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Archive for category Sajjad Shaukat

Afghan Security Agencies Increased Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

Afghan Security Agencies Increased Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since the US-led NATO forces occupied Afghanistan in 2001, their air strikes on funerals, marriage-ceremonies and mosques, including special military operations killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. Therefore, previously, Afghan Government, as well as the parliamentarians, used to criticize the US-led NATO for the Afghan civilian causalities.

 

But, from 2015, Afghan security forces and secret agencies are conducting most operations themselves. Involvement of Afghan forces in civilian causalities is a matter of grave concern, making them unpopular in the eyes of their own people.

 

 

In this regard, under the caption, “Parliament demands action as civilian deaths hit record high”, Afghanistan Times wrote on September 26, 2018, “As civilian casualties hit record high in Afghanistan, Parliament called the spike in deaths a matter of ‘grave concern’, urging security agencies to ratchet up efforts to rein in the menace. The concerns are voiced a day after the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Afghanistan raised concerns over a drastic rise in civilian casualty toll from this year. Speaker of the Lower House Abdul Rauf Ibraimi blamed most of the civilian deaths in military operations on Detachment 1 of the 1st Special Operations Group. Ibrahimi referred to recent protests of families of martyrs in front of the Parliament to urge the government and its security apparatus to follow a good pattern to protect civilians. Parliamentarians too turned the heat up on the 1st Detachment, saying the conduct of the unit with civilians during raids were lawless, which caused harm to people. Lawmaker Obaidullah Barekzai lashed out at coalition airstrikes in volatile regions and contended that the U.S. forces bombed areas in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa and Maidan Wardak provinces in last two weeks, killing and hurting tens of civilians including women, children. Criticizing government silence regarding civilian casualties during an airstrike, he asked relevant organs to stop civilian casualties. Complaints came about casualties while recently…UNAMA expresses its concern about the rising number of civilian casualties from airstrikes this year in Afghanistan, with credible reports of the latest incident occurring in Kapisa province.”

 

Afghanistan Times added, “In a statement UNAMA said that it received multiple, credible allegations that on 22 September, aerial ordnance impacted the home of a teacher in the Budrab area of Tagab district, Kapisa province, killing nine civilians, including four children and three women, with several others injured. All the victims from the attack were from the same family, including grandparents and children aged between two and twelve. Five of the six other family members who were injured when their home was destroyed were women and young children. Also, UNAMA in its preliminary findings indicate that 12 civilians were killed Sunday in an airstrike in Maidan Wardak province during operations conducted by Pro-Government Forces in the area. Ten of those killed were children whose ages ranged from 6 to 15. Eight were girls. In the first six months of the year, UNAMA documented 353 civilian casualties (149 deaths and 204 injured) from aerial attacks, a 52 per cent increase from the same period in 2017. It is of particular concern that women and children made up more than half of all aerial attack civilian casualties. The Mission attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 percent to international military forces, and the remaining three per cent to unidentified Pro-Government Forces. Around seven per cent of all civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict in the first half of the year were attributed to air operations. Since the release of UNAMA’s 2018 mid-year Protection of Civilians Report, the Mission has continued to record increasing numbers of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.”

 

It is notable that campaign for Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections to be held in Afghanistan on October 20, this year, continues, despite a wave of deadly violence across the country and allegations of fraud.

 

In this respect, on October 2, 2018, “The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its concern around the level of violence early in the campaigning period for the 20 October parliamentary elections, including intimidation and attacks against candidates, their agents and supporters. The Mission condemns today’s [October 2, 2018] most serious incident that killed at least 14 civilians and wounded a further 42 when a suicide attacker struck at a campaign rally in Nangarhar. Since campaigning formally commenced on 28 September, there have been several attacks resulting in the killing of a candidate and three security guards of another candidate, as well as the shooting of a further candidate’s agent and son.” UNAMA “urges all actors to halt all violence and intimidation against candidates and voters….I am outraged by attacks deliberately targeting civilians seeking to exercise their basic right to participate in elections, said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan…This violence, including today’s reprehensible attack in Nangarhar, is an assault on the constitutional rights of the people of Afghanistan…Today’s suicide attack appears to have deliberately targeted a crowd gathered at an electoral campaign event.”

 

The Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) which accepted responsibility for previous and recent terrorism-related attacks in Afghanistan also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on an election-campaign rally of October 2, 2018, via its Amaq news agency.

 

It is mentionable that on August 10, this year, Taliban fighters attacked the Ghazni city of Afghanistan, killing at least 14 police officers and wounded dozens before the US-supported Afghan forces pushed them out of the city after a few days.

 

Afghan high officials revived the old blame game against Pakistan by accusing the security agencies of Pakistan regarding the Ghazni terror attack. Indian media also availed the opportunity and manipulated the Taliban attack against Pakistan.

 

In fact, prior to the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Islamabad, both India and Afghanistan wanted to spoil positive development between Pakistan and the United States.

 

However, regarding Ghazni terror attack, the spokesman of the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan, Dr Muhammad Faisal said: “We have not received any evidence to back up these spurious accusations and reject these baseless allegations made by Afghan officials and others.”

 

It is noteworthy that since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become center of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with the Afghan 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.

 

When any terror attack occurs in Afghanistan, the Afghan government revives old blame game against Pakistan.

 

On May 31, 2017, a massive truck bombing of the Afghan capital’s diplomatic section killed more than 150 people and injured hundreds of others, including foreigners. It was the deadliest terror attack in the 16-year-old conflict.

 

Taliban denied responsibility for the terror attack. But, Afghanistan’s intelligence service accused the Haqqani network by saying that a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan, carried out the attack. Addressing the conference-the “Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation”, held in Kabul on June 6, 2017, which was attended by representatives from 26 countries and international organizations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency in Afghanistan.

 

In the same speech, President Ghani offered peace talks to the Afghan Taliban. But, a Taliban spokesman rejected Ghani’s offer of a peace dialogue by stating that it is another attempt to endorse and to prolong the foreign occupation of Afghanistan.

 

During the same conference, a powerful bomb went off at the main mosque in the western city of Herat, killing at least 10 people. Again, the Taliban spokesman denied its involvement in connection with the explosion.

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s special Corps Commander Conference took the stern notice of Afghanistan’s allegations and threats and vowed to defend the country with full forces.

 

According to the press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), issued on June 6, 2017, the “Special Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for Afghanistan to introspect and not allege Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism…the conference reviewed the security situation…Strongly condemning the Kabul blast…meeting has expressed complete solidarity with the Afghan government…instead of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look forward and identify the real issues…Armed forces will defend the country from each challenge and will continue work to establish peace in the region.”

 

ISPR statement further reported that the meeting reaffirming continued support to regional peace and stability, the forum reiterated military’s resolve to defend the motherland against all types of threat.

It is worth mentioning that the armed forces of Pakistan have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts.

 

Besides, since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of the reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and peace has been restored in Balochistan.

 

Peace has also been restored in Karachi and other provinces of Pakistan, including the tribal areas. But, in the recent past and during the election-campaign of 2019, 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 destabilize Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

Notably, there are many outfits of the Taliban. A majority of Taliban is fighting a war of liberation against the occupying forces. The US-led NATO has failed in their fight against the Afghan Taliban. Therefore, the main purpose, especially of America, is to accuse Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan in order to pacify its public in connection with the endless war in that country. Now, particularly CIA is also behind various terror attacks in Afghanistan, conducted by the ISIS and similar terror groups.

 

As regards the terrorism-related incidents inside Afghanistan, by availing the continued lawlessness in that country, India, Israel and the Afghan Government want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO forces there and are using the militant outfits like ISIS and TTP to create further unrest there, while shifting the blame game towards Islamabad. In this connection, especially RAW, Mossad and the NDS are in collaboration. They have also kidnapped and killed many civilians in Afghanistan.  

 

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that Afghan security agencies have increased civilian casualties in Afghanistan, while the above mentioned foreign intelligence agencies have also added to these casualties.

 

Note: I have updated my similar article.

About the Author

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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Saudi-Pakistan Bilateral Relations, Maintaining A Close Friendship                                                             By Sajjad Shaukat

   Saudi-Pakistan Bilateral Relations, Maintaining A Close Friendship

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Having a strong foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are maintaining a close friendship with each other, which covers religious, strategic, military and economic interests of a great magnitude.

 

People of Pakistan have a strong attachment to Islam. Hence, they enormously respect Saudi Arabia as the origin of Islam, where the two holiest cities Mecca and Medina are situated. Millions of Pakistanis visit Saudi Arabia each year for pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah.

 

Historically, since its inception, Pakistan has maintained cordial ties with Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has played a significant role in the overall development of Saudi Arabia. It has been training Saudi military personnel. In this regard, during the 1970s, Islamabad signed defence protocol with Saudi Arabia, under which Pakistan Armed Forces were dispatched to Saudi Arabia to impart professional training. A majority of the officials of the Armed Forces are being sent there on deputation.

 

As regard the strategic side, since the 1950s, Pakistan’s all successive governments have assured Riyadh that whenever there is a threat to Saudi security, Islamabad will come to its help. In this respect, throughout the 1970s, Pakistani troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia near the Israeli border. In 1979, the siege of Ka’aba and the Great Mosque (Al-Haram Mosque of Mecca) was ended with the assistance of Pakistan’s special military forces. During the 1980s, an extraordinary number of Pakistani troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia, especially for internal security of Saudi Arabia. Similarly, during the Gulf War of 1990-91, thousands of Pakistani troops were dispatched to Saudi Arabia for the defence of that country. At present, Pakistan is one of the 41 members of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) which is being headed by Pakistan’s former army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical depth of relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia could be judged from the pre-partition of the Sub-continent. In this connection, in April 1940 when the Crown Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz paid a visit to Karachi, he was warmly welcomed by leaders of the Muslim League, including MAH Ispahani, MA Maniar and Karim Bhai Ibrahim, that laid the foundation of Pak-Saudi ties. The Crown Prince was accompanied by a large delegation, including his five brothers, Faisal, Saad, Fahd, Mansoor and Abdullah. In 1946, Jinnah (Founder of Pakistan) sent the Pakistan movement delegation led by Ispahani, including Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz, to the United Nations. While the Indian National Congress team was obstructing Muslim League envoys’ engagements, Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, who was leading the Saudi delegation, came to their rescue. Saudi Arabia invited Ispahani and his colleagues to the official reception in honour of all other UN delegations at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Prince Faisal then introduced the members of the Pakistan Movement to other delegates, and thus, they explained their struggle for a separate homeland.

 

When Bangladesh suffered severe famine in 1943, Riyadh responded to Jinnah’s appeal for humanitarian aid. King Abdul Aziz sent the first foreign donation amounting to £10,000.

 

After the creation of Pakistan, Arab merchants who had been settled in Indian seaports of Mumbai and Calcutta migrated to Pakistan, particularly Karachi. In 1954, King Saud took Karachi, the then capital of Pakistan by naming Saudabad town in his name, while laying the foundation stone for a housing scheme there. King Faisal was equally respected by the Pakistanis and their government, naming a key Karachi road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, a vital airbase after his name. Similarly, Lyallpur, a city in central Punjab, was also named as Faisalabad in his honour. The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad was constructed after a $120 million grant from Saudi King Faisal. However, all these facts show a major interest on the part of Saudi Arabia in a non-Arabic speaking Muslim nation.

 

In 1965 and 1971, Saudi Arabia supported Pakistan in the two wars with India. It stood directly behind Pakistan on the post-1971 War-related issues like return of PoWs and non-recognition of Bangladesh. It has always favoured Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

 

During the 1970s, Saudi leadership responded to the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s request for financial assistance in order to respond to India’s nuclear ambitions after the first Pokhran test.

 

In 1980s, during the military intervention of the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Pakistan saw it as a direct threat to its own security and supported Afghan Mujahideen in their war of independence. Riyadh fully favoured Islamabad’s efforts, as it considered Pakistan’s security as its own security. Saudi Arabia delivered almost half of the multi-billion-dollar aid to Pakistan.

 

In May, 1998, when after the nuclear tests, sanctions were imposed on Pakistan by the United Sates and some other Western countries, Riyadh supplied oil to Pakistan free of cost for several years. In this regard, Saudi Arabia provided 50,000 barrels of oil per day to Pakistan for a year; amounting to about one-sixth of Pakistan’s total oil imports on deferred payment.

 

In March, 2014, Saudi Arabia donated $1.5 billion unconditionally to Pakistan as a gift to help Islamabad shore up its foreign exchange reserves, meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects.

 

Apart from agreements for mutual cooperation in various fields, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed exemplary working relationships in the field of weather and climate. Pakistan decided in July, 2017 to send its two climate change experts to Saudi Arabia to help it establish a climate change centre and numerical model of predictions of severe weather.

 

Now, over two million Pakistanis employed in Saudi Arabia send home remittances amounting to nearly four billion annually. The Kingdom is the largest market of the Pakistani manpower worldwide, with its embassy in Islamabad issuing 30,000 visas every month.

 

At present, Saudi-Pakistan bilateral relations are based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s problems and peculiar circumstances. Their ties have never been a one-way relationship. Pakistan has always stood by the Saudi Arabian nation in times of war and peace and has always reciprocated in the same terms.

 

Although Pakistan is an atomic power, yet it has serious security concerns, especially due to Indian aggressive designs. In the recent past, Riyadh turned down Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a defence pact when he last visited Saudi Arabia. The trip of Kingdom’s defence minister, Mohammed bin Salman to Islamabad just four days after that of the Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir might be cited as instance, as Riyadh understood Pakistani apprehension.

 

While, terrorism and extremism are a common concern for the Kingdom and Pakistan, particularly after the emergence of the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL). Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have suffered heavily owing to terrorism. Both the countries share common goals to eliminate extremism in their countries.

 

And from time to time, visits of their countries’ leaders and top officials, including various delegations display that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia seem determined to continue their strong relations in future. In this respect, in March 2016, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif had visited Saudi Arabia. They held meetings with the Saudi rulers. Likewise, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid a visit to Riyadh on June 12, 2017, where they met Saudi leadership.

 

Nevertheless, we may conclude that Saudi-Pakistan bilateral relations have a strong foundation, as the two countries are maintaining a close friendship which is likely to be continued in future.

 

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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The Collusion of Hindutva with Indian Media Exposed By Sajjad Shaukat

The Collusion of Hindutva with Indian Media Exposed

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the extremist party-Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition organisations, as he had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of Muslims, assaults on Muslims, including their places of worships and property by the fanatic Hindu mobs, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum and ban on beef and cow slaughter clearly show that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar outfits have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which is the genesis of Hindu terrorism.

 

Besides, by Continuing false flag operations, on Setember18, 2016, New Delhi staged the drama of the terror attack in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. After the episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who targeted the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir. By manipulating that false flag terror attack, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Modi has also accelerated war-hysteria against Pakistan and instructed Indian forces to continue shelling across the LoC and Working Boundary, which have killed many innocent civilians inside Pakistani side of Kashmir and other nearby villages.

 

However, the BJP-led coalition government of Modi, which is in collaboration with the preachers of Hindutva and those of ‘Bhagwa Atankwad’ (saffron terror) is relentlessly promoting their ideologies. In every state election campaign, Bhagwa philosophy based on communalism was used as a driving tool to maximize the Hindutva vote, while affecting the opposition and regional disparities. Even, Indian P.M Modi has also recently claimed that BJP has enhanced influence and made government in twenty states. To further enhance the BJP’s pursued philosophy, a supportive atmosphere is being prepared, where every stakeholder of the Indian society is expressing readiness to shore up wittingly or unwittingly for the promotion of Hindutva.

Caught On Camera : India’s Top Media Houses Including Times Of India Working For BJP !! : Cobrapost Exposes Video!!

 

 

 

 

 

In this regard, on May-June, this year, revelations of the Indian website Cobrapost.Com exposed the dark colours of Hindutva which is in connivance with Indian media.

 

Cobrapost.Com disclosed that BJP and RSS are exploiting government funds for media management to win elections all over India and are promoting Hindutva ideology. While indicating other instances of Hindutva, it pointed out the recent exposition of ‘Operation 136’ which exposed the real face of Indian media.

 

In this respect, regarding the ‘Operation 136’, Cobrapost.Com revealed on March 26, 2018:    “Cobrapost investigation exposes many Indian media houses willing to peddle Hindutva, which could lead to communal polarization for electoral gains, and to defame political rivals as part of a malicious media campaign, all for money…covert or overt attempt to misuse Social Media including Facebook to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means…Well, this is exactly what Operation 136 establishes, for the first time in the history of Independent India.”

 

Earlier, Cobrapost had come into contact with Indian TV which belongs to Rajat Sharma-an editor known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s largest Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran,  local Uttar Pradesh channel Hindi Khabar, the entertainment and news television company SAB Group, the English newspaper Daily News and Analysis DNA- owned by Zee and Dainik Bhaskar etc., including the news agency UNI, the entertainment channel 9X Tashan, the UP news channel Samachar Plus, the Uttarakhand channel HNN 24×7, the Hindi newspapers “Punjab Kesari”  and “Swatantra Bharat”, web portals ScoopWhoop and Rediff.com, IndiaWatch, Hindi newspaper Aaj and the influential Lucknow-based news channel,  Sadhna Prime News.

 

It claimed that none of the business representatives of the media houses seemed to consider it problematic that a client wanted to use their platform to influence the upcoming election to polarise voters and tarnish the reputation of opposition leaders mainly on communal grounds.

 

The portal said that the media groups agreed to play these because “Sangathan” has set aside a budget of Rs. 742 crores for the Karnataka elections alone. It was also revealed that about Rs. 8,000 crores were spent for media management in the last general elections; and that the budget for the 2019 polls will be even more.

 

In this connection, in order to win the general elections, 2019, Modi and the BJP-led coalition of the extremist parties are, again, propagating the ideology of Hindutva by targeting Muslims and Pakistan as part of the, pre-election strategy of the BJP.

 

As regards the propaganda campaign of the Indian media in support of Modi, it is notable that under the caption “Narendra Modi favourite for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, say US experts”, Indian leading newspaper Hindustan Times wrote on March 14, 2017: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a clear favourite for the 2019 general elections after the BJP’s landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, top US experts on India have said. It was a big win for the BJP. Its candidates won with a much larger margin of victory than compared to the two previous winners–BSP and Samajwadi Party.”

 

Likewise, under the title “Why Narendra Modi Should Be Elected Again the PM of India in 2019”, Mohammed Asif opined in the website Lindinden.Com on October 30, 2016, “In 2014, a history was created when Narendra Modi was elected as the prime minister of India. Since he was elected by the great mass support, he is considered among the most popular leaders ever born in India…Despite so many critics–from Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi…There is much roar…Narendra Modi could win the election in 2019.”

 

Moreover, following a well throughout plan; BJP is playing an anti-Muslim/anti-Pakistan card to gain votes of a majority of Hindus. Earlier BJP intended to create fissures in Muslim voters by blowing up “Triple Talaq” (irrevocable divorce), issue aiming to get votes of Muslim women.

Undoubtedly, we can conclude that the revelations of the Indian website Cobrapost.Com have exposed the dark colours of Hindutva which is in connivance with Indian media at the cost of Muslims, other minority groups and opposition parties such as Congress.

 

 

 

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Who is behind Pashtun Tahafuz Movement? By Sajjad Shaukat

Who is behind Pashtun Tahafuz Movement?

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become center of the intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in collusion with Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) to obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran.

 

Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these secret agencies support the militants of Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) 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 double game of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are destabilizing Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.

 

Being the lonely nuclear country in the Islamic World, and after signing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan has become special target of these foreign agencies which have not only restarted terror attacks in Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan through ISIS and TTP etc., but have also kept alive anti-Pakistan propaganda campaign, including protests-demonstrations so as to create a rift among the ethnic groups of Pakistan in order to achieve their  collective clandestine aims against the country.

 

These external elements which have backed the Baloch protests and Muhajir protests to malign Pakistan Army and its primary intelligence agency ISI are also behind the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).

 

CIA, RAW and NDS are secretly assisting the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) to manipulate the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).

 

In this regard, in April 8, 2018, the protesters of the social movement of PTM, led by the young activist Manzoor Pashteen gathered in Pakistan’s capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Peshawar for a mass demonstration to demand the protection of the rights of Pashtuns. Similar protest-demonstrations in solidarity with the PTM were held on the same day in Australia, Sweden, Germany, London, Washington and Afghanistan and along the Pak-Afghan border, which proved the foreign connections of the PTM movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PTM first staged a 10-day sit-in protest in Islamabad in February, this year in response to the killing of 27-year old Naqeebullah Mehsud—what the Pakistani police pointed out as a raid on a terrorist hideout in eastern Karachi. The PTM halted its first Islamabad sit-in protest after the government provided written assurances that it would address the PTM complaints.

 

In fact, PTM had risen to importance, after it held protests for the arrest of Karachi’s SSP Rao Anwar for the extrajudicial killing of Naqueebullah Mehsud. The incident was fully manipulated by the organization.

 

However, speaking in the tone of external propagandists against Pakistan, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement is demanding an end to human rights violations by authorities in the country’s tribal regions, removal of military checkpoints in the tribal areas and to form a judicial commission to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of the Pashtuns in Pashtun-dominated regions of Pakistan.

 

On the other side, Pakistan’s government rejected false allegations that security forces or its intelligence agencies are responsible for enforced disappearances. Authorities said that military checkpoints are necessary for the tribal areas so as to combat extremist militants, including Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters.

 

As regards the case of missing persons of the Pashtuns, they were killed in various terror attacks, arranged by the militant outfits like ISIS, TTP and their linked groups, while many Pashtuns, without informing their families, also went to Afghanistan to wage Jihad against the occupying forces of NATO. They are, in fact, disappeared persons.

 

In reaction to the protest-demonstrations of the PTM, on April 2, this year, People in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) took out rallies against PTM. The rallies were organised by a newly formed Pakistan Zindabad Movement, across the FATA and KPK. Anti-PTM rallies were held in Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram agencies, including the KPK towns of Kohat, Shabqadar and Charsadda.

 

In their speeches, people from different walks of lives praised the sacrifices rendered by the Pak Army and the other security forces in maintaining peace in FATA and the KPK. Protestors termed PTM anti-state and anti-forces.

 

They also called PTM an agent of RAW and NDS with a mission to defame the Pakistani security forces. The organizers of the rallies warned that if PTM did not let up their foreign agenda the Pashtun people will come after them.

 

Nonetheless, protests of the PTM cannot be seen in isolation, as these are part of some other developments against Pakistan. In this respect, in the recent past, the US-led entities have launched a controversial and heated debate in Afghanistan whether the term ‘Afghan’ designate, a ‘nationality or ethnic’ group.

 

This controversy delayed the issue of national identity card for people of Afghanistan for years. Influential ethnic groups of Afghanistan which are currently heading the government do not look at the word ‘Afghan’, a nationality for people of Afghanistan, but an ethnic group.

 

In this connection, history provides ample evidence that the word Afghan has been interchangeably used for Pashtuns. The people who initially inhibited in the south-east of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan, to the west of the Indus River in Pakistan are Pushtuns. The Pashtuns or Afghans primarily speak Pashto language and follow Pashtunwali code of conduct. They are primarily found in Afghanistan and Pakistan and form the world’s largest tribal society, today. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are often referred to as Pathans.

Today, the Pashtun tribes with over 65 million people live in Pakistan, while approximately 28 Million people in Afghanistan and another 1.5 million or more live in Iran. There are 1.8 million registered and unregistered Afghan refugees who are living in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns.

 

As regards Pakistani Pashtun, over 26 million live in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), 9 million in FATA, and around 7 million in Karachi alone, 9 million in Punjab, 3 million in Sindh and 6.5 million in Baluchistan. The figure does not include the Niazi tribe of Mianwali who are also Pathans, but fewer speak the Pashto language.

 

Undoubtedly, Pashtuns are very well knitted in Pakistani society and enjoy power positions in government, civil and military bureaucracy. They also enjoy vast connectivity due to inter-marriages with other ethnic groups. So, it is not difficult to grasp when Pashtun tribes suffer tyranny and ill-treatment in Afghanistan; a large number of Pashtuns and their friends are saddened all over Pakistan.

 

It regrettable that Pashtuns in FATA are suffering due to drone attacks and Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) which is an outdated and cruel system of collective punishment. Hence, for the first time, they have desired to move away from the concept of illaqa-e-ghair (Strange Land) and to completely integrate into Pakistani state, including its legal system.

 

It is notable that the anti-Pakistan forces which always exploit the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the pretext of Pashtuns are extremely worried over the new development in the FATA and KPK.

 

It is the misfortune of the country that the current government of Pakistan is also showing apathetic and sluggish approach to the new development and is not meeting the demands of Pashtuns.

 

It is mentionable that in Afghanistan, primarily Pashtuns are resisting American occupation and are, therefore, facing the wrath of the US-led NATO. Therefore, in frustration, America and India which are in connivance with the NUG are behind this new move to differentiate between a Pashtun or an Afghan in order to malign Islamabad.

 

Besides, as part of the propaganda campaign, these hostile forces are using few politicians and political activists and social workers to slow down integration of FATA into mainstream Pakistan.

 

In this respect, the PTM, a noble student initiative which was, in fact, launched in 2013 for the purpose of clearing landmines in Waziristan has been de-tracked. The movement rightfully protested the extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by the police force in Karachi.

 

Apart from the Afghan top political leadership, few crooks of Awami National Party (ANP) and ultra-liberals are also misleading Pashtuns. As part of the propaganda, anti-Pakistan speeches of PTM workers are also attracting wide publicity by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a United States funded organization. Another website Gandhara, and Mashaal Radio is found cultivating suspicion between Pakistan military and Pashtuns. The real aim behind these sinister designs is to create a rift between Pashtuns and Pakistan Army.

 

In this regard, Saira Bano Orakzai, a proud Pashtun at Research Fellow at Harvard University in her recent article says that the time is ripe for the people of the tribal areas to make a clear choice; to struggle to restore rights and peace or to struggle against this country’s institutions and ideology, only to get entangled in a perpetual conflict.

 

As a matter of fact, PTM instead of articulating and moving towards a solution for the problems of FATA has stretched its ideology to an unknown “La La land”, and thus, it is derailing an already fragile reforms process for FATA’s future.

 

These internal and external hostile elements do not want developments in FATA, which can result in the progress of their people in various fields. These elements want to continue the past system of the colonial era at the cost of Pakistan.

 

It is a good sign that in the budget 2018-2019, the government has proposed Rs.24.5 billion for FATA. To bring FATA in the mainstream, a ten-year FATA development plan with a total outlay of Rs.100 billion has been approved. During 2018-19 Rs.10 billion are proposed to be provided.

 

It is the right hour that without further loss of time, the government of Pakistan should immediately merge FATA with KPK and implement FATA reforms.

 

The alleged killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Rao Anwar be immediately resolved because inquisitive forces are manipulating the situation.

 

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) must monitor and check the hostile propaganda against the unity and interests of Pashtun people on national and international media.

 

The media anchors, analysts and writers, including leaders of all the political parties must counter the anti-Pakistan activities of the external entities which are backing the PTM. They should also give a matching response to some internal elements which are supporting the illegitimate demands of the PTM such as removal of check-posts etc.   

 

And more rallies and demonstrations must be arranged by the patriot-citizens of Pakistan in response to the PTM anti-Pakistan activities. Thus, external conspiracy against the integrity of the country can be thwarted.

 

 

 

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The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia By Sajjad Shaukat

The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

With the support of some state actors and after its defeat by the Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) is rapidly spreading its tentacles in South Asia.

 

It is also due to the dual policy of the US-led some Western powers, Israel and India that ISIS which is most dangerous terrorist group than Al-Qaeda has accelerated terrorism-related attacks in the US, Europe, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Iraq etc. and some African countries where besides Muslims, the outfit also targeted the Christians. Now, its tentacles have reached other regions of Asia, especially South Asia.  Hence, the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia needs attention.

 

In this context, the Daily Mail Online reported on February 22, 2015, “The terrifying rise of ISIS…tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan”.

 

According to online sources, “On January 26, 2015, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani chief spokesperson of the ISIS released an audio statement in which he declared the establishment of Wilayat Khorasan, a branch of the group encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nearby lands. Since then, Wilayat Khorasan has pursued a campaign of expansion and consolidation in the region, with most of its activity centring in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan.”

 

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Some other online sources disclosed, “ISI activities in Afghanistan are known as IS’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) or an Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).”

 

These sources revealed, “ISKP’s control of territory in Nangrahar reached its peak in summer 2015 when it became the dominant insurgent group in eight of the province’s 22 districts…Since then, the Taliban have fought to take back territory…ISKP then dug in through 2016 in all its remaining districts, that is, Achin, Kot and Nazyan in the south-eastern districts…as well as Deh Bala in the south-west…ISIL-KP maintained a presence in southern Nangarhar Province despite increased military operations carried out by the United States of America and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. SIL-KP continued its attacks against the civilian population and military and foreign military targets, and unverified local sources claimed that ISIL-KP reinforcements and recruitment continued…IS Khorasan gained its new strength through forging alliances with local sectarian pro-al-Qaeda or Taliban militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami (LeJ-A), Lashkar-e Islam (LeI), or disgruntled Taliban factions like Jundallah and Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA), which have been active in the region for many years. It has also reportedly recruited operatives from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The success of this strategy is manifest in the geographical distribution of the recent attacks, which suggests a logistical penetration and influence that extends from Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Quetta and Peshawar in neighbouring Pakistan.”

 

It is mentionable that the militants attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery (Restaurant) in the diplomatic district of Dhaka-capital of Bangladesh on July 2, 2016, and killed at least 20 hostages and two police officers. It included nine Italians, seven Japanese and one American. The ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the restaurant. Top officials of Bangladesh Government claimed the existence of ISIS in the country. ISIS has also accepted responsibility for several past attacks in Bangladesh.

 

Taking cognizance of various terrorism-related assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the ISIL, as its terrorists also entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, Pakistan has, repeatedly, been expressing concerns over the growing unrest and violence in Afghanistan, reiterating support for a dialogue-based settlement of the Afghan issue. Islamabad is supportive of an Afghan dialogue, recognizing Taliban as a legitimate party in the conflict. Similar stance has been adopted by Russia, China, Iran and even the Central Asian Republics.

 

While Pakistan has expressed concerns over the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan from where it has rapidly been spreading its terror-network in other South Asian countries. Islamabad’s worry is also shared by all the countries of the region. The dreaded terror outfit is being projected by the US, India, and some Western countries as a counterweight to Taliban. Therefore, the story of ISIS in Afghanistan is viewed carefully by the regional countries. Russia has repeatedly aired concerns about the possibility of tacit US approval or her inability to control the ISIS. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and few other Afghan leaders have also aired such apprehensions.

 

In this connection, a news item was published by all the leading dailies of Pakistan on October 8, 2017 regarding the statement of Afghanistan’s former Afghan President Karzai who, while dismissing criticism of Moscow’s ties with the Taliban and echoing Russian claims of American support to the ISIS terrorists, told Voice of America (VOC) that the United States has links with terrorist ‘Islamic State’, also known as Daesh…Daesh a tool of US…After it [the US] dropped the [mother of all] bomb on Afghanistan, it did not eliminate Daesh…the terrorist group has been supplied weapons by the United States forces…The US Army helicopters and army bases are being used to provide assistance to ISIS terrorists…I do not differentiate at all between Daesh and America…Reports of American assistance to the terrorists are coming from all over the country.” (It also includes Karzai’s revelations to VOC of April 20, 2017, and Newsweek’s report of the same day). 

 

Particularly, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are in collusion, and are using the ISIS in destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of the double game of their countries.  India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which has become the centre of their covert activities against Pakistan, Russia, China, and Iran. American President Trump is also doing the same in connivance with New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the special target of these foreign intelligence agencies.

 

It is notable that Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS which are being backed by RAW, CIA and Mossad have claimed responsibility for several terror assaults inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the recent ones.

 

While, Pakistan has repeatedly pointed out ISIS’s involvement in anti-Pakistan violence and terrorism, and Islamabad has also shared credible information about the presence of ex-TTP militants inside Afghanistan, many of whom have switched sides to join ISIS. Therefore, Islamabad expects Afghanistan and the US-led forces (NATO) in Afghanistan to check the activities and projection of the ISKP activities.

 

Notably, ISIS has suffered heavily on accounts of its confrontation with the Afghan Taliban. Taliban have successfully undone ISIS influence from most of its controlled and contested areas. ISIS has lost most of its leadership in these fights and has been virtually squeezed to a few pockets of Nangarhar province. Taliban have been successful in checking ISKP’s (ISIS) ideological outreach by projecting the linkage of the brutal organization with extra-regional elements and thus discrediting them in the eyes of common Afghans. Most Afghans consider ISKP’s display of cruelties and inhuman behaviour against Afghan culture and do not buy group’s ideas of violence.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan has successfully purged FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of militants through successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasad. Lately, the country is focusing on improving border management and fencing project to address the cross-border movement of the terrorists. Pakistan is making concerted efforts to address extremism in all its forms. Recent steps by the country, including the nationwide agreed upon ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ (Message of Pakistan), are efforts to address the menace of terrorism and extremism on the ideological front.

 

In the same context, in the recent past, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Munich Security Conference was a polite reminder to the US-led international community, especially the Western powers of their past practices in the region.

 

We can conclude that reality of ISKP is well known to the regional powers. People like the ex-President Hamid Karzai and countries like Russia have been quite vocal in expressing their concerns about who supports ISKP? For ISKP in Afghanistan, the onus rests on the American- led NATO forces as well as on the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) who need to carry out a reality check. America, India, and Israel should also abandon their double game with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia in order to cope with the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia.

 

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_pak@hotmail.com

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