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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Junior officer coup coming? on: November 27, 2011, 07:32:09 AM
From B.Raman's blog..


Appearing in a talk show hosted by Suhasini Haidar of CNN-IBN on November 26,2011, I said that I never believed a coup was likely in Pakistan as a result of the Army’s anger over the so-called Memogate affair . I added that Pakistan had an independent judiciary today and that, hence, the Army would not have the confidence that it could get a coup validated by the judiciary post-facto.

2.If Suhasini were to ask me the same question today in the light of the outrage in the Pakistan Army over the reported death of 28 Pakistani troops due to a mistaken NATO airstrike on two Pakistani military posts about two kms from the Afghan border in the Mohmand Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on November 26, my reply would be a little more nuanced.

3. I would still rule out a coup by senior officers headed by Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who are quite capable of rational thinking regarding the legal and other consequences of a coup, but I would not rule out a coup by subalterns and middle level officers enraged over the failure of their senior officers and the political leadership to protect the honour of the Pakistan Army against repeated infringements by the US and other NATO forces.

4. One saw reports of such anger in the barracks over the failure of the senior military leadership to prevent the US Commando raid to kill Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011.Kayani managed to control this anger with great difficulty by undertaking a tour of important military cantonments.

5. Reports received by me from Pakistani sources, who are not known to have misled me in the past, claim that one could see similar anger over the latest incident spreading across the barracks. The anger is against the US as well as against the senior leadership of the Army. The reports indicate that organisations such as the Hizbut Tehrir have been trying to fan this anger.

6.If this anger doesn’t subside, there is a danger of a successful or attempted coup in Pakistan organised by officers at middle level, who would not be bothered about the legal consequences of a coup. The Pakistan Army is a disciplined force. In its history, there has never been a successful coup by junior officers. However, there were two instances of attempted junior officers’ coup, the preparations for which were detected in time by the senior military leadership and crushed.

7. The last of them was in 1995 when Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister and Gen Abdul Wahid Kakkar was the COAS. A group of middle level officers headed by Brig. Zahir-ul-Islam Abbasi, fromer Defence Attache to India, joined hands with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and planned to capture power after killing Benazir and the COAS. The plans for the coup were accidentally detected and the officers concerned arrested and court-martialled.

8. When Gen.Pervez Musharraf was in power we had seen reports of individual junior officers of the Army and the Air Force, who were angry over Musharraf’s co-operation with the US, joining hands with Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda elements in a conspiracy to have Musharraf assassinated. Their role came to notice during the investigation into the two attempts to kill Musharraf in December,2003, allegedly orchestrated by Abu Faraj at-Libbi of Al Qaeda now in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre of the US.

9. The anti-US anger in the lower and middle ranks of the Pakistan Army after the Abbottabad raid has till now been kept under control by Kayani. If the anger over the killing of 28 troops, including two officers, allegedly by NATO air strikes on Pakistani military posts in the Momand Agency is not carefully and tactfully handled by the US and the Pakistani civilian and military leadership, there is a danger of this anger getting out of control leading to a conspiracy of the junior officers.

10. If such a conspiracy is successful with the co-operation of jihadi elements, there would be a real threat of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal coming under their control. Senior Pakistani Army officers are responsible people who are quite capable of ensuring that there is no misuse of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. I do not have the same confidence about the junior officers.

11. The US-Pakistan relations are going from bad to worse--- particularly the military-military and intelligence-intelligence relationship. There is a lot of glee among many Indian analysts over it. This need not necessarily be a beneficial development for India. It is in our interest that the US retains the ability to influence the behaviour of the Pakistani military leadership.

12. The situation in Pakistan needs very close monitoring. (27-11-11)
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 26, 2011, 04:55:01 PM
Strat  reports "An outpost, located near the Afghan border in the Mohmand Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, was struck in the early morning hours of Nov. 26, reportedly by U.S. attack helicopters. The incident is remarkable for the number of deaths it caused and comes at a time of increasing tensions between the United States and Pakistan — tensions that are likely now to get worse, regardless of the results of Pakistan’s investigation into the incident.".

The paki generals have their knickers in a twist. I dont think this will die down very quickly. Pakistani H&D has been violated again, as was their sovirginity (pronounced sovereignty in USA). Looks like US forces have been given the right to retaliate hostile fire.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 24, 2011, 10:36:05 AM
1. Whoever coined the term "Af-Pak" deserves a lot of credit. It holds the key to a solution for the region, which the authors of the above articles seem to miss. ie the role of Pak in the afghan mess. Unless we are willing to deal with Pak, no point wasting time/money in Afghanistan. Also the person who coined "Fk-Ap", deserves a lot of credit, for elegantly explaining the situation.

2. We worry a lot about paki nukes getting into the hands of the taliban and AQ types. But in all honesty, is the paki army not already a jihadi force (their motto: Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah ) to some extent, with a fraction of it being hardcore jihadi. So the real worry should be what if we have a  jihadi general holding the football, or what if that person has a death wish and wishes to pay back the Big Satan before collecting his 72 houris. I recently met someone who knows a lot about these matters, he thought that there was zero chance that the bomb could be hijacked by outside groups, but an insider could do it.

154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palace coup unfolding on: November 17, 2011, 06:57:56 PM
For those of you wondering what this Strat snippet means...see the article below.

"Pakistan: Ambassador To U.S. Offers To Resign
November 16, 2011 | 2109 GMT         
Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani wrote a letter to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in which he offered to resign from his post because of his involvement with a memo allegedly sent from Zardari to former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, The News International reported Nov. 16.",b=facebook

Is a Palace Coup Unfolding in Pakistan?
Posted: 11/16/11 10:36 AM ET

A palace coup could be in the offing in nuclear-armed Pakistan as pro-Taliban army generals try to undermine democratically elected civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

First indications that something foul was afoot in Islamabad came on the weekend when Pakistan's top four military officials, including powerful Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani became conspicuous by their absence at a state banquet hosted by President Zardari for the visiting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan.

For Pakistan watchers, the presence or absence of the top military leadership at events organized by a civilian government is an indication of the state of relations between the Pakistan's poweful power-hungry military and the weak civilian administration in Islamabad.

The obvious boycott of a state dinner hosted by Pakistan's president by his top generals and admirals, who are supposedly answerable to him, was not the only signal that something sinister was taking place. The absence was followed by the resignation from the ruling party by the former foreign minister, which too was suspected to have come after prodding by the military.

The latest tug of war between the government of president Zardari and his generals erupted on October 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled "Time to take on Pakistan's Jihadis."

In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a senior Pakistani diplomat close to President Zardari and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:

"Early on May 9, a week after US Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan's military and intelligence channels.
The embarrassment of bin Laden being found on Pakistani soil had humiliated Mr Zardari's weak civilian government to such an extent that the president feared a military takeover was imminent. He needed an American fist on his army chief's desk to end any misguided notions of a coup - and fast."

Ijaz further claimed that a memo was drafted and delivered to Admiral Mullen on May 10.

"In a flurry of phone calls and emails over two days a memorandum was crafted that included a critical offer from the Pakistani president to the Obama administration: 'The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.'"
The pro-military media in Pakistan suggested the diplomat in question was Pakistan's ambassador the U.S., former Boston University professor, Husain Haqqani --a man not liked by his country's Jihadis, whether civilian or military.

Both Admiral Mullen and Islamabad denied that any such back door diplomacy had taken place, but the denials could not put out the fire. What was ostensibly written as a critique of Pakistan's jihadi extremists in fact turned out to have the exact opposite effect. In a country where anti-Americanism is rife, the elected civilian government was made out to appear as lackeys of the U.S.

Could the writer have intended to weaken the government and strengthen the military? Mansoor Ijaz is not new to controversy. According to the International Herald Tribune's Pakistan edition, "a deeper look into Ijaz's background provides evidence that this hasn't been the first time the influential businessman has raised controversy concerning his alleged role as a secret international diplomat."

The IHT discloses that :

"In 1996, he was accused of trying to extort money from the Pakistani government in exchange for delivering votes in the US House of Representatives on a Pakistan-related trade provision. Ijaz, who runs the firm Crescent Investment Management LLC in New York, has been an interlocutor between U.S. officials and foreign government for years, amid constant accusations of financial conflicts of interest. He reportedly arranged meetings between U.S. officials and former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. He also reportedly gave over $1 million to Democratic politicians in the 1990s and attended Christmas events at former President Bill Clinton's White House. Ijaz has ties to former CIA Director James Woolsey and his investment firm partner is Reagan administration official James Alan Abrahamson."

Anywhere else a civilian diplomat warning directly or indirectly against a military coup would not be deemed wrong in itself. But in Pakistan, a civilian Prime Minister was toppled and arrested (Nawaz Sharif, in 1999 by General Musharraf) for simply trying to assert civilian control over the military. Even if Zardari and his diplomat had, as Ijaz claims, asked Ijaz to contact the American government to use its influence against a military coup, there was nothing unlawful or unconstitutional in what he did. But in Pakistan, Ijaz's claims have provoked circumstances that are threatening at least the sacking of a respected ambassador and possibly undermining civilian rule.
Knowing the workings of Pakistan's intelligence services, Ijaz's article could have been part of a plan by the ISI to destabilize Pakistani democracy once again.

On Monday, the moves by the military triggered a closed-door meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and the country's dour Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani followed by another meeting between Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kayani.

The generals are adamant. President Zardari has being asked to summon his ambassador to the U.S. back to Islamabad for a full dressing down by the junta. According to the Pakistani newspaper The News, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani decided on Monday to call Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington, to Islamabad to brief the country's leadership on a host of issues impacting on Pak-U.S. relations and recent developments."

Long before Haqqani was appointed as Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., he had exposed the close links between the Pakistan military and the country's Islamist jihadis in his book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and the Military. For that sin, the men in boots have never forgiven the man they cannot control.

Haqqani, described by Bloomberg as the "hardest working man in DC," has been in the sights of the Pak Army and its intelligence wing, the ISI, who do not trust the academic. They fear he has exposed their attempts to double-cross the USA and as such want his skin as a price for allowing Zardari to stay in power.

The developments in Islamabad and the demand by the army to fire Haqqani should also be seen in light of the sudden rise in the profile of Pakistan's leading pro-Taliban politician, former cricketer Imran Khan. The establishment in Pakistan has run a brilliant campaign to project Khan as both a patriotic Islamist as well as a liberal. Using his Oxford background, he cultivates the ultimate anti-American modernist who has charmed the urban middle classes as the 'non-politician.'

Because of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, the army cannot overthrow an elected government as it used to do in the past, but the generals and the ISI are propping up a Khan and demanding the firing of the liberal Haqqani.

The sad part is that Islamist influence inside the U.S. State Department may result in a nod of approval to the Khakis to trigger a civilian coup. If Ambassador Haqqani is fired, can president Zardari be far behind?

155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 12, 2011, 08:45:32 PM
Karachi fashion week: male burkha coming to a street near you..

156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2011, 01:02:50 PM

Probable Future Paki leader...Imran Khan

Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf held a mammoth rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore on 30 October 2011 - estimated by the ISI to be two-lakh strong - and put the fear of God in both the PMLN and the PPP that Imran Khan had been targeting. He pushed the familiar buttons: challenged India on Kashmir, vowed to replace the US with China as Pakistan's ally, threatened corrupt politicians with civil disobedience 'in a few months', and foresaw midterm general election after March 2012.

Imran Khan has taken big strides in putting the country on notice about his party's political potential. He says he can win elections and form governments. That is what he should say as a politician, but the fact is that a lot of people have joined him in his rallying call to get rid of both the parties more or less settled into the groove of Pakistan's bipartisan system. Imran Khan is without the usual blemish of corruption; and his charity work places him above every other politician in the country.

He has an extreme posture, or at least he had before the party profile improved and he became conscious that Insaf may get more breakaway votes than he had counted on. In one of his latest TV shows he seemed more moderate than before about relations with India and the US, about tackling terrorism and the economy. Some of the recipes were romantic but that is quite forgivable in a person who has no experience of governance, doesn't know in depth how capitalist economics works, and is simply practising the pre-election hyperbole of the normal politician.

Yet his insistence that he would extend the tax net is the right thing to say although the number of people paying income tax in India is proportionately not much bigger and that takes nothing away from India's success a country with a high growth rate. Corruption and money stashed away abroad too has not distracted positive attention to India's law and order and a much better educational system.

Will Imran Khan embrace the more aggressive version of Islam which the Taliban have showcased in the Tribal Areas by cutting hands and stoning people to death? Will he oppose hudood the way Allama Iqbal did in his Sixth Lecture? Above all will he fight the Taliban if they reject him?
Bad governance in Pakistan is not linked to corruption and the Zardari Factor; it is clearly linked to terrorism and the presence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan with its Taliban followers fighting the state. Law and order is linked to the writ of the state which is non-existent in over 50 percent of the country and in cities like Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. Imran Khan is opposed to the US presence in the region and Pakistan's collaboration with it in Afghanistan. The solution he has in mind is that the moment the US leaves and he comes to power, terrorism will stop in 90 days because the Taliban - Pakhtun and Punjabi - will simply return to being normal non-terrorist citizens of Pakistan. He is capitulatory to the Taliban; he is denunciatory of the political parties in power.

People who are scared of Al Qaeda and Taliban don't believe Imran Khan can bring peace in 90 days. They don't believe he can collect income tax to the level he promises - one trillion rupees extra in the first year in power - and his utopian governance through 200 perfect men seems too dreamlike. The pledge of gouging money from the corrupt and putting it back in the state kitty and getting politicians to bring their money back from foreign banks has been made in the past and has been belied by reality. Today money flees and comes back if the country has a soft image and there is law and order. Will Imran Khan give Pakistan a soft image?

Bad governance in Pakistan is not linked to corruption and the Zardari Factor; it is clearly linked to terrorism and the presence of Al Qaeda in Pakistan with its Taliban followers fighting the state. Law and order is linked to the writ of the state which is non-existent in over 50 percent of the country and in cities like Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi
In his book Pakistan: A Personal History (Bantam Press 2011), Imran Khan has handed us a clue about how his mind works and that could also be the reason why his party has been organisationally so neglected. Imran imbibed a strong sense of personal destiny. He recalls: 'Pir Gi from Sahiwal said I would be very famous and make my mother a household name' (p.89). Imran had announced his first retirement when he met another clairvoyant: 'Baba Chala, lived in a little village just a few miles from the Indian border. He certainly had not heard bout my retirement...the man looked at me and said I had not left my profession...It is the will of Allah; you are still in the game' (p.93).

The man who stood by him as his spiritual mentor was Mian Bashir (d.2005) who shocked him by naming the Quranic ayat his mother used to read to baby Imran and predicted that Allah had turned the tables in his favour in the Lamb-Botham libel suit whose reparations would have pauperised Imran (p.189). Mian Bashir also disarmed a sceptical Jemima by accurately guessing her three secret wishes (p.120).

From his sense of predestination comes his risk-taking character. But he says: 'The difference between a good leader and a bad one is that the former takes huge risks while fully grasping the consequences of failure. Leaders of a country shaping policies out of fear of losing power have always proved to be disastrous. Great leaders always have the ability to resist pressure and make policies according to their vision, rather than fear' (p.113).

One wonders how he will negotiate peace with the terrorists who have an ideology and say clearly that their aim is not only to get Pakistan out of the clutches of the US but also to impose the true sharia on Pakistan. And if warlords like Maulvi Faqir and Fazlullah and Mangal Bagh don't give ground, what will he do? We know Imran Khan's view of religion apart of the deeply spiritual clairvoyants he has been relying on. But will he embrace the more aggressive version which the Taliban have showcased in the Tribal Areas by cutting hands and stoning people to death? He is clearly wedded to the vision of Allama Iqbal. Will he oppose hudood the way the Allama did in his Sixth Lecture? Above all will he fight the Taliban if they reject him?

Probably shaken by a gallup survey that puts Imran Khan at the top of the popularity roster in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has not been able to contain himself. Quoted in daily Jinnah (29 October 2011) he has lashed out at what he thinks is an un-Islamic 'walking together' by Imran with his divorced wife Jemima Khan who joined Imran in Islamabad in his campaign against drone attacks in the Tribal Areas. He said, 'Islam forbids mixing with one's divorcee wife; and it seems as if Imran Khan's future is still linked to Jemima Khan'.

If the MMA wants to make a comeback in KPK, Imran Khan definitely is not the favourite son of the religious parties. He was once roughed up by the Jamiat although the Jamaat Islami under Qazi Hussain Ahmad looked at him with favour. (Qazi Sahib said the funeral prayer for his late father.) But it is perhaps clear that no one - in addition to the PMLN - wants Imran Khan treading on their turf. The youth Imran Khan is attracting will probably take him further away from the religious parties and force him to distance the party from the pre-modern prescriptions that are so popular in the Muslim world. (His party already believes in joint electorates.) He was ignoring the non-Muslim minorities before the big Lahore rally but the fact is that they are a vote-bank waiting for him on the sidelines. The Christian backing to Shahbaz Sharif's show in Lahore on 28 October could be the writing on the wall.

Pakistan's top Urdu columnist Haroon Rashid, who is a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to analysing 'Captain' Imran Khan, and may share with him nothing more than his passion for 'desi murghi', wrote in Jang (29 October 2011) that if Imran Khan and his companions are true (sachay), they will do vigil (riyazat) and will place their trust in Allah who will give them the blinding (kheera-kun) conquest. The decisions, he wrote, were not taken on earth but in Heaven.
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2011, 12:52:31 PM
Thought this titbit is revealing, India unilaterally granted  MFN status to Pak 17 years ago. Apparently the paki army is against it, for increased trade and increased export of Indian goods might be destabilizing.

Pakistan: India Not Granted Most Favored Nation Status - PM

November 5, 2011
Pakistan has not granted most favored nation status to India, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, stated, adding that the Cabinet approved the Commerce Ministry to proceed with the issue during bilateral negotiations, PTI reported Nov. 5. Pakistan will move forward only if the situation is favorable and in the national interest, Gilani said.
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 04, 2011, 07:34:57 PM
John Crosbie, a former Canadian federal cabinet minister and currently lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, joking..

"This fellow said, 'I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc., I called a suicide hotline and got a call centre in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.' "
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pak nukes vulnerable to theft on: November 04, 2011, 06:51:17 PM
Pakistan's nuclear weapons vulnerable to theft: report
(AFP) – 6 hours ago  
WASHINGTON — Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans on congested roads to hide them from US spy agencies, making the weapons more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants, two US magazines reported Friday.
The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report citing unnamed sources, wrote that the US raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May at his Pakistani compound reinforced Islamabad's longstanding fears that Washington could try to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal.
As a result, the head of the Strategic Plans Divisions (SPD), which is charged with safeguarding Pakistan's atomic weapons, was ordered to take action to keep the location of nuclear weapons and components hidden from the United States, the report said.
Khalid Kidwai, the retired general who leads the SPD, expanded his agency's efforts to disperse components and sensitive materials to different facilities, it said.
But instead of transporting the nuclear parts in armored, well-defended convoys, the atomic bombs "capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads," according to the report.
The pace of the dispersal movements has increased, raising concerns at the Pentagon, it said.
Pakistan has long insisted its nuclear arsenal is safe and the article quotes an unnamed official from the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency saying: "Of all things in the world to worry about, the issue you should worry about the least is the safety of our nuclear program."
The Pentagon declined to comment on the article but a senior US military official told reporters in Washington Friday that the United States remains confident Pakistan's nuclear weapons are secure.
"I believe the Pakistan military arsenal is safe at this time, well guarded, well defended," said the military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The article, based on dozens of interviews, said the US military has long had a contingency plan in place to disable Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of a coup or other worst-case scenario.
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has for years trained for a potential "disablement campaign" that its forces would lead and that would require entering more than a dozen nuclear sites and seizing or defusing atomic weapons, it said.
The operation would use sensitive radiological detection devices that can pick up trace amounts of atomic material and JSOC has even built mock Pashtun villages with hidden mock nuclear-storage depots at a site on the East Coast to train elite Navy SEAL and Delta Force commandos, the report said.
Although Pakistan has suggested it might shift towards China and forsake its ties to Washington, Chinese officials have reached an understanding in secret talks with US representatives that Beijing would raise no objections if the United States opted to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons, said the report, citing unnamed US sources.
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 27, 2011, 08:06:46 PM
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 27, 2011, 07:55:37 PM
Some snippets...
The ghosts that haunt Kayani

The military is not committed to this conflict. But it's not because of "strategic-depth" brinksmanship, nor the endgame "hedging" of the Haqqanis, not even due to India's "Cold Start" doctrine. It is because it has serious emotional baggage.

An extraordinary number of young officers killed in action since 2001 has severed the command and control structures of several frontline units for the Pakistan Army.

So let the hawks romanticise the SSG. Or the rest of the Army. Or the Rangers or the Levies or the FC or even the Coast Guards. It really doesn't matter, for the Pakistani military does not want to fight this war.

That's right. It's not news that the military is not committed to this conflict. But it's not because of "strategic-depth" brinksmanship, nor the endgame "hedging" of the Haqqanis, not even due to India's "Cold Start" doctrine. No, those are official reasons for public consumption and posturing diplomacy. They're good enough motives to influence the Pakistani military's strategic calculus, at least from its own perspective. But still, all of them are constructed and contrived reasons, conceived by khaki strategists to convince themselves, as well as others, about how things really ought to be. Thus, these are talk-show reasons. Or drawing-room reasons. Or conference-hall reasons. Not intrinsic ones.

The 'real' types of reasons - especially in paranoid, semi-failed and irrational security states - that drive or mitigate war are, always, intuitive and emotional. And the Pakistani army has serious emotional baggage when it comes to fighting this war, for it is evident all over Cherat.

This army was never ready for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations before it jumped into them, because deployment in that type of combat requires small, dynamic formations that can think independently and "on their feet"
It is in that remote mountainous cantonment where one glimpses the slivers of this Army's confused raison d'etre: A sign that points to the direction of Srinagar as well as Jerusalem; a memorial dedicated to the war-dead from 1965, embarrassingly smaller than the one dedicated to 1971; Coats of Arms of various Raj-era units, that once conquered and killed locals here, chiselled along the face of the mountains; and of course, emblazoned quotes from the Quran. And then, at the far edge of the camp, past a 30-foot mural of an SSG warrior who is declaring in Farsi,"Mun Janbaz Um" (that he is ready to give up his life), there is the Officer's Mess: A single-story structure with a view more befitting of a millionaire's Swiss chalet than the haunt of men who command an elite, third-world military formation.

But once inside, along the walls of the main hall, all you see are the ghosts of battles past.

Photographs, of each and every SSG officer killed in action, adorn the rich teak panelling. The pictures go around the room, about the size of any upper-class Pakistani foyer, covering almost three of the four walls. A few of the images, from the early wars, are black and white. The rest of them, from newer, more familiar conflicts, are in colour. Among the artificial swords, antique rifles, and a cheap oil landscape of Shaitan Taikri (a jagged outpost in the Ali-Barangsa sector on the Line of Actual Control in Siachen) there are a whole lot more of these fresh, framed fatalities.

Image analysts would have a field day in this SSG shrine. Some of the officers lost in earlier battles are clean-shaven, with a debonair and dapper English country-gentleman look to them. Then come the moustaches of the '70s. Then the beards of the Siachen era. But then, a notable pattern begins. Younger officers. Older officers. Lots of them. All killed in the War on Terror. Very, very recently.

In his phantom punching that aimed at preempting the Clinton visit's agenda, General Kayani said many things in his GHQ meeting with our parliamentarians last week. He postured: "They [the US] will have to think ten times [before attacking] because Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan". He bluffed: "If anyone convinces me that everything will be sorted out if we act in North Waziristan, I will take immediate action". He even got to play statesman-in-chief: "For short-term gains, we cannot lose [sight of] our long-term interests [in Afghanistan]".

But then, the general appealed.

Citing a staggering statistic, Gen Kayani let us into what's really beginning to haunt his institution: That the army has suffered 12,829 casualties since 2001, including 3,097 killed, with what the New York Times reports as an "unusually high ratio of one officer killed for every 16 soldiers since it [the Pakistan army] began fighting the Taliban".

This is critical. Like him or not, agree with him or not, but if you just believe Gen Kayani's math, then it means the Pakistan Army has lost almost 194 officers in this conflict. As the average strength of a Pakistani infantry battalion (primarily the type of unit deployed in forward areas and that most prone to casualties) is about 900 men, with around 10 or so of them being officers, then Kayani's accounting means his army has lost enough enlisted men to completely wipe out more than three entire battalions (that's one brigade) and incapacitate 14 or so battalions (almost 5 brigades). But the real problem is that the army has lost enough officers to decapitate around 20 battalions; a shocking, disturbing statistic, especially for an institution that has been documented to be thoroughly weaved together through fraternal, kinship, tribal and legacy connections, and where the officer calls all the shots - on and off the field.

If they have weren't already been briefed by Munter's defence analysts about this on their trip, then Clinton, Petraeus, Dempsey et al should think hard what they dealing with. Sure, the intransigence to not commit to combat from the Pakistan Army has many 'larger' reasons, but the root cause may well be morale - the toughest factor to quantify for battle - or lack of it.

In an elitist army where many officers are related to each other, and where the commander-centric modules of conventional training ensure that units are highly dependent on officers to lead them, it's a safe bet to assume two things: One, that almost all of Pakistan's top brass have lost an officer they know and/or are related to, or work directly with someone in uniform who has. And two, that Pakistan's undertrained and underequipped soldiers are increasingly leaderless in battle.

After due sympathies and respect for such a tremendous loss, it must be stressed that this is the Army's own fault. The policy decision to commit troops in FATA etc has been debated too often, so let it be a forgone conclusion that the Pervez Musharraf/ Ehsan-ul-Haq/ Ashfaq Kayani/ Nadeem Taj/ Shuja Pasha-led GHQ-ISI combine made some questionable strategic and operational decisions in the last decade.

Just focus on what really went wrong in FATA operations for the army: a top-heavy institution that has for decades trained for conventional war with India, expecting its officers to mostly lead all formations - small and large - into battle, and thus (much like it's colonial-era predecessor) heavily invested in the "thinking and doing" capacity of its officers versus just the "doing" potential of its soldiers.

That is where the army's extraordinarily high officer-to-soldier losses have come in. This army was never ready for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations before it jumped into them, for deployment in that type of combat requires small, dynamic formations that can think independently and "on their feet". As our enlisted men have always been treated for the initiative-lacking, "Allah-u-Akbar" swearing, soldiers that they essentially are, the need to achieve viable objectives has forced the army to thrust its officers to over-commit in frontline deployments they've never trained for either. As more of these ranks have been killed - over-exposed by 'leading from the front' operations and/or increasingly 'target killed' by selective snipers - internally, for the Army's officer corps, this means more brothers, cousins, nephews and in-laws are also dead.

So, for the Pakistan Army, this war is questionable. Not just strategically. Nor economically. Not even religiously. But more than any other reason, existentially. Thus, the SSG warrior's mural in Cherat lied: He might be ready to give life in battle...But he doesn't really want to fight this war.

The writer is a former Shorenstein Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and a broadcast/online journalist. He can be reached at and @wajskhan on Twitter
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 24, 2011, 08:35:35 PM
I listened to the original video. karzai clearly makes those statements in hindi/urdu. After making those statements, he abruptly switches to english for the remainder of the interview. I think Karzai is panicking, the rabbani and other assasinations are striking home, the US will leave soon, he has signed security accords with India, he needs to get on the right side of the ISI, afterall many still remember the fate of najibullah.
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 23, 2011, 11:10:57 AM
Here's a solution to pak (that I have proposed earlier!), by B.Raman.

The indicators from reliable sources in Pakistan are that the just-concluded visit ( October 21,2011) of Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to Pakistan at the head of a high-power delegation including the new incumbents to the important posts of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),David Petraeus, failed to have the necessary impact on the military as well as civilian leadership.

2. What she was expecting was a clear commitment from the Pakistani leadership with a time-bound plan of operation to neutralise the sanctuaries of Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, an arm of the Afghan Taliban, in the Pashtun belt in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)---particularly in North Waziristan.

3. The Pakistani civilian and military leaders were as evasive as ever and the Army headed by Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), avoided making any commitment on this issue despite cautions emanating from identified and unidentified sources in Washington regarding the likely punitive consequences of continued Pakistani inaction against the terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistani territory from which, according to the US, attacks are launched against NATO and Afghan targets in Afghan territory.

4. As the US moves towards the Presidential elections next year, the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan have been stalling on the ground. Spectacular decapitation strikes against high-value targets through pilotless Drone aircraft and commando actions such as the one that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 last have not produced any major qualitative change in the ground situation.

5. Successful decapitation strikes need time to produce results on the ground situation. The Obama Administration wants quick results that would enable it to start thinning out the US troop presence in Afghanistan well before next-year’s elections when Mr.Obama will be seeking re-election.

6. Such quick results in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations come only from successful strikes against terrorist sanctuaries and other infrastructure on the ground through a mix of air and ground actions. Such a mix facilitated the elimination of OBL in Abbottabad, but it is difficult to repeat it against widely-scattered terrorist infrastructure.

7. The US faces a dilemma because it does not have the stomach for sustained ground operations by its forces in Pakistani territory. Any ground operation by the US forces that is confined to North Waziristan alone would not produce enduring results because the entire Pakistan---its tribal belt as well as the non-tribal hinterland--- provides a strategic depth to the Afghan Taliban, including its Haqqani network.

8. The cruel reality is that without the co-operation of the Pakistan Army, the US is not in a position to mount a successful counter-sanctuary operation in Pakistani territory. The Pakistan Army has a clear understanding of the limitations to the ground action capabilities of the US in Pakistani territory. Such limitations do not arise from Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as it is generally presumed. They arise from the nature of the tribal belt and the vast non-tribal hinterland.

9. There are no quick answers to the operational dilemma faced by the US in Pakistan. The US has to realise that Pakistan as constituted presently will continue to keep coming in the way of the over-all strategic objectives of the US in the Af-Pak region. Unless the Pakistani capabilities are weakened, there is going to be no enduring solution to the US dilemma in Pakistan. Economic and military sanctions alone will not weaken Pakistan’s capabilities in view of the assistance that would be forthcoming to Pakistan from China and Saudi Arabia.

10. The only enduring way of weakening the capability of Pakistan is to work strategically for changing the very nature of Pakistan as it is constituted presently by identifying friendly elements in Pakistan such as the Balochs, the Mohajirs and the Shias and helping them in achieving their objective of freeing themselves from the control of the Pakistani Army. What he is saying is that Balochistan, Sindh, and some Parts of Pashtoonistan should be encouraged to become free !

11. These three elements have been struggling on their own, but they have not made much headway due to lack of external support and absence of strategic unity amongst them. If they can be persuaded to come together in a Southern Alliance and struggle jointly and if their political objectives are supported by the outside world---the US particularly—one may see the beginning of the process of weakening the capability of the Pakistani Army to stand in the way of peace and stability in the region.

12. The time has come for a clear realisation that Pakistan as constituted presently is the problem in the region and that unless the non-radical sections of the Pakistani society are helped to assert themselves, no enduring solution would be possible. ( 23-10-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 22, 2011, 04:35:14 PM
Post by V.Sood, ex Chief of India's spy agency.

The Nature of Our Neighbour
One was reasonably sure many years ago that Osama was hiding in Pakistan, most probably in the Abbottabad area. Pakistan authorities, however, consistently denied Osama's presence in their country.

But, as it embarrassingly turned out, Osama was living with his family, along with an entire terrorist and communication paraphernalia. This was despite the country's ubiquitous intelligence machinery with its close contacts with the terrorist underworld.

If Islamabad did not know, then its is clear that the terrorists there are running out of control. If Islamabad did know, then it obviously chose not to disclose the information and assist the US in its effort against terrorism. This was either a strategic decision of the rulers for use of assets later, or a tactical decision to keep the ultra radicals at bay. Both underscore a natural desire to play the terror card.

House of terror: Pakistan authorities had repeatedly denied Osama's
presence in their country, even as he lived a short distance away from
the country's capital.

Pakistan is to try Dr Afridi, who is suspected to have given information to the US, which led to the famous SEAL assault on May 2 and the subsequent death of Osama. Is it treason to help the US find the world's most wanted terrorist? It was rather a service that he did to the US and the world. Yet, the attitude is that not helping the US find Osama was an act of supreme loyalty by the ISI and the Pakistan Army.

These are unfortunate directions Pakistan is taking, egged on by an increasingly intolerant section that is strident, violent, and at times vicious. Just looking at photographs of thousands of Islamists protesting against the sentencing of Salman Taseer's killer, juxtaposed with the news that 13 innocent Shias were taken off a bus, lined and killed in cold blood by Sunni radicals, has a chilling effect. It is not that radicalism spreads in one massive tsunami. It creeps in slowly and all it takes is a few good men to keep quiet for the virus to spread. It happens when a small child is accused of blasphemy for misspelling, when Ahmedi children are banned from attending school, or when religious laws that discriminate against women are espoused.

Why is it that Pakistan chooses to behave in a manner that has made it an international pariah with a broken economy and a rundown social structure that can't give its young the gift of modern education, but subjects them to the medieval obscurantism of many madrassas? Soon after its birth, Pakistan was naturally anxious to make its formation a success. Its mistake was to perennially seek equality with India. Since then it has boxed above its weight. It decided to play its locational card with the West. It offered its territory for US Cold War objectives, then for the Afghan jihad and then again, ostensibly against terrorism. Pakistan's leaders also learnt that delinquency could be rewarding, so they either played the victim or spread terror, assured protection by the country's status as a nuclear power.

The West, especially the US has continued its policy of coddling Pakistan. What were considered startling accusations by the outgoing American Chief of Joint Staff Admiral Mullen 10 days ago, are already being watered down. True, there are many Pakistani men and women who shudder at the direction their country is taking. It is also true that there are far more in Pakistan who believe in the ideology of the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba that promises ultimate and global Islamic dominance.

The only thing they dislike is violence against Pakistanis. The main worry in India is not that Pakistan will use the nuclear bomb; the main worry is that it will continue to use militias like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as a veritable arm of the Pakistan Army whose own motto is 'jihad f'isb illah' (jihad in the name of Allah). Our fear should be that hordes of militant believers could be let loose by their mentors. If a country's rulers can be duplicitous with their benefactor there is very little reason to believe they will not do likewise or worse with their 'sworn enemy'.

The writer is former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 22, 2011, 04:15:58 PM
An excellent if longish post on the US-Pak history/relationship.

The US-Pakistan Conundrum
A conundrum is a paradoxical, insoluble or a difficult problem, a dilemma. The relationship that the US has had with Pakistan for sixty years now fits that description perfectly like a T. When the arch-enemy, the Indian Government, paradoxically said on October 20 that the US and Pakistan must heal their rift, it spoke volumes of how much that relationship has deteriorated. That also reminded one that the wheel had come a full circle since the mid 1950s. Today, there is talk of the US sending its soldiers inside Pakistan to take the fight into the den of the terrorists. Ms. Clinton has openly said in Kabul that it would happen if needed. She has backed-up her threat by amassing troops across the border in Afghanistan. In Pakistan itself, she said, "you cannot keep snakes in your backyard and expect they will only bite the neighbours". She has also demanded that Pakistan take action “not [in] months and years, but days and weeks", thus setting a deadline which has hitherto not been the case. In turn, Gen. Kayani threatens the US with nuclear weapons and warns the US that it should think ten times before making any such decision. For his part, the Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar warns the US of 'Pakistani patience with the US running out' ! Whether these are the usual Pakistani bluster to appear brave before the masses or not will be known shortly.

Leading think-tanks and strategic analysts in the US have asked their President to freeze aid to Pakistan and to recognize the fact that the obstacle to peace in the region is indeed Pakistan. The continuing and intensifying war of words between the two countries mean only one thing. A flurry of meetings in the last one year between military and political head honchos of both the countries has been unable to narrow, let alone seal, the rift. On the other hand, the rift has only widened further this year due to incidents such as Raymond Davis, Osama bin Laden, revelation of identities of CIA station chiefs in Pakistan, assassination of Rabbani, Kabul embassy attack, Wardak Chinook attack, proof of collusion between the ISI and Haqqani, tipping off the Taliban engaged in bomb-making activities after receiving intelligence from the US etc. Even a very indulgent US - indulgent towards Pakistan, that is - has been forced to take a serious note of these developments. Why should there be such a downturn in their relationship ? After all, the US military and economic aid to Pakistan since the 1950s is mind-boggling. Let us look at the quantum of this aid to realize what we are talking about.

Pakistan’s sole obsession from Aug. 14, 1947 has been India. With this in mind, Pakistan approached the US for arms support as early as October, 1947, but the Truman administration already weighed down by developments in Europe and Korea could not accede to the request. In May 1950 during the state visit by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to the US, the request was revived. In the late 40s and during the 50s, it was the expedience of preventing the scourge of communism from spreading that prompted the Baghdad Pact (later to become SEATO in c. 1954) and CENTO (signed in c. 1955)to be formulated. Pakistan was a member of both and also had a special "Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement" with the Eisenhower administration in the US in 1954. It was, inter alia, to "preserve and maintain the integrity of Pakistan" and agreed to take "appropriate action, including the use of armed forces, as may be mutually agreed upon . . . in order to assist the Government of Pakistan at its request.". While the US was led to believe that that clause was needed with Communism knocking at the doors of Pakistan from Sinkiang (Xinjiang) in the East and a weak and troubled Afghanistan in the West, Pakistan's calculus was to use this friendship in its fight against India. The US ambassador to Pakistan, James Langley, said in c. 1957, “The present military program is a hoax, the hoax being that it is related to the Soviet threat”. As India feared, the arms were indeed used against India and there was no single occassion to use them against the Communists. Similarly, Pakistan never helped the US in its anti-Communism drive. When Gen. McArthur demanded a brigade of Pakistani troops to be deployed in Korea under the US command after the Armistice was signed there, Pakistan cleverly avoided that.

India deeply resented this arrangement and the US spurned India’s justified concerns through subterfuge and diplomatese. Gen. Ayub Khan wanted to completely equip the existing five-and-a-half Divisions of the Pakistani Army with modern US weapons and looked up to a largesse from the US for the same. He also wanted to add more strength by recruiting an additional 56000 soldiers, comprising of an additional Infantry division, a new para Brigade, conversion of the Independent Armoured Brigade into a Division. During the period between c. 1954 and 1965, the US completely equipped the five-and-a-half divisions of Pakistani Army besides gifting it with six squadrons of fighter aircraft, twelve ships to the Pakistani Navy, modernization of Karachi and Chittagong ports, and technical support and training for the Pakistani armed forces. In the 60s, the US gifted Pakistan with the then state-of-the-art M-47/M-48 Patton tanks, F-104 Starfighters, B-57 bombers, and F-86 Sabre fighters (about a hundred and later augmented by another 70 received through West Germany over a token US objection and flown in via Iran), long-distance radars, helicopters, frigates and the submarine Ghazi. Emboldened, Pakistan immediately attacked India in c. 1965. Thirty four years later, the same Pakistani-US scenario played all over again in Kargil, when arms that were supplied to Pakistan under the garb of fighting terror on Pakistan’s western front were used against India instead.

The same US-Pakistan supply-demand scenario re-appeared after 9/11 when the US entered into a new defence relationship with Pakistan by designating that country as a ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’ (MNNA) in c. 2004. Under this rubric, it then supplied arms to Pakistan ostensibly to fight the Taliban/Al Qaeda terrorists who were operating out of mud houses and caves in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This was so even in circa 2008 by which time the US-Pakistan co-operation in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) steam had run out and the US was attacking inside Pakistan at will. Only this time, most of the kind of arms supplied were not usable against these terrorists. These were items like 250 Armour piercing TOW 2A Anti-tank missiles, Excalibur Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs), eight Aerostat radars, six AN-TPS77 surveillance radar, 5600 military radio sets, 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, 36 F-16 Block 52s, mid-life upgrade to 34 existing F-16 A/Bs to C/D block 50/52, 8 P-3C maritime reconnaissance aircraft, mid-life upgrade to existing P-3 fleet, modernization of the Shahbaz Airbase (Jacobabad), 26 Bell 412 helicopters, 39 T-37 military trainer jets, 150 submarine/surface/air launched Harpoon Block II missiles, six Phalanx Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS) for the Navy, five refurbished SH-2I Super Seasprite maritime helicopters etc. The US is also to provide Pakistan with three additional P-3 aircraft that will be configured with the E-2C HAWKEYE airborne early warning electronics suite. Later, in c. 2009, the US complained that its P-3C and Harpoon missiles have been converted for attacking India. Since the start of Afghan operations in c. 2002, the US had supplied other arms like 115 155mm Self-propelled M109A5 howitzers, 20 AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopters, upgrades to existing older versions of AH-1 Cobras, 6 C-130Hs, transfer of 8 Perry-class guided missile Frigates upgraded with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, five fast patrol boats, 450 vehicles for Frontier Corps, hundreds of NVGs, thousands of protective vests, 12 Shadow drones, Harris high frequency communication sets, and undisclosed special weapons. In c. 2010, it gave Pakistan 18 new F-16 aircraft which the US Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffry Glenn said “would give the Pakistan Air Force greatly expanded capabilities in its fight against ‘radical elements’ in the border region.” The US also delivered 1,000 MK-82 500-pound bombs to Pakistan which were later outfitted with 700 GBU-12 and 300 GBU-10 Paveway laser-guided bomb kits built by Lockheed and Raytheon, allowing the country’s air force a better targeting of the weapons. In addition, the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme had been revived after c. 2002, and significant number of officers from Pakistan Army have attended these programmes. “We must continue to reassure Pakistan that as it combats the terrorist threat, it is not exposing itself to increased risk along its eastern border,” said Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy while explaining why the United States needed to strengthen Islamabad’s conventional defence systems as well. “Although extremist attacks have led to the repositioning of substantial Pakistani forces, Pakistan’s strategic concerns about India remain pre-eminent”. The import of these statements was revealed by an exposed cable by the WikiLeaks wherein the US Ambassador in Pakistan, Ms. Anne W Patterson justified another USD 1.5 Billion to Pakistan to provide for its ‘national defense’ against the ‘threat from India’. In October 2010, the US decided to grant USD 2 Billion worth of arms to Pakistan, spread over a five year period.

The economic aid is equally mind-boggling. Even at the official level, the US-Pakistan relationship is contingent upon the massive aid that the Pakistanis have received ever since Eisenhower decided to establish a close relationship with that country. In the period between circa 1954 and 2002, the US had provided Pakistan with overt aid amounting to USD 12.6 Billion. In the period after 9/11, between circa 2002 and 2007, the US aid was over 9 Billion USD (USD 4.586 billion as reimbursement for assistance to Op Enduring Freedom (launched Oct. 7, 2001) and USD 4.422 Billion as economic and military assistance). The Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act (or PEACE Act, 2009 or Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act or also known as Enhanced Partnership Act 2009), assured USD 1.5 Billion of economic aid every year for five years. All these are in addition to the Direct Military Aid from the Pentagon which is on top of the equipment that Pakistan receives through normal foreign military sales (FMS) overseen by the State Department. Those sales vary year to year but generally total around $300 million annually. A special counterinsurgency fund approved by Congress earlier in c. 2009 gave the Pentagon the authorisation to speedily deliver military equipment to the Pakistan Army. In addition, Pakistan gets reimbursed annually USD 1.6 Billion for the logistical and military support it provides to the US (the Coalition Support Fund). The US also offers Pakistan annually another aid of USD 700 million to fight Al Qaeda and Taliban on its soil (the Counter Insurgency Capability Fund). It later emerged that all these funds were misused by the Government of Pakistan. Besides these two funding options, the US offers a series of other funds: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, Non-proliferation Anti-Terrorism, De-mining & Related. The US uses the FMF to maintain close contacts with the Pakistani military and as a ‘foundation for bilateral security relationship’. After 26/11, the US decided to increase its FMF assistance to Pakistan to USD 400 Million a year for five more years. This was expected to demonstrate the US commitment to Pakistan and affirm its reliability as a partner. This was also expected to address, among other security needs, its “growing conventional disadvantage vis-à-vis India,” in order to secure its cooperation in the “war on terror.” ‘ Pakistan also owes the various lending organizations directly controlled by the US such as IMF, IBRD, ADB etc. over 20 Billion US Dollars. Overall, by 2006, Pakistan’s foreign debts had declined from US$ 47.8 Billion to US$ 30.3 Billion, solely due to US waivers and other interventions. Only in c. 2009, did the Americans attach stringent conditionalities on how these funds were to be spent by Pakistan. One of the conditions was to make sure that the funds were not squandered or diverted to affect the “balance of power in the region”. In any case, the total US overt aid to Pakistan in c. 2010 amounted to well over USD 4.5 Billion.The quantum of the covert aid is unknown.

Apart from military and economic aid,
the political and diplomatic support given by the US to Pakistan has been phenomenal. The US took a hostile stand against India in the J&K issue in the United Nations. Later, the US extended a similar support to Pakistan's policies with respect to Afghanistan after the 1989 Geneva Accord. The US also turned a blind eye to Pakistan's overt and covert support to jihadi terrorists against India. In fact, the US even helped Pakistani terrorism against India in the Punjab when its Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) helped these terrorists. The US has also baled out Pakistan from tight spots it brought upon itself in pursuit of its truculent and obstreperous hostility with India, such as in Kargil or Op. Parakram or the 1993 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, for example. Above all these, the US allowed Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms through China and North Korea and allowed Pakistani scientists and engineers to shop for critical dual-use components all over Europe and the US, by turning a blind eye and even lying to its own Congress much against accumulated intelligence. This single act, more than anything else, has been a monumental folly of the US Administrations. Ms. Clinton's reference yesterday in Islamabad to 'snakes in the backyard', while true for Pakistan, is also therefore true for the US because the very same Pakistan that it nurtured with tactical brilliance and strategic stupidity is now threatening the US with nuclear attacks !

No other nation has given so much aid to Pakistan keeping its head bob over the swirling waters without drowning, for six decades now. Not even their extremely wealthy ummah brethren, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The 'taller-than-the-tallest mountain, sweeter-than-the-sweetest-honey and deeper-than-the-deepest-ocean all weather friend' China does not dispense with hard cash and helps Pakistan only on a project-by-project basis and when that would be beneficial to it also. And, yet, Pakistan has been singularly ungrateful to the US. It was petulant when the US decided to offer a moderate amount of military aid to India after the Chinese aggression in c. 1962. It abused the US when the US decided to cut-off military aid to Pakistan [and India too] in c. 1965 after war broke out between the two countries following Pakistani aggression. The mobs attacked the US consulates in Karachi and Lahore as a result of state orchestrated campaign against the perceived US betrayal. The US Embassy in Islamabad was burned down in November 1979 on a mere rumour of US forces occupying Makkah even as Gen. Zia-ul-Haq deliberately delayed rushing any assistance to the trapped Americans inside. He also accused the Americans themselves by saying, "according to some international radio transmissions, the Americans had inspired the attack" !

A discussion of Pakistan is utterly incomplete without talking about India because of the equation that Pakistan had unsuccessfully sought to make with its 'motherland' after the partition and the paranoia about India that the Pakistani establishment has successfully created in the minds of Pakistanis and until recently in Western minds as well. That obsession with India alone can explain the 'ungratefulness' of the whole nation of Pakistan to the US after receiving so much aid and support spread over six decades. The US, after its WW II success, has followed the 'with us or against us' policy ruthlessly. It has also always acted according to the inputs of the UK in matters pertaining to the Indian subcontinent assuming that the British knew the best about this region. A major reason for that was Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe who was the Governor of NWFP and later the last foreign secretary of the British Raj. He was very hostile to the Congress government in NWFP and reportedly organized the opposition to Nehru when he visited there and ensured NWFP’s joining with Pakistan. Olaf Caroe told the Americans in the 1950s that the operations in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in WW I and in Iran in WW II were made possible from bases in Imperial India and with the independence of India he suggested replacing Imperial India with Pakistan. The British really expected India to fragment and so needed a stable country to thwart the southward expansion of communism and protect the oilfields of the Middle East. Francis Tucker, the last General Officer-Commanding of the British Indian Eastern Command, believed that the creation “of a new Muslim power supported by the science of Britain” would “place Islam between Russian Communism and Hindustan.” Hinduism was thought too weak because of its “superstition and formalism” and therefore an easy prey to a "philosophy such as Communism”. It was therefore deemed necessary by the British to place “Islam between Russian Communism and Hindustan”. They also needed a fuelling/transit point for flights to Far East. The British also had little faith that Indian leaders will accept the British hegemony after Independence whereas a Pakistan created with the goodwill of the British, will remain grateful to them. They also wanted to protect the ‘wells of power’ as Sir Olaf Caroe called the discovery of oil in the Middle East.

Thus, the Great Game was continued by the USA which promptly co-opted a more than willing Pakistan into various defence treaties by c. 1955. India, which refused to be drawn into superpower politics and wished to remain non-aligned with either power block, was alarmed by the axis of Pakistan and the USA and sought to restore the balance by seeking and getting help from the USSR even though it neither subscribed to Communism nor it joined the Soviet-bloc of countries. India's non-alignment was characterized as 'immoral' by Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles of the Eisenhower administration. This perception continued throughout the Cold War and was accentuated by India's counter moves to court the Soviet Union to balance the deep nexus US-Pakistan. Also, Nehru’s attempts at forging third world solidarity and his unmasked revulsion of the United States added fuel to the American (f)ire. Nehru declared in c. 1960, “The future destiny of the world cannot be decided by two or three great powers. We stand looking at the crest of tremendous changes in the world. We are not mere onlookers there. We are actors in this drama and we propose to be actors in it in our own way”. In addition to all these factors, two more important factors helped shape the US policies in the region: cultural and religious. The Indians were characterized as 'effeminate Hindus' while the Pakistanis were thought of as belonging to 'martial race' and fiercely passionate about their religion.

One can easily see therefore that the alliance between Pakistan and the US was flawed right from the beginning because there was never a convergence of fundamental strategic interest between the two nations; it was based on a faded Imperial power's spurious visions for itself; it was transactional because the exigencies of situations demanded that and when these exigencies disappeared the US-Pakistan relationship also quickly fell apart only to be revived all over again when the next situation arose; Pakistan always wanted the US-Pakistan relationship to be directed against India as a zero-sum game which a superpower could not accede to against a large democracy and a powerful country like India.

If only the US would do two things now, Pakistan would immediately put its relationship with the US back on the rail. They are, accord primacy to Pakistan in evolving a solution to the Afghanistan issue accepting it unquestioningly, and curtail Indian involvement in Afghanistan drastically, nil if possible.
Posted by Pak-Watch at 8:18 PM 
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 17, 2011, 07:08:26 PM
The pakis characterize chinese friendship  as "deeper than oceans and higher than mountains". The Chinese are however quite smart and keep the pakis at a distance. I remember reading somewhere that they are now India's largest trading partner (overtaken the US) with further increases in trade every year. The Chinese are not going to jeopardize that for Pak.

Unlike the US, the Chinese dont believe in providing the pakis with free $$. All their projects go to Chinese companies, who then install eg power stations, build railways, tunnels etc. So the money indirectly comes back to the Chinese in a significant way. Just as pak extorts protection money from the western world and India, it does the same from the chinese (muslim separatists). Pak providing the Chinese access to Gwadar port is meaningless because the security of transit of goods to China cannot be ensured.

China supports Pak, so that India is kept bleeding, but nothing serious. All this Chinese support of Pak has resulted in India strengthning its airforce, military and navy. China has the next year or two to attack India, but after that the window closes as India's military is modernizing quite rapidly.

Furthermore, if Pak is adopted by the Chinese, the result will be to drive India into US arms, something the Chinese fear.
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 05, 2011, 07:57:34 PM
Life is cheap, electricity is expensive.. grin

'Good' Taliban leader threatens suicide attacks against electric company
By BILL ROGGIOOctober 5, 2011 8:20 AM

A so-called "good Taliban" leader in North Waziristan threatened to carry out suicide attacks against two officials from Pakistan's Tribal Electric Supply Company if the utility does not turn the power back on in the tribal agency. The report, from The News, is republished in full below:

A senior Taliban commander and administrator of a religious seminary in North Waziristan, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, on Monday threatened to send suicide bombers to eliminate two officials of the Tribal Electric Supply Company (Tesco) if they did not restore power supply to Waziristan within 48 hours.
The Taliban leader issued a strong-worded statement to media against the Tesco officials and also warned tribal journalists of dire consequences if his statement did not appear in their respective papers.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, the administrator of Gulshan-e-Ilm Madrassa in Miramshah, directed his fighters to kidnap the two officials, Tesco regional chief Pervaiz Khan and Executive Engineer Jamshed Ali Khan, and bring them to North Waziristan where they would be given exemplary punishment for their failure to ensure power supply to Waziristan.

He directed the Taliban of Darra Adamkhel and Mohmand Agency, led by Commander Tariq Afridi and Maulvi Omar Khalid, respectively, to kidnap the two senior Tesco officials.

Taliban operating in Darra Adamkhel and Mohmand Agency are known for their brutality and ruthlessness among their fellow tribal militants.

Haqqani said he would then send his suicide bombers to eliminate them if they did not restore power supply to the tribal region.

He said he had obtained complete details and addresses of the two officials and his fighters would soon target them there.

I would give cash rewards to my fighters if they kill Pervaiz Khan and Jamshed Ali Khan in front of their house and I will claim responsibility for their killings, the Taliban commander said in the statement that he personally delivered to reporters here, with a warning of serious consequences if his statement was not given space in the newspapers.

Read more:
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:58:50 PM
With Baraq backpeddalling about Mullen's testimony...
Gilani claims 'victory' in stand-off with USA
2 October 2011
Press Trust of India
ISLAMABAD, 2 OCT: Prime Minister Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani has claimed “victory” in the recent stand-off with the USA, saying he has received a message from Washington that America needs Pakistan's support to win the war on terror.
Mr Gilani made the remarks while addressing a gathering in Bili Wala near his hometown of Multan in Punjab province yesterday, amidst tensions between Islamabad and Washington over ISI-Haqqani network links.
“It is due to the all parties' conference as well as the unity of Pakistan's political leaders that the USA has sent a message that they need Pakistan and that they cannot win the war (against terrorism) without Pakistan,” he said.
“They have also distanced themselves from the statement of (former US military chief Admiral Mike) Mullen. This is the victory of the Pakistani nation, political parties and the government's policy of reconciliation,” he said.
He did not say when the message was conveyed to Pakistan.
The successful holding of the meeting of all political parties on Thursday was testimony to the fact that the people are united on the issue of Pakistan's security and defence, he remarked.
“We will never allow anyone to harbour bad thoughts about Pakistan's security. We do not desire war and want peace in the country and beyond. Pakistan can play an important role in peace and we will do it,” Mr Gilani said.
Pakistan is ready to hold talks with everyone for peace and can go to any extent to achieve this objective, he said.
“All the country's political forces stand shoulder to shoulder for Pakistan's security interests,” he said. Pakistan-US ties had plunged to a fresh low after Mullen accused the ISI of backing the Haqqani network in carrying out terror attacks in Afghanistan.
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:54:40 PM

ISI has been implicated...

Afghan president Hamid Karzai says a Pakistani was responsible for last month's assassination of former president and High Peace Council chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Mr Karzai released a statement blaming an insurgent from Pakistan for the murder of Professor Rabbani as he reviewed Afghanistan's peace process.

It added that the death was plotted in Quetta and the killer had been living in Chaman, a Pakistani border town near Quetta.

The statement also quoted investigators as saying: "Documents and evidence together with the biography, address and phone numbers of suspects involved in the incident have been submitted to the government of Pakistan in order to arrest and hand them [other suspects] over."

Many Afghans are suspicious of Pakistan's connections to the Taliban-led insurgency in their country but the statement was the strongest yet to suggest a Pakistani link to Professor Rabbani's killing.

Professor Rabbani, chairman of Mr Karzai's High Peace Council, was killed by a turban suicide bomber at his home in Kabul on September 20.

He had thought that he was meeting a representative carrying a special message from the Taliban.

The statement came hours after Mr Karzai was reviewing his strategy for peace with the Taliban in the wake of Professor Rabbani's killing.

170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 02, 2011, 04:29:52 PM
Opinion: Turning to the Haqqanis, Pakistan has made its choice
The ISI’s ties to an insurgent network undermine any hope of real cooperation with the US
By Keith Yost
September 30, 2011

It’s difficult for me to add more than what I’ve already written in “While Karachi Slowly Burns” (Sept. 10, 2010), or “Mission Accomplished” (May 6, 2011). Pakistan is a state with a major security problem — India — and two mutually-exclusive strategies to deal with that problem: a stable security partnership with the United States, or an increasing reliance on jihadi proxies. The former is a realistic path, as Pakistan and the United States have considerable mutual interests, while the latter is a monumental blunder, built on the quixotic notion that terrorists and guerrillas can somehow bleed India down to parity despite its seven to one advantage in men and materiel.

We have long hoped that Pakistan would choose America, not terrorists, as the guarantors of its security, but that hope has been in vain. Now, Admiral Mullen, Pakistan’s greatest remaining booster in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, has delivered what amounts to an ultimatum: either Pakistan severs its connection with the militant groups that are attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan, or America will sever its connection with Pakistan. The Pakistanis have refused to abandon the Haqqanis, and so the die is cast. The dissolution of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is a fait accompli; it is inconceivable that the U.S. Congress will renew billions of dollars of aid for a country that is actively (and now publicly) engaged in the killing of U.S. troops.

The decision by the Obama administration to deliver the ultimatum to our nominal ally is not without its downsides. Our counter-terrorism efforts, as well as our war-fighting in Afghanistan, rely a great deal on Pakistan’s cooperation. However, in the long run, given Pakistan’s behavior, long-term U.S. interests in South and Central Asia are best served by a realignment toward India. The Obama administration deserves praise for its execution of this realignment. Years have been spent carefully setting the stage, giving the Pakistanis every opportunity to edge themselves back from their suicidal geopolitical strategy while simultaneously testing the waters of a U.S-India partnership. And the choice of timing is impeccable: U.S. forces in Afghanistan are higher than they have ever been before, giving the U.S. its maximal leverage against Pakistan, but the president’s political capital to remove those forces is also at its zenith, which undercuts Pakistan’s main source of leverage over the U.S. — namely, its supply routes to Afghanistan.

It is important that Obama (or the next president of the United States) appreciates the gravity and finality implicit in Pakistan’s rebuff of Mullen’s ultimatum. Already, some pundits are selling the cutesy notion of the U.S. being “frenemies” with Pakistan, as if international relations followed a script out of some Hollywood high school drama. But there is no intermediate status between friends and enemies to be found here — as the U.S. withdraws its support from Pakistan, Pakistan will compensate for this loss by relying even more strongly on militant groups like the Haqqanis to provide for its national security. The break-up, once initiated, can only accelerate.

In the long run, the U.S. playbook on Pakistan should grow to resemble that of India’s. The way to neuter an enemy is to carve them up into multiple states — such was Germany’s treatment by the allies after World War II, as well as the Soviet Union’s fate after its fall. India has already cut Pakistan in half, dividing it between modern Pakistan and Bangladesh. It seeks to do so again, exploiting the ethnic fault lines in Pakistani society to carve it up even further. With its parting shots in Afghanistan, the U.S. should use its military might to aid in this strategy. In its least extreme form, this strategy might merely ensure that Baloch-dominated provinces within Afghanistan retain a high degree of autonomy from the Afghan federal government. In its most extreme form, the U.S. could funnel arms to Baloch nationalists in southern Pakistan or take direct action in support of a free Balochistan. Where the U.S. should fall on this spectrum of policy choices is open to debate — what must be avoided is the naive optimism that Pakistan will have a Damascene moment and suddenly become the ally that the U.S. requires. Now is the time to restructure Afghanistan in the way that makes Pakistan weakest, not to dither in a nonexistent middle ground.

History will look upon Pakistan’s embrace of jihadists as one of the greatest geopolitical missteps of the 21st century. To prevent itself from appearing with Pakistan in history’s list of blunderers, the U.S. must make its break with Pakistan a decisive one and resist the urge to force nuance into a situation that deserves none.

171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 10:16:43 AM
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 06:37:56 AM
Working the levers of patriotism

Ayaz Amir
Friday, September 30, 2011

No one can work the engines of patriotism better than the army and its ideological wing, the ISI. In actual combat their performance may invite questions. But in ideological combat their skill is unsurpassed.

In the annals of Pakistani democracy no fiction is more endearing than that of parliamentary sovereignty. The army and ISI set the score and music of national security. Civilian governments and politicians perform vigorously to this music and call it parliamentary sovereignty.

The corps commanders led the national outrage over the Kerry-Lugar bill, the jihadi media taking its cue from there. We know what deft hands first generated and then dissipated the hype over the Raymond Davis affair. Left to itself the federal government might have handled matters differently. But then the ISI wouldn’t have been the ISI if it had allowed this to happen.

When Sheikh Osama’s hideout was busted in Abbottabad, the first reaction of both President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani was sensible. But they weren’t counting on the deep sense of humiliation felt in General Headquarters. Realising their error they changed tack and hurriedly joined the national chorus of patriotism which had begun belting out lines about wounded sovereignty.

Few people paused to ask whether the sharper blow to national pride was dealt by the Americans or the Sheikh who, with his computers and disk drives, had installed himself in Abbottabad for close on five years. Where lesser mortals might have directed their anger at Al-Qaeda we went blue in the face denouncing America.

No praise is too high for Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, for playing the subsequent in-camera session of parliament the way he did. Towards its end most of the parliamentarians seemed to be eating out of his hands, all speaking the same language of honour and national pride with which he had prefaced his briefing.

Now in the latest outbreak of patriotic fever in the wake of Admiral Mike Mullen’s excoriating remarks about the Haqqani group and its real or presumed linkages to the ISI, it is again the army and ISI orchestrating the national response, and the government and much of the political class following suit and reading from the script prepared by the supreme guardians.

The corps commanders met first and Prime Minister Gilani swung into action later, calling up the assorted characters who presume to speak on behalf of the Pakistani people, and inviting them for an all-parties conference (APC). If past experience is any guide, there are few activities more pointless than this gathering of the good and the not-so-great. It is safe to say – these lines being written before this momentous event – that the emphasis will be on verbosity and beating the drums of national honour. At the end will come the refrain, the nation stands united.

The Pakistani nation caught up in the throes of patriotism is usually a dangerous sight – mostly a prelude to something bizarre and foolish. What a mood of excitement we built up in 1965, closing our eyes to the reality that our rulers of the time, for no rhyme or reason, had started the whole blooming adventure. No one punished them but the country is still, in myriad ways, living the consequences.

In 1971 every vehicle in Lahore carried the sticker “Crush India”. We know who was crushed and who wasn’t in that conflict. The Afghan jihad, the conflict in Kargil, our predilection with managing the affairs of Afghanistan, when everything points to the conclusion that we are far from able to manage our own....the list of our militant follies is endless.

The US may be using too broad a brush and putting too thick a coat of paint on our warped strategic theories, but there is a growing body of opinion in Pakistan itself that the time for our strategic games is up. Mike Mullen did not say the ISI was attacking Kabul. We should read his testimony more dispassionately. He was saying the culprits were from the Haqqani group and that this group had strong links with the ISI.

Who the intrepid soul who would deny this last point? Don’t the Haqqanis have havens on this side of the border? The ISI doesn’t micro-manage them, it has no operational control over them. But in the name of all that is profane, don’t they have a presence there and here?

They are assets for the future, our strategic grandmasters will say. Haven’t we played enough of Afghan games and isn’t it time to let that unfortunate country be on its own? No one should wish more misfortunes upon the Afghan people but if they must fight their own internecine wars what drives us to the necessity of being a part of them, directly or indirectly?

Not only is it high time the army redrew its priorities, it is also time it stopped forcing its theories on hapless civilian governments. Every malevolent adjective in the world this government – indeed the entire political class – richly deserves. We have a set of ineffectual people at the helm, their capacity and competence no secret to anyone. But, I would venture to suggest, that even these clowns, if left to do their own bit, would manage relations with the US better than our brilliant army commanders.

There is no more difficult negotiating partner in the world than the MQM. He who can handle the MQM can deal with anyone, even the spirits of the dark and the deep. If we settled for cheap terms and low wages in 2001, broad-chested generals were in charge of national affairs not weak-kneed civilians. When the time was for negotiating something sensible and equitable with the Americans our army command blew it. Now when events have moved on and a new dynamic is in play, the army command just refuses to dismount from the high stallion of national honour and inviolable sovereignty.

What kind of a country are we? After India tested its nuclear bombs in 1998 Lal Kishan Advani only had to make a few threatening statements for Pakistan to go into panic mode and rush into its own tests. Israel hasn’t carried out any nuclear tests. Is its nuclear arsenal any less effective because of this? What, if exercising better judgment – admittedly, a tall order – we hadn’t tested in May 1998. Would our bombs have melted or just disappeared? And would Indian tanks have invaded Pakistan?

Here we are bedevilled by the wages of terrorism and a falling economy and yet we speak the language of Prussia at the height of its military power.

And now Mullen’s congressional testimony and some tough talk by the US secretary of defence Leon Panetta have thrown us into a panic in 2011. The corps commanders, forsaking their beloved golf, meet on a Sunday and the good and the patriotic get together for the Pakistani variant of that all-time farce called the APC.

Philip, Alexander the Great’s father, held out this threat to Sparta: “If I enter Laconia (Sparta’s other name), you shall be exterminated.” The reply was a single word, “If”. It’s too much to hope that Pakistan can emulate such brevity but at least our response to real or imagined challenges could be less windy and extended than they often tend to be.

Why should the Americans attack us when a few statements can so thoroughly unnerve us? We are already talking again – the Americans and us – and let no one say that American pressure, calculated or fortuitous, hasn’t worked. The corps commanders hurriedly called to meet and the pantomime of the APC are reminders less of a nation united than a nation easily jolted.

But more than semantics and the right tools of verbiage we have to put a rein on our strategic theories. The threat to us is from within, from the cumulative consequences of past follies. India is an elephant. Living cheek-by-jowl with an elephant is always a problem. But can we please get out of the calculus of India posing some kind of an existential threat to us? From the realm of dreams and fantasies, and imagined threats, isn’t it time we stepped into the real world?
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 30, 2011, 06:35:00 AM
I think Baraq is weak, that's the real reason we dont base missiles in eastern europe. Those decisions were taken at a time of "hope & change". 
re: Af-Pak, any gains in obtaining additional supply routes from throwing europe under the bus were likely factored into the calculations and used as a justification to chicken out from placing missiles in europe. Now this analysis would be faulty, if Bama does something about tightening the screws on Haqqanis and Pak, for that would imply that the gain of additional supply routes was part of the planned end game in Pak. There is some evidence to suggest that after Mullen's testimony pakis are in a panic that the US may bomb Pak or send boots on the ground. After Nato rocketed N.Waziristan, they have had a corps commanders meet, an all party conference, their media is full of jingoistic war songs, eg
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 29, 2011, 07:07:36 PM
This seems to be the first the US to bring Pak to heel.

Pakistan: NATO Fires Rockets Into North Waziristan
September 29, 2011 | 0712 GMT
NATO forces fired 12 rockets on the Ghulam Khan area of Pakistan’s North Waziristan, Karachi Dawn News reported in a screen caption at 0433 GMT Sept. 29. Another screen caption reported that government sources said Pakistan retaliated by firing 15 mortar rounds. Another caption reported sources claiming that Pakistani helicopters were flying along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 28, 2011, 07:11:14 PM

Why Pakistan Is Getting Cocky
Sep 23, 2011 1:21 PM EDT
Pakistan’s Army and intelligence service are behaving ever more provocatively—with potentially drastic ramifications for the war in Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel on the ISI’s psyche.

Admiral Mullen's candid and stunning testimony that directly links Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, to recent attacks on NATO forces and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan puts America and Pakistan on a collision course.
Why are the ISI and the Pakistani Army making such risky moves? What is the calculation in the generals’ minds? Short answer is, they believe we are on the run in Afghanistan and they want to push us out faster. Mullen has been Pakistan’s strongest advocate inside the White House situation room since President Obama took office in 2009. He prudently argued for patience and tolerance with the ISI’s duplicity for years, rightly stressing Pakistan’s critical importance on many vital issues like the nuclear-arms race, counterterrorism, and the Afghan war. This makes his remarks linking ISI to the Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani network attacks on our forces this month all the more stunning. Mullen labeled the Haqqani Taliban a “veritable arm” and “proxy” of the ISI. Afghan sources have said the Taliban suicide team that attacked our embassy was in constant contact by cell phone with their masters back in Pakistan during the firefight.

More questions are coming about ISI. The assassination last Tuesday of former Afghan president Rabbani, who was leading Afghanistan’s effort to develop a peace and reconciliation process with the Taliban, dealt a literal death blow to any hope of a peace settlement between NATO, the Karzai government, and the Taliban insurgency. Rabbani was murdered by a suicide bomber who allegedly brought a message from the Taliban’s top authority, the Quetta Shura, which has long been directly linked to the ISI as well. We still don’t know enough about the assassination plot, but it is highly unlikely the Taliban leadership in Quetta would have blown up the reconciliation process without a green light—or at least an amber one —from the ISI leadership.

These are incredibly provocative actions for the ISI. Over the past three decades it has developed a well-deserved reputation for sponsoring terror, like the 2008 Mumbai attack. It is accountable only to the Army and chief of Army staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari and his ministers has zero control over the spies and live in fear of them. It is not a rogue agency; it is a state within the state. The generals who run ISI have worked with the Taliban for more than 15 years. They provide critical sanctuary for its leaders like Haqqani and Mullah Mohammed Omar. Without direct and substantial Pakistani help, the Taliban could not have recovered from its defeat in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and become the threat it is today.

Pakistan feels they hold a lot of aces, maybe more than they should.
But now the generals feel increasing heat from the U.S. and sense a growing chance that America and NATO are looking to cut and run from Afghanistan, hence their willingness to take risks to accelerate America’s departure from their doorstep and help their clients win. The stepped-up drone operations and especially the May 1 SEAL raid in Abbottabad have humiliated the generals deeply. They also know Osama bin Laden’s success in hiding out for six years in eyesight of the Army’s premier academy has raised profound suspicions in America about whether the ISI was clueless or complicit in his hideout.

So the heat was rising well before Mullen’s testimony. Yet the ISI also knows American and European support for staying in Afghanistan is dropping. Canada has already left. Obama has started withdrawing faster than his generals wanted. The Pakistani officers want to accelerate this process—the sooner NATO is gone, the better for them. So their advice to their Afghan proxies is to carry out operations designed to impact the home audience in America and Europe. Make the war look unwinnable and hopeless. Make Kabul appear chaotic and unsafe. Kill any hope for a political process. The darker Afghanistan appears on TV screens, the sooner the foreign armies will be called home.

Reality is less important than image in this war. The Army leadership also feels it can weather any blowback from Washington. The generals assume U.S. military aid will be cut or eliminated by Congress sooner rather than later, and they are confident that the Saudis and Chinese will fill the gap. They also know NATO’s logistical supply line to Kabul runs through Karachi (more than half of everything NATO eats, drinks, and shoots arrives via Karachi despite intense efforts to find alternatives). They have leverage and they know it. And of course, they have the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world with a developing tactical nuclear capability. They feel they hold a lot of aces, maybe more than they should. Cocky poker players are dangerous.

Bruce Riedel, a former longtime CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. At President Obama’s request, he chaired the strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. He is author of the new book Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad and The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 25, 2011, 01:29:27 PM
From B.Raman's blog...

The United States has turned on Pakistan with such dizzying speed over the past few weeks that it is difficult to keep pace. Yet what is clear after Admiral Mike Mullen’s extraordinarily blunt statement that the Haqqani militant network is a “veritable arm” of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is that it now has the Pakistan army very firmly in its sights.

Mullen accused the ISI, which is effectively a wing of the Pakistan army, of supporting the Haqqani network in a truck bomb attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan and an assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul which led to a 20-hour siege. “We also have credible intelligence that they (the Haqqani network) were behind the June 28 attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations,” he said.

It was the most forthright assertion yet by the Americans that the Pakistani military is not merely turning a blind eye to militant groups based on its border with Afghanistan but actively encouraging them to attack American interests. The Pakistan army says it is overstretched as it is tackling militant groups which target Pakistan without creating new enemies by attacking Afghan militants and denies it retains links with the Haqqani network.

Just one month ago in a report titled “Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan” a group describing themselves as “the foreign policy elite” laid out what Pakistan wanted to happen in Afghanistan. Among their suggestions were that both the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Mohammed Omar and the Haqqani network be included in talks on a political settlement in Afghanistan. The report was heavily criticised by those who saw it as an attempt by Pakistan to maintain its old policy of “strategic depth” – using militant proxies to stamp its influence on Afghanistan and counter India.

It looks like the United States is having none of it. I dislike the expression “end-game” applied to either Afghanistan or Pakistan (or Britain for that matter) with its implication that the people living in those countries come to an end when outside powers lose interest. But it is worth considering the expression just to show how much has changed. The so-called “end-game” is now in Pakistan.

That is not to say there are not worsening problems in Afghanistan itself, especially with the assassination of peace council chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani “laying open again the fracture lines” of civil war, as Kate Clark wrote at the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Nor is to suggest that anyone disputes the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan. Nor indeed that American tactics and strategy in Afghanistan are not open to criticism – Pakistan repeatedly says it is being used as a scapegoat for U.S. failures in Afghanistan. And nor would it be fair to dismiss Pakistan’s own concerns that by going after the Haqqani network – with its links to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups – it would face even greater violence on its own soil. Those are all subjects which merit separate and serious discussion.

But it is to say that the particular end-game going on now is between the United States and the Pakistan army. Look closely at the proposition being made by Washington. According to Mullen’s testimony Pakistan – and specifically its army – must give up support for the Afghan Taliban (the so-called Quetta shura Taliban) and the Haqqani network. In return the United States will help Pakistan find “an increasing role for democratic, civilian institutions and civil society in determining Pakistan’s fate.”

Whatever language you couch that in, that is quite a difficult proposition for the Pakistan army. First it is being asked to turn on old militant proxies which for decades it saw as its main leverage against both India and a hostile Afghanistan and which for the ISI in particular were a considerable source of power. Second the army – an institution which is used to being the most powerful in Pakistan – is being asked to relinquish its dominance and cede its place to a civilian democracy. Third, even if it were willing to give up some of its power – and the considerable economic advantages that go with it – it would need to make a leap of faith that Pakistan’s warring and often corrupt politicians could get their act together to govern the country effectively.

Yet the message that appears to be being delivered by the Americans with increasing force is that if it resists, it will lose. Unlike during the Cold War when Pakistan was able to exploit U.S.-Soviet rivalry to maintain its position against India, Pakistan is looking very isolated right now. In the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s it had American and Saudi support. This time around it is hard to find any country which will help it.

In Afghanistan ordinary people are opening blaming the ISI for the country’s troubles. Russia is worried about instability in Afghanistan spilling over into the former Soviet Central Asia and about drug smuggling pushing up the numbers of heroin addicts whose growth is already gnawing away at its economy. Moscow has been more resistant even than the United States to the idea of taking former Taliban off a UN sanctions list to create a better climate for talks. Relations with neighbouring Iran tend to go up and down, but are not helped by a spate of killings of Shi’ites by Sunni extremists in Pakistan. China is interested only in stability and securing its access through Pakistan to oil supplies and raw materials. For all Pakistan’s “deeper than the oceans” faith in Chinese friendship, it is unlikely to ride to its rescue in a confrontation with the United States over Afghanistan.

Ironically, India is being projected as a way out of the quagmire with the prospect of regional trade offered as a solution to Pakistan’s deepening economic gloom. But India – indeed far more than the United States – has tended to be more suspicious of the Pakistan military and the government has justified to its domestic critics the current peace process as a way of supporting civilian democracy in Pakistan.

So the question we need to ask is this. Will the Pakistan army fold? Institutions do not give up power easily and arguably the Pakistan army as an institution is more powerful than the individuals who lead it.

In many ways this is like a rerun of the Kargil war writ large. In 1999, the Pakistan army occupied mountain positions in the Kargil region on the Line of Control separating the Indian and Pakistani parts of the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir – its troops encroaching on part of the territory that was supposed to be under Indian control. In doing so, it breached a 1972 agreement with India that neither side would attempt to change the Line of Control, or ceasefire line, by force.

There was in fact an underlying – though heavily contested – logic to Pakistan’s actions in Kargil. Pakistan considered India’s occupation of Siachen (in the Karakoram mountains beyond the Line of Control) in 1984 as a similar breach of the 1972 Simla agreement. Since the late 1980s – or so I have been told by one of the generals involved – it had thought about occupying the heights above Kargil as a way of training its artillery on the main road from Kashmir towards Siachen, thereby cutting off the Indian army’s supply route.

Yet the Pakistan army had over-reached. It first denied that it had any troops in Kargil at all, saying that mujahideen and irregulars had moved into positions in the mountains as part of their campaign to free Indian Kashmir from what it calls Indian occupation. In an odd foreshadowing of the current situation in Afghanistan, it chose to launch its Kargil war at a time when India and Pakistan were engaged in peace talks. After a brief and bitter war with India, the Pakistan army was forced by international pressure — especially from the United States but more discreetly from China – into a humiliating retreat.

This time around the Pakistan army appears to have over-reached in a way which could prove to be its undoing. It has taken on the United States – a declining but still superpower – in Afghanistan. The issue here is not really who is right or wrong but rather which country can bring the greater force to bear and the greater international leverage.
The other possibility is that the confrontation between the Pakistan army and the United States could become more and more dangerous. But with its very public comments on the Haqqanis and the ISI, the United States has just rolled a dice that it hopes and believes is weighted in its favour.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Supply routes on: September 23, 2011, 07:18:57 PM
Routes into Afghanistan...the easiest is through Iran (Chabahar), but relations are bad with Iran.

178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 22, 2011, 06:44:45 PM
US bomb warning to Pakistan ignored
American commander asked Pakistan's army chief to halt truck bomb two days before an explosion wounded 77 near Kabul

Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Jon Boone in Kabul,    Thursday 22 September 2011 17.32 EDT
Article history

Pakistan intelligence accused of ignoring warnings about a truck bomb that wounded 77 and killed five.
The American commander of Nato in Afghanistan personally asked Pakistan's army chief to halt an insurgent truck bomb that was heading for his troops, during a meeting in Islamabad two days before a huge explosion that wounded 77 US soldiers at a base near Kabul.

In reply General Ashfaq Kayani offered to "make a phone call" to stop the assault on the US base in Wardak province. But his failure to use the American intelligence to prevent the attack has fuelled a blazing row between the US and Pakistan.

Furious American officials blame the Taliban-inspired group the Haqqanis – and, by extension, Pakistani intelligence – for the 10 September bombing and an even more audacious guerrilla assault on the Kabul US embassy three days later that killed 20 people and lasted more than 20 hours.

On Thursday the US military chief, Admiral Mike Mullen, described the Haqqanis as "a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence [spy] agency". He earlier accused the ISI of fighting a "proxy war" in Afghanistan through the group.

Pakistan's defence minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, rejected the American accusations of Haqqani patronage as "baseless". "No one can threaten Pakistan as we are an independent state," he said.

The angry accusations lift the veil on sensitive conversations that have heretofore largely taken place behind closed doors. On 8 September, General John Allen, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, raised intelligence reports of the impending truck bomb at a meeting with Kayani during a visit to Islamabad.

Kayani promised Allen he would "make a phone call" to try to stop the attack, according to a western official with close knowledge of the meeting. "The offer raised eyebrows," the official said.

But two days later, just after Allen's return to Kabul, a truck rigged with explosives ploughed into the gates of the US base in Wardak, 50 miles south-west of Kabul, injuring 77 US soldiers and killing two Afghan civilians.

Afterwards the US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, blamed the Haqqanis. "They enjoy safe havens in North Waziristan," he said, referring to the Haqqani main base in the tribal belt.

Allen's spokesman said Nato "routinely shares intelligence with the Pakistanis regarding insurgent activities" but he refused to confirm the details of the conversation with Kayani.

The Pakistani military spokesman, General Athar Abbas, said: "Let's suppose it was the case. The main question is how did this truck travel to Wardak and explode without being checked by Nato? This is just a blame game."

US allegations of ISI links to Haqqani attacks stretch back to July 2008, when the CIA deputy director, Stephen Kappes, flew to Islamabad with intercept evidence that linked the ISI to an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

But American disquiet has never been so uncompromisingly expressed as in recent days. The issue dominated three hours of talks between the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the Pakistani foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar.

On Tuesday Mullen said he had asked Kayani to "disconnect" the ISI from the Haqqanis. In Washington the CIA chief, David Petraeus, delivered a similar message in private to the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha. Even the soft-spoken US ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, has joined the chorus of condemnation, delivering a hard-hitting message through an interview on Pakistani state radio.

"We've changed our message in private too," one US official said. "Before, we used to make polite demands about the Haqqanis. Now we are saying 'this has to stop'."

The new mood is driven by a combination of climbing casualties and brazen attacks. The Haqqanis were also blamed for a recent assault on the InterContinental Hotel, while August was the deadliest month for US forces in Afghanistan, with 71 deaths.

Nato is now investigating whether the Haqqanis had a hand in Tuesday's assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, President Hamid Karzai's peace envoy to the Taliban. Rabbani was killed at his home by a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-packed turban. A bloodstained four-page letter he was carrying at the time of the attack, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, insisted that "Pakistan is not our boss".

American officials have vowed to act unilaterally if Pakistan fails to comply with their demands over the Haqqanis. But it remains unclear how far they are willing to go against Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country that still provides vital counter-terrorism support.

There was some hope of resuscitating fragile relations between the Pakistani and American intelligence services, which were buffeted by the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden on 2 May. Officials from both countries hailed a joint operation on 28 August to arrest Younis al-Mauritani, a senior al-Qaida operative, in the western city of Quetta. On 5 September the Pakistani military issued a press release that highlighted Pakistani-American co-operation; some viewed the raid as a possible turning point in relations.

But the flurry of Haqqani attacks over the past two weeks seems to have washed away whatever goodwill was generated by the arrest.

US officials say debate is raging inside US policy circles about what to do next. The defence secretary, Leon Panetta, is said to have privately advocated US military incursions into the Haqqani stronghold in Waziristan – a risky gambit other officials reject as dangerous folly, citing the historical record of failure of western armies in the tribal belt.

Other US officials say Washington could slash non-military aid such as the $7.5bn five-year Kerry-Lugar-Berman package, which was approved in 2009.

There is also debate about the exact nature of the ISI's relationship with the Haqqanis. One western official said it was not a puppetmaster scenario. "It's not like they have a chain of command, with the Pakistanis handing down XOs [executive orders]," he said. Neither are the Pakistanis necessarily providing logistical support, he added: "It's murkier than that."

But, the official added, the US believes Pakistan is "actively tolerating" the Haqqanis. And the ISI could, if it wanted to, seriously disrupt their activities.

He warned that Pakistan was heading towards international isolation. "If it keeps going like this, it could end up like Syria – before the Arab spring."
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 17, 2011, 08:55:39 PM
Nothing new here...but the US has started to explicitly indicate that paki govt is involved..

U.S. ambassador says evidence links Pakistan to militant group
By the CNN Wire Staff
September 18, 2011 -- Updated 0052 GMT (0852 HKT)
Ambassador Cameron Munter says evidence ties the Haqqani network to Pakistan
U.S. officials blame the Haqqani network for this week's attack in Kabul
They consider the network one of the most significant threats to Afghanistan's stability
Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and Adm. Michael Mullen meet in Spain
(CNN) -- The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan accused the government there of having links to the Haqqani network, a pro-Taliban militant group that U.S. officials blame for this week's attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO command center in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Speaking to Radio Pakistan, Ambassador Cameron Munter said relations between the United States and Pakistan "need a lot of work" and urged closer cooperation. The interview was available Saturday on the Radio Pakistan website.
A Taliban assault on the U.S. Embassy and NATO command center in central Kabul was brought to a bloody end Wednesday with the deaths of half a dozen militants. Four policemen and two civilians were killed and 27 injured in that attack and a handful of other incidents across Kabul, according to Afghan government figures.
"The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago -- that was the work of the Haqqani network," Munter told Radio Pakistan. "There is evidence linking the Haqqani network to the Pakistani government. This is something that must stop. We have to make sure that we work together to fight terrorism."
U.S. officials have previously blamed this week's attack on the Haqqani network, a pro-Taliban militant group based in Pakistan's North Waziristan region. They have also previously accused the Pakistani government of maintaining a relationship with that network.
Still, Munter's comments are noteworthy for their timing, amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and the United States, and because of their blunt nature.
They came one day after U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen told his Pakistani counterpart he was deeply concerned about the brazenness of attacks being staged by operatives loyal to the Haqqani network.
During a lengthy one-on-one meeting in Seville, Spain, Mullen "conveyed his deep concerns about the increasing -- and increasingly brazen -- activities of the Haqqani network and restated his strong desire to see the Pakistani military take action against them and their safe havens in North Waziristan," Capt. John Kirby, Mullen's spokesman, told CNN.
Mullen believes that "elements" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI, "directly support" the Haqqani network, Kirby said.
The Haqqani network is aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda and is considered one the most significant threats to stability in Afghanistan. U.S. officials believe Haqqani operatives are moving unfettered across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and are responsible for several recent high-profile attacks in Kabul, including this week's assault.
In late April, Mullen said on Pakistan's Geo TV that the ISI has a "long-standing relationship" with the Haqqani network.
Pakistani officials have denied the existence of such a relationship.
Mullen, who is retiring at the end of this month, met with Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, for more than two hours in what was their final official meeting. Both men were in Spain to attend a high-level NATO military meeting.
"They agreed that the relationship between our two countries remained vital to the region and that both sides had taken positive steps to improve that relationship over the past few months. They also discussed the state of military-to-military cooperation and pledged to continue to find ways to make it better," Kirby said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Interior Minister Bismillah Muhammadi avoided blaming Pakistan directly for this week's attack in Kabul. However, he used the phase "across the borders of Afghanistan," a typical way of referring to Pakistan, in connection to the recovered phones of the attackers.
"The six cell phones we found on them, and the evidence we got on them all shows that this plot was made across the borders of Afghanistan," he said. "Without doubt they are across the borders of Afghanistan. They get equipped, they get trained there, and then they get sent here for killing of our people."
CNN's Barbara Starr in Washington contributed to this report.
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 15, 2011, 06:49:11 PM

Tuesday, September 13, 2011      


 A guide to dying in Pakistan —Fahd Husain

 An array of death merchants awaits you. There are the wild TTP dudes who will cut your throat while chanting holy verses. Your religious sentiments will therefore be lovingly safeguarded while you experience that throat-slitting feeling

Bzzzzzzzz....That is the sound of death hovering over you. Take your pick: drone or dengue mosquito. Both ways, you are done for.

Death is the trend in Pakistan. You can choose from a wide variety of locales: Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Badin, North Waziristan. There is plenty of death to go around for all of you. There is the quick ka-boom if you want to experience the Reaper from the skies; there is the bloodsucking kind in Lahore if you desire to hold out for a while in a netted hospital bed before slipping into the hereafter; or if you want a surprise end, try walking a bazaar in say D I Khan. Who knows you might just meet a teenaged suicide bomber. Then of course, there is the famed drill-induced death that awaits you in Karachi. Chop, chop, chop and gunnybagged for your final journey. Karachi beckons if you are into this kind of stuff.

It is all happening here. If you’ve got the wish, we’ve got the means.

If you liked ‘Saw’, or ‘Saw 2’, you will absolutely love Pakistan. We have got Jigsaws crawling all over the place, and they do not even need funny masks. Decapitation? We got specialists. Death by your own bodyguard? Yep, done that. Severed limbs and noses? Happens in the warm confines of our homes. How about whipping? Hey, we can do that with our left hands, with an applauding audience as a bonus. Oh, and how about a shot in the back of the head by a posse of cops? We teach that at our police academies. If you want a headlined death, we have got this huge compound in Abbottabad you would cherish for the rest of your life — till the marines come. And now even our mosquitoes are trained to literally suck the life out of you. Beat that.

Remember we are 180 million strong. This means there are a lot of us. So a couple of hundred going six feet under does not really upset our demographic balance. We have lost 35,000 of our fellow Pakistanis in this war on terror and that does not even get us a mention in the 9/11 speeches by US presidents past and present. That is how conveniently expendable we are. Death gets a multiple visa on arrival.

We are the horror movie rated not ‘R’ but NC17. But age is no bar to death here. We have got dead kids turning up all the time. In fact, while movies end after two hours, this one does not. We just keep on killin’ and killin’. Imagine ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ on steroids. That would be us.

An array of death merchants awaits you. There are the wild Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) dudes who will cut your throat while chanting holy verses. Your religious sentiments will therefore be lovingly safeguarded while you experience that throat-slitting feeling. If you do not want this cutting edge experience, we have for you the political militants. You can discuss your personal favourite ideologies and they will drill some sense into you — through your kneecaps. And there is also a homegrown scheme for you to whiten your black money if you so desire. You will be gagged and bound and bundled off to Fata and then perhaps to Afghanistan (no visa fee required). You can then pay a couple of million rupees of your black money as ransom — tax free — and return home to your loved ones. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement, you know, that is why we are never short of thrill-seekers. ‘Pay as you go’ works best.

For the nature freaks, there is Lahore. Here are some tips to maximise your death wish: wear short sleeves, expose some skin (no midriffs please), try to stay near water bodies, and just hope for the worst. The mosquitoes, rest assured, will take care of the rest. Of course, if the thirsty insects mess it up, the doctors will ensure your wishes are fulfilled. Lahore Lahore aye na (Lahore is Lahore).

Further up north, Swat boasts lush hills and bloody memories. If you are lucky you may still run into a Taliban commander, but if not, you can dress like one and there are solid chances you will get lined up against a wall and shot. Look at the bright side: you got very dead in drop-dead surroundings. Swat is, after all, heaven on earth.

If on the other hand, you are the faint-hearted type, we could always just bore you to death. And we have just the place for it: parliament. You see, all good political debates have migrated to TV studios and parliament now echoes with eternal inanities. The roof of the building leaks, just like the politicians, and hardly anything ever gets done in there. You are in for a whole lot of — nothing. Are you man enough to do it?

We take our trade seriously here. We are good at the game of death — and striving for further excellence. We are blessed with trained manpower and fertile killing fields. We are open for business. We are dying for you to visit us. So snuff out those doubts, stop being killjoys and bite the bullet. Pakistan is a must-see, even if it is the last place you see.

The writer hosts a primetime show on a private TV channel. He can be reached at
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 13, 2011, 07:31:16 PM
Pak ad in the WSJ

Another way to look at that ad
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 09, 2011, 06:26:07 AM
The importance of this article is that it introduces a new term "the pakistanization of Al-Qaeda", which I guess is the next level from the mere "talibanization of Pakistan". To my understanding, this means that paki DNA has now been incorporated in AQ. As a result, one may expect AQ to play a more active role in many aspects of daily mayhem in Pak...

Al-Qaeda's roots grow deeper in Pakistan
By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD - Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City's twin World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and the subsequent "war on terror" launched by United Stated-led forces against al-Qaeda, the terrorist group continues to pose a serious threat to the world as it keeps surviving and thriving mainly on the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt.

In these rugged areas it has established an effective jihadi network that increasingly exploits its Pakistani affiliates to carry on the global jihadi agenda of Osama bin Laden, despite his May 2 killing in a United States military raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Until recently, analysts have been mostly focusing on the dangers posed by the growing Talibanization of Pakistan. Yet, it has now become abundantly clear that the time has come to pay more attention to the bigger dangers posed by the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda.

Since US president George W Bush's declaration of war against global terrorism in September 2001, the US and its allies claim to have killed or captured over 75% of senior al-Qaeda leaders, the latest being Younis al-Mauritania, suspected of directing attacks against the US and Europe, who was arrested on September 5, 2011, during a raid in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province in Pakistan.

Yet, the frequency of terror attacks worldwide being attributed to the al-Qaeda network has increased, as compared to the pre-9/11 period, the latest being the September 7 twin suicide attacks targeting the residence of the deputy inspector general of the Balochistan Frontier Corps in Quetta, which killed 24 people.

Pakistani terrorism experts believe that the current spate of high-intensity attacks, despite Bin Laden's death four months ago, make obvious that al-Qaeda's core elements are still resilient and that the outfit is cultivating stronger operational connections that radiate outward from hideouts in Pakistan to affiliates scattered throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Therefore, as things stand, it appears that al-Qaeda not only remains in business in its traditional stronghold in the Waziristan tribal region on the largely lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt border, it has also clearly advanced to the urban areas in all the four provinces of Pakistan.

This is confirmed by the growing belief of the Barack Obama administration that if there is one country that matters most to the future of al-Qaeda, it is Pakistan.

A solid base
Al-Qaeda, which means "The Base" in Arabic, was founded in 1988 by Bin Laden with the aim of overthrowing the US-dominated world order. The outfit was relatively unknown until the 9/11 terror attacks when its operatives hijacked four US airliners and successfully crashed two of them into the World Trade Center towers in New York, with a third plane hitting the Pentagon building in Washington and a fourth one crashing in Pennsylvania as the passengers attempted to regain control of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with Geo television on July 23, 2008, Mustafa Abu Yazid alias Sheikh Saeed, then the third senior-most al-Qaeda leader after Bin Laden and Dr Ayman Zawahiri, confessed for the first time that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda operatives.

As US-led forces launched a ruthless military offensive in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda leadership started systematically moving its fighters across their eastern border into Pakistan, where they effectively took over the rugged mountainous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) after joining hands with local militants.

The al-Qaeda leadership's choice of using the FATA region, especially the North and South Waziristan tribal agencies as their hideout, has enabled the terror outfit to build a new power base, separate from Afghanistan. As a result, despite Pakistan's extensive contribution to the "war on terror", many questions persist about the extent to which al-Qaeda and its allied groups are operating within Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda's success in forging close ties to Pakistani jihadi groups has given it an increasingly secure haven in the mountainous tribal areas of Pakistan. These regions have replaced Afghanistan as the key training and indoctrination grounds for al-Qaeda recruits to be used in operations abroad and for training those indoctrinated and radicalized elsewhere.

The international community continues to portray Pakistan as a breeding ground for the Taliban militia and a sanctuary for fugitive al-Qaeda leaders. Despite repeated denials by Pakistani authorities, the global media keep reporting them having already established significant bases in Peshawar and Quetta, and carrying out cross-border ambushes against their targets in Afghanistan, while al-Qaeda suicide bombing teams target US-led forces from their camps in the mountainous region.

The general notion that al-Qaeda is getting stronger even after the decade-long "war on terror", can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan, despite being a key US ally during all those years, is undergoing a radical change, moving from the phase of Talibanization of its society to the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda.

Many of the key Pakistani jihadi organizations, which are both anti-American and anti-state, have already joined hands with al-Qaeda to let loose a reign of terror across Pakistan. The meteoric rise of the Taliban militia in Pakistan, especially after 9/11, has literally pushed the Pakistani state to the brink of civil war, claiming over 35,000 lives in terrorism-related incidents between 2001 and 2011.

Terrorism experts believe that the Pakistanization of al-Qaeda is rooted in decades of collaboration between elements of the Pakistani military and the intelligence establishment and extremist jihadi movements that birthed and nurtured al-Qaeda, which has evolved significantly over the years from a close-knit group of Arab Afghans to a trans-national Islamic global insurgency, dominated by more and more Pakistani militants.

American intelligence agencies believe that with a surge of motivated youth flooding towards the realm of jihad and joining al-Qaeda cadres, Pakistan remains a potential site for recruitment and training of militants as the fugitive leadership of the outfit keeps hiring local recruits with the help of their local affiliates in Pakistan. This is to bolster the manpower of al-Qaeda, which has grown from strength to strength despite the arrest and killing of hundreds of its operatives from within Pakistan since 2001.

These experts believe, despite the physical elimination of al-Qaeda founder Bin Laden, that his terrorist outfit remains a potent threat to global peace as it keeps blooming in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt. They say al-Qaeda, for all practical purposes, is now a Pakistani phenomenon as a good number of the anti-American sectarian and jihadi groups in the country have joined the terrorist network, making Pakistan the nerve center of al-Qaeda's global operations.

Investigations into the May 22, 2011, fidayeen (suicide) attack on the Mehran Naval Base in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi have revealed that it was a coordinated operation involving al-Qaeda's Waziristan-based chief operational commander from Egypt, Saif Al Adal, the outfit's top military strategists from Pakistan, Ilyas Kashmir, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban - TTP) and the Punjabi Taliban, a term used to describe the Punjab-based jihadi organizations that are opposed to, and fighting, the Pakistani state as well as the United States.

The Pakistani intelligence findings on the Mehran attack clearly demonstrate that al-Qaeda and the TTP have teamed up with the Punjabi Taliban in recent years to form a triangular syndicate of militancy, with the aim to destabilize Pakistan, whose political and military leadership has been siding with "the forces of the infidel" in the "war against terror".

Therefore, the al-Qaeda-Taliban alliance has gained an edge in Pakistan because of the support the local jihadi groups provide. Ideological ties bind al-Qaeda, the TTP and the Punjabi Taliban to throw out international forces from Afghanistan. These three jihadi entities share intelligence, human resources and training facilities, and empathize with each other as American and Pakistani forces - however strained the relationship between the two countries may be - hunt and target them. This was proven recently with the arrest of Mauritania, which was the result of collaboration between US and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The three organizations initially came together at the time the US invaded Afghanistan post-9/11, prompting al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban to rely on local partners such as Pakistani pro-Taliban tribes, anti-US and anti-Shi'ite groups like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and jihadi mercenaries in Pakistani religious seminaries and jihadi groups for shelter and assistance.

The ties between local militant groups and al-Qaeda were cemented further as the Afghan Taliban's astonishing successes against the US-led allied forces prompted the US to increase drone attacks in the tribal areas and turn the heat on Pakistan to crack down on the TTP and others.

However, this "axis of evil" remains an informal alliance that is mainly meant to protect and support each member. What gave the alliance a fillip was the migration of battle-hardened Pakistani commanders from the battlefront in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

As things stand, the violence-wracked Waziristan region has become the new battlefield for the pro-Kashmir militants, who have already joined hands with the anti-US al-Qaeda elements. Information collected by Pakistani agencies shows the presence of fighters belonging to several pro-Kashmir jihadi groups, many of which have fallen out of favor with the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, which is under tremendous pressure to stop harboring al-Qaeda-linked elements.

These groups, which include the Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami, al-Badar, Jamaatul Furqaan and renegade elements of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, have strong connections with al-Qaeda in terms of operational collaboration and logistical support.

Veteran jihadi commanders like Kashmiri, who was reportedly killed in June in a US drone attack, were the first to adopt al-Qaeda's ideology - that the weakening of the world's only superpower, the United States, is essential for the survival of the Muslim world.

The death of Bin Laden was unquestionably a major blow to al-Qaeda. Yet, terrorism experts say long before he was killed, al-Qaeda had adapted itself to survive and operate without him, ensuring that the threat his terror network posed lived well beyond his demise.

Therefore, a decade after the US unleashed its much-trumpeted "war on terror", and despite the death of Bin Laden, there is no reason to believe that the terrorist outfit he launched more than two decades ago is anywhere near defeat.

Amir Mir is a senior Pakistani journalist and the author of several books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, the latest being The Bhutto murder trail: From Waziristan to GHQ.
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 05, 2011, 10:11:18 AM
Some data porn...fryday is the big day for jihadis..

184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 31, 2011, 08:45:29 AM
Osama bin Laden : The real story? - FB Ali

The killing of bin Laden in a US Special Forces raid on a house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad unleashed a torrent of stories about the event. The accounts by various US officials (given in bits and pieces immediately after the raid) gave little information on the details of the operation, and none on the ‘back story’. This left the field open to a lot of speculative accounts about how the raid took place and the events leading up to it. A rash of conspiracy theories also sprang up, many of which flatly denied bin Laden was even present in the house, while others put forward various versions of the Pakistani role in these events.

Recently, two accounts have been published that claim to be based on information from sources ‘in the know’ or ones who actually participated in the planning (though perhaps not the execution) of the raid. The first was a detailed account by Nicholas Schmidle in The New Yorker, based on interviews with and information provided by senior White House staff and some of the planners of the raid. This was obviously the “official” version, what the US administration would like people to believe. The second is a post on her blog by RJ Hillhouse, in which she quotes her intelligence sources on certain aspects of the raid, especially the events leading up to it.

By studying these two accounts, separating the grain from the chaff, and judiciously filling in some of the blanks, it is possible to come up with what is likely to be fairly close to the real story.


It begins with the CIA station chief in one of the Gulf states receiving an unexpected visitor with a fascinating tale. He was a recently retired senior officer of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, and he wanted to talk about Osama bin Laden. Some years ago, he said, the Saudi intelligence chief approached the ISI with the request to provide sanctuary to bin Laden within Pakistan. The Saudis said that bin Laden was prepared to come down from the hills where he was hiding, provided sufficient assurances were available about his security. In return, he would ensure that al Qaeda would not target Pakistan, and he would also limit his own involvement in its operations.

The Saudi motive behind this request presumably had to do with their internal imperatives. The bin Ladens are a very rich and influential family in Saudi Arabia. Osama and al Qaeda, and their goals, are supported by a large number of religious Saudis (even though the royal family considers them enemies). If bin Laden were to be hunted down and killed by the Americans in the tribal badlands of Pakistan, it would give the regime a black eye in the view of many of its people as well as being a serious blow to the bin Laden clan. It made sense to the Saudis to get Osama bin Laden into a safe hideout while at the same time neutralizing him as a functioning jihadi.

Whatever the Saudi motivation, their request placed the Pakistanis in a severe dilemma. The Saudis were their helpers and supporters, in fact the kingdom was their backer of last resort; they could not afford to alienate them. On the other side, bin Laden was the principal enemy and target of their current backer and ally, the United States; they could not take the risk of being caught harbouring him. The matter went right up to President Musharraf, and was the subject of much anxious debate. Finally, it was decided that the affair would be handled through one of the client jihadi outfits of the ISI, with no official involvement, thus ensuring plausible deniability in case something went wrong.

This, said the former ISI official, was how bin Laden was moved into Pakistan some years ago, and was safely harboured there. He was prepared to divulge his current location to the CIA provided he was given the reward on offer, and he and his family (accompanying him on this holiday) were securely relocated to the USA. The CIA station chief set up another meeting with the informant, and promptly relayed the information to Washington. The background check on the ISI officer having proved satisfactory, at this second meeting the station chief accepted his offer on the condition that the reward would only be paid if his information proved accurate.

When the location of bin Laden reached Langley, the CIA commenced a sophisticated, but secret, operation to verify that bin Laden did indeed live in the house in Abbottabad that their ISI informant had betrayed to them. Even before the results of this activity became available, the top security officials in the US administration began to consider actions that could be taken if his presence there was confirmed. This process quickly narrowed down the options to essentially two: a drone strike on the house, or a Special Forces raid (of the type being regularly carried out in Afghanistan against suspected insurgent leaders). When the CIA established that there was a high probability that Osama bin Laden did indeed live in the Abbottabad house, detailed planning began for both options. Their pros and cons differed so radically, however, that choosing between them was not easy.

A drone strike would involve no risk to US personnel while also reducing the loss of face for the Pakistanis and, hence, their reaction after the event. An SF raid, on the other hand, would be a risky affair. Apart from the danger of various mishaps there was a possibility of Pakistani interference, both in the air and on the ground, which would endanger not only the success of the operation but also the US personnel involved. Such an intrusion of American ‘boots on the ground’ would likely cause serious problems in relations between the two countries. The biggest difference, however, lay in the degree to which the success of the operation could be established by the administration, and generally accepted by the world when announced. A successful drone strike would show that the house was destroyed, but not whether bin Laden had been killed (the Pakistanis would never admit that he had even been there). A successful SF raid, on the other hand, would provide definitive proof.

The two options were presented to President Obama for a decision. His military advisers generally favoured the drone option, though the JSOC command was quite happy to do the raid. The ‘political’ advisers did not want to pass up this great opportunity to claim a notable success for the administration, but that would only be possible with an SF raid. Obama mulled over the choice for a few days and decided to carry out the raid ─ but with its risks minimized by getting the Pakistan military to cooperate. This set off another hectic debate among the advisers; it was finally decided that a very hard line be taken with the Pakistanis, giving them, in effect, neither the option to refuse nor any wiggle room in compliance. Leon Panetta was chosen to deliver the ultimatum: in essence, to do another ‘Armitage’ on them.

Panetta enjoyed playing the heavy with the Pakistanis (especially after their successful false emissary caper and their exploitation of the Raymond Davis affair). He told the ISI chief how the US had found out, and then confirmed, that bin Laden was being sheltered by them. The US was going to take him out; Pakistan could either help, or it would be considered an enemy of the US and treated accordingly. Backed into a corner, with their ‘plausible deniability’ in shreds, the Pakistani generals folded: they were prepared to help, but they needed a good cover story, especially for the Saudis. The US agreed to work with them on this, but demanded that knowledge of the raid be confined to a very few people at the top of the command chain, no more than necessary to ensure that any attempt by someone in the security forces to interfere with the operation would be immediately detected and quashed.

The cover story finally agreed upon was that the US had carried out a drone strike on the house (though none would in fact take place). This would account for the night-time explosions at the house, and, more importantly, provide an explanation to give to the Saudis for bin Laden’s sudden and unfortunate demise (his body having been almost obliterated by the bombs!). The US’s agreement was simply a ruse, however, in order to keep the Pakistanis cooperating; having rejected the drone option because it did not allow a definitive claim of the operation’s success, the US administration had no intention of going through with this cover story. Instead, it intended to announce the carrying out of the raid, and its momentous result, as soon as it was completed, though it is likely they planned to shift its venue to some undefined place under insurgent control so as to allow the Pakistani military some face-saving, and thus limit their adverse reaction. In the event, the helicopter crash put paid to this.

With the Pakistani military on board, the raid was launched on May 1st. Two Black Hawk helicopters with the Navy SEALs team on board took off from Jalalabad late evening and landed at the Ghazi airbase, Tarbela. This base is used by Pakistani SF (the Special Services Group), and has a US SF helicopter-training contingent stationed there. Helicopter flights into the US base area from Afghanistan are routine, and the flight of these two helicopters was cleared on the same basis. The attack on the Abbottabad target was launched from here later that night. The flying distance from Ghazi to the target is approximately 60 km (40 miles).

Even though the Pakistan army chief had agreed to allow the raid to go through without any interference, the US was not taking any chances. Schmidle describes a backup force of four Chinook helicopters, two with a backup SEALs team (which remained on the Afghan side of the border), and two as helicopter backups for the assault Black Hawks. He says that these latter two “landed at a predetermined point on a dry riverbed in a wide, unpopulated valley”. This is probably correct since, in case of a Pakistani double-cross, they would be grounded if they were to wait at the Ghazi airbase instead. One of these Chinooks was later used as the replacement for the Black Hawk that crashed at the Abbottabad house.

Schmidle’s account (and critiques of it published afterwards) dwell mostly on the details of the action inside the bin Laden compound. It doesn’t really matter how that action unfolded, though controversy over it does shift attention away from those aspects of the operation that are being kept concealed by both the US and Pakistan. The important point of these actions is that they resulted in Osama bin Laden being killed. Many conspiracy theorists refuse to accept this, but al Qaeda does, and so do the Pakistanis, who have in their custody bin Laden’s wives who witnessed the event. It may be worth commenting on a couple of the items of controversy. It doesn’t matter whether bin Laden had a weapon or not; the orders were for him to be killed. The reason why Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’s wife who tried to protect him, was shot in the leg (DEVGRU normally just kills) was probably because the plan was to bring the wives and surviving sons back as prisoners (the loss of one of the Black Hawks forced a change there).

As for the fallout from the operation, it was, as expected, mainly on US-Pakistan relations. If the US had the intention of making it easier for the Pakistanis by fudging the site of the raid, the crashed helicopter’s tail sticking up from bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound ended that option. This stark evidence of the US incursion left the US with no option but to (in Hillhouse’s apt phrase) throw the Pakistanis under the bus. Panetta couldn’t let the opportunity pass without adding an extra kick of his own (“ they were either complicit or incompetent”). The Pakistan military lost a lot of ‘face’ internally, but had a tolerable alibi for the Saudis. Most importantly, the raid and its aftermath ended all chances of them working as allies with the US in the future; the relationship became once again purely transactional, with no trust on either side.

The United States certainly got their man but, in the process, lost Pakistan. Time will tell whether that was a good deal.

185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / G. Parthasarathy: Watch out for Afpak turbulence on: August 29, 2011, 11:49:43 PM
Watch out for Afpak turbulence G. PARTHASARATHY
With the US planning to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, Pakistan is hoping for a Taliban takeover of the region. India should be under no illusion that it can change the jihadi mindset of Pakistan's armed forces.

The Americans intend to end active combat operations in Afghanistan after 2014, and the Pakistanis have started pondering over what life would be like after that. Optimists, particularly from the military and jihadi groups, believe that American withdrawal will lead to the fulfilment of General Zia-ul-Haq's dream of a Pakistan blessed with “strategic depth”' extending beyond the Amu Darya and into Central Asia.

Others fear that with Taliban extremism already having spread from across the Durand Line into Punjab and even Karachi, the country is headed for what author Ahmed Rashid once described as a Descent into Chaos.

The CIA report, Global Trends 2015, noted even in December 2001: “Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of economic mismanagement, divisive politics and ethnic feuds. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central Government's control will probably be reduced to the Punjab heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.”


Pakistan's military still believes that the Americans will meet the same fate as the Soviets did when confronted with the forces of “militant Islam” from across the Durand Line. There is nothing to indicate that Rawalpindi has any intention of ending its support for either the Taliban or the Haqqani network.

Both Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani remain implacably opposed to American proposals on political “reconciliation” in Afghanistan. Neither of them has shown any sign of ending links with the Al Zawahiri-led Al Qaeda and its Chechen and Central Asian affiliates. Moreover, the Haqqani network unabashedly supports the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, infuriating Pakistan's “all-weather friend,” China.

Pakistan's military has believed over the past few years that with the American economy in tatters and domestic opinion becoming increasingly hostile to growing casualties overseas, the Obama Administration will quit Afghanistan, paving the way for a Taliban takeover.

Another Pakistani calculation was that given their dependence on Pakistan's logistical support for supplies to their military in Afghanistan, the Americans were in no position to take coercive measures against Pakistan. These calculations have gone awry. It was the combined costs of war in Iraq (estimated at $806 billion) and the relatively less expensive war in Afghanistan ($444 billion over a decade) that were proving unaffordable to the US taxpayer.

While Americans have lost 1,760 soldiers in Afghanistan over a decade, their high casualties in Iraq, which included 4,474 killed in action, made the war in Iraq highly unpopular. Showing some intent to thwart Pakistani blackmail and threats of blocking supply routes, the Americans now move less than 35 per cent of their supplies through Pakistan, with the rest coming across their Northern Distribution Network, assisted by Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Two years ago, over 70 per cent of American supplies were routed through Pakistan.

Whether it is on the question of the secret approval it gave to American drone attacks on Pakistan territory, even as it raised a public hue and cry on the issue, or in its policy of providing shelter to Osama bin laden in Abbottabad, while claiming to be a loyal ally on America's “War on Terror”, the duplicity of the Pakistani military stands exposed. The Pakistan army is finding it difficult to defeat its erstwhile Pashtun protégés in the Tehriq-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan. There is, therefore, little prospect of its meeting American demands to act decisively against the followers of Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani.

With Pakistan's Generals hell bent on retaining their jihadi assets in Afghanistan, on the one hand, and the US determined to ensure that the Afpak badlands straddling the Durand Line are not infested with anti-American Jihadis, on the other, the two “major non-NATO allies” appear set on a collision course, though with pretensions of seeking mutual understanding.

The Russians have made it clear that their air-space and territory are available for American operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban, as long as they can jointly crackdown on production and smuggling of opium.

Unless there is a total meltdown in their economy, the Americans will retain a small, but significant military presence in Afghanistan, primarily for counter-terrorism, against groups operating across the Durand Line.

There are hints that their military presence in Afghanistan will also be geared to deal with any possible takeover of Pakistan's nuclear weapons by jihadi extremists, including such elements within Pakistan's much-vaunted military.

India should have no illusions that it can change the jihadi mindset of Pakistan's armed forces and should learn the right lessons from the heavy price the Americans have paid for their naiveté on the military mindset in Pakistan. The end-game in Afghanistan has only just begun.

(The author is a former High Commissioner to Pakistan.

186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 07, 2011, 07:43:56 PM
By "RajeshA"...a poster on the www.

Fighting Jihadism in Pakistan

Global Jihad Inc. and even the Local Mullah are proving very resistant to GWoT, to COIN, to the modern state's security measures.

It is a many-headed Hydra. You cut one head and another one would grow instead. The Mujahids feel they are doing Allah's work, so any opportunity to take greater responsibility in Jihad is considered a normal promotion. If the predecessor was mowed down by security agencies of a modern state, that in itself does not seem to act as an impediment. As long as they live in their new positions as commanders, they will enjoy the respect of their colleagues, other Mujahids, they will enjoy being able to put fear into the hearts of the infidel, they will enjoy their exalted position in society, which honors Mujahids who "do Allah's work"! When these Mujahids die, there are prospects of getting 72 virgins along with the virility of a 100 men to satisfy them and to relish the experience. Plus, the organization, the dawa, would ensure that their families would be looked after and would receive a monthly stipend.

There is as such from their PoV, no reason to not opt for a lifetime of service in the cause of Jihad and to become a martyr in the same cause. Considering that there is no other work, is all the more reason.

So just killing off Jihadis one by one is a never-ending task. Americans are finding that out in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Yemen, and elsewhere.

Israelis tried breaking out of this dynamic. It was considered as insufficient to simply kill off the Palestinian fighters. What the Israelis did in Gaza, was to use collective punishment on Palestinians to relent - the blockades, sanctions, withholding of tax revenues, counter-bombardment, etc. That just increased the resolve of Palestinians. The whole community felt bound by a collective destiny and so they pulled themselves together and their determination to fight and die together increased as well.

Some would use that example to prove that collective punishment does not pay.

So if killing mujahids does not pay and collective punishment does not pay, then how does one go about fighting Jihadism?

Any social dynamic is based on understandings and contracts. When these understandings and contracts are not heeded or adhered to, then the society starts falling apart - any society, even a deeply conservative society. One has to see what these understandings and contracts are. One would however notice that an outsider does not really have the ability to intervene to such a high degree, so as to ensure that social compacts are violated.

There are basically two ways:
1) Corrupt society: A community works like one big block sharing resources, sharing space and sharing secrets valuable to the security of the whole community, sharing trust. It is often not possible to change the behavior of the majority in the community in a way that the previous social compacts are not honored, but certain individuals can always be turned around. The poorer a society becomes, the more vulnerable the individuals are to being bought off by giving them some rewards. As such one can buy people's loyalty, and make them work for you against the interests and wishes of the wider society. Similarly if somebody has much to lose, in terms of wealth, then again the other one would be willing to cooperate with outside forces, and may sell out the mujahids.

The avenues of corruption need to be explored to the maximum. The challenge is of course gaining access to those individuals who would be willing to break the social compact, and be willing to trade the community's secrets and trust for some favors and rewards. Normally a community would be very alert against such turncoats and anybody acting funny would be investigated. Also punishments are always severe and quick against traitors, in Jihadized communities.

As such increased trade and interaction with the outside world, even aid organizations working in the area, all provide a better backdrop for infiltration and recruitment of possible 'traitors', a standard operating procedure for gather HUMINT.

2) Care for the Family: The choice to wage jihad comes easily as the mujahids know that after them their families would be respected and looked after properly, they will not be allowed to starve. Moreover their families would receive funds and protection from the dawa, from the tanzeems.

That is the basis of the social compact a mujahid enters into with the community, before he swears his allegiance to jihad. So the question arises, would a mujahid willingly go for Jihad if the safety of his family was not guaranteed! Now the outside world does not have any say over whether the mujahids tanzeem would make that promise, but the outside world very well has the capacity to decide whether mujahid's tanzeem would be able to keep that promise.
Outside forces can ensure a dynamic, where the potential mujahid needs to be afraid of the consequences of his decision on his faith and on the rest of his family. If there are consequences, then they should be of a nature which would really give the potential mujahid some cause for rethinking, something shocking enough for him to rethink his decision, a decision he has been told, is sanctioned by Allah himself.

Something shocking enough on the faith front for him would be say after his death his body is not turned over to his family or community but is in fact defiled in a way completely contrary to his beliefs - say fed to the pigs, or cremated.

Something shocking enough on the family front for him would be say the death of all his male offspring regardless of age, and if he doesn't have any, than those of his next of kin - his parents, his male siblings. Something shocking would be say, if his female offspring, or his female siblings were to be kidnapped and taken as women, forcibly or otherwise, by men belonging to a different faith as Islam.

Should this happen to each and every mujahid, that is either caught fighting or dies in the battlefield, or is simply identified as a fighter, then it would establish not a probability but an almost certainty in the minds of potential mujahids, about the consequences.
Moreover he should also be angry at those who suggest to him that he should become a mujahid. The argument should go something on the lines that he would be the only one making the sacrifice, while others would be sacrificing nothing.

This anger would come only only he is being asked to make this sacrifice, while the others suffer no consequences at all. That is why the above punishment should be very discriminatory. There should be no collateral damage if it can be avoided, so that the recruiters cannot claim on behalf of the community, that the war is being waged on the whole community, and they should pick the gun and do likewise. The punishment should be so surgical and discriminatory, that it is difficulty to make this argument.

The "traitors" as such can then help in ensuring that the punishment is very surgical and precise.
Thirdly, there should be people around him, who should be making the argument to him, that he should decide against becoming a mujahid, and their argument should carry more weight than those who want to push him into Jihad citing the interests of religion and community.

Here the talk is of grown up adults, possibly the brothers of a potential mujahid who talk him out of becoming a mujahid. They would make the argument only if they also share in some of the consequences spoken of earlier, should he become a mujahid. Only then would they have the motivation to speak up. They should be able to make the argument that only their family would suffer, while the others would not.

As a civilized society, we tend to think of punishments which would only dissuade one belonging to such a civilized society who prizes his freedoms and desire to be with his family, to whom prison can be insulting to his dignity, etc. etc. If however we are waging a war, then we have to think of punishments which can act as discouragement for the enemy community, and not the same laws apply.

The implementation of consequences on the dead body of a mujahid can be justified on the basis of a declaration that, "he was a terrorist, and we do not consider him a Muslim, for terrorists have no religion!"

The implementation of consequences on his family would have to be carried out extra-judiciously, using some organization which specializes only in the above, and uses HUMINT from within the community to aid them in carrying out their missions.

So if we want to wage a successful war against Jihad, we would have to rethink the basics again.
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 07, 2011, 07:41:50 PM
On the Indian defense forum...its an article of faith that this was an ISI operation. This is not based on evidence but tons of prior experience with the MO of the ISI. Seal Team 6 caused a loss of H&D in pak, so they had a target on their back. Also of interest, in the US media no one is even discussing this as a possibility. Would be interesting to know where the weapon to hit the heli came from, and who supplied the intelligence. I find it difficult to believe the taliban got off a luck shot.
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 06, 2011, 07:11:09 PM
While there is general jubilation on the pak defense forum (about the downed chinook), pakis being masters at spinning conspiracies..have come up with this gem.

"Oh! looks like they killed their own Navy Seals who were witnesses of the OBL raid they killed them cuz the US dont want the actual story comes out anyway that there was no OBL in Abbottabad operation.....and it was the CIA drama......looks like they wanted to wipe out the evidence........umm...... "

189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 06, 2011, 06:02:34 PM
Pakistan: Update. Hundreds of extra paramilitary troops have been deployed to Karachi where 58 people have been killed in political violence in the past five days. More than 200 people were killed last month.

Comment: The Islamabad government has exhausted its options and ideas for halting politically-motivated violence in Karachi.

Pakistan is heading for a military takeover of government, based on precedent and barring a surprise improvement in economic, law and order and social conditions. In other words, the economic and social conditions that are necessary but not sufficient conditions for a military takeover are present. The instrumental and sufficient conditions -- security force dissatisfaction with the civilian leadership and refusal to carry out lawful orders - do not yet seem present, but can appear in a short time without additional warning.
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 06, 2011, 05:33:28 PM

US special forces Afghan helicopter downed 'by Taliban'

Thirty US troops, said to be mostly special forces, have been killed, reportedly when a Taliban rocket downed their helicopter in east Afghanistan.

Seven Afghan commandos and a civilian interpreter were also on the Chinook, officials say.

US sources say the special forces were from the Navy Seal unit which killed Osama Bin Laden, but are "unlikely" to be the same personnel.

This is the largest single US loss of life in the Afghan conflict.

The numbers of those killed have now been confirmed by the Nato-led mission in Afghanistan.

The Chinook went down in the early hours of Saturday in Wardak province, said a statement from President Hamid Karzai's office.

It was returning from an operation against the Taliban in which eight insurgents are believed to have been killed.

A senior official of President Barack Obama's administration said the helicopter was apparently shot down, Associated Press news agency reports.

An official with the Nato-led coalition in Afghanistan told the New York Times the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says it is rare for the Taliban to shoot down aircraft.

The Taliban say they have modified their rocket-propelled grenades to improve their accuracy but that may not be true, our correspondent says.

Nato's worst Afghan moments
6 April 2005 - Chinook crash in Ghazni province kills 15 US soldiers and three civilian contractors
28 June 2005 - 16 US troops killed when Taliban bring down Chinook in Kunar province
16 August 2005 - 17 Spanish soldiers die when Cougar helicopter crashes near Herat
5 May 2006 - 10 US soldiers die after Chinook crashes east of Kabul
2 Sept 2006 - 14 UK personnel killed when RAF Nimrod explodes following mid-air refuelling
18 August 2008 - 10 French soldiers killed in Taliban ambush east of Kabul
6 August 2011 - 31 US special forces and seven Afghan soldiers killed in Chinook crash
Source: BBC and news agencies

"The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expresses his sympathy and deep condolences to US President Barack Obama and the family of the victims," the statement from President Karzai said.

President Obama, too, issued a statement paying tribute to the Americans and Afghans who died in the crash.

"We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied. We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country," the statement said.

Reports say more than 20 of the US dead were Navy Seals.

A US military source has confirmed to the BBC that they were from Seal Team Six - the same unit which killed Bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

Continue reading the main story
Who are the Navy Seals?
2,500 US Navy special forces
They carry out Sea, Air and Land operations, hence their name
Origins lie in World War II
Involved in Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen
Team Six is elite group officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Team Six based near Virginia Beach, members usually have five years of experience, part of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC )
The team that killed Bin Laden
However, US officials have told both they BBC and AP they do not believe that any of those who took part in the Bin Laden operation were on the downed helicopter.

The size of Team Six, an elite unit within the Seals, which is officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, is not known.

Several air force personnel, a dog and his handler, a civilian interpreter, and the helicopter crew were also on board, AP reports.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said it was mounting an operation to recover the helicopter and find out why it crashed. It said there had been "enemy activity in the area" where it went down.

A Taliban spokesman said insurgents had brought down the helicopter with a rocket after US and Afghan troops attacked a house in the Sayd Abad district of Wardak where insurgents were meeting late on Friday, Associated Press said.

Sayd Abad, near the province of Kabul, is known to have a strong Taliban presence.

A Wardak government spokesman quoted by AFP news agency agreed with this, saying the helicopter had been hit as it was taking off.

A local resident told the BBC Pashto service a rocket had hit the helicopter.

"What we saw was that when we were having our pre-dawn [Ramadan] meal, Americans landed some soldiers for an early raid," said Mohammad Wali Wardag.

"This other helicopter also came for the raid. We were outside our rooms on a veranda and saw this helicopter flying very low, it was hit by a rocket and it was on fire."

There are currently about 140,000 foreign troops - about 100,000 of them American - in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban insurgency and training local troops to take over security.

All foreign combat forces are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and some troop withdrawals have already taken place.

Nato has begun the process of handing over control of security in some areas to local forces, with Bamiyan becoming the first province to pass to Afghan control in mid-July.

An increase in US troop numbers last year has had some success combating the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan, but attacks in the north, which was previously relatively quiet, have picked up in recent months.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 06, 2011, 03:48:35 PM
Hey Ya, who is sponsoring the ETM in Pakistan?

I have not followed the ETM story very much. Two possibilities come to mind.
1. Its an independent jihadi movement based in Pak, ie Pak has lost control of them. This is what the Pak govt wants you to believe.
2. Another possibility is that with the US trying to arm twist Pak, Pak desperately needs China's support. The Chinese however have not been very enthusuiastic to replace Uncle sam, atleast interms of free $$. This is the ISI reminding the Chinese, what could be if the renmibis dont flow through. This is a standard operating procedure for the pakis, to seek protection money. The US pays protection money, the Indians do, so no reason the Chinese will be given a free pass.
3. As GM points out below...the shooting of the heli might be an ISI op...fits a pattern. ie payback for the OBL operation..especially since these were navy seals..
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 02, 2011, 08:20:17 PM

Interesting article..
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 25, 2011, 06:52:57 PM

the psychoanalysis of pakistan

The door creaked open as the therapist led Pakistan into the room, his clothes drenched, his hair wild, his shirt unbuttoned, his hands covered in mud. “This is the last time I see you without an appointment, Pakistan.” The therapist tried not to reward Pakistan by obliging to his unannounced visits and subsequent tantrums, but this time, she knew that there was something terribly wrong.

Pakistan lay on the couch, with the therapist sitting behind him close to the door. She dimmed the lights, giving the weathered wood paneling a bronze glow. She hadn’t known Pakistan for long, but long enough to detect a disturbing pattern. Having changed several therapists, Pakistan followed a predictable course with all of his previous shrinks — starting off in a blaze of intimacy, slowly withdrawing, reaching a point of violent confrontation and then starting over with someone else. She knew that he badly needed her to understand him, even as he erected every possible obstacle in her endeavours to do so. Every session with Pakistan was a struggle — both for the therapist, as she tried to decipher his thoughts and motivations beneath the white noise of his obscurantist denial and obsessive paranoia — and for him, as he resolutely prevented her (and himself) from reaching his innermost chambers.
The therapist had no idea just how old Pakistan was, for even by his own accounts, his birth was a matter of great dispute. Pakistan was born either in the Bronze Age when the Indus Valley Civilisation was established in Mohenjodaro. Or, in the 8th century with the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim, the 17-year-old Arab general, who became the first man to plant the flag of Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. Along the way, he also planted seeds in the collective Jungian psyche, the shoots from which continue to surface to this day. Sometimes he claimed to be born as a reactionary ideal in 1857. His real genesis, in 1947, was corroborated by an official birth certificate. Though that might simply be the day he was separated from his Siamese twin in a rather bloody operation.

The therapist took out her file to review her notes. From session to session, Pakistan varied from bouts of extreme pride and grandiosity– touting the mark on his forehead from excessive prostration during prayer, picking fights with the toughest boys in the neighbourhood, showing off the missile tattoos on his biceps — to states of despicable self-loathing — slitting his wrists to atone for his ‘sins’, claiming to have disavowed his religion and his brethren, shooting up heroin to disassociate himself from self-reflection. It was difficult to pin a diagnosis on him. Her initial hunch was that he had manic depression, swinging from grandiosity to doom and gloom. But she couldn’t pick that diagnosis, since these personality traits had persisted since about as long as the therapist could note. She relied on what she knew of Pakistan’s life thus far to inch closer towards a diagnosis.
Pakistan’s childhood remained of great interest to the therapist. While it was a topic that Pakistan refused to confront directly, drawing from his nightmares, his rambling digressions, and notes she had received from his previous therapists, a vague picture had come together. Born on the stroke of midnight, Pakistan and his twin brother, India, had had a tumultuous childhood, resulting in frequent fights, bleeding noses and cut lips. Orphaned in his infancy with the premature death of his father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, frequently beaten by his estranged brother (who also took away Pakistan’s favourite cashmere sweater), deeply insecure due to his short stature, and lacking any sort of guiding hand, Pakistan had a tormented upbringing. Once he attacked his brother to take back his sweater but failed (though he still claims it was his brother who started that particular round of fisticuffs). To this day, Pakistan refused to acknowledge any blood relationship with his brother, claiming to be a separate entity from him.

After his companion and childhood friend, Bangla, abandoned him in the early ‘70s, instead of reflecting on the many years of neglect and abuse he had inflicted on her, Pakistan transitioned into another high of energy. His charisma won him many friends and he formed a relationship with a mysterious sheikh, who would go on to have a deep impact on him. Sheikh Al-Wahab charmed Pakistan with his white robes and his shiny Rolexes (which he would jingle whenever he wanted Pakistan’s attention). The therapist could see that Pakistan believed that the sheikh, and his devout breed of Islam, offered him a chance to reconstruct his identity … but it was a dangerous façade.
Armed with this new identity, Pakistan entered a phase of gradual psychological self-mutilation, wherein he began to erase all memories that contradicted his new self. He grew a beard, rode his pants high on his tummy and learnt Arabic, but forgot his own native tongue. In his attempt to be born anew, he began to loathe himself: his brown skin, the festivals he celebrated, and the culture he shared with his estranged brother.

Pakistan’s newly found religiosity didn’t go entirely unnoticed. In fact, Uncle Sam encouraged Pakistan’s violent streak in order to settle a score against its long time adversary by training Pakistan’s crazy cousin, Talib. With his AK-47 loaded with incendiary rounds and an even more incendiary faith, Talib, with the help of his Arab roommate, Qaeda, and Pakistan’s full backing, did for Uncle Sam what no one else could have. After the fight, when Pakistan and Talib turned around to celebrate their victory with a series of high-fives and ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ chants, Sam was nowhere to be found. All they had to show for their efforts was a crate full of Kalashnikovs, heads full of grandiose delusions and a stash of smack to ensure insight remained an unwanted guest.

Pakistan, far from smothering Talib’s zeal, channeled it to settle scores with India in his unending struggle to regain his cashmere sweater. But in his efforts to agitate Talib against India, it was Pakistan who was influenced by his oddly appealing cousin. Meanwhile, Qaeda ran out of his supply of Ritalin® and, no longer in the spotlight, grew increasingly bored in his suburban house-cave. Convinced that Sam, who no longer showered him with attention, was the root of all the evils in the neighborhood, Qaeda went to Sam’s house with his bamboo stick and poked it right into Sam’s eye. Sam, infuriated, attacked Qaeda, who had taken refuge in Talib’s house-cave next to Pakistan’s, and demanded of Pakistan that he too join him in fighting both Qaeda and Talib. Scared out of his wits by the heavily muscled and belligerent Sam, Pakistan shaved his beard and donned a suit to convince Sam that he was ‘with him, not against him’. But in his heart, Pakistan could not abandon Talib, and banking on Sam’s short attention span (possibly due to serious ADHD), hoped to be able to hold off any Public Displays of Affection with Talib until Sam’s interest fizzled out.

But Talib just didn’t get it. He began to attack Pakistan for supporting Sam. Talib and Qaeda dealt Pakistan blows the likes of which he had never received, tearing into him, ripping apart whatever was important to him. But for all the pain they inflicted on him, Pakistan blamed everyone else in the neighborhood. Unable to remove himself from his association with Talib and Qaeda, and yet fully aware of their actions, the therapist noted that Pakistan found himself more confused, more in pain, more depressed and more vulnerable, than ever before.

The therapist formulated Pakistan’s history into what she regarded as a pattern of unstable identity, unstable relationships and fearful attachments. She started crossing out all the different diagnoses she had written on her sheet including adjustment disorder, substance abuse, depression with psychotic features, dysthymia and anti-social personality disorder, until the only diagnosis un-maimed by her pen was borderline personality disorder.
And yet, even armed with this knowledge, the therapist continued to have a difficult relationship with Pakistan. She knew that this was not just because Pakistan was, to put it mildly, un-normal, for she barely knew anyone in the entire neighbourhood who was.
“What happened, Pakistan? You look terrible.”

Pakistan remained mum, looking blankly up at the ceiling. The therapist prodded on, “Why do you have mud on your hands?”
“A great flood destroyed my house. I had to dig myself out of the rubble. My cow, Rani, my princess, I couldn’t find her. The waters took her away. My crops have all run a-waste.” Pakistan spoke in a monotone, staring blankly at the ceiling. The therapist didn’t know what to feel. A part of her believed he was pre-schizophrenic, his ability to process reality crumbling slowly. Another part felt that the heroin was like a virus, forever impairing his ability to test reality. She tried to feel sympathy for him, but found herself unable to do so. “Did anyone help you out?”

“Sam helped me out, not because he cared, but because he feared that if I lost my mind a bit more, I would blow up in his face.”
The therapist carried on, without believing his entire flood story. Just a few years back he had come running to her, with an earthquake-story in which his house was leveled, and here he was again, carrying on what was now becoming a comically long list of tragedies, some real, some imagined. “Why do you think these catastrophes happen to you?”
“It is a test of my faith, or a punishment for my transgressions, I can’t seem to understand.” The therapist’s attempts at objectivity began to fail, as Pakistan’s contradictions started to amuse her. His misery became a source of mirth, rather than solemn reflection.
“What transgressions?”
“I have failed my religion and no matter how much I pray for forgiveness, Allah continues to punish me. And I continue to be Sam’s slave. I have shaved my beard and started wearing suits just so that he does not suspect me of being with Talib. But inside, I know that I am in the wrong, and that is why Allah-Almighty punishes me.”
“But haven’t these Muslim ‘brothers’, hurt you more than even those who you claim are your enemies, including your actual sibling? Look at how you’re bruised, scarred, hurt — isn’t that the work of your so-called brothers?”
“They are angry, and justified in being so.”
“So they have the right to spew hatred and commit violence, but no one else does? Why bend the rules for them? Your sheikh has taken more from you than even your worst enemies: he took away you.”
“What is that supposed to mean? I have me.”
“What me, Pakistan? What of you do you have left?” The therapist’s frail figure shook, her spectacles danced on the bridge of her nose, as she continued to unabashedly counter-transfer.
“All of me is here in front of you. Me, born to live life governed by the laws of Islam, and to vanquish the apostates who tarnish its name.”
“But how can that be! Don’t you remember that when you were born, not in the 8th Century, but in 1947, your first law minister was a Hindu, and your finance minister was an Ahmadi, a sect you now consider as worthy of murder!”
“That cannot be true! Why wouldn’t I remember it if it were so? Wait, you are right, but how…?”

The blank look left Pakistan. Suddenly, he was awash with palpable emotion. The therapist knew what was going on, a rock had been upturned, and from beneath it had scampered out a thousand repressed memories. Memories of a father who never said his prayers, who swore by his suit and his whisky, of a time when festivals were marked with kites flying in the sky rather than blood from sacrificial animals running in the streets. Clearly in pain, Pakistan held his head. He tried to get up from the couch, before falling onto his knees, his hands covering his ears, ensuring that nothing but the voice within was heard. The therapist ran to the door, but stayed on to look at Pakistan writhe as alarmed guards ran in to pin him to the ground. Her unfinished case history was still lying next to her chair in the room. She was shaking. This would be her last session with Pakistan not so much because Pakistan’s malady awoke no empathy in her anymore, but because she knew she had stepped on the wrong side of Pakistan’s split monochromic psychological spectrum of blacks and whites.

Pakistan’s search for reflection began anew; a search that he ensured was always a never-ending spiral, where the journey itself is enacted only to avoid the destination. The therapist wondered who Pakistan would be if she were to meet him after some time; she wasn’t even sure if she would recognize him. She held the notebook tightly next to her chest and walked off determined to hold on to her diagnosis, if nothing else. And yet, she knew that in spite of all that he had endured (and inflicted) he had still lived to tell the tale. A survivor and stubborn to the core, she knew he’d be back. And while he wouldn’t be pretty for his pains, she knew, irrationally, that she might just like to see him again.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 24th,  2011.
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 19, 2011, 09:20:04 PM
US exposes ISI subversion of Kashmir issue; FBI

WASHINGTON: Federal authorities on Monday arrested a prominent US-based pro-Pakistan activist associated with the Kashmiri separatist movement, accusing him of funneling money from the Pakistani spy agency ISI to lobby US decision-makers.

In the process, the Obama administration's law enforcement brigade also blew open the Pakistan and its spy agency's two-decade long subversion of the so-called Kashmir cause.

The FBI swooped down on the Virginia residence of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, a well-known representative of Kashmiri separatists in the US and detained him on charges of ''participating in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States without disclosing their affiliation with the Pakistani government as required by law.''

Or simply put, he served as a frontman for ISI's Kashmir agenda.

Another individual, Zaheer Ahmed, like Fai a US citizen, was also similarly charged, but he is at large and believed to be in Pakistan, according to US authorities.

Fai has been a familiar and prominent figure in Washington DC for nearly two decades, lobbying Kashmiri separatist cause as executive director of the Kashmiri-American Council (KAC) and dallying with senators and congressmen. US authorities now say the KAC was just an ISI front, funded by Pakistan's spy agency.

The FBI affidavit alleges that, although the KAC held itself out to be a Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans, ''it is one of three 'Kashmir Centers' that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including ISI.'' The two other Kashmir Centers are in London, England, and Brussels, Belgium.

According to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money transferred by Pakistan's ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistani government interests. The witness explained that the money was transferred to Fai through Ahmad, an American living in Pakistan.

A second confidential witness told investigators that the ''ISI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir.'' This witness said ''ISI's sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai's activities for the past 25 years.''

The FBI affidavit alleges that Fai has "acted at the direction of and with the financial support of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years." Four Pakistani government handlers have directed Fai's US. activities and Fai has been in touch with his handlers more than 4,000 times since June 2008, according to the FBI.

The affidavit also alleges that Fai repeatedly submitted annual KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to his Pakistani government handlers for approval. One document entitled "Plan of Action of KAC / Kashmir Center for Fiscal Year 2009" laid out Fai's intended strategy to secure US. Congressional support in order to encourage the Executive Branch to support self-determination in Kashmir; his strategy to build new alliances in the State Department, the National Security Council, the Congress and the Pentagon, and to expand KAC's media efforts.

According to the affidavit, Fai also set forth KAC's projected budgetary requirements from the Pakistani government for 2009, including $100,000 for contributions to members of Congress.

Fai and the KAC have received at least $4 million from the Pakistani government since the mid-1990s through Ahmad and his funding network, the FBI said. The money is allegedly routed to Fai through Ahmad and a network of other individuals connected to Ahmad. Ahmad allegedly arranges for his contacts in the United States to provide money to Fai in return for repayment of those amounts in Pakistan.
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 16, 2011, 01:31:15 PM
Not having any intelligence estimates or knowing the full capabilities of US intelligence, nor what the real US interests in the region might be...its kind of difficult. But assuming the US goal is to stop terrorism, these are the broad areas that i would push for.

Put pressure on pak to act against the jihadis in N.wazoostan. Pakis will not however do this (inspite of any amount of $$), because their army is itself jihadized. The next step would be to initiate the break up Pak. Two areas are ready to secede, Balochistan and Pashtoonistan. For the prsent lets focus only on Pashtoonistan. The US should support the aspirations of the pashtoon people, who have been artificially divided by the durrand line. If the US were to support the elimination of the Durrand line, and support the unification of the pashtoon people as a part of united Afghanistan, both the Afghans as well as the Taliban in FATA/NWFP region will support this initiative, and support the US. This could lead to real nation building and peace. If you come to think of it, this is what the afghan people want, and this is also Afghanistan's gripe with Pak. Why is the US not supporting this nation building. Make this offer to the Taliban, "Give up terrorism and we give you a united Afghanistan". This is in line with what Mullah Omar wants and what the haqqani group wants. There is a minor variant of the plan, whereby the southern areas of afghanistan/NWFP fuse to form pashtoonistan, whereas N.Afghanistan remains a separate country.

Paki interests are the opposite, they want to put a razor fence on the border with Afghanistan, and the way that they are controlling the pashtoon is with a radical version of Islam. Pak is financially broke, their bank contains only about 64 tonnes of gold!, they cannot wage a war against afghanistan or anybody else for that matter. Their frontier corps is mostly pashtoon, they are not going to fight against the formation of their homeland. The pak army's punjab based corps are not going to fight on the afghan border either, because that would leave the Indian border unguarded. India can make the appropriate saber rattling noises to keep the pak army at the indian border. Pak army cannot nuke the afghan people either, because it would be nuking the ummah, or worst case the nuclear winds blow down to the plains of pakistan. Furthermore, any use of the nukes should invite a massive response from the US.

Once they lose the "tribes" as proxy for use against India, a much chastened pak can be pressurized to give up nukes. The Balochistan card can be played at this stage, one can easily force a blockade of Karachi harbor if Pak does not give up nukes. At this stage the US must be willing to use overwhelming force if the pakis dont give up nukes.
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 16, 2011, 10:14:13 AM
India is not a leader in biotech...but all industries are improving in India. More of contract manufacturing of generics. from a semi sane Paki..

The military strategists of America who want to "save" Afghanistan from their Al-Qaeda enemy and the military establishment of Pakistan which wants to "secure" Afghanistan for its Taliban "assets", have both got it tragically wrong. If they insist on having it their exclusive way, they will lose both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Consider.

America's strategy in the run-up to the Afghan end-game is inconsistent and contradictory. Ten years after 9/11, with $1 trillion down the drain, Afghan "nationhood" is out, counter-insurgency is being substituted with counter-terrorism, troop surges with troop draw downs, and not all good Taliban are dead ones. So key Taliban leaders have to be targeted by drones in order to soften up their resistance and make them amenable to a US-sponsored power-sharing arrangement in Kabul. But this strategic direction-change is tripping up for two reasons.

First, the post-2014 "Base-Afghanistan" envisioned by Washington is critically based on two factors which are eroding faster than they are being consolidated. The first is the failure to build a reliable Afghan National Army that can do America's bidding - Taliban infiltration has made it an unreliable future adjunct. The second is America's inability to create a viable puppet regime of strongmen that can capture space and sustain stability - as testified by the assassination of the police head of Northern Afghanistan, General Dawood Dawood, two months ago, and that of Hamid Karzai's powerful, alliance-building brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, this week, followed by the abortive attempt on the life of the Home Minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, the same day. America's man in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, has never been more vulnerable as he is now.

The second is a continuing failure to persuade Pakistan's defense establishment to help knock out the core Al-Qaeda-Taliban trouble-makers in FATA. A carrot-and-stick policy that is based on "peanuts-for-aid" ($800 million for Pakistan in the last two years out of $3 billion pledged, as compared to $200 billion spent in Afghanistan in the same period) and largely ignores or denies Pakistan's legitimate security concerns in post-America Afghanistan (the need for a stable if not fully "friendly" Afghanistan on its western border) has failed to deliver. They want more aid, $$ comment American unaccountability and unilateralism has fueled anti-Americanism in Pakistan following the Raymond Davis affair, the OBL raid in Abbottabad and the surge in drone strikes in FATA, putting the Pakistani military on the spot in the public eye. Now American impatience and arrogance - the attack on the ISI (publicly blamed for journalist Saleem Shahzad's murder) and its chief General Pasha ("sack him", says the New York Times) - and the decision to formally "announce" a "suspension" in $800 million in overdue US aid and compensation for the Pakistan military's big effort against the Pakistani Taliban, has added insult to injury.

Pakistan's strategy of continuing to obsess about India and making it an element of the future Afghan matrix on the basis of its Taliban "assets" is also coming a cropper. These Taliban "assets" were problematic even during Mullah Umar's reign from 1996-2001 when they refused to recognize the Durand Line as the international border with Pakistan, refused to kick out radical Islamic sectarian elements belonging to the Sipah Sahaba and Lashkar Jhangvi, and refused to break relations with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda even though they were plotting against both America and Pakistan. These same Afghan Taliban "assets" have since networked with Al-Qaeda in FATA to give birth to and sustain the Pakistani Tehreek-i-Taliban which has exacted a toll of 35,000 Pakistan civilians and over 3000 Pakistani soldiers in Swat and South Waziristan in the last two years. As the murdered journalist and insider, Saleem Shahzad, noted, the real aim of the Al-Qaeda-Taliban network is to infiltrate the Pakistani state, plunge it into conflict with India (new Mumbais), erode the army's fighting capacity by de-motivating its rank and file, seize control of its nuclear weapons and transform its territory as a base area for world Islamic revolution. On the basis of Mullah Umar's past record, the Haqqani network's current liaison with Al-Qaeda, and Al-Qaeda's future ambitions, the Pakistan military's rigid protection of such assets is souring its longer term "strategic" relationship with the international community in general and America in particular. This is something it can ill-afford, given its trade and aid dependency on the West.

Pakistan and America should put their interests and concerns squarely on the table and abstain from airing their political differences or applying countervailing pressures through the media. America's carrot-and-stick policy won't yield dividends with Pakistan just as Pakistan's "double-game" breaches the trust red-line and mocks its "strategic" relations with America. Washington's plans for Afghanistan must not exclude Mullah Umar and the Haqqani network just as Islamabad's plans must not be exclusively based on them. In fact, America and Pakistan must not stake their all on the end-game in Afghanistan because its final outcome holds no guarantees for either of them.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 16, 2011, 09:47:48 AM
The thing is that the taliban are against vaccination any way, and Pak is one of the few countries in the world with a high polio rate. One can safely assume that vaccinations will reduce markedly in Pak...

CIA organised fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden's family DNA
Senior Pakistani doctor who organised vaccine programme in Abbottabad arrested by ISI for working with US agents

Saeed Shah in Abbottabad,    Monday 11 July 2011 19.59 BST

CIA organised fake vaccination programme in Abbottabad to try and find Osama bin Laden. Photograph: Md Nadeem/EPA
The CIA organised a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader's family, a Guardian investigation has found.

As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the "project" in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents.

The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has since been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for co-operating with American intelligence agents.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad, already severely strained by the Bin Laden operation, have deteriorated considerably since then. The doctor's arrest has exacerbated these tensions. The US is understood to be concerned for the doctor's safety, and is thought to have intervened on his behalf.

The vaccination plan was conceived after American intelligence officers tracked an al-Qaida courier, known as Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, to what turned out to be Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound last summer. The agency monitored the compound by satellite and surveillance from a local CIA safe house in Abbottabad, but wanted confirmation that Bin Laden was there before mounting a risky operation inside another country.

DNA from any of the Bin Laden children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to provide evidence that the family was present.

So agents approached Afridi, the health official in charge of Khyber, part of the tribal area that runs along the Afghan border.

The doctor went to Abbottabad in March, saying he had procured funds to give free vaccinations for hepatitis B. Bypassing the management of the Abbottabad health services, he paid generous sums to low-ranking local government health workers, who took part in the operation without knowing about the connection to Bin Laden. Health visitors in the area were among the few people who had gained access to the Bin Laden compound in the past, administering polio drops to some of the children.

Afridi had posters for the vaccination programme put up around Abbottabad, featuring a vaccine made by Amson, a medicine manufacturer based on the outskirts of Islamabad.

In March health workers administered the vaccine in a poor neighbourhood on the edge of Abbottabad called Nawa Sher. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in three doses, the second a month after the first. But in April, instead of administering the second dose in Nawa Sher, the doctor returned to Abbottabad and moved the nurses on to Bilal Town, the suburb where Bin Laden lived.

It is not known exactly how the doctor hoped to get DNA from the vaccinations, although nurses could have been trained to withdraw some blood in the needle after administrating the drug.

"The whole thing was totally irregular," said one Pakistani official. "Bilal Town is a well-to-do area. Why would you choose that place to give free vaccines? And what is the official surgeon of Khyber doing working in Abbottabad?"

A nurse known as Bakhto, whose full name is Mukhtar Bibi, managed to gain entry to the Bin Laden compound to administer the vaccines. According to several sources, the doctor, who waited outside, told her to take in a handbag that was fitted with an electronic device. It is not clear what the device was, or whether she left it behind. It is also not known whether the CIA managed to obtain any Bin Laden DNA, although one source suggested the operation did not succeed.

Mukhtar Bibi, who was unaware of the real purpose of the vaccination campaign, would not comment on the programme.

Pakistani intelligence became aware of the doctor's activities during the investigation into the US raid in which Bin Laden was killed on the top floor of the Abbottabad house. Islamabad refused to comment officially on Afridi's arrest, but one senior official said: "Wouldn't any country detain people for working for a foreign spy service?"

The doctor is one of several people suspected of helping the CIA to have been arrested by the ISI, but he is thought to be the only one still in custody.

Pakistan is furious over being kept in the dark about the raid, and the US is angry that the Pakistani investigation appears more focused on finding out how the CIA was able to track down the al-Qaida leader than on how Bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad for five years.

Over the weekend, relations were pummelled further when the US announced that it would cut $800m (£500m) worth of military aid as punishment for Pakistan's perceived lack of co-operation in the anti-terror fight. William Daley, the White House chief of staff, went on US television on Sunday to say: "Obviously, there's still a lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama bin Laden, something the president felt strongly about and we have no regrets over."

The CIA refused to comment on the vaccination plot.
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 16, 2011, 09:40:31 AM
Yes there will be consequences to a US withdrawl, but unless the US is willing to tackle Pak and focus on Pak....its not worthwhile to stay in Afghanistan, IMHO.  The paki contribution to US body bags needs to be stopped, or we should come back. The other important development that is only briefly alluded to are the voices suggesting division of Afghanistan. The handling of the Pashtoon "problem", ie the artificial demarcation by the Durrand line, is key to controlling Pak. Its not Kashmir which many westerners and Pak keeps alluding to. Even the Kashmiris in Pak occupied Kashmir dont want to merge with Pak, leave alone those from India. I anticipate, in the coming year(s), this issue will gain more interest and comment in the media. Pakistan is scared $hit, as to what will happen if the pashtoons unite on both side of the Durrand line.

Made in US disaster
July 05, 2011   11:18:33 PM

Ashok K Mehta

As the Americans flounder for an exit from the Afghan mess, India must be prepared for a precipitate and irresponsible US withdrawal.

The multiple suicide attack last week against Hotel Intercontinental perched on a hillock on the western edge of Kabul when Provincial Governors were meeting to chart out Afghanisation’s security reflects holes in capability of the Afghan National Security Forces. Not a single battalion of the Army can operate independently.

I stayed at the Intercontinental last year for a conference and wondered how the Taliban might storm the hotel. Of the three security checks along the road two were lightly held with armed guards. The third with X-ray machines was virtually in the hotel. But the rest of the area seemed uncovered, especially the slopes to the hill top. That’s where they came from and not along the road. The Taliban are both great improvisers and innovators, routinely springing new tricks and not afraid to die.

This setback will not derail the phased withdrawal beginning this month of the 33,000 US surge troops who will be out in 15 months. The remaining 70,000 troops are to deinduct by 2014. The politically choreographed drawdown is premised on preservation of gains of the surge. America’s Nato partners, except the UK, have earlier exit schedules which are to be finalised at the Chicago Nato summit next year.

US President Barack Obama’s 13-minute speech outlining the withdrawal marks the end of phase one of the war, a shift from counter-insurgency to counter-terrorism and from combat to combat support of the ANSF. The new US counter-terrorism strategy document released last week lays emphasis on raids and drone strikes.

The illusion of success has been buoyed by the dramatic elimination of Osama bin Laden and the annihilation of the Al Qaeda leadership, whereas opposition to foreign forces is from Al Qaeda’s affiliates, the Taliban. They too, have been degraded, some 2000 killed (700 middle-level commanders) and 4,000 captured, but nearly 80 per cent were civilians. Mr Obama characterised these ephemeral gains as “tide of war receding and drawdown from a position of strength”.

The core of Mr Obama’s assessment was embedded in two stark admissions: “We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place” and “nation-building has to be done at home facing rising debt and hard economic times”. The war cost of $12 billion annually and 30 to 40 body bags (in June there were 44) with nearly twice that number wounded monthly is politically unsustainable.

So how does Mr Obama hope to reduce American footprint, withdraw responsibly and leave behind a minimally stable Afghanistan? The key to transition — two small provinces and five urban centres, including Kabul, are to be handed over starting this month — is a capable and motivated ANSF. By October 2011, the Army will be 170,000-strong, to reach 240,000 by next year, optimally equipped with Nato class of weapons. Currently 70,000, the police force will increase to 130,000 but is terribly under-resourced. Too many countries are involved in their training and confusion obtains on whether it is to be CIS or policing. Interestingly, Pakistan’s hopes of a weak and sterile ANSF may turn out to be real.

A political settlement entailing power-sharing with the Taliban requires reintegration and reconciliation. Reintegration has proved more successful than reconciliation with nearly 2,000 rank and file Taliban reportedly brought overground. Response to reconciliation has been tardy despite claims of conversations with Mullah Omar’s aides, including some Taliban imposters. Here, too, many countries are involved: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK and Germany which is coordinating the talks.

Mullah Omar has posted in mosques in southern Afghanistan warnings of death to anyone who talks to the Government. And why will Pakistan, which wants to be part of the solution and not the problem, be left out of reconciliation, as it has been so far? In February 2010, Quetta Shura’s number two, Mullah Biradar, was arrested in Karachi by the ISI and Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha has ensured Mullah Omar’s relocation after the Osama bin Laden plucking. Both former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said the Taliban will not engage in serious and fruitful talks. The Afghans feel that for serious reconciliation the surge has to continue — otherwise even if an agreement is reached its implementation is unlikely.

Against this background the recently established Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Commission on Reconciliation and Joint Task Force on Infiltration are as good as the India-Pakistan Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism: Good only for the joint statement. Similarly, at the counter-terrorism summit in Tehran last week, the Presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan resolved to collectively fight militancy and oppose foreign interference — both aspirational goals.

The third element of the US exit strategy is turning the focus of operations from Afghanistan to Pakistan, reversing AfPak to PakAf, to neutralise Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan. In 2001, Pakistan was the base for the American war in Afghanistan; now it could be the opposite.

Cajoling and coercing Pakistan to act against its strategic assets will be the trickiest bit. Already the reverse is happening. Pakistan has asked the US to withdraw its trainers, close down drone bases, recall CIA operatives and the whole works. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is very angry the Army’s nose has been rubbed on the ground after the Osama bin Laden episode. He’s under extreme pressure from the conclave of Corps Commanders, political opposition and the public to punish the Americans.

As Pakistan is unlikely to cooperate easily, the frequency of drone attacks from Afghanistan will increase, prompting Islamabad to take up the legality of cross-border aerial attacks with Kabul and, who knows, the UN too. With US-Pakistan relations plummeting, training and capability of the ANSF under a cloud and good governance and a political settlement out of sight, Mr Obama’s exit strategy is as unworkable as Mr Henry Kissinger’s latest prescription in The International Herald Tribune: A ceasefire, withdrawal, coalition Government and an enforcing mechanism.

Already voices in the US suggest accelerated transition and division of Afghanistan if necessary. While the Americans are barking up the wrong tree, India must be prepared for a precipitate and irresponsible US withdrawal. Afghans want India to punch up to its weight without being inhibited by American and Pakistani sensitivities to a more proactive role. India must engage the Taliban and offer to equip and train the ANSF. But Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said last week in Washington, DC that India will not get involved in a security role. A rethink is required as was done on reintegration and reconciliation.
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 15, 2011, 09:51:54 PM

Why My Father Hated India
Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice."

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.

Though my father's attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.

To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan's animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.

The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India's Muslims would realize their "political and ethical essence." Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.

Iqbal's vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India's Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.

This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.

Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, in May 2009. He was assassinated in January 2011.

But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.

In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.

Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.

But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.

Pakistan's existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.

Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.

But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.

As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet's utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.

The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with "strategic depth" against India.

In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba's 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.

The army's duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.

This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country's wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.

The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India's sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal's unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father's tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.

This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan's obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 15, 2011, 09:37:59 PM

As predicted a  few posts back, "In the next few days, the US will call India to exercise restraint, and the indians will fume in impotent rage for a while....pakis will say india may attack and they need to protect the Indian border as opposed to the Afghan border, unless ofcourse US pays the 800 million$ predictable."  
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