pakistan foreign entities.

 

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In this regard, while playing national songs on the occasion, the TV channels must also give a matching response to the hostile forces which are working against the integrity of the country, and are distorting the image of Pak Army.

 

 

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It is mentionable that last year, while offering Fateha for the martyrs Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif delivered a remarkable speech at Yadgar-e-Shuhada ceremony. He said, “The commitment of Pakistan armed forces to democracy and the Constitution is a matter of satisfaction and also a matter of huge significance.” Gen. Raheel Sharif’s declaration of his devotion to media’s freedom and his tributes to the media were highly significant. He pointed out, “The people and the Army are on the same page on all the important matters.”

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Gen. Raheel Sharif also expressed the Army’s point of view on terrorism and the Kashmir issue, and elaborated, He supports every attempt made for eliminating terrorism.” And, he convincingly highlighted the importance of the Kashmir issue, saying, “Pakistan is a peace-loving country, but if the country is ever subjected to aggression, it is fully capable of giving a befitting reply.”

 

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Besides, stressing the need of unity among all segments of society, he concluded, “Pakistan’s armed forces are keeping a close vigil on the internal and external challenges and were fully capable of meeting all the threats to the security of the country…the armed forces remained alert round the clock for the defence of the motherland.”

 

 

 

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Nonetheless, during this very day, the Yaum-e-Shuhada, people of Pakistan laud the unparalleled sacrifices of the soldiers, paying them tribute, as they are the real heroes of the country.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

ADDITIONAL PICTURES IN HONOUR OF PAKISTAN’S SHUHADA

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Traitors within the MQM By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

 

 

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Traitors within the MQM

                                                                By Sajjad Shaukat

 

The Present Government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched the targeted operation in Karachi after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders like political parties, business community and members of civil society. For the purpose, Karachi was particularly handed over to the Rangers with power to take action against the culprits without any discrimination.

 

In the past few years, gang warfare, criminal activities and target killings have taken the lives of thousands of persons including the personnel of the Rangers and Police in Karachi. A rise of sectarian violence has also resulted into several casualties.

 

Last year, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Governor Sindh Ishratul Ibad Khan had submitted his resignation, as MQM dubbed the operation with the pretext that it is against its office bearers. While, this party had itself supported the operation, and even demanded to hand over Karachi to Army.

 

Notably, MPA of MQM, Nadeem Hashmi was arrested on September 10, 2013 owing to firing at a police mobile in the Haideri area of the city in which the two policemen were killed. In the same month, some MQM workers were arrested, who were found involved in criminal activities, while the founder and leader of MQM Altaf Hussain had condemned the raid on MQM’s offices.

 

Recently, the paramilitary force proved that the MQM was behind the Baldia Town factory fire in which 250 persons were killed. On February 8, this year, the Rangers also arrested a senior MQM worker namely Rafiq Rajput who not only ran a team of ‘hit men’ but was also involved in the May 12, 2007 carnage in the Karachi.

 

On February 10, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan disclosed that MQM Chief Altaf Hussain based in London has let loose a “reign of terror” in Karachi. He elaborated, “Nobody is safe at the hands of the party’s armed wing…with the revelation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in which Hussain’s party has been held responsible for the killing of over 250 Baldia Town factory workers.” Earlier, Imran Khan also pledged to take Altaf Hussain to the British court, as he is also behind the killing of PTI’s leader Zahra Shahid and journalist Wali Babar in Karachi.

 

However, some developments need attention, as these have proved that traitors are within the MQM. On April 30, this year, during a press conference, while presenting two terrorists who he claimed belonged to the MQM, SSP Malir, Karachi Rao Anwar disclosed, “Key MQM leaders have connections with Indian spy agency RAW”, adding that the arrested MQM workers had received training from RAW. He further said that the MQM was actively working against Pakistan, should be banned.

 

On the same day, the MQM leaders Dr Farooq and Rizvi strongly rejected accusations of SSP Anwar regarding his party’s affiliations with RAW. But, addressing his supporters via a telephonic address in Karachi, on the same day, Altaf Hussain not only criticized Pakistan’s armed forces, but also asked assistance from RAW. He also instructed his supporters to start “commando” training and to get arms—what MQM has been planning.

 

Next day, DG of ISPR Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa called MQM chief’s speech disgusting—reference to the army or its leadership, adding that criminals’ links to political parties will not be tolerated.

 

But, like his previous contradictory statements, on May 1, Altaf Husain again apologized for his derogatory remarks against Army, while praising the latter. He also backed out from his statement about seeking help from RAW. And his Karachi-based leadership also started presenting various clarifications to conceal the real face of its chief.

 

It is notable that MQM’s leaders were already confused when on March 11, 2015, in a targeted operation, Rangers’ forces carried out a raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of the party in Karachi, and a large cache of illegal weapons were recovered and several criminals had also been arrested. In order to hide the anti-Pakistan activities, Altaf had again targeted Pak Army and ISI. Afterwards, he again admired these security agencies and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.

 

Nevertheless, the real character of the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain also needs analysis. In this context, it is notable that sometimes, he blames Pak Army and ISI for harassing his party workers, calling the residents of Karachi to defend themselves, sometimes, he admires these security agencies, sometimes, he threatens to separate Karachi from the federation, sometimes, he shows a strong sense of patriotism for Pakistan, sometimes, he suspends the membership of his party’s committee or sector incharges, sometimes, he restores the same, sometimes, he submits his own resignations, sometimes, he takes it back, sometimes, he instructs his party to join Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and sometimes, Pakistan Peoples Party, especially when these parties are in government. He also blackmails these mainstream parties for the advantages of MQM at the cost of peace in Karachi.

 

In fact, changing stance of Altaf Hussain and clarifications of other MQM leaders in this connection show that they want to continue MQM’s armed wing including subversive activities in Karachi.

 

It is mentionable that Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh Home Minister and Senior Vice President of the then ruling party—Pakistan Peoples Party claimed on April 9, 2011 that he had been relieved from his ministry owing to pressure from the government’s coalition partner, the MQM. Mirza pointed out that the issue of target killing and extortion was just a ruse to remove him from his post.

 

It is worth-mentioning that in June 3, 2014, Altaf Hussain was arrested by Scotland Yard Police in London. London Police and agencies were holding investigation against him in three cases including money laundering, after recovery of 7 Lac pounds from Altaf Hussain home and office in London—controversial speeches from London and Imran Farooq murder case. In this respect, in his article, Salman Mugsi wrote on August 27, 2011, “Altaf Hussain designated Waseem Akhtar in Karachi to arrange for the murder of Imran Farooq. Waseem Akhtar gave this task to Khalid Shameem and Hammad Siddiqui, who are incharge of militant wing of the MQM in Karachi. Khalid Shameem picked two boys from the student wing of MQM…who reached London, followed Imran Farooq for few days and noted his routines and then carried out his assassination according to the plan.”

 

It is of particular attention that a recent report of the JIT revealed that Saulat Mirza, the death row inmate and the former MQM’s worker, who recorded his statement before the JIT said that MQM had links with Indian RAW. Mirza confessed to killing 13 people, yet he was implicated in two murders only.

 

As regards “Batha khauri”, everyone in Karachi knows that MQM has been collecting this illegal money from the local businessmen who are afraid of threats and terror-related actions of this party’s militant wing. While a majority of the innocent people of the city and followers of the MQM do not know the malpractices and criminal acts of this political party and are being misguided by their old leaders who act upon the directions of Altaf Hussain.

 

The loyal Pakistanis, living in Karachi must know that Karachi is Pakistan’s largest port and financial hub with the largest commercial markets, collecting 70 per cent of the country’s tax revenue. So, besides causing unrest in the city, creating instability in Pakistan, another aim of the MQM is to cripple the economy of the city which is intermittently brought to a halt with shut-down strikes—many shops including other business centers are forced to be closed. And, old leadership of MQM misguides the people by propagating that national institutions are not made to develop other areas of Pakistan like Karachi, alleging that the establishment is once again doing the ethnic cleansing of Muhajirs.

 

The residents of Karachi must be aware of the fact that Pakistan Army had given countless sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, while its top priority is to restore peace in the city. In this regard, Army Chief Gen. Raheel vowed on April 29 to finish ‘all mafias’ in Karachi and made it clear that indiscriminate operation in the city would continue till its logical conclusion.

 

Nonetheless, understanding the ground realties, and for restoration of peace in Karachi, the residents of the city including moderate elements must make efforts for reorganization of MQM by replacing the old leaders like Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar etc. with the new ones. For the purpose, all the peace-loving segments of society of Karachi belonging to MQM will have to take bold decision jointly, without being afraid of MQM’s militant wing. These patriot-persons must not be misguided by the leaders of the party and its chief. They must know the traitors within the MQM.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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China-Pakistan Energy Corridor By Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

China-Pakistan Energy Corridor

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

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Establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. Li stated, Our two sides should focus on carrying out priority projects in connectivity, energy development and power generation”. At that time, Pak-China bilateral trade had reached $12 billion. The proposed project of linking Kashgar in northwest China with Gwadar Port on southwestern Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan was approved on July 5, 2013 during the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif to Beijing, which included construction of 200 km long tunnel. In December 2013, China committed $6.5 billion for the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi. In May 2014, another agreement was signed to start Orange Line metro train project in Lahore worth $1.27 billion. In November 2014, the two countries signed 19 agreements related to CPEC. In addition, Chinese firms started work on six mega power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan such as Dassu, Phandar, Bashu, Harpo, Yalbo to tackle Pakistan’s energy crisis.  

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Originally scheduled to come on September 14-16 last year, China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit was postponed in the wake of prolonged anti-government protests in Islamabad and security concerns, and the government not wanting anything untoward happening. Postponement of the visit was seen by the government as a big setback since it entailed investment of $26 billion in Pakistan. Onus of postponement was squarely put on the shoulders of those indulging in futile dharna politics. This setback was not an ordinary one when seen in the backdrop of worst ever energy crisis, economy in shambles, state corporations in decay and all economic indicators in negative – thanks to the inglorious five-year rule of PPP led coalition. Cash-strapped Pakistan struggling to finance energy projects from western donors couldn’t afford a single day delay.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb which started in mid June 2014 in North Waziristan after the brazen terror attack on Jinnah airport in Karachi and peace talks having fallen apart was put in top gear after the gruesome tragedy in Peshawar Army Public School on December 16, 2014. Its scope was spread all over the country and cooperation with Afghanistan was greatly improved. Rangers-Police intelligence based targeted operation in Karachi was also speeded up and so was Frontier Corps-Police operation in Baluchistan. These efforts were backed by National Security Policy, Counter Terrorism Policy, Joint Intelligence Directorate to coordinate efforts of 33 intelligence agencies, formation of Counter Terrorism Force at federal and provincial levels, lifting of moratorium on hanging of convicts, setting up of military courts and focussed 20-point National Action Plan, all in a bid to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Brilliant successes against terrorism and extremism, which raised the stature of Pak Army backed by air force very high among the international comity, helped in further enhancing the confidence of China’s leadership in Pakistan. Well aware of Indo-US encirclement plan and shifting of Ameica’s pivot to Asia-Pacific to contain China, the latter wanted an early opening into world market to become an unchallenged economic giant as well as the super power. Mindful of the under developemnt of its western province which is its soft belly and ongoing Uighur movement, China wants speedy modernisation of Xingjiang to bring it at par with eastern provinces. For the accomplishment of these dreams, China needs access to warm waters in Arabian Sea through Gwadar since this route is the shortest and the cheapest. This access was never granted to Russia. With this objective in view, President Xi Jinping undertook a visit to Islamabad and pleasantly surprised the Pakistanis by raising the level of investment from $ 26 billion to $ 45 Billion in Pakistan.

Pakistanis opened their hearts to welcome the worthy guest. During his two-day historic visit (April 20-21, 2015), President Xi signed 51 agreements/MoUs worth $28 billion, with $17 billion in pipeline spread over 15 years. His visit achieved the milestone of the groundbreaking of historic 3,000 km-long strategic China-Pakistan-Energy-Corridor (CPEC). It includes $ 18 billion worth energy projects such as coal, solar, hydroelectric power projects which will inject 10,400 MW electricity in the national grid by 2017/18, laying down fibre optic cable from Xingjiang to Rawalpindi, 1240 km long Karachi-Lahore motorway, metro and bus service in six major cities, up gradation of 1300 km long Karakorum Highway (first opened in 1978), oil/gas pipelines, commercial sea-lanes and host of other projects.

The CPEC project will include building new roads, a 1,800-km railway line and a network of oil pipelines to connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the seaport of Gwadar. It includes a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure. China is helping Pakistan in producing plutonium at Chinese built Khushab reactor and will also sell 8 submarines worth $5 billion, which will give a quantum jump to Pak Navy’s sea capability.

Gwadar, once a part of Oman before it was sold to Pakistan in 1958, is one of the least developed districts in Balochistan province. It sits strategically near the Persian Gulf and close to the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes. Work on Gwadar deep-seaport had started in 2002 with China’s investment. In 2013, management of the seaport which was in the sloppy hands of Singapore PSA International was handed over to China’s Port Holdings. It is planned to develop Gwadar into free trade zone with a modern airport on the model of Singapore or Hong Kong and a gateway to CPEC. Some analysts perceive Gwadar port turning into China’s naval base in the Indian Ocean, enabling Beijing to monitor Indian and American naval activities and thus frustrating their ambition to convert the ocean into exclusive Indian lake. Modernization of Pak Navy by China is seen as a step in that direction.

 

 

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to 18 hours a day). Jubilant President Mamnoon Hussain predicted that the economic corridor will be a “monument of the century” benefitting “billions of people” in the region. Analysts believe that the CPEC has the potential to radically alter the regional dynamics of trade, development and politics. They say the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term with both generation and transmission covered. Some experts opine this initiative can bring greater cohesion in South Asia, one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. Adil Najam, Dean of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, believes anything that binds the region together is “a good idea” since countries tend to focus on “zero-sum geostrategic posturing” rather than recognising the benefits of integration. MNA Ahsan Iqbal says “CPEC is a game changer for the entire region and will uplift the lives of about 3 billion people across China, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

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While the CPEC may be ‘monumental’ for Pakistan, for China it is part of more ambitious plans to beef up the country’s global economic muscle. Chinese officials describe the corridor as the “flagship project” of a broader policy — “One Belt, One Road” — which seeks to physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. This initiative includes the New Silk Road which will link China with Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road to ensure a safe passage of China’s shipping through the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not building the corridor as an act of charity for Pakistan. It will happily fund and build any structure that plays into this goal – whether we’re talking about roads or ports”,  says Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre. Access to Indian Ocean via Gwadar will enable China’s naval warships and merchant ships to bypass Malacca Strait.    

 

 

 

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At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China –and to a lesser extent between China and the US – to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asian region. Kugelman stated, India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region. India is concerned about China’s huge investment in Pakistan, particularly its recent decision to fund a new batch of nuclear reactors. Pakistan plans to add four new nuclear plants by 2023, funded by China, with four more reactors in the pipeline (adding up to a total power capacity of 7,930 MW by 2030). India and other detractors of Pakistan are propagating that China is supplying nuclear technology to Pakistan in defiance of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, which forbid nuclear transfer to Pakistan as it has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. China argues that these projects were agreed with Pakistan before it became a member of NSG in 2004.

Pakistan has remained under a dark star for a long period; it has bravely sailed past the period of trials and tribulations but at a very heavy cost. Pakistan has acted as the frontline state against the Soviets and against global terrorism and suffered enormously, but in the process it allowed China 35 free years to develop and prosper. Landmark CPEC has further cemented Pak-China relations and made them natural allies. China’s liberal investment which surpasses all foreign investments in Pakistan in the past are based on trust, confidence and convergence of interests and both are in a win-win cooperation. The all-weather, time-tested friends share common vision and seek peace and not confrontation. They have entered into a new era of geo-economic relationship and plan to boost two-way trade to $20 billion.

The Silk Road Economic Belt will not only connect and develop China and Pakistan but also the regional countries for the first time and promote peace. It has opened vista of great opportunities for Pakistan and will greatly help in poverty alleviation, overcome unemployment, remove inequities of smaller provinces and help Pakistan in becoming the next Asian tiger. Strategic economic moment for Pakistan has arrived and interesting part is that Pakistan has assumed the position of economic pivot for the whole region. This paradigm shift in circumstances is a cause of great worry for the enemies of Pakistan both within and outside. They have put their heads together to work out new strategies how to block the forward march, but time and tide is not in their favor.  

The writer is a retired Brig/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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IS THERE A RAW-MQM CONNECTION ? By Saeed Akhtar Malik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IS THERE A RAW-MQM CONNECTION ?

 
By Saeed Akhtar Malik
 
 
The short answer is: Yes.
How certain am I of this: Absolutely.
On what is my certainty based: On material uncovered before and after Operation Clean-up, Karachi, 1992.
And how do I know this: I had a ring-side seat at this operation.
 
Before going further, I need to introduce Lt Col Obaidullah [ late] who,concieved and executed the operation and was the moving spirit behind it.
Obaid was an officer of high intelligence, completely free of the taint of prejudice, both ethnic and religious. He was one of those rare birds who either had no fear, or could mask it to perfection. And in his personality, what competed with his patriotism as a defining trait, were his flights of emotion, which often tended to fly him off the handle.
 
It was one such emotional outburst which got him superseded as a major, and he got posted to Headquarters ISI, for the last leg of his service. Gen Hamid Gul was D.G ISI at the time. He had introduced the the practice of personally interviewing all freshly posted officers to the organization.
 
I drove Obaid for the interview, dropped him opposite the HQ, and went on to Aab para,  giving him the telephone contact of the travel agent where I would await his call, to pick him up. I was expecting his call in about an hour’s time, but he called a good three hours later.
 
When I picked him up he explained that there were about four officers who were interviewed ahead of him, about ten minutes each. But his interview went on for nearly an hour, after which the General informed him that he will be assigning him to an important slot. ” And sir,” Obaid confided in me, ” the General told me that I should henceforth consider myself promoted to Lt Col ! ”  I advised him not to set hopes too high on the issue of promotion, because that was not about to happen.
 
A week or so later he called to inform me that his promotion had indeed come through, specifically for appointments in the intelligence set-up.
 
One day a couple of months later, he asked me if I would like to interview three MQM operatives who were on the run from Altaf Hussain, but whom he had squirreled away in an organisation safe house. Those days I was writing for the papers, but I told him I was not interested. 
He insisted that I should not give up this opportunity. I replied that I would be interested if only he could give me one good reason to take time out to talk to these three unknowns.
 
Obaid thought for a while, and then said, “sir, you must interview them because Altaf Hussain is sh-t scared of them.” 
” And you would have me believe this–Altaf Hussain who makes the whole of Karachi tremble, is himself “sh-t” scared of these three chaps whom no one has ever heard of, and who have no roof over their heads?? OK you first give me proof of this and I will go along with you.”
 
Obaid twiddled his thumbs for a while and then asked to use my phone. “……and tell him on the special line that you will be in Karachi tomorrow,” he ended his instructions to the person on the other end. And then he explained to me that he had instructed the leader of the “three unknowns” to give the message I had heard, to a person who was a  known double agent, which would ensure that it would get to Altaf.
 
” And what will happen then?” I asked.
Tomorrow you will hear, sir, that Altaf has got admitted to Abassi Shaheed Hospital.” said Obaid. He then explained that whenever Altaf feels threatened he holes out in a room in this  hospital, which has only one access, and so is very easy to guard.
Before leaving, he advised me to be certain to hear the news on the TV the next day. And sure enough, one of the headlines informed the audience that Altaf Hussain had been unexpectedly taken ill, and was thus shifted to Abassi Shaheed.
I called Obaid and told him I would like him to schedule an interview with his Johnnies that evening.
 
That is the first time I met Afaq,Amir, and Wasim. They were mere lads like all others, in jeans, T-shirts and joggers. I found them very polite, but with Obaid they were absolutely reverential.
 
I had gone prepared with a lot of questions, and asked them all. My only interlocutor was Afaq. The other two just stayed out of the conversation. It has been many years now, and I remember little about this interview, but the following I have never forgotten:
a. Afaq was very adamant that they had broken ranks with Altaf on account of his corruption. He explained that MQM members were making tons of donations to Altaf, but he was misappropriating the money and building a personal fortune, and property for his family. He gave the example of property bought for his sister in Chicago.
b. He never acceded to my suggestion that a fat portion of the funds collected by them, were in fact the fruit of extortion.
c. He informed me that the real leader of MQM was Azim Tariq, whom Altaf had arranged to be murdered. Azim, he insisted was a natural leader, cool under pressure, graceful, patriotic, and clean as a whistle, compared to Altaf, who was corrupt to the hilt, and basically a coward, whose frayed nerves showed when there was pressure on him.
d. I told him that I knew that he [Afaq] could put real fright into Altaf,  and suggested that this could only be so if Afaq was a ruthless hitman of the party, of whose efficacy Altaf needed no proof. I tried to have him confess to this suggestion. I tried a myriad angles, but he parried me each time and vehemently denied it.
 
It took me six months of trying to get my interview published, hawking it from one paper to the other, till at last Frontier Post picked up the courage to publish a heavily edited version of it—talk of being “sh-t” scared!
 
Some time later Obaid informed me that he had been transferred to take up an undercover appointment in Bangkok, but that he had requested Gen Asad Durrani to have this cancelled, and to have him sent to Karachi instead, as the ISI detachment commander there. I had served with General Durrani in the Academy, and knew him to be one of our better officers. I was certain he would appreciate the spirit of Obaid’s request and get the needful done. It was no surprise therefore when he packed his bags for Karachi. On his request Capt Zia Shah [ later Lt Col] was posted as his number two.
 
A month later I got a call from Tubby…….sorry, I forgot to tell you that we all referred to Obaid as Tubby. And this because he was all of 5 foot 4 1/2 inches, though he always insisted that he was “at least” 5 foot 6, and had a little paunch which he tried manfully to hide all his life, but sadly, never quite succeeded in doing so.
 
Tubby informed me that he was coming to Islamabad the next day and would be staying with me. I could feel that he was excited. When he arrived he told me that he had called his D.G and told him that he had information which he was only  willing  to divulge to him personally, and that it was this what he had come for. By this time General Javed Nasir had taken over and the next day Obaid was to give him a presentation.
 
It was then that Tubby informed me that things in Karachi were much worse than he ever suspected, and that the MQM was a potential fifth column thoroughly infiltrated by RAW, and was getting a Mafia-style hold on Karachi, through organized terror, murder, torture, and extortion. He said that he had evidence of this which was irrefutable, and that Altaf Hussain was a primary enemy agent. Although I always suspected this, but when my suspicions were authenticated by a man whose job it was to know, and whose integrity and ability I could swear on,  I was stunned.
 
Similarly stunned was General Javed Nasir the next day after Obaid had got through his presentation, and the display of the evidence he had gathered. The General told him that he better stick on in Islamabad, and be prepared to give the same presentation to Asif Nawaz Janjua, the Army Chief, and Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister.
 
A couple of days later this follow-up presentation took place in GHQ with both these gentlemen present, with a whole panopoly of lesser beings. For the Army Chief, who had commanded the Karachi Corps, this presentation was merely a confirmation of what he already knew, or strongly suspected. Caught between him and the D.G ISI, Nawaz Sharif could merely nod an assent, the poker face not betraying any conviction or lack thereof. And thus the green light for Operation Karachi clean-up was given.
 
A couple of weeks later I got a call from Tubby to come over to Karachi. When I met him he told me that he had asked me to come over because the operation was going in the day after, and he wanted me to play the role of a sounding board.
 
The next morning a Maj Gen from the ISI, a very close friend of mine, came over. Not known to be an officer who took pressure badly, he seemed distinctly uncomfortable. Over a cup of tea he confessed–” I am sorry Tubby, of the thousand AK-47s you asked for, I have only been able to get hold of about 80.” 
Tubby fixed him with a long look of concern, and slowly shaking his head, told him that this was not good news, but that luckily he had managed to get hold of a good number 12 gauge shotguns, and operation being an urban area one, perhaps the shotguns would prove to be a better choice. The General asked him if he  was absolutely certain, and when Tubby said ” absolutely, sir,” I beheld a most relieved General.
 
After he left, I could not hide my concern: ” but Tubby how can you plan on a thousand Kalashnikovs, and settle for just 80 of them, and hope that shotguns will do the trick. How can you allow the operation to go ahead with such a great shortfall in resources??” I was appalled, and showed it.
” Its O.K sir ,” he said most non-chalantly, ” actually, I dont need any weapons.” 
” But then why did you ask for them and put my friend up to procuring them?”
” Well sir, if I had not got him busy on that front he would be here 24 hours a day, breathing down my neck, and micro-managing me!”
Having served in such a rank conscious organisation, I could only wonder at Obaid’s presumtuousness and effrontery, but had to grant him wit.
 
Next to turn up was Capt Zia Shah. Tubby plied him with some routine questions about the preparations for the operation, got his answers, and nodded with great seriousness  at each one. 
 
I had known Zia very well over the years. He was some years junior to my youngest brother at Lawrence College. I had grown to like him, but if I was to give him marks for grey matter, and been honest about it, I would have to be niggardly. So when Zia left, I could not help asking Tubby, if Zia had the stuff to be number two in an operation which could have vital consequences for the whole country?
By this time Tubby had started looking considerably taller. By the time he informed me that for this operation he needed no great brilliance in his subordinate, but total trust, he seemed to grow at least another inch. He was looking more and more like a man in total control who knew exactly what he was doing.
 
And then it was evening, and the Corps Commander called. Tubby put on the speaker phone.
” So youngster, I hope all is in place for the operation.” General Nasir Akhtar’s voice came through crisply, but not I suspected, entirely free of some concern. Tubby assured him that all was in order.
” I hope,” said the General, ” the casualty count will be no more than the 750 you promised.”
” Dont worry a bit about this sir. I am very certain about this one. Hopefully they will be about a hundred shy of this figue.”  Tubby was at his most assuring best.
 
When the General hung up, I could not help asking Tubby how could he be so certain about the expected casualties.
” I am not sir,” he said. ” As a matter of fact I dont have a clue.”
 
 
“But then, how could you give such a cast iron figure to the General?” I asked.
 
” Well sir, he asked me if I expected the casualties to be any more than 750. I thought long and hard, and assured him that this would just be about it. And this put the General at ease, so that I could move on to more important things.”
 
“But still,” I said, ” how could you give him such an off-the-cuff assurance on a figure, you dont have clue about?”
 
“Well sir, it is he who gave the figure, and I merely agreed with it,and reduced it by an acceptable number. Look sir, asking me about the number of expected casualties was a stupid question in the first place, and if I had given any figure higher than that which was considered ‘acceptable’ in the commander’s mind, we would not have been going in for the operation tonight. We would still be arguing about numbers. I know perfectly well though, that if they consider the operation a success, they will take all the credit for it, and if it fails in any dimension, the blame will be heaped upon me, and I would have to bear the consequences. I could not care less. This operation is very important for Karachi, and for Pakistan. We have a very well organized fifth column here, and we have to demolish it. That is the only thing that matters.”
 
I had great respect for may of Tubby’s individual qualities, but this was the first time, I was in a “working” environment with him. I was seeing a man I had never seen before. “”Tubby” was a nickname about which there was an inherent facetiousness. But what I was seeing now was a pocket dynamo. He was so clear about what he wanted to achieve, and how he would go about doing so, even if he should fall in the process. And if I needed any further confirmation of this, I got it when Afaq came over late evening.
 
Obaid was on the phone in the bedroom, when I went over and met Afaq. When Obaid came in, Afaq promptly got off the sofa, and sat down on the carpet. Not all our joint entreaties could cajole him off the rug and on to the sofa. He told me he had recognized  the Colonel early for one who was worth giving one’s life for, and after that day he  had vowed never to sit on par with him, as the students used to do with the “ustads” of old. He said he was never treated by the colonel in any manner short of respect, and that he was merely reciprocating.  I could not trace any hint of a “put on” in this exchange.
 
After Obaid and Afaq had discussed matters, and Afaq left about 10 p.m, I finally got the full briefing on the operation:
Not a single soldier or policeman was to be used. All the men were Afaq’s.
Not a single government weapon was to be used. All the weapons needed, Afaq’s men already had.
No reconnaissance was to be done, because Afaq’s men knew the den of every Altaf thug.
The only thing needed from the government was transport. No army or police vehicles were to be asked for,except a few from the municipal corporation of Karachi.
The operation would start at midnight, and the only help needed from the government was that strict instructions be given to all police stations, that post-midnight, they were not to respond to ANY emergency call, till instructed otherwise.
 
And then we waited, and midnight came and went. Calls started to com in. First few and far between. But as minutes ticked by, their  frequency increased, all reporting success.
 
At about 7 a.m Obaid thought it was about time we had a round of the “no-go” areas. Thus we drove through broken barriers where none but the chosen few were allowed to venture just a few hours earlier.
 
We inspected their torture chambers, with hooks on walls, and splashes of blood about them, which told a grisly tale.
 
At about 9 a.m we got home for breakfast.
 
At about 10 a.m Obaid got a call from the D.G. The operation was to be immediately halted. Obaid was no longer in command of the ISI Karachi detachment, could not go to the office, nor give any orders to his subordinates, not remove any documents, nor move out of his house.
He was to pack up his family and move them “home”.
He was then to report for attachment to a unit in Quetta, from where he could only move out on leave by special permission form GHQ, but would not be allowed to come to Karachi under any circumstances!!
 
So, what happened??
What happened was that everyone and his aunt was on board for this operation. All except Ghulam Ishaque Khan, the President of Pakistan. Altaf Hussain’s SOS calls from London all missed their mark.None except  Chaudhary Shujaat, who was then Interior Minister, and probably a little more intelligible than he now is, took his call. Baffled at what Altaf Hussain broke to him, he honestly [perhaps for the first time in his life ] told him that he had no idea what was going on.
 
And then Altaf hit the right button. He called the President’s son in law, Irfanullah Marwat.  Altaf, Marwat, and Jam Sadiq had fed heartily at the same trough, and each had done wonderfully well for themselves in this partnership of thieves.
 And Marwat came good. He called the President. And this “honest’ President folded to the entreaties of the man whose sole discernible credit was that he was married to his daughter, and the President called the Prime Minister, whose backbone’s prime employment thus far had been to hold his belly up. At the first real call of duty, it dutifully folded. And with it folded an operation for Karachi’s life Pakistan’s health. But the mere six hours for which the operation had run unimpeded, it broke half of MQM’s back, with just about 20 casualties instead of the “allowed” 750, and a large exodus of MQM thugs to India and Dubai via launches run by smugglers.
 
 

 

By Saeed Akhtar Malik
 
 
The short answer is: Yes.
How certain am I of this: Absolutely.
On what is my certainty based: On material uncovered before and after Operation Clean-up, Karachi, 1992.
And how do I know this: I had a ring-side seat at this operation.
 
Before going further, I need to introduce Lt Col Obaidullah [ late] who,concieved and executed the operation and was the moving spirit behind it.
Obaid was an officer of high intelligence, completely free of the taint of prejudice, both ethnic and religious. He was one of those rare birds who either had no fear, or could mask it to perfection. And in his personality, what competed with his patriotism as a defining trait, were his flights of emotion, which often tended to fly him off the handle.
 
It was one such emotional outburst which got him superseded as a major, and he got posted to Headquarters ISI, for the last leg of his service. Gen Hamid Gul was D.G ISI at the time. He had introduced the the practice of personally interviewing all freshly posted officers to the organization.
 
I drove Obaid for the interview, dropped him opposite the HQ, and went on to Aab para,  giving him the telephone contact of the travel agent where I would await his call, to pick him up. I was expecting his call in about an hour’s time, but he called a good three hours later.
 
When I picked him up he explained that there were about four officers who were interviewed ahead of him, about ten minutes each. But his interview went on for nearly an hour, after which the General informed him that he will be assigning him to an important slot. ” And sir,” Obaid confided in me, ” the General told me that I should henceforth consider myself promoted to Lt Col ! ”  I advised him not to set hopes too high on the issue of promotion, because that was not about to happen.
 
A week or so later he called to inform me that his promotion had indeed come through, specifically for appointments in the intelligence set-up.
 
One day a couple of months later, he asked me if I would like to interview three MQM operatives who were on the run from Altaf Hussain, but whom he had squirreled away in an organisation safe house. Those days I was writing for the papers, but I told him I was not interested. 
He insisted that I should not give up this opportunity. I replied that I would be interested if only he could give me one good reason to take time out to talk to these three unknowns.
 
Obaid thought for a while, and then said, “sir, you must interview them because Altaf Hussain is sh-t scared of them.” 
” And you would have me believe this–Altaf Hussain who makes the whole of Karachi tremble, is himself “sh-t” scared of these three chaps whom no one has ever heard of, and who have no roof over their heads?? OK you first give me proof of this and I will go along with you.”
 
Obaid twiddled his thumbs for a while and then asked to use my phone. “……and tell him on the special line that you will be in Karachi tomorrow,” he ended his instructions to the person on the other end. And then he explained to me that he had instructed the leader of the “three unknowns” to give the message I had heard, to a person who was a  known double agent, which would ensure that it would get to Altaf.
 
” And what will happen then?” I asked.
Tomorrow you will hear, sir, that Altaf has got admitted to Abassi Shaheed Hospital.” said Obaid. He then explained that whenever Altaf feels threatened he holes out in a room in this  hospital, which has only one access, and so is very easy to guard.
Before leaving, he advised me to be certain to hear the news on the TV the next day. And sure enough, one of the headlines informed the audience that Altaf Hussain had been unexpectedly taken ill, and was thus shifted to Abassi Shaheed.
I called Obaid and told him I would like him to schedule an interview with his Johnnies that evening.
 
That is the first time I met Afaq,Amir, and Wasim. They were mere lads like all others, in jeans, T-shirts and joggers. I found them very polite, but with Obaid they were absolutely reverential.
 
I had gone prepared with a lot of questions, and asked them all. My only interlocutor was Afaq. The other two just stayed out of the conversation. It has been many years now, and I remember little about this interview, but the following I have never forgotten:
a. Afaq was very adamant that they had broken ranks with Altaf on account of his corruption. He explained that MQM members were making tons of donations to Altaf, but he was misappropriating the money and building a personal fortune, and property for his family. He gave the example of property bought for his sister in Chicago.
b. He never acceded to my suggestion that a fat portion of the funds collected by them, were in fact the fruit of extortion.
c. He informed me that the real leader of MQM was Azim Tariq, whom Altaf had arranged to be murdered. Azim, he insisted was a natural leader, cool under pressure, graceful, patriotic, and clean as a whistle, compared to Altaf, who was corrupt to the hilt, and basically a coward, whose frayed nerves showed when there was pressure on him.
d. I told him that I knew that he [Afaq] could put real fright into Altaf,  and suggested that this could only be so if Afaq was a ruthless hitman of the party, of whose efficacy Altaf needed no proof. I tried to have him confess to this suggestion. I tried a myriad angles, but he parried me each time and vehemently denied it.
 
It took me six months of trying to get my interview published, hawking it from one paper to the other, till at last Frontier Post picked up the courage to publish a heavily edited version of it—talk of being “sh-t” scared!
 
Some time later Obaid informed me that he had been transferred to take up an undercover appointment in Bangkok, but that he had requested Gen Asad Durrani to have this cancelled, and to have him sent to Karachi instead, as the ISI detachment commander there. I had served with General Durrani in the Academy, and knew him to be one of our better officers. I was certain he would appreciate the spirit of Obaid’s request and get the needful done. It was no surprise therefore when he packed his bags for Karachi. On his request Capt Zia Shah [ later Lt Col] was posted as his number two.
 
A month later I got a call from Tubby…….sorry, I forgot to tell you that we all referred to Obaid as Tubby. And this because he was all of 5 foot 4 1/2 inches, though he always insisted that he was “at least” 5 foot 6, and had a little paunch which he tried manfully to hide all his life, but sadly, never quite succeeded in doing so.
 
Tubby informed me that he was coming to Islamabad the next day and would be staying with me. I could feel that he was excited. When he arrived he told me that he had called his D.G and told him that he had information which he was only  willing  to divulge to him personally, and that it was this what he had come for. By this time General Javed Nasir had taken over and the next day Obaid was to give him a presentation.
 
It was then that Tubby informed me that things in Karachi were much worse than he ever suspected, and that the MQM was a potential fifth column thoroughly infiltrated by RAW, and was getting a Mafia-style hold on Karachi, through organized terror, murder, torture, and extortion. He said that he had evidence of this which was irrefutable, and that Altaf Hussain was a primary enemy agent. Although I always suspected this, but when my suspicions were authenticated by a man whose job it was to know, and whose integrity and ability I could swear on,  I was stunned.
 
Similarly stunned was General Javed Nasir the next day after Obaid had got through his presentation, and the display of the evidence he had gathered. The General told him that he better stick on in Islamabad, and be prepared to give the same presentation to Asif Nawaz Janjua, the Army Chief, and Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister.
 
A couple of days later this follow-up presentation took place in GHQ with both these gentlemen present, with a whole panopoly of lesser beings. For the Army Chief, who had commanded the Karachi Corps, this presentation was merely a confirmation of what he already knew, or strongly suspected. Caught between him and the D.G ISI, Nawaz Sharif could merely nod an assent, the poker face not betraying any conviction or lack thereof. And thus the green light for Operation Karachi clean-up was given.
 
A couple of weeks later I got a call from Tubby to come over to Karachi. When I met him he told me that he had asked me to come over because the operation was going in the day after, and he wanted me to play the role of a sounding board.
 
The next morning a Maj Gen from the ISI, a very close friend of mine, came over. Not known to be an officer who took pressure badly, he seemed distinctly uncomfortable. Over a cup of tea he confessed–” I am sorry Tubby, of the thousand AK-47s you asked for, I have only been able to get hold of about 80.” 
Tubby fixed him with a long look of concern, and slowly shaking his head, told him that this was not good news, but that luckily he had managed to get hold of a good number 12 gauge shotguns, and operation being an urban area one, perhaps the shotguns would prove to be a better choice. The General asked him if he  was absolutely certain, and when Tubby said ” absolutely, sir,” I beheld a most relieved General.
 
After he left, I could not hide my concern: ” but Tubby how can you plan on a thousand Kalashnikovs, and settle for just 80 of them, and hope that shotguns will do the trick. How can you allow the operation to go ahead with such a great shortfall in resources??” I was appalled, and showed it.
” Its O.K sir ,” he said most non-chalantly, ” actually, I dont need any weapons.” 
” But then why did you ask for them and put my friend up to procuring them?”
” Well sir, if I had not got him busy on that front he would be here 24 hours a day, breathing down my neck, and micro-managing me!”
Having served in such a rank conscious organisation, I could only wonder at Obaid’s presumtuousness and effrontery, but had to grant him wit.
 
Next to turn up was Capt Zia Shah. Tubby plied him with some routine questions about the preparations for the operation, got his answers, and nodded with great seriousness  at each one. 
 
I had known Zia very well over the years. He was some years junior to my youngest brother at Lawrence College. I had grown to like him, but if I was to give him marks for grey matter, and been honest about it, I would have to be niggardly. So when Zia left, I could not help asking Tubby, if Zia had the stuff to be number two in an operation which could have vital consequences for the whole country?
By this time Tubby had started looking considerably taller. By the time he informed me that for this operation he needed no great brilliance in his subordinate, but total trust, he seemed to grow at least another inch. He was looking more and more like a man in total control who knew exactly what he was doing.
 
And then it was evening, and the Corps Commander called. Tubby put on the speaker phone.
” So youngster, I hope all is in place for the operation.” General Nasir Akhtar’s voice came through crisply, but not I suspected, entirely free of some concern. Tubby assured him that all was in order.
” I hope,” said the General, ” the casualty count will be no more than the 750 you promised.”
” Dont worry a bit about this sir. I am very certain about this one. Hopefully they will be about a hundred shy of this figue.”  Tubby was at his most assuring best.
 
When the General hung up, I could not help asking Tubby how could he be so certain about the expected casualties.
” I am not sir,” he said. ” As a matter of fact I dont have a clue.”
 
 
“But then, how could you give such a cast iron figure to the General?” I asked.
 
” Well sir, he asked me if I expected the casualties to be any more than 750. I thought long and hard, and assured him that this would just be about it. And this put the General at ease, so that I could move on to more important things.”
 
“But still,” I said, ” how could you give him such an off-the-cuff assurance on a figure, you dont have clue about?”
 
“Well sir, it is he who gave the figure, and I merely agreed with it,and reduced it by an acceptable number. Look sir, asking me about the number of expected casualties was a stupid question in the first place, and if I had given any figure higher than that which was considered ‘acceptable’ in the commander’s mind, we would not have been going in for the operation tonight. We would still be arguing about numbers. I know perfectly well though, that if they consider the operation a success, they will take all the credit for it, and if it fails in any dimension, the blame will be heaped upon me, and I would have to bear the consequences. I could not care less. This operation is very important for Karachi, and for Pakistan. We have a very well organized fifth column here, and we have to demolish it. That is the only thing that matters.”
 
I had great respect for may of Tubby’s individual qualities, but this was the first time, I was in a “working” environment with him. I was seeing a man I had never seen before. “”Tubby” was a nickname about which there was an inherent facetiousness. But what I was seeing now was a pocket dynamo. He was so clear about what he wanted to achieve, and how he would go about doing so, even if he should fall in the process. And if I needed any further confirmation of this, I got it when Afaq came over late evening.
 
Obaid was on the phone in the bedroom, when I went over and met Afaq. When Obaid came in, Afaq promptly got off the sofa, and sat down on the carpet. Not all our joint entreaties could cajole him off the rug and on to the sofa. He told me he had recognized  the Colonel early for one who was worth giving one’s life for, and after that day he  had vowed never to sit on par with him, as the students used to do with the “ustads” of old. He said he was never treated by the colonel in any manner short of respect, and that he was merely reciprocating.  I could not trace any hint of a “put on” in this exchange.
 
After Obaid and Afaq had discussed matters, and Afaq left about 10 p.m, I finally got the full briefing on the operation:
Not a single soldier or policeman was to be used. All the men were Afaq’s.
Not a single government weapon was to be used. All the weapons needed, Afaq’s men already had.
No reconnaissance was to be done, because Afaq’s men knew the den of every Altaf thug.
The only thing needed from the government was transport. No army or police vehicles were to be asked for,except a few from the municipal corporation of Karachi.
The operation would start at midnight, and the only help needed from the government was that strict instructions be given to all police stations, that post-midnight, they were not to respond to ANY emergency call, till instructed otherwise.
 
And then we waited, and midnight came and went. Calls started to com in. First few and far between. But as minutes ticked by, their  frequency increased, all reporting success.
 
At about 7 a.m Obaid thought it was about time we had a round of the “no-go” areas. Thus we drove through broken barriers where none but the chosen few were allowed to venture just a few hours earlier.
 
We inspected their torture chambers, with hooks on walls, and splashes of blood about them, which told a grisly tale.
 
At about 9 a.m we got home for breakfast.
 
At about 10 a.m Obaid got a call from the D.G. The operation was to be immediately halted. Obaid was no longer in command of the ISI Karachi detachment, could not go to the office, nor give any orders to his subordinates, not remove any documents, nor move out of his house.
He was to pack up his family and move them “home”.
He was then to report for attachment to a unit in Quetta, from where he could only move out on leave by special permission form GHQ, but would not be allowed to come to Karachi under any circumstances!!
 
So, what happened??
What happened was that everyone and his aunt was on board for this operation. All except Ghulam Ishaque Khan, the President of Pakistan. Altaf Hussain’s SOS calls from London all missed their mark.None except  Chaudhary Shujaat, who was then Interior Minister, and probably a little more intelligible than he now is, took his call. Baffled at what Altaf Hussain broke to him, he honestly [perhaps for the first time in his life ] told him that he had no idea what was going on.
 
And then Altaf hit the right button. He called the President’s son in law, Irfanullah Marwat.  Altaf, Marwat, and Jam Sadiq had fed heartily at the same trough, and each had done wonderfully well for themselves in this partnership of thieves.
 And Marwat came good. He called the President. And this “honest’ President folded to the entreaties of the man whose sole discernible credit was that he was married to his daughter, and the President called the Prime Minister, whose backbone’s prime employment thus far had been to hold his belly up. At the first real call of duty, it dutifully folded. And with it folded an operation for Karachi’s life Pakistan’s health. But the mere six hours for which the operation had run unimpeded, it broke half of MQM’s back, with just about 20 casualties instead of the “allowed” 750, and a large exodus of MQM thugs to India and Dubai via launches run by smugglers.
 
Three quarters of this criminal enterprise would still have lain broken but for Musharraf of the NRO fame, who validated everything nefarious to stay in power. He resurrected MQM, and put in place governor Ishrat ul Ibad, the extremely soft-spoken but ruthless torturer and MQM killer, now in office for over 12 years. And Musharraf,[ to whose credit go the resurrection of MQM, exoneration of Asif Zardari and his gang of thugs, and these hoodlums raping the country today ] has come back to be President again! This is not so much a commentary on Musharraf’s addled brain, as it is on the hopes this broken country still arouses among the witless aspirants to power. 
 
When I was taking leave of Obaid, I thought I would be seeing someone crushed. But I did not. I saw just someone immensely sad whose idealism had for the first time received a blow from reality which it would not be able to survive. He told me that whether he ever came back to Karachi or not, he was certain that all the material he had collected would survive in the archives of the ISI.  But that if they had left him in place just another two weeks or so, he was going to get proof of the money trail from RAW to MQM, but now that would never happen–the agent he had taken months to cultivate, would never trust the ”   “organisation” again.
 
There was just a meek sliver of saving grace in all this. The unit to which Tubby was going to be attached in Quetta was being commanded by Gen Asif Riaz Bukhari-a friend and a brother with a heart bigger than a house. Ironically, he was a “mohajir” officer, and like most of the mohajir officers with whom it had been my privilege to serve, he well transcended the national average. I called and told him that Obaid was coming to him, the circumstances in which this transition had taken place, and I requested him to make his landing as soft as possible.
 
At Quetta airport, Tubby was received by the General’s ADC, and driven to his mess in his staff car. And so the fall was broken. But MQM survived to extort, murder, kidnap, and sell Pakistan out in partnership with one political party or the other.
 
P.S As the Rangers have started the current operation clean-up of Karachi, their task is much more arduous than was Obaid’s in 1992. Though this is an across the board operation against the criminals and hoodlums of all political parties, it appears to be directed primarily against the MQM, because most of the high value targets picked up, or disposed off belong to this party. The reason for this is simple. It is quite apparent that the Rangers make their moves on the basis of inside information, and most of these insiders seem to belong to MQM. And when the smoke finally lifts, it will become clear that much of this information is being given by Afaq’s men, who suffered much at the hands of Altaf’s muscle men. It should already be quite apparent that the most important raid which the Rangers conducted against 90 was the result of a tip-off by Amir Khan, the same I had interviewed with Afaq so many years back.
This operation has ignited a glimmer of hope among the people of Pakistan, in that, that the last functioning institution of the country has finally risen to its defense, instead of abandoning it. The worst that could now happen is if the generals allowed the pace of this operation to slacken, instead of expanding it to other dens of miscreants spread all over the country. They should also realize that this operation is attacking the lesser arm of the pincer gripping our country. The more vicious arm, which is the existential threat to Pakistan, is mega corruption and the total immunity of the perpetrators that goes with this. This is what this country cannot survive.
The army, being responsible for national security, should formally cite mega corruption as a national security imperative, push to have the national security council reformed and resuscitated, and openly discuss mega corruption cases at this forum, and confront the perpetrators, so that there is no need to get into intrigue, and use such cases as an alibi to strangle the political process. Instead they should use their considerable heft to clean this process up.
The start should be made with the looting of land in Karachi, and the LNG deal. But this will not be easy to do, unless the army’s own house is first subject to cleaning. So let the guilty among generals, all very well known, be the first to hear the sound of the gavel, and then the party can start.

 

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