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Implications of War on Terror

Implications of War on Terror


Asif Haroon Raja


Unlike late Hakimullah Mehsud who disfavored talks, his deputy Waliur Rahman favored dialogue and had convinced sizeable number of TTP Shura members to make an offer of dialogue to the government.  His group suggested Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Munawar Hassan, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan to act as guarantors to preclude possibility of backtracking from the agreement. The offer was not taken seriously by the PPP led regime and it made it conditional to renunciation of violence.





Talks offer was renewed once rightist PML-N and PTI were voted to power after May 11 elections. Offer of talks created division in TTP as well as in the society. A stage was set for a big breakthrough when Waliur Rahman who was the moving force behind peace talks was killed by a drone on May 29, 2013. Jundul Hafsa took revenge by killing ten foreigners at base camp of Nanga Parbat on June 23, 2013.


It was generally expected that the TTP leading militancy in the northwest and in Punjab would tone down its acts of terror particularly against civilian targets once PML-N and PTI formed governments in the centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) respectively. As a result of their soft approach the TTP had spared these two parties and targeted liberal political parties during election campaign. ANP suffered the most in terms of human losses and in elections.


Contrary to high expectations, the Taliban accelerated their terror strikes after the new government took over in early June 2013. Bulk of attacks took place in KP and PTI lost three sitting MPAs. This surge occurred in spite of APC called by the government on September 9, 2013 in which it was agreed by all the participants belonging to different parties and religious groups as well as the Army to enter into dialogue with the militants without pre-conditions and give peace a chance.

The government stuck to its standpoint despite lot of noise made by the liberals. Anti-peace talks lobbies supported by foreign powers and backed by liberals and segment of media launched a concerted campaign to sabotage proposed peace talks and kept picking fault lines in the resolution passed by the APC. Drone strikes also continued.


When the TTP offered to talk and welcomed the initiative taken by the APC, it was taken as a sign that the road had been cleared for negotiations. KP government felt so confident that it announced phased withdrawal of troops from Buner, Shangla, Dir, Chitral and Malakand districts starting mid October 2013 and handing over responsibility to civil administration. While the ground was being smoothened for the meeting, an unexpected incident took place. On September 15, Maj Gen Sanaullah Niazi and two were martyred at Upper Dir on account of IED planted by Fazlullah’s militants.


We’ve been talking about the financial cost of the War on Terror, and this graphic from our colleague Molly Zisk draws from different studies and sums up the toll in blood and treasure rather concisely, if rather grimly:



    • 225,000 people dead,


    • and $3.7 trillion dollars spent.


Peace process got a big jolt when TTP claimed responsibility and vowed to continue hitting military targets. This hostile act in response to Government’s policy of appeasement was regrettable. It angered the rank and file of the Army and put the Federal and KP governments in awkward position but gave a strong handle to the anti-peace lobbies to beat the peace makers with and make fun of them. As the debate between pro-peace and anti-peace lobbies intensified, another gruesome act of terror took place on September 22 in Peshawar where a church was struck by two suicide bombers soon after Sunday prayers killing 84 people and injuring 175.


While TTP denied involvement, Jundullah Hafsa, a faction of TTP comprising Punjabi Taliban and led by Asmatullah Muawia claimed responsibility of church attack. In the wake of widespread denunciation inside and outside the country over the dastardly attack on church and condemnation by Ulemas of all schools of thoughts terming the act against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, TTP Shura urged Muawia to disown the act. Soon after his disownment, another group Jundullah led by Ahmed Marwat based in NW claimed responsibility. In reaction to series of terrorist attacks, precision guided air attacks were carried out on militant’s hideouts in FATA which caused casualties and compelled the militants to declare unilateral ceasefire on March 1 for one month.  


As against high expectations of military action, PM Nawaz Sharif disappointed pro-war lobbies by giving peace yet another chance and formed a government committee. TTP responded by giving names of their representatives. After the initial breakthrough, government committee was rehashed. Seven hours long meeting of TTP nominated committee with members of TTP Shura at Bilandkhel village in Orakzai Agency on 26 March under cordial atmosphere has raised hopes and light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Ceasefire which expired on 31 March is likely to be extended. As a confidence building measure the government released some prisoners and TTP is likely to reciprocate to generate goodwill. Decade old antagonism will take time to tone down and transform into conciliation and brotherhood.

Some of the implications of war are listed here-under:-

The war has halted investments and economic activity has almost come to a grinding halt due to energy crisis and disturbed law and order situation.

Human losses have risen several times higher than the collective losses suffered by coalition forces in Afghanistan while social traumas are incalculable.

War has made Pakistan more dependent upon USA, forcing our rulers to continue clinging to the aprons of USA despite its biased behavior.

Infighting among the Muslims suits the US designs; hence it would like the war to continue.

While the US caught up in a blind alley in Afghanistan is clueless how to exit safely, Pakistan too had no strategy to end the futile war till the start of talks with TTP.

Paradoxically, the key to peace is with hardnosed Taliban.   

Eleven-year war has not only given tremendous experience of fighting guerrilla war to both Pak Army and militants but also has removed inhibitions and fears of each other. Militants fear air power and drones only.

The militants could not have continued fighting for so long without external support and safe sanctuaries across the border. They are more dangerous in cities where they operate as faceless enemies.

Once NATO exits from Afghanistan, TTP will be left with no justifiable cause to continue spilling blood of Muslim brethren.  Once external support dries up, their vigor will wane rapidly and sooner than later they may give up fighting.

The other view is that TTP may become stronger if Taliban government get re-installed in Kabul after 2014 and may then disagree to ceasefire unless all their demands are accepted unconditionally.

The low intensity conflict has caused substantial wear and tear to military’s weapons & equipment.

War has also fatigued the troops living in combat zone amid hazardous environment where life is cheap.

Situation will further worsen in coming months since militancy has spread to every nook and corner of the country.

Civil administration and law courts have not established rule of law in any of the areas recaptured by the Army thereby putting added burden on the Army to hold ground, provide security and carryout rehabilitation/development works. 

Opinions on war on terror whether it is our war or someone else’s war, and whether talks should be held with militants or not are sharply divided. This division in perceptions is to the advantage of militants and disfavors security forces.

With so many grave internal and external threats, most of which were invented and thrust upon Pakistan by foreign powers and duly exacerbated by meek and self-serving political leadership, Army’s plate remain full.

War on terror poses a three dimensional threat when viewed in context with twin threat posed by India and Afghanistan.

In case of an Indo-Pakistan war, our current force structure is insufficient and ill-suited to confront three dimensional threats.

Peace is a key to Pakistan’s economic takeoff.   


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

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Pakistan’s chameleon

Pakistan’s chameleon


Published: March 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI Editor at Large


 WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) — Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the human equivalent of a lizard that can change the color of its skin to look like the colors that are around it.


In his last trip to Washington, Nawaz, as everyone calls him, gave his American interlocutors no reason to doubt his democratic credentials. Back in Islamabad, or in his native Punjab province, Nawaz, whose family is immensely wealthy, is virulently anti-U.S.

Nawaz also believes TTP (Taliban terrorists) that killed 33,000 civilians in the past couple of years, should be eased into power, or at least be given a big slice of it.

The Pakistani army, exasperated by Nawaz’s prestigidator’s sleight of hand, finally decided to ignore him. In close liaison with U.S., it readied a major offensive against Taliban in mountainous North Waziristan.

It was in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, that Nawaz had agreed to send his ranking team to negotiate a cease-fire with TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan). Reluctantly, he agreed the army should have its own representative at any negotiations with the “enemy.”

TTP chieftain Mullah Fazlullah’s representatives had three conditions for agreeing to a permanent cease-fire:

· Pakistani army to cease operations in N. Waziristan.
· U.S. drone attacks to end immediately.
· About 30 Taliban prisoners to be released by the Army.

The army made clear to Nawaz all three conditions were unacceptable and that nothing now stood in the way of a major army offensive in the tribal areas on the Afghan border.

A solemn meeting of the three service chiefs, chaired by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Rashid Mehmood,, and another of the ten corps commanders under Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, agreed not to take part in any further negotiations with TTP.

 This time, some said privately, there would be no half measures. The next operation would be “full scale maximum effort.”

One of them said “TTP will not be given an inch to breathe. Major surgery is now urgently required and has been agreed to remove the cancer of terrorism.”

Nawaz wants TTP to play a decisive role in the name of Jihad or Holy War. “His decision to involve the army in negotiations with Pakistan’s Taliban,” reported regional expert Ammar Turabi, “was a ploy to undermine the army and to gain more time as he had done before. But this time the upper echelons of the army are convinced that the evil nexus should be completely destroyed.”

“The corps commanders were unequivocal and agreed this had been the very last time they would lend their prestige and authority to Nawaz’s dilatory tactics,” added Turabi.

Taliban guerrillas ignored a month-long ceasefire and launched a wave of attacks while talks were underway. Fazlullah has always opposed any kind of a cease-fire and told his allies that their only purpose should be to disrupt the army’s offensive plans.

The army’s top commanders have now agreed that full scale war against TTP is the only option.
TTP, in its propaganda, says Pakistan is a “slave of America” that has become “an American colony.” And Fazlullah is convinced he has the secret backing of Nawaz Sharif, whose anti-U.S. credentials are beyond dispute.

Adding to a confusing mix of groups and splinter factions is Ahrar-ul-Hind that specializes in suicide attacks against government installations.

The Pakistani army has taken over from the police and arrested local Taliban leaders from Karachi to Peshawar.

The only bright spot in Pakistan is a renewed friendship and close working military relationship with the U.S. Much of the heavy equipment shipped out of Afghanistan for the U.S. via Pakistan is being turned over to the Pakistani army as military assistance.

About $7 billion worth of U.S. equipment will be moving through Pakistan in coming months on its way back to the U.S. Some of it will stay in Pakistan as U.S. military assistance. 

The determination of Pakistan’s military leaders to wipe out TTP has led to a reassessment in Washington about the need to close ranks with Pakistan’s military.

The U.S. is also moving heavy equipment from Afghanistan via Russia, traffic that was not interrupted by the crisis over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

As U.S. influence declines, Moscow is scoring points in Afghanistan where the Soviet Union was defeated in 1989.

The supreme geopolitical irony would be yet another reversal of superpower roles in Afghanistan.

 The U.S. would lose Afghanistan and regain Pakistan. Some would argue that’s not much of a bargain.

In the global scheme of things — e.g., Syria’s civil war with its toll of 140,000 dead, or Crimea and Ukraine — none of this would matter much. 

But Pakistan is a nuclear power.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2014/03/29/Pakistans-chameleon/1521396033560/print#ixzz2xQqnV1tt


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Mardin declaration of Muslim Theologians

Mardin declaration of Muslim Theologians

S Iftikhar Murshed














Ya Allah ! mercy on our brothers and sisters in Egypt,Pakistan,Iraq,Kashmir and Syria and bring peace  in their life .Aameen

We are ONE UMMAH, if the finger feels a feels the pain. It is our duty to share the pain. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The example of Muslims in their mutual love, mercy and sympathy is like that of a body; if one of the organs is afflicted, the whole body responds with sleeplessness and fever.”(Hadith-Muslim)

















Friday 28th March 2014 marked the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the New Mardin Declaration by globally renowned Muslim theologians and academics from across the world including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, Senegal, Kuwait, Yemen, Bosnia, Mauritania, Iran, Morocco and Indonesia. They convened at the picturesque south-eastern Turkish city of Mardin on March 27-28, 2010 and accomplished more in a few hours than what that grotesquely inept outfit known as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference has been able to achieve in the four decades of its futile existence.

The meeting, which was jointly organised by the Artuklu University and the Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance, was chaired by the famed scholar and former vice president of Mauritania, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyih. In the two days that the conference lasted, it critically examined and then exposed the deliberate textual distortions of the Mardin fatwa of Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328). It is from the corrupted version of this decree that Al-Qaeda and its affiliated networks have derived their ideology which justifies mass murder and destruction in the name of Islam.

Though the fatwa was issued more than 700 years ago, its relevance to the terrorism-plagued contemporary world is undiminished. This was recognised by the Mardin scholars who accordingly decided “to take the fatwa from the specific geographical focus for which it was intended to a broader global focus and from the contingencies of Ibn Taymiyyah’s time to a timeless understanding.”

Ibn Taymiyyah was born in Haran, an obscure little town in the Mardin region, and was only seven at the time of the Mongol invasion of the area. His family, which consisted of some of the most well-known theologians of the times, was forced to flee to Damascus which was then ruled by the Mamluks of Egypt. But the damage insofar as Ibn Taymiyyah was concerned had already been done. At that tender age he had witnessed the atrocities perpetrated by the Mongols and was traumatised. Hideous memories of Mardin haunted him for the rest of his life. 

In Damascus he was taught Islamic jurisprudence by his father and steeped himself in the teachings of the Hanbali school of thought. Although Ibn Taymiyyah was soon acknowledged as the foremost religious authority of his times, he also became controversial. As early as 1293, he came into conflict with the local authorities for protesting the sentencing of a Christian on charges of blasphemy. Five years later he was accused of anthropomorphism (ascribing human characteristics to God) as well as for contemptuously criticising the legitimacy of dogmatic theology. 

Around that time Ibn Taymiyyah accompanied a delegation of the ulema to Mahmud Ghazan, the ruler of Mongol Empire’s Ilkhanate branch in Iran in order to persuade him to stop attacking Muslims. But suddenly ghastly scenes and images from his early childhood in Mardin came back to Ibn Taymiyyah, and, unable to restrain himself, he told the ruler bluntly: “You claim that you are a Muslim and you have with you muftis, imams and sheikhs but you have invaded us and reached our country for what? While your father and your grandfather, Hulagu, were non-believers, they did not attack and kept their promise. But you promised and broke your promise.”

This impassioned outburst brought Ibn Taymiyyah to the adverse notice of the authorities. He was subsequently jailed on several occasions for contradicting the opinions of the jurists and theologians of his day. On the orders of the Mamluk rulers of Cairo he was imprisoned in Damascus from August 1319 to February 1321 for propounding a doctrine that curtailed the ease with which a Muslim male could divorce his wife. He was incarcerated again in 1326 until his death two years later for issuing edicts that conflicted with the thinking of those in authority. 

But his fame had spread far and wide and his bier was followed by 20,000 mourners, many of them women who considered him a saint. It is ironic that Ibn Taymiyyah’s grave became a place of pilgrimage even though he was an exponent of the fundamentalist strand of Islam and is considered one of the principal forerunners of the Wahhabis.

It is against this background that the scholars at the Mardin conference moved on to a textual examination of Ibn Taymiyyah’s actual decree. He was pointedly asked whether his beloved land, Mardin, was an abode of war (dar al-kufr) or the home of peace (dar al-Islam). His answer was that an unprecedented composite situation had emerged. Mardin was neither an abode of peace where the Shariah prevailed nor was it a land of war because the inhabitants of the region were believers. Therefore, he decreed that “the Muslims living therein should be treated in accordance to their rights as Muslims, while the non-Muslims living there outside the authority of Islamic law should be treated according to their rights.”

This superbly nuanced ruling, which came to be known as the Mardin fatwa, was unmistakably peaceful in intent and was in accord with the teachings of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855) who prohibited rebellion even against unjust authority in order to stave off anarchy and indiscriminate bloodshed. But the text was subsequently changed to read: “…while the non-Muslims living there outside the authority of Islamic law should be fought as is their due.”

This was done through the substitution of two letters in a single word. In the second version the word ‘yuamal’ (should be treated) had been rendered as ‘yuqatal’ (should be fought) as a result of which the purport of the decree was drastically altered. According to Sheikh Abd al-Wahab al-Turayri, an internationally acknowledged authority on Islamic jurisprudence and a former of professor at Riyadh’s al-Imam University, the only known copy of the original fatwa was the Zahiriyyah Library manuscript which had been archived at the Asad Library in Damascus. But unfortunately this was either not widely known or had been deliberately ignored. 

The corrupted version made its first appearance more than a hundred years ago in the 1909 edition of Ibn Taymiyyah’s ‘Fatawa’ that was printed and published by Faraj Allah al-Kirdi. This did incalculable damage because the error was never rectified and was not only republished time and again but also rendered into English, French and several other languages. 

It was used by the Egyptian ideologue Muhammad abd al-Salam Faraj (1954-1982) for his book ‘Al-Faridah ahl-Gaibah’ which posits that jihad is the sixth pillar of Islam and, in the words of Sheikh Abd al-Wahab al-Turayri, “has become a manifesto for militant groups” including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Faraj established the Jamaat al-Jihad in 1981 which assassinated President Anwar Sadat on October 6 of that year. He was executed six months later.

For the first time ever the distortions in the text of Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa were exposed and corrected by the Mardin conference. This was a remarkable achievement and was acclaimed worldwide as a crippling blow to the ideology of terrorism. The New Mardin Declaration which was adopted on the conclusion of the conference affirms unambiguously: “Anyone who seeks support from this fatwa for killing Muslims or non-Muslims has erred in his interpretation…It is not for a Muslim individual or a Muslim group to announce and declare war or engage in combative jihad…on their own.”

This is a sobering thought for the Pakistan government which has committed the supreme folly of initiating direct talks with the TTP, the first round of which was held on Wednesday. The outcome of the Mardin conference was summed up by its spokesman who said that the meeting had brought together “scholars and theologians from different persuasions within Islam. But united they stood: Islam condemns terrorism and indiscriminate murder.” This is the message that the government’s panel of negotiators should convey to the TTP shura as the futile talks with the outlawed group gathers momentum.

The writer is the publisher of Criterion Quarterly.  Email: iftimurshed@gmail.com

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Peace dialogue in critical stage

Peace dialogue in critical stage

Asif Haroon Raja




The Army and paramilitary forces are fighting a guerrilla war against home based militants in the northwest since 2002 without a break. The militants are Islamists waging an ideological war to establish Islamic Caliphate. They neither believe in Pakistan’s constitution nor in democracy saying these are of western model and are anti-Islamic. They want to impose their brand of Sharia which is certainly not in line with what is given in Quran and taught by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). For the achievement of their dream, they have killed very large numbers of Pakistanis, destroyed hundreds of schools, and attacked mosques, Imambargahs, churches, funerals and markets, causing loss of over $ 80 billion to the State.  

With the change of government in June 2013, the situation has undergone a change. The PML-N government in the centre and in Punjab, the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and religious political parties/groups are all soft towards the TTP and are keen to hold talks to end the ongoing madness. All parties’ conference was held on 9 September 2013 and a consensus resolution was passed authorizing the government to hold talks with militants unconditionally and to condemn drone attacks which were fuelling terrorism. Since then the government has replaced the fight-fight strategy with talk-talk strategy, while holding on to reoccupied regions and at best reacting to direct attacks. This strategy although seemingly wise is devoid of reciprocity from the other side.

When the TTP welcomed the initiative taken by the APC, it was taken as a sign that the road had been cleared for negotiations between the two sides. The KP government felt so confident that it announced phased withdrawal of troops from Buner, Shangla, Upper and Lower Dir, Chitral and Malakand districts starting mid October 2013 and handing over responsibility to civil administration. While the ground was being smoothened for the meeting, an unexpected and unfortunate incident took place a day after the announcement of withdrawal plan. On September 15, Maj Gen Sanaullah Niazi, and two others embraced shahadat at Upper Dir on account of IED planted by Fazlullah’s militants.

The incident shocked everyone and peace process got a big jolt when TTP claimed responsibility on the following day and vowed to continue hitting military targets. This hostile act in response to Government’s policy of conciliation and appeasement was incomprehensible and regrettable. It caused deep anguish and anger to the rank and file of the Army and put the central and KP governments in awkward position but gave a strong handle to the anti-peace lobbies to beat the peace makers with and make fun of them. As the debate between pro-peace and anti-peace lobbies intensified, another gruesome act of terror took place on September 22 in Peshawar where a church was struck by two suicide bombers soon after Sunday prayers killing 84 people and injuring 175.

While TTP denied involvement, Jundullah Hafsa, a faction of TTP comprising Punjabi Taliban and led by Asmatullah Muavia claimed responsibility of church attack but later disowned it. Muawia had developed differences with Hakimullah after he welcomed Nawaz Sharif’s offer of peace talks and was shunted out of TTP in August last. Ehsanullah Ehsan was also sacked on similar grounds which gave an indication of weakening of TTP. However, notwithstanding lingering heartburning, Hakeemullah and Muawia patched up. In the wake of widespread denunciation inside and outside the country over the dastardly attack on church and condemnation by Ulemas of all schools of thoughts terming the act against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, TTP Shura urged Muawia to disown the act.

Soon after his disownment, another group Jundullah led by Ahmed Marwat based in NW claimed responsibility. Amidst the confusion, ailing Hakimullah confronted with cracks within TTP added to his woes by replacing Sajna with Latif Mehsud and also giving him additional portfolio of commander TPP chapter Miranshah. Latif had been serving Hakeemullah as his driver and body guard. Like Muawia who had resisted his removal from TTP, Sajna also refused to relinquish his post and lobbied hard to form his own faction.

On September 23, TTP held a meeting in NW which was chaired by Sirajuddin Haqqani and attended by representatives of large number of outfits. It was decided to monitor the progress of peace talks. This meeting was an indication that a change had come in the overall thinking of the hawks as well thereby once again raising hopes of a ceasefire and commencement of negotiations in the near future.   

Arrest of Hakeemullah’s deputy Latif Mehsud in Afghanistan by US Special Forces in end October became big news. Reportedly, he was being escorted by NDS officials to Jalalabad to meet Indian High Commissioner. Another report says that he was sent as TTP emissary to Afghanistan by Hakeemullah to procure monetary and material assistance from NDS and guidance regarding peace talks offered by Pak government. Assigning future tasks besides meeting their demands by the NDS in league with RAW has been a routine affair for the last many years. None can deny that the US led ISAF and CIA are in full knowledge of TTP secret links with NDS and RAW and covert operations supervised by RAW. It is also a known fact that segment of TTP, if not all, is an asset of CIA, RAW and NDS and the trio have played a role in the election of TTP Ameer. Hakeemullah had earned applauds for carrying out sensational terror attacks against military targets in Pakistan.

Hakeemullah became a liability for his patrons after he got inclined to peace talks and hence marked as a target. He had to be bumped off and another Ameer, totally in their iron grip, chosen. Latif was arrested because he was the only one who knew the exact program of Hakeemullah’s planned visit to NW on October 31. Probably $ 5 million award was too attractive an inducement for Latif to change his loyalties who otherwise was not in favor of talks. To assume that CIA has lost interest in TTP will be premature. CIA will use this card to keep Pakistan under pressure during its transition phase.

Hakeemullah was killed by a drone in Dandey Darpakhel on October 31, 2013 at a time when he had accepted the dialogue offer and was expected to meet the government delegation of three Ulema on the following day. Chaudhri Nisar had worked hard to tie up the loose ends and was very hopeful for a breakthrough. It was natural for peace lovers to feel disturbed over the gory incident, which was a willful attempt to derail peace process. Karzai’s outburst of anger over arrest of Latif was a put up show. TTP’s former spokesman Azam Tariq threatened that “every drop of Hakeemullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber. There were large numbers of reprisal attacks.  

Hardliner Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani was named interim TTP chief and on November 7, much to the surprise of all and sundry the most ruthless and wanted man in Pakistan Fazlullah was named as the new Ameer and equally brutal Khalid Haqqani hailing from Swabi as his deputy. Shahidullah Shahid became the spokesman. It is for the first time that both the top appointments have been doled out to non-tribesmen. In his urge to prove that he is as good, if not better than his predecessors in the field of militancy, Fazlullah intensified militancy. He has no choice but to do as told to do by his benefactors.

Seeing that the wind had started to blow against them, the new leadership of TTP made another offer of talks. Nawaz Sharif responded by forming a four-member peace committee comprising Irfan Siddiqui, Major Retd Amer, Prof Ibrahim, Rahimullah Yusafzai and Rustam Shah to represent the government for holding peace talks with Taliban. In response, the TTP rather than forming its own committee named Maulana Samiul Haq, Imran Khan, Maulvi Abdul Aziz, Prof Ibrahim and Mufti Kafaitullah to represent Taliban. Imran, Kafaitullah and later on Aziz opted out of the team.

In the first meeting in NW, the TTP put forward demands of withdrawal of Army from SW and release of elders, women and children in the custody of security forces. ISPR denied detaining any such captives. Killing of 13 police commandoes and injury to 57 in Karachi on February 14, 2014 followed by gruesome beheading of 23 FC soldiers on February 17, 2014, taken captive in June 2010 by Omar Khurasani men and taken to Afghanistan, stalled peace process and forced the government to take punitive action against TTP hideouts in NW and Khyber Agency through six surgical strikes on February 20. Subsequently, targets in SW and Tirah were hit with deadly precision. Series of strikes were so effective that the TTP high command was impelled to announce ceasefire unilaterally for one month and to renew talks. Killing of Asmatullah Shaheen on February 24 was another big loss for the TTP.

Its offer was accepted on 2 March and surgical strikes put on hold. However, yet another dastardly attack took place in Islamabad on March 3, targeting district courts, killing a  judge and ten others and injuring 25 people. It was owned by little known Ahrar-ul-Hind. An FC convoy was attacked in Landikotal on the same day. The two acts were disowned but not condemned by TTP. RAW and spoilers are probably behind the series of attacks to disrupt peace process. Under the revised program, it has now been decided that the government’s new team will hold direct talks with Taliban team under the supervision of PM and the proceedings kept secret to keep the spoilers and media at arm’s length. The Army and ISI are ready to form part of the negotiation team as well as to resume precision strikes or to launch an operation in NW. The TTP Shura has been conveyed to identify and pinpoint the anti-State and anti-talks groups operating under its umbrella so that they could be dealt with sternly.    

Regardless of continuation of attacks, the government is determined to pursue the dialogue process to end a violent anti-State campaign that has claimed nearly 50,000 lives. Talking from position of weakness would however be a recipe for disaster. Efforts must continue to cultivate and strengthen pro-talks groups and isolate and weaken anti-peace talks groups. At the same time, well-thought out strategy must be devised how to checkmate possibility of new wave of violence in major urban centres in the coming months undertaken by third force to derail talks. Coming weeks are critical for the making or breaking of peace talks. Cycle of violence must be broken at all cost to frustrate the dangerous designs of enemies of Pakistan.    

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and a researcher. 

E-Mail: asifharoonraja@gmail.com   


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Thank God.


 WASHINGTON: Pakistan is making extensive and precise use of its own indigenous drones in the current surgical strikes against the Taliban, security officials and experts confirmed on Tuesday.

A top official said ground intelligence, combined with accurate data by the Pakistani drones, had made it possible to take out the TTP targets in Tirah and Mir Ali recently, creating a scare among the TTP ranks not seen before.
Sources in Islamabad say the telephone chatter after these strikes had shown that the Taliban were in disarray as they were telling each other if such precise strikes continued, they would be eliminated without even a fight.
A senior security official, when asked by me whether in the latest touch and go visit by the CIA chief Brennen to Rawalpindi, had the Pakistan Army asked for intelligence help from the US drone apparatus to pinpoint the TTP hideouts, the response was ‘no’.
“The CIA chief’s visit was just a courtesy call on the army chief but Pakistan is using its own ‘parindahs’ (birds) for the strikes that have been conducted. We have effective drones that can help immensely in such situations.”
The official was referring obviously to the capability Pakistan had announced in 2012 and confirmed in November 2013 when two locally-produced drones were displayed at an arms exhibition in Karachi.
According to a Washington Post report of the event onNov 26: “After years of preparation, the Strategically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were formally announced by Gen Ashfaq Kayani, chief of Pakistan’s military. The drones, called ‘Burraq and Shahpar’, will not be armed and are to be used only for surveillance, military officials said.”
“The development of the drones, thought to have a range of about 75 miles, represents a milestone for the country’s military and scientists,” the Post quoted Pakistani and Western analysts.
“It is a landmark and a historic event, wherein a very effective force multiplier has been added to the inventory of the armed forces,” the Pakistani military then said in a statement.
Pakistan’s military first revealed its drone technology at a trade show in 2012, but in November last year the formal unveiling coincided with an ongoing farewell tour by Gen Kayani, who was retiring after two terms as army chief, the Post reported.
Brig Muhammad Saad, a former senior officer in the Pakistani military familiar with the subject, was quoted as saying that the country already had less-sophisticated drones for intelligence gathering, with a range of about six miles.
The newer models, he said, will prove useful for ‘collecting more operational intelligence’ that could help guide helicopter gunships and fighter jets to specific targets. This is a great achievement, and the drones can be used instead of surveillance jets and fighter jets that would be costlier to fly.”
Experts say Pakistan is still years away from being able to develop armed drones but Washington Post quoted Peter W Singer, a security analyst at the Brookings Institution, saying most surveillance drones can be armed, though they will lack the precision of US-developed models.
“Almost any unmanned system can be armed in a crude style, such as dropping a bomb or even turning it into an equivalent of a cruise missile that you fly into the target,” said Singer, adding that the announcement will probably add to growing fears about proliferation of drone technology.
In November of 2012, London’s Guardian newspaper reported that military officials had briefed some of Pakistan’s closest allies about efforts by the army to develop its own combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
“The foreign delegates were quite excited by what Pakistan has achieved,” said the official, who was closely involved with organising the four-day International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (Ideas). “They were briefed about a UAV that can be armed and has the capability to carry a weapon payload.”
The official said Pakistan wanted to demonstrate to friendly countries, principally Turkey and the Gulf, that it can be self-sufficient in a technology that is revolutionising warfare and which is currently dominated by a handful of countries that do not readily share the capability.
A Pakistan Army colonel, who had just finished a tour of the country’s border region, was quoted by the Guardian as saying such small drones were a vital tool. “We have these small drones, but not enough of them and we do not always get them when we have operations,” said the colonel in Nov 2012. “They are excellent for observing their movements and deployments.”
But now it is 2014 and the Pakistan Army has as many of these birds as it needs. This will be the latest and the most effective tool in this fight against terrorism. 




UAV System

Shahpar is a medium range tactical UAV System with autonomous take-off and landing. It can carry various types of payloads integrated for reconnaissance and day & night surveillance. Other features include accurate lateral , longitudinal trajectory control, mission planning , management & control , geo referencing & geo pointing for terrestrial targets.

Shahpar Shahpar

Performance Characteristics

Configuration Canard pusher
Air Vehicle Length 4.2 m
Wing Span 6.6 m (22′)
Gross T/O Weight 480 kg
Payload Weight 50 kg
Endurance > 7 hrs
Max operating Altitude 5000 m (17000 ft) Approx.
Cruise Speed 150kph
Maximum power of engine 100hp
Data link Range (real time) 250 km
Guidance / Tracking Autonomous, GPS Based (manual control channel available)
Take-off / launch Automatic, Wheel take-off
Landing / recovery Automatic Landing, manual pilot and parachute option available

Main Features

  • Autonomous take-off and landing.
  • Various types of payloads integrated for reconnaissance and day & night surveillance
  • Accurate lateral and longitudinal trajectory control
  • Mission planning, management & control
  • Built-in data exploitation and dissemination
  • Full mission debriefing & simulation
  • Military standard hardware (Environmental Standard 810F)
  • Geo referencing and geo pointing for terrestrial targets
  • MISB compliant video format



Tactical UAV System

Uqab is a tactical UAV System which can be effectively used for battle damage assessment, aerial reconnaissance, artillery fire correction, joint forces operations, search and rescue missions, coastal area surveillance, route monitoring, internal security / mob control and flood relief operations etc. Presently the system is being used by Pakistan Security Forces.

Performance Characteristics

Range 150 km
Endurance 6 hrs
Height Ceiling 3,000 m
Speed 120 ~ 150 km/hr
Launch/Recovery Wheeled
Flight Mode Autopilot/RPV 1000 way points, Re-programmable during flight Fail-safe mode, Loiter mode & User defined holding patterns
Tracking/Navigation GPS Based
Telemetry Data Real time digital video Position and health of UAV Geo-referencing
Payload Weight/Type Gyro-stabilized gimbal with color day camera, thermal imager with target tracking and locking capabilities
Power Plant 250 km

Dimensions & Weight

Wing Span 5.5 m
Length 4.0 m
Height 1.2 m
Max Takeoff Weight 200 kg (approx)

Ground Control Station (GCS) for Uqab UAV

Ground Control Station is a truck mounted air-conditioned, insulated container which is equipped with standard, ruggedized consoles.


  • User friendly mission planning and execution
  • Mission de-briefing & simulation
  • In-flight mission re-programming
  • Flexible waypoints entry & editing during flight (direct from map & keypad)
  • Mission parameter & flight data logger for post flight analysis & simulation
  • Real time video and telemetry data
  • Moving map software
  • Geo-referencing
  • Easy payload (camera) controls
  • Separate consoles for mission commander, UAV pilot & payload operator
  • Easy to read displays and gauges
  • Standby control links (redundancy)
  • Back-up power supply

COURTESY: GIDS  http://gids.com.pk/shahpar   http://gids.com.pk/uqab-uav

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