Guest contribution: War on the Taliban

By Reuters Staff
May 12, 2009

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone. The writer is the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Britain.

By Wajid Shamsul Hasan 

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had a vision of a modern, progressive and secular Pakistan. Yet some are trying to replace it with a Talibanised state in which schools are closed, heads chopped off, women flogged in public and a pagan religion takes over in the name of Islam that Allah the Most Merciful bequeathed to humankind through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to enlighten the darkened world.

Ever since its advent, Islam has been a religion of peace and compassion with no room for animosity for any other religion. Its fundamental tenet is Huququl Ibad – that is, you would not do unto others what you would not want to be done to you.
 
Not withstanding the ugly facts as to how we have come to the present tragic pass we must remember that the world is a stage where players play their part and fade away. However, when it comes to a leadership role, some leave indelible footprints on the sands of time. Others who play foul with the destiny of a nation are consigned to the dustbin of history or are acknowledged as unavoidable footnotes mentioned for their misdeeds.

While not condoning the questionable role of some of the civilian leaders of the past, members of the superior judiciary, civil bureaucracy and selective elite, the most devastating impact on Pakistan’s growth on sound democratic lines, in keeping with Mr Jinnah’s unequivocal emphasis that religion shall have nothing to do with the business of the state, was dealt by the constant direct extra-constitutional interventions by military dictators for over 31 years.

Indeed, had General Pervez Musharraf’s presidency lasted any more than it did, he would have surely led the funeral rites of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan. In his last days – having pushed Pakistan onto the road to Talibanisation – he had the audacity to declare publicly that he was foreseeing the sad demise of the Quaid’s Pakistan. Had martyred Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and other democratic leaders not bulldozed through his bunkered existence and forced him to drop his uniform and hold elections, Pakistan would have had its swan song sung.

This government has been in power just a little over a year. It had not only inherited a bankrupt economy but found itself facing a civil-war like situation. Musharraf had left insurgency at its height in Baluchistan. Northern areas had been abdicated to the Taliban. Not only that, they were given a free hand to romp around the entire country brandishing their newly acquired AK-47s, rocket launchers, and well-mounted anti-aircraft guns on the latest four-wheel drives.
 
Suicide bombings, the chopping off of heads, the molestation of working women, the destruction of educational institutions and Sufi shrines, the execution of journalists and foreigners and rampant attacks on law-enforcers had become the order of the day. The establishment of the institution of the Red Mosque in the heart of the federal capital under the very nose of scores of intelligence and other agencies served as a role model of what was in store for rest of the country, along with the recovery of several tonnes of the latest weapons and pornographic material. All this was allowed to happen by Musharraf with a method in his madness – to tell the world it had the choice only between him or the Taliban – with control of nuclear weapons.

The new democratic government – while ushering in a peaceful and consensus-based transfer of power at the centre and in the provinces – had to save the country from being declared a bankrupt state and overcome the fall-out of sky-rocketing oil and food prices internationally. It had to carry out a flurry of economic and political diplomacy. The President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Federal Financial Advisor and other top functionaries have been personally taking the initiative. In his just concluded visit to the United States, President Asif Ali Zardari won crucial support from the U.S. for his democratic government, socio-economic development and the war on terror.

Every journey abroad taken by Pakistani leaders has taken them to pastures new, to attract investment and seek assistance for the rapid economic development to fulfil martyred Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s vision of making Pakistan an egalitarian state. Never before in the history of Pakistan was so much mobilised in such a short time as now to pull the country out of the quagmire of socio-economic problems.
 
Billions of US dollars in aid committed to Pakistan by Washington, London, Japan, China and other Friends of Democratic Pakistan have plastered egg on the faces of those who wanted the nation to believe that frequent official tours abroad were merely pleasure trips. Indeed, they will soon know how sweet the pudding tastes once money pours in to power the wheels of industry left idle by the previous regime, leading to massive unemployment.

General Musharraf’s legacy was rapid Talibanisation in the country. While he spent most of the time flirting with them when the scourge could have been nipped in the bud, he left it as an Achilles heel for the democratic government.

Coming from a democratic dispensation, the government had to weigh the pros and cons of all the options available including dialogue and direct military action. Having failed to show the Taliban pagans the right path, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief General Ashfaque Pervez Kiani in consultation with other leaders and parliamentarians, have at long last launched the decisive battle to save Pakistan from Talibanisation. No doubt the cost of this operation has a gigantic enormity in collateral damage, the dislocation of hundreds and thousands – no price is big or small for protecting one’s motherland.

The bloodthirsty Taliban had left Pakistan no choice. It will be the Pakistani military’s finest hour when it successfully roots out for all time the Taliban scourge from the face of the country. They have to do it with full force not only to secure the country but to revive their image as one of the best fighting forces in the world – an image rusted by General Musharraf and his abuse of the institution.

Last but not the least, the government is carrying out on a war footing the relocation and relief of hundreds and thousands dislocated families. It is our national responsibility to ensure that those who have sacrificed their hearths and homes for the defence of the country are not only honoured but compensated and rehabilitated. All those who laid down their lives in the battle – whether soldiers or civilians – their families must be provided lifetime sustenance. And as soon the Taliban are driven out or eliminated, massive development work will have to be put into action to provide livelihoods, modern education and healthcare, and the local population made partners in the management of their affairs.

The writer is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to London.

62 comments

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Crap!

Posted by anup | Report as abusive

Thank you Sir Wajid.Pakistan Army commandoes have just been air dropped to Swat areas, I was listening to Gen. Athar Abbas DG ISPR breifing the press just an hour ago on Geo TV and ‘Operation Rah-e-Haq’ (straight path) is in full swing. The whole nation is galvanized, Pakistan armed forces are forging ahead against the militants, the terrorists have no option but to surrender. Residents in other towns are accomodating their brothers from Swat, Mingora, Buner etc. Those are not refugees but our brothers and help will be provided to them at all costs in this hour of need.Surely, the dream of founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah will not vanish, the people of Pakistan have elected a democratic government and together with the armed forces will tackle every challenge.Thoughts and prayers are with the 29 members of armed forces who have embraced martyrdom and speedy recovery of 77 injured. Their sacrifices for Pakistan will never go in vain.Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

There is no need for me to say the old reminders about the mistakes and bad choices Pakistan’s establishment made over the years. Some of them I can list again here. And these are responsible for what Pakistan is facing today.1. Believing that Pakistan is much bigger and mightier than what it is. Pakistan compares in size and other features to Iran or Afghanistan. But it spent all its time trying to equate itself with India and trying to match it. Pakistan did not realize that if India made one step, Pakistan had to sprint over five steps at a time to catch up. And this mindset had led to Pakistan’s fatigue and fall out.2. Wrong ideals and wrong goals – Pakistan has been floating around like a rudderless ship from the beginning. Its founder wanted a nation for Muslims so that they do not live under Hindu rule. Then he wanted it to be a secular nation where a Hindu would cease to be a Hindu, Muslim would cease to be a Muslim etc. This is exactly what Gandhi and Nehru were saying. After getting a country on their own, they have never bothered about building a nation with responsibility. It is easy to protest and incite riots. It is very difficult to run an establishment.3. Wrong association: Pakistan spent its time aligning itself with cold war super powers to get weapons to match up with India and that is all it did all these years. It spent all its time assuming India to be an evil and has lived off this paranoia.4. It never made any friendly approach towards India and derailed any peace attempts between the two countries, the Mumbai attacks being the recent one.5. Taliban is its own creation. The martyred Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister when the permission to launch the Taliban into Afghanistan was approved.We wish Pakistan all the best in countering the Taliban. However, Taliban is not merely men with weapons. Taliban is a belief and mindset. While men can be killed, the mindset will not die. It will spread through the hearts of those who hate the Punjabi dominated military, use ethnic hatred to spread fast and emerge again much bigger than before. And Pakistan has not had the time to address this problem. Pakistan is doing the same thing it has been accusing India of in Kashmir. India is fighting insurgency sponsored by terrorists trained by Pakistani establishment. And civilians die in the bargain. Pakistan is fighting insurgents it created in Swat. And civilians are dying in the bargain. I hope Pakistan has learned a lesson not to set fires in others’ homes because the flames can spread towards itself.

Mr. Wajid Shamsul Hasan:@The bloodthirsty Taliban had left Pakistan no choice.”-That Taliban is bloodthirsty is not a new discovery. Taliban was equally blood thirsty–fond of beheadings/chopping off body parts—in Afghanistan, and all courtesy Pakistan. I guess if Taliban did not perform these beheadings in Pakistan, Taliban would have continued with merry making and all these questions will not even arise.with this background of Pak-Taliban interplay, the fundamental tenet in the following quote from your article has not been followed and you do not even realize this. I hope you could have connected Afghanistan here.”"”Ever since its advent, Islam has been a religion of peace and compassion with no room for animosity for any other religion. Its fundamental tenet is Huququl Ibad – that is, you would not do unto others what you would not want to be done to you.”"”So Pakistan did this to Afghanistan and is getting it back.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Mauryan,I am interested to see if Pakistan will awake to a new beginning in the middle of all of this army created Taliban nonsense.I am still not sure if the army is staging this whole Taliban thing for the benefit of the world to get money and arms, while willing to sacrifice soldiers and civilians for the greater “Good” to confront India with mass proxy armies and jihadi’s in the long run, or is the Pak Army, finally cleaning up its own fecal droppings, since those droppings are making everyone sick in Pakistan.My support is for those Pakistani soldiers who give their lives so others can live, my support is not for the Pak Military itself, or its lack of moral direction and moral core, but the soldiers and their families, should be commended by any person of any country, as they are engaging the 8th century’s mental illnesses.It is hopeful that the Pak Army can reflect on the errors of its ways and correct its current behaviors and make corrections for its past behaviors and cease and desist all anti-India activities and persue a greater regional co-operation on all levels with India as this is the only way there can be cultural reconciliation.The first matter, after crushing the Taliban, would be to eliminate the Al-Qaeda leadership and then crush, demolish and eliminate all strategic proxy army jihadi foreign policy assets, aimed to attack and destablize India and a peace accord with India guaranteeing that the existing borders remain and that neither country engage in military or any kind of proxy army adventures aimed at causing problems and destablization.This could be a great opportunity for the Pak Army to gain the trust of 1.2 Billion Indians, perhaps even respect of the world, since it has none now, the question is, is will the Pak Army and ISI squander this grand opportunity for their own selfish Punjabi motives and those of their own families in the gated communities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad?

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

One more thing to add,Pakistani’s often brag about their 700,000 army, why don’t they use it to stop and eliminate all those Radical Extremists who are causing war on India? If Pakistan can turn the page on extremism and reign in all its unofficial “non-state” actors, “miscreants”, criminals, “mujahideen”, they can even put them in uniform, if they wish, as long as they are under command of the army, that could be an acceptable end to the cloak and dagger aggressions by the PA/ISI against India in the past.The Punjabi Fauji’s must then cease all nefarious dirty tactics in Afghanistan and India.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Mauryan,You and I predicted this quite well over the last few months, we correctly stated several times that the Taliban would backstab the PA and never keep their end of the bargain.Paki’s need to realize that this is one thing that Indians were right on, how many other things do they think that India is also right on?This peacedeal or surrender to the Taliban was perceived as a sign of weakness by the Taliban, just as I said earlier in my posts, and now they are scrambling to contain it.It appears that the Pak Democratic Gov’t and the Army had no judgment making ability at all, when they made the peace deal and now they are reactively try to contain the Taliban.Unless we see huge redeployment of the PA Eastern front against India, I am lead to believe that Pakistan has staged this whole Taliban fiasco for a bigger goal and gone to great lengths to create Alibi’s and smokescreen perceptions to hide its goals to start a future war with India.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

WHY NOT A PLEBICITE IN PAKWEST, THINK!!!sINCE pASHTUNS SEE THEMSELVES AS A DISTINCTLY SEPARATE ETHNIC GROUP,JUST THE WAY KURDS DO, UN SHOULD MEDIATE AND A PLEBICITE BE IMMEDIATELY HELD ABOUT THEIR JOINING AFGHANISTAN. WHY SHOULD A DEMOCRACY BOMB ITS PEOPLE OVER A VAST AREA OF LANDTHE INHABITANTS ARE TREATED AS FOREIGN FORCE INVADING PAK,THATS TODAYS GROUND REALITY

@The first matter, after crushing the Taliban, would be to eliminate the Al-Qaeda leadership and then crush, demolish and eliminate all strategic proxy army jihadi foreign policy assets,………..”-posted by Global watcherGlobal watcher: A US blogger yesterday asked: “Whom are we fighting against?” So the question who is Al-Qaida, is it some achievable goal. This is unadulterated crap. Is Al-Qaida a country that you station and fight? The only guys that US/NATO can fight against is Taliban since taliban = Al-qaida in my book. At one point, there were rumors that US/NATO are thinking of making deal with Taliban (there still might be and will be). The policy is keep the pot hot, but when a big fire (like Taliban now) breaks out, exitinguish to a managable level.The only truth here is civilians are displaced for real, soldiers dying for real.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@Rajeev,Please don’t buy into this neo-liberal left wing nonsense about “who is Al-Qaeda?”. Al-Qaeda is not some made up fairy tale my friend. I said they should capture the leadership, that being Osama and Zawahiri and their lower level leadership as well. This will deal a huge blow and send a message.Just remember 911, these Yemeni, Saudi and other radical nationals almost collapsed the global economy, yes, all this economic stuff, the iraq war, all precipitated due to 911.I feel bad about so many people getting displaced, maybe this is what Pakistan must go through, Pakistan must go through a nasty case of diarrhea and vomiting, before it is cured and non-contagious, that is all this is.At the same, time the other germs, like the LeT, JUD, etc..should be dealt with. That is all that I am saying.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Rajeev,At the end of the day, it does not matter what you call them, they are Radical Extremists, who have an agenda of hurting innocent people and imposing a forceful religio-political agenda that is pure evil at its core.You can call them Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or even the “Mickey Mouse Club”, the label is irrelevant.Evil should be crushed unequiovocally, no apologies are to be given and no permission is required.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

GW writes: “I am interested to see if Pakistan will awake to a new beginning in the middle of all of this army created Taliban nonsense.”There is an emotional weakness in the sub-continent. People do not want to suffer alone. If they lose something, they also wish that the others lose equally or worse. Pakistan is struggling right now. They must be looking at India and saying, “F*ck, these guys are having a good time. They need to suffer, because we suffer. Let us do something to them as soon as we get out of this hole.” So the history of the sub-continent has become like the story of crabs inside a glass jar. Pakistan might learn from the Taliban experience. But they are not going to turn friendly towards India because of that. In fact, I expect their venom to multiply. Even if India kept quiet and minded its own business, they must be thinking that the Taliban itself is armed and trained by the Indians. Some are already doing so.As I see it, this Taliban issue is not going to die. The military may run over them, killing thousands of civilians in the bargain. It is going to set up such a hatred towards the military that, Pashtuns who dominate the Taliban, might decide to secede and join their Afghan brothers.BTW, the Durand line expired in 1993. So FATA, NWFP etc are not legally bound to Pakistan. The people of that region can join whichever union they want or stay independent. If the current conflict leads to a seceding of Pashtun land inside Pakistan, it might set off a domino effect on other ethnic groups.

MauryanBTW, the Durand line expired in 1993. So FATA, NWFP etc are not legally bound to PakistanCan u explain this

You are wrong Pakistan was made for muslims. If America had answered with education in a subtle manner then we would not be having this problem today. You do not spread democracy using a military offensive. There are muslims all over the world none of them want a secular environment that will benefit only the powerful and corrupt.

Posted by Usma Tariq | Report as abusive

aah yes, the usual cast of the computer nerds are back once again in another post, giving their “expert” advise and predictions to all of us.we see all these “facts” and references being made and the “i told you so” statements. its funny how every indian thinks they are an expert on pakistan. indians claim, that pakistan needs to stop thinking about them and focus on its internal problems, which is actually true, but the sheer speed and volume of comments made kinds of does show that we do have some indians who day and night sweat pakistan. now this article and the contributor overlooks many facts and over states others. yes mushraff was not the perfect leader of pakistan, but he actually did more for the country than the other leaders. was he buddy buddy with the taliban, of course, but so was every pakistani leader with the exception of zulfikar bhutto. nawaz sharrif and benazir were nothing but a waste of time and drove pakistan’s economy into the hole. benazir coming back as some sort of “savior” was just a show and a fraud, and nawaz sharrif well he is just and idiot. zia ul hak was the one to open the flood gates for the wahabbis to come into pakistan in the first place. the worthless pakistani government stood by as for decades these wahabbis massacred shias, suffis, and ahmedis. the only reason they are even taking any action now is just to show the world they can do something if the check is big enough. caught in the middle of all this are hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians and poor people. its funny how all you “experts” failed to point out that this would be a major casualty of the war.

Posted by hassan | Report as abusive

Umair said”Athar Abbas DG ISPR breifing the press just an hour ago on Geo TV and ‘Operation Rah-e-Haq’ (straight path) is in full swing. The whole nation is galvanized, Pakistan armed forces are forging ahead against the militants, the terrorists have no option but to surrender. Residents in other towns are accomodating their brothers from Swat, Mingora, Buner etc. Those are not refugees but our brothers and help will be provided to them at all costs in this hour of need.”Here comes Umair with his rhetoric. I just really hope (for the sake of your own good)that whatever you guys say, even if 1% of it is actually happening, it will be be sign of improvement. Do you really mean that those refugees are your brother? Do you want to tell what you have done do far for them? I hope you don’t say the things if you dont mean them.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

In a complete state of denial By Murtaza RazviTuesday, 12 May, 2009PAKISTANIS, our government in particular, have been living in a state of denial on many issues confronting the country for long. These mainly include the threats posed to the state from within, without negating altogether the gravity of the challenges posed from outside. We come out shining while denying reality on both counts — as if they are mutually exclusive.Firstly, one must note the withering away of the state’s writ, not only in Fata, Swat and Balochistan but all around. Like everything else that is so rotten and bad with us now, this trend could also be blamed on Gen Musharraf’s eight long years in power, and perhaps justifiably so. In the big cities crime is rampant and terrorists strike at will. The flaring up of ethnic tensions in Karachi which left a number of people dead recently, and terrorist assaults on the Sri Lankan cricket team and a police training school in Lahore in March as well as the recent bombings in Peshawar are but obvious examples.http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/con nect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/paki stan/11-in-a-complete-state-of-denial–03 WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: As many as 42% Pakistanis — nearly every other citizen of the country — hold India responsible for the Nov 26 terroristattacks in Mumbai, according to a new opinion poll.”When asked if they believed it to be true that the attacks were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), only seven percent replied yes, another seven percent replied maybe, and 78% said no. In response to an open-ended question as to who they thought was responsible for the attacks, the top three replies were India (42 percent), I don’t know (33%), and America (20%),” the International Republican Institute (IRI) said in a release.The Washington-based IRI, which describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation, conducted the poll between March 7-30 and released the findings in Islamabad on Monday.Ambassador,you are in denial. The people you are bombing are not Pakistanis. The Durand Line agreement between Pak and afghan govts.had expired in 1993

Azad writes: “Ambassador,you are in denial. The people you are bombing are not Pakistanis. The Durand Line agreement between Pak and afghan govts.had expired in 1993″Pashtunistan is the next chapter that is going to unravel. No one likes a military patrolling their streets. This is what Pakistan used in Indian occupied Kashmir – to draw the Indian military to the streets and make locals hate them and get the feeling of an occupational force. They are now going to taste that medicine themselves.Only Pashtuns are no Kashmiris. culturally one is a hound dog and the other one is a rabbit. India got the rabbit and Pakistanis have to deal with the hounds. It was easy when the hounds could be unleashed on others. But when it gets mad and attacks the master, things can be unnerving.Al Qaeda is going to drive a wedge between Pakistan and the Pashtuns. That is the only choice they’ve got right now. If they fail to do so, then they will be snuffed out. If they succeed, then Pakistan will begin to collapse. India must be very, very careful. Pakistan will try to drown it in a war in desperation and might use its nukes to take India with it.

I have a general question at Pakistani’s out there, especially the ambassador.If Pakistan collapses, hypothetically, the Pashtuns create so much trouble that it becomes uncontainable, do you thing that India should receive some nukes as a parting gift, from a collapsing Pakistan, even though India is completely un-involved and innocent in this Taliban fiasco?Should India be harmed uselessly as a gesture of jealousy? As one final swipe on the way out, just as a measure to settle an ill-kept score against India, since Pakistan is falling, India has no right to exist either?What moral, ethical or legal ground would Pakistan have doing such a dastardly act?If Pakistani’s believe this to be true, India needs to seriously consider its pro-active and pre-emptive options.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: As many as 42% Pakistanis — nearly every other citizen of the country — hold India responsible for the Nov 26 terroristattacks in Mumbai, according to a new opinion poll.This is again proof that a country living with a daily dose of propaganda from its civilian liars, military propagandists and other religious interest groups have a grip on the Pakistani’s minds. Pakistani’s therefore suffer from a collective mental illness, if the population suffers from a collective mental illness, how can it survive?Sanity, reason, logic, morality and fairness has evaded Pakistani’s and their nation for 60 years, the world is finally watching Pakistan now, for even a glimmer of it.The decision for the fate of Pakistan has begun. The question is, what kind of Pakistan is going to emerge?

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

“When asked if they believed it to be true that the attacks were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), only seven percent replied yes,…..”That’s the real statistic hidden in there: Only 7% believe that Pakistan had anything to do with the Mumbai attacks. Actually, for those who have had interactions with Pakistanis, this doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Pakistan as a nation is mired in delusion & conspiracy theories. It’s illiterate populace has lost the capacity to differentiate between fact & fiction.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

“Pashtunistan is the next chapter that is going to unravel. No one likes a military patrolling their streets”- MauryanBaluchistan could be an earlier chapter as it is unraveling as we speak. The anti-Pakistan sentiment is extremely strong there.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Mortal writes: “Baluchistan could be an earlier chapter as it is unraveling as we speak. The anti-Pakistan sentiment is extremely strong there.”If Pakistani establishment shows signs of weakness, then the rats will try to leave. Interestingly, Balochis do not like Pashtuns either. They are miffed that Quetta is filled with so many Pashtuns that Balochis have become a minority there. The mutual hatred between different ethnic groups inside Pakistan can explode at moments like now. Every community there passionately hates the Punjabis for their dominance. Now there is a huge crack developing between Punjabhis and Pashtuns. No one likes the MQM. I have read an article by a Pakistani major that MQM works for India (!). The spiral tail spin has started. Let us hope damage is minimal.

GW writes: “The decision for the fate of Pakistan has begun. The question is, what kind of Pakistan is going to emerge?”Pakistan will not emerge. It will dissolve. What emerge out of this are small nation states divided along ethnic lines. If the war between PA and Pashtuns gets out of control, they may agree to give autonomy to Pashtuns recognizing the expiration of the Durand line in 1993. The US may broker this deal. This way they don’t need Pakistan’s permission to pound the Taliban strong holds. If Pashtuns get what they want, then others might follow suit.

Mauryan :”Pakistan will not emerge. It will dissolve. What emerge out of this are small nation states divided along ethnic lines.”-Are you a Self proclaimed fortune teller? With a strong federal government in Islamabad and the world 7th largest Army controling a nuclear stockpile of weapons, Pakistan cannot be broken. I will not go into more detail, just remember this is a nation of 170 million and determined to guard Pakistan’s territorial integrity.So i dont want to see someone state absurd jokes like ‘Pakistan is about to collapse’ or ‘Pakistan is teetering on the brink of collapse’. Because it would be stupid and waste of time to do so, since we all know Pakistan is strong enough to keepthe unity of the country and destroy its enemies.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Mortal:”Pakistan as a nation is mired in delusion & conspiracy theories. It’s illiterate populace has lost the capacity to differentiate between fact & fiction.”Mortal its you in a state of denial, Pakistan had nothing to do with Mumbai. If those are non-state actors, you cannot blame the people of Pakistan for that incident. Pakistanis are not all illiterate, you will find educated Pakistanis, you will find those among Pakistan who have full situational awareness and grasp of international relations and skilled in diplomacy.So lets go to India, mired in communal and ethinic tensions, bogged down in insurgencies India is a lamb state. Indian parliamnet attack or Mumbai 2008, India cant retaliate against a nuclear Pakistan. Why? it knows Pakistan’s retaliatory capability and the damage it can do. And we all know the poverty in India which is worse, with a huge population living under the poverty line. India has massive challenges ahead, so you worry about your illiterate Indian brothers more. By the way how is the weather in NY? i hope Hillary is not telling you any make up stories about Pakistan.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

ISPR PRESS RELEASEPAKISTAN ARMY GHQ RAWALPINDINo 130/2009-ISPR Dated: May 13, 2009Rawalpindi – May 13, 2009: COAS has instructed the Army to ensure minimum collateral damage even at the expense of taking risks, by resorting to precision strikes.Pakistan Army is acutely aware of the nature of ongoing operations in Swat and elsewhere, and their likely fallouts.Consequent to any military operation in populated areas, collateral damage and IDP issues are always a natural outcome. Infact the overall success of operations in such areas is a sum total of the three efforts i.e conduct of military operations, minimizing collateral damage and correctly managing IDPs.COAS said that management of IDPs is as important as military operation in Swat. It has been decided to provide all out support to Government and International Agencies in the management and rehabilitation of IDPs. For this purpose a Corps Headquarters headed by Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed (Ex Deputy Chairman ERRA) has been tasked to form a Special Support Group for IDPs, for coordinating and directing all efforts of Government, Army and other Agencies for optimal utilization of resources in providing relief.or the first time in its history, Pakistan Army has taken a decision to give part of its daily ration (items of daily food; Atta, Sugar, Ghee and Dhall) to these IDPs. This exemplifies the Army’s spirit of sacrifice. The food items so provided will be able to daily feed about 80,000 adults. Furthermore, Army is deploying its medical resources in all the IDPs camps. These medical camps will have adequate medicines for 90 days. Local Military Hospitals will also go on surge to treat patients.Inshallah, together the Pakistani Nation and Army, will provide relief to the IDPs in a manner, which will rekindle the memories of 2005 Earthquake relief effort.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Pakistan Army image is rapidly improving in the public, much needed public support is being enjoyed by the Army. Pakistan Army was always known to come in and help the civil society in natural calamities and disasters like earth quake and flooding. Disaster management organizations like (ERRA) Earthquake Rehabilitation and reconstruction Authority, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the national level focal body to coordinate and facilitate the disaster management has been engaged in management of IDPs of Bajaur. The armed forces, the government and the people of Pakistan are united to face any challenge.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Pakistan Army offensive against terrorists, latest Updateshttp://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main .asp?o=t-press_release&id=636Inter Services Pubilc Relations, Pakistan ArmyHilal Road, Rawalpindi, Postal Code: 46000Phone: +92-51-9271605, Fax: +92-51-9271601Email: ispr@ispr.gov.pk

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NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITYPRIME MINISTER SECRETARIATISLAMABAD, PAKISTANhttp://ndma.gov.pk/news_room.htm l#ManagementOfIDPsIn response the recent influx of IDPs, NDMA and provincial authorities are fully geared up to meet the challenge.NDMA teams along with representatives of UN Humanitarian Agencies have been deployed in Mardan to coordinate and facilitate civil administration.http://ndma.gov.pk/news_r oom.html#ManagementOfIDPs

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair – “Mortal its you in a state of denial, Pakistan had nothing to do with Mumbai. If those are non-state actors, you cannot blame the people of Pakistan for that incident”You just proved my point about Pakistanis being delusional, with your comments. The whole world knows the connection between your army, ISI & LeT (the group that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks) & yet you sit there and tell me that they were ‘non-state actors’. It’s well substantiated fact now that for decades, your ISI trained & sponsored ‘non-state actors’ have carried out terror episodes in India & yet you continue to live in denial. My friend, either you are hallucinogenic or most likely, you know the truth but don’t wanna accept it, like most Pakistanis.”Pakistanis are not all illiterate, you will find educated Pakistanis, you will find those among Pakistan who have full situational awareness”I’m talking about Pakistan as a nation. Of course there are exceptional intellectuals in Pakistan like Ahmed Rashid, Tariq Ali, Pervez Hoodbhoy etc. who are able to see with clarity & have the courage of conviction but unfortunately most of them are termed as Indian & American agents by your brain-washed populace. As per the latest statistics from numerous sources, literacy in Pakistan is down to the low teens & dropping as we speak.”So lets go to India, mired in communal and ethinic tensions, bogged down in insurgencies India is a lamb state.”Again, you come up with baseless & unsubstantiated rhetoric about India which is absolutely nonsensical. You’ve gotta get out of your schizophrenic madrasaa mentality & come up with facts instead of baseless blabber. As much as you wich so, the truth is that there are no ‘communal tensions’ in India. India has not retaliated against Pakistan because, unlike your country which is always itching for an armed conflict, it’s a responsible nation & understands the consequences of an large scaled conflict. Besides, you guys are self-destructing, it would be moronic to do anything now. Talking about poverty, yes India does have a lot of problems to solve & poverty is right on top. As per the recent figures, India’s poverty rate in 2008 was 26% & by most estimates, by 2014 it will drop to 18%. The current poverty rate of Pakistan is 41% & by most estimates by 2014 (if Pakistan exists in it’s current form), it will be close to 60%.BTW, the weather here in NY isn’t too bad. Low 60′s & cloudy & Hillary is busy cracking nuts.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Umair cries: “Are you a Self proclaimed fortune teller?”No. But one can tell the various possibilities and one of them works. In the case of Pakistan, I was looking forward to the new US regime under Obama to look at the reality and call a spade a spade. And Obama did just that. His administration zeroed in on the reality and said that Afghanistan cannot take off as a nation, unless Taliban is eliminated. They looked at Pakistan and understood that Taliban’s heart, brain and arms are the Pakistani establishment. So they pushed Pakistan to sever the blood lines with Taliban. Pakistan did not do it for sometime. So they increased the pressure with drone attacks. Taliban began to eat into Pakistan. Now Pakistan had no option but to fight the Taliban. This far, I could predict the possibility quite well. It is easy to tell when a blind man will walk into the door. And your country just did.As far the future, I see strong possibilities. The strongest possibility now is the last ditch effort by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Your army cannot handle insurgency. It has only experience in creating it. And there is no time to get trained in it. So PA is going to close its eyes and run through the wall. Your people can support the army or a bridge for all I care. They never had any voice in anything anyway. So their support for the military or anyone else makes no impact on the situation. So Al Qaeda is going going to puncture your system at various places to cause chaos. This will force your government to make a peace deal with the Pashtuns. And the Pashtuns might want to go on their own. There might be a massive defection from your beloved army by the Pashtuns. And that will put Pakistan at the brink. The US will get nervous about the nukes and might get involved. There is no need for fortune telling. These are very strong possibilities. I really do not care if they do not come true. I lose nothing.”With a strong federal government in Islamabad and the world 7th largest Army controling a nuclear stockpile of weapons, Pakistan cannot be broken. I will not go into more detail, just remember this is a nation of 170 million and determined to guard Pakistan’s territorial integrity.”All this chest thumping has not helped your country. I can only feel sorry for you.”So i dont want to see someone state absurd jokes like ‘Pakistan is about to collapse’ or ‘Pakistan is teetering on the brink of collapse’. Because it would be stupid and waste of time to do so, since we all know Pakistan is strong enough to keepthe unity of the country and destroy its enemies.”Your enemy is deep inside your territory. And it will only spread with a violence-only approach. And now you have to feed your refugees as well. I do not know how many in your 170 million population are like you. I hope you belong to a minority. If not, God bless you all. That’s all I can say at this point.

Mauryan:”God bless you all. That’s all I can say at this point.”Thank you and Allah bless you, we dont have any agressive designs against anyone. We want to live in peace and with honor and dignity. As long as you guys dont cross certain lines everything will be fine.Pakistan is pretty much capable of dealing with its internal challenges, amid all the scenarios, those who predicted 6 months back that Pakistan will collapse are still waiting to see that happen. Six months from now I will ask you.Pakistan at the moment is launching an offensive against terrorists, and at the same time dealing with the humanitarian crisis. the 2005 massive earthquake already tested our resilience and we got united at that time of need. Today also we remain united, you can make as many assumptions as you like but remember reality is always different.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

The Taliban and all their leaders should be publicly hung!! If the military has the guts to do it. I believe this operation would be out of steam in a few more days.This is because the downpayment 400 to 500 million dollars is nearing end and another dollout is needed( pun intended).The Taliban should be finished and with this provincial autonomy should be given to all the provinces. We,Sindhis,dont want to live with the Punjabis who have stifled all resources in Pakistan which have accrued through our wealth(Karachi still contributes more than 50% of revenue of Pakistan).Moreove the war with Taliban should not be stopped.We need to step up and have a good intelligence network, not one which is specific to India, so they can know before hand what the militants are upto.the sophisticated weapons etc which the militant have doesnt it convey a failure on our intelligence/military in the first place?Exterminate the Taliban and all who stand for it.

Posted by Suleman Maniya,Goteborg,Sweden | Report as abusive

Lies .. liars and lying liars!Let me know when u stopped lying, I’ll read Ur crap!People like you should find a rope or gun to kill urself. Only for people like you that Pakistan is in such condition today.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

its funny how all you “experts” failed to point out that this would be a major casualty of the war.- Posted by hassanIts another example of dumb denial by Pak army and admn. They could have asked Indian army for some tips for crying out loud. OR could have learnt from SriLanka which has botched up its own offensive on its people. What a neighborhood India lives in.A major campaign like this should have had some preparation/planning. The offensive should have been preceded by a >2 weeks notice of mandatory evacuation; with arrangements to receive evacuees with tents and other mundane needs already in place. Medical and health supplies should have been adequately stocked up.Pak has plenty of stuff from its massive earthquakes it went thru in recent years. Once people were given adequate time to evacuate, then and only then, the offensive should have commenced.They were in a hurry to get the checks from US donors, so they have begun this massive military exercise with a preparation only comparable to a limited overs cricket match. This one I hope they wont blame it on India.

Can u tell us how much China donated at the FoDP meeting?My information says ZERO dollars.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

The Taliban should be finished and with this provincial autonomy should be given to all the provinces. We,Sindhis,dont want to live with the Punjabis who have stifled all resources in Pakistan which have accrued through our wealth- Posted by Suleman Maniya,Goteborg,SwedenI’ve come across quite a few Sindhis, Mohajirs, Balochs & Pashtuns, who echo similar discontent. They all seem to be sick & tired of Punjabi shenanigans & anti-India hate ideology. I hope you guys can gain your independence, learn from past Pakistani mistakes & chart your own course.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Umair writes: “As long as you guys dont cross certain lines everything will be fine.”We have not crossed any line since 1971. It has been your guys crossing the line all these years since 1989.We have our own issues and we are busy with those. Only we are watching the situation in your country. The reason is caution. We want to make sure that events inside your country do not spill over to our side.So it is important to look at all possible scenarios that are unfolding.”Pakistan is pretty much capable of dealing with its internal challenges,”We have been seeing Pakistan’s internal management for the past 62 years. In 1971, a part of your country experienced genocide and seceded. Then it is all musical chairs between military generals and corrupt politicians. Now the radical Islamists have joined the game too. And Americans are trying to get involved as well. We do not want to comment on it. It is your country. You can run around any which way you want and sit in any chair you like. We are only watching the game from a distance because sometimes chairs get hurled in our direction. So we are seeing in which direction your chairs are flying.”amid all the scenarios, those who predicted 6 months back that Pakistan will collapse are still waiting to see that happen. Six months from now I will ask you.”That Pakistan is at the brink of a massive collapse is real. No matter how much you can window dress it, the reality is too stark for everyone to see. Whether it is 6 months or 6 days, it hardly matters. No one can predict events precisely. And it is not a wish. At least not for me.”Pakistan at the moment is launching an offensive against terrorists, and at the same time dealing with the humanitarian crisis.”You reap what you sow. I don’t have to fill in the details.”Today also we remain united, you can make as many assumptions as you like but remember reality is always different.”I doubt that. You guys get united only if there is an outside enemy like India or the US. Otherwise it is shirt tearing contest.

It was Ian Botham who once said, “Pakistan is the sort of place every man should send his mother-in-law to, for a month, all expenses paid.”

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

@There are muslims all over the world none of them want a secular environment that will benefit only the powerful and corrupt.- Posted by Usma Tariq–Pakistan has not been democratic and I don;t think US is in Pakistan to spread democracy. Historically they love dictatorships—due to easy arm twisting. Hmm…..this is the first time I heard that “secular environment” benefits only the powerful and corrupt. Perhaps you meant secular/democracy. But this does not fit with Pakistan with non-secular, dictatorship rule most of the time.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@now this article and the contributor overlooks many facts and over states others. yes mushraff was not the perfect leader of pakistan, but he actually did more for the country than the other leaders. was he buddy buddy with the taliban, of course, but so was every pakistani leader with the exception of zulfikar bhutto. nawaz sharrif and benazir were nothing but a waste of time and drove pakistan’s economy into the hole. benazir coming back as some sort of “savior” was just a show and a fraud, and nawaz sharrif well he is just and idiot. zia ul hak was the one to open the flood gates for the wahabbis to come into pakistan in the first place. the worthless pakistani government stood by as for decades these wahabbis massacred shias, suffis, and ahmedis. the only reason they are even taking any action now is just to show the world they can do something if the check is big enough.”- Posted by hassan–In this post, you patted Musharraf and Zia-ul-Haq–the dictators and spanked all the civilian govts-Benazir, Nawaz Sharif etc., who many paksitanis like.Are you pro-dictatorship guy? or are you not overlooking that this blog would not have existed, had these dictators not existed. They lost wars, lost the territories and robbed Pakistan by their corrupt practices, made pakistan unsafe by inviting super-powers, played short-sighted games—al this Taliban etc. Perhaps you are so disillusioned that you do not very much like dictators but hate civilian govts but then how is Pakistan running so far and better yet how far will it go?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@If Pakistani’s believe this to be true, India needs to seriously consider its pro-active and pre-emptive options.”- Posted by Global WatcherGW: I am sure Indian civil and military leadership have plans for all the scenarios. Obviously, since such issues are serious, Indian plans will never be known to you and me.@Pre-emptive/pro-active? To me, this is not possible with a country like Pak that is fully Nuclear. Any such attempt will unleash what otherwise was avoidable–the nuclear war. I never buy into this Nuke-war talk–people who have the buttons to control are more responsible than we think and us talking without knowledge makes us irresponsible. That is not to say India is relying on any comfort. Such strikes are OK for discussion by retired generals. If you know, India (with or without Israel??) thought about it in 80s when there was a real chance to stop Pakistan from getting into NUKE stuff. A Pakistani bluff (??) was enough to cool India down. Specifically on Nuke issue and wars and killing innocents, for all this hue and cry there is only one uncivilized nation on earth that used nuclear bomb and waged wars in recent history that disturbed everything—-no treats to guess that.With all discredit to Islamic terrorists, I cannot swallow the idea of “West” and “civilized world” go together: here is what West did wiped out civilizations (and you think they are running after 3 A-Q goons without success):Wiping out of Native americans by US, of Incas in South America by Spanish, of aboriginals in Australia, wiping out pagans in Italy, Nuclear bombs on Japan; shooting dead several thousands unarmed civilians in Jalianwala Baagh in Amritsar India by Brits for no reason; In modern time wars in middle east and Iraq to overthrow Saddam, killing 100,000 civilians within few months of “shock-and-awe”. There is one thing common here—West. These are not small things. This is cleansing. So in matters of wars and peace, I better be on my toes when dealing with the West.Of course the terrorism in question we face today is real. This is a terrible game with non quick fixes. No wonder generations take birth and die watching the same problem.@Please don’t buy into this neo-liberal left wing nonsense about “who is Al-Qaeda?”. Al-Qaeda is not some made up fairy tale my friend. I said they should capture the leadership, that being Osama and Zawahiri and their lower level leadership as well. This will deal a huge blow and send a message.–Not buying any thing. I just noticed that at least 100,000 civilians (no one knows the real #) and several thousand troops died, trillion dollar spent and 2 terms of Bush have passed and what’s the output on A-Q issue? How many leaders/area commanders have been captured? Yes agreed that there is invisible war going on across the globe perhaps to catch this. But do you know what US is shooting for in Af-Pak. I know they are not killing birds with drones, but we are talking big considering the investment that has gone into. How do we know the war is over. I do not know. I will love to know. A-Q Leadership will die natural death with all this stress of hiding and running place to place. Their death or US catching 3 will not finish A-Q Inc. I am not seeing a well-defined goal, that’s all.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Umair, with all due respect:@Mortal its you in a state of denial, Pakistan had nothing to do with Mumbai. If those are non-state actors, you cannot blame the people of Pakistan for that incident.”-posted by Umair-Umair: This is extreme case of non-sense and insincerity on your part. Be a good Muslim at least and be consistent in your messages. But who is blaming “people of Pakistan”? Indians blame your leaders/army who design fancy pro-terror policies. Do you think LeT did not do this? You read their pamphlets. How do you explain Kasab? Let me see what you have to offer. PLease do that ASAP otherwise I am implicating that it was on specific orders of your Army/ISI that this operation happened. Do not be selective in shpwering your sympathy. At least think about 40 Muslims who died in Mumbai, if you are unused to thinking at any human level. Or exercise your right to remain silent if there is nothing sane to offer. Crazy!@So lets go to India, mired in communal and ethinic tensions, bogged down in insurgencies India is a lamb state.-Thanks for info.@Indian parliamnet attack or Mumbai 2008, India cant retaliate against a nuclear Pakistan. Why? it knows Pakistan’s retaliatory capability and the damage it can do.–For so much energy spent into this blog, and asking above questions, you must be one hell of an irresponsible or childish person.Pakistan needs to stop being an immoral state–all that slogans and mottos on website are of no-help.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

if the neocons’ goal is to limit indian and chinese access to energy, who benefited from the parliament and mumbai attacks?

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Rajeev writes:”: I am sure Indian civil and military leadership have plans for all the scenarios. Obviously, since such issues are serious, Indian plans will never be known to you and me.”I am not sure I trust our planning acumen or alertness. Our military was caught napping when Musharraf sent his soldiers dressed as Mujahideen on to the peaks of Kargill.Despite intelligence alerts ten terrorists could sneak into Mumbai and wreak havoc. And our commandos had to come in from Delhi after much delay to finish them off. The Israelis complained about the amateurish way our commandos operated at the Jewish synagogue in Mumbai.We are not good with intelligence and we have not formed an organization that deals with such situations yet. The same with our nuclear command structure. Pakistan is more advanced than India in this regard and they got kudos for that.

wadosyyou are getting there,looks like you have a keen mind to learn south asian geopolitics.Just think outside the box you locked yourself in, the box of israel and palestine. They are just two small countries in a corner of Asia.Now, your option is to join the denial school of thought or accept the fundamestalist school of thought. If you believe the 911 perprators are americans then you can not graduate ever.

Umair writes: “Pakistan had nothing to do with Mumbai. If those are non-state actors, you cannot blame the people of Pakistan for that incident”That’s right. WTC towers were not brought down by Al Qaeda either. The US never dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hitler never authorized the Nazi concentration camps. Pakistan never involved itself in Indian affairs. Kashmir is an alien territory. Taliban was created by the US. ISI is a charity organization. Red Cross is a terrorist group. East Pakistan genocide never happened. They agreed to separate amicably. India’s claims of victory is all false.If Mumbai attacks were done by non-state actors, it says that your ISI is one and it acts with no accountability to a government. Wait a minute, which is your government? Who is running Pakistan? The Military or the name sake civilian government that runs until the next general gets ready to take over? The mullahs? Looks like everyone is a non-state actor. The only state actor in Pakistan seems to be the USA.

if the neocons’ goal is to limit chinese and indian access to energy, who benefits from stirring up so much trouble between india and pakistan that pipelines from the persian gulf to india, china and gwadar are impossible to build?

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Robert D. Blackwill, former U.S. Ambassador to India, is a senior fellow at the RAND CorporationFinally, in my judgment, there should be intimate, intensive, and utterly private U.S.-India talks on how to deal with a turbulent and increasingly chaotic Pakistan in the period ahead, including examining the policy implications of various specific scenarios regarding deteriorating events in Pakistan. I recognize that this is an exceptionally sensitive suggestion, but it is absolutely necessary for a host of reasons, not least because it would be the United States and India that would be most affected by a Talibanization of Pakistan.With that in mind, how can it be that we are not comprehensively and candidly talking together about it? Indeed, there may come a time if Pakistan continues its gradual descent into anarchy when the United States and India may be forced to adopt together, along with Iran and other nations, a strategy of attempting to quarantine the Wahabi infection as much as possible within Pakistan and to try to minimize its export.http://www.outlookindia.com/full. asp?fodname=20090513&fname=blackwill&sid =1&pn=2Deshis, read this article, Outlook India is a reputed magazine, very comprehensive indeed.

quoting myself…”if the neocons’ goal is to limit chinese and indian access to energy, who benefits from stirring up so much trouble between india and pakistan that pipelines from the persian gulf to india, china and gwadar are impossible to build?”nobody can handle the question.good enough.

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Mauryan, you said:”Umair writes: “Pakistan had nothing to do with Mumbai. If those are non-state actors, you cannot blame the people of Pakistan for that incident”That’s right. WTC towers were not brought down by Al Qaeda either. The US never dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hitler never authorized the Nazi concentration camps. Pakistan never involved itself in Indian affairs. Kashmir is an alien territory. Taliban was created by the US. ISI is a charity organization. Red Cross is a terrorist group. East Pakistan genocide never happened. They agreed to separate amicably. India’s claims of victory is all false.If Mumbai attacks were done by non-state actors, it says that your ISI is one and it acts with no accountability to a government. Wait a minute, which is your government? Who is running Pakistan? The Military or the name sake civilian government that runs until the next general gets ready to take over? The mullahs? Looks like everyone is a non-state actor. The only state actor in Pakistan seems to be the USA.”You know I never be ceased to be amazed at the nature of the Pakistani psyche to believe in selectively fictional account of every event in Pakistan. They seem to believe in every conceivably absurd conspiracy theory and fear mongering possible.What is even more amazing, is that, if the rest of the world had the same mentally ill mindset, every human on earth would believe 1000% in the existence of Reptilian Green or Grey Aliens from beyond and that they are the cause of every problem known to man, every problem from the indigestion and gas I have to the ozone layer dissappearing, despite the fact that there is no evidence of them or at the very least that all evidence seems to strongly not suggest their existence.The world is wondering when Pakistani’s will begin to for once, think rationally and carefully for themselves. We beg you all, please, for once, quit believe the liar Punjabi’s Fauji’s in Rawalpind and Islamabad, they have lied to you and twisted your mind with propaganda and we also beg you, to use logic, rationality and humanity, outside of a religious context and lift the veils of deceit, lies, conspiracies, hate and mis-perceptions from your mind, please free it and you will see an entirely different type of world and the way you see yourself in the world will change as well, it is not that bad of a place, not everyone is out to get you.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Spiralling violence targets minorities15 May 2009, 0032 hrs IST, APKARACHI: Fauzia Abrar had finally gotten her crying baby to sleep when screaming men pounded on the steel doors of her home in the mostly Christianslum in Karachi.Suddenly she heard shots, and the screaming grew louder: “Long live Taliban! Death to infidels!’’ The men forced their way into her house, hurled loose tiles and a glass at her and fired a shot. She fainted.As the Taliban gains a stronger foothold in Pakistan, increasingly violent assaults against religious minorities are further evidence of its growing power and influence. While the Taliban does not carry out all of the attacks, extremist elements inspired by the group will sometimes act in its name.In dozens of interviews from Karachi to Peshawar, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus told of attacks and threats. “In Pakistan today there is a lot of feeling of fear by all the minorities,’’ said the revend Richard D’Souza of St Jude Church in Karachi. “We feel we have no protection.’’Religious minorities represent about 5% of Pakistan’s 160 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook.

@I am not sure I trust our planning acumen or alertness. Our military was caught napping when Musharraf sent his soldiers dressed as Mujahideen on to the peaks of Kargill.-Mauryan@We are not good with intelligence and we have not formed an organization that deals with such situations yet. The same with our nuclear command structure. Pakistan is more advanced than India in this regard and they got kudos for that.-MauryanMauryan: I was talking only about Nuke policy of India to defend any notion anyone around here has that a nuclear warhead will find India napping. Or do you think so? Have little confidence in Indian Army. Overall India has defended herself well–except for Chinese 1962. Terrorism is a whole new ball game. I don’t want India to become an Israel in tackling terrorism—that’s self-imposed house arrest. We are better and have many positives to show among failures. Non-Nuke issues are routine situations. Have you forgotten, it was advantage India in 1965 against much praised Pakistan who took at least 2 yrs for planning the war. mauryan it is easy to attack than to defend. India can do the same and catch many napping. But India is not an aggressor. For all the notoriety of ISI, what’s happening inside Pakistan now? Many Pakistanis blame ISI incompetence for Lal Masjid situtation–That was not a small thing in the middle of Islamabad.@Mumbai/Isreal: Israel blamed the Germans the same way about Isreal players hostage situation in Munich Olympics. You think Isrealis have not messed up?–they have killed their own guys in commando situation. Agreed they have successes to show and are better than India in hostage handling, but we cannot listen to Israeli crap that Indian commandos killed Jewish.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev writes: “I was talking only about Nuke policy of India to defend any notion anyone around here has that a nuclear warhead will find India napping. Or do you think so? Have little confidence in Indian Army.”I have complete faith in the Indian military’s capability. It is one of the best militaries in the world, very professional and excellently trained. I am not so sure of our intelligence and emergency response for internal issues. Plane hijacks, Mumbai style attacks are not military’s domain. We need to improve our internal defense systems. In Rediff I read a few days ago where there was an article mentioning about India’s inadequacy in regards to internal security.I am completely in the dark about our nuclear command structure and how well things are protected.

@Rajeev, Mauryan,Despite India, its many problems and some social divisions and communal friction, which is going to happen, time to time, given that 1.2 billion people live there, India has not forgotten its past and never will. The Moghul Genocides are among the most bloodiest slaughters that mankind has ever seen. India has paid its past bad Karmas in full, slaugher within and slaughter at the hands of the British and Moghuls, now India will reap only goodness, progression, success, safety and security. When it comes to some common core ideals, all Indians, regardless of caste, religion, culture are all on the same page and Indian Unity is mightier than ever. India has every right to maintain high vigilance, high security and a military deterent, many miles higher than any of its neighbours.If Mumbai, 1971, 1965 are any indication, India will continue to be the financial, moral and ethical model of achievement in democracy, technology, political openness and equality for all, as per the law and its consitution.But let’s be very clear, the inertia of 7000 years of splendour will alway be tested. We have our share of problems, but Our foundations are rock solid, our existence is justified and true, we have aggressed no body, stolen from no body and hurt no body, through hard work and creativity, we have risen from nothing.All this needs a vast and superior overwhelming military deterrent, overwhelming relative to all its neighbours.India shall never be the aggressor, but if it is aggressed, if all options are exhausted, it should crush its opponents with finality.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

GW,India is now poised to go on a path of prosperity. I am so delighted to see the latest election results. The voters have chosen what they desire – peace, stability, maturity and progress. Right now, only Congress under Man Mohan Singh can deliver that. This election has proved every pundit wrong. This is very good news.I was worried about who would get to form a government at the center. A coalition of rag tag political parties with opposing ideologies would have led us towards some kind of an instability. At this time, having a stable government is very crucial and on top of that, I wanted to see someone mature and respectable. My prayer has been answered.India will only be approached with respect by world powers for what its people have accomplished. Those who call us as a regional bully, should look at our democratic system and learn how to run their countries peacefully.Pakistan and its allies would have like to see a reactionary party at the center, like the BJP. That would have worked in their favor if they prodded India with terrorist strikes. Now they will be forced to cleanse their morally corrupt system that believed in wars and insurgency. This is good for us and it is good for them as well.

Today’s Indian election result is great news for India & all Indians. Now, with a decisive mandate, the Congress lead Government can fearlessly move ahead with reforms without being black-mailed by the leftist parties or other regional parties. India-US relations will also get stronger & India’s reputation in the global comity will get even better. I had no doubt that the Indian population will reject the polarizing & communal forces and give mandate to secular & progressive forces. It’s a happy day for Indians & people of Indian origin, all over the world.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Those who delude themselves feeling safe in a nation made for Muslims should note what India has demonstrated – A Sikh Prime Minister on his second term, supported by an Italian immigrant of Christian faith, to be sworn in by a woman President. And no one voted on religious lines – Hindus or Muslims. Everyone voted for secularism and stability. BJP lost the elections because of what Varun Gandhi said and Narendra Modi was projected as the stand in PM. Secularism is demonstrated by the vote and not by those who get to power. Learn from us. Get rid off militancy, get rid off radical Islam and become secular. Compete with us on progress and constructive things. Do not compete with us on war terms. You are trying to put down a fire you had grown for us. Embrace democracy and throw out the military generals and feudal lords. We have shown you by example. This is the real big brother.

GW, Mauryan and Mortal:Great to hear about Indian election result. Like Mccain, Advani is out of the race for the highest office. From rath yatra to this result. Good ridance. Like Republicans in US have been learning lessons by including diversity and using a different approach, BJP has to shed its Hindutva slogan. It has failed them. Many Indian bloggers on other sites have been asking for Modi/Advani as the saviour PM after Mumbai attack. All this has not worked for BJP. Congress UPA is back but we do need a strong, sane and progressive alternative party to not Congress sit in an easy chair. I am not sure how BJP will do in future. Bajpai helped them in the past and that;s why they were in power. Hopefully they learn something.Mauryan, No question that India’s internal security system needs big changes. “Chalta hai” “ho jayga” attitude is not a match for these terrorists. Intelligence and swift security reponse is needed. Police commandos, paramilitary commandos should be trained with all the modern weapons. There are young people out there who have all the fire to do this job. I have seen in PUnjab how KPS Gill changed a demoralized Punjab Police to a competent police. he has written a lot on reltaed issues on “South Asia Terrorism Portal”. I find it ridicuolus that India/Pak are spending fortune on planes/missiles but completely ignore the internal security.GW: I agree With you. Despite all the negatives, a majority of Indians do not think about religion as the dividing force. while we tackle radical Islamic terrorism, India needs to pay special attention to rising Hindu fudamentalism before we get into some situation where we have take drastic steps. Rule of law has to be applied more forcefully.

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All in the name of Peace:WASHINGTON, May 18: A special death squad assassinated Pakistans former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on the orders of former US vice-president Dick Cheney, claims an American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.Mr Hersh, a Washington-based journalist who writes for the New Yorker magazine and other prominent media outlets, also claims that the former vice-president was running an “executive assassination ring” throughout the Bush years. The cell reported directly to Mr Cheney.In an interview to an Arab television channel, Mr Hersh indicated that the same unit killed Ms Bhutto because in an interview with Al Jazeera TV on Nov 2, 2007, she had said she believed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was already dead. She said she believed Omar Saeed Sheikh, an Al Qaeda activist imprisoned in Pakistan for killing US journalist Daniel Pearl had murdered Bin Laden.But the interviewer, veteran British journalist David Frost, deleted her claim from the interview, Mr Hersh said.The controversial US journalist told Gulf News on May 12 he believed Ms Bhutto was assassinated because the US leadership did not want Bin Laden to be declared dead.The Bush administration wanted to keep Bin Laden alive to justify the presence of US army in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban, Mr Hersh said.The Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist claimed that the unit also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country.Mr Hariri and the Lebanese army chief were murdered for not safeguarding US interests and refusing to allow US to set up military bases in Lebanon. Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot, Mr Hersh said.According to Mr Hersh, Lt-Gen Stanley McChrystal who was last week named the new commander in charge of US forces in Afghanistan, ran the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence.Gen McChrystal, a West Point graduate and a Green Beret, is currently director of Staff at the Pentagon, the executive to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.A media report noted that most of what Gen. McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the JSOC.On July 22, 2006, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled ‘No blood, no foul’ about American torture practices at three facilities in Iraq. One of them was Camp Nama, which was operated by JSOC, under the direction of then Major Gen. McChrystal.Gen McChrystal was officially based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, but he was a frequent visitor to Camp Nama and other Special Forces bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where forces under his command were based.An interrogator at Camp Nama known as Jeff described locking prisoners in shipping containers for 24 hours at a time in extreme heat; exposing them to extreme cold with periodic soaking in cold water; bombardment with bright lights and loud music; sleep deprivation; and severe beatings.When he and other interrogators went to the colonel in charge and expressed concern that this kind of treatment was not legal, and that they might be investigated by the military’s Criminal Investigation Division or the International Committee of the Red Cross, the colonel told them he had “this directly from Gen McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in”.On March 11, Mr Hersh told a seminar at the University of Minnesota that the unit Mr Cheney headed was very deeply involved in extra-legal operations.“It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” he explained. “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office … Congress has no oversight of it … It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.”Mr Hersh said: “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”Although Mr Cheney had ignored such allegations in the past, recently he began responding to these charges, making counter-allegations against the Obama administration.Last week in particular, Mr Cheney appeared almost daily on popular talk shows and also delivered a formal address at the American Enterprise Institute on the importance of interrogation techniques widely considered to be torture. Once known for his reticence and low profile, Mr Cheney has now become his party’s most audible voice.Media commentators, however, attribute his sudden exuberance to the fear that if he did not defend himself, he might be prosecuted for authorising torture.“Mr Cheney knew, when he began his media assault, that the worst of the horrors inflicted upon detainees at his specific command are not yet widely known,” said one commentator. “If the real stuff comes into full public light, he feared the general outrage will be so furious and all-encompassing that the Obama administration will have no choice but to … seek prosecutions of those Bush-era officials who specifically demanded those barbaric acts be inflicted upon prisoners.”One blogger wrote that Mr Cheney not only authorised water-boarding, putting prisoners in confined spaces, pushing them, slapping them, putting bugs on them or demeaning them and their religious faith.He quoted former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as telling a congressional panel in July of 2004 that if pictures of such acts were “released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse”.Mr Hersh recently gave a speech to the American Civil Liberties Union making the charge that children were sodomised in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon had tape of it.

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Dear Mr Hasan,May your thoughts be true. May Allah lead your country to realisation of the vision you share with us.May you, and the likes of you, grow in strength and the ability to lead your people along the path of Sufi Islam, democracy, economic development and humanistic values.May your people evolve spiritually, without being parochial or bigoted, and your nation espouse secular values across the entire spectrum of public life.

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