Monday, April 13, 2009

Balochistan and Baloch Nationalism

Many in Pakistan, especially the generation of the 80’s and 90’s, cut off from the 60’s & 70’s erra by the State’s crackdown on information, publication and news during Military regime of Gen Zia, view Baloch Nationalism as a relatively recent phenomenon. The fact of the matter, however, is that Baloch Nationalist political and armed movements have recurrently arisen in the Balochistan after its division among Iran, Afghanistan & British India in late 19th and early 20th century.

Original Balochistan:

The information regarding an original Baloch State is shady, But a great deal is known about the early Baloch history through recent academic research and different historically prominent resources, which include the work of the famous poet Firdousi, when he details out the war between Alexander The Great & Baloch when he returns to Babylon via Balochistan. The secret documents prepared by the British Indian government in late 19th century and early 20th century by the British Indian ambassadors to Khanate of Kallat, War descriptions of Baloch forces who fought against Astyages (585-550 B.C.) and surviving texts and records from 1200 B.C. put them as an effective military and political force in time of Cyrus The Great and Cambyses. And they point out that:

  • Balochistan, a predominantly tribal state, has a loose, localized structure of power. Prime powers were delegated to the local ‘Sardar’. Khanate of Balochistan had its capital at Kallat.
  • The pre-dominant life style of Baloch, was reported to be semi-Nomadic and agricultural.
  • Baloch religions have evolved over the history of 2 millennia, but by late 19th century, it is on record that they are predominantly Sunni Muslims with exception of Zikiri’s in Turbat (still present in Turbat) and a minor population of Shia’s.

· The geographical area consisting Balochistan was

  • Kech and Makran(East Makran is now part of Iran, West Makran is now part of Pakistan, previously part of Sultanate of Oman)
  • Khanate of Kallat(Modern day Kallat Division, encompassing Panjgur, Turbat, Khuzdar, and probably Jafarabad & Naseerabad)
  • Sibi
  • Southern Punjab Districts of D.G. Khan, Rajanpur & Rahim Yar Khan
  • Jacobabad(modern day Jacobabad distt. Of Sindh),
  • Siestan (the modern day Siestan province of Iran including Zahidan, Taftan and port city of Chabahar)
  • Registan ( South of Helmand River of Afghanistan, part of modern Afghan provinces of Farah & Nimruz)
  • A migration to Oman, reported around 200 years ago, made a strong Baloch community there. currently Oman’s 35% population is Baloch. However, Baloch Nationalists don’t lay claim to this geographical area.

Mir Jalal Khan In the 12th century united a total of 44 Baloch tribes to form a consolidated Baloch political authority. Rind Lashkari’s established a Confederacy in 15th century in the command of legendary Mir Chakar Khan Rind. Khanate of Balochistan was established in the 17th century with headquarters in Kallat.

Division of Balochistan

Before the division of Balochistan, it was governed by Kahante of Kallat, recognized as an Independent state by British India. After the division of Balochistan (which was motivated by countering Russian influence in the region) and pleasing the pro-Russian Iran & pro-British Afghanistan, Kahante of Kallat was given the status of ‘Proctorate of Kallat’ and considered part of British India.

  • The Perso-Baluch division (The Goldsmid Line) took place in 1871 and through 1895 till 1905, during which Siestan and West makran were awarded to Iran.
  • Baloch Afghan frontiers were demarked in 1895, during which areas of Balochistan in Farah and Nimruz were given to Afghanistan.
  • The British annexation of Balochistan in British India followed soon after which put the Jacobabad in Sindh and D.G. Khan in Punjab.

Annexation to Pakistan:

Khan of Kallat, on 15th August 1947, one day after lifting of British Raj from Indian Sub Continent, declared Balochistan as an independent state. Mr. Jinnah, whose party was supported by the Khan during the 1946 elections was close to Khan of Kallat. He insisted on annexation of Balochistan with Pakistan. His visit to Kallat, was part of the effort to convince him to annex to Pakistan.

On April 1, 1948, Balochistan was annexed to Pakistan, officially, but not without a military presence in Kallat and adjoining areas. Baloch Nationalist are of the view that it was a full scale invasion, but keeping in view Pakistan Army’s commitment in Kashmir and its resource lessness at the time, others argue that it was a will full act on part of Khan of Kallat. The two opposing arguments still exist today.

Rise of Baloch Nationalism

Late 1920’s and early 1930’s saw a major political and armed revolt against the British Indian government. It was a time when suffering of Baloch people was felt across India, it eventually led to Mr. Jinnah’s demand of rights for Balochistan and providing state services in Balochistan in his 14 point agenda of demands presented in 1929.

In 1948, when Balochistan was officially annexed to Pakistan, with promise of greater provincial autonomy. Many people including brother of the then Khan of Kallat, Karim Khan did not agree with it. He was in favour of an independent Balochistan. He waged a small guerilla resistance for around an year.

In 1954, When the Government of Pakistan made the West Pakistan ‘One Unit’, and abolished all the provinces, a political movement started in Balochistan. Demand of this movement was re-establishment of Balochistan as a province, and providing the political provincial rights promised in 1948. Army operation went underway in Kallat which led to arrest of Khan of Kallat, and many others. A Baloch leader, Nouroz Khan, led an armed campaign against the Army, he was arrested in 1959, and died in prison in 1964.

In 1973, after Mr. Bhutto’s visited Iran, the then Shah of Iran demanded that Pakistan should show its commitment to Iran as a friendly nation, and act against Baloch insurgents, crossing over from Pakistan to Iran’s western borders, that resulted in a Military Operation in Balochistan.

The position of Pakistan Government was that this military operation was intended to crush the support elements for insurgency in Iran, while the Baloch position saw a rift towards an independent ideology rather than political autonomy as a province.

Soon after the discovery of 350 soviet machine guns and thousands of rounds of ammo in Iraqi Embassy, allegedly enroute for Kallat. Provincial government was dismissed and Army moved in Balochistan, with an alleged air support of Iranian Cobra Helicopters.

The number reported during that time by international media puts military casualties around 3,000 and tribesmen casualties around 5,000.

In 1977, when Gen. Zia took over, he declared victory in Balochistan and Army moved out.

It is perceived that there was a period of lull during 80’s. However many groups such as BPLF and BLA started to emerge during that time. The Government of Pakistan maintained that pro-Russian Communist Government in Afghanistan was behind funding and training of BPLF & BLA. It can be noted that the BLA’s policy of pursuing Greater Balochistan includes the Afghani Provinces of Fara and Nimruz, which is contradictory to the then Afghan Government’s position, on the other hand many analysts believe that after withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan, BPLF seized to exist and BLA was reduced to a very small support base.

During Gen. Musharraf’s regime, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the former C.M. of Balochistan, former Federal Minister, lead a media based campaign against Federal Governments policies towards Balochistan. Armed skirmishes were erupting around Balochistan targeting Gas pipelines and similar installations. A political dialogue led by PML-Q failed, the Army then again moved in Balochistan, which led to siege of Kohlu for weeks and Dera Bugti for months, and eventual death of Nawab Bugti.

The military spokesman of the time, maintained a position that Nawab was being supported by India via Afghanistan and had made an armed coup against the state. However opposition political parties, condemned this killing, and many liberal newspapers wrote editorials against this act.

Killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti was turning point for many Baloch leaders who believed in a political struggle for provincial autonomy, including Nawab Akhtar Mengal who, along with many others was arrested.

The infamous missing persons case, includes, the names of 450 Baloch nationalists as well, which eventually became the reason for illegal removal of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

A reported 900 Baloch tribesmen have lost there lives since then, engaged in conflict with the Army.

Balochistan Alaskan Model

When the new Government took power, the infamous constitutional package of Mr. Zardari, which was rejected by PML-N since it gave cover to unconstitutional orders of Gen. Musharraf of Nov 3, had infact, a proposition for Balochistan.

Soon after release of all Baloch leaders, with whom government went into dialogue, which led to formation of a clause in the package, that all resources in Balochistan were to be divided among province and Federation on a 80% provincial and 20% Federal share. No settler, not hailing from the current population of Balochistan will be given citizenship in Balochistan and right to vote. Only locals can vote. Gwadar port will be under control of Government of Balochistan.

Mr. Zardari cleverly tied it with the acceptance of the package as a whole, to create pressure on Mr. Nawaz Shareef. Mr. Nawaz Shareef rejected it on the pretext described earlier. Thus this political tug-of-war deprived people of Balochistan, with an important step towards addressing their suffering.

Unfortunately, an year has passed since then, and no one, from Government or the Opposition has said anything about it. Except the usual lip serving, nothing has been done.

Balochi Sex Slave scandal

A lot of Baloch were infuriated by this scandal. The details of this scandal surfaced with context to 23 year old Zarina Marri, a school teacher from a respected Baloch tribe, who was arrested in 2005 from Balochistan.

Mr. Munir Mengal, the managing director of a Balochi-language television channel, was arrested on April 4, 2006 from Karachi International airport by the state intelligence agencies and transferred to a secret jail in Karachi for nine months He narrated the story of the forced sex slavery of the young teacher Zarina Marri whom he encountered in a military cell. He was of the view that many other young women were held in captivity and forced into sex slavery; this is used as a tool to disgrace the rebellious Baloch Tribes.

Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) and Asian Human Rights Commission has issued statement validating the fears of Baloch Nationalists. Other Baloch Nationalists have also reported similar incidents.

Resignation of Baloch Leaders from Parliament and Senate.

Senator Sanaullah Baloch resigned from Senate, soon after elections citing ‘Concurrent List’ and short falls of 1973 constitution and military actions as reasons for suffering of people of Balochistan. The Balochistan National Party had resigned all its seats from parliament in protest over killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti .

This is creating fears among many, that Baloch Nationalists, are moving away from parliamentary and mainstream politics, as they don’t see any change in sufferings of Baloch people. The only path left, then, is either that of a military engagement or political struggle for a sovereign Balochistan.

Recent Killing of Baloch Nationalist Leaders:

Bodies of three prominent Baloch nationalist leaders, Baloch National Movement chairman Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Baloch Republican Party members Lala Muneer Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch whose bodies were found in Turbat, which sparked a violent streak of protests across Balochistan and Karachi. These members were reportedly arrested from the office of a former Opposition Leader in Balochistan Parliament. The Army spokesman has denied it categorically.

Nawab Akhtar Mengal, a prominent Baloch leader, and former parliamentarian, however, maintains his accusations against state intelligence agencies.

MQM held a rally on 12th April against the killings, while Supreme Court Bar Association has called for a week long strike of courts by Lawyers, All major political parties have condemned this act, as well as UN, US and Pakistan Army.

A statement issued by the US embassy confirmed that BNM leader Ghulam Mohammed Baloch played an active role in securing the release of American citizen and UNHCR official John Solecki, who was recently freed after being held for over two months.

The Modern Balochistan

According to Najam Sethi, editor-in-chief of Daily Times, in his T.V. program on April 12, for the first time in history of Balochistan a vast urban middle class is rising, it is nationalist in its political outlook. If something regarding suffering of Baloch people is not done soon, it will move along with the separatists version of a political future.

Baloch Nationalism in 50’s and 60’s was considered under the effect of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Even today, it is considered religiously liberal and moderate. Many analysts believe that it can be a force which is not allowing Talbanization to take place in Balochistan, if Baloch Nationalists are not heard, who are increasing their sympathies with separatist military groups like Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) things might take another turn.

The Baloch Nationalist movement, has taken a position, questioning participation in parliamentary politics. Even the mainstream politicians like Nawab Akhtar Mengal, are now airing their concerns of becoming part of political, parliamentary process.

The Pashtun population of the areas such as Pishin, Ziarat & Quetta consider themselves as a separate ethnic group. In 1992 armed clashes between the two led to imposition of curfew in Quetta and adjoining areas. This is another issue, relating to identity of a community of Balochistan, which is un-resolved.

Hazara population dominating the largest urban area of the province, Quetta, considers itself as a separate ethnic groups. They are not considered Baloch by Balochi’s. Though a minor population, but influential in Quetta and surrounding areas, have been ignored in the past, and remain one of the under progressed communities.

Pakistani media, military and Government Spokesmen, have repeatedly said that a cash in-flux from Indian Embassies in Afghan cities near Pakistan border, is the cause of recent upheaval.

Whatever the case, If issues of Balochistan are not addressed, and they are either ignored, or crushed upon by use of force, they might, soon, unanimously opt for an independent country, rather than a Province with liberties and rights they have demand in past.

Some Stats (provided by UNPO)

The total population of Baloch is 13 to 15 million people. Although there are no independent figures about Baloch population in Iran, it is approximated at 4 million Baloch, who do not enjoy even limited political and cultural autonomy. The Baloch Nationalists maintain that the Baloch population is deliberately sidelined and marginalized in policy and practice by the occupant governments of Pakistan, Iran & Afghanistan.

The Baloch speak Balochi and Brahui derived from the Indo-European - and Dravidian branches of language respectively.

Culture and religion

The majority of Baloch are Sunni Muslims with small minorities of Shia and Zekri.

Online resources for further reading:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

US Drone Attacks & Pakistan's National Security Policy

The committee for National Security is headed by Sen. Raza Rabbani, while members consist of all the ruling and opposition parties. It was announced by committee that they have reached a unanimous charter, only second time in the history of this military ruled and politically debacled country in 60 years, to counter external, but more importantly, internal threats.

The findings will be presented in National Assembly on 9th April and in Senate on 17th April, and made open for discussion in both the houses, and released to public.

It is widely speculated that, the new strategy's focal point is its toughened position on the infamous Drone Attacks. The drone attacks by NATO forces on Pakistan's tribal belt, bordering Afghanistan, is being viewed as a primary source of resentment of the locals against the Government of Pakistan, and has been a major motivational tool for the likes of Baitullah Mehsud, Mangal Bagh and Mulana Fazlullah's armed militia's, operating autonomously in the Tribal belt and adjoining areas.

Recently, all the major attacks, including the attacks on Sri Lankan Cricket team, the attack on Police Academy in Lahore and the attack on Paramilitary residential quarters in Islamabad have been cited as 'revenge' for the 'drone attacks' by the TTP leader, Baitullah Mehsood.

The biggest problem, for Government to reach an accord with locals for non-assistance to Taliban, have been these drone attacks. In the tribal belt, when a drone attacks the village of a particular tribe, and kills people belonging to the tribe, that tribe, according to the tribal traditions, takes it upon themselves to 'avenge' the death of their fellow tribesman. This is where the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) provides them with a platform to fight the 'agressors'. NATO forces, ( more commonly viewed as US forces) in Afghanistan, and Pakistan Army and Civilian Law and Order agencies as their helpers and co-conspirators in Pakistan.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported over 4000 deaths in past few years, not including the death toll of Army, militants, and those killed in Drone Attacks. Add to it the AFP and other independednt news aganecies reported toll of over 350 people killed by drone attacks, in 2008 alone.

While the death toll is humungous, the Pakistan Govt. from the out-set during the Bush administration has been meekish in objecting to drone attacks. Gen. Musharraf's government, not once raised the question of drone attacks on official forums. Things, however, are now shaping up, especially when US envoy Richard Holbrooke is here.

A common person in Pakistan views these strikes as a violation of Nation's sovereignty., an issue most people are sensitive to in their psychological make up. That view is now being represented by the National Assembly. It fans more anti-American sentiments, and makes the Govt. position difficult to openly acknlowdge the threat of extremeists and devise and persue a counter strategy.

While drone attacks have been effective in killing their main targets which sometime include high valued Taliban commanders i.e. Commander Naik Mohammad of Waziristan, and the foreigners(Chechen, Uzbek and Arab mercenaries) aiding Taliban,but the collateral they bring with them is huge. Only today a suspected Drone attack in a busy Waziristan market, fired a missile on a car parked outside shops. four people including two suspected Taliban and a shopper were killed, while another 4 shop keepers and shoppers were injured. In 2007, a suspected drone missile strike on a religious seminary killed more than 250 people in Bajaur.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Silent streets may lead to an assumption of support for terrorists, Time to raise our voice

The bloodbath incited by terrorist organisations boiled over today, when an alleged 20 or so terrorists attacked the Manawan Police Academy just outside Lahore.

It has been reported that at-least 26 people have been killed. The paramilitary operation still continues, and unconfirmed reports of more deaths and hostages are being aired on TV.

Dramatic terrorist attacks are taking place all over the country. A DCO and former Zilla Nazim were killed yesterday in Bannu, and a bomb blast killed many in a mosque in Peshawar. The ANP minister and supporter of Swat peace deal Mr. Billour escaped an attempt on his life a few days ago. and surely every one remembers the attack on Sril Lankan team at the start of this month. Not to mention the countless skirmishes between security forces and armed militants in various parts of Tribal belt, Dir, Swat & Bannu

While every one at individual level has been seen condemning these attacks, an organised public voice against these attacks has yet to be seen. Political leaders, political parties, Human Rights watchdogs, Lawyers, students or labourer unions, or the Civil Society in general has yet to register an organised condemnation of these activities.

One of the many reasons that many people turn thier eyes away considering it not a homegrown issue but an anti-Pakistan elements(RAW/Mosad) incited attempt to destabilize Pakistan. True there isn't a definite yes or no answer to this fear, but whatever the case, it is the local people who are carrying out these attacks. Local armed groups are being used to commit these horrific crimes against humanity. We need to show it to them, that even there fellow believers and countrymen codemn these and do not support there actions.

It's now more than clearly known that the current wave of suicide bombings and armed attacks and sectarian violence originate from the safe helms of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) in NWFP. Many argue that they are doing it in some justified and glorified pro-Islamic holy war against the Enemies of Islam, but, what animosity do the young teenage police recruits have with Islam? or for that matter the innocent prayer offering people in a Peshawar Mosque?

Need of the hour is, that, we as a nation, as a civil society, which has shown in past 2 years that it is politically active and aware, need to come out on streets, show that we do not approve of it. It will help create an awareness amongst the people in general that these atrocities are inhumane and have no seal of approval from the rest of the nation.

We also need to show it to the elements in power, President, P.M., Chief ministers, Police officials and the military chain of command, and decision makers that they have the backing of the nation to do something about this. Many critics and commentators point out to a reluctance on part of Govt. & Military to go on an all out offensive against these elements fearing a public backlash on such a Military Operation. We need to show it to them as well, that people are behind them to eradicate this menace which is costing us lives of hundreds of people every month and livelihood of thousands of them.

We need to show to the ones committing these atrocities that people in general do not approve of it, and they are not being supported by the silent majority.

Silence on streets can lead to an assumption that many in our society approve of these high handed tactics, and want these religious extremist elements to rescue us from the whims of this 'Kaafirana' democratic system, and bring about a religious revolution, at any cost and save us all.

It's high time, this nation must break the silence against these attacks and elements which have cost Pakistan more than 3000 lives(not including military, terrorst or infamous drone attack victims), and the number is rising.

* picture used is from, for source page click the picture.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mumbai Blood Bath, Apparent winners and loosers

Sometime after 9/11 I had the honor of traveling with Prakash Singh, a cloth merchant and resident of Kashmore, Sindh. In our discussions during the train journey from Sukkur to Lahore, 9/11 attacks came up naturally. He gave me a simple anecdote, “ just wait and see who benefits from it the most ? one who does, has more probability of being behind it than anyone else! “

If I take myself back to 27th November, and try to weigh the events in light of Prakash's anecdote, I find myself seeing these events in a different perspective.

Victims and their families are no doubt the ones who suffered the most. Victims include the public and security forces personnel. Close to 200 deaths and 400 injured is a huge toll. Multiply that with the same number of families and extended families, you end up with a number running into thousands.

Mumbaikars in general, have lost a lot. Mumbai just like Karachi, is a place where most things at the end get measured as good for business or not good for business. Theses events have certainly affected livelihood of the residents of Mumbai, currently the world’s most populous metropolis.

Indo-Pak relations are the most hit in the bigger picture. A decade’s worth of efforts and CBM’s from both sides have been undone in a matter of 59 hours. I suspect that now there will be quite some time before No I wont work in hate films will be the headline of Bollywood celebrity magazines, and Friendship Cup cricket series will be held. Already I see people getting back to pre-Kargil frame of mind with regards to the people on the other side of the border are concerned.

President-elect Obama had given a clear signal that India & Pakistan need to resolve differences on Kashmir issue, it was the word in grapevine that Pakistani Foreign Minister’s visit to India & Pakistani presidents’ Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir video conference with the Indian journalists a few days back, was part of that chain. Now I think we can safely assume, this whole initiative will be thrown out of the window.

Ironically, the investigation team, probing into the Samjhota Express arson incident was killed in Mumbai railway station attack, which was probing into Indian Army‘s involvement in the incident. The attackers fled without a scratch. This has already led to many Pakistani’s belief that the attacks were totally or in part staged to get rid of the investigators, as it would have brought ill-fame to the mighty Indian Army. An event similar to what we are very much used to here in Pakistan.

Keeping in mind that Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, and the attacks have struck the business elite of the city, the ramification for Indian economy might be ten-fold. A visiting head of a business corporate from Japan, representatives of a European business delegation, people close to film industry have been killed in attacks. In this time of global economic recession, the problems for India might be multiplied.

The right-wingers from both the India & Pakistan are the ones who will make the most out of it. Already people like Mr. Modi, CM Gujrat have spun into action, and are in spotlight with exchange of heated comments regarding the neighboring country. The fingers have been raised on banned outfits that is lashkars & jaish in Pakistan, it will certainly help them ramp up their public acceptance once again and they might be operating & recruiting out in the open.

ISI & RAW are once again back in the action. The two agencies have been pretty busy in the past half a century scroing points against each other. Sometimes it was ISI training and sending people to East Punjab & Kashimr, other times it was RAW with its training camps in Bhoj sending trained people to disrupt life in Karachi and activities in Afghan consulates. Both of them had to shun their activities, surprisingly so during early 2000’s when there was a military government here in Pakistan and BJP was ruling in Indai. Now, I guess the ball is back in the Intelligence agency’s court, rather than being in Parliaments or Presidencies.

At the end, the biggest looser is the average person, living in India or Pakistan . With Pakistan spending a hefty amount, more than it can afford to, on the military, the needs of an average person are usually ignored. India on the other hand having a fair portion of the soon to be biggest population in the world living far below poverty line, had to invest in its nuclear arsenal and spend billions of dollars annually to buy arms from France & Russia to provide for its army. The amount both the countries have spent on their respective military machines over the post-colonial erra is huge, and is often the very reason that they could not address and provide for the needs of the poor of the region.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The blame game is on! South Asia walking on a thin line,once again!

The fabled 'foreign hand' is behind the recent bloodbath in Mumbai, once again South Asian politicians use this time tested term. I wonder why is it used so fluently and why do we, the people on the both sides of the border, buy it on a regular basis ?

It was only a few days ago that I commented on a blog run by an Indian blogger that

" for the first time in our lives we see that less and less Indian films are being made with anti Pakistan propoganda, & even lesser anti-India sentiments in the 50 plus Pakistani TV channels. When Jammat-i-Islami and Pakistani Maulana's on the one side and BJP and the likes on the other are not airing anti-Indian sentiments, when our PM or President is not playing the 'Indian'/'Pakistan' card anymore, when TV,papers, blogs have nuetral stance towards towards each other, it definitely means things are getting humane, and once can hope for the best. "

But I am afraid, the blame game started in the after math of tragic Mumbai terrorist attacks is taking the whole of South Asia back to square one. As if this region and the two countries did not had internal problems of high magnitude already, I worry that we may be drawn, yet again, to the cross border fueds, verbal and actual.

I do not know what the Impression of Pakistan and Pakistani people is in India, but one thing is for certain that there never has been a hate activity from the civil society of the both countries. There always were the hawkish politicians, religious right wingers, conservative newspapers, short sighted media producers which made being patriotic in lieu with being anit-Indian or anti-Pakistani.

The recent events with which the Mumbaikers had to go through, were certainly targeted towards, terrifying and intimidating them in specific & Indian population in general. It has probably hit the Indian society where it is most fragile, the ethnic religious divide. It is now known that the terrorist were of Muslim origin, a couple of them of Pakistani origin. Demolition of Babri Mosque, Killing of Indira Gandhi, Burning of Hindu pilgrim trains have already led to unrest and carnage of huge proportions.

If possible, I would just like to convey my condolence to citizens of Mumbai, that we condemn these attacks. People in Pakistan do not approve of it, and neither do they are celebrating. The effort current Pakistani government is making, is to send out a message that Pakistan on official or public level is not involved in it, at all. If some high wired self proclaimed righteous group has used Pakistani soil to do this, lets find them and bring them to justice together. We are trying to cope up with this menace as well.

The 'foreign hand' has in past and might as well in future find itself used on the both sides of the border. One thing is for sure, it helps politicians on the both sides to cover their tracks. It helps conceal their inability to counter these problems. Nawab Akbar Bugti, a nationalist Balouch Sardaar, was killed in Baluchistan and military found a few thousand dollars in cash lying there besides him, clearly indicating he was an 'agent' of the 'foreign elements'!

I remember the view of certain government functionaries and pro-government reporters regarding the resurrection of Student movement in aftermath of Nov. 3. It was stated that the 'foreign element' was active in instigating the students to protest against the Musharraf Govt. We laughed our tails of at this comment.

Pakistani people have been a victim of violent activities from a long time. Sometimes at the hand of its own military, the Dhaka Medical College massacre in 1954, 'operation search light' in current day Bangladesh in 1969, Military operation in Baluchistan 1974, Military operation in Sindh 1994, The current military operation in Baluchistan and tribal areas since 2001. And sometimes at the hands of terrorist activities that have shaken the already fragile social fiber of this nation i.e. one after the other serial bomb blasts in Peshawar and adjoining areas during more than a decade of Afghan war, the heightened sectarian violence of late 1980's and early 1990's, the unrest and communal motivated violence in Karachi for most of mid 90's and then came the grand 'war on terror' and we were on the receiving end of a continuous salvo of suicide and car bombings. The painful ordeal of People in Swat, the unrest in tribal areas, bombings in Islamabad and Lahore.

So with all our previous experiences with similar incidents, we can, to an extent, realize what people in India might be going through. Whenever a tragedy like this strikes a nation, it shifts to an aggressive stance, politicians, in order to thwart the pressure upon them and to convey a message that something is being done are quick to blame it on the 'foreign hand', we have been a victim to this term before, I hope that this time around we don't fall prey to it. Because if we do, we are back to the hate culture that was bubbled down in the past decade, and that could be a biggest obstacle in progress, that more than a quarter of the world's population living in South Asia requires to survive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ISI closes the 'political cell'; Atlast it happened, a sigh of relief!

Mateen Haider of Dawn News, in an article on 23rd Nov. reported that the infamous 'political wing' of ISI has finally been closed down! It has been followed since by an editorial the next day.

I must say that this draconian, allegedly autonomous wing of the ISI, has been involved in making and breaking of the governments and political alliances. Specially the musical chair rounds of 90's when we saw 9 civilian and caretaker governments, and the icing on the cake with a military coup.

It is believed to have been operational by the self proclaimed Field Marshal, Gen. Ayub Khan. The questionable use of force by his Governor West Pakistan in forcing a favourable election result against Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. Gen. Yahya used it against the Bengali public and politicians, It was taken a step further and formally ordered by the late premier Z.A. Bhutto, who had no ear for criticism to force opposition members down. It rose to its peak during the Gen. Zia's dark 11 years. The making of a favourable 'Majlis-e-Shura', an unelected parliament of the Industrialists and Landlords,and to trace the anti-Islamic 'culprits' and punish them( lashed and hanged ) publicly,most of which were the 'leftist' labour and student leaders. Then the breaking of 1988 PPP government and sponsoring the effort to make 'IJI' and election rigging in its favour was confirmed by Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig under Oath. The most recent and popular election muddling by it was in the 2002 elections to help the pro-Musharraf PML-Q secure seats, with the help of Local Governments.

I must mention here that, Ardisher Cowasjee, of one of the senior journalist in Pakistan, has been writing periodically about this wing of ISI's, not to mention that he has taken the toll for doing so (remember the anti-Pakistani, pro-American, unfaithful Zorastrian propoganda ?). A few links from this very writer showing the rubber band nature of this cell:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Abraham Lincoln says.......

a) Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

sounds familiar..........?

b)Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

how unacceptable of an American President...........

c)As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

some idea, thankfully its not heard nowadays, otherwise how we could have the New World Order......