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Archive for category Pakistan Fights Terrorism

Third party experiment in choppy waters – Asif Haroon Raja

Third party experiment in choppy waters

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

In the 73 years political history of Pakistan, the civilians ruled for 40 years and the military for 33 years. While Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Gen Zia-ul Haq and Gen Musharraf ruled for over 10, 11 and 9 years respectively, no civilian ruler completed his/her 5 year tenure. Prolonged military rules made the senior army officers affluent and they made a place in the privileged club. Frequent military interventions bred civil-military tensions and both sides blamed each other for failing to make Pakistan a prosperous country. While the politicians term the military rulers as power hungry dictators and anti-democratic, and hold them responsible for not letting the democracy to grow, the army generals perceive the politicians as corrupt, security risk, and inept having no sense of governance and management. The three military rulers uplifted the GDP to above 7% due to continuity, one window operation, superior management and governance, but were unable to widen the base of education, improve literacy rate, reform the state institutions and establish true democracy. The politicians neither paid any attention to the education, nor reformed the institutions, or improved the tainted political culture. They were satisfied with the British inherited systems and were content in running sham democracy since it  enabled them to break or bend laws and indulge in corrupt practices without any check and balance. The bureaucrats who are the real power wielders and the judiciary played their part in keeping politics in choppy waters.

Three-tiered education system, feudalism, religious divides, secular-Islamic divide, rise of ethnicity and mushroom growth of provincial parties obstructed nationalism and integration of the society. Leadership crisis encouraged India and Afghanistan to exploit these fault lines, fuel regionalism and make use of 5th columnists to disturb law and order or to foment insurgency.  As a consequence, the country kept lurching from one crisis to another and never got politically stabilized, and economically sound. Unstable political and economic conditions, craze for materialism among the elites, ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, insensitivity of the selfish affluent class towards the deprived class, media emerging as the 4th pillar of the state but using its power wrongfully, all these factors deflected the nation away from the golden principles of Islam, and pushed the society towards the satanic path, which degenerated the moral turpitude of the society as a whole. Well-knowing that the hand of law will not touch them because of their influence and power of money, politicized police and bureaucracy and highly defective criminal judicial system, the evildoers commit all sorts of sins and heinous crimes without any fear. 

Irrespective of internal weaknesses and tense external environments, fighting three wars with India and losing the eastern limb, Pakistan’s Rupee value, its GDP, per capita income and overall economy were much stronger than the regional countries till 1990. Starting from 1953, Pakistan extended financial support to Saudi Arabia till mid-1970s. The rot started during the third democratic era of 1990s during which the two competing mainstream parties, PPP and PML-N, indulged in fierce tug of war, nepotism and in corrupt practices. Merit was set aside and loyalty to the ruling party head and not honesty and professional competence became the criteria for selection of senior bureaucrats, police officers, judges and bank managers. Same criteria was applicable for the cabinet ministers and advisers as well as the service chiefs. In a decade, all state institutions were politicized and destroyed. Gen Zia’s hammer in the form of Article 58 2 (b) was liberally used by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to pack up three governments prematurely on charges of corruption. President Leghari used this axe once in 1996.

Since then, Pakistan’s economy has remained in the doldrums and at the mercy of the IMF and the World Bank. After a good start by the military regime of Gen Musharraf, it lost its shine once it chose to co-opt King’s Party, which was an amalgam of turncoats from all parties. Emphasis was on corruption but the axe of accountability fell upon the opponents of the regime. Kashmir cause was given a setback. National Reconciliation Ordnance (NRO), which brought back, Benazir Bhutto (BB), Nawaz Sharif (NS) and Zardari from abroad were the gifts of Musharraf. Whatever little improvements he made in the economy were washed down the drain during the 4th democratic era starting in 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of paying attention to institutions building, focus shifted on making compromises both internally and externally. Governed by the dictates of Charter of Democracy signed by NS and BB in May 2006, both PPP and PML-N during their respective five years tenures kept accountability on lowest priority. Emphasis of the two was on keeping USA and India appeased even at the cost of compromising national interests. Both tried to undermine the Army in order to establish civilian supremacy. Lip service was paid to the Kashmir cause and no heed was paid to the degeneration of morals and human values. Comparing the two, performance of PML-N was much better. NS could have completed his tenure as PM and his party could have won again in 2018 had he abstained from his old habit of locking horns with the army chiefs. Trial of Gen Musharraf and his indictment on charges of high treason, coupled with Dawn leaks scandal cooked his goose.     

It is said that when the two-party system failed to deliver and Pakistan began to sink under the massive weight of foreign debts and faltering economy due to declining morality, ever growing corruption and other malpractices and lack of governance, the Establishment decided to bring forward a new party with better credentials. To this end, PTI under Imran Khan (IK) who had a clean record was earmarked, which had taken advantage of the deplorable rule of PPP under Zardari and emerged as a strong third force in late 2011. Elimination of corruption and justice for all were the slogans chanted by charismatic IK which made him popular. His party however, failed to defeat the PML-N in 2013 elections since go-getter Shahbaz Sharif as CM Punjab had performed well and his party was well entrenched in Punjab which makes or breaks governments. Instead of reconciling with his defeat and concentrating on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party had formed a government and preparing for next elections, IK decided to oust PML-N which had gained two-third majority and had formed governments in Punjab and in Baluchistan.

Reason behind his impatience was that the ruling party had begun to deliver and CPEC agreement had become a reality. Letting PML-N to complete its tenure would have made its re-election inevitable. A plan was chalked out by him, Tahirul Qadri (TuQ), Pervez Elahi and Sheikh Rashid at London to stage a sustained sit-in at Islamabad in July 2014 under the premise of massive rigging in elections. Death of 14 supporters of TuQ in Model Town Lahore incident in June that year at the hands of the police energized firebrand TuQ to censure Punjab administration and police, register FIRs and gain sympathies of the people. It fueled the PTI-PAT protestors to undertake road journey from Lahore to Islamabad and stage a dharna at D Chowk. Reluctance of the government to open four constituencies in Lahore district for recounting of votes became the rallying point for the protestors to demand resignation of NS and to hold mid-term elections.

To maximize pressure on the government, various tactics were employed, which included attacks on the Parliament, PM Secretariat and PTV, followed by refusing to pay taxes, resignation by all MNAs of PTI and vicious propaganda war through electronic and social media to degrade the Sharif brothers. NS was demonized as the most corrupt man and IK glamorized as the best man. During the six months sit-in, every night the PTI members and supporters danced and sang on the beat of music arranged by DJ, and the PTI leaders hurled threats and insults on NS and his family. The jollification was abruptly called off after the tragedy in APS Peshawar on December 16, 2014 but the tirade continued relentlessly in the public meetings staged in big cities. Fan-following of IK surged and tussle between followers of PTI named as ‘Youthias’ and of PML-N as ‘Patwaris’ peaked on social media.  

Panama case in April 2017 came as a blessing in disguise for the PTI which was fully exploited to boot out NS. Media hype was created despite the fact that in the list of 450 account holders in the Panama offshore companies, NS name was not there. The seven-member Supreme Court bench under chief justice Saqib Nisar took assistance from the specially formed JIT to probe the accusations of corruption and money laundering. In spite of the 10-volume probe made by the JIT, the court found no trace of corruption, but disqualified NS on charges of holding an Aqama for getting employed in Al-Azizia steel mills at Dubai owned by his son and drawing salary from him during his period of exile. He didn’t mention it in his 2013 tax return since he had not drawn any salary.

PML-N suffered series of reverses which included disqualification of three-time elected NS in July 2017 for not being Sadiq and Ameen, time-bound trial of NS and his children by NAB court supervised by a judge of supreme court, toppling of PML-(N)-NP coalition government in Baluchistan led by Sanaullah Zehri in January 2018, followed by PML-N losing the sure seats of Senate Chairman and Deputy Chairman. Just before the general elections in July 2018, NS was absolved in one case but convicted in the second case and awarded 7 years jail sentence. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt(Retd) Safdar were also jailed. Cases were registered by the law courts against senior PML-N leaders. Under the circumstances, the victory of PTI in July 2018 elections was a foregone conclusion.

PTI senior member Jahangir Tareen (JT) aspiring to become CM Punjab played a key role in inducing sizeable numbers of the electable turncoats from the PPP and PML-N and independents, mostly from South Punjab, to PTI. He was the chief organizer, financier and right hand man of IK. It is said that TLP, GDA and BAP were created to split votes of PML-N. However, despite the gerrymandering, PTI won with a thin margin in the Centre and in Punjab and perforce had to seek alliance with PML-Q, MQM-P and BNP-M whom IK had always censured. Punjab was handed to unknown and unassuming Usman Buzdar due to disqualification of JT by the count on charges of possessing a mansion abroad and holding an account in offshore company which he didn’t declare. The allies and the electables from other parties as well as imported technocrats have created hurdles in the way of reforming the state institutions and carrying out across the board accountability, and in building New Pakistan.

NS in the meanwhile managed to procure bail and get admitted in a hospital at Lahore for medical treatment. Later on he was permitted by the court to go abroad in November 2019 on account of his deteriorating health condition and to return after six weeks once his health improved. On December 17, 2019, Gen Musharraf in exile in Dubai was given death sentence by Islamabad High Court (IHC). Eruption of Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 kept the government in a spin and NS was forgotten. On 01 September 2020, the court hearing the Toshakhana (State to State Gift Repository) case asked NS to return home in next ten days or else he will be declared an absconder(already declared an absconder). He has now been summoned by IHC in Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases on 22 September. Both the Federal and Punjab governments as well as the NAB are making hectic efforts to get him back but NS is not likely to return soon as long as the doctors treating him do not clear him. NS and Maryam’s indulgence in politics is the reason behind the pressure.

It was optimistically assumed by PTI leaders that after the victory, over 70 legislators of PML-N would jump the ship and join the ruling party, as had been the practice before. PTI leadership was confident that not only they would muster enough political strength in Punjab to get rid of black mailing allies, but would also win local bodies elections comfortably. This assumption proved fallacious, as was the case with several other rosy assumptions. In spite of the relentless propaganda against the Sharif’s and their families and the witch-hunt of PML-N leaders by the NAB, the party remains intact and has not lost its vote bank in Punjab; the two brothers are still popular. It is speculated that in order to meet the threat posed by NS and Maryam, not only NAB has been further pumped up, the new CCPO Umar Sheikh has been inducted in the main political battleground of Lahore to do what other police officers couldn’t do. His services are needed so urgently that his blemished service record was ignored. So much so that instead of accepting the request of the IG Punjab Shoaib Dastagir to post out Umar Sheikh, he was removed from his post and new IG Inam Ghani inducted. 

Reason why the fort of PML-N couldn’t be cracked is that so far the PTI haven’t lived up to its promises and has fallen much short of high expectations of the people. None of the rosy promises have been fulfilled. Instead of improvement, their lives have become more depressed due to high inflation, red tapism, feudalism, nepotism and other mal practices that were committed in Old Pakistan. Governance and financial management are low average due to which prices of basic necessities and unemployment have surged. The rulers are committing the same mistakes and wrongs for which the predecessors were censured. Instead of correcting their shortcomings, they are continuing to blame the former two regimes for their weak performance. Or the danger of 5th generation war is brandished.

Neither the country has been made free of corruption within months as was claimed, nor the wrong practices of public office holders checkmated, or the economic health of the country improved, or a fair and transparent judicial system established. Instead of reducing debt burden it has been increased. Against Rs. 29000 billion debt accumulated in 70 years, Rs. 14500 billion has been added in just two years. Above all, the much trumpeted accountability has become selective and controversial. No accused has been convicted and punished in the last two years. NS is sitting abroad, Zardari is getting bail after bail, and so are other high prized accused. No serial target killer belonging to MQM and PPP has been taken to task. No Mafia has been netted. Terrorists caught inside the battle zones have been released and so is the case with several terrorists awarded death sentence by the military courts. Release of murderer MPA Achakzai in Quetta by the court on account of lack of evidence has disappointed the people. Call for removing the controversial CCPO Lahore on account of his irresponsible statement to the press about the gang rape victim on motorway is getting louder. And so is the call for public hanging or castration of the two rapists as suggested by the PM. Khurram, husband of PTI MPA Abida Raja severely bashed additional session judge Malik Jahangir at a petrol pump in Islamabad. Former is in the lock up and the latter removed from his seat by Islamabad High Court. Street crimes, rapes and robberies have increased and law and order is deteriorating mainly due to defects in investigation, prosecution and criminal justice system.  .   

Secondly, the PML-N voters are convinced that NS was wronged by the judiciary and that IK was empowered by the Establishment. They feel that irrespective of his fault lines, he was making good progress to make Pakistan economically strong and their living condition was much better during his tenure. Naya Pakistan is becoming a nightmare for them. NS has upheld his view that his removal was part of an effort to undermine democracy and civilian supremacy. The dismal performance of the PTI in its two-year tenure, and the growing frustration of the people have encouraged NS, Maryam Nawaz and other senior PML-N leaders to deride the ruling party and seek in-house change or mid-term elections.         

The PTI has not been able to make any headway because the politicized and corrupted institutions, particularly the judiciary, bureaucrats and the police have not been reformed. The flawed electoral system elects the same lot of vultures again and again, but no effort has been made to restructure it and improve the political culture. Without reformation no breakthrough is possible. The large numbers of legislators and senators drawing handsome salaries and plentiful perks and privileges are a huge drain on the national kitty since they remain disconnected from the people who elected them and are more of liabilities than of any use. Imported economic wizards tutored by the IMF/World Bank have failed to draw a sound economic roadmap to steer the country out of the choppy waters. Apart from the socio-economic challenges, failure to provide respite to the marooned Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir locked down since August 5 last year and trampled and molested by 900,000 Indian forces is a cause of embarrassment for the government.

Imran Khan is undoubtedly honest and earnestly want the country to progress. He has the requisite leadership qualities as well as drive and initiative and has the big advantage of unflinching support of the military, president and the judiciary. However, to what good is his honesty and backup support if he has selected a poor team and sticking with it despite knowing that most have skeletons in their cupboards and are letting him down? Usman Buzdar is not changed on the premise that he is simple and honest, but he is a flop and a cause of discomfiture for Imran Khan. Political expediency is coming in his way to pick right men for the right jobs. Art is long and time is running out. While the political parties in opposition pose no threat to him, what should worry him is the growing frustration and resentment of the people. His own party members and fans are getting disillusioned and are expressing dissatisfaction. People are questioning that how Pakistan will be converted into Riyasat-e-Madina when all our systems are western, and so is the way of living of the elite class? Or it is a rhetoric and akin to Bhutto’s concept of Islamic socialism?

Marginal improvements in macro-economic indicators have brought no succor to the people. Unless IK reins in the Mafias, makes the accountability effective, fair and transparent, ends nepotism and restores merit system, implements austerity, brings down the prices of fuel, gas and daily commodities, provide health facilities, cheap and quality education, social services, jobs, homes to the shelter-less, provides security to the people and delivers justice at the doorsteps, his shrinking popularity graph will dwindle further. All this will be possible only when the alien systems are replaced with Islamic laws. 

Additionally, a way out will have to be found to unlock over 8 million Kashmiris, get original status of J&K restored, and put an end to reign of terror launched by Indian forces. Pressure must be maximized upon the UN and the world community to settle the oldest dispute of Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions. However, diplomatic offensive alone will not fetch any results. The Far Right in Pakistan are incensed over punishments awarded to Hafiz Saeed and other Jamaatud Dawa leaders on account of fear of getting blacklisted by FATF. They say that neither the Mujahids are allowed to help the Kashmiris in distress nor the government is taking any physical action to put fear into the hearts of the Indian brutes brutalizing Kashmiris. 

Lingering Kashmir dispute is the root cause of growth of religious extremism. Pacifism in the face of offensive activism will not work. One-side appeasement, moderation in war, diplomatic juggling or peace mantra are self-defeating. It will be imprudent to rely on the UN or the dual-faced USA for a solution. We regret the lost opportunities; but fleeting opportunity is once again knocking at our door which may not be there tomorrow. Bold stances of Taliban, China and Iran are recent examples how to deal with cunning and arrogant enemies like USA and UK.

                        

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Conviction of Hafiz Saeed by Asif Haroon Raja

Conviction of Hafiz Saeed

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Lahore under Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta convicted Hafiz Saeed on February 12 and jailed him for 11 years. His colleague Zafar Iqbal was also given 11 years jail term. 23 prosecution witnesses testified but none could provide any concrete evidence. The prosecutor maintained that Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) were two sides of the same coin and since LeT had been declared a proscribed organization vide UN resolution 1267 and put under sanctions, Pakistan being a member of the UN must take action. Despite the fact that the prosecution couldn’t prove the charge of terrorism, the two accused were declared guilty on account of being a member of a banned outfit, supporting and arranging meetings of a proscribed organization, illegal fundraising and buying properties from the raised funds. Besides Indian media, a segment of Pak media together with a handful of well-heeled liberals in Pakistan have been demonizing Hafiz Saeed and his JuD and presenting him an asset of the military establishment.   

Hafiz Saeed was the founder of LeT in the early 1990s, which was actively involved in armed Kashmiri freedom movement. Once LeT and some other Kashmir focused Jihadi groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) were banned by Gen Musharraf under pressure from India and USA in 2002/03, Hafiz Saeed detached himself from LeT and created an educational & charitable outfit at Muredke near Lahore, which he named JuD. His set-up is open to all and all activities are transparent. He, however remained on the radar of India as well as the USA.

Between 2001 and 2008, all terror attacks in India were put in the basket of Azhar Masood led JeM or LeT.  The latter was blamed for the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. India also accused ISI that it trained and backed LeT. Since then, India has been constantly pressing Pakistan to punish Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders. At the behest of India, the UN and the US declared him a global terrorist and put $10 million bounty as his head money.  

Hafiz Saeed was arrested by Pak authorities 8 times since 2011 and put on trial but the courts couldn’t find any trace of his involvement in Mumbai attacks and had to be released. Neither India could furnish any proofs. Whatever evidence it sent was too flimsy and insufficient to convict him, but India duly backed by USA clung to its stance. 

India couldn’t supply any proofs because Mumbai attacks were masterminded by RAW-Mossad combine in collusion with CIA with a view to undermine the sudden flare-up of unarmed movement in IOK in the summer of 2008, get ISI declared a rogue outfit and Pakistan a terror abetting state. To make it look real, India made hue and cry, suspended composite dialogue and conditioned recommencement of talks to the conviction of the so-called accused. The USA also kept pressing and advising Pakistan to punish the accused to ease tension, renew the process of composite dialogue to resolve of Kashmir dispute and to return to normalcy.   

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving accused was tried and hanged within the premises of jail without allowing Pakistani legal team or the Interpol to meet him. India’s claim that Kasab was a Pakistani hailing from village Faridkot was false. He had been kidnapped from Nepal by RAW sometime back and was put in a secret detention center for subsequent use.

The Mumbai drama was initially exposed by the officials of Indian Home Ministry led by Satish Sharma in 2011, who submitted affidavits in Indian Supreme Court asserting that the attacks were an in-house affair to achieve objectives against Pakistan. Fake Hindu saint Aseemanand undergoing the trial of Samjhota Express train blast in 2007 confessed that all the terror attacks in India were the handiwork of Indian terrorist group Abhinav led by Lt Col Purohit of which he was one of the members. Murdered Inspector Hemant Karkare had rounded up the gang and the case was under trial. He was murdered by unknown assassins on the night of 26 November 2008 in Mumbai and thereafter the case was closed and all the accused were set free. As if these revelations were not enough to expose India’s lies and its penchant for false flag operations, two books authored by Indian writers and one by German author spilt the beans.  

With so much incriminating material available, Pakistan was in a good position to put India on the mat and expose its ugly face. Unfortunately, PPP and PML-N governments opted to retain Pakistan’s traditional policy of appeasement. Instead of rebuking Indian bogus version, Indian narrative was agreed to. Several LeT leaders including Hafiz Saeed were arrested and put on trial. Apologetic and defensive stance emboldened India to continue whipping Pakistan under the charge of terrorism.

India under fascist Narendra Modi hardened its stance and stated that till such time Pakistan didn’t control terrorism, it will not talk on Kashmir. Modi forced Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in 2015 to exclude Kashmir from the agenda of future talks and to accord priority to the issue of terrorism. Pakistan’s meekness encouraged India, Afghanistan and USA to dub Pakistan a breeding ground and an epicentre of terrorism and most dangerous country in the world. These labels were given in spite of Pakistan security forces achieving remarkable results in fighting foreign-sponsored terrorist groups in FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and suffering the most.

Failing to suppress the liberation movement in IOK, India not only kept the Line of Control in Kashmir heated up but also broke all records of state terrorism and human rights against Kashmiris in IOK. Finding that Kashmir was slipping out of its hands, RAW conducted a false flag operation in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, which had three-fold objectives. To distract the attention of the world from its human rights abuses against Kashmiris and discredit freedom movement; secondly, to create the justification for a surgical strike inside Pakistan, and thirdly, to whip up anti-Pakistan emotions in India and enlarge the vote bank of BJP for elections in June.

Indian Mirage 2000s intruded in Balakot on February 24 last year under the pretext of taking revenge for Pulwama terror attack. The jets hurriedly released their bombs in a deserted place causing no damage or human casualty due to timely intervention of PAF jets. However, India claimed that it had destroyed a JeM camp. In reaction, PAF made a counter move on the night of 26 February by dropping missiles next to three sensitive targets inside IOK. Indian army chief Gen Bipin survived by the skin of his teeth. In the air duel, PAF pilots shot down one Su-30 and one MiG-21 and captured one pilot. India also lost one helicopter along with the crew due to its own firing. When India tried to strike 8 targets with Brahmo missiles on the night of 27th, Pakistan announced that it had marked 16 targets which took the air out of Modi’s jingoism. Smarting under series of humiliations, Modi ventured to make disputed IOK integral part of India on August 5, 2019, and is now threatening to annex AJK.         

Anguished over their failure to cow down Pakistan or to disable its nuclear program, the three strategic partners India, USA and Israel assisted by puppet regime in Kabul got further upset over the rapid progress made by CPEC. They see it as a dangerous monster capable of overturning their global ambitions. The trio is continuing with proxy war to bleed Pakistan and scuttle CPEC through random attacks. The 5th Generation Hybrid War was launched to create political destabilization, accentuate divisions in society, turn the youth against the army and spoil Pak-China relations.

Additionally, IMF and FATF were used as tools to meltdown Pakistan’s economy and to make it a compliant state. The IMF doled out $ 6 billion loans on stringent conditions forbidding it to use even a penny of the loan money on CPEC or to repay loans of China. The FATF after putting Pakistan in the grey list issued a long list of demands saying if these are not complied with, the country will be blacklisted. The list included the arrest and conviction of JeM head Azhar Masood, and Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders.

While India is leaving no stone unturned to put Pakistan in a blacklist, the US is quietly pulling the strings of FATF to keep Pakistan in the grey list for some more time. Alice Wells during her recent visit to Islamabad had admitted that the US would like to keep Pakistan under pressure through FATF till such time Pakistan agree to abide by its dictates.  She declared CPEC and friendship with China harmful for Pakistan.

The International Bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new economic and financial managers appointed on the choice of IMF carried out the heavy devaluation of the currency under the hope of boosting exports. They imposed heavy taxes, raised the prices of fuel, gas, and of daily commodities in order to generate revenues. These measures didn’t improve the health of the economy and made the lives of the people difficult. Desperate to uplift the sinking economy and to fulfil the promises made to the people, and to save from getting blacklisted, the cornered government hastened to arrest Hafiz Saeed.

After keeping him under detention for about six months, he was put on trial. The decision of the court was hailed by Alice Wells as well as Trump. India is also happy and sees it a triumph of its consistent efforts. India will now push for his trial on charges of attacks in Mumbai with a view to net ISI and Pakistan in the trap of terrorism.   

Making Hafiz Saeed a sacrificial goat just before the crucial meeting of FATF at Paris from 12-21 February in which Pakistan is hoping to get out of the grey list and become white go against principles and ethics.

For India, Hafiz Saeed has been a pain in the neck since he always raised his voice against Indian barbarities. As head of Difah Pakistan Council, he has been organizing big public meetings and rallies and has been a moving force behind the Kashmiri freedom struggle. His charity outfit Khidmat-e-Khalq provided immense assistance to the victims of natural calamities and was among the first to reach the stranded people caught in the devastating earthquake in AJK in 2005.  JuD has also been imparting free education to the poor and funds to the needy. He is held in high esteem among the Kashmiris living both sides of the divide and has a huge following in Pakistan.

His conviction has not been well received in J&K and by the majority of people in Pakistan particularly the Far Right. They view him as a philanthropist serving humanity, highly patriotic Pakistani and not a terrorist. They feel he has been jailed to please the USA and to mollify India. Already an impression is gaining currency that the government has betrayed the Kashmiris and that neither it is taking any action to provide relief to the marooned 8 million Kashmiris locked up in biggest open prison since August 5, nor it is allowing others to start a Jihad. Since Hafiz Saeed has never been convicted by courts on account of terrorism or funding terrorists, in all likelihood the decision of ATC if challenged might be overturned by Lahore High Court.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC and The Think Tank PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

       

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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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