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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The internal jihadi politics in FATA


New Afghan policy & Fata politics

By Syed Irfan Ashraf & Shaukat Khattak
Tuesday, 31 Mar, 2009 (Dawn)

WHAT will be the outcome of the Obama administration’s new policy on Afghanistan and what impact will it have on the western borders of Pakistan? This is the billion-dollar question for all stakeholders in the war on terror including the Fata warlords.

The militants have already devised a strategy of ‘readjustment and relocation’ to strengthen Fata as the first line of defence. Accordingly, they wind up their makeshift settlements — from where terror emanates — in the less strategic areas of the tribal belt and relocate to their strong bases in North and South Waziristan. The warlords are united in their stand and are seemingly more focused on their target across the border.

Insiders say it took one month for an eight-member Taliban delegation from Afghanistan to reconcile with the militants in Fata and make them agree on a one-point agenda — to launch a united front against the allied forces under the leadership of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and to stop activities inside Pakistan. Under the agreement, key players of the tribal theatre, Maulvi Nazir, Gul Bahadur and Baitullah Mehsud, agreed to serve the ‘larger cause’ under the banner of Shura Ittehadul-Mujahideen (Council for Unity of Mujahideen).

This significant development on the western borders went unnoticed due to tensions between India and Pakistan following last November’s Mumbai attacks.

Analysts believe that the new power adjustment alone would have served little purpose. In fact, it required ending the standoff with the security forces, at least temporarily, so that militants engaged in the north of Peshawar could be relocated to the south of Fata. In fact, as one analyst explained, the idea was to position “militants on this side [Fata] of the Durand Line before US reinforcements arrived on the other”.

For this purpose, peace deals were reached with the government and tension defused in Swat and Bajaur Agency. No deal has been made in Dara Adam Khel and Mohmand Agency because there has been no intense fighting in these areas. But Orakzai Agency, which does not share a border with Afghanistan, is close to North Waziristan and does not pose problems for militants moving across the border through North Waziristan.

Given the inter-tribal rivalries among the three militant leaders, there is astonishment at their decision to come together to work towards a common goal. Although there is kinship between the Wazir and Mehsud tribes, the latter had not been able to overcome their differences.

In the mid-1970s, tensions ran high when the Waziri ulema declared jihad against the Mehsuds after scores of Waziris were killed during a dispute. The main bazaar in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, was demolished resulting in the Waziris’ incurring losses to the tune of millions of rupees. Intermittently, the Waziris in North and South Waziristan launched a joint front against the Mehsuds in South Waziristan. These had been classified as tribal feuds.

The US invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent army operation in Waziristan gave power and direction to the otherwise small pockets of jihadis, instantly changing the social and political dynamics of the area. Jihadi warlords overpowered traditional tribal power centres by playing on the anger and zeal of the younger generation.

Although nurturing a common resentment against the ‘infidels’, until recently, the Waziris and Mehsud militants did not let go of their mutual rivalry and refused to make compromises to end tribal differences. Rarely did they spare each other when it came to settling old scores.

The same was true of Maulvi Nazir and Gul Bahadur, both warlords from the Wazir tribe and with centres of influence in South and North Waziristan respectively. However, they stuck to their tribal affinities and stood united against their rival Baitullah, representing the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan.

In 2007, Baitullah Mehsud embraced the Uzbek militants after the pro-government Maulvi Nazir flushed them out of his headquarters in Wana. Later, Baitullah Mehsud allegedly used the Uzbeks to inflict heavy damages on Nazir. In 2008, the Uzbeks killed 15 militants when they attacked the offices of Nazir in Shakai and Wana. Nazir received another blow when the Uzbeks killed his top aide, Haji Khanan. This led Maulvi Nazir to broker an alliance with Gul Bahadur against Baitullah in North Waziristan and also to seek support from the Turkistan Bitani tribe.

This tactical move cornered Baitullah. Geographically, the Mehsud warlord was de-linked from the Waziri-dominated strategic borders along Afghanistan in the south and northwest, while the routes via the eastern mainland were controlled by his opponents, the Bitani tribe. State agencies, also part of power politics in Fata, supported the Nazir alliance against Baitullah. Despite hard times, the shrewd Baitullah continued to fuel militancy in other tribal agencies through the areas controlled by the Davar tribe in North Waziristan, bypassing the Waziris in North and South Waziristan.

However, such deep-rooted differences between the Mehsud and Waziri warlords and their greed for power did not prevent the alliance that was formed in the short span of a month. As mentioned earlier, the formation of the alliance has been strongly influenced by the Taliban network in Afghanistan. This network has a considerable role in the power politics of Fata. But this hobnobbing is not limited to the tribal belt. Inner circles of the ANP also blame unknown elements for the ongoing developments in the conflict zones of the NWFP. It was under these compulsions, they said, that the NWFP government reached an agreement with the militants in Swat. Does the deadly game really cover so much ground?

Observers fear that if militants are united on both sides of the divide, it would be difficult to expect the allied forces to honour their commitment along Pakistan’s western boundaries. Predictably, Obama’s new strategy, if followed, would lead to a war in Pakhtun lands where an organised culture of militancy is ready to tackle the enemy.

The US needs to reflect on the policy before implementing it in Afghanistan. Eight years in Afghanistan has brought them no gains and they will not make any from a new misadventure. There will be only bloodshed and misery as there is no exit from this deadly war theatre. At least, that is what history has taught us so far.

shaukatkhattak@gmail.com, syedirfanashraf@gmail.com

Hamid Akhtar: 'Soft Islamic revoluion' is a better approach to confront Talibanisation.

Express, 30-31 March 2009

Mosharraf Zaidi: Counter-terrorism through the civil service


The attack on the Lahore police training facility yesterday, which as of the time of this article's writing had not ended, should wake Pakistan up. There is an existential monster that Pakistanis are unable to acknowledge because of the weakness of their Muslim faith. This weakness is exacerbated by the average Pakistani Muslim's dependence on unholy mullahs whose money-ing by General Zia, radical Saudis, and the joint efforts of the CIA and the ISI is now proving to be the single gravest threat to the sustainability of Pakistan as an operational entity.

The ostrich-like reaction to terrorism
is driven by the average Pakistani's inability to debate the mullah, and an unwillingness to invest the effort and time required to tame that mullah. Abandoned and let loose by the "shurafa" that once were able to tame the mullah, and to speak his language, the mullah's new master--the comfort of Land Cruisers and bottled water--has no scruples.

In the long run, Pakistan cannot be saved until Pakistan's Muslims take back the mosque. This is not a call to start performing qawwalis in mosques. The faux religiosity of hashish-smoking rock-and-rollers pretending to be holier than thou is as much of a scam as the faux religiosity of mullahs insisting that they are the gatekeepers of Paradise. You cannot win the culture wars against orthodoxy with pseudo-Sufism, any more than the Dixie Chicks can win the culture wars against Mike Huckabee and the righteous American right. You can however beat the orthodoxy with the language of faith. There is, quite simply, no basis in Sharia for any of the violence that has been spawned, financed and executed by the monsters that the world's best intelligence agencies--whatever country they may be from--helped incubate. To expect those same agencies to somehow know how to conquer a monster to which they are beholden is ridiculous.

But how are Pakistan's Muslims supposed to take back the mosque when they are scared of going to them? This is the twisted core objective of the terrorists, to completely monopolise religion, and to use that space to pursue their real agenda. And what is their real agenda?

Watching video of Sufi Mohammed make his way from Swat to Peshawar in a jeep marked with the number plate "TSNM - 1" was instructive. The spectacle was only marginally comical. It provided the strangest of insights into Pakistan. The TSNM just wants the piece of pie that it has watched young ACs, DCs, DCOs, SSPs, MNAs, MPAs, DPOs and, yes, even NGOs enjoy to the fullest. It wants the full fruits of state protocol. It wants the flashing lights at the head of the convoy. It wants that the road should clear and traffic should split, in a manner reminiscent of the Prophet Moses parting the River Nile by the grace and kind mercy of the Good Lord. The TSMN just wants the same goodies that the Brahmin bureaucrats, cops and politicians have enjoyed from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and cars for a long, long time. So we should really call what has happened in Swat, for what it really is. It's the Brahminsation of the shudra mullah. And that explains the outrage of the wannabe-elite bureaucrats at Pakistan's deteriorating security situation. At its heart beats insecurity. The shudras are trying to take away their black Corollas, their multiple mobile phones, and their vast caches of cash, lying at the bottom of the rent-seeking pyramid.

How do these merchants of fear and slaughter earn the legitimacy to demand and win such concessions, both from the people and from the state?

Largely on the back of the illegitimacy of those that have been enjoying state privilege and protocol. It does not take a genius for a local mullah to point the finger and demonise a twenty-something assistant commissioner, who is more enamoured by his Blackberry than the problems his "subjects" face, never attends the mosque, except Fridays, and is so genuinely sure of himself that he can't look the common folk in the eye. It does not take much to delegitimise an MPA whose road scheme only benefits the village he is from, and the farmland that belongs to his father. It does not take much to delegitimise a police official who is seen to be corrupt and in cahoots with troublesome patwaris. The rot at the bottom is gently and carefully nurtured by the top of the local administrative structures in this country.

Local administration is in fact a great example of the myopia that plagues Pakistan's bureaucrats. The real battle over decentralisation, tragically, is that retired one-time DCs and commissioners are so enamoured with their lifetimes of administrative failure that they want their heirs (both genetic and cadre-based) to retain magistracy powers. It is an unmitigated disgrace that crusty old retired bureaucrats somehow burrow their way into the right ear of political leaders to pursue the narrowest of personal agendas.

The separation of magisterial powers from the administrative functions of the district coordination officer (DCO) is a cause of searing pain for the District Management Group (DMG). It is the one thing Gen Musharraf did that was truly intolerable for the DMG and their predecessor CSP cadres. The General's demolition job on the Constitution does not bother a strapping young DMG lad as much as the taking away of judicial powers that were once vested in the twenty-something boy. This self-centred ethos of the Pakistani civil service, personified by the DMG, but shared across all occupational groups, is ripping the heart out of the state's capacity to deal with the demonic attacks on this country's people, such as the one in Lahore yesterday.

This is not to suggest that the bureaucracy is in any way not capable of doing its job. Quite the contrary, in fact. Even after the 1974 Bhutto reforms and their devastating effects on the perception of the civil services as a viable career option for Pakistan's best and brightest young people, civil servants tend to be tremendously resourceful individuals. Indeed, at the individual level, it is usually hard to find really mediocre people occupying really important civil-service positions. And perhaps that's just the problem. A Darwinian process of elimination pushes the best people to the top, or it flushes the best people right out of the system. Out of the system, trained civil servants end up serving the narrow interests of whichever donor is willing to pay them the most money. Within the system, the best civil servants spend 20 hours a day serving the strange and sometimes sordid needs of political masters who don't deserve to sit at the same table as some of their officers, to say nothing of ordering them around. By the time a capable, gold-plated, honest civil servant gets to a position where he can make a real difference, fatigue, cynicism and the competition for good officers between provinces, departments, ministries and the donors conspire to render them useful only in the narrow realm of administrative efficiency.

As bad as Pakistan's bureaucracy has behaved over the years, the irony is that it is the last line of defence for this country. If the terrorists are able to demoralise, demonise and destabilise the civil service backbone of this country, there will be little but the courage of ordinary citizens standing in the way of the Taliban. While the Taliban will be devastated at discovering just how much the Pakistani people possess of that elusive thing we call courage, we should expect more of our political leaders and their leveraging of civil servants.

President Asif Ali Zardari has once again fallen for his advisers' flights of fancy, proposing an 80,000-strong national force to counter terrorism. This is a divergent tactic that must stop. Pakistan doesn't need new structures. It needs the strengthening of structures that exist. There are, after all, capable and honest officers out there, from Azam Suleman Khan, to Tariq Khosa, to Suleman Ghani, to Fazalur Rehman, to Kaleem Imam. It is unbelievable that there aren't more of the same kind of civil servants out there. There are. Politicians need to stop playing games and start finding and investing in these officers. Time is running out.

The writer is an independent political economist www.mosharrafzaidi.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 (The News)

Mehsud claims responsibility of Manawan attack

March 31, 2009

PESHAWAR: The chief of Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, on Tuesday took responsibility for an attack on a police academy in Lahore.

"Yes, we have carried out this attack. I will give details later," Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked leader based in Waziristan tribal region told foreign news agency (Reuters) by telephone.

On Monday, Interior Advisor Rehman Malik in a press conference point out the involvement of Baitullah Mehsud in Manawan attack.

Why are the Ziaists in Pakistan, the supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami and Imran Khan, in a state of denial?

Pakistan under attack
Dawn Editorial
Tuesday, 31 Mar, 2009

It should be clear by now that we are at war with ourselves as the enemy within grows more audacious by the day. Yet there are educated people in this country who continue to blame American foreign policy and the ever-potent ‘foreign hand’ for the wave of terrorism sweeping the country. This argument is deeply flawed on several counts.

For one thing, the Pakistani state threw its weight behind America’s Afghan policy in the late ’70s and after 9/11, and as such we are equally responsible for the fallout. It is also common knowledge that Pakistani intelligence agencies once provided logistical support to militant organisations that could further our ‘strategic depth’ interests in Kashmir and across the Durand Line.

It is argued that those behind the storming of the police training centre in Lahore on Monday, and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team earlier this month, were so sophisticated in their methods that they must necessarily have had the backing of a foreign power. Such reasoning overlooks the fact that those who were freedom fighters a few years ago and are now labelled as terrorists were trained by the best in the business.

Let us assume for a moment, even if the truth lies elsewhere, that the terrorists who attacked Lahore on Monday were in the pay of an antagonistic neighbour. Does that absolve the Punjab government and the Pakistani state of the charge of gross negligence? Does it in any way disprove those who maintain that such incidents point to monumental intelligence failures and security lapses? It doesn’t matter who the paymasters might be.

What we have now are Pakistanis killing Pakistanis, Muslims killing Muslims. And while we are at it, let us discard once and for all the absurd notion that the people who carry out such dastardly acts cannot possibly be Muslims. They are Muslims. In fact, these terrorists and militants consider themselves to be far truer Muslims than those who oppose them.

The militants involved in Monday’s siege may have been overcome but it is time to hammer out a political and social consensus on this issue. It is time to show the kind of fervour the obscurantists demonstrate in abundance but the well-meaning couch in carefully chosen words. This is a fight and it cannot be won without throwing punches.

The country’s mainstream political parties need to draw a line in the sand and show the people, with no room for ambiguity, where they stand in this battle for the soul of Pakistan. The religio-political parties must also make their positions clear. President Obama says that US ground forces will not enter Pakistan. We would be well advised to not give them the chance. If we can’t do the job ourselves, others might do it for us. And that way lies disaster.


حملوں ہم نے کیے ہیں: بیت اللہ محسود

کالعدم تحریکِ طالبان پاکستان کے سربراہ بیت اللہ محسود نے لاہور میں پولیس کے تربیتی مرکز پر حملے کے علاوہ بنوں میں فوجی قافلے اور اسلام آباد میں سپیشل برانچ پر ہوئے تینوں حملوں کی ذمہ داری قبول کر لی ہے۔

لاہور کے نواحی علاقے مناواں میں واقع پولیس کے تربیتی مرکز پر پیر کی صبح سات بجے کے قریب متعدد مسلح افراد نے حملہ کیا تھا اور پولیس کمانڈوز ساڑھے آٹھ گھنٹے کے آپریشن کے بعد دہشت گردوں پر قابو پانے میں کامیاب ہوئے اور تربیتی سینٹر کی عمارت کو خالی کرا لیا گیا۔ اس آپریشن میں آٹھ پولیس اہلکار اور چار دہشت گرد ہلاک جبکہ سو کے قریب افراد زخمی ہوئے۔

کسی نامعلوم مقام سے بی بی سی سے ٹیلیفون پر بات کرتے ہوئے بیت اللہ محسود کا کہنا تھا کا ان کے گروپ کی کارروائیاں قبائلی علاقوں میں جاری امریکی ڈرون حملوں کا بدلہ تھیں اور آئندہ چند روز میں مزید ایسے حملے کیے جائیں گے۔

گّزشتہ روز لاہور میں پریس کانفرنس میں مشیر داخلہ رحمان ملک نے دعوٰی کیا تھا کہ گرفتار کیے جانے والے دہشت گرد سے کی گئی ابتدائی تفتیش سے یہ بات سامنے آئی ہے کہ اس حملے کی منصوبہ بندی بیت اللہ محسود اور ان کے نائب نے کی ہے۔

’ کچھ وقت لگے گا لیکن امریکہ کو میں خود سبق سکھاوں گا۔ انشا اللہ جب ہم انتقام لیں گے تو امریکہ کے اندر لیں گے۔ تاہم فل الوقت بات امریکہ سے نہیں پاکستان سے بدلہ لینے کی ہے۔‘

بیت اللہ محسود

رحمان ملک کا یہ بھی کہنا تھا کہ گرفتار کیے جانے والے دہشتگرد کا تعلق افغانستان سے ہے اور وہ پندرہ روز پہلے لاہور آیا تھا جہاں اس نے رہائش کے لیے ایک گھر کرایے پر لیا۔ ان کا کہنا ہے کہ دہشتگرد کے کچھ ساتھیوں کی شناخت ہوگئی ہے جبکہ دیگر کی شناخت کے لیے کارروائی کی جارہی ہے۔ ان کے بقول جس شخص کو حراست میں لیا گیا وہ اردو نہیں بول سکتا۔

ادھر لاہور شہر میں میں رات بھر مختلف مقامات پر پولیس کے چھاپوں کا سلسلہ جاری رہا اور پچاس کے قریب مشتبہ افراد کو حراست میں لے لیا گیا ہے۔

بیت اللہ محسود نے سکیورٹی فورسز کی جانب سے مناواں پولیس سینٹر کے قریب سے گرفتار کیئے گئے ایک افغان شخص ہجرت اللہ سے لاتعلقی کا اعلان کیا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ اسے کہیں اور سے گرفتار کرکے وہاں لایا گیا ہوگا۔

چند روز قبل امریکی حکومت کی طرف سے بیت اللہ محسود کی گرفتاری میں مدد دینے والے کے لیے پچاس لاکھ ڈالر کی انعامی رقم کا اعلان کیا گیا تھا۔ اس اعلان کے بعد یہ ان کا پہلا بیان ہے۔

لاہور کے قریب مناواں پولیس کے تربیتی مرکز پر حملے میں چار حملہ آوروں کے علاوہ آٹھ پولیس اہلکار اور دو راہگیر ہلاک ہوئے تھے۔ بنوں میں سکیورٹی فورسز کے ایک قافلے پر حملے میں پانچ افراد مارے گئے تھے جبکہ اسلام آباد میں پولیس کے سپیشل برانچ دفتر پر حملے میں حملہ آور سمیت ایک پولیس کانسٹیبل ہلاک ہوئے۔

’جب تک جاسوس طیاروں کے حملے جاری رہیں گے اس وقت تک ہمارا انتقام بھی جاری رہے گا۔ اور اس کے آخر میں ایک ایسا حملہ ہوگا جو حکومت کے دل میں تیر ثابت ہوگا۔‘

بیت اللہ محسود

بیت اللہ محسود نے قبائلی علاقے خیبر ایجنسی میں جمرورد کی ایک مسجد پر حملے سے لاتعلقی ظاہر کی۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ مساجد کو نشانہ نہیں بناتے۔ ’مسجدوں میں حملوں کی ہم مذمت کرتے ہیں۔ ہمارے علماء کی فکر کے مطابق مساجد میں فدائی حملے جائز نہیں ہیں۔‘

لاہور میں ہی اس ماہ کے اوائل میں سری لنکن ٹیم پر حملے کے بارے میں ایک سوال کے جواب میں ان کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ اس بارے میں کچھ نہیں کہہ سکتے ہیں۔

امریکی جاسوس طیاروں کے حملے نہ روکے جانے کی صورت میں ان کا لائحہ عمل کیا ہوگا، اس بارے میں کالعدم تنظیم کے سربراہ نے دھمکی دی کہ آئندہ چند روز میں دو تین فدائی حملے اور بھی ہوں گے۔

’جب تک جاسوس طیاروں کے حملے جاری رہیں گے اس وقت تک ہمارا انتقام بھی جاری رہے گا۔ اور اس کے آخر میں ایک ایسا حملہ ہوگا جو حکومت کے دل میں تیر ثابت ہوگا۔‘

تاہم انہوں نے ان حملوں کے مقامات یا وقت کے بارے میں مزید کچھ بتانے سے گریز کیا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ سرکاری سیکیورٹی اداروں کا امتحان ہوں گے۔

ایک سوال کے جواب میں کہ حملے تو امریکہ کر رہا ہے لیکن بدلہ عام پاکستانیوں سے کیوں لیا جا رہا ہے تو ان کا کہنا تھا کہ حکومت پاکستان نے امریکی صدر اوباما کی پالیسی کا خیرمقدم کیا ہے۔

’صدر زرداری کی پالیسی امریکہ کی پالیسی ہے۔ وہ زبانی طور پر تو ڈرون حملوں کی مخالفت کرتے ہیں لیکن خفیہ طور پر اس کی حمایت کرتے ہیں۔‘

ان سے دریافت کیا کہ وہ خود بھی مبینہ جاسوسوں کو ہلاک کرنے کے باوجود زمینی خفیہ معلومات کے امریکی نظام کو ناکام نہیں بناسکے ہیں تو بیت اللہ کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ تو ہر وقت ہوتا ہے کہ مسلمان کمزور ہوتے ہیں ان کے پاس وسائل نہیں ہوتے ہیں۔ ’یہ مسلمانوں کا امتحان ہوتا ہے اور آخری کامیابی انہیں کی ہوتی ہے۔‘

انہوں نے مناواں حملے میں ملوث افراد کے بارے میں کچھ بتانے سے انکار یہ کہتے ہوئے کیا کہ اس سے ان کے قبائل کے لیئے مشکلات پیدا ہوتی ہیں۔

امریکی کی جانب سے ان کی گرفتاری میں مدد پر پچاس لاکھ ڈالر کی انعامی رقم کے بارے میں ان کا کہنا تھا کہ امریکہ سے وہ خود نمٹیں گے۔ ’ کچھ وقت لگے گا لیکن امریکہ کو میں خود سبق سکھاوں گا۔ انشا اللہ جب ہم انتقام لیں گے تو امریکہ کے اندر لیں گے۔ تاہم فل الوقت بات امریکہ سے نہیں پاکستان سے بدلہ لینے کی ہے۔‘

ان کا دعوی تھا کہ انہوں نے امریکی انعام کے اعلان کے بعد اپنی نقل وحرکت میں کوئی تبدیلی نہیں کی ہے بلکہ اس میں اضافہ کر دیا ہے۔

ٹیلیفون پر انٹرویو کے دوران کہیں بھی بیت اللہ محسود کی آواز سے کسی دباؤ کا کوئی تاثر نہیں ملا بلکہ بعض سوالات کے جواب میں تو وہ کھل کر بات کرتے رہے۔


Some relevant comments:

Kashif said:

Oooppsss!!!!!! Its not just Rehman Malik, now Bait Ullah Masud himself accepted the responsibility of yesterday’s attacks. All Taliban well wishers please condem him and Tehrik Taliban Pakistan with same intensity that you had yesterday against RAW, RM, Taseer etc

democrate said:

Taliban supporter, how soft are you for talban and terrorists and how harsh are you for government.show just one statement where u criticized talban with harsh manners.plz back the government not undermine the goverment.remmember how american citizens supported thier worst president after 9/11 incedent.

Kashif said:

NRO, Judicary, COD, elite corruption, dis-functional institutions etc etc are all our domestic issues Talibanization is not. Talibanization is a war between west and middle east we are merly providing them the fertile battle ground. We do not have any disagreements on domestic issues its the laundry list that IK, NS, SS, etc etc repeats every single day.

What is your solution to Talibanization? IK, JI, Hamid Gul say negotiate with them. Americans tried to negotiate with Taliban before attacking Afghanistan people like Hamid Gul backed Taliban not to hand over Osama. Nuts like Hamid Gul have a wiered agenda they want to bring down west. I have absolutely no problem with that as long as they have means to do that. American supermacy will be successfully challenged oneday by countries like China, Japan, Germany or some alliances that have resources to challenge them on multiple fronts. Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan can not survive one year w/o western aid. Middle east which has oil weapon (I don’t know for how long) they don’t challenge west. We can not bring the western civilization down but if we continued our existing path we will bring African style civil wars in south Asia.

“I have never defending the Taliban but have stated that they are a symptom of a greater problem which is systemic in this society. ” Thats what your leader IK also says he doesn’t justify he just expalins Talibanization and susidal attacks.

All of you first attempt to sell their philosphies (nizam e adal and all BS) but when you are pushed to defend suside attacks, woman rights etc you down grade your status from staunch supporter to political commentator.

There is social injustice (that you think is the root cause of Talibanization) in every part of the globe. Before Mushraaf we had Zia and Ayub as distators and ZAB, BB and NS era which were far from true democracies. But there were no suside attacks to over come that. This present wave of violence which is threatning very existence of our Pakistan is not because of our social disorders (dis-functional institutions, corrupt elite class, economic disparity etc etc) the source is nuts like Osama and Hamid Gul who think they can bring west down using our land, our people and very very limited resources. Our dis-coharent social fabric is providing some fuel to their crazy dreams but it is not the root cause. Like rest of the developing and develop world we can over come our issues one by one provided we are not vanished from the face of the earth thanks to these few “beautiful” minds.

MalangBaba said:

I am shocked at the latest terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan. When will the intelligentsia of the country realize, the main threat to the country is not from India, Israel or the US, but the cancer of Jihadi Islamism that it’s military has nurtured within its bowels to serve the interests of Zionism and imperialism.

Those who are born after 1970 probably have not seen the time of Zia when Qazi Hussain, Hameed Gul and US FM George Schulz used to chant ALLAH-O_AKBAR in Afghan camps by joining and raising their hands and fists together.

This nation needs to unite against these terrorists. Hiding our heads in sand and blaming RAW or Israel is not going to eliminate the danger. We have no choice but to choose either Algeria or Somalia model. Do we want to see Lahore a next Mogadishu? If not then, political difference aside all nation should support the government in its efforts to eliminate these militants by using brutal force or by dividing the enemy.

Biggest responsibility rests with media that needs to restrain those anchors and observers who portray these terrorists as ‘innocents’ or RAW agents contradicting the clear proof. If these terrorists succeed they will do same to Sharifs what they did to Bhuttos, do the same to Qazi and Munawwar Hasan what they did to Hikmat Yar, and will treat Imran Khan the same way they treated Ahmed Shah Masood. Don’t forget Talban and AlQaida are the most savage beasts under the sun.

Rashid said:

@afzaalkhan said:

best was when baitullah mehsood was contacted by hamid gul and safdar abbasi on order of benazir and he goes BB i have no quarrel with u why would I plan to kill u?

So you think, baitullah mehsood being a “good muslim brother” would not lie and he would accept if he is really involved in the killing of BB? WTF? This is your logic??? the word of that MF terrorist is more believable to you than what is obvious???

MalangBaba said:

“Rehman Malik said these terrorist belong to Mahsood, he took less time to decalre this than India took after Mumbai attacks.”

In both cases some terrorists were captured alive. despite all the denials and false claims by some in media now it is proved that Mumbai terrorists belonged to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and were Pakistani. Nawaz Sharif was the first one to admit that those terrorists were from Pakistan. Denial is no solution.

fanaticmulla said:



we condemn this attack if India, Israel and USA did that but we support it if they are done by beardos ..this is the logic these MF beardos have ….

after this attack even rightist in media are condemning beardos and you rightly quoted MM..

all the day these MF beardos were raising slogans and now their brother SOB beardos in Wazirstan have claimed responsibility and now they are start crying and abusing ..you MF beardos can abuse as much as you can ..in the end every Pakistani will be against your terrorist activities

MF morons

Source: pkpolitics


Monday, 30 March 2009

Amir Mir: Punjabi and Pushtun militants behind Manawan attack

This site has moved to http://criticalppp.com, click this link if you are not redirected

Lahore terror attack: The ISI's chickens come home to roost?

A Pakistani police officer carries his injured colleague to an armored car in the compound of a police training school on the outskirts of Lahore. AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary.

Almost 150 years ago, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, a Sufi poet, wrote:

"Neechan di ashnayee kolon faiz kisay na paya,
kikker te angoor cherhaya her guchha zakhmaya"

Translation: You will gain nothing from your friendship with a person of lowly character. You will be foolish to plant a grape vine on a keekar (acacia) tree.

Pakistani security officials arrest a suspected militant (R) near the site of a police training center in Lahore. AFP Photo/Sameed Qureshi.

ہر گچھا زخمایا

سری لنکا ٹیم پر حملہ

سری لنکا کی ٹیم پر حملہ تیس منٹ تک جاری رہا اور پھر حملہ آور اطمینان سے اپنا اسلحہ و بارود چھوڑ کر غائب ہوگئے

نائن الیون سے پہلے پاکستان میں دہشت گردی کی نوعیت بنیادی طور پر نسلی اور فرقہ وارانہ نوعیت کی تھی اور بنیادی ہتھیار کلاشنکوف تھا۔ لیکن جب نائن الیون کے بعد ہم القاعدہ - طالبان دور میں داخل ہوئے تو دہشت گردی کے ہتھیاروں میں خودکش بمباروں کا بھی اضافہ ہوگیا۔

پھر یہ رجحان اتنا بڑھا کہ صوبہ سرحد اور شمالی پنجاب میں پچھلے پانچ برس کے دوران بالعموم اور لال مسجد اسلام آباد کے واقعہ کے بعد بالخصوص دہشت گردی کی جتنی وارداتیں ہوئیں ان میں اسی فیصد کے لگ بھگ خودکش بمباروں نے کار بم، ٹرک بم اور انسانی بم کی شکل میں کیں۔اور پھر یہ وبا شمالی پنجاب سے ہوتی ہوئی وسطی اور جنوبی علاقوں تک پہنچ گئی۔

لاہور میں گذشتہ برس تیرہ مئی کو وفاقی تحقیقاتی ادارے ایف آئی اے کے کثیر المنزلہ دفتر پر حملہ ہو یا چھ اکتوبر کو مغربی پنجاب کے ضلع بھکر میں مسلم لیگ نواز کے ایم این اے رشید اکبر نوانی کے ڈیرے پر حملہ یا پھر نو اکتوبر کو پولیس لائنز اسلام آباد پر حملہ، ان سب میں جو بھی بھاری جانی نقصان ہوا وہ خود کش حملوں کے سبب ہوا۔

لیکن اس سال سات فروری کو پنجاب کے شہر میانوالی میں قدرت آباد پولیس چیک پوسٹ پر فائرنگ اور بموں کے استعمال سے آٹھ پولیس والوں کی ہلاکت نے دہشت گردی کے ایک نئے پیٹرن کا پتہ دیا۔ یعنی دہشت گردی خودکش حملے کے ساتھ ساتھ بھاری اور ہلکے ہتھیاروں اور دستی بموں کے کمانڈو سٹائل استعمال کا مرکب بننے لگی۔

لیکن اس سال سات فروری کو پنجاب کے شہر میانوالی میں قدرت آباد پولیس چیک پوسٹ پر فائرنگ اور بموں کے استعمال سے آٹھ پولیس والوں کی ہلاکت نے دھشت گردی کے ایک نئے پیٹرن کا پتہ دیا۔ یعنی دھشت گردی خودکش حملے کے ساتھ ساتھ بھاری اور ہلکے ہتھیاروں اور دستی بموں کے کمانڈو سٹائل استعمال کا مرکب بننے لگی۔

اس تبدیلی کا سب سے بڑا مظہر تین مارچ کو لاہور میں دن دھاڑے سری لنکا کی ٹیم پر دستی بموں، راکٹوں اور کلاشنکوفوں سے حملہ تھا۔ تقریباً درجن بھر حملہ آوروں نے تیس منٹ تک کارروائی جاری رکھی۔ اور پھر اطمینان سے اپنا اسلحہ و بارود چھوڑ کر غائب ہوگئے۔

اس تناظر میں اگر خود کش بمباری کا طریقہ القاعدہ - طالبان سٹائل سمجھا جائے تو پھر کمانڈو طرز کی دہشت گردی کو اِنڈو۔جہادی پیٹرن کے طور پر دیکھنا ہوگا۔ اس کی دلیل یہ ہے کہ سری لنکا کی ٹیم پر حملہ ہو یا لاہور میں مناواں پولیس ٹریننگ سینٹر پر تیس مارچ کا حملہ دونوں کا انداز کم و بیش وہی ہے جس کا آغاز بھارت کے زیرِ انتظام کشمیر سے ہوا۔

سنہ نوے کے عشرے میں کشمیر میں بھارت کے فوجی و نیم فوجی مراکز پر فدائین حملوں کا آغاز ہوا۔ یعنی دو سے بارہ تک شدت پسند کسی اہم عمارت یا مرکز میں گھس کر اس وقت تک لڑتے رہتے تھے جب تک مرنہ جائیں۔

اس طرح کے بڑے حملوں میں تین نومبر انیس سو ننانوے کا وہ حملہ بھی ہے جب دو فدائی سری نگر میں بھارت کی پندرہ کور کے فوجی ہیڈ کوارٹر میں گرینیڈز اور کلاشنکوفیں لے کر گھس گئے۔ اس آپریشن میں چھ فوجی ہلاک ہوئے اور فدائین خود بھی مارے گئے۔

پاکستان رینجرز

خود کش بمباری کا طریقہ القاعدہ-طالبان سٹائل سمجھا جائے تو پھر کمانڈو طرز کی دھشت گردی کو اِنڈو۔جہادی پیٹرن کے طور پر دیکھنا ہوگا

سولہ جنوری دو ہزار ایک کو فوجی یونیفارم میں چھ شدت پسند ایک اغوا شدہ سرکاری جیپ میں بیٹھ کر سری نگر ائرپورٹ میں گھس گئے۔ اس مہم میں حملہ آوروں سمیت گیارہ افراد ہلاک ہوئے۔

تیرہ دسمبر دو ہزار ایک کو دلی میں انڈین پارلیمنٹ کے احاطے میں اسی طرح کا کمانڈو ایکشن کیا گیا جس میں حملہ آوروں سمیت بارہ افراد ہلاک ہوگئے۔ پانچ اکتوبر دو ہزار چھ کو سری نگر میں سنٹرل ریزرو پولیس کے ہیڈ کوارٹر پر گرینڈز اور رائفلوں سے مسلح افراد نے حملہ کرکے تین پولیس والوں کو ہلاک اور دس کو زخمی کردیا۔حملہ آور فرار ہوگئے۔چھبیس نومبر دو ہزار آٹھ کو ممبئی میں ایک ٹرین ٹرمینل، دو ہوٹلوں اور ایک نجی مرکز پر درجن بھر لوگوں نے کمانڈو ایکشن کرکے ڈیڑھ سو سے زائد افراد کو ہلاک کردیا۔

اس طرح کے فدائی حملوں کی ذمہ داری کبھی لشکرِ طیبہ نے قبول کی کبھی جیشِ محمد نے کبھی حزب المجاہدین نے تو کبھی نامعلوم یا نووارد مجاہدین نے۔

ان جہادی گروہوں پر فروری دو ہزار دو میں مشرف حکومت نے پابندی لگادی لیکن اس کے بعد بھی ان کا نیٹ ورک برقرار رہا۔ ان میں سے کچھ نئے ناموں سے ابھر آئے تو دیگر زیرِ زمین گروہوں کے اتحادی بن گئے یا ان میں ضم ہوگئے۔

اب اگر اس طرح کے زیرِ زمین کمانڈو ایکشن کے عادی گروہوں اور خودکش بمباری کے حامیوں میں ایک وسیع تر مقصد کو اپنے اپنے انداز میں آگے بڑھانے کے لیے کوئی اتحاد ہو چکا ہے تو پاکستانی سیکورٹی ایسٹیبلشمنٹ کے لیے اس سے زیادہ بری خبر نہیں ہوسکتی۔

میاں محمد بخش نے بہت بہت پہلے پاکستانی سیکورٹی اسٹیبلشمنٹ کو یہ کہہ کر خبردار کرنے کی کوشش کی تھی کہ

کِکر تے انگور چڑھایا، ہر گچھا زخمایا

لیکن اب پشتاوے کیا ہوت جب چڑیاں چگ گئیں کھیت



Terrorists risk Pakistan's future

March 31, 2009

Article from: The Australian

KARACHI: The assault yesterday on a police school and a wave of spectacular attacks underline Pakistan's weakness and the danger posed by Islamist militants to the future of the nuclear-armed nation.

The commando-style assault on the training ground transformed a normally peaceful commuter belt near Pakistan's cultural capital of Lahore into a war zone, leaving as many as 35 people dead in pitched battles with the security forces.

Analysts said the attack was a defiant message to US President Barack Obama, who has put Pakistan at the heart of the fight against al-Qa'ida, tripling US aid in a strategy that is aimed at reversing the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Such is the scale of violence in the Muslim nation that Mr Obama called al-Qa'ida and its allies "a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within", and he urged Islamabad to demonstrate its commitment to eradicating the extremists.

Mutahir Shaikh, an international relations expert at the University of Karachi, said the wave of attacks were a response to the US stand.

"The terrorists want to tell Obama and his Western allies they cannot be contained as Obama desired, and are still as powerful and strong as they have been for years now," Professor Shaikh said. "The attack proves the weakness of the state institutions and shows that a mere half-a-dozen professionally trained terrorists can take anyone hostage and occupy any establishment they like.



Time to Push Forward

It is back to business as usual in Pakistan. The assertion of popular will that saw the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary has been
shown to be an interregnum. With the suicide bombing of a mosque in Jamrud and the audacious assault on a police training centre in Manawan on the outskirts of Lahore, the Taliban-terrorist nexus has reimposed its warped vision of political discourse in emphatic fashion. That this has come so soon after President Barack Obama's unveiling of his new Af-Pak policy is, in all likelihood, no coincidence. The insurgent forces crippling Pakistan and Afghanistan are sending a clear message. Obama's response must be to push through his outlined strategy; its two-pronged approach has the potential to finally turn the tide.

The first of these is an unprecedented internationalist approach to the Af-Pak problem. The Contact Group that includes India, Russia, China and Iran has the scope to achieve far more than a go-it-alone approach by the US. India, of course, has a vital interest in stabilising the region while Russia's role as both alternate supply route and interlocutor with vital Central Asian nations is likely to be an important one. As Pakistan's most powerful backer, China's cooperation will be even more so. But the true advance has been bringing Iran on board. As Afghanistan's neighbour, it has a twin interest in seeing the country stabilised; from a security standpoint and in order to counter Saudi influence in the region. That Obama has been able to initiate this process despite US-Iran animosity is heartening.

The second facet of the Af-Pak policy is a long-overdue course correction in dealing with Pakistan. US officials led by chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mike Mullen have minced no words in stating that the ISI continues to maintain links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda that must be cut. Neither has Obama pulled his punches in calling for a far greater level of cooperation from Pakistan, linking the civilian financial aid that is necessary for the country to survive with verifiable action against the insurgents. As it stands, the Pakistani approach is a smoke-and-mirrors game. So far, it has insisted on differentiating between various elements of the Taliban in order to pursue a policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan vis-a-vis India. This is no longer sustainable witness the compact between Mullah Omar and Baitullah Mehsud not least because of the corrosive effect it has had on Pakistan itself.

This is a vital stage of the battle for Af-Pak. All thoughts of political settlement must be tempered by the knowledge that this is the same Taliban that harboured the men responsible for 9/11. Obama has shown that he has the vision to deal with the problem. Now he must deliver on it. (Editorial Comment, TOI, 31 March 2009)


The Long War Journal's Report

Lahore Police Academy attack is the latest in a series of military-styled terror assaults

Today's attack is the latest in a series of military-styled terror assaults that have been launched by the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other allied terror groups. These groups have conducted similar strikes in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

The last such attack took place in Lahore on March 3. A terrorist strike team estimated at about 12 men ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team as it traveled to a sports stadium in Lahore. Five policemen and two civilians were killed, and dozens were wounded, including some cricket officials.

In February, an assault team assembled by the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Haqqani Network aattacked the Justice and Education ministries as well as the Prisons Directorate headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan security forces killed the attackers after several hours of fighting, which largely took place at the Justice Ministry. Nineteen people were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

In November 2008 a terror assault team attacked Mumbai, the financial capital of India. The well-armed, well trained assault squad from the Lashkar-e-Taiba closed down the city for more than 60 hours before Indian forces killed all but one of the terrorists. More than 170 Indians and foreigners were killed during the battles, and hundreds more were wounded.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, and a host of Pakistani jihadi terror groups have joined forces to battle both the Pakistani military in the Northwest Frontier Province and the NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has revived its paramilitary army, formerly known as the 055 Brigade and now known as the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. The Shadow Army contains fighters from each of these terror groups, and trains in camps in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas.

Lahore attack follows a blood week in Pakistan

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups have stepped up their attacks on Pakistani security forces nationwide, despite a peace agreement that ceded more than 1/3 of the Northwest Frontier Province to the Taliban.

The assault on the Lahore police academy caps a bloody week of fighting and attacks throughout Pakistan, and was not the only deadly attack against security forces today.

Today in Bannu a suicide car bomber rammed into a military convoy, killed four soldiers and wounding several others.

Yesterday, a Taliban unit surrounded a police outpost in Khyber and took 12 policemen hostage. On March 28, Pakistani security forces claimed it killed 26 Taliban fighters during an operation in Mohmand, a region it claimed was secured and Taliban-free just four weeks ago.

On March 28, a large Taliban force attacked a trucking terminal outside of Peshawar and destroyed NATO vehicles and equipment.

On March 27, the Taliban temporarily shut down NATO's supply route into Afghanistan after destroying a bridge in Khyber. That same day, a suicide bomber killed more than 70 Pakistanis after detonating in the middle of a mosque.

In the past, al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri and spokesman and ideologue Abu Yahya al Libi have advocated for Pakistanis to revolt against the state and overthrow the government. The al Qaeda leaders have urged the military to turn on the government and join the jihad.

Information in this report was compiled from reports at AFP, The Times of India, Geo News, and the Associate Press


Terrorists were speaking in Urdu and Punjabi.

The arrested man has been identified as Hijratullah, a resident of Miranshah, the center of North Waziristan. Earlier local TV channels identified the man as Gul Khan, a Pashto speaking man from the tribal region.

Police sources said that Hijratullah had arrived in Lahore one month ago. An arms license was recovered from his possession, which carries the name of Nadeem Asghar, a resident of Sheikhupura in Punjab.


Some relevant comments:


Its all started in 1970’s when our Gen Zia done collaboration with Afghans & become a slave (partner) of US to defeat Russia & all leaders after him followed his footsteps, while history has proven that all the US allies are in deep trouble, they will never to secure internally rather external threats.
It’s a chain of one-sided benefits, which start & end to secure US interests.
Aim behind current kiosk is to attain Pak’s nukes to secure Israel by claiming on media that our land is not secure enough to defend Taliban, & they will access to nuke one day, while Pakistan was never be a threat to Israel, we should learn from Iran the striving nation with threats from all corners but these threats are just from cowards, I wish our leaders should learn and break the joint venture they done to secure US by staking their own homeland.
US motive is to create kiosks and divide our nation not just mentally but physical division on land as well.

Kesar Saleem:

It is time that the people of Pakistan realised that the prime enemy facing Pakistan is the Taliban. They can not keep blaming the Americans; it were the muslims whos pulled the triggers on the innocent muslims. Not until the people get rid off the soft spot thay have for these depraved religious zealots, the slow death of Pakistan is inevitable.
As a first measure, we must admit that it is our own problem and will not go away simpliy if the Americans leave the region (Swat is an example). Secondly, we must close down all madrassas and any imam or preacher that advocates hatred of others must be dealt with sternly. Thirdly, there must be national campaign to discredit the teachings of the Talibans and their like minded collaborators in civil and political life.


I live 4 km away from the academy. Heard about the attack at around 8:30. At around 10.00, I began to realize the seriousness and intensity of the attack. Hurried to pick my son from school which is hardly 2 km from the academy. The shrine of great Sufi Saint Madhoo Lal Hussain is hardly 2 km away from the academy. Today is the third day of Lal Hussain Urs. Devotees were busy going towards his shrine, thronging the already congested G.T.Road and oblivious of the mayhem carried out 2 km away. I thought about the message of peace and universal brotherhood which Lal Hussain preached in this city of saints and gardens.

I dont know why we failed to stop the violation and plunder of our great city. Violation of its traditions of hospitality and tolerance. I can not figure out why we continue to tolerate these violater and plunderers amongst us. Sitting on the pulpits of bone and flesh, they continue to spread their message of hate and bigotry. Tonight I am going to the shrine of Lal Hussain to lit “chiraghs and diyas” for all the innocent blood that was spilled. I will sit amongst my brothers to drink bhang, smoke pot and shout a rebel yell in defiance of the mullahs of this land.

Tariq Mehmood:

1. Send all Afghan Refugees back to Afghanistan.
2.Restrict the people of FATA to their own areas.
3. People of WAZIRISTAN should not be allowed movement outside WAZIRISTAN.
4. ORDER ALL LAW ENFORCING agencies “SHOOT TO KILL” on siting any one with a weapon.
5. Close all madaris for six months.

Albert Pinto:

This is a very sad situation in Pakistan. It is turning into another Iraq now. Every week terrorists attacks are taking place if not everyday. My deepest condolences to the family members of those innocents who have died in today’s attack on Loahore. Its high time for Pakistan to mend its ways now and act tough against terrorism. In my opinion they must do the following to curb terrorism in their own country and the world:
1. Shut down all Madarsas.
2. Stop ISI and army from supporting terrorism of any nature.
3. Shut down all terrorists training camps running in Pakistan.
4. Cooperate with other countries in eliminating terrorists from Pakistan.
5. Utilize funds received from US and other countries on welfare schemes and employment generation.

I hope and pray to God from across the border that some day terrorism will be eliminated from Pakistan and the entire world will live with peace of mind.


I am in serious shock and i believe we are the victims of the so called jihadees in the 80s. Hence as one reader wrote, have the army and paramailitary forces always on the check inside the country. Also have a masive cleanup of the tribal areas (use force to the maximum) to get rid of the anti Pakistan elements at all. Even use heavy bombings and clean Pakistan.

Ali Khan:

The root of this problem lies in the misguided policies of our military establishment. It is no secret that elements in the ISI have been indoctrinated by the extremists and continue to help taliban and other like-minded terrorists rape and murder ordinary pakistanis in an attempt to destabilise the government. If we are to win this fight, two things need to happen at the very least.

P Sinha:

I believe Pakistan, in its haste to find “strategeic depth” in Afghanistan, has long betted on the wrong genie. Now, the genie is out of the bottle. The genie is just doing what it does best- kill.
When will Pakistan start looking at things independent of “the Indian angle”?


These are mercenary groups which where funded by US and Pakistan in the 80’s not they are the hired guns for who ever is the highest bidder and we all know the Highest bidder against Pakistan is. Now coming to the points you raised, Lahore is the target because it has the least paramilitary presence as compared to other Provincial Capitals, Making the local police (easy targets) against these well trained mercenary outfits (hired by you know who). Secondly we can say that political situation is diverting the attention of the security agencies from the real problem. We should resolve the disputes as nothing should be before the interest of Pakistan and Pakistani People.


We can have a peaceful country if we abolish all our law enforcing agencies and particularly the secret/intelligence ones. I believe, these agencies, if not directly involved in most of what is happening in Pakistan (and may be outside), are totally incapable, useless and far from the capabilities that we poor Pakistani expect of them. I hope we all realize soon that the real threat is not RAW, CIA or Mosad, its our own secret agencies that will cause the maximum damage to Pakistan.

Moshin Naqvi:

I would partially agree with Mr. Omar but like to add that public opinion in Punjab with regards to the war on terror is not very clear. This is because of the leadership of Punjab, which constitutes one major political party of the country, hasn’t taken the clear stance in this regard. In Punjab most people are still thinking that this is not their war. But what they failed to realized is that they have to fight, whether to Al Qaeda/Taliban or the west. Both are bends upon to fight their war on Pakistan’s soil. Cant we see??? the attackers are in the streets as well as in the skies of Pakistan but we as a nation are in deep slumber and still thinking that it is not our war.

I appeal to the leadership of this poor country to set-aside their differences and come up with the joint strategy to cope up the growing menace of terrorism and extremism. Sooner it would be better may be the outcome and delay will strengthen the devils.

1. The ISI must be purged of all jihadi supporters. These people have helped their terrorist proxies plan and execute plots and as such must be brought to justice. They have the blood of innocent pakistanis on their hands.

The Army must understand that these extremists and their supporters in the ISI are not only an existential threat to ordinary civilians and civlian state institutions, but also to the Army itself.

2. The extremist’s wahhabi ideology indoctrination centers must be destroyed, and all jihadi training centers masquerading as schools must be shut down.

swali said:

First gift by Jamat-e-Ghair Islami by their new ameer Munawwar Hassan, the chief terrorist to for the innocent people of Pakistan. Ban Jamat, terrorism will finish, ban PTI, there will be no zina in the society. Down with both. We share the grief with the people of Lahore for this heinous act of terrorism.

wiqi said:

Plan was made in Waziristan. Baitullah Mehsood is directly involved in matter. Few jerks won’t listen to me anyway but again i would say, these talibans are threat to sovereignty of Pakistan. These devils are serving the purpose of Pakistan’s enemies.
May Allah show them and their supporters the straight path, the right path. (Amin)

بہت افسوسناک اورسخت قابل مذمت ہے۔دو سابق ڈکٹيٹرز جنرل ضياءالحق اور پرويزمشرف کی پاليسيوں کی وجہ سے پڑوسی ملک میں مداخلت کے نتائج آج پوری قوم بھگت رہی ہے۔ دعا یہی ہے کہ رب کائنات ہمارے ملک اور قوم کی حفاظت فرمائے آمین۔ سيکورٹی اہلکاروں اور سويلين مقتولين جو آئے روز لقمہء اجل بن رہے ہیں ان کے لیے بہت دکھ اور صدمہ ہے اللہ ان کے لواحقين کو صبر جميل عطا کرے


اس ملک کو بنے ہوئے کتنے سال بیت گئے ہیں مگر ہماری عظیم قوم شعیبت، وہابیت پر الجھے ہوئے ہیں۔سعودی عرب کی مثالیں دے کر واضح کر رہے ہیں کہ کچھ عقل اور ہوش کے ناخن لیں ملک جاہل مولویوں کے ہاتھوں میں جا رہا ہے اور چین کی بانسری بجا رہے ہیں۔۔ اسلام ڈنڈے کے زور پر نہیں پھیلتا ۔اسلام کی الف ب سے بھی واقف ہیں ۔ اسلام دل میں ہوتا ہے۔

عبدالوحید خان، Birmingham، برطانیہ

سعودی عرب میں اسی وہابيت كی وجہ سے امن اور رزق میں بركت ہے۔
Abdul Basit،

سعودی عرب
رزق میں برکت تو ہو گی امريکی اور عربی مل کر جو کھاتے ہیں جسکو وہابيت سے بہت پيار ہے سعودی عرب جا کے شوق پورا کرے پاکستان قاعدِاعظم نے مزاروں پر حملوں کے ليے نہیں بنايا تھا۔

ando pando، karachi، برطانیہ

سب سے پہلے تو سيکورٹی فورسز کو سلام اور ڈھيروں مبارکبادیں کہ انہوں نے انتہائی بہادری اور بے مثال پيشہ وارانہ مہارت سے ان دہشت گردوں پر انتہائی کم وقت میں قابو پايا ہے۔ جہاں تک اس واردات کا تعلق ہے تو ان لوگوں کو اپنی سوچ پر غور کرنا چاہيے جو يہ کہتے ہیں کہ قبائلی علاقوں میں فوج اپنے لوگوں کے خلاف لڑ رہی ہے۔ اپنے لوگ ايسے ہوتے ہیں کیا؟

ظہير چغتائی

طالبان کبھی ختم نہیں ہو سکتے جب تک کہ انکی پيٹھ تھپکنے والون کی بيخ کنی نہ کی جائے يہ لوگ سعودی عرب والی وہابيت يہاں رائج کرنے کے ليے ايک ايک پاکستانی کو ذبح کر ديں گے۔ میں دعوے سے کہتا ہوں اگر آج قائد آعظم زندہ ہوتے تو يہ منافق انہیں بھی راستے کا پتھر جان کے شہيد کر ديتے۔

rashid suhail، leeds، برطانیہ

پہلے ان کی ان وارداتوں کے جواز تلاش کرنے والے عام لوگوں سے ليکر سياستدانوں ، چپ رہنے والے يا مذمت نہ کرنے والے مذہبی رہنماؤں اورٹی وی چينلوں میں جھاگ اُڑاتے ريٹائرڈ فوجی جرنلوں اور دوسرے خودساختہ ماہرين کو پکڑنا ہوگا۔ اس کے علاوہ کوئی چارہ نہیں مزيد تاخير کی کوئی گنجائش نہیں ہے!!!

وحید عبدالوحید

سادا سا اصول ہے کہ سرپرستی ختم ، دہشتگردی ختم۔ قصور تو سرپرستی کا ہے جو ہر سطح پر اور ہر انداز میں ہو رہی ہے۔

مزمل خان

جو ایسی دہشت گرد کاروائیوں کے واسطے سب سے زیادہ ’مجاھدین‘ پیدا کررہے ہیں وہ سر پرست اعلٰی ہیں وہ تو ہر حکومت کا حصہ ہوتے ہیں ان کے خلاف کون کاروائی کرے گا۔

علی احمد، برطانیہ

جب سوات اور وزيرستان ميں دہشتگردوں کے آگے ہتھيار ڈال ديےجائیں گے تو پھريہی ہونا ہے جوآج ہوا ان لوگوں کو ضرور پکڑنا چاہئے جونام نہاد لانگ مارچ کے دوران پنجاب کو سوات بنانے کی سرعام دھمکی ديتے رہے ہیں۔ اب يہ واردات بھی بھارت کے کھاتے میں ڈال کر دہشتگردوں کے سرپرست اور ہمدرد عوام کو بيوقوف بنانے کی کوشش کريں گے۔ سادا سا اصول ہے کہ سرپرستی ختم ، دہشتگردی ختم۔ قصور تو سرپرستی کا ہے جو ہر سطح پر اور ہر انداز میں ہو رہی ہے۔

مزمل خان

اس ملک کی عوام طالبان اور طالبان نما بنیاد پرستوں کی دہشت گردی سے ہرمحاذ پر پِس رہے ہیں ۔۔ کہیں گولیوں کی بوچھاڑ ہے اور کہیں بم دھماکوں سے مر رہے ہیں۔ میڈیا اور انٹر نیٹ پرچند متعصب لوگ طالبان کو فرشتہ ثابت کرنے کی کوشش کر رہے ہیں۔ نجانے کب تک ہم ان جہادیوں اور ملاؤں کے ہاتھوں یرغمال بنے رہیں گے ۔

علی زین

جب پاکستان کی عوام کسی بھی دہشت گردی کے سانحے کے بعد یہ سوچ کر چپ ہو جاتی ہے کہ اس سے برا اور کیا ہوگا تو ایسے میں یہ دہشت گرد کوئی نہ کوئی انوکھا منصوبہ لے کر آجاتے ہیں۔لاہور میں جو کچھ ہوا بہت ہی زیادہ قابل مذمت ہے ۔اب تمام سیاسی جماعتوں کو ’یا حکومت ، یاحکومت‘ کا ورود بند کرکے اور اپنے تمام اختلافات کو با لائے طاق رکھتے ہوے بنیاد پرستسی اور دہشت گردی کو جڑوں سے اکھاڑنے کی پالیسی مرتب کرنا ہوگی ۔

علی احمد، برطانیہ

Source: BBC Urdu dot com, PK Politics, Dawn Blog

Also read:

Amir Mir: Punjabi and Pushtun militants behind Manawan attack


Terrorists strike at Lahore police training centre

LAHORE: More explosions were heard inside the police training academy in the Manawan area on the outskirts of Lahore where terrorists used machine guns and grenades to launch a savage attack, leaving at least 13 policemen dead and over 90 wounded, Dawn News reported. Two militants have also been killed, Rangers personnel said. The attackers may have blown themselves up in the building this time, police said. Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said 52 police were wounded in the attack but gave no word on the number killed.Punjab Governor Salman Taseer said the authorities had reports of four people confirmed killed, though television news channels put the number of dead at 20.A passerby was also killed during the exchange of fire, a Dawn correspondent said.Army and paramilitary troops laid siege, firing from rooftops of surrounding buildings, while the gunmen returned fire and threw grenades to keep security forces at bay.'Our elite squad has surrounded the area. God willing, now we will get into the building,' Mushtaq Sukhera, a senior police official, told journalists at the scene.'I have counted 12 bodies but I don't know exactly how many have been killed,' said Mohammad Raza, another police officer.Governor Taseer said up to 10 gunmen carried out the assault, though one wounded policeman told a news channel there were up to 20 gunmen in the compound. Over 400 police trainees have been taken hostage, Dawn News reported. The attackers are on the second and third floor of the building, Dawn News quoted a hostage as saying. The assault came less than a month after a dozen gunmen attacked Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore, killing six police guards and a bus driver. Those gunmen escaped.The training centre is on the outskirts of the city, on the road to the nearby border with India.'It's a continuation of the series of attacks carried out by the terrorists,' Taseer told journalists, adding that a curfew has been imposed in the area.ATTACKED DURING MORNING DRILLPolice official Sukhera said around 850 young cadets attended the training centre but police were unsure how many were inside at the time of the attack, which began at around 07:30 a.m.Television channels said several hundred trainees were at the centre when the attackers, some dressed as policemen, struck. Taseer said some were in civilian clothes and wore masks.An eyewitness told Reuters the gunmen attacked in groups of three or four from four sides, and lobbed grenades before opening sweeping fire on cadets assembled on the parade ground.The attack came as the police recruits were doing their routine morning drills, said a police officer.A police armoured personnel carrier (APC) entered the compound and an exchange of fire, including what appeared to be a grenade explosion, broke out, a Reuters photographer at the scene said. The APC then withdrew.One television station showed about a dozen police lying on a parade ground. Some appeared lifeless while others were crawling to cover.An army helicopter circled overhead, and police and soldiers were seen carrying wounded to ambulances.Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said our police is not trained for such encounters, adding that the possibility of foreign involvement cannot be ruled out.President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and have ordered an investigation into the incident, Dawn News reported.
TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED Police appear to have captured two of the suspected gunmen in the attack, Dawn News reported.Separately, an Associated Press photographer saw police take away a single suspect at the academy.Television footage also showed police and other security forces surrounding the man and kicking him in a field outside the compound.INDIA CONDEMNS ATTACK
Indian officials condemned the attack saying it threatened security across the region.'We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,' Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi.The Indian army's second-in-command Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj told the NDTV news channel that the military was 'watching the situation very carefully.''Indian armed forces are prepared at all times should there be a spill-over' into neighbouring India, he said.
Source : Dawn


Sunday, 29 March 2009

Irfan Hussain: The Zia-ist mindset, Pakistani media and the support of the right wing

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Can Mehsud be captured now? Rahimullah Yusufzai

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

Baitullah Mehsud, a larger-than-life figure from the tribal region of South Waziristan, continues to draw attention on the world stage. Recently, Time magazine named him in its annual list of the 100 most influential persons in the world. And a few days ago, the US announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

In a way, the reward is an indictment against Pakistan for its inability to bring to justice a wanted Pakistani. Now that a precedent has been set, it is possible that more Pakistanis will be placed on the most-wanted lists internationally and monetary rewards announced for their arrests.

Ironically, the government of Pakistan hasn't offered any such reward for Mehsud's arrest, even though he and his outlawed organization, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is routinely blamed by authorities for most of the suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in the country. He has been charged in some police cases but has yet to be tried in a court of law or convicted.

It is possible that the US government took Pakistani authorities into confidence before announcing the cash reward for Mehsud's capture. In fact, government functionaries in Pakistan have been privately complaining and using certain media outlets to highlight the issue of lack of cooperation from the US in targeting and eliminating people like Mehsud. They have pointed out that US drones failed to attack Mehsud and his hideouts even when intelligence information about his possible location was shared with American military commanders. One such occasion was a largely-attended press conference that Mehsud addressed in a government school in a part of South Waziristan inhabited by his Mehsud tribe and was widely reported in the media. By announcing a reward for Mehsud's capture under its Rewards for Justice programme and including his name in its most-wanted list of Al-Qaeda facilitators, the US appears keen to address Pakistan's concerns and at the same time further enlist its cooperation in achieving American objectives in its "war on terror."

After being discarded by the UK, the term "war on terror" has now been abandoned by the US due to the belated realisation that it was misleading and was provoking large sections of the world's Muslim population who believed it was a war against Islam. However, mere change of wording is unlikely to have the desired effect. Instead, the Western powers would have to change their policy of using unbridled force against those with a different worldview and pursue dialogue while resolving contentious issues. Also, there is need for change in the unconditional American and Western support for Israel and the neglect of Palestinian suffering, their backing for snon-representative rulers in Islamic countries and their urge to replace unfriendly governments in Muslim nations with those behaving as puppets.

It is interesting to note that on the day the reward for Mehsud's capture was announced, the US State Department also made public two cash awards for those who could help in the arrest and conviction of an Afghan, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and a Libyan, Abu Yahya al-Libi. The fact that the US added a Pakistani, an Afghan and a Libyan to its list of most wanted people showed the trans-national character of the enemies of America. Also, all three are young, Mehsud being the oldest at about 35; Haqqani and al-Libi are under-30. This explains the transition taking place in Islamic militant organisations like Al-Qaeda and Taliban with younger people taking centre-stage in place of the older generation of militants. More importantly, the new generation of militants seems to be more radical and better organised. This also shows that killing or capturing older militants such as Osama bin Laden, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mulla Mohammad Omar is unlikely to greatly damage their organisations as younger and equally determined Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are ready to take over the moment the pioneers of these groups are eliminated or apprehended.

The $5 million reward for Mehsud's capture places him just below Mulla Omar in terms of his importance to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reward for the latter's arrest is $10 million and that for bin Laden and Zawahiri $25 million each. Mehsud he has time and again declared that his leader is Mulla Omar, who is Afghan.

The US charge-sheet against Mehsud is rather weak. The State Department statement announcing the reward for his capture noted that Mehsud is "regarded" as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in South Waziristan and that Pakistani authorities "believe" that the suicide attack against Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was staged by militants loyal to him. The statement also says that "press reports also have linked Mehsud to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the deaths of other innocent civilians." Further, the US government pointed out in the statement that Mehsud had stated his intention to attack the United States. He was accused of conducting cross-border attacks against US forces in Afghanistan and posing a clear threat to American citizens and interests in the region. It is doubtful if all this would be enough to persuade independent judges to convict Mehsud in a court of law.

The reward for Haqqani's capture is an acknowledgement of the Afghan Taliban commander's hitherto underestimated power and influence. Earlier, the reward for his arrest was $200,000. It shows the US has finally recognised the threat the so-called "Haqqani Network" poses to the American, NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. His father, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of the most powerful Afghan Mujahideen and Taliban commanders in the 1980s and 1990s. The younger Haqqani, reverentially referred to as Khalifa by his followers, has built a bigger reputation by spearheading a relentless resistance campaign against the NATO and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan and Kabul and inflicting heavy losses on them. Most attacks, including the daring suicide bombings taking place in Kabul, are reportedly organised by Haqqani's fighters.

The State Department statement doesn't provide much grounds to seek his conviction in a court. It refers to an interview that he gave to an American news organisation in which he admitted planning the Jan 14, 2008, attack against the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including American citizen Thor David Hesla. He is accused of coordinating and participating in cross-border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from his hideout in Pakistan's tribal areas and of maintaining close ties to al-Qaeda.

The same holds true for al-Libi, who is referred to by the State Department as an Islamic scholar and a prominent member of Al-Qaeda. The reward for his capture is $1 million. The statement recalls that al-Libi was captured in 2002 and imprisoned at the US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan. It doesn't say that al-Libi and three other Arab fighters escaped from the heavily-guarded prison in Bagram in what was undoubtedly an unprecedented security lapse. The four Al-Qaeda fighters led by Abu Nasir al-Qahtani issued a videotape after their escape and described in detail their miraculous getaway from the maximum-security jail.

The Rewards for Justice programme hasn't been very successful in netting the wanted men in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The cash awards are huge but not tempting enough to lure those who may have information that will lead to the capture of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and the 20 or so Asl-Qaeda and Taliban figures on the most wanted US list. Ramzi Yousaf and Aimal Kansi were apprehended in Pakistan with the help of informers who were tempted by the cash reward offered by the US. Certain other low-key, unimportant and, in a number of cases, innocent people were also captured, and according to General Pervez Musharraf's book, delivered to the US in return for monetary prizes starting from $5,000. Most beneficiaries of the cash rewards were apparently personnel of Pakistan's security and law-enforcement agencies.

In Mehsud's case, there would be greater chances of netting him compared with figures like bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Mulla Omar and Haqqani through the offer of cash reward. Unlike the others on the wanted list, his location and hideouts are known and confined to a limited area in South Waziristan and, occasionally, in North Waziristan. Besides, he has earned the enmity of both Pakistani security establishment and rival groups of militants. The suicide attack by one of his suicide bombers against the rival militant group led by Haji Turkestan in Jandola, the gateway to South Waziristan, on March 26 shows the intensity of his battle with militants and tribes that are standing up to him, reportedly at the behest of the government. However, the public announcement of the $5 million reward for Mehsud's capture would alert him and make him even more careful about his movements. The lure of money is surely a powerful incentive and one comes across bounty hunters who come to our part of the world in the hope of finding bin Laden and his associates. But it seems the people who know the hideouts of these wanted militants are so committed to their cause that no amount of money could tempt them to give away the location of the wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban figures. (The News, March 28, 2009)

The writer is resident editor of The News in Peshawar. Email: rahimyusufzai @yahoo.com

بیت اللہ محسود سے بدلہ لیں گے

اس گروپ کی قیادت زین الدین محسود کر رہے ہیں

پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے جنوبی وزیرستان میں ایک مسلح گروپ نے دھمکی دی ہے کہ وہ بیت اللہ محسود سے جنڈولہ میں گزشتہ دنوں ہوئے خودکش حملے کا بدلہ ضرور لیں گے تاہم عام قبائلیوں کو کچھ نہیں کہا جائے گا۔

کسی نامعلوم مقام سے ٹیلیفون پر بات کرتے ہوئے اپنے آپ کو عبداللہ محسود گروپ کا ترجمان قرار دینے والے شخص طوفان محسود نے الزام عائد کیا کہ بیت اللہ محسود گروپ کے مساجد پر حملوں اور قرآن کو مبینہ طور پر نظر آتش کرنے کے ان کے پاس ثبوت موجود ہیں۔

اس گروپ کی قیادت زین الدین محسود کر رہے ہیں اور یہ کچھ عرصہ قبل قائم کی گئی تھی۔ اس میں ترکستان بیٹنی نامی شخص بھی شامل ہے جس کو ہلاک کرنے کی بیت اللہ گروپ کئی مرتبہ کوشش کر چکا ہے۔

بیت اللہ محسود کی کالعدم تحریک طالبان پاکستان نے جنڈولہ حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول کی تھی۔

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2009/03/090328_baitullah_revenge_ra.shtml

Pakistan must de-couple from the Taliban express

Saturday, March 28, 2009
The relationship between our security services and the various iterations of the Taliban over the last fifteen years has recently been described as 'ambiguous' by an American Senator – which understates the case by several orders of magnitude. There is no doubt and it is well-enough documented that Pakistan (urged on by the American CIA) gave support to the Taliban in their formative years as a tool to dislodge the Russians from Afghanistan. There emerged a group that eventually held the governance of most of Afghanistan. Pakistan was one of a handful of nations to recognize the Taliban government. No western nation ever did and the Taliban government in Afghanistan existed in a diplomatic limbo, which may now be seen as a significant lost opportunity. Relationships could have been built then that would have served us all well now, but they were not and the post 9/11 Taliban have emerged as the ultimate loose cannon – powerful, destructive and difficult to predict. Today there are credible reports that the various Taliban groups are coming together in anticipation of the US troop surge to fight the American and NATO forces. If they do they will be formidable indeed.

In this shadowy world of unacknowledged relationships and covert alliances the intelligence agencies of all the player-nations are busy with their dark agendas – including our own. By their very nature secret agencies will willingly say little or nothing of what they do and when and where they do it and who they do it with. It is usually the media who ferret out what secret agencies are up to, and this week the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal carry reports that 'S division' of our own ISI are involved in supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and by extension supporting them here as well. These reports are of course immediately denied and waved away, our government assuring us that we have no part in this meddlesome business. Then there is a quiet caveat…if any of our people are involved it must be rogue officers, men of junior rank operating on their own and without official blessing. Beyond the pale. It is the sotto voce caveat that gives the confirmation, sows the seeds of doubt and gives credence to the reports in the NYT and the WSJ.

By the time these words are read we will know the details of the new American strategy, the Af-Pak plan. There is money in there for both countries – but it is going to be closely linked to performance indicators. Richard Holbrooke as recently as March 23 has spoken of the possibility of extending the war from FATA into other areas, specifically Quetta. He spoke of the need for tighter control of the Afghan-Pakistani border and linking aid to Pakistan's willingness and actual performance against extremist forces. He even hinted that the US-led coalition would not hold back if targets were found anywhere in Pakistan. With America in aggressive mode and demanding results, our own agencies may find themselves in some difficulty if they are indeed supporting Taliban figures and groups. What would be the American response if they could credibly demonstrate that on the one hand we appeared to be fighting alongside them towards shared goals; whilst on the other we were supporting the very elements that we were supposed to be fighting against? The trilateral relationship that has begun to develop between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, and the more inclusive and consultative position of the Obama administration, could be threatened were such found to be the case. Worse still, our own secret agencies could themselves become targets – and it is clear that the US is going to have few scruples about hitting them. This is not the time for ambiguity. We need clarity and, within the bounds of necessary secrecy, a little more transparency and accountability from our secret agencies. De-coupling from the Taliban Express is a job better done by ourselves – but if we don't do it then Uncle Sam may well do it for us, and hang the consequences. (The News, 18 March 2009)

Avoiding a collision course in US-Pakistan relations
Saturday, March 28, 2009
By Lisa Curtis

The long-awaited new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that President Barack Obama will be in the process of unveiling by the time this comes into print is the clearest signal yet that the Obama administration intends to dedicate the time, resources, and US leadership necessary to stabilise the region and contain the terrorist threat in South Asia.

The new plan will likely reflect a shift in US strategy towards more regional diplomacy and civilian aid to both countries, but less tolerance for the continued existence of militant sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the border.

The re-doubling of US efforts in Afghanistan should help convince Pakistanis that America won't repeat its past mistake of turning its back on South Asia like it did in the early 1990s. This fateful decision still haunts US-Pakistani relations and perpetuates a debilitating distrust between our two countries.

But leaving the past behind also requires Pakistan to put its faith in a new strategic view of the region that involves greater integration and cooperation with its neighbours and zero tolerance for terrorist groups that threaten the peace. Without a shift away from Pakistan's dual policies of fighting some terrorists and supporting others, US-Pakistani ties will be destined for a collision course.

The front-page news story on continued Pakistani links to the Taliban and other terrorists targeting coalition forces in Afghanistan that ran in March 26's New York Times indicates the enormous challenge the US faces in seeking a counterterrorism partnership with Pakistan. US officials have long been aware that Pakistani security officials maintain contacts with the Afghan Taliban and related militant networks. Pakistani officials argue that such ties are necessary to keep tabs on the groups. There is growing recognition in Washington, however, that Pakistan's contacts with these groups involve much more than merely 'keeping tabs' on them. There is mounting evidence that Pakistani security officials support, and even guide, the terrorists in their activities.

This disturbing fact was brought home last spring when US intelligence agencies apparently intercepted messages in which Pakistani army chief General Kayani referred to Afghan militant commander Jalaluddin Haqqani as a 'strategic asset'. Jalaluddin Haqqani is a powerful independent militant leader who operates in the border areas between Khost province in Afghanistan and North Waziristan agency of Pakistan's tribal border areas. He has been allied with the Taliban for nearly 15 years, having served as tribal affairs minister in the Taliban regime in the late 1990s.

The Haqqani network has reportedly been behind several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including a truck bombing that killed two US soldiers in Khost province in March 2008 and the storming of the Serena Hotel in Kabul during a high-level visit by Norwegian officials in January 2008. Credible media reports, quoting US officials, further reveal a Pakistani intelligence link to the Haqqani network's planning and execution of a suicide bomb attack against India's embassy in Kabul last July that left over 50 Afghan civilians and two senior Indian officials dead. So while Pakistani military leaders may consider Haqqani a 'strategic asset', the international coalition considers him a ruthless terrorist enemy of the Afghan people and the international coalition forces fighting to protect them.

What does all this mean for prospects for partnering with Pakistan in fighting terrorism? On the face of it, the signs are not encouraging.

The Obama administration is clinging to the hope that Pakistan's military will awaken to the dangers these same terrorist elements pose to Pakistani society and the stability of the state. Continued links between extremists and elements of the Pakistani security establishment have led to confusion about the genuine threat to the nation. In turn, this ambivalence towards extremist groups within the security establishment fuels conspiracy theories against outsiders (mainly either India or the US) that get aired in the Pakistani media and lead to a public discourse that diminishes the threat from terrorists.

To end this vicious cycle, the Pakistan army must fully break its links to terrorist groups and recognise that its own interests as a unified and stable institution will ultimately be jeopardised unless it reins in individuals who are pressing an extremist agenda.

President Obama's speech is likely to reflect his commitment to building a partnership with Pakistan. But it will do so on terms that set benchmarks on Pakistan's performance against the terrorists that threaten stability in Afghanistan and the safety of the international community. Obama has already proved he is committed to his presidential campaign promise to target Al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal border areas by continuing the use of Predator drone strikes against terrorist targets in the region.

Recent reports about expanding drone attacks into Balochistan, however, likely represent veiled threats to Pakistani leaders to take decisive action against Taliban leaders in the provincial capital, Quetta. Predator strikes in populated areas like Quetta, where civilian casualties would be inevitable, would fuel enormous rage against the US that would push the US-Pakistan partnership to a breaking point.

The increase in drone attacks in the tribal border areas over the last eight months is a reflection of the increasing frustration in Washington over Al Qaeda's and the Taliban's ability to maintain a safe haven in the region. The US resisted relying on unilateral strikes in these regions for several years in hopes that Pakistani efforts to deal with the terrorists would bear fruit. Drone attacks do not provide a long-term solution to the terrorist problem in the region, even as they have proved effective in causing disarray among the senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership. Signs of stronger Pakistani commitment to dealing with the terrorists decisively in this region would obviate the need to rely on drone attacks.

Strengthen democratic forces

Even as the Obama team sets benchmarks to gauge the Pakistani military's commitment to uprooting terrorism from the region, it needs to promote civilian democracy and demonstrate its support for the common Pakistani. In the current environment of extremism and terrorism, Pakistani politicians are often powerless to bring change for fear of violent retaliation. The assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, is a stark example of the dangerous forces at play in Pakistan.

The capitulation of the Awami National Party-led government of NWFP to the pro-Taliban forces in the Swat valley is another example of the violent intimidation of the secular forces in the country. Prior to the Swat valley agreement, several ANP politicians, including ANP party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, were targeted for assassination. Until the security situation improves in Pakistan, it will be difficult for civilian politicians and civil society leaders to make bold policy moves towards building civil society and democratic institutions. Pakistani civilian leaders need and deserve US assistance. Legislation before the US Congress to potentially triple non-military assistance to Pakistan is a critical component of bolstering the Pakistani state against the forces of extremism.

Pakistan is at a critical juncture. The Obama administration is demonstrating a willingness to invest significant resources (even amid a serious global economic downturn) into helping the country develop into a prosperous, peaceful and thriving state. But achieving this goal requires Pakistan's leaders to adjust their own regional security perceptions and to view the internal terrorist threat as urgently as their counterparts in Washington do. Only through a strong and trusting US-Pakistan partnership can Pakistan stabilise its economy and face down extremists who wish to destroy its tolerant traditions, retard its growth and development, and isolate the country from the global community. (The News)

The writer is a senior research fellow on South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation and wrote this exclusively for The News. Email: lisa.curtis@heritage.org