Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Disneyland Pakistan by Ayesha Siddiqa

  By Ayesha Siddiqa

Published: December 25, 2013

The magazine, Hello!, has just published a special edition for Pakistan highlighting a list of ‘Hot Hundred’ — profiles of 100 Pakistani icons ranging from brilliant writers, playwrights, novelists, polo players, fashion designers, actors, singers, models and many others. The message is simple: Pakistan is not only about terrorists and extremists but also about very promising people, who can compare with their counterparts in any part of the world. One is, however, intrigued by the Disneyland or Hollywood characteristic of this Pakistan — very clean and tidy, English-speaking, educated, urban and upper and upper-middle class.
This Pakistan is not complicated either because it doesn’t want to bother with the uncleanliness of poverty or the chaos of nationalisms and beliefs. So, why be surprised to see that all the bad Pakistanis in the recently released and much-applauded film, Waar, are lower middle class, while all the good ones are physically modern, speak English and can even be seen in one scene with goblets? This progressive Pakistan has an even simpler and easy to manage politics. We need to build a dam to progress and anyone that opposes it has to be a foreigner (preferably RAW) agent. And we shouldn’t even bother with the fact that a lot of opposition to a large dam is because those displaced as a result of the Mangla and Tarbela Dams were never fully accommodated or compensated, or that there are serious issues of inter-regional distribution of water. But why get into such complexities when you can simply boil it down to poverty or the ill will of the under-privileged and the poor. A good-looking country can’t deal with poverty. However, given the ambition and hunger for strength and power of the upcoming upper-middle class, why waste time with reducing poverty and why not just not look at the poor and poverty.
Recently, at a conference on terrorism, I heard a Pakistani police officer, now working with an international donor agency, talk about how the poor had greater propensity towards violence. A similar conclusion was also made by an Islamabad-based NGO a couple of years ago, linking food insecurity with militancy. The conclusion was that there was violence in Fata and Balochistan because of scarcity of food. The analysis did not even bother to explore the fact that the level of violence in these places is not proportionate to the amount of hunger. Also, what about focusing on the negative role played by the state? But then, why should we forget that simple conclusions are appreciated by even multilateral aid donors. The conclusion that sectarian violence is basically class warfare makes for donor-friendly analysis. Why bother explore that the source of sectarian evil in south Punjab, for instance, was selective manipulation of the poor by some elite groups and families to sort out differences with their rivals. The state machinery and some prominent families had combined their strength during the 1980s to create militancy and encourage sectarian hatred. It certainly doesn’t pay to argue that the issue of terrorism is far more complex than poverty or the poor people.
Since it is all so simply poverty driven, we can also have simpler solutions that aid donors and NGOs can easily fund. The other day, an English-speaking icon of a pir family lectured me on why festivals were good for alleviating poverty of the poor since such events create opportunities. So, instead of opening industries, creating job opportunities, increasing meaningful education that would increase employment opportunity of an individual, we would probably like him to set up temporary kiosks on festivals to earn small change. Perhaps, it is not necessary to bring structural changes in alleviating poverty because why invest in the enemies of the state. Catching up on this formula, donors also find it easy to invest their taxpayers’ money in rebuilding shrines or holding random youth workshops. The former activity is to invest in a reliable class and the latter to help this class sort out their sense of guilt in keeping the poor deprived.
Returning to the issue of terrorism/extremism, it is easy to believe that the poor and his frustration generate all of this because it is difficult for the upper-middle class to admit that their attitudes and perception of religion are equally problematic and contribute to radicalism that, in turn, feeds extremism. A week ago, the imam of the mosque in Westridge, one of Rawalpindi’s posh neighbourhoods, was lecturing people about how Muslims must not respond to greetings by a non-Muslim with a ‘Wailaikumus Assalam’. The mindset created thus can be found in the views of those that claim to be moderate Muslims. They speak English and wear religion on their sleeves. However, their person is seemingly both moderate and modern. This is like Dubai where the Western-liberal and traditional-Eastern culture seems to come together. What is missing in this narrative is the story of how the powerful in Dubai then finance violence elsewhere in the name of protection of their belief system or usurps rights of the dispossessed and not allowing them to rebel.
The new elite in Pakistan are radical in their thinking. They often experiment with these views by manipulating the poor who then tend to get blamed for the violence. The upper-middle class is equally connected with the radical elements which are then used to help the powerful exploit resources. The common denominator between the religious clergy, which is also now part of the elite, and other powerful segments of the state and society is that none want to empower the dispossessed. Tragically, in watching the picture of extremism and violence, we never get to see and recognise the real faces. In this Disneyland of ours, it is so convenient to pin it all on the poor.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2013.

Firqa Wariyat by Tanveer Qaiser Shahid


Bhutto se Inteqam


Ai meray Wattan k Logo!


Does Musharraf Deserve to be Called a Traitor??

Does President Musharraf deserve to be called a Traitor?

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My Indian friend asked me a direct question sipping his coffee “What do I think is keeping Pakistan away from oblivion?”. I smiled , looked at him. Sipped on my delicious French Vanilla and replied to him in two words . “Pakistan Army!”. “ Well in that case it’s ironic but no doubt its true though the last General i.e. Pervez Musharraf almost made us bite the dust!” replied my Indian friend. “Ironic is my friend that his enemies cherish him but we test his patriotism”, responded with my head down with a feeling of remorse. Looking at me my friend just said “Maybe they are afraid of the change that he started. It always is the case. After all these political parties or dynasties have to survive” . “ True! Maybe he really shook the hornet’s nest” , I replied and looked on at my watch as I did not want to miss his i.e. The General’s first TV appearance after being bailed. Being in sales and trained well. I wanted to see if his spirit is still alive and kicking or has the unseen establishment of Pakistan managed to break it down as well.
Whilst I drove home. I recalled the days post Laal Masjid and I remembered the onslaught President Musharraf received. No day passed by when the day ended with an anti Musharraf political circus unabated. What I feared at that time unfortunately turned out to be true! He had to go. Lucky for me that I got transferred abroad. But I remembered the day that I landed and went for my Umrah. I touched the Holy Kabah. Cried aloud and prayed to the Almighty. “Save my Pakistan as a Wolf Pack is about to attack and our hands are tied as many amongst us have their eyes shut and hearts closed and see that that the tune of Dajjal is their salvation. Save my Pakistan Allah”. This prayer of mine echoes in my ear till today. People ask me that whilst Mashallah life is a blessing . I still have that feeling of missing something in my eyes. “I miss my Pakistan” . I don’t want to go back to a country ruled by those hypocrites. I don’t want to see my nation eaten away by bits sometimes in the name of Democracy, sometimes in the name of Patriotism and sometime in the name of Religious Righteousness. To be honest the day I saw President Musharraf humiliated after all he did for Pakistan. I just decided to pack my bags and leave.
I reached home. Switch on the TV and saw the General sitting firm in front of the camera. Whilst his spirit was high. His soul looked damaged as he must be asking himself that does he deserve this treatment after all he did for this country. Where he boosted the economy. Where he gave rights to the people at grass roots. Where he empowered the women. Where he gave freedom of speech. Where he gave respect to us. Where he put Pakistan on the world map. Where he stood eye to eye with the enemy and defined our boundaries. Where he helped heal the wounds of an injured Karachi. Where he started a journey for this country in line with the vision of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. His soul looked dented. And why not? How many of us turned up after all what he did for us. How many of us now turn up for him whilst he fight the system for giving us back or trying to for what was rightfully ours.
Yes, he stood up against dynasties of Sharif’s and Bhutto’s . Yes , he stood up against tyranny, Yes, he stood up against those who were looting this country. Yes, he stood for a Pakistan which deserved more and where its rulers were cutting it down by bits and pieces. On Oct 12th 1999. He was the one attacked and he retaliated. What else would you expect from an Army Chief and a Commando. Would you as Pakistan and Pakistanis like to see your commander in chief put his tails between his legs and surrender. Like the way General Niazi did in 1971. Would you have wanted a political dictator like Nawaz Sharif who almost took over all the key roles of the country became an absolute leader. Were all of you enchanted to see Pakistan being pushed in political isolation with your dollar reserves fluctuating around a Billion dollars. Yes, his men of honor. His Army took a stand for their commander in chief and over threw a political system which was pushing away the nation towards another disaster. I remember seeing my brethren being butchered every day in Karachi and branded as terrorists and dacoits. I remember those days that being a Mohajir I was seen as a Traitor to Pakistan just because not being a son of the soil. I remember dancing to the news when I heard Nawaz Sharif was gone . I remember bowing my head to Allah knowing that our Pakistan Army did the right thing on that day of October 1999.
So what if on November 3rd 2007 ; President Musharraf held the constitution under abeyance on advice of his Prime Minister under the constitution of Pakistan to wade off an arrogant selfish judge who promised heavens to the poor ignorant masses of this country which sways with any circus it comes across. What this judge gave us nothing but yes he became a father of a multi millionaire. He never took a suo motto against the same corrupt lot which pushed Pakistan to the edge. The Circus went on in 2007 joined by thugs, hooligans, hypocrites, terrorists etc etc because they could see that they would not be able to loot Pakistan until and unless President Musharraf is there . Unfortunately, for us as Pakistanis . The Circus was successful and we were all enticed by it so much that we took our eyes for what was right for this nation. I remember his last words as the President with tears in his eyes. “Ab Pakistan ka Allah hi Hafiz” and so truthful was he on that day.
The war against terror which many of the legacy of that circus brandish as not our war forgetting Pakistan was already a victim of this terrorism without check before we sided with the world to stand against it. This war has killed thousands of Pakistanis on both sides in the most brutal manner. Let them be killed by bombs, let them be killed by beheadings, let them be killed by bullets or let them be killed by drones. By preaching that it’s not our war and not letting us address the core issue. We have gifted the nation thousands of dead Pakistanis, a destroyed economy, a divided nation and in fact a religiously polarized and a confused nation. President Musharraf was addressing it in a way by keeping the casualties to the minimum.
Today, when I heard the most corrupt President in the history of Pakistan call upon President Musharraf in an unsavory manner . Today , when I heard him and his son challenge the army between the lines and trying to drive a wedge in the nation and its unity by abusing its Generals of the past but trying to appease the soldiers. Trying it to give at another shot to create disharmony amongst our Army the only thing which keeps this nation united. I sometimes wonder who the real traitors are? Those who had to chant the slogan Pakistan Khappay or those who fought for this nation with their blood and the sweat.
Who are traitors? Those who for their personal lust for power broke Pakistan into two. Who are traitors? Those who sold Pakistan and its soul to control on the power.
After all what President Pervez Musharraf did for Pakistan and an ailing Karachi. The last thing he deserves is to be called a traitor. It’s been the history of us the Muslims . When Caliph Haroon Rasheed was in power due to his progressive ways. People use to despise him and conspired against him. His day and age is now remembered as an Golden Age. Today , the poor Pakistani who has gotten nothing out of the Dynastical Democracy remembers President Musharraf with tears in their eyes. Today, the professionals who saw Pakistan growing repent his going and await his return. Today any patriotic Pakistani await their patriotic son to return to power to avenge the ill their tyrant leaders has bestowed upon them in the last few years. Where their lives, their honor and their money has been taken away. They all await their patriotic son to return. The drama which would go on in an unconstitutional bench would only give an un-constitutional decisions and that’s it. Today, I await the day when The General would return and take command of this nation and put it back on track. Today, I live everyday when the true sons of Pakistan come in power not those who just come in power to loot and plunder. I am sure that the prayer I made holding the cloth of Holy Kabah years ago would Inshallah! come true and I would return to my motherland breathing to build it for my posterity under the right and patriotic leadership. Pakistan Zindabad!

Jurm e Zaeefi


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A new direction in Strategy?

An army that was reluctant to retaliate to the killing of its serving general officer commanding in the recent past has hit back against those who targeted and killed five of its soldiers in an attack on a military check post in North Waziristan on December 18. 

A new direction in strategy?

The writer is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Pakistan Army and is currently pursuing PhD in civil-military relations from Karachi University

Let this be read and understood as a clear policy guideline and a military commander’s declaration of his military intent. The first policy statement on the all-important issue of the war on terror by the new army chief reflects on how the army in Fata will now fight under his leadership. Visiting the Corps Headquarters Peshawar on December 21, the army chief declared that the “military will not tolerate terror attacks and effective response will be given to the terrorists”.
A clear decision seems to have now been made about the circumstances under which the army will retaliate. With no breakthrough in the peace process and in the absence of a clear political commitment for initiation of a military operation, the deployed army in Fata cannot afford to act like a sitting duck.
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With a change in the leadership of the army, will its strategy and method to fight this irregular war also change? This was an important question that irritated many minds. The clear deterrent message by the COAS suggests that the army, which so far was fighting a war of containment, will now respond with devastating retaliation every time terrorists attack it, something it has already proven by initialling the recent military action in North Waziristan.
Over the years, military deterrence faded away as our policymakers juggled with the prospect of holding peace talks with militants. The short-sighted policymaking that has been more tilted and focused on creating an environment for holding dialogue seldom took into account the prolonged deployment and the resultant vulnerability of our army. Resultantly, more troops of the army lost lives in defending against targeted attacks and ambushes than attacking and conducting combat operations against militants.
An army that was reluctant to retaliate to the killing of its serving general officer commanding in the recent past has hit back against those who targeted and killed five of its soldiers in an attack on a military check post in North Waziristan on December 18. If this is not a sign of the changed military doctrine, courtesy its change of leadership, then what else is?
What the army failed to achieve under the combined leadership of General Musharraf and General Kayani was to consistently degrade the enemy and weaken its capabilities. The current warning and retaliatory response by the army speaks of a renewed resolve in this regard. Retaliation against militants is not an initiation of a military operation. It amounts to implementing a different military strategy in an ongoing operation.
Launching an announced military operation will, in any case, create multiple spillover effects. There will be a large-scale political backlash by the right-wing parties led by PTI Chairman Imran Khan. He is already referring to the current retaliation by the army as the initiation of an army operation and asking the government to “take control and bear responsibility for any planned military operation in North Waziristan”. Accusing the government of “abandoning the All Parties Conferences- mandated option of dialogue”, Imran Khan’s statements are a reflection of our long-held political bankruptcy on reaching a consensus and giving a thumbs-up to the army to launch a military operation. Retaliation by the army is a militarily legitimate action, unlike an announced military operation that warrants political legitimacy.
It is up to the new COAS now to live up to his words. Having spoken them at an appropriate time, he has put himself on the spot. In the coming few days, we will all be able to judge the new ‘sipah salar’. Does his action speak louder than his words? Time will tell.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.

27 Dec ki Sham by Javed Ch


Karachi - An Analysis by Nusrat Javed


For Taliban Apologists

A real eye opener for Taliban Apologists
video

Turkey and Business by Javed Ch


Tolerance and Rawadari by Nusrat Javed


Tamasha


Maj Shabbir Sharif by Hamid Mir




Zard patton pe rang sarey by mazhar barlas



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Quaid ka Pakistan



Lest we Forget by Dr Atta ur Rehman


 

Like any human being, President Musharraf too made some mistakes, the major one relating to the National Reconciliation Ordinance. The period from 2000 to 2008 was also full of certain outstanding achievements.

Let us take the economy first. Pakistan was financially in a very difficult position in October 1999. By 2008 it was included in the N-11 (Next 11) group of countries that were predicted to join the most powerful economies of the world. During 2000-2008, the GDP grew from $63 billion to $170 billion, and there was an annual GDP growth of about seven percent, better than most economies of the world.

Per capita income increased from $430 to about $1000, and the foreign exchange reserves that had slid to $0.5 billion in 1999 grew to $16.5 billion by 2008. The revenue generation grew from Rs. 308 billion in 1999 to about Rs.1 trillion in 2008. The debt-to-GDP ratio improved from 102 percent to 53 percent. The exports grew from $7.8 billion to $17.5 billion. Foreign direct investments increased from $400 million to $8.4 billion.

The Karachi Stock Exchange Index shot up from about 950 points to 16,500 points. The annual development budget increased from Rs90 billion in 1999 to Rs520 billion in 2008, while poverty was reduced from 34 percent to 17 percent. The dollar value was maintained at about Rs60, thereby controlling the rate of inflation.

The communication infra-structure also saw a rapid improvement. The major new roads built in this period were: Coastal Highway Karachi–Gwadar 700KMs, (M1) Peshawar to Islamabad Motorway, (M3) Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad Motorway, (M4) Faisalabad to Multan Motorway, National Highway (N5) dualised Karachi to Peshawar, Quetta-Zhob-D I Khan road, Quetta–Loralai-D G Khan Road, Gwadar–Turbat-Rato Dero road, Chitral linking with Gilgit over Shandur Pass, Gilgit linked with Skardu via Astore – Chillum–Deosai Plains, Lowari Tunnel linking KPK to Chitral, Kaghan Valley linked with KKH at Chilas over Babusar Pass, Kohat Tunnel, Lahore-Sialkot Road, Lahore-Faisalabad Road, Karachi-Lyari Expressway, Karachi Northern Bypass, and Lahore Ring Road.

The strategically significant Gwadar Port was developed with Chinese assistance. A number of airports were developed and expanded. The Lahore airport was completed, the new Islamabad airport was started, the new Sambrial (Sialkot) airport was built, the Multan airport was expanded, the Gwadar airport was developed and the Quetta airport was expanded.

In the agricultural sector a number of important irrigation projects were initiated. The Diamer Bhasha Dam was launched. The Mangla Dam was raised by 30 feet increasing 2.9 maf water storage capacity and 100MW electricity. A number of new dams and canals were built (Mirani Dam for Balochistan, Subukzai Dam for Balochistan and Gomal Zam Dam for KP; Kachi Canal from Taunsa to Dera Bugti and Jhal Magsi to irrigate 713,000 acres of barren cotton producing land, the Thal Canal for Punjab, Rainee Canal for Sindh).

Overall three million acres of barren land were brought under cultivation. The Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD) was constructed through Sindh, thereby saving Indus River and Manchar Lake (Sind) from pollution. The steps taken led to an increase in wheat production from 14 million tons to 22 million tons, and increase in cotton production from nine million bales to 13 million bales.

Price control was exercised on essential items. The prices of edible household items (flour, naan, milk, tea, sugar, meat, vegetable oil etc) have tripled or quadrupled in the last five years. A rotational loan system was introduced through banks for poor farmers and loan facility for farmers increased from Rs35 billion through ZTBL only, to Rs160 billion from all other private banks.

Overall 2900MW of electricity was added to national generation capacity. The new energy projects initiated included the Ghazi Barotha hydro electricity project (1600MW), the Chashma-II nuclear electricity plant (300MW). The Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectricity project was initiated (1800 MW), the Satpara Power project in Skardu, and the Naltar power project in Gilgit.

A true revolution was brought about in the telecommunications sector. The number of mobile phones increased from 600,000 in the year 2000 to over 7 crore in 2006. Tele-density was increased from 2.9 percent to over 70 percent, and millions of jobs were created in the telecom sector. The IT sector also saw a phenomenal growth with internet connectivity spreading rapidly, particularly during 2000-2003 from 40 cities to over 2000 towns of Pakistan.

Fibre optic connectivity increased from 30 cities to over 1500 towns of Pakistan in the same period. The bandwidth cost of two megabytes was reduced sharply from $86,000 to $3,000 per month. Pakistan’s first satellite PakSat 1 was placed in space. Industry prospered as never before and industrial growth was in double figures throughout the nine-year period.

A revolution was brought about in the higher education sector with the establishment of the Higher Education Commission. The annual allocation for higher education was increased from only Rs500 million in 2000 to Rs28 billion in 2008, thereby laying the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy. Student enrolment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutes increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008.

This rapid transformation deeply worried India and a detailed presentation was given to the Indian prime minister on July 22 about the dramatic progress in Pakistan.

A number of steps were taken to strengthen democracy at the grassroots. A large number of new TV channels were allowed and the media given full freedom. The local government system was launched to empower the people through a third tier of government. Women were empowered politically through reserved seats at all tiers of government. Minorities were provided with the system of joint electorate.

In the field of defence, the production of Al Khalid tanks for the army and JF 17 Thunder Fighter jets for PAF was carried out. All missiles were tested and proven for nuclear capability and our nuclear arsenal was strengthened and protected through an impenetrable command and control system. The Army Strategic Force Command was created to protect these strategic assets.

The position of president is purely ceremonial. The power lies entirely with the prime minister. The president can only act on the written ‘advice’ of the prime minister. He acted on the advice of the PM and only after wide consultations with his cabinet colleagues and the corp commanders. The guilt, if any, lies with all of them.

The writer is the president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and former chairman of the HEC.

Email: ibne_sina@hotmail.com

Drone pe Siyyapa by Nusrat Javed


Mutaasreen e Dunya by Talat Hussain


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Walking with warriors: Dispatches from Waziristan

Walking with warriors: Dispatches from Waziristan

Wajahat S. Khan
THE LAST CHECKPOINT: Ostensibly, Angoor Adda is the last outpost in South Waziristan (which is better patrolled compared to North Waziristan because of the presence of two infantry divisions, the 40th and the 9th. A part of the evolving COIN/CT tactics is ensuring that military patrol vehicles have no obvious army markings, sometimes even non-army colours: Just the Pakistan flag and what the army calls the 'national slogan': "God is great", as is seen on this converted pickup truck used by a Frontier Corps Wing.
THE LAST CHECKPOINT: Ostensibly, Angoor Adda is the last outpost in South Waziristan (which is better patrolled compared to North Waziristan because of the presence of two infantry divisions, the 40th and the 9th. A part of the evolving COIN/CT tactics is ensuring that military patrol vehicles have no obvious army markings, sometimes even non-army colours: Just the Pakistan flag and what the army calls the 'national slogan': "God is great", as is seen on this converted pickup truck used by a Frontier Corps Wing.
Day 3: 1440
Sararogha,
South Waziristan,
at 327 Brigade HQ,
40th Infantry Division
“Unacceptable”
The mood here is pensive. I was here in the spring, when most of the IDPs had returned, and the brigade commander and his staff were boisterous about their recent achievements. From sanitisation operations, which are small-scale “mop up” engagements, to tracking sub-tribal politics, they seemed sure of themselves. Now, most of the junior officers (the adjutant, the brigade major) are the same, but the new brigadier is still settling in. Almost everybody is off-colour. They’ve just been recently hit, hard.

The new brigadier got a bit of a welcome party in just his first week, officers recall. They had picked up signal chatter a month ago, but they hadn’t been able to process it because the intel was too disconnected. All they knew was that the insurgents had gotten hold of some uniforms. That’s it.
Meanwhile, the army’s new “digital camo” uniforms had still not arrived for all the units stationed in this sector held by the 327 for a couple of years now. Some of the officers who had been to Pindi for down time or briefings were sporting the new gear. Most of the rest of the troops were not. That proved to be a critical logistical lapse. When they came in, around a week into the new brigadier’s stint, the six insurgents were all wearing the old uniforms. So they blended in, because so many units move up and down the new road. That allowed them to take the initiative: all you need in an engagement here.
The firefight lasted a couple of hours. Three of the insurgents were gunmen, the other three “suiciders”. Before he blew himself up, one of them even managed to get just inside the ring of fire, the Brigade Headquarters’ officers’ complex itself, ironically built around the residence of Khan Gul, a militant commander who was killed in a drone strike in 2012. The 327 took losses: one soldier was killed, two injured. They hadn’t seen them coming. That’s why the officers were pensive, even angry at themselves.
Later, visiting the public square cum market the 40th Division has built (which features a tailor, a butcher, a tea stall, a hardware depot, a blacksmith, even a barber-shop, which is a tough sell around these parts), the edginess didn’t disappear as interactions with the locals began.
“We haven’t had an attack here in months. More than a year, even,” said a captain. “An attack of such scale doesn’t mean they’re coming back. But it means they’re around. And it also means there was some sort of local support. After all we’ve been through together, the locals and us, that’s unacceptable.”
THREAT ALERT, YELLOW: A watchtower at the headquarters of the 9th Division in Wana, South Waziristan, with a newly installed alert-o-meter. Most of the attacks in South Waziristan are now limited to IEDs and not direct assaults on army installations, though a recent 'complex attack' on a brigade headquarters in Sararogha lasted for hours.
THREAT ALERT, YELLOW: A watchtower at the headquarters of the 9th Division in Wana, South Waziristan, with a newly installed alert-o-meter. Most of the attacks in South Waziristan are now limited to IEDs and not direct assaults on army installations, though a recent 'complex attack' on a brigade headquarters in Sararogha lasted for hours.
A Punjabi officer shouted out greetings in recently learnt Pashto, which were reciprocated. But the locals, though friendly enough, sensed the anxiety and some gave it right back. A local Malik praised the road the 40th had built. A young retailer, who had lost two of his elder brothers as they fought for the FC, showed off his wares from a shop that he had been granted for free; but there was tension. Even the local kids were apprehensive, compared to spring.
Before Rah-i-Nijat, Sararogha was the “tactical headquarters” of Baitullah Mehsud. When he conquered a Frontier Corps fort here, Mehsud razed it to the ground and distributed the bricks for people to reinforce their homes with. He was so angry with the stiff resistance the FC had put up that he forbade any of the bricks be used for a mosque. This place was the TTP’s seat of power till three divisions secured South Waziristan. Today, Sararogha has a girls’ school, though it’s not very well attended.
The Army is proud of its rehab and development work here, especially the road that runs from north to south through the town, connecting it to Jandola, and further on, to the settled area of D.I. Khan via Tank. But the army versus local divide persists, heavily dependent on how individual officers breach it. The former 327 brigade commander had actually learnt the local variant of Pashto, and was married to the place as he volunteered for a second tour here. Other officers choose to be more distant. It’s a personal choice.
SEATING ARRANGEMENTS: Medicine distribution camps, like this one just outside Sararogha, South Waziristan, run by an engineer, are an attempt by the army to regain the trust of the locals. Seats are a new induction by the organizers; camps without seats are usually subjected to chaos, as 'queuing up' is considered derogatory in the local 'riwaj', or culture.
SEATING ARRANGEMENTS: Medicine distribution camps, like this one just outside Sararogha, South Waziristan, run by an engineer, are an attempt by the army to regain the trust of the locals. Seats are a new induction by the organizers; camps without seats are usually subjected to chaos, as 'queuing up' is considered derogatory in the local 'riwaj', or culture.
Operationally, the weakness of gathering and then processing tactical intelligence remains, and the recent attack proved it. Though chatter gets picked up by signals officers embedded with infantry units, with local Pashto specialists aiding them, there is no one, uniform method by which intel is processed. A few officers showed me the 327’s procedure: an Excel spreadsheet, complete with smart functions, that the brigade has developed to match and tally chatter with insurgent operations; but its retrospective, they admit, not allowing them to always pre-empt a militant strike before it happens.
There’s also a capacity problem; at the brigade level and lower; crucial chatter transcriptions will not travel all the way up on busy days. They tell me about the Russians, who had a KGB officer embedded with every unit, back in the day. The Americans too have intel specialists built into smaller, forward formations, across the border. No such thing in Pakistan’s units: the old spy/soldier divide remains, and the spies only talk to the brass, at Division HQ. The directives for singular platforms, where sharing and processing of vital pre-operational data is built around ‘netcentricity’ will have to come from the Military Operations directorate, they surmise.
“They’re working on it,” says a major, accepting a warm Mountain Dew from a local bakery owner. “The MO is always working on something.”

Day 4: 2030
Spinkai-Raghzai,
South Waziristan,
Officer’s Mess of (unnamed) Baloch Regiment,
327 Brigade, 40th Division
“The Hunting Party”
“It’s VUCA,” said the commanding officer (CO), whose unit patrols the eastern shoulder of what the Army calls the ‘Mehsud Triangle’ - the gaping area once dominated by Mehsud tribesmen that is now flanked on the east by the 40th Division and held on the west by the 9th Division. “It’s totally VUCA, this place.”
“Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous,” he wisps into the smoke filled room, with Hamid Mir pontificating on the flat screen. “Volatile because the nature, speed, volume, magnitude and dynamics of events change all the time. Uncertain because of the lack of predictability of events and issues. Complex because of the interconnectivity of various and different parts that confound those issues. And ambiguous, because reality is hazy, mixed confusingly with the meaning of conditions.”
STILL NEEDS BODY ARMOUR: Years after the peace deal that was inked here, this trooper in Shakai's 124 Brigade still need armour to move around his "AOR", or area of responsibility, as volatility and violence persist. The heavy footprint chafes locals, but the army fights tensions with free medical camps and roving clinics.
STILL NEEDS BODY ARMOUR: Years after the peace deal that was inked here, this trooper in Shakai's 124 Brigade still need armour to move around his "AOR", or area of responsibility, as volatility and violence persist. The heavy footprint chafes locals, but the army fights tensions with free medical camps and roving clinics.
We’re having, believe it or not, perfectly crusted chicken pot pie. Complete with cheese, mushrooms, potatoes and Dunhills. “I picked up the recipe at (names the Western military academy he’s recently trained at). The chef here took some time to adapt to it. We don’t have much to do here except fight and eat. So we do both…we have a lot of time to improve both those skills.”
Under a picture of the Chief of Army Staff and the colonel commandant of his regiment, there is a framed still from the field. I count 18 in all, officers and soldiers, wearing their tac-gear, bandoliers and a Waziristani sunburn, looking like they all need sleep and showers. The name and date of the operation, which happened this summer, and a commendation from the 327 Brigade, is etched under the picture.
“That was fun…A hunting party,” says the CO. “We had been picking up chatter for days and we knew, roughly, of a location that these guys were hiding out in. We had estimated around 20 to 30 of them to be there. So I put together a contingent, got permissions, and took off. We were tired of sitting around.”
“We pre-streamed two fully charged iPads with the estimated Google Maps location our intel had indicated these guys were at. We drove for half a day, till the track finished. We kept going, on foot, on light rations, and dropped our heavy weapons. We walked for two days and nights. We slept on the rocks, and hid in caves. We moved at night. We had borrowed these new lights [gear specifics cannot be named] from the SSG [Special Service Group, the army’s special operations formation], which helped us along.”
COBRA COMMANDER: An AH-1 Cobra gunship gets ready for take-off at the 9th Division's aviation base, in Wana, South Waziristan. The army first deployed the AH-1 in the 1980s in an anti-armour role against India, especially around the South Punjab axis. But most of the army's Cobra squadrons now rotate in and out of FATA for what are, strictly, anti-terror operations. Fitted with night-vision devices, Cobras provide air cover for ground troops, perform aerial 'show of force' patrols and reconnaissance, and conduct independent ambushes, pursuits and raids as well. They've helped the army reduce IED casualties, which mounted or on foot troops are subjected to on the ground, but they're expensive to maintain.
COBRA COMMANDER: An AH-1 Cobra gunship gets ready for take-off at the 9th Division's aviation base, in Wana, South Waziristan. The army first deployed the AH-1 in the 1980s in an anti-armour role against India, especially around the South Punjab axis. But most of the army's Cobra squadrons now rotate in and out of FATA for what are, strictly, anti-terror operations. Fitted with night-vision devices, Cobras provide air cover for ground troops, perform aerial 'show of force' patrols and reconnaissance, and conduct independent ambushes, pursuits and raids as well. They've helped the army reduce IED casualties, which mounted or on foot troops are subjected to on the ground, but they're expensive to maintain.
“When we made contact, on the third afternoon, we had just 12 percent of batteries left on our second iPad. I remember that. Most of our cigarettes were also gone, which is always a bad sign. We were getting tired. We had Steyrs [Austrian-made sniper rifles], a couple of Dragunovs [Russian-made sniper rifles], RPGs [rocket propelled grenades], and our regular kit with SMGs {Type 56s, Chinese variants of the AK-47].”
“Our intel had been good on location, but bad about the numbers. There were more than 20 of them. Much, much more than 20. We engaged through our snipers from the high ground, then took out a couple of their compounds with the RPGs. They swarmed out, and kept coming, from a hidden enclave in the rear that we hadn’t seen. We kept engaging.
THE COMM MAP: In the COIN/CT theatre of South Waziristan, communications 'on the fly' mean being able to talk with dozens of check-posts and positions that are spread out over several kilometres. Here's a 'radio map' mounted on an officer's car in one of the three brigades that form the 40th Division. The map is changed often, and randomly, to stop the militants from 'counter-intercepting' military chatter.
THE COMM MAP: In the COIN/CT theatre of South Waziristan, communications 'on the fly' mean being able to talk with dozens of check-posts and positions that are spread out over several kilometres. Here's a 'radio map' mounted on an officer's car in one of the three brigades that form the 40th Division. The map is changed often, and randomly, to stop the militants from 'counter-intercepting' military chatter.
“They had solar panels. They had sat phones. They had mortars. The hot part of the engagement lasted around 45 minutes.
“We eventually called in aviation. We had to, as I didn’t want to carry a single shaheed back. But Google Maps, Zindabad.
“I don’t have drones and satellites, but I have what the Americans don’t: ownership. That’s why we’re innovative. We could have just sat there and done nothing, or we could have engaged. So we engaged and had a hunting party. More pie?”


Day 7: 1400
Angoor Adda,
South Waziristan/Afghanistan border,
Wing Headquarters of (Unnamed) Wing of Frontier Corps,
9th Infantry Division
“Hotline”
This place looks like the end of the world. Ridgelines that look like blunted razors, dust that stings and sun that cuts. For many, the world does end here, as Afghanistan begins. But the locals keep on living and moving. Mostly Wazirs, they come and go across the border: on foot, on motorcycles, in pick-up trucks, sedans and lorries. The border crossing is manned by one of the older FC wings. The commandant is a Punjabi, but all the men are Pakhtun. It’s a normal day, as the FC is doing its regular border patrolling. Truck drivers are allowed to brandish weapons to protect themselves. This is Wazir land, after all.
THE LAST GAS STATION ON EARTH: Less than a mile from the Durand Line, this sole petrol pump in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan, has been both a crucial lifeline for the local transport as well as the sight of several gunfights. Disagreement over priority access between armed groups, especially when supplies are low, has often resulted in violence. The station pumps all sorts of fuel: legal petrol from Pakistan, and the not-so-legal supply that comes from across the border, even Iran.
THE LAST GAS STATION ON EARTH: Less than a mile from the Durand Line, this sole petrol pump in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan, has been both a crucial lifeline for the local transport as well as the sight of several gunfights. Disagreement over priority access between armed groups, especially when supplies are low, has often resulted in violence. The station pumps all sorts of fuel: legal petrol from Pakistan, and the not-so-legal supply that comes from across the border, even Iran.
They’re more laid back than the Mehsuds, these Ahmadzai Wazirs, who dominate here with five sub-tribes, rivalled by the Sulaiman Khel, who have two sub-tribes. Four Taliban groups – Shamsullah, Halimullah, Malang and the feared Commander Nazir Group – operate here, abetted and/or rivaled by at least five “independent” Taliban field commanders: Khalid (Zali Khel), Sultan (Toji Khel), Tariq (Punjabi), Gade Khan (Toji Khel), Waliullah (Gangi Khel) and Saifullah (Toji Khel). The tribal-militant matrix is confusing, and I have to go through an organogram that the commandant makes in the dirt with his cane to understand the rules. What’s obvious enough, however, is the strongest political and physical structures in town are, ironically enough, the consortium of mosques that are led by four Maulanas of varying hues. The state doesn’t matter here, nor exist; except for the FC, whose commander gets by on good will, using his 395 Corpsmen and 26 regular army troops to build schools, repair shops, attend the jirgas and, of course, play bad cop.
A construction crew is working a new petrol pump, as the old one has seen too many firefights break out for possession and first dibs when the supply is low. As this is a transit point of a border town, I see more women - covered up of course – than I have seen so far. There are no slits in the burqas, like the ones you see in the mainland; just pierced pocks. Nor are they black, also a mainland trend, neither red, as seen in Kabul. This is white and blue burqa land. Only pre-pubescent girls are un-burqa’d, but even a four-year-old has a dupatta.
NOT THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP: Car mechanics at work in Angoor Adda's central bazaar. With the absence of gas stations, workshops like this also provide petrol and diesel fills, and according to an intelligence official, excellent insight about whose using the local roads, what they're driving, and where they're headed.
NOT THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP: Car mechanics at work in Angoor Adda's central bazaar. With the absence of gas stations, workshops like this also provide petrol and diesel fills, and according to an intelligence official, excellent insight about whose using the local roads, what they're driving, and where they're headed.
Kids in uniforms from a local school are crossing over to go back to their homes on the Afghan side. So is a chicken vendor with a low-flung Hilux filled with birds and assistants. The Durand Line is less than well imagined for these divided tribes: For them, it’s sub-fictional. Here, they’re married to their land, not their countries. My roaming indicator shows that only an Afghan cellular service provider is available. This is the Pakistani part of Tribalistan, really. The market itself is subsistence-level; everybody is driving some beat up version of a Toyota. “Woodtrade, coal, livestock, agriculture” are the professions that my intel briefing claims the locals are involved in, but I spot a few mechanics and some madressah students; most men are just ambling around.
SCHOOL OF WAR: Students, like this young one from Chagmalai Model School for Boys near Jandola, South Waziristan, have been deprived as well as enabled by the Waziristan war machine. Without the military's presence in the region, they wouldn't have a school to go to, as the army funds and sends volunteers and cadets to teach at such institutions. But army presence is also accompanied by military operations as well as the restrictions and dangers for the local population.
SCHOOL OF WAR: Students, like this young one from Chagmalai Model School for Boys near Jandola, South Waziristan, have been deprived as well as enabled by the Waziristan war machine. Without the military's presence in the region, they wouldn't have a school to go to, as the army funds and sends volunteers and cadets to teach at such institutions. But army presence is also accompanied by military operations as well as the restrictions and dangers for the local population.
Troops from the Afghan National Army (ANA) are stationed around 30 metres away from the official border crossing, which is better paved on the Pakistani side thanks to a new road the Corps of Engineers have laid with American and UAE funding. A couple of the ANA are wearing baseball caps, one red and one yellow, and the guy with the red cap has it on backwards, like a street gang member from an American inner city. But their watchtowers are brand-new, as are their barracks and searchlights. “A gift from Nato,” mutters the commandant of the FC Wing. “Let’s see if they behave like they deserve it.”
There have been cross-border tensions here. “We took fire on March 23, heavy fire,” says the commandant, an infantryman with a big voice that is flattened by his Gold Leafs. “Then on August 14, too. Then, on the 15th, they had fireworks. Actual, colourful, fireworks.”
FC UNDER ATTACK: A sentry of the 2nd Wing of the Frontier Corps, on watch on one of the outer perimeter walls, partially damaged in a recent attack, in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan. Angoor Adda has been the site of a US 'boots on the ground' incursion, and is a major Af-Pak border crossing as well. After high casualties and mass surrenders in the 2000s, the FC has been forced to evolve, in tactics and even in uniform, moving from a border-security force role to that of an anti-terror force.
FC UNDER ATTACK: A sentry of the 2nd Wing of the Frontier Corps, on watch on one of the outer perimeter walls, partially damaged in a recent attack, in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan. Angoor Adda has been the site of a US 'boots on the ground' incursion, and is a major Af-Pak border crossing as well. After high casualties and mass surrenders in the 2000s, the FC has been forced to evolve, in tactics and even in uniform, moving from a border-security force role to that of an anti-terror force.
I can read the sub-text of the complaint: The ANA has ‘Indian backing’, allege most of the operational and intelligence officers I’ve often met on this side. But the fireworks anecdote, on India’s Independence Day, is a new one.
“Communication is the best medicine,” claims the commandant. The ill-constructed proverb has substance, though.
“Every Wednesday, at 2100 hours, I speak to my counterpart across the border. I’ve got my interpreter, who speaks Pashto. That CO there has got his Pakhtun aide, as he is a Dari speaker himself.
“We started this hotline around a couple of months ago, soon after the Americans left. When we heard that the Indians left along with the Yanks, we reached out. And it worked. Directly talking to the Afghans has helped.
“Firing is down. As are mortar engagements. They’ve shot at us to pressurise us to stop cross-border movement, which is not always controllable because of this so-called border and the demands of the tribes; but hitting us only makes matters worse because we’re forced to hit back.
“We’ve started sharing intel now. There’s still distrust, but both of us have created a window.”
My ride, an MI-17, has a crew that doesn’t appreciate sunsets, nor bunking overnight in a dusty border town’s FC Wing that’s seen two American incursions, boots on the ground and all that. Aviators are pushy, and prefer asphalt under their tires when it’s lights out. I’m summoned, and move to the helipad. Next stop, the 7th Division’s HQ.
WAITING UNDERGROUND: The below-surface "TacHQ", or tactical headquarters of the 7th Division, the oldest formation in the army, in Miranshah, North Waziristan. Underground because it has been subjected to rocket and mortar attacks, the 7th Division will be the frontline outfit that will do the heavy-lifting if/when the time for the "mop up" operation in North Waziristan arrives.
WAITING UNDERGROUND: The below-surface "TacHQ", or tactical headquarters of the 7th Division, the oldest formation in the army, in Miranshah, North Waziristan. Underground because it has been subjected to rocket and mortar attacks, the 7th Division will be the frontline outfit that will do the heavy-lifting if/when the time for the "mop up" operation in North Waziristan arrives.
Between the static induced by Talib jammers below us, I have an in-flight comm-set debate with the pilots about the bandwidth of the free wi-fi that awaits us, code for the longevity of the Viber chat we are looking forward to with our wives when we bunk up at the Golden Arrow Hotel (as Miranshah’s officers’ quarters are referred to, a cheeky reference to the formation sign of the 7th Division as well as the mosquitoes that plague it).
The wi-fi is not a luxury. We will need to talk to our wives: Midnight artillery fire makes for gentlemanly insomniacs. And North Waziristan is a lonely place, anyway. Even with 20,000 hardened militants willing to offer their company.

The writer is a producer/correspondent for NBC News. He tweets at @WajSKhan
Photos by the author.
Videos by the author and Dawn.com

Mid Term?? by Babur Awan



Pakhtoon hona Jurm hai? By Saleem Safi



Bismillah Karran by Ali Moeen Nawazish


Laqanooniyat by Hassan Nisar


Monday, December 23, 2013

Teesri Awaz by Abdulqadir Hassan


Musharraf Statement

ISLAMABAD: For the first time since November 2007, former president and military strongman retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has accepted direct responsibility for the imposition of emergency in the country, but has claimed that it was only done upon receiving advice that the security of the country had been imperilled by some actions of then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and some other members of the superior judiciary.
In a belated petition seeking review of the apex court’s landmark July 31, 2009, verdict, Gen Musharraf argued that then elected prime minister Shaukat Aziz had recommended taking extra-constitutional measures of proclaiming the emergency. A 14-judge bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had denounced successive military takeovers of the past four decades and their endorsement by the superior judiciary after declaring Gen Musharraf’s emergency order and most of the actions taken under it, including the appointment of over 100 superior court judges, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Legal observers are of the opinion that at least a 16-judge larger bench needs to be constituted to hear and overturn the July 31 verdict.
Gen Musharraf’s review petition was filed after a delay of over four years by Sharifuddin Pirzada, Mohammad Ibrahim Satti and Dr Khalid Ranjha.
It argued that the July 31 verdict should be set aside because both Mr Musharraf and Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry were at daggers drawn and rival because of a reference the former had instituted as then president against the latter on misuse of authority.
Gen Musharraf, however, expressed full confidence in the present Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and all its judges and said he had faith of an impartial adjudication.
Through a separate application, the former military ruler requested the court to suspend the July 31 verdict as well as the proceedings before a special court constituted to try him under treason charges.
The review petition cited a letter of the then prime minister to the then president (Musharraf) about security of Pakistan in which direct allegations were levelled against Justice Chaudhry and some members of the judiciary which subsequently resulted in the proclamation of emergency.
It argued that since the emergency had been clamped on the alleged misdeeds of Justice Chaudhry, he should not have headed the 14-member bench. It violated principles of administration of justice in which the accused was condemned unheard. The petition also targeted the Nov 3, 2007, restraining order issued by a seven-judge bench headed by Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and explained that Justice Rana Bhagwandas had signed the order on Nov 5, instead of Nov 3. Besides, the presence of Justice Ghulam Rabbani was also doubtful.
The petition disputed the restraining order by stating that it had been issued by the judges who already had ceased to hold their offices and by then a new chief justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar, had taken oath.
Moreover, till their restoration through an executive order of March 16, 2009, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges had accepted and obeyed the 2008 Tikka Iqbal Khan case of validating the Nov 3 emergency on the same ground of accepting the Oct 12, 1999, military takeover as well as the Nov 3 emergency itself.
Justice Chaudhry waited till the superannuation of Justice Dogar that was due on March 22, 2009, and then assumed the office on March 24, 2009, which showed the judges fully accepted the tenure of Justice Dogar.
Moreover, the petition said, at the time of issuing the July 31 judgment, the holding in abeyance of the constitution was not considered to be a high treason and, therefore, the apex court in its binding short order of July 31 had not ordered the trial of Gen Musharraf under high treason.

The Original MQM; A short Note

How well do you know MQM? Lets takes a peak into the TRUE MQM! Must read it

Some interesting facts about MQM.

When MQM initially won the elections in late 80's and early 90's, this was MQM's top leadership:

Chairman: Azeem Ahmed Tariq (the one in the picture)

Vice Chairman: Bader Iqbal
Secretary General: Imran Farooq
Deputy Secretary General: Khalid bin Waleed
Finance Secretary: S.M Tariq
Mayor of Karachi: Farooq Sattar (Last one alive)
Deputy manager: Raziq Khan
First 2 Senators: Nishat Malick and one more. 



It is so regrettable and unfortunate that all these top leaders of MQM, except Farooq Sattar are dead, and all have been assassinated. It is also on record that all these leaders either left MQM (Bader Iqbal, S.M Tariq, Imran Farooq, Razik Khan) or developed differences with Altaf Hussain (Azeem Tariq, Khalid bin Waleed, Nishat Malick) before their death.

Interesting fact is that MQM has never ever tried to catch or even seriously demanded the capture of culprits who wiped entire leadership of MQM in last 20 years despite being in government for last 23 years.

It is also a well known fact that Azeem Tariq (the person in the picture along with Altaf Hussain) was known as an honest politician. He was admired for his strategic and peaceful approach to problem-solving, and his loathing for violence. Regarded as an icon of peace, honesty, and kindness in Pakistani politics, he was also well known for his soft-spoken tone and striking personality.

I do not disagree with the fact that Yes, MQM was started for a right cause but all of its honest leaders were assassinated for dirty politics.