Posts Tagged ‘China’


9/11 – Could we have decided otherwise?

August 24, 2011

By Pervez Musharraf – former President of Pakistan

Pakistan’s decision to join the US and the Coalition in Afghanistan in their attack on the Taliban remains a subject of intense debate. This is the decision we took after a thorough, deliberate and realistic appraisal of the obtaining geo-strategic realities, but it has drawn criticism and praise alike. With the latest upsurge in terrorist activity in Pakistan, the debate on the post-9/11 response of Pakistan has intensified. I, therefore, thought it my duty to lay bare facts in front of the people of Pakistan, so that with all the necessary information they could judge the situation more accurately. The decision of my government was indeed based on, and in conformity with, my slogan of ‘Pakistan First’.
Some people suggested that we should oppose the United States and favour the Taliban. Was this, in any way, beneficial for Pakistan? Certainly not! Even if the Taliban and Al-Qaeda emerged victorious, it would not be in Pakistan’s interest to embrace obscurantist Talibanisation. That would have meant a society where women had no rights, minorities lived in fear and semi-literate clerics set themselves up as custodians of justice. I could have never accepted this kind of society for Pakistan. In any case, judging by military realities one was sure that the Taliban would be defeated. It would have been even more detrimental for Pakistan to be standing on the defeated side.
The United States, the sole superpower, was wounded and humiliated by the 9/11 Al-Qaeda terrorist attack. A strong retaliatory response against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan was imminent.

I was angrily told, by the US, that Pakistan had to be ‘either with us or against us’. The message was also conveyed to me that ‘if Pakistan was against the United States then it should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.’

This was the environment within which we had to take a critical decision for Pakistan. My sole focus was to make a decision that would benefit Pakistan in the long run, and also guard it against negative effects.

What options did the US have to attack Afghanistan? Not possible from the north, through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Not from the west, through Iran. The only viable direction was from the east, through Pakistan. If we did not agree, India was ever ready to afford all support. A US-India collusion would obviously have to trample Pakistan to reach Afghanistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated. Should we then have pitched our forces, especially Pakistan Air Force, against the combined might of the US and Indian forces? India would have been delighted with such a response from us. This would surely have been a foolhardy, rash and most unwise decision. Our strategic interests – our nuclear capability and the Kashmir cause – would both have been irreparably compromised. We might even have put our very territorial integrity at stake.

The economic dimension of confronting the United States and the West also needed serious analysis. Pakistan’s major export and investment is to and from the United States and the European Union. Our textiles, which form 60 percent of our export and earnings, go to the West. Any sanctions on these would have crippled our industry and choked our economy. Workers would lose their jobs. The poor masses of Pakistan would have been the greatest sufferers.

China, our great friend, also has serious apprehensions about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The upsurge of religious extremism emboldening the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in China is due to events in Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Pakistan. China would certainly not be too happy with Pakistan on the side of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even the Islamic Ummah had no sympathy for the Taliban regime; countries like Turkey and Iran were certainly against the Taliban. The UAE and Saudi Arabia – the only two countries other than Pakistan that had recognised the Taliban regime – had become so disenchanted with the Taliban that they had closed their missions in Kabul.

Here, I would also like to clear the notion that we accepted all the demands put forward by USA.

On September 13th 2001, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, brought me a set of seven demands. These demands had also been communicated to our Foreign Office by the US State Department.

1. Stop Al-Qaeda operatives at your borders, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan, and end all logistical support for bin Laden.
2. Provide the United States with blanket overflight and landing rights to conduct all necessary military and intelligence operations.
3. Provide territorial access to the United States and allied military intelligence as needed, and other personnel to conduct all necessary operations against the perpetrators of terrorism and those that harbour them, including the use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.
4. Provide the United States immediately with intelligence, immigration information and databases, and internal security information, to help prevent and respond to terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
5. Continue to publicly condemn the terrorist acts of September 11 and any other terrorist acts against the United States or its friends and allies, and curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
6. Cut off all shipments of fuel to the Taliban and any other items and recruits, including volunteers, en route to Afghanistan, who can be used in a military offensive capacity or to abet a terrorist threat.
7.Should the evidence strongly implicate Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and should Afghanistan and the Taliban continue to harbour him and his network, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban government, end support for the Taliban, and assist the United States in the afore-mentioned ways to destroy Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.Some of these demands were ludicrous, such as “curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, and its allies.” How could my government suppress public debate, when I had been trying to encourage freedom of expression?

I also thought that asking us to break off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan if it continued to harbour Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda was not realistic, because not only would the United States need us to have access to Afghanistan, at least until the Taliban fell, but such decisions are the internal affair of a country and cannot be dictated by anyone. But we had no problem with curbing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We had been itching to do so before the United States became its victim.

We just could not accept demands two and three. How could we allow the United States “blanket overflight and landing rights” without jeopardising our strategic assets? I offered only a narrow flight corridor that was far from any sensitive areas. Neither could we give the United States “use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.” We refused to give any naval ports or fighter aircraft bases. We allowed the United States only two bases – Shamsi in Balochistan and Jacobabad in Sindh – and only for logistics and aircraft recovery. No attack could be launched from there. We gave no “blanket permission” for anything.

The rest of the demands we could live with. I am happy that the US government accepted our counterproposal without any fuss. I am shocked at the aspersion being cast on me: that I readily accepted all preconditions of the United States during the telephone call from Colin Powell. He did not give any conditions to me. These were brought by the US ambassador on the third day.

Having made my decision, I took it to the Cabinet. Then I began meeting with a cross section of society. Between September 18 and October 3, I met with intellectuals, top editors, leading columnists, academics, tribal chiefs, students, and the leaders of labour unions. On October 18, I also met a delegation from China and discussed the decision with them. Then I went to army garrisons all over the country and talked to the soldiers. I thus developed a broad consensus on my decision.

This was an analysis of all the losses/harms we would have suffered. if we had taken an anti-US stand. At the same time, I obviously analysed the socio-economic and military gains that would accrue from an alliance with the West. I have laid down the rationale for my decision in all its details. Even with hindsight, now, I do not repent it. It was correct in the larger interest of Pakistan. I am confident that the majority of Pakistanis agree with it.

Source: The Nation


Musharraf To China: Play A More Proactive Role (EXCLUSIVE)

April 13, 2009

Pakistan’s Friends roll out the Red Carpet for a Pakistani Nationalist Statesman-Pervez Musharraf


Pervez Musharraf in ChinaThroughout his trip in China, former President Musharraf was accorded head of state protocol and extensive security. In-between lectures, he was invited to several banquets by various provincial governors and senior Chinese Communist Party officials. He continues to be very popular among the Chinese younger generation.


   Says Obama’s Af-Pak policy is incomplete without resolving Kashmir dispute

   Calls for linking Pakistan with China through fiber optic, rail, oil, gas pipelines; through Karakoram Highway

   Floats the idea of a Iran-Pakistan-China (IPC) pipeline



Saturday, 11 April 2009.



Beijing, China—Former President of Pakistan, Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf continued his international lecture tour with several engagements in key Chinese cities.  [For pictures, click Pic1, Pic2, Pic3]


For this tour in China, the former President was invited by the government of China, through the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA).


His first lecture was in Beijing to CPIFA, attended by many Chinese Ambassadors, experts on South Asia, and graduate students. The former President’s lecture focused on the deep relationship between Pakistan and China, and an in-depth analysis of regional issues including Afghanistan, India, terrorism and extremism. The former President stressed the need for closer global cooperation to defeat terrorism and extremism, and a more proactive role for China.


His next lecture was in Shanghai, with the prestigious Shanghai Institute for International Studies. The President addressed Chinese experts on South Asia, Asia Pacific, and the United States. This exclusive lecture was to the top intellectuals and think tank strategists from China. The discussion following the lecture focused on Pak-China relationship, terrorism and extremism, and the potential to increase the Sino-Pak economic cooperation. In the question and answer session, the Chinese intellectuals were keen to know the former President’s view on the new American ‘AfPak’ strategy. The President broadly endorsed the strategy, as it is the continuation of the past. However, he said this new strategy remains incomplete without India, and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India was excluded by President Obama from this new strategy after heavy lobbying from the Indian-American community.


The former President’s final stop was at Sichuan University in Chengdu where he addressed several hundred students and faculty. His speech was an overview of the historic relationship between Pakistan and China, an overview of the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, and the impact of the global economic crisis on the developing world. After the speech there was an exciting interaction between the students and the former President. To one student’s question on deepening the Pakistan-China relationship, the former President spoke of his vision to expand the Karakorum Highway (KKH) to include rail links, oil and gas pipelines, and a new fiber optic cable link. He suggested that not only should Pakistan do the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI), but also an ‘IPC’, Iran-Pakistan-China pipeline for gas and oil.


The students were also very interested to learn from the President his insights into developing moral character and leadership skills.


Throughout his trip in China, former President Musharraf was accorded head of state protocol and extensive security. In-between lectures, he was invited to several banquets by various provincial governors and senior Chinese Communist Party officials. At each venue the former President expressed his appreciation for the warm reception, and the sense of admiration shown by all strata of Chinese, whether it was in meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, or in the streets of Shanghai.


The former President has a relatively full schedule of speaking engagements for the rest of the year, most likely taking him to Europe and North America in the coming months.


EXCLUSIVE-The Plan To Topple Pakistan Military

February 23, 2009

On Nov. 19, 2007, this column predicted either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto would be assassinated [she was killed five weeks later] and warned in clear words: “This is not about Musharraf anymore. This is about clipping the wings of a strong Pakistani military, denying space for China in Pakistan, squashing the ISI, stirring ethnic unrest, and neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear program. The first shot in this plan was fired in Pakistan’s Balochistan province in 2004. The last bullet will be toppling Musharraf, sidelining the military and installing a pliant government in Islamabad. Musharraf shares the blame for letting things come this far. But he is also trying to punch holes in Washington’s game plan. He needs to be supported.” Less than a year later, it is stunning how we never saw the signs. Patriot Pakistanis are worried about their homeland. I have no faith in Islamabad. Is anyone listening in Rawalpindi? [Ahmed Quraishi, Aug. 31, 2008.]


Monday, 19 November 2007.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—On the evening of Tuesday, 26 September, 2006, Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf walked into the studio of Comedy Central’s ‘Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart, the first sitting president anywhere to dare do this political satire show.

Stewart offered his guest some tea and cookies and played the perfect host by asking, “Is it good?” before springing a surprise: “Where’s Osama bin Laden?”

“I don’t know,” Musharraf replied, as the audience enjoyed the rare sight of a strong leader apparently cornered. “You know where he is?” Musharraf snapped back, “You lead on, we’ll follow you.”

What Gen. Musharraf didn’t know then is that he really was being cornered. Some of the smiles that greeted him in Washington and back home gave no hint of the betrayal that awaited him.

As he completed the remaining part of his U.S. visit, his allies in Washington and elsewhere, as all evidence suggests now, were plotting his downfall. They had decided to take a page from the book of successful ‘color revolutions’ where western governments covertly used money, private media, student unions, NGOs and international pressure to stage coups, basically overthrowing individuals not fitting well with Washington’s agenda.

This recipe proved its success in former Yugoslavia, and more recently in Georgia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

In Pakistan, the target is a Pakistani president who refuses to play ball with the United States on Afghanistan, China, and Dr. A.Q. Khan.

To get rid of him, an impressive operation is underway:

A carefully crafted media blitzkrieg launched early this year assailing the Pakistani president from all sides, questioning his power, his role in Washington’s war on terror and predicting his downfall.
Money pumped into the country to pay for organized dissent.
Willing activists assigned to mobilize and organize accessible social groups.
A campaign waged on Internet where tens of mailing lists and ‘news agencies’ have sprung up from nowhere, all demonizing Musharraf and the Pakistani military.
European- and American-funded Pakistani NGOs taking a temporary leave from their real jobs to work as a makeshift anti-government mobilization machine.
U.S. government agencies directly funding some private Pakistani television networks; the channels go into an open anti-government mode, cashing in on some manufactured and other real public grievances regarding inflation and corruption.
Some of Musharraf’s shady and corrupt political allies feed this campaign, hoping to stay in power under a weakened president.
All this groundwork completed and chips in place when the judicial crisis breaks out in March 2007. Even Pakistani politicians surprised at a well-greased and well-organized lawyers campaign, complete with flyers, rented cars and buses, excellent event-management and media outreach.
Currently, students are being recruited and organized into a street movement. The work is ongoing and urban Pakistani students are being cultivated, especially using popular Internet Web sites and ‘online hangouts’. The people behind this effort are mostly unknown and faceless, limiting themselves to organizing sporadic, small student gatherings in Lahore and Islamabad, complete with banners, placards and little babies with arm bands for maximum media effect. No major student association has announced yet that it is behind these student protests, which is a very interesting fact glossed over by most journalists covering this story. Only a few students from affluent schools have responded so far and it’s not because the Pakistani government’s countermeasures are effective. They’re not. The reason is that social activism attracts people from affluent backgrounds, closely reflecting a uniquely Pakistani phenomenon where local NGOs are mostly founded and run by rich, westernized Pakistanis.

All of this may appear to be spur-of-the-moment and Musharraf-specific. But it all really began almost three years ago, when, out of the blue and recycling old political arguments, Mr. Akbar Bugti launched an armed rebellion against the Pakistani state, surprising security analysts by using rockets and other military equipment that shouldn’t normally be available to a smalltime village thug. Since then, Islamabad sits on a pile of evidence that links Mr. Bugti’s campaign to money and ammunition and logistical support from Afghanistan, directly aided by the Indians and the Karzai administration, with the Americans turning a blind eye.

For reasons not clear to our analysts yet, Islamabad has kept quiet on Washington’s involvement with anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. But Pakistan did send an indirect public message to the Americans recently.

“We have indications of Indian involvement with anti-state elements in Pakistan,” declared the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office in a regular briefing in October. The statement was terse and direct and the spokesman, Ms. Tasnim Aslam, quickly moved on to other issues.

This is how a Pakistani official explained Ms. Aslam’s statement: “What she was really saying is this: We know what the Indians are doing. They’ve sold the Americans on the idea that [the Indians] are an authority on Pakistan and can be helpful in Afghanistan. The Americans have bought the idea and are in on the plan, giving the Indians a free hand in Afghanistan. What the Americans don’t know is that we, too, know the Indians very well. Better still, we know Afghanistan very well. You can’t beat us at our own game.”

Mr. Bugti’s armed rebellion coincided with the Gwadar project entering its final stages. No coincidence here. Mr. Bugti’s real job was to scare the Chinese away and scuttle Chinese President Hu Jintao’s planned visit to Gwadar a few months later to formally launch the port city.

Gwadar is the pinnacle of Sino-Pakistani strategic cooperation. It’s a modern port city that is supposed to link Central Asia, western China, and Pakistan with markets in Mideast and Africa. It’s supposed to have roads stretching all the way to China. It’s no coincidence either that China has also earmarked millions of dollars to renovate the Karakoram Highway linking northern Pakistan to western China.

Some reports in the American media, however, have accused Pakistan and China of building a naval base in the guise of a commercial seaport directly overlooking international oil shipping lanes. The Indians and some other regional actors are also not comfortable with this project because they see it as commercial competition.

What Mr. Bugti’s regional and international supporters never expected is Pakistan moving firmly and strongly to nip his rebellion in the bud. Even Mr. Bugti himself probably never expected the Pakistani state to react in the way it did to his betrayal of the homeland. He was killed in a military operation where scores of his mercenaries surrendered to Pakistan army soldiers.

U.S. intelligence and their Indian advisors could not cultivate an immediate replacement for Mr. Bugti. So they moved to Plan B. They supported Abdullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban fighter held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, and then handed over back to the Afghan government, only to return to his homeland, Pakistan, to kidnap two Chinese engineers working in Balochistan, one of whom was eventually killed during a rescue operation by the Pakistani government.

Islamabad could not tolerate this shadowy figure that was creating a following among ordinary Pakistanis masquerading as a Taliban while in reality toeing a vague agenda. He was rightly eliminated earlier this year by Pakistani security forces while secretly returning from Afghanistan after meeting his handlers there. Again, no surprises here.


This is where Pakistani political and military officials finally started smelling a rat. All of this was an indication of a bigger problem. There were growing indications that, ever since Islamabad joined Washington’s regional plans, Pakistan was gradually turning into a ‘besieged-nation’, heavily targeted by the American media while being subjected to strategic sabotage and espionage from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, under America’s watch, has turned into a vast staging ground for sophisticated psychological and military operations to destabilize neighboring Pakistan.

During the past three years, the heat has gradually been turned up against Pakistan and its military along Pakistan’s western regions:

A shadowy group called the BLA, a Cold War relic, rose from the dead to restart a separatist war in southwestern Pakistan.
Bugti’s death was a blow to neo-BLA, but the shadowy group’s backers didn’t repent. His grandson, Brahmdagh Bugti, is currently enjoying a safe shelter in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where he continues to operate and remote-control his assets in Pakistan.
Saboteurs trained in Afghanistan have been inserted into Pakistan to aggravate extremist passions here, especially after the Red Mosque operation.
Chinese citizens continue to be targeted by individuals pretending to be Islamists, when no known Islamic group has claimed responsibility.
A succession of ‘religious rebels’ with suspicious foreign links have suddenly emerged in Pakistan over the past months claiming to be ‘Pakistani Taliban’. Some of the names include Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and now the Maulana of Swat. Some of them have used and are using encrypted communication equipment far superior to what Pakistani military owns.
Money and weapons have been fed into the religious movements and al Qaeda remnants in the tribal areas.

Exploiting the situation, assets within the Pakistani media started promoting the idea that the Pakistani military was killing its own people. The rest of the unsuspecting media quickly picked up this message. Some botched American and Pakistani military operations against Al Qaeda that caused civilian deaths accidentally fed this media campaign.

This was the perfect timing for the launch of Military, Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, a book authored by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa Agha, a columnist for a Pakistani English-language paper and a correspondent for ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’, a private intelligence service founded by experts close to the British intelligence.


The book was launched in Pakistan in early 2007 by Oxford Press. And, contrary to most reports, it is openly available in Islamabad’s biggest bookshops. The book portrays the Pakistani military as an institution that is eating up whatever little resources Pakistan has.

Pakistani military’s successful financial management, creating alternate financial sources to spend on a vast military machine and build a conventional and nuclear near-match with a neighboring adversary five times larger – an impressive record for any nation by any standard – was distorted in the book and reduced to a mere attempt by the military to control the nation’s economy in the same way it was controlling its politics.

The timing was interesting. After all, it was hard to defend a military in the eyes of its own proud people when the chief of the military is ruling the country, the army is fighting insurgents and extremists who claim to be defending Islam, grumpy politicians are out of business, and the military’s side businesses, meant to feed the nation’s military machine, are doing well compared to the shabby state of the nation’s civilian departments.

Dr. Siddiqa and her book are not important. Worse things have been said about Pakistanis before. All of these details are insignificant if detached from the real issue at hand. And the issue is the demonization of the Pakistani military as an integral part of the media siege around Pakistan, with the American media leading the way in this campaign.

Some of the juicy details of this siege around Pakistan include:

The attempt by several American and British writers – and one Pakistani, Dr. Siddiqa – to pitch junior officers against senior officers in Pakistan Armed Forces by alleging discrimination in the distribution of benefits. Apart from being malicious and unfounded, her argument was carefully designed to generate frustration and demoralize Pakistani soldiers.
The American media insisting on handing Dr. A. Q. Khan to the United States so that a final conviction against the Pakistani military can be secured.
Mrs. Benazir Bhutto demanding after returning to Pakistan that the ISI be restructured; and in a press conference during her house arrest in Lahore in November she went as far as asking Pakistan army officers to revolt against the army chief, a damning attempt at destroying a professional army from within.

Some of this appears to be eerily similar to the campaign waged against the Pakistani military in 1999, when, in July that year, an unsigned full page advertisement appeared in major American newspapers with the following headline: “A Modern Rogue Army With Its Finger On The Nuclear Button.”

Until this day, it is not clear who exactly paid for such an expensive newspaper full-page advertisement. But one thing is clear: the agenda behind that advertisement is back in action.

Strangely, just a few days before Mrs. Bhutto’s statements about restructuring ISI and the need for army officers to stage a mutiny against their leadership, the American conservative magazine The Weekly Standard interviewed an American security expert with similar ideas:

“A large number of ISI agents who are responsible for helping the Taliban and al Qaeda should be thrown in jail or killed. What I think we should do in Pakistan is a parallel version of what Iran has run against us in Iraq: giving money [and] empowering actors. Some of this will involve working with some shady characters, but the alternative—sending U.S. forces into Pakistan for a sustained bombing campaign—is worse.” Steve Schippert, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2007.

In addition to these media attacks, which security experts call ‘psychological operations’, the American media and politicians have intensified over the past year their campaign to prepare the international public opinion to accept a western intervention in Pakistan along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan:

Newsweek came up with an entire cover story with a single storyline: Pakistan is a more dangerous place than Iraq.
Senior American politicians, Republican and Democrat, have argued that Pakistan is more dangerous than Iran and merits similar treatment. On 20 October, Joe Biden told ABC News that Washington needs to put soldiers on ground in Pakistan and invite the international community to join in. “We should be in there,” he said. “We should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”
The International Crisis Group (ICG) has recommended gradual sanctions for Pakistan similar to those imposed on Iran, e.g. slapping travel bans on Pakistani military officers and seizing Pakistani military assets abroad.
The process of painting Pakistan’s nuclear assets as pure evil lying around waiting for some do-gooder to come in and ‘secure’ them has reached unprecedented levels, with the U.S. media again depicting Pakistan as a nation incapable of protecting its nuclear installations. On 22 October, Jane Harman from the U.S. House Intelligence panel gave the following statement: “I think the U.S. would be wise – and I trust we are doing this – to have contingency plans [to seize Pakistan’s nuclear assets], especially because should [Musharraf] fall, there are nuclear weapons there.”
The American media has now begun discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up and the possibility of new states of ‘Balochistan’ and ‘Pashtunistan’ being carved out of it. Interestingly, one of the first acts of the shady Maulana of Swat after capturing a few towns was to take down the Pakistani flag from the top of state buildings and replacing them with his own party flag.
The ‘chatter’ about President Musharraf’s eminent fall has also increased dramatically in the mainly American media, which has been very generous in marketing theories about how Musharraf might “disappear” or be “removed” from the scene. According to some Pakistani analysts, this could be an attempt to prepare the public opinion for a possible assassination of the Pakistani president.
Another worrying thing is how American officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Mrs. Benazir Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Mrs. Bhutto. If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country. A dress rehearsal of this scenario has already taken place in October when no less than the U.N. Security Council itself intervened to ask the international community to “assist” in the investigations into the assassination attempt on Mrs. Bhutto on 18 October. This generous move was sponsored by the U.S. and, interestingly, had no input from Pakistan which did not ask for help in investigations in the first place.

Some Pakistani security analysts privately say that American ‘chatter’ about Musharraf or Bhutto getting killed is a serious matter that can’t be easily dismissed. Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad fully backed by the West.

Having Musharraf killed isn’t a bad option either. The unknown Islamists can always be blamed and the military will not be able to put another soldier at the top, and circumstances will be created to ensure that either Mrs. Bhutto or someone like her is eased into power.

The Americans are very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands. They have been kicked out of Uzbekistan last year, where they were maintaining bases. They are in trouble in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran continues to be a mess for them and Russia and China are not making it any easier. Pakistan must be ‘secured’ at all costs.

This is why most Pakistanis have never seen American diplomats in Pakistan active like this before. And it’s not just the current U.S. ambassador, who has added one more address to her other most-frequently-visited address in Karachi, Mrs. Bhutto’s house. The new address is the office of GEO, one of two news channels shut down by Islamabad for not signing the mandatory code-of-conduct. Thirty-eight other channels are operating and no one has censored the newspapers. But never mind this. The Americans have developed a ‘thing’ for GEO. No solace of course for ARY, the other banned channel.

Now there’s also one Bryan Hunt, the U.S. consul general in Lahore, who wears the national Pakistani dress, the long shirt and baggy trousers, and is moving around these days issuing tough warnings to Islamabad and to the Pakistani government and to President Musharraf to end emergency rule, resign as army chief and give Mrs. Bhutto access to power.


So what should Pakistan do in the face of such a structured campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees and forcibly install a pro-Washington administration in Islamabad?

There is increasing talk in Islamabad these days about Pakistan’s new tough stand in the face of this malicious campaign.

As a starter, Islamabad blew the wind out of the visit of Mr. John Negroponte, the no. 2 man in the U.S. State Department, who came to Pakistan last week “to deliver a tough message” to the Pakistani president. Musharraf, to his credit, told him he won’t end emergency rule until all objectives are achieved.

These objectives include:

Cleaning up our northern and western parts of the country of all foreign operatives and their domestic pawns.
Ensuring that Washington’s plan for regime-change doesn’t succeed.
Purging the Pakistani media from all those elements that were willing or indirect accomplices in the plan to destabilize the country.

Musharraf has also told Washington publicly that “Pakistan is more important than democracy or the constitution.” This is a bold position. This kind of boldness would have served Musharraf a lot had it come a little earlier. And even now, his media management team is unable to make the most of it.

Washington will not stand by watching as its plan for regime change in Islamabad goes down the drain. In case the Americans insist on interfering in Pakistani affairs, Islamabad, according to my sources, is looking at some tough measures:

Cut off oil supplies to U.S. military in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials are already enraged at how Afghanistan has turned into a staging ground for sabotage in Pakistan. If Islamabad continues to see Washington acting as a bully, Pakistani officials are seriously considering an announcement where Pakistan, for the first time since October 2001, will deny the United States use of Pakistani soil and air space to transport fuel to Afghanistan.
Review Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Islamabad needs to fight terrorists on its border with Afghanistan. But our methods need to be different to Washington’s when it comes to our domestic extremists. This is where Islamabad parts ways with and Washington.
Talk with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan has no quarrel with Afghanistan’s Taliban. They are Kabul’s internal problem. But if reaching out to Afghan Taliban’s Mullah Omar can have a positive impact on rebellious Pakistani Taliban, then this step should be taken. The South Koreans can talk to the Taliban. Karzai has also called for talks with them. It is time that Islamabad does the same.

The Americans have been telling everyone in the world that they have paid Pakistan $10 billion dollars over the past five years. They might think this gives them the right to decide Pakistan’s destiny. What they don’t tell the world is how Pakistan’s help secured for them their biggest footprint ever in energy-rich Central Asia.

The author heads Project Pakistan, an independent research effort based in Islamabad.


A Pakistan First Think-Tank Report: The Suicide Anatomy

October 28, 2008

Core Author: Afaq
M.A Economics (PU), M.Sc Physics (PU), M.Phil Physics (QAU)

Published by:
Edited by: Pakistan First Think-tank

Marriott hotel, Islamabad, the sign of glory, architecture, services and status is now nothing but a dump and mark of devastation, with blood, dust and smoke filled with tears, cries and smell of burnt human flesh. The footage broadcasted on television channels with a tag of ‘PG’ are just an indicant of how miserably the suicide bomber has turned a hell around in pursuit of paradise for him. After 20th September’s tragedy, It’s useless to question the security lapse when the security guards of hotel themselves are among the list of dead ones. It’s also another difficult quest for security agencies to trace the suspicious truck, when already dozens of such vehicles are running freely on roads. It’s also of no use to just present statistics of suicide bombing happened so far in these years. It’s time to make a detailed anatomy, the suicide anatomy. Who are the godfathers running this suicide factory; the planners, the financiers, the strategists, the facilitators, the motivators and the fuel to Paradise? What chain of events has brought Pakistan to such a self destructive mode? Is the motive of a man with suicide jacket deals in the short cut to heaven or there are other dimensions too? Is there any way to dismantle human bomb etc.

Historic prospective:

The phenomenon of Soviet-Afghan war in 80’s is self evident. Once, a journalist asked President Ronald Regan about the veracity of initiating Soviet war after a failed assignment of Vietnam War. Regan replied, “We would never lose Soviet war, because this time we have launched Jihad”. So, our intelligence services and CIA joint ventured a magnum opus thriving operation to devastate the Soviets. 20 to 30 thousand ‘mujahideens’ were brought from all over the world in Afghanistan. They were heroes for Pakistan, Afghanistan and US at that time. Hollywood made many propaganda movies to dedicate the valiant people of Afghanistan. Later, General Zia-ul-Haq killed in mysterious plane crash. Soon after it, democratic governments took charge. Stage was well prepared for USA to say good bye, leaving the Afghan land without introducing reforms or curing the wounds of Afghans, who suffered 10 years of war. The vacuum left was most vulnerable for anyone anywhere to come here, start training for militancy and become danger for peace. Pakistan was left alone. The so called ‘Mujahideens’ turned themselves to war lords, and started ‘Jihad’ among themselves. The supply of dollars was stopped. Battle field was open to be conquered, and lot of militant groups organized themselves to get the land occupied. I have no doubt that to retreat Soviets in Afghanistan was what required in our national interest at that time, but the most sensitive slip-up in all that phenomenon was the way the term ‘jihad’ had been coined, without thinking of the after effects.

The relic was natural. About 3.5 million Afghans killed in war. The 4 millions of refugees were to be accommodated in sole by Pakistan. Our social fabric was disturbed badly. For the first time, Pakistan was introduced by Kalashnikov culture and narcotics. The victorious ‘mujahideens’ were warmly embraced at our tribal areas. They have been offered by the tribes to get married there and breed a new generation with blood having ‘gun powder’ inside. Under such an environment, it was safe refuge for any group to label itself a Jihadi organization, and to start asking for ‘chanda’, armed themselves and to start turmoil at any level. Later in 1995, Talibans were re-emerged. The society mind set polarized with sectarian biases opened the arms well to accept them. Since, all that was assumed to be featured by religious motives, every one feared to oppose them. Thousands have been killed by clashes among them. That all what we reaped was in accordance with what we have sown. We mixed up state and religion in sensitively careless manner earlier, in 1970’s and later in Zia regime, all Jihadist ideologies were being sponsored by state machinery. To grow sympathies for jihadists on youth scale, changed academic syllabus introduced. It might be the most effective strategy on short term scale to secure the national interests regarding possible Soviet invasion at us, but that strategy was disaster on long term scale. It proved itself to be a germ pool of plasmodium of religious intolerance and militarization under the cover of Jihad.

Like an uncontrolled reaction at a laboratory, we observed the bi product of that dollar sponsored ‘Jihad’, in the form of sectarian extremist groups. Harkat-ul-Jihaad-ul-Islami (1980), Tehreek-e-Nifaaz-e-Fiqa-e-Jaafria (1980), Harkat-ul-Mujaahedeen (1985), Sipaah-e-Sihaaba (1985), Harkat-ul-Insaar (1993), Sipaah-e-Muhammad (1993), Lashkar-e-Jhangwi (1994), Jaish-e-Muhammad (2000) are just few of them. With the feel of blood thirst among each other, such organizations started making turmoil in the country, and openly inflame the common masses to join them for some so called religious motives. Thousands of lives lost in conflicts among them. Our roads tasted the drops of human blood. Security agencies appeared standing helpless in front of such a violent agitation. We failed to find any spark in democratically elected governments to root out that evil. Regrettably many of the politicians including the ones in government or in opposition provided the protection to them, as well.

The madrassas were the best breeding field to get the human resource to be used by such organizations. Few political parties with some religious titles were safety valves for such madrassas, involved in the activities other than just study. Since, the students of these madrassas are always most vulnerable to be brainwashed by such groups and organizations, it was easy to engage them in any bloody turmoil for their own vested interests. Thousands and thousands lost their lives in the clashes, and strategy to support the Jihadists during 80’s turned out as a horrible nightmare for the nation in 90’s.

When General Pervez Musharraf took charge of Pakistan in a bloodless coup, situation was at worst. Police was helpless to struggle against the well established network of Jihadists. From 12th October 1999 till 14th August 2001, there were 55 casualties in Karachi only and 61 in FATA in sectarian clashes. In June 2001, terrorists killed Shoukat Raza Mirza Managing Director (Pakistan State Oil) PSO and his driver in Karachi. Soon after it, Syed Zafar Hussain Zaidi-Director Research Laboratories, Ministry of Defense was killed. Lashkar-e-Jhangwi claimed the responsibility of both. Bold steps were required to curb that Frankenstein. Such steps are difficult to expect from any democratically elected government having dapper designed suit. General Musharraf-a man in (Special Services Group) SSG jacket didn’t waste an opportunity to coin all such moves to undo the wrongs of his predecessor General Zia-ul-Haq. On 14th August 2001, he banned Laskhar-e-jhangwi, and later on 12th January 2001, he announced a ban on Sipaah-e-Sihaaba Pakistan and Tehreek-e-jaafria Pakistan. This was the time when already a threat to kick Pakistan back on ‘stone age’ was floating in the thick atmosphere of Islamabad’s policy makers, and India had deployed his army at border.

To become an ally of Western world in ‘war against terror’ was the only choice for Pakistan, but that was an unpopular decision. On one hand, government had to deal with the external threats and on the other, had to face the public opposition. Election year was ahead, too. Tribal areas were the most horrible challenge to government, from where the cross border infiltration was evident. Usama Bin Laden, regardless of confession of involvement of Al-Qaida behind 9/11 attacks, was the most popular old guy for the men on streets. This all was like a horrible dream for any government, but Pervez Musharraf-a man holding most toughest office in the world, as said by ‘Times’ magazine, faced them audaciously, and brought Pakistan out of sudden death like situation.

Here I would stop, and ask your attention over the chain of events.

It was 24th December 1999, when Indian Airlines passenger plane flight-814 took off from Khatmandu and after being hijacked by few masked men landed at Qandahar. Hijackers demanded India to release Mulla Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Zargar and Umer Shaikh. At 31st December 1999, Wajpaayi government surrendered and Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh brought with him these 3 persons in a special plane to Qandahar to resolve that issue. Now things happened dramatically. Mulla Masood Azhar launched ‘Jaish-e-Muhammad within few weeks after being released. Zargar and Umer Shaikh went underground. Later in late 2001, famous ‘shoe bomber’ development took place. Daniel Pearl-South Asia bureau chief of ‘Wall street Journal’ arrived on 29th December 2001 to Karachi to make a detailed story to publish regarding ‘shoe bomber’. He met various members of ‘Jaish-e-Muhammad’ and all of a sudden on 23rd January 2002, every news channel started breaking news that Daniel is kidnapped by Jihadists. This was disastrous for Pakistan. President Musharraf visit to USA was just ahead in few days. Kidnappers were sending threatening emails to ‘Wall street Journal’ with the photographs of Daniel. Biggest search operation of history of Pakistan was made to rescue him. Later, Umer Sheikh surrendered himself to police on 5th February 2002. Investigations started. When President Musharraf was in USA, on 14th February, all the international press was quoting Umer Shaikh, “Daniel is dead”. How big was all that embarrassment.

Coincidence or Perfection?

Have you observed the timing associated with these events? Is it a mere co-incidence or perfection of the plan? Now, let us observe another event. President Musharraf was attending the UNO General Assembly in November 2001 and war against terror was the hottest assignment for the world leaders present there. Meanwhile, Hamid Mir-a journalist from Pakistan published an exclusive interview of Usama Bin laden, claiming, “Al-Qaida has nukes”. We can imagine the position of President Musharraf standing among the world leaders in UNO to defend Pakistan. Now, link this situation with another visit of President Musharraf of USA. It was September 2003, when George Tenet-the CIA Director asked Musharraf about the nuclear proliferation from Pakistan. This again was a hard test for leadership. Even recently, just a day before President Zardari’s departure to USA, there happened Marriott’s blasts and responsibility is claimed by an unknown organization, ‘Fidayaan-e-Islam’. USA blamed Al-Qaida to be possibly involved behind the blasts. Is it all mere set of frequent co-incidences? It’s difficult to swallow that pill. Surely the entire world has changed after 9/11, and what has been written above is the sequel to a bigger conspiracy behind the plane attacks. There is no iota of doubt regarding the involvement of Al-Qaida and Bin Ladin behind 9/11, yet it’s not digestible that few people residing at mountains, having no training of aviation etc. are sole responsible of all that. Surely, some bigger intelligence slur in curtain.

9/11 Aftershocks:

The role of Talibans in Afghanistan was one of vital importance for Pakistan. Taliban regime was not supportive to India at all, and that was what best suited to Pakistan. After 9/11, Taliban regime was kicked out and CIA sponsored-Karzai government was put on board. Soon after it, we found the reorganization of separatists’ movement in Baluchistan. Baluch liberation army (BLA) and its cohorts asking openly for establishment of ‘Greater Baluchistan’ are getting full support from Afghanistan and India. This year, official holiday is given at 15th August to synchronize it with the independence day of India, but nowhere in national media, is reported. New democratic government is releasing the militants of BLA etc. and withdrawing the charges, giving them full choice to restructure themselves to design more rebellion in Baluchistan. In Swat, Parachanar and tribal areas etc., crystal clear evidences are there of the involvement of RAW and CIA. Let’s have some deep insight.

All the investigation reports for suicide attacks in Pakistan indicate the link to tribal belt. The center of gravity of all the terrorism in Pakistan is Bait-ullah-Mehsud at South Waziristan. The supreme commanders of ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan’ and Baluch separatists are working in full support by CIA and RAW.

The rationale is self evident, as given below;

1- Regardless of all the intelligence information sharing by ISI, Baitullah Mehsud is never hit by NATO. He daily enjoys using satellite phones, yet supposed not to be traced by a super power. On 24th May 2008, Baitullah conducted an open press conference. That day, CIA not hit him, even after knowing 6 coordinated positions, given by ISI.

2- The most frequently used material in suicide attacks is “C4 Plastic explosive”. It is available nowhere in Pakistan. Investigation reports claim that the factory making suicide jackets run in neighboring country and then are given to their assets, residing at tribal areas.

3- At the border, there are many consulates of India, which are supposed to work as intelligence bases.

4- Many killed militants of ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan’ are found to be Hindus, not having ‘Khatnaas’ even. The same has been investigated for many militants in Swat.

5- NATO claims that there is cross border terrorism to Afghanistan from Pakistan, but yet not allowing Pakistan to seal Afghan border either by fencing or mining. Earlier, when Pakistan introduced bio-Metric cards to control cross border movement, Afghan side not encouraged this move.

6- After many years of military operations, still we are unable to curb militants completely. Surely, the finances and weaponry support is given to Baitullah Mehsud and his men from some other outfit as well. Last year, 300 troops of Pakistan army surrendered against Baitullah Mehsud. Surely, some one more advanced than our army and intelligence agencies is giving information and support to Baitullah Mehsud. After about couple of months, only 211 are released. Remaining ones are killed and slaughtered brutally by militants. Even videos are available of such horrible act. Please note here that contrary to Mehsud led Talibans, Mullah Umer led Afghan Talibans were known to be rigidly against photography etc.

7- The involvement of Abdullah Mehsud-the brother of Baitullah Mehsud in killing of Chinese Engineers also is an indicant that under the label of anti-USA organizations much is going in pipeline to disturb relations of Pakistan to a friendly nation-China.

8- In Swat and Parachanaar, many militants are arrested in uniform of Afghan army.

9- BLA is controlled by Brahmdaagh Bugti, having known connections with Afghan intelligence agencies and RAW. There are known video evidences to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. These are also shown to Admiral Mike Mulin along with Baitullah–CIA collaboration.

The clones of Talibans:

Now it’s time to smell the difference between Talibans and clones of Talibans. Original Talibans are what supposed to be led by Mullah Umer. Baitullah led ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban’ is actually a clone sponsored by CIA and RAW. All the prominent indications are written above. However, there is no doubt that the people supporting and joining such organizations have full sympathies with the original ideologies of Talibans, and they feel proud in announcing themselves Talibans. The conspiracy lies only at the upper level of their command. The people belonging to lower cadre have no sense of understanding of all that.

The strategic importance of introduction of that clone in Pakistan is to get few apparent objectives. For example;

1- To establish USA strategic bases in our tribal areas.

2- To have pro-Indian regime in full control of Afghanistan.

3- To sideline the interests of China and Russia.

4- Destabilizing Pakistan and neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear capability.

5- To make Afghanistan a hub for Opium production. A major share of drug internationally comes from Afghanistan. Don’t forget that US intelligence has announced Karzai’s brother as 2nd leading drug dealer.

6- To sabotage IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India)pipeline project and to root out Gawadar port.

Behind the suicide:

After having such analysis, now it’s time to focus only on suicide phenomenon in Pakistan. There are multi-folded factors running parallel behind that horrible human bomb industry.

First of all, as discussed earlier, the explosive material for blasts is not something to collect easily without having main stream linkages with the key players involved. Main key organization is ‘Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan’, which takes the responsibility of most of suicide attacks in Pakistan and openly challenges for many more attacks. All other leading militant groups covering themselves in the label of religion have their tentacles in romance with Baitullah Mehsud. They are involved in militancy, training for ‘jihad’, killing army and security agencies, blasting girls’ school etc.

Secondly, the financiers and motivators involved are sponsored by anti-state elements, residing both within Pakistan and outside. Regarding external sponsors, much has been stated above. As for as inner ones is concerned, few are those who were involved in Soviet-Afghan war and later in emergence of Talibans in 90’s. Now, they are serving for the greater game plan of CIA, by motivating these Jihadis. They are well known as defense and strategic analysts. They openly speak against USA, and provoke Jihadists to keep on performing their ‘holy mission’. They inject dreams of ‘Islamic Renaissance’ in their minds. They appear frequently in national media. They brainwash their audiences that Pakistan army is killing our own people to appease USA. Hence, they demoralize the army and nation and mislead that this is not our war. Similarly, few are from political parties, receiving dollars to carry on vested agendas in Pakistan. Interestingly, they are also known for their harsh stance against USA. They support and provide covers to madrassas involved in militancy. In addition, media channels and many columnists are known for their biases towards Pak army. They speak against President Musharraf’s policies, they criticize intelligence agencies, and try to make perceptions that Pakistan is serving for interests of USA. Our 24/7 media has never started any campaign against these radical fanatics. They tried justifying the militancy and Red mosque terrorists by blaming President Musharraf and army of everything. In this way, they provoke feelings in favor of jihadists. For instance, a most popular columnist ‘Javed Choudhray’ has once openly favored Molvi Fazlullah (Swat), Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, and Baitullah Mehsud, saying that they are fighting for Justice.

Thirdly, the most important is the supply of human resource for suicide blasts. There is no fraction of doubt at all, that the only motive running in blood of a suicide bomber is ‘religious’. Symbiosis of religious extremism and terrorism is terrible. Suicide bombers believe from their heart and soul that they were following divine path and fulfilling a holy mission. The videos are available to express their final thoughts before going to deadly mission. You would fail to find any sense of fear at their faces. They embrace their trainer and colleagues very peacefully and they all congratulate them of ‘paradise’. Such mindset is easy to design in madrassas system. The students there are usually from lower class. Their parents can’t afford them to send at some good schools or institute. The economic and financial pressure forces them to send their kids to religious centers. Moreover, such students have very often low IQ. So, it looks a good choice for their families to engage them in any madrassas, assuming it a service to religion as well. The strict ideologies taught at madrassas make such students totally away from main stream mode of life. They appear fully isolated. Knowing that they have no scope of an established and prosperous future, their psychology disturbs miserably. Outcome is natural. There emerges a sense of revenge and hatred for society. Most of madrassas are featured by sectarian and hate literature. The madrassas administrators use these students for their own interests. Whenever there is some sensitive or emotional issue, they use these students to make protests on roads and streets. The poor guys have no other choice available either. The biggest example is of ‘Lal Masjid’. The students, both male and female are used by the clerics for all the illegal activities freely. They were too indoctrinated that they started dreaming for ‘martyrdom’. The cleric arrested while escaping in ‘burqa clad’ is the most painful and regrettable example to expose them. The investigations regarding recent Wah POF suicide blasts which killed about 100, announced the involvement of a madrassa from ‘Akora Khattak’.

Here, one important thing must be added. There is also an ‘Economic’ motive. Suicide trend is also established like an industry. There are perpetrators who channelize suicide bombers and market to other groups. Not only this, such producers also blackmail the governments of these human bombs, in order to collect bounties of money.

How to dismantle a human bomb:

If we need to dismantle a human bomb, we have to follow a multi-prong strategy. This must be a win-win strategy, as we have no other choice. On one side, at tribal belt, must put on board the military actions supported by tribal elders. Secondly, speed up the developmental progress in tribal belt and providence of better life opportunities to add the people in main stream. Thirdly, education must be revolutionized to enlighten their conscience. Fourthly, there is an urgent need to bring our madrassas to the main stream. For it, all the madrassas must be registered and the record of students would be shared to government as well. The syllabi of madrassas must be checked out and revamped to bring according to the modern age requirement. Strong checks and balances must be made to stop any trace of militancy, to avoid more Lal masjids. The illegally occupied and expanded mosques and madrassas must be monitored. Moreover, strong check over any sort of hatred literature or sermons and misuse of loud speakers must be taken. Friday sermons must need to be documented. Steps should be taken to enlighten the madrassas student by the availability of multimedia facilitation to give them the broader view of world we are living in. Fifthly and perhaps most important is to bring awareness in masses to stand up against such obscurantist ideology and to oppose these fanatics loudly. All these steps if taken simultaneously would bring a positive change in Pakistan. Remember we have already wasted much time, and now our picture internationally is not too smart against terrorism and extremism.

Pakistan at Cross roads:

Pakistan is standing at the cross roads of her fate. Nation has to choose the one. It may lead to blind end, or may lead to the bridges of continued existence. Pakistan is sandwiched between 2 fascists’ ideologies; one followed by extremists and other followed by West in the name of ‘war against terror’. We have to hoard ourselves from both of them. While frightened of USA attacks over tribal areas of Pakistan, we must not forget that if USA stops acting like, even then terrorists would not leave us at peace. We, as a nation must stand up together, and join hands together for ‘Pakistan first’. Only then we can be able to resist these extremists and terrorists and be able to change the international perceptions against Pakistan. After being united, second most important thing is to show no trace of despondency. Pakistan army is alert 24 hours for the nation. People of tribal areas are also now fighting along Pakistan army against the terrorists. Now, there remains no doubt that this is OUR War and we have to fight it. Pakistan is not meant for defeat. We must win. We must win for ourselves and for our future generations.

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