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Why India and the US Oppose the CPEC… By Sajjad Shaukat

         Why India and the US Oppose the CPEC

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

India was openly opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the US also joined New Delhi. In this context, on October 3, 2017, the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

http://cpec.gov.pk/progress-update

 

Pakistan strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC will pass through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded America that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative.

 

In this regard, again, the Indian envoy to China Vikram Mistri told Chinese state media in March, last year that a part of the CPEC shall pass through Pakistani side of Kashmir and the OBOR or BRI does not respect India’s “concerns” of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Addressing Indian concerns, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on April 15, this year, “As for the Indian comments on not participating in the BRI [Conference] for various reasons, I’d like to say that the BRI is an open and inclusive economic cooperation initiative. It does not involve territorial and maritime disputes…Whether the Indian side will participate in the Belt and Road Forum, I think you need to ask the Indian side for a more specific answer. But here I’d like to re-emphasise that the BRI is proposed by China but it is already an international public good….The belt and road cooperation since it was first proposed…has been an open and inclusive initiative for all countries…interested in this…if the relevant side would like to wait and see, we do not oppose that. And as for more international organisations in the second BRI [Conference] meaning that some countries will lose opportunities, you may need to ask the countries themselves which do not participate in the BRI.”

 

It is notable that India which has consistently kept away from BRI did not participate in its second conference which was held in Beijing from April 25 to 27, 2019 and leaders of countries including heads of state and government from nearly 40 countries attended the meeting.

 

Pakistan’ s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his speech at the opening ceremony called for greater attention to tackling poverty as Pakistan and China enter the next phase of the CPEC. He appreciated the significance of China’s BRI, elaborating, it “marks a new and distinct phase in the onward march of nations in the world along the path of globalization”.

 

However, India and the US continue opposing the CPEC. In this respect, Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centres, think tanks and so-called human rights groups utilize the media tools in defaming Pakistan internationally. Especially, Indian RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Now, CPEC is a special target of these hostile entities.

 

In this connection, much coverage was given by the external media to a report, released on April 13, 2017, by Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which is in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi International AISBL. The subject report portrayed complete Indian negative propaganda themes about Pakistan’s provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and Sindh. Based on falsehood, the report also said that the CPEC is a breach of international law and is being implemented without consultation or compensation to the people of the area.

 

Undoubtedly, GB is the gateway of CPEC into Pakistan, whereby GB’s strategic and socio-economic importance has increased manifold. Like Balochistan, the region has huge potential in trade with China, tourism, minerals, gems, precious stones, agriculture-farming and hydropower production. Therefore, GB’s people who are strengthening their association with Pakistan, pay no attention to the false propaganda.

 

While, these US-led Western entities, particularly India who also give undue coverage to the meetings and protests against the integrity of Pakistan, are especially exaggerating the statements of those Baloch separatist leaders who have taken shelter in Europe and America, and are fulfilling the agenda of their foreign masters against the CPEC.

 

The reality is that the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of the rest of the country to facilitate the transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with the rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project which is the backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, including developments in other provinces by providing thousands of employment opportunities, particularly to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by the US, India and Israeli do not want. Therefore, these entities and their media describe the CPEC in negative terms.

 

In fact, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become a centre of American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these intelligence agencies which are also in collaboration with the Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS), support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist outfits are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.

 

It is mentionable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan province.

 

But, in the recent past, blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country showed that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage especially to weaken Pakistan and to damage the Pak-China project of CPEC. Foiled terror attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi on November 23, 2018, was part of the same scheme. Nevertheless, CIA, RAW and Mossad are assisting the separatist elements of the Balochistan to thwart the CPEC project.

 

It is of particular attention that during P.M. Imran Khan’s second trip to China, on April 28, this year, Islamabad and Beijing embarked on the new phase of the CPEC by signing a memorandum of understanding-agreements on the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and socio-economic development and a new agreement on free trade. The new phase of the CPEC would be characterised by industrialization—20 factories is being set up in Rashakai, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.  In view of trade is an important element of the CPEC, the two sides concluded the second stage of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) aimed at strengthening trade ties between the two countries. Under the new FTA, China would open up 90 per cent of its market for Pakistani goods whereas Pakistan would share 65pc of its market with Chinese exports. This would also help in redressing, to a certain extent, the yawning trade imbalance between the two countries, which stood at $9.7 billion last year.

 

The two sides also signed an agreement on a technical package for upgradation of Pakistan’s main railway line-Mail Line-One (ML-1) under which a double track from Peshawar to Karachi will be built with China’s help. China who will spend $1bn on 27 projects, help Pakistan Railways in improving its capacity.

 

Nonetheless, China has clarified Indian concerns on the CPEC or OBOR. But, apart from the US, India is particularly opposing the CPEC as part of the anti-Pakistan and anti-China approach.  

 

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

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

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

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The MQM in Doldrums By Asif Haroon Raja

Image result for mqm terrorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MQM in Doldrums

Asif Haroon Raja

MQM’s fascism

The MQM under Altaf Hussain reigned supreme in urban Sindh from 1988 till March 2013. It expanded its political power by introducing the cultures of dead bodies filled in sacks, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, torture cells, target killings, no-go areas and strikes to paralyze the city. Despite its policy of fascism, terrorism, blackmailing tactics and imperiousness, and turning the city of lights into darkness, it was cajoled and supported by the two mainstream parties and the establishment owing to the policy of reconciliation and political expediency. Ironically, it was also supported by intelligence agencies of India, Britain, and USA for the achievement of their vested interests. The ruling parties didn’t object to the illegal system adopted by Altaf to remote control his party with the help of International Secretariat after he fled to London in May 1992.

He is in exile for the last 24 years, but he hasn’t visited Pakistan even once. He has maintained his communications with his followers on phone and video clips. No restrictions were imposed on his inflammatory speeches which he made for 20 years, or any eyebrows were raised when he delivered a highly objectionable speech in New Delhi in 2003. His anti-Pakistan speeches in March and July 2016 in which he ridiculed the Army and Rangers and sought the help of RAW, India, and the UN were also overlooked. His dreary speeches inciting violence were tolerated till as late as August 22, 2016. Even now the Federal and Sindh governments have taken a soft approach.  

Although operations were launched in Karachi in 1992 and 1995-6 to deal with criminal elements within the MQM, those were called off inconclusively and their sins pardoned. The MQM was politically strengthened by Gen Musharraf during his nine years rule, which enabled the party to strengthen its foundations at grass roots levels in urban centers of Sindh and gain control over 80% of the port city.  

The MQM leadership grieved of socio-politico-economic grievances whether in power or out of power as a policy, which it had adopted at the time of formation of APSMO in 1978 and had become the basis for its birth in 1984. It used coercive methods and blackmailing tactics to make the Sindh or Federal Government accept its legal and illegal demands. Consequent to its non-cooperative attitude, it always fell out with the senior coalition partner much before the expiry of the tenure. Its unrelenting malevolence forced all the political parties in opposition under the umbrella of All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) to declare in 2007 that power will not be shared with the MQM in future. But the PPP under Zardari after coming to power in March 2008 made it a coalition partner, both at the Centre and in Sindh since both were beneficiaries of the infamous NRO. It is now no more a secret that the US and the UK were the architects of NRO to bring Benazir Bhutto to power.

The NRO cleansed the top leadership of PPP involved in mega corruption and also 8000 activists and leaders of MQM involved in heinous crimes. The PPP and MQM are liberal parties but unnatural partners; yet they tolerated each other for next five years despite MQM soaking Karachi in blood by its high spate of target killings, extortion, kidnappings, land grabbing and other crimes. The reason behind tolerating each other was that both were heavily involved in financial terrorism and corruption and their patrons wanted the two to stay together to bleed Pakistan’s economy.

The MQM’s decline

The MQM’s woes began after the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq in London on September 16, 2010, which most people believed was the handiwork of Altaf and his henchmen. The reason was that Imran had developed differences with Altaf and was secretly forming his own party comprising of like-minded MQM leaders. Scotland Yard started pursuing the case, which scared the MQM leaders based in London.

Another development which added to the woes of MQM was the raids of Metropolitan Police on Altaf’s house and MQM Secretariat offices in London on December 7, 2012, and seizure of 500,000 pounds sterling in cash along with handwritten lists of arm and explosives. The case of money laundering was initiated and it was determined that MQM was linked with India and was regularly receiving funds from RAW to destabilize Karachi. These confessions were made to the London Police by London-based MQM leaders Muhammad Anwar, Tariq Mir, and Sarfaraz Merchant, who was the middle man arranging funds through Dubai.

Rigorous election campaigning of PTI in Karachi in 2013 upset Altaf so much that he incited his supporters in Karachi to resort to violence against PTI workers. PTI’s senior worker Dr. Zahra was gunned down by MQM target killers in May 2013. Later on, the killers and facilitators Kaleem, Rashid (alias Master), Zahid Abbas Zaidi and Irfan (alias Lamba) were arrested. Complaints were lodged with Metropolitan Police London by tens of thousands of Pakistanis living in Pakistan and in the UK to rein in Altaf.

Although the MQM won 52 seats in urban Sindh and 24 seats in the Centre in May 2013 elections, but for the first time, both the PML-N and PPP refused to share power with it in the Federal and Sindh governments because of its fascist policies, intransigence and willful destabilization of Karachi.

Yet another event which went against the MQM was Rangers operation which started in September 2013 to deal with all criminal elements and restore peace in troubled Karachi. Although it was even-handed and intelligence driven, within six months the MQM realized that the noose was tightening around its neck and it started raising objections that the operation was MQM focused. The reason was that majority of the arrested criminals belonged to the MQM. 

The arrest of two MQM criminals, Tahir and Junaid, by SSP Rao Anwar on April 30, 2015, uncovered the MQM-RAW connection. Junaid is the brother of Javed Langra, who was sector in-charge Lines Area Karachi in 1992 and had fled to India as a result of Army operation. Javed was made the chief handler of all MQM activists sent for training to India via Bangkok at a camp in Dera Dun. Rather than grilling MQM leaders, who shed tears of innocence, Rao was lambasted and sacked. Naeem (alias Fire brigade wala) gave full details of training in India to Bennet Jones.

Arrested Saulat Mirza who was later sentenced to death on May 12, 2015, and over 600 hardened criminals of MQM laid bare the gory details of Rabita Committees in Karachi and in London, Tanzeemi Committee, Labor Division, sector/unit commanders, and Khidmat Khalq, how they would use the target killers, extortionists, and mafias to strike terror, foment ethnicity and sectarianism, amass wealth and gain monopoly over the port city.

Raids on Nine Zero on March 11, 2015, and on July 16, 2015, exposed much more details about MQM’s criminal activities including the horrific Baldia Town factory incident in 2012. 250 workers were burnt to death by MQM goons because the factory owner showed his inability to pay Rs. 20 crore extortion money. Qaimkhani, Hammad Siddiqui, sector in-charge Rehman, alias Bhola, were involved in it. Those who had engineered May 12, 2007, massacre of political workers welcoming former chief justice Iftikhar in Karachi also came to light. The then Home Minister Waseem Akhtar, now Mayor Karachi, was named.

The arrest of Kalbushan Yadav in March 2016 and his disclosure that he was operating RAW network in Baluchistan and Karachi and was linked with BLA and MQM reconfirmed MQM connection with RAW. MQM-RAW connection was also exposed by BBC documentary, noted columnist Bennet Jones and Daily Ummat newspaper. 

Sealing of Nine Zero, break up of the militant structure by the Rangers and demolition of sector/unit offices, has weakened the authority and monopoly of MQM. This loss of power was witnessed when the businessmen refused to shut their shops on the call of MQM. Rangers and Army are eulogized for restoring peace in Karachi and the MQM reproached.

Altaf’s health started to deteriorate on account of mounting tension and multiple diseases and he is now chair borne and desires to shift to the USA.

Dissection of MQM and its ramifications

These factors together with much publicized option of minus-Altaf formula impelled Dubai-based Mustafa Kamal (MK) (once a blue-eyed boy of Altaf and anointed as Mayor of Karachi during Gen Musharraf tenure) and strong-arm Anis Qaimkhani to rebel against Altaf and announce a new political party, Pakistan Sar-Zamin Party (PSP) with new flag and election symbol in March 2016. Several MPAs of MQM in Sindh Assembly joined MK.  

MK broke off ties with Altaf and London Secretariat and revealed details of Altaf’s psychopathic frame of mind, stating that he derived sadistic pleasure humiliating MQM leaders and in killing people particularly his opponents or those who defied him or those who became popular within MQM. He further added that Altaf assigned targets to the target killers in Karachi and South Africa directly. He also disclosed that M. Anwar (Indian national) in a meeting in Dubai in 2012 confessed of London Secretariat connection with RAW since 1989 and that the then Interior Minister Rahman Malik was present.

MK tried to give an impression that he had the backing of establishment and enticed others to join him and get absolved of all criminal cases. Most of the notorious target killers and sector/unit commanders joined him, but after the arrest of Qaimkhani, they had second thoughts and some joined Farooq Sattar (FS) led the group. MK kept urging the ones in power to ban MQM because of its connection with RAW and anti-state activities. 

Successes achieved by the Rangers in reining in MQM terrorism flabbergasted Altaf and on several occasions, he lost his sense of balance while delivering his boring and incomprehensible speeches on phone. He crossed all limits on August 22, 2016, by chanting slogans against Pakistan and inciting his followers to attack TV stations and security forces. His loyalists instantly obeyed his instructions. This speech dug the last nail in his coffin. A strict ban was imposed on his speeches. This event gave birth to another faction of MQM under FS named as MQM (Pakistan).

Currently, the MQM is divided into four factions; MQM (Pakistan) under FS which has been duly registered as a political party with ECP with election symbol ‘Kite’. Important leaders in his setup are Khwaja Izharul Hassan, Waseem Akhtar (Mayor) and Faisal Sabzwari along with the majority of MQM workers. PSP has been joined by Raza Haroon, Qaimkhani, Anis Advocate, Asif Husnain, Waseem Aftab and some second tier MQM leaders. The London group comprise of Nusrat Nadim, M. Anwar, Tariq Mir, Mustafa Azizabadi, Wasey Jalil. Its recently formed Rabita Committee in Karachi has been grounded after the arrest of its leaders Dr. Zafar Arif, Kanwar Khalid Yunus, Amjadullah, and Ishaq. MQM Haqiqi under Afaq Ahmed is also there but has almost become a non-entity and sooner than later it will join one of the two Karachi-based MQM factions.

FS group’s Izharul Hassan tried to convince Gen Musharraf, currently based in Dubai, to help in reuniting the FS group and PSP and take over as the head of the united party. However, his proposal was politely rejected by Musharraf. He knew that 30-40% members of FS group are still loyal to Altaf, while 25% are fence sitters and are seeing how the wind blows. Musharraf was informed that his takeover will benefit MQM London and PSP since it will not be well received by the organizers and loyalists of Altaf in FS group and as such FS group will be a loser in next elections in 2018. Fearful of the unification scheme under Musharraf which will mark the end of Altaf politics, London group started poisoning the ears of the fence sitters in FS group that its leadership was planning to eliminate Altaf from politics and bring in an outsider. Their propaganda had an impact on the targeted audience.    

Gen Musharraf is himself in a weak position. He had proceeded to Dubai on medical grounds but under a deal that he will not return as long as PML-N is in power. He is otherwise implicated in several court cases including a case of high treason and his two properties have been confiscated on account of failing to present himself in the court. He, therefore, took a wise decision to stay out of MQM politics.

People, in general, are viewing the different factions with skepticism; some saying all are chips of the same block and are employing tactics to buy time and reunite after the termination of Rangers operation, or change of military leadership.

Factionalized MQM has certainly divided the Mohajir vote bank and faded the charisma of Altaf about whom it was stated till recent that there will be no MQM without him. He has remained unchallenged leader of MQM, but his success was owing to his policy of terrorization, media glorification, playing of the ethnic card, and above all patronage of MI-6, CIA, Mossad and RAW who behold him as a strategic asset. It was owing to their benefaction that he was set free in money laundering case which was an open and shut case. Likewise, Dr. Imran murder case has remained unsolved despite Pakistan giving access to the real murderers and facilitators (Mohsin Ali, Kashif Kamran, Muazam, Shameem). He is also not being charged for fueling violence in Karachi.

The British government has given preference to Altaf over Pakistan. Crown Prosecution directed Scotland Yard that the money laundering case was closed and will not be further processed nor any action taken. This is unprecedented and speaks of mala fide intentions since a case is never permanently closed. A linkage of the handwritten list of arms is being drawn with the seizure of a huge arms cache from Nine Zero premises last month. Pressured by USA, Britain compromised the high reputation of its premier institutions to save Altaf and please India. Conviction of Altaf and five co-accused would have established RAW’s involvement in Pakistan.

The MQM is in a quandary because of internal rift and power struggle between the three warring factions and none in Pakistan coming to its rescue.  The Karachi-based factions under FS and MK are desperately vying to take the place of Altaf but none has his magnetism for the disadvantaged Urdu-speaking class, which is feeling orphaned without him.  Like in the case of Donald Trump, they ignore all his negative aspects and want him to remain their lifelong leader since he had given them identity and strength to effectively deal with other ethnic communities and to control Karachi. The crisis has become grave with little hope of reconciliation and reunification. The possibility of reintegration of MQM London can be safely ruled out since Altaf has burnt his boats after his incendiary speech on August 22. Although he is terminally sick and can hardly move, his patrons who have invested a lot in him will keep extracting juice out of him till they find a suitable replacement.

Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on September 20, 2016, which was moved by MQM (Pakistan) declaring Altaf a traitor and seeking his trial under Article VI. He is neither acceptable to the political parties in power and in opposition, or to the military, or the public, nor other two factions. However, the possibility of unification of FS and MK factions cannot be altogether ruled out, although there is again the problem of the clash of personality between the two leaders.  

MK group had a good chance to attract as many MQM leaders and activists up till August 22, but it couldn’t. Muhajir voters were still confident of Altaf’s resurgence. The emergence of FS group has become a handicap for MK group. Although, it is trying hard to woo as many prominent figures from FS group but so far his efforts have not borne fruit. MK blame former Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad, who remained in this chair for 14 years, for stopping MQM leaders from joining him. The release of Qaimkhani and Mayor-elect Wasim Akhtar, both implicated in dozens of cases are setbacks for London group but are a morale booster for both MK and FS groups. The Later will gain more political benefits.

The two rival factions intend to display their political power by holding rallies. While MK will hold a public meeting in Hyderabad on November 25, FS who has carried out intra-party elections and got himself elected as a convener will hold a meeting on December 25. MK is confident of winning Muhajir vote since he claims to have gained influence over the lower level organizational structure. Both are vying for the support of Establishment which has so far remained neutral.

While the FS and MK led groups have so far not clashed with each other, the former is heading for a possible punch-up with MQM London which is exerting extreme pressure on it to rejoin Altaf or else resign from Assemblies since it had won seats on the tickets awarded by Altaf. None in FS group has obliged and has taken firm steps to completely detach itself from Altaf group.

Taking advantage of the divides in the MQM and their infighting and demoralization, other political parties have stepped up their efforts to capture as many Muhajir votes. The vacuum fillers in line are PPP, PTI, and JI. They are hoping for revision in delimitation in Karachi undertaken by MQM during Gen Musharraf rule to correct the anomalies. People of Karachi are more interested in peace and security than in fractious factions of MQM. They have more trust and confidence in the Rangers and the Army and want the Rangers not to terminate the operation till the achievement of conclusive results.

Endnote: Why are MK and FS banking on MQM leaders and activists with criminal records and hands drenched in the blood of thousands of innocent people? Why can’t they start with a clean slate by inducting fresh blood from within the 2 crore Urdu speaking community? I am fearing another NRO-2 to cleanse the target killers, kidnappers, extortionists and Mafias under the policy of national reconciliation and hoping that the reincarnated MQM will refrain from militancy in future. Haven’t we suffered enough from the ill-effects of NRO-1?

The writer is defense analyst, columnist, author of 5 books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Group, DG Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

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The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

There-Are-18-Million-Afghan-Refugees-In-Pakistan-Alone-And-More-Than-28-Million-Total

Reference: 

The Afghan War Settlement

 

 

In 1979, Russian forces invaded Afghanistan. Communism came to the threshold of Pakistan when forces led by Babrak Karmel overthrew the Government of Afghanistan. Some 120,000 Russian troops entered Afghanistan .The Afghan people organized a resistance force against this blatant aggression. The Soviet forces suffered greatly in terms of manpower and material, and the Afghan War proved expensive even for a world power like the Soviet Union.

It has always been said about Afghanistan that it can be invaded and occupied easily but it is very difficult to hold and control it. Afghans have a history of resisting foreign invaders. The British imperial power failed in all three attempts to occupy and control Afghanistan. The Soviets were to learn the same lesson. In the beginning, the Soviet army was successful in occupying and controlling Afghanistan.

The Numbers Given Below are Not Accurate:The Are 10 Times Higher:Afghan Refugee Camps in Pakistan Province of KPK, Balochistan,Punjab

General Zia stood against the spread of communism. He reiterated his solution to the Afghanistan crisis in 1983 in New Delhi. He said that Pakistan has given political asylum to millions of Afghans. He demanded the expulsion of Russian forces from Afghanistan. America responded to the call of Pakistan and flooded Pakistan with monetary help to finance the anti-communist regime in Afghanistan and to equip the freedom fighters. The freedom fighters, the mujahideen, put forward a strong resistance to the Russian invasion. Although the Afghans suffered enormous causalities in the beginning of the war but the turning point in the war came when the U. S. supplied them with surface-to-air Stinger missiles.

danger. As Pakistan was a frontline state, huge amounts of money, military equipment and aid arrived in Pakistan. The huge amounts of aid that poured in propped up Zia’s government. With the Afghan problem, a new phase of modernization of the military began. The arms provided to Afghanistan freedom fighters were also provided to the Pakistan Army. As a result the Pakistan Army became better equipped.

Other than the problems faced due to the Afghan War efforts, the Soviet Empire was breaking apart at the seams. This led the Soviets to seek peace in Afghanistan. Negotiations on Afghanistan were carried out under Zia’s Government, and the Geneva Accord was signed on April 14, 1988, under which the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its forces in two installments .The Soviet Government lived up to its commitment of withdrawal of forces according to the agreed timetable.

The victory in Afghanistan was achieved at a great cost to Pakistan. It had to look after and feed more than three million Afghan refugees that had crossed over to Pakistan. The refugees were a great economic burden on Pakistan. Not only this but, they also caused the problem of drugs and gunrunning in the country.

Long after the Soviet forces had left Afghanistan, fighting continued between the various factions of the mujahideen. With the emergence of the Taliban, Pakistan found itself an ally in Afghanistan that enforced peace and virtually eliminated the drug cultivation. After the September 11 tragedy of 2001, world attention again focused on Afghanistan as they considered it as training grounds of terrorists responsible for the tragedy. The Talibans were removed by power and a U. S. led coalition installed an interim government in Afghanistan, which till today keeps a fragile peace in the country. Meanwhile Pakistan continues to suffer numerous problems from the legacy of the Afghan War such as refugees, drugs, guns, crime, and terrorism.

Courtesy:

A great site for history of Pakistan

http://storyofpakistan.com/the-afghan-war-settlement

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003.

Additional Readings:

2015 UNHCR country operations profile – Pakistan

 

 

 

 

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Pakistan
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 2,311,750 2,311,750 2,352,080 2,352,080

 

 

| Overview |

 

 

 

Working environment

  • Pakistan hosts almost 18 million registered Afghan refugees – still the largest protracted refugee population globally. Since 2002, UNHCR has facilitated the return of 3.8 million registered Afghans from Pakistan.

  • Efforts to address the needs of Afghan refugees and their host communities, and to advance durable solutions, are undertaken within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), the tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation, and the Government of Pakistan’s national policy on Afghan refugees.

  • To complement UNHCR and partners’ international support, the Government of Pakistan has extended Afghan refugees’ Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of 2015, issued birth certificates for 800,000 Afghan refugee children, provided land for several refugee villages, and given refugees access to public schools and health clinics.

  • In August 2014, there were 714,548 registered internally displaced people (IDPs) in need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing security operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The North Waziristan emergency has further displaced approximately 500,000 people.

  • The operating environment for humanitarian actors in Pakistan remains volatile, with fragile security, as well as access, social and economic challenges likely to affect humanitarian operations. In order to improve outreach to populations of concern and to build local capacity, UNHCR works closely with local partners and government counterparts.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2015 under the Pakistan operation include: Afghan refugees, of whom approximately one-third live in refugee villages, and two-thirds in urban and rural host communities; some 7,000 asylum-seekers and individually-recognized refugees from various countries (mostly Afghans), living mainly in urban areas; IDPs, including those relocated by military operations and ethnic/religious conflicts in FATA, and, since the beginning of military operations in June 2014, IDPs from North Waziristan; and three groups presumed to be stateless or at risk of statelessness in Pakistan, namely Bengalis and Biharis, as well as Rohingyas from Myanmar.

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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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INDIA SPONSORED TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons by Sajjad Shaukat

                                               TTP Again Targets Innocent Persons

                                                            By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

More than 65 people were killed in a suicide attack on November 2, this year near a paramilitary soldiers’ checkpoint at Wagah in Lahore when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) again targeted the innocent persons through its affiliated militant outfits, Jundullah and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar which claimed responsibility for the incident. The victims also include several women and children, while more than 120 people have been injured. The bombing took place on at least 500 meters from the Pak-Indian border.

 

A regards the bombing, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, based in Afghanistan, said that it was carried out by one of their men—some other groups’ claims are baseless. We will soon release the video of this attack.” He elaborated, “This attack was revenge against the military operation in North Waziristan.

 

While, spokesman of Jundullah Ahmed Marwat also pointed out that the attack was a reaction to military operation Zarb-i-Azb.

 

B1if-8FCYAAoT_RIn fact, like other linked militant outfits such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Lashkar-e-Janghvi including other Taliban organistaions, Jundullah and TTP share common tactics and agendas. They often claim responsibility for the terror-assaults separately to divert attention and to deceive the security forces and law-enforcing agencies. For example, on September 22, 2013, a twin suicide bomb attack had killed 127 people at a Peshawar church. Jundallah accepted responsibility of that attack too. But, TTP had condemned that brutal assault. Afterwards, its spokesman had remarked that it was in accordance with Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) which indicated that TTP was behind that ruthless incident. So, ambivalent statements of the TTP-led Taliban have endorsed that it has been playing double game.

 

However, in the recent years, militants of the TTP and its affiliated outfits have been using suicide bombing as their main weapon by targeting innocent civilians, women and children, Armed Forces and government functionaries, anti-polio workers, airports, markets, schools, parks, mosques, Imambargahs, churches, temples, shrines, bus stops, railway stations, passengers’ trains and so on. They conducted various terror-activities like ruthless beheadings of tribesmen. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, and even did not spare burial places of the Sufi Saints, and disgraced dead bodies. Their nefarious acts resulted into killings of several innocent persons in Pakistan.

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Their families mourn and raise a question asking for what crime their loved ones were punished in a way. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

 

In this context, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict) asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (Haram).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or attackers are destined to go to Hell…they represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims and they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims, especially the innocent youth.”

 

From time to time, while condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They elaborated that Islam does not forbid women’s education.

 

While, Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.

 

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

 

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

 

As a matter of fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

 

Here, it is mentionable that within four months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists of the TTP by clearing more than 80 percent of the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against foreign and local terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

 

Regarding terror-attack at Wagah border, Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa stated on November 3 that the massive attendance with fervor during the flag ceremony at Wagah border has proved that nation was not afraid of these terrorists and it was united in its fight against terrorism.

 

Nonetheless, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam, and are weakening our country by targeting the innocent persons like those of the Wagah border incident.

 

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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