Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Posts Tagged India Taliban Axis

Fazlullah helps India in feeding terrorism in Pakistan

Fazlullah helps India in feeding terrorism in Pakistan

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Maulana Fazlullah is son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad who had founded Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), which was banned by Pakistan government. He belongs to Babukarkhel clan of Yusafzai tribe of Swat district. On January 12, 2002, he became the leader of TNSM since Sufi had been put behind bars. In 2006, he started broadcasting his fiery speeches twice a day in Swat Valley, preaching virtue and exhorting the people to abstain from vices. While condemning western systems, he stated that imposition of Islamic laws was the sole cure for all the evils in the society. As his audience grew in size, he started taking practical action against so-called evil doers by torching electronic and video shops arguing that dance and music were major sins. His armed men threatened barbers not to shave beards and were forced to close their shops. Mujras and singing were disallowed.

He opposed anti-polio drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saying that it was western conspiracy to make Muslims impotent. He barred women from taking part in education and imposed ban on female education in Swat district. Some 400 schools enrolling 4000 girls were shut down and 170 schools were blown up or burnt. He had also ordered death of Malala Yusafzai simply because she spoke in favor of education of girls. She was shot at from a point blank range on October 9, 2012 but she miraculously survived.  

 

Once Fazlullah gained popularity and earned the nickname of ‘Mullah Radio’, he urged the people to donate money and help him in introducing Islamic system so that they could get speedy and cheap justice. Gullible women donated their jewelry. He also started collecting money through extortion and kidnapping for ransom to strengthen his financial position. From the ill-gotten wealth he collected, he constructed a Madrassa in Mingora worth Rs 25 crores, which became his base of operation and he used it for the purpose of training terrorists. He also opened training centres for preparing teenage boys as suicide bombers. Siege of Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July 2007 and its tragic ending propelled Fazlullah to forge an alliance with Baitullah Mehsud to consolidate his hold over Swat.     

 

By mid 2007, Fazlullah was able to organize a 500 strong force to terrorize the people of Swat. He established a parallel government in 59 villages of Swat where Qazi courts functioned to enforce Shariah laws. He virtually made Swat into a State within a State. Police stations and Frontier Constabulary posts were frequently attacked. On November 3, 2007, 220 paramilitary soldiers and policemen deserted after a FC post and two police stations were overrun by Fazlullah’s militants. Worsening law and order situation impelled Musharraf government to order a military operation in Swat in November 2007 and restore order. Fazlullah hid himself and resurfaced after the Army withdrew. He once again restarted his anti-State activities and unleashed a reign of terror on the people of Swat and surrounding districts including Shangla, Upper Dir and Malakand. Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies kept pumping in weapons, ammunition, equipment and cash in huge quantity to enable Fazlullah to convert Swat into a formidable strong point.

 

During his black reign of terror from 2007 till April 2009, slaughter of captives, beheadings in public, floggings, kidnapping for ransom and suicide bombings became a norm. Green Square in Mingora earned the name of ‘Khooni Chowk’, where slaughtered or bullet ridden dead bodies were hung upside down almost every day. Fazlullah would demand from every family in Swat to hand over one young boy to join TNSM and one girl for marriage with a Taliban. He undertook barbaric acts to be able to impose his brand of hard-line Shariah on others.    

 

After the second military operation in Swat in last quarter of 2008, peace deal was signed with Maulana Sufi and Fazlullah in February 2009. KP government agreed to introduce Nizam-e-Adal in Malakand District and the other side agreed to renounce violence. Hardly had the ink dried on the agreement when Fazllulah’s men opened new fronts in Buner and Lower Dir, which raised alarm bells that militants were working their way towards Islamabad. All political forces got together and passed a joint resolution to combat the militant threat with full force. It led to launching of military operation codenamed Rah-e-Rast on April 26, 2009.

 

By April 28, Lower Dir was retaken and Buner on May 5. By May 14, the attacking troops were 6 km south of Mingora. Battle of Mingora started on May 23 which ensued heavy fighting but by 27th 70% of the city was cleared and by 30th the whole of it. On 14 June, the entire Swat Valley was cleared of the presence of militants and the Army regained control over Swat. Well over 2000 militants were captured and handed over to the police for trials. It was unfortunate that none was convicted and punished. Released militants once again took to militancy. 1.7 million people displaced from Swat and nearby districts returned by August 22. OnJuly 10, BBC reported that Fazlullah was critically injured and was near death bed. In November 2009, he told BBC service that he had escaped to Kunar and vowed to continue fighting Pak Army.

 

Afghan National Directorate of Security and RAW helped Fazlullah and his men to settle down in Kunar and Nuristan and provided all sorts of facilities to enable him to launch cross border attacks. By April 2011, he started sending his militants into Pakistan who attacked targets in Bajaur, Mehmand and Dir in their bid to clear their way to re-enter Swat through Dir. Subsequently, targets in Chitral were also hit. Despite Pakistan’s strong protests, Afghanistan took no measure to bridle Fazlullah and other absconding militant leaders like Faqir Muhammad and Khalid Khurasani who had fled from Bajaur and Mehmand Agencies respectively. Perforce GHQ had to deploy regular troops in Bajaur, Mehmand and Chitral to counter the threat. NATO helicopters came to the rescue of Fazlullah’s men on the night of November 26, 2011 when the infiltrators were fired upon by military post at Salala. On June 22, 2013, his militants kidnapped 17 soldiers and beheaded them. Fazlullah proudly claimed that his men had killed Maj Gen Sanaullah Niazi and two others on September 2013 at a time when environments were getting ripe to begin peace talks.      

 

Appointment of absconding Fazlullah as new Ameer and his deputy Khalid Haqqani from Swabi, both not in favor of peace has strengthened the group of hardliners in TTP, which is to the advantage of India, Afghanistan and USA. Fazlullah with a criminal background will help India in feeding terrorism in Pakistan. As long as Fazlullah remains at the helms of affairs of TTP, hope of peace talks is a pipedream.                

 

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

Additional Reading:

Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
 

Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is an alliance of militant groups in Pakistan formed in 2007 to unify groups fighting against the Pakistani military in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. TTP leaders also hope to impose a strict interpretation of Qur‘anic instruction throughout Pakistan and to expel Coalition troops from Afghanistan. TTP maintains close ties to senior al-Qa‘ida leaders, including al-Qa‘ida’s former head of operations in Pakistan.

Baitullah Mahsud, the first TTP leader, was killed in an explosion on 5 August 2009 and was succeeded by Hakimullah Mahsud, who vowed to deploy suicide operatives to the United States. The group has repeatedly threatened to attack the US homeland, and a TTP spokesman claimed responsibility for the failed vehicle bomb attack in Times Square in New York City on 1 May 2010. In June 2011, a spokesman vowed to attack the United States and Europe in revenge for the death of Usama Bin Ladin.

Islamabad has blamed TTP for most of the terrorist attacks in Pakistan since the group was founded, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. TTP in 2011 claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Pakistan in the aftermath of Bin Ladin’s death—including a bombing of a Frontier Constabulary training center, an assault on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi, a bombing of a Criminal Investigation division building in Peshawar, and a bombing of a police station. TTP claimed each attack was in retaliation for Bin Ladin’s death.

, , ,

No Comments

The Real Reasons Why the US and India Demonize Pakistan’s ISI

The Real Reasons Why the US and India Demonize Pakistan’s ISI 
By
 
Shahid R. Siddiqi. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
 

 

Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency, or ISI as it is popularly known, is seen as their nemesis by those who have tried to undermine the security interests of the country one way or the other. It is no wonder then that in past few years the Americans unleashed a strong ISI-bashing campaign, with India following suit. 
 
The Americans made no bones about their dislike for this agency, blaming it for working against their interests in Afghanistan. The Indians also see an ISI agent behind every rock in Kashmir and in Afghanistan where they are trying to dig their heels. They do not hesitate to pin on ISI the blame for the freedom struggle in Kashmir or for acts of terrorism by Indian extremists. Until recently the Karzai government dominated by the anti-Pakistan Northern Alliance also remained hostile to ISI.   
 
Not too long ago, under intense American pressure the weak Zardari government made an unsuccessful attempt at neutralizing and subduing this agency in disregard to the existing sensitive regional security environment, by moving it out of the army control and placing it under the controversial and embattled Zardari loyalist interior minister – Rehman Malik. This did not succeed for a simple reason. The role of ISI as the eyes and ears of the Pakistan’s military – the bedrock of country’s security, is critical particularly at a time when the country faces multiple threats to its security.  
 
Washington’s darling in the Afghan-Soviet war

Ironically, this is the same ISI that was Washington’s darling during the 1980s when it was master minding the jihad against invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The role that ISI then played was congruent with American interests. The defeat of the Soviet Union would have meant realization of an American dream – avenging the humiliation of Vietnam. They held ISI in high esteem for its competence and professionalism and gladly funneled arms and funds to the Afghan mujahedeen through it. The ISI strategized the resistance and organized and trained the mujahedeen fighters, working in close collaboration with the CIA and the mujahedeen leaders, forcing the Soviets to retreat. 
 
But as soon as the Americans had negotiated a quid pro quo – Russian withdrawal from South America in exchange for safe Soviet exit from Afghanistan, they disappeared in the middle of the night leaving Afghanistan in a quandary. The political turmoil that followed created chaos and instability owing to the failure of mujahedeen leadership, presenting as a result a security nightmare for Pakistan. 
 
Taliban-US-Pakistan relations and the Indian Threat

In this chaos a group of young Afghan religious students, many of them former fighters from the resistance, calling themselves Taliban (in Pushto language Taliban means students), swept through the country with popular support to establish their rule. Interested to keep their presence alive, the Americans maintained contacts and supported them, ignoring their orthodox beliefs, their harsh rule and even the presence of Al Qaeda in their midst. This continued until it was time for the Americans to overthrow their government in order to serve the changing American interests.     
 
While the Taliban government was in control, Pakistan too maintained friendly relations with them in the interest of keeping its western border secure, extending whatever support it could. The ISI played a role through the contacts it had developed during war against the Soviets.  
  
In the wake of 9/11 things began to change. Having invaded Afghanistan in the name of war on terror, branding Taliban as brutes and their resistance as terrorism, the Americans wanted the Pakistan army and the ISI to join the war. 
 
This posed a serious security concern for Pakistan. It could destabilize the Pak-Afghan border and strain relations with the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the Durand Line, the British drawn boundary that cut through the Pashtun region to divide British India and Afghanistan and which Pakistan had inherited. The fact that Pakistan’s border region, called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is autonomous where the writ of the Pakistan Government does not prevail made matters more complex.

Pakistan’s military doctrine is based primarily on meeting the main threat from India on its eastern border while maintaining a peaceful border with Afghanistan in the west. A direct conflict with the Taliban would have forced Pakistan to divert its military assets from eastern to the western front, thus thinning out its defenses against India. This was the last thing Pakistan wanted to do because of its unfavorable ratio of 1:4 against India in terms of conventional forces. Understandably, President Musharraf was unwilling to do the American bidding. 
 
U.S. projection of its military failures onto Pakistan

There always is a problem with powers that begin to act in imperialistic fashion. Their vision of the world becomes colored. They tend to believe that pursuit of their imperialist designs takes precedence over the national interests of those who cannot stand up to them, even if that means compromising their own national and security interests. America had also been behaving as one such imperial power and treated its smaller allies more like colonies. President Musharraf was threatened that in case of noncompliance with America’s wishes, “Pakistan would be bombed into the stone-age”. Musharraf was coerced into conceding to American demands. 
 
Despite the state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and military hardware, the US and NATO forces failed to stop the Taliban fighters from moving back and forth into the unmarked Pak-Afghan border that passes through a treacherous mountainous region to regroup and strike on the invading foreign troops. The American commanders reacted by demanding that the Pakistan army engage these fighters and seal the border. Those with even the slightest knowledge of the area would know that the Americans were asking for the moon. This was physically impossible.  
 
Pakistan army’s operations failed. In the process it earned a severe backlash from the local tribes who resented army’s action against their kinsmen from across the border who sought refuge in their area, as it violated the old tribal custom of providing sanctuary to any one who asked for it, even it was an enemy. The Pakistan army paid a heavy price. More soldiers died in this action than the combined number of casualties that the US and NATO troops have suffered in Afghanistan so far. 
 
President Musharraf under advice of his army commanders and the intelligence community called off the action and resorted to persuasion instead. Through jirgas (assembly of tribal elders) effort was made for the tribesmen to voluntarily stop the influx of Taliban fighters. It didn’t succeed either. This was not to the liking of the American commanders. They blamed the ISI for working against their interests.

Washington accuses the ISI of complicity with insurgents
 
Washington and the American media frequently alleged that elements within ISI were maintaining contacts with the Taliban and attributed the failure of American troops in combating the Taliban to these contacts. Such allegations were also found to be part of the raw, unverified and even fabricated field reports ‘leaked’ in Afghanistan recently and splashed in the western media. The Americans have in the past also described the ISI to be out of control and demanded of the Pakistan government to purge the agency of Taliban sympathizers.
 
This is ridiculous. Firstly, ISI is a military organization operating under strict organizational control and discipline where officers are rotated in the normal course. It functions according to a defined mandate, unlike armed forces in some other countries and unlike the CIA which is known to be an invisible government on its own. Above all, Pakistan and its military are committed to weeding out religious extremism as a matter of state policy.  
Secondly, if the American troops are so incapable of overcoming a rag tag army of Taliban and if the complicity of ISI with the Taliban can be instrumental in changing the course of the American war, then it is a sad day for America as a super power and the strength of NATO forces becomes questionable. 
 
Thirdly, in the world of intelligence, contacts are kept even with the enemy and at all times. CIA keeps contacts within Russia and other hostile countries. Israel, the great American ally, spies on America itself. It is common for all intelligence agencies to do this in the security interests of their countries. Why then should America expect an exception to be made in case of ISI? Why should contacts that ISI developed with the mujahedeen and the Taliban earlier, and which if it does still maintain, become a source of such great concern for the American administration? 
 
Demanding that the ISI subordinate Pakistan security to U.S. interests.

It is strange that America expects ISI to serve the American agenda instead of Pakistan’s interests first. One cannot forget that the Americans have a long history of abandonment of friends and allies and when they repeat this in Afghanistan citing their own national interest, despite their promises to the contrary, why should Pakistan be expected to be caught with pants down? Why Pakistan’s military and the intelligence agency should be expected to abdicate their duty and not do what is necessary to ensure Pakistan’s security in the long term?   
 
It has often been argued that America expects Pakistan to be actively engaged in the Afghan war in return for the military assistance it provides. The answer is quite simple. The American establishment is doing all that needs to be done in support of its own war and not for the love of Pakistan. The war is theirs, not Pakistan’s. Pakistan should do and is doing what is necessary and feasible, without jeopardizing its own security. 
 
As for the assistance, bulk of the $10 billion that America gave in the past and was branded as “aid” was in fact the reimbursement of expenses that Pakistan had already incurred in supporting the war effort. The rest was to meet Pakistan’s needs for operations in the border areas and for fighting terrorism that arose out of the war. The Americans still owe $35 billion to reimburse the losses Pakistan has incurred due to this war. As for the F16s that Pakistan is getting from the US, it pays for them, despite strict restrictions over their usage. 
 
The Indian-Israeli attempt to destabilize Pakistan

While Americans had their issues with ISI, the Indians and Israelis began having their own. The agency exposed the growing Indian and Israeli confluence in Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan. This happened right under the nose of the Americans and obviously not without their knowledge and consent. India having deployed its troops in the name of infra-structure development in league with Karzai government and with American funding and having established seven consulates along the sparsely populated Pak-Afghan border was engaged in heavily bribing the influential but ignorant and susceptible tribal leaders to spread disaffection among the local tribesmen against Pakistan. 
 
Evidence was also unearthed by ISI about how the Indians bought the loyalties of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a grouping of Pakistani tribesmen from FATA and Uzbek fighters from previous wars who settled in the region. The TTP were influenced by the same orthodox religious beliefs as the Taliban in Afghanistan and were active in propagating them in their own areas. They were recruited to launch terror activities in the urban centers of Pakistan, including the capital Islamabad, and were funded, trained and equipped in Afghanistan jointly by the Indian, Israeli and Afghan intelligence agencies. A group from amongst them managed to gain control of Swat area adjoining FATA through coercion of the local population, which was later cleared by the Pakistan army after a major surgical intervention. 
 
The ISI also laid bare strong physical evidence of Indian involvement in supporting insurgency in Balochistan by way of funding, training and equipping misguided and disgruntled Baloch elements grouped under various names including the Balochistan Liberation Army that was led by the fugitive grandson of the notable Bugti tribal chief – Akbar Bugti. His comings and goings in the Indian consulate at Kandahar and the Indian intelligence HQ in Delhi were photographed and his communications intercepted. Numerous training camps in the wilderness of Balochistan were detected where Indian trainers imparted training in guerilla warfare and the use of sophisticated weapons, which otherwise could not be available to the Baloch tribesmen. Flow of huge funds from Afghan border areas to the insurgents was detected that was traced back to the Indian consulates. 

Summary and conclusion

The objective of the TTP, and behind the scene that of the Indians and the Israelis, was to make the world believe that Pakistan was under threat of capitulating to terrorist and insurgent elements who were about to take control of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Their goal: to denuclearize Pakistan through foreign intervention.

These efforts have not succeeded. Undoubtedly, the army and the ISI played a crucial role in foiling the plots of subversion in Balochistan and the Pashtun region and exposing the foreign hands involved, including those of CIA, RAW, Mossad, RAMA and MI6. Terrorism may not yet be eliminated but Pakistan faces no existential threat.  
 
It should be no surprise to the Americans, Indians and the Israelis if they find in ISI an adversary to reckon with. It is also not surprising that the ISI is in their perception, a rogue organization, for it has stood between them and Pakistan’s national security interests. Their frustration and ire, therefore, is understandable.

 


 

Shahid R. Siddiqi obtained his Masters degree in Chemistry and English Literature. He served in the Pakistan Air Force and subsequently joined the corporate sector with which he has remained associated until recently in senior management positions in Pakistan, United States, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Alongside, he worked as a broadcaster and remained the Islamabad bureau chief of an English weekly magazine ‘Pakistan & Gulf Economist published from Karachi (Pakistan). In the U.S. he co-founded the Asian American Republican Club in Maryland in 1994 to encourage the participation of Asian Americans in the mainstream political process.

He was a freelance writer on political and geopolitical issues and his articles are carried by the daily newspapers Dawn and The Nation in Pakistan, German magazine Globalia and online publications such as Axis of Logic, Foreign Policy Journal and Middle East Times.

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

A Great Son Of Pakistan, Late Shahid R. Siddiqi (May Allah (swt) Grant Him Jannah) Essay in Axis of Logic : 

 

Read his bio and more analyses and essays by 
Axis of Logic Columnist, Shahid R. Siddiqi

 

© Copyright 2013 by AxisofLogic.com

, , , ,

No Comments

Hakimullah’s death plunges Taliban into dangerous disarray

Hakimullah’s death plunges Taliban into dangerous disarray
 
 

 

 

 
 

ISLAMABAD  – The killing of one of Pakistan’s most wanted militants in a US drone strike has exposed centuries-old rivalries within the group he led, the Pakistani Taliban, making the insurgency ever more unpredictable and probably more violent.
Hakimullah Mehsud’s death this month has set off a power struggle within the outfit’s ranks, which could further unnerve a region already on tenterhooks with most US-led troops pulling out of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2014.
When a tribal council declared Mullah Fazlullah as the new leader of the TTP last week, several furious commanders from a rival clan stood up and left.
“When Fazlullah’s name was announced, they … walked out saying, ‘The Taliban’s command is doomed’,” said one commander who attended the November 7 ‘shura’ meeting in South Waziristan.
Others at the shura declared loyalty to the hardline new leader and stayed on to map out a plan to avenge Hakimullah’s death through a new campaign of bombings and shootings. “This is the start of our fight with the government, an American puppet,” the Taliban official said.
“Those who forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan are capable of breaking up Pakistan,” he added, alluding to senior commanders whose rite of passage into war started with the rebellion against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The Pakistani Taliban have always been divided, a loose alliance of militant bands united only by jihadist beliefs and their hatred of the government and all things Western. The group operates independently of its Taliban allies in Afghanistan, who are fighting US-backed forces there.
But the death of Hakimullah, a member of the dominant Mehsud tribe, and the rise of Fazlullah, a Swat Valley native and hence an outsider in the eyes of tribesmen, changes the picture in the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.
Under Hakimullah, the TTP had been open to the idea of peace talks with the government, even though no meaningful negotiations had taken place.
Fazlullah ruled out any talks and declared the start of a new campaign to attack government and security installations in Punjab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political base.
“Mehsuds are not only not happy with this appointment but there are reports of serious infighting among them that might come to the fore in the near future,” said Saifullah Mahsud, director of the Pakistani think tank FATA Research Center.
“I think for now the anti-peace talks group among the TTP has prevailed and hence the appointment of Fazlullah,” said Mahsud, who compiles data based on information provided by his sources on the ground in the tribal Pashtun areas.
Fazlullah’s threat against Punjab has unnerved Pakistan’s most prosperous and populous province, where attacks have so far been rare. Various militant groups, including the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad, are based around Punjab and have been long tolerated or even sponsored by the military.
Some of them were set up to fight Indian forces in disputed Kashmir, but they have turned on Pakistan in recent years thanks to the growing influence of the TTP and Al-Qaeda, and have become increasingly involved in Taliban affairs.
“The situation is getting out of control and the ISI knows that,” said one Western diplomat in Islamabad.
As the dynamic within the militancy evolves, powerful Punjabi groups are also beginning to turn their heads westwards, with many seeing the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan as a chance to expand their reach to tribal areas.
During a recent meeting with Reuters in Mardan, a group of militants – who sat cross-legged on the floor of a mud-brick safe house sipping tea and eating biscuits – said the Afghan cause was close to their hearts.
“We want peace in Afghanistan under Mullah Omar’s leadership,” said Abdurakhman, a militant with Jaish-e-Mohammad, a group usually focused on Kashmir, others nodding in agreement. Mullah Omar is the chief of the Afghan Taliban.
“When the Americans leave, elders will sit down with Mullah Omar and decide. If there is a need to fight, we will recruit and send people there.”
Sitting next to him, Farhatullah, a middle-aged man with the Hizbul Mujahideen group, said he used to fight against Indian forces in Kashmir but was now ready to go to Afghanistan. “We are the reserve force,” he said. “If needed I will … take my gun, go there and fight.”
The TTP publicly rubbishes any talk of a major rift among its ranks.
A Taliban spokesman has confirmed Fazlullah’s appointment and said there would be no more peace talks with the government.
Operatives from Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, a powerful militant group based in the mountains of North Waziristan, are also working hard to smooth over any disputes, sources say.
Mullah Omar, the reclusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, is said to have stepped into the debate and backed Fazlullah’s candidacy. Fazlullah knows Omar personally, having fought alongside his men in Afghanistan in 2001.
Fazlullah is still holed up in his base in Nuristan, a thickly forested Afghan region favoured by many Pakistani militants hiding from US drones. To reassert control over feuding groups he would have to come back and establish a foothold in Pakistan.
“He is a non-resident commander, he is not present physically,” said a Pakistani intelligence source. “But he has two advantages: He’s got a lot of money and he has Afghan support.”

, ,

No Comments

NAWAZ SHARIF AND PAKISTANI TALIBAN ALLIANCE: DANGER TO ASIAN & GLOBAL SECURITY

The Punjabi Taliban

Rana Sanullah and Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi of Sipah-e-Sabah

Punjab, with Lahore as its bustling capital, contains half of Pakistan’s population. The provincial government is in the hands of the conservative, mildly Islamist party of a former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. In a speech in March his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister, pleaded with the Taliban to leave Punjab alone as his administration shared their ideology of keeping out “foreign dictation” (ie, Americans). Officials bristle at comparisons between Punjab, which is moderately well run, and the lawless tribal areas.

It is correct to say that there has been no territorial takeover by extremists in any part of the province, nor any enforcement of Islamic law. However, Punjab functions as an ideological nursery and recruiting ground for militants throughout the country. Distinctions between the Taliban in the north-west and older jihadi groups in Punjab have broken down. The federal government says Punjabi groups have been responsible for most of the big terrorist attacks in the province.

Punjab’s minister of law, Rana Sanaullah, went on the campaign trail in February with the reputed head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, for a by-election in the southern town of Jhang. The two rode through the streets in an open-top vehicle. The minister says that he was just trying to bring the group into the mainstream. Jhang is Sipah-e-Sahaba’s headquarters; the group makes little effort to hide its presence there.

Another outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is based in Bahawalpur, also in southern Punjab, where it has a huge seminary. Former members of both organisations are integral parts of the Pakistani Taliban. Another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attack on Mumbai in 2008, also has Punjab as its home. “The Punjab government is not only complacent, there is a certain ambivalence in their attitude” towards extremists, says Arif Nizami, a political analyst based in Lahore. “They compete for the religious vote bank.”

images-21 

Punjab’s minister of law, Rana Sanaullah, went on the campaign trail in February with the reputed head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, for a by-election in the southern town of Jhang. The two rode through the streets in an open-top vehicle. The minister says that he was just trying to bring the group into the mainstream. Jhang is Sipah-e-Sahaba’s headquarters; the group makes little effort to hide its presence there.

Another outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is based in Bahawalpur, also in southern Punjab, where it has a huge seminary. Former members of both organisations are integral parts of the Pakistani Taliban. Another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attack on Mumbai in 2008, also has Punjab as its home. “The Punjab government is not only complacent, there is a certain ambivalence in their attitude” towards extremists, says Arif Nizami, a political analyst based in Lahore. “They compete for the religious vote bank.”

Source

Jan

07
2011

Musharraf Terms Nawaz Sharif ‘Closet Taliban’

“I call Nawaz Sharif a closet Taliban. He’s a man who is — who has been — in contact with Taliban. He is a man who, today, appeases the clerics and mawlawis [Sunni Islamic scholars] — the extremists,” ‘Foreign Policy’ quoted Musharraf, as saying in an exclusive interview. “Moreover, he (Sharif) has tried [his hand at leadership as prime minister] twice in the past — and he has failed. Why are we giving him a third chance to destroy Pakistan”

Source

 
Mar
23
2010

Nawaz Sharif Brags About ‘Old Friendship’ With bin Laden

In a country of 175 million, replete with some 15 million politico-religious extremists, opportunities for a positive geopolitical paradigm shifts are rare. Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Pakistan’s principal opposition figure Nawaz Sharif, tried to wreck this one by suggesting Taliban work out a “separate peace” with Punjab province.

“Cease targeting Punjab,” he said and focus on the other three provinces. Mercifully, there was a nationwide outcry against the wacky suggestion. Kayani summoned him and upbraided him in language he won’t soon forget. But this didn’t deter Nawaz Sharif from bragging about his “old friendship” with Osama bin Laden.

Source

 
Mar
22
2010

Research: Nawaz Sharif’s ties to Bin Laden

 

Daily Times of Pakistan reports – Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ex-ISI official says he arranged 5 meetings between Nawaz, Osama

LAHORE: Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Khalid Khawaja has claimed that he arranged five meetings in the past between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden on separate occasions.

In a recent interview with a private TV channel, Khawaja said Nawaz asked the al Qaeda chief to provide financial support for “development projects”.

“I still remember that Osama provided me funds that I handed over to then Punjab chief minister Nawaz to topple Benazir Bhutto’s government,” said Khawaja, adding that Nawaz met Osama thrice in Saudi Arabia alone. “Nawaz insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with Osama, which I did in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Nawaz was looking for a Rs 500 million grant from Osama. Although Osama provided a comparatively smaller sum … he secured for Nawaz a meeting with the Saudi royal family.”

The former ISI official also claimed that Nawaz had met leaders of Islamic movements around the world.

Khawaja said following a “forced retirement”, he went straight to Afghanistan in 1987 and fought against the Soviet forces alongside Osama.

Daily Times of Pakistan reports Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Osama introduced Nawaz Sharif to Saudi royals: ex-ISI chief

LAHORE: Osama Bin Laden introduced Nawaz Sharif to the Saudi royal family in the late 1980s, and – during a meeting – the former prime minister had asked the Al Qaeda chief to provide employment to Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, claimed former ISI chief Khalid Khwaja on Sunday. According to the Times of India, Khwaja – who was close to Nawaz in the late 1980s and early 1990s – made the claim in an interview. “During his first visit to Saudi Arabia as chief minister of Punjab in the late 1980s, no one from the royal family gave Nawaz importance,” he said. “Thereafter, on Nawaz’s request, Osama introduced him to the royal family,” said Khwaja. “A close aide of the Sharif family and I arranged at least five meetings between Nawaz and Osama in Saudi Arabia.”

While this happens to be not something new or unknown. Nawaz Sharif’s ties to Osama Bin Laden always bothered former Priminister late Benazir Bhutto, for which she had contacted George Bush Sr. in 1989. President Asif Ali Zardari had mentioned this in his interview to an American channel’s show “Meet the Press”

Former ISI chief Khalid Khwaja has confessed on various occasions to playing the role of a mediator for several meetings between Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Osama Bin Laden. On September 8th 2009 he again mentioned this on Ary News channel’s show 11th Hour.

A comprehensive timeline of Nawaz Sharif’s history and links to Osama Bin Laden is also mentioned with many other proofs and articles in a non-profit organization’s websitewww.historycommons.org:

Spring 1989: ISI and Bin Laden Allegedly Plot to Kill Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Hamid Gul, Nawaz Sharif, and Osama bin Laden conspire to assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Husein Haqqani, a Pakistani journalist who claims to have been involved in the plot, will later say that ISI Director Hamid Gul contacted Osama bin Laden, who was then known to provide financial support to Afghan mujaheddin, to pay for a coup/assassination of Bhutto. Gul also brings Nawaz Sharif, then the governor of Punjab province and a rival of Bhutto, into the plot. Bin Laden agrees to provide $10 million on the condition that Sharif transforms Pakistan into a strict Islamic state, which Sharif accepts. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 193-194] Bhutto is not assassinated at this time, but bin Laden allegedly helps Sharif replace Bhutto one year later (see October 1990).

October 1990: Bin Laden Allegedly Helps Install Pakistani Leader Nawaz Sharif
In October 1990, Nawaz Sharif is running for election to replace Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister of Pakistan. According to a senior Pakistani intelligence source, bin Laden passes a considerable amount of money to Sharif and his party, since Sharif promises to introduce a hard-line Islamic government. Bin Laden has been supporting Sharif for several years. There is said to be a photograph of Sharif chatting with bin Laden. Sharif wins the election and while he does not introduce a hard-line Islamic government, his rule is more amenable to bin Laden’s interests than Bhutto’s had been. Sharif will stay in power until 1993, then will take over from Bhutto again in 1996 and rule for three more years. [REEVE, 1999, PP. 170-171] Former ISI official Khalid Khawaja, a self-proclaimed close friend of bin Laden, will later claim that Sharif and bin Laden had a relationship going back to when they first met face to face in the late 1980s. [ABC NEWS, 11/30/2007] There are also accounts of additional links between Sharif and bin Laden (see Spring 1989, Late 1996, and Between Late 1996 and Late 1998).

July 1993: Ramzi Yousef and KSM Attempt to Assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister
Ramzi Yousef and his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) unsuccessfully try to assassinate Behazir Bhutto, the leader of the opposition in Pakistan at the time. Yousef, with his friend Abdul Hakim Murad, plan to detonate a bomb near Bhutto’s home as she is leaving it. However, they are stopped by a police patrol. Yousef had hidden the bomb when the police approached, and after they left the bomb is accidentally set off, severely injuring him. [RESSA, 2003, PP. 25] KSM is in Pakistan at the time and will visit Yousef in the hospital, but his role in the bombing appears to be limited to funding it. [RESSA, 2003, PP. 25; GUARDIAN, 3/3/2003] Bhutto had been prime minister in Pakistan before and will return to power later in 1993 until 1996. She will later claim, “As a moderate, progressive, democratically elected woman prime minister of Pakistan, I was a threat to the fundamentalist zealots on multiple levels…” She claims they had “the support of sympathetic elements within Pakistan’s security apparatus,” a reference to the ISI intelligence agency. [SLATE, 9/21/2001] This same year, US agents uncover photographs showing KSM with close associates of previous Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Bhutto’s main political enemy at the time. Presumably, this failed assassination will later give KSM and Yousef some political connection and cover with the political factions opposed to Bhutto (see Spring 1993). Sharif will serve as prime minister again from 1997 to 1999. [FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/15/2003]

Late 1996: Bin Laden Influences Election in Pakistan
Not long after bin Laden moves back to Afghanistan (see After May 18, 1996-September 1996), he tries to influence an election in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, is running for reelection against Nawaz Sharif, who had been prime minister earlier in the 1990s. (Bin Laden apparently helped Sharif win in 1990 (see October 1990).) “According to Pakistani and British intelligence sources, bin Laden traveled into Pakistan to renew old acquaintances within the ISI, and also allegedly met or talked with” Sharif. Sharif wins the election. Bhutto will later claim that bin Laden used a variety of means to ensure her defeat and undermine her. She will mention one instance where bin Laden allegedly gave $10 million to some of her opponents. Journalist Simon Reeve will later point out that while Bhutto claims could seem self-serving, “her claims are supported by other Pakistani and Western intelligence sources.” [REEVE, 1999, PP. 188-189] It will later be reported that double agent Ali Mohamed told the FBI in 1999 that bin Laden gave Sharif $1 million at some point while Sharif was prime minister (see Between Late 1996 and Late 1998). There are also reports that bin Laden helped Sharif become prime minister in 1990 (see October 1990). While Sharif will not support the radical Islamists as much as they had hoped, they will have less conflict with him that they did with Bhutto. For instance, she assisted in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef (see February 7, 1995), who had attempted to assassinate her (see July 1993).

Between Late 1996 and Late 1998: Bin Laden Allegedly Pays $1 Million to Pakistani Prime Minister
According to FBI agent Jack Cloonan, in 1999, imprisoned double agent Ali Mohamed will tell Cloonan that he helped arrange a meeting between bin Laden and representatives of Nawaz Sharif, who is prime minister of Pakistan from 1990 through 1993 and again from 1996 to 1999. Mohamed claims that after the meeting he delivered $1 million to Sharif’s representatives as a tribute to Sharif for “not cracking down on the Taliban as it flourished in Afghanistan and influenced the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan.” It is unknown when this took place, but it is likely between late 1996, when the Taliban gain control over much of Afghanistan and Sharif as prime minister would have been in a position to crack down against them or not, and late 1998, when Mohamed is arrested in the US (see September 10, 1998). Cloonan will later say that he believes the information from Mohamed is accurate. [ABC NEWS, 11/30/2007] There have been other allegations that Sharif met bin Laden in 1996 and used his help to win the election for prime minister (see Late 1996), and also allegations that bin Laden helped Sharif win the election for prime minister in 1990 (see Late 1996).

For full timeline visit http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=nawaz_sharif

Source: Let Us Build Pakistan

Tags: 
Posted in Terrorism | No Comments »

 
Mar
17
2010

Musharraf terms Nawaz Sharif as ‘closet Taliban’

Sounding like a man hoping for a political comeback, former President Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf has said that he would return back to Pakistan if the people wanted him and if he believed he had enough support to make a contribution.

“If I have to just go there and join a political fray and be involved in accusations and counter-accusations … like most of the politicians are doing,” Musharraf said at news conference in Seattle on Sunday, adding, “I am not interested in that kind of politics.”Later, addressing an audience of several hundred largely Pakistani Americans in Bellevue, Musharraf termed Nawaz Sharif as ‘closet Taliban’, saying he would cause destruction of the country. But he denied the charges that corruption has make its way into the rank and file of Pak Army.

He said the Taliban brand of Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the nation. “We need to ask ourselves, do we or don’t we want a Taliban/Al-Qaeda culture in Pakistan … because every action then flows from that decision.”

The Friends of Pakistan First sponsored Musharraf’s visit to Washington, and after the speech he answered wide-ranging questions on economy, India, feudalism and other topics. He also was asked about recent terrorist attacks that killed World Vision workers in Mansehra, to which he replied that the aid organisation should show resolve and not withdraw from Pakistan.

The visit came at a time when the Pakistani press has been speculating on whether he has a future political role in the country. In December, a Pakistan Muslim League leader, Sher Afgan Nizai, had said his party would welcome the former president’s return, which was likely to happen this winter. But later, an aide said Musharraf had no plans either to return or to rejoin the political fray. Musharraf, in his remarks at the news conference, boosted his governance. He called Pakistan a ‘failed state’ that was defaulting on debts when he came to power in 1999, and said he was able to increase freedom of the press, improve rights of minorities and stabilise the economy.

During his evening remarks, Musharraf said he lacked one thing – legitimacy domestically and internationally. He conceded he was labelled a dictator. He also spoke about the tense relationship between Pakistan and India.

At the news conference, Musharraf denied that Pakistan had supported terrorist activities in India, which he accused of ‘hyper reactions’ after the Mumbai attacks. He accused India of supporting terrorism in Pakistan, including Balochistan province.

But he said, “We must stop this confrontation between India and Pakistan,” and, “We must go for peace for the sake of the world, because the world considers us to be a nuclear flash point.”

Meanwhile, his visit prompted more than 70 protesters to gather early Sunday evening on a sidewalk outside the Westin Hotel in Bellevue where he spoke. One sign read “Dictator Not Welcome,” while others read, “Stand for Peace” and “Mister Commando is on the Run”.

Meanwhile, talking about Musharraf’s return, Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador to Pakistan, said, “Security would be a huge issue for Musharraf if he returns. So there would have to be some very solid understandings, backed up by the Army.”

Source

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

John Boone, Islamabad, The Observer: ‘Malala survived – that is a big defeat. Now they want to kill many Malalas.’ Ghanizada @Khamaa.com: Indian Consulates in Afghanistan Infiltrating Taliban Militants into Khyber Paktunkhwa

India is behind the insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Indian Consulate in Jalalabad and Indian Army are arming and training terrorists exported to Pakistan, as Taliban militants. While, Zardari is enjoying wine and women in Bilawal House.
 
As the Pakistani schoolgirl leaves hospital in Britain, extremists continue their murderous campaign by turning their guns on health workers and teachers. Pakistan Army has to destroy militancy from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, even it uses non-conventional methods. 
Naila ul Hadi
After Naila ul-Hadi begged for her son to be spared, one gunman threw him out of the vehicle in an apparent act of mercy – she was killed

For the teachers and health workers serving the village of Sher Afzal Banda, there were few things more mundane than their daily return journey to work.

Every morning a cramped Suzuki minibus owned by the charity Support With Working Solutions (SWWS) would collect them from the junction on a main road and drive them down the rough country track, just wide enough for a single vehicle. In the late afternoon it would bring them back.

“She never thought she was running a risk,” said Zain ul-Hadi, the husband of Naila, a 28-year-old who led a team providing basic healthcare to some of the 2,000 people who live in traditional mud houses in the village in Pakistan‘s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “She had no reason to be scared of anyone.”

He last spoke to her on Tuesday afternoon, when she called to confirm she would meet him as normal. “She said she was on her way and I said I would be waiting to pick her up.” Thirty minutes later she and six out of the nine people, mostly fully veiled women, riding in the Suzuki would be dead, murdered by as yet unidentified militants while they sat inside the vehicle.

The appalling incident has raised fresh alarm about the growing willingness of Pakistan’s increasingly brutal militants to attack civilians. Like many other parts of the country where ethnic Pashtuns live, the district of Swabi has had its share of trouble with militancy. But while some schools have been blown up, no one can recall anything like last week’s attack.

One victim, a male nurse called Umjad Ali, had even moved home from his employment in Karachi after his family feared for his safety in the strife-torn coastal megalopolis.

The two gunmen, faces covered with cloth, had picked their site carefully. Their motorbikes were parked at a narrow point where the road dips, forcing traffic to slow down. There were no people or houses for miles around, only fields sown with a young wheat crop.

The driver, who survived a bullet in his chest, asked whether he should try to smash past the two sinister, pistol-brandishing men. But Umjad Ali thought it better to stop and talk.

In one apparent act of mercy, one of the men pulled Naila’s four-year-old son, Ehsan Shehzad, out of the vehicle and threw him into a field after she begged that he be spared. The gunmen asked for everyone’s mobile phones, but then began shooting through the windows of the vehicle before the devices were handed over.

In a part of the world where people hate to break the worst possible news over the phone, relatives of the six women and one man eventually received calls saying their wives and daughters were “seriously hurt” and they should come immediately. Days on, they are all still in deep shock.

“When the Taliban killed the polio vaccination team it occurred to me she could be targeted as well,” said Umara Khan, father of Shourat, a 28-year-old who taught in Sher Afzal Banda’s small primary school. “But I did not ask her to leave, she loved to teach.”

Like many of the other families affected, Shourat, with her well-paid NGO job, was the main breadwinner for her household.

“What are they trying to achieve? I don’t know,” said Hussain Wali, the father of Rahilla, a 25-year-old teacher who was also in the Suzuki. “We did not have a sense that women, teachers and health workers would be targeted.”

On Friday police claimed that one of the culprits blew himself up after the police attempted to arrest him.

The incident in Swabi comes after the killing of nine people working on UN-backed anti-polio vaccination teams during a string of attacks last month.

In October, Malala Yousafzai, a schoolgirl from the nearby district of Swat, survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, who objected to her fight for girls to be educated. Last week she was discharged from hospital in Birmingham after weeks of treatment. In December, militants kidnapped 23 tribal police. Observers say that in the past the militants would probably have tried to trade them for a ransom, but 21 of them were killed with no demands made.

“Things are changing, things have been happening that never happened in the past,” said Rahimullah Yousafzai, a journalist based in Peshawar who has been covering the tribal area for decades. “Attacking mosques, funerals, graves and, of course, these teachers and health workers.”

Yousafzai says Pakistan’s militants have come to see anyone involved in charitable or development organisations as fair game: “They take it for granted that if you work for an NGO you are funded by the west, that you are trying to change local traditions and customs, you are doing something that is secular. They no longer expect to get any public support, so no effort is being made to win hearts and minds. That is beyond them. Now all they want is to intimidate and pre-empt an uprising against them.”

For the time being, the people of Sher Afzal Banda are defiant. Local residents say they want the school to be reopened as soon as possible.

Javed Akhtar, executive director of SWWS, is considering hiring armed guards for his staff. Like most humanitarian workers, he hates the idea of using guns but sees no alternative. But he fears more trouble. As in nearby Swat, the people of Swabi have a strong commitment to educating their daughters and the district boasts a high female literacy rate. “Malala survived, she was discharged from hospital – that is a big defeat for them,” he said. “They now want revenge, they want to kill many Malalas.”

India hosts training for 30,000 Afghan army troops (to be infiltrated into Pakistan as Taliban)images-51

By GHANIZADA 

 
  • The government of India is intending to arrange military training for more than 20000 Afghan security forces inside the Indian soil in a bid to pave the way for expanding its political presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when all the NATO-led combat forces will leave the country.

The United States of America is going to sponsor the training expenses of the Afghan national security forces and has vowed a $12 billion budget to train Afghan security.

In the meantime, the United States of America urged the other nations having common interests to take part in the Afghan national army trainings.

On the other hand, lack of tendency by the Afghan government to train its national security forces by Pakistan has doubled the responsibilities of the Afghan counterpart India, to burden shoulder for more training responsibilities of the Afghan security forces.

According to reports, India is going to host around 30,000 Afghan national army soldiers to train in Indian military facilities in northern and western parts of India.

Meanwhile, training Afghan national security forces also makes a section of the strategic cooperation agreement between India and Afghanistan, which was signed on October 2011 between the two nations.

 

, , , ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar