Posts Tagged ‘Pak’



Daily Kos

After exaggerated sabre-rattling from India’s responses to the Mumbai Attacks (26/11), Pak began massive troop mobilization from the Afghan-Pak to the Indo-Pak border and concerns itself with Indian response:

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi reported today that neighboring India “has activated their forward air bases,” and urged dialogue between the two nations to solve their long-standing disputes over Kashmir. Minister Qureshi suggested that if India returned its military to “peacetime positions” it would send a positive signal. The address echoed calls from Pakistani General Parvez Kayani to avoid a military confrontation with India.

Yet Qureshi’s Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, denied that India had made any moves to mobilize its forces along the Pakistani border. “We have not created any tension,” Mukherjee insisted, adding that “there is no question of mobilization or escalation of tension” between the two sides.

Yet Senator John McCain was also quoted yesterday as saying “the Indians are on the verge of some kind of attack on Pakistan,” and warning that “we’re going to be in for a very difficult time there.” The Indian government has repeatedly insisted that any concerns about war are being deliberately fomented by the Pakistani government for its own gain, but as troops remain on alert on both sides of the border it seems a situation worth continuing to watch.

Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Pak’s concerns are not invalid. Early last week, Pak went on ‘red alert’ after India mobilized troops and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘rushed’ to Pak.

Neither country can afford a war and Pak’s military head, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said “there is a ‘need to de-escalate and avoid conflict'” and the “focus should be on ‘peace and security in the region.'” This week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) is in New Delhi and Islamabad to aid in the mediation of the two nuclear rivals, along with the Chinese and the Saudis:

Iran is turning out to be the first country of the region that has decided to play a mediatory role at the head of the state level between Pakistan and India.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is dashing to New Delhi early this week for talks with the Indian leaders with regard to the alarming situation prevailing in the neighbourhood. He may visit Islamabad immediately after concluding his discussions in the Indian capital. The Iranian president, who is deeply concerned about the rising tension between the two neighbouring nuclear states on its southeast, has been maintaining interaction with both the countries termed friends by Tehran.

The Iranian president will convert his endeavour into shuttle diplomacy if he gets encouraging signals from both the capitals. Pakistan will welcome such an effort. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehar Mottaki has already spoken to his Pakistani and Indian counterparts about the situation separately.

The US reaction would be watched with fair amount of interest in the world capitals since it might not come out in public to offer its reaction on the move, they remarked. It is pertinent to mention that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi has already said that Iran is ready to defuse tension between Pakistan and India over the recent Mumbai attacks. “The ongoing tension between the two neighbouring countries would only benefit terrorists,” said Qureshi adding that he had talked to his Iranian counterpart who has expressed his deep concern over the Indo-Pak tension.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told me in a telephone conversation that he had spoken to Indian Foreign Minister Paranab Mukherjee and asked India to show restraint,” Qureshi said. He added that Iran believes that any instability in South Asia affects the whole region and even beyond.

Manouchehr Mottaki, in his conversation with Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that Tehran will remain engaged with both Pakistan and India to defuse tensions between the two neighbour countries. Mottaki noted that he has also discussed the issue with his Indian counterpart Paranab Mukherjee and urged India to show restraint. Iran’s foreign minister warned that the tensions in south Asia would affect the region and even beyond. During the telephone conversation, Qureshi said that Pakistan had also been a victim of terrorism and was engaged in the fight against this menace.

Mr. Qureshi (right) adds:

“Dialogue is in the interest of both the countries – we should sit across the table and also use diplomatic channels.”

He said Pakistan was making “two specific proposals” – that India de-activate its forward air bases and relocate its ground forces to “peacetime positions”….

“This will send a positive signal and reduce tensions in the region.”

He said that Pakistan was ready to co-operate with India in tracking down the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks….

“Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that evidence will be shared with us once they have concluded their own investigation vindicates our earlier stand that we haven’t yet been provided with any evidence,”

He described Mr Mukherjee’s statement as a “positive development” and said recent telephone contacts between the two countries would “help defuse the situation”….

“If India de-activates its forward airbases which it recently activated, we will consider this a positive signal,” he said.

“Second, Indian ground forces that moved forward (following the Mumbai attacks) should be relocated to peace positions.

“Pressure and coercion between neighbours tend to complicate matters – rather than resolve them – and should be avoided.

“Mr Mukherjee said India had done nothing to escalate tension.

“[This] is not an India-Pakistan issue. This is an attack perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan and the Pakistan government should take action against it.”

Lashkar-e-Ta’iba (LeT)/Ja’amat-ud-Dawa(JuD) chiefs have been in Pak’s custody and are alleged to have masterminded 26/11, but has held off on extradition. Top LeT commander, Zahar Shah, captured in a Kashmir raid earlier this month has confessed to the Mumbai attacks:

Pakistani security officials said Shah made the confession while under interrogation.

Shah told interrogators that he was one of the main planners of the assault and that he had spoken to the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.

The admission, the officials said, was backed up by intercepts of a phone call between Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.

The report came as the US was mounting pressure on Islamabad to extradite the alleged mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, Zaki Al Rahman Lakhvi, to India.

“The Americans are believed to have given Pakistan a taped conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with the gunmen involved in the attacks,” the Dawn newspaper said, quoting diplomatic sources.

Lakhvi and Shah were picked up during a crackdown, which followed a UN ban on the Jamat-ud Daawa – a front group for the LeT – in the aftermath of attacks on Indian financial hub.

The confession adds further pressure for Pak to extradite and not feed India more ammunition for its Newspeak — most notably the BJP’s allegations of Pak being a TerrorState.

Urdu Daily has made the, thusfar, unsubstantiated claim that Mossad, CIA, and the BJP were behind 26/11. The AP has reported of rogue police agents within India. Pak Alert Press has followed the conspiracy claim, as has PrisonPlanet.com. Sayyid and I don’t subscribe to these claims, but will follow them as they make their claims, as India’s central intel agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is fixated against ISI.

We are firm in the involvement of Pak’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 26/11, but emphasize that ISI is a rogue agency, acting without the authorization of Pak’s civlian PPP government. I’ve reported my research of ISI here and will continue to battle Newspeak in differentiating ISI from Pak’s civilian government.

We stand firm in our condemnation of ISI as the only government organization that should be held accountable for their role in 26/11via their support of Paki terror groups. We’ll continue our support for dismantling the agency and I’ve made a loose, informal suggestion on how to do so:

And you really can’t ask for too much help from outside of your own house to clean it of it of an intelligence agency because you’re vulnerable to your helpers installing an intelligence agency more loyal to the helpers than the State they’re supposed to serve. This wouldn’t be direct, but say China helped the Pak rid itself of ISI. You can be for damned sure that China would only do so with the agreement of heavily increased intelligence sharing and a silent veto power over the agency’s hierarchy. It’s just the cynical nature of the game.

If the Paki people want to take ISI’s threat to them seriously, as they’ve overwhelmingly shown in their elections of two dovish, populist, socialists as president and PM, they’ll continue to do so in Parliament and lobby strong for social liberties in terms of self-defense, domestic surveillance, and decentralized power under those basic rights. The people aren’t bad, but they’ve become accustomed to a certain way of life under a dictator and it’s difficult to overcome the cultural influences of political organizations in Iran, the Taleban, and the Palestinian factions that veer toward Sharia Law.

That said, Pakistan is a relatively liberal people, who favor socialist economic policies, but at something closer to a consensus than the relatively laissez-faire West. If they can exploit the geopolitics to progress economically, their faith in those desires will strengthen, but the civilians will have to be committed to putting restrictions on their intelligence agencies — not succumbing to fear when ISI allows a domestic attack for the sole reason of strengthening itself as an authoritative institution. It’s the only way I can see dismantling it.


Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari made an honest plea to the world today in words you don’t see communicated often by a world leader.

Pres. Zardari’s Op-Ed in The New York Times titled, “The Terrorists Want to Destroy Pakistan, Too” affirms his commitment to expel terror from his country and create a viable democratic economy. From anyone familiar with the Former Pak PM Benazir Bhutto, assassinated almost a year ago, Pres. Zardari affirms his commitment to not allow his wife to have died in vain:

THE recent death and destruction in Mumbai, India, brought to my mind the death and destruction in Karachi on Oct. 18, 2007, when terrorists attacked a festive homecoming rally for my wife, Benazir Bhutto. Nearly 150 Pakistanis were killed and more than 450 were injured. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may be a news story for most of the world. For me it is a painful reality of shared experience. Having seen my wife escape death by a hairbreadth on that day in Karachi, I lost her in a second, unfortunately successful, attempt two months later.

The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated. Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root.

To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process. Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India’s pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.

Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks. But we caution against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements. As was demonstrated in Sunday’s raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims.

India is a mature nation and a stable democracy. Pakistanis appreciate India’s democratic contributions. But as rage fueled by the Mumbai attacks catches on, Indians must pause and take a breath. India and Pakistan — and the rest of the world — must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September. The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization.

These militants did not arise from whole cloth. Pakistan was an ally of the West throughout the cold war. The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic.

Pakistan continues to pay the price: the legacy of dictatorship, the fatigue of fanaticism, the dismemberment of civil society and the destruction of our democratic infrastructure. The resulting poverty continues to fuel the extremists and has created a culture of grievance and victimhood.

The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge; Pakistan’s fledgling democracy needs help from the rest of the world. We are on the frontlines of the war on terrorism. We have 150,000 soldiers fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their extremist allies along the border with Afghanistan — far more troops than NATO has in Afghanistan.

Nearly 2,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives to terrorism in this year alone, including 1,400 civilians and 600 security personnel ranging in rank from ordinary soldier to three-star general. There have been more than 600 terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan this year. The terrorists have been set back by our aggressive war against them in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Pashtun-majority areas bordering Afghanistan. Six hundred militants have been killed in recent attacks, hundreds by Pakistani F-16 jet strikes in the last two months.

Terrorism is a regional as well as a global threat, and it needs to be battled collectively. We understand the domestic political considerations in India in the aftermath of Mumbai. Nevertheless, accusations of complicity on Pakistan’s part only complicate the already complex situation.

For India, Pakistan and the United States, the best response to the Mumbai carnage is to coordinate in counteracting the scourge of terrorism. The world must act to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and democracy, help us build civil society and provide us with the law enforcement and counterterrorism capacities that will enable us to fight the terrorists effectively.

Benazir Bhutto once said that democracy is the best revenge against the abuses of dictatorship. In the current environment, reconciliation and rapprochement is the best revenge against the dark forces that are trying to provoke a confrontation between Pakistan and India, and ultimately a clash of civilizations.

This proactive approach by Pres. Zardari follows the grotesque game of political football being played by Indian PM Manmohan Singh and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The displaced anger within India should be expected amongst its people and for politicians to play with that fear is an insult to the hundreds who lost their lives in Mumbai and the heroes who lived for their fellow man regardless of their nationality in those days of horror.

Pres. Zardari echoes the philosophy of his late wife stressing that free, transparent, democratic societies of integrity are the great weapon against terrorism because the demonization of those promoting such societies is a victory for terrorism.

Joint Indo-Pak efforts are crucial to fight terrorism where it’s strongest: unified political morale. And Pak cannot be expected to get out of the dark regarding ISI without the sharing of intelligence and the best way to do so is to participate in the interrogations of those apprehended in Pak andPaki Kashmir

The Times of India reports that Pak will not allow the pursuit of justice for the Mumbai attacks to be a unilateral effort in the region as they are insisting to be involved with the interrogations of those they apprehend in Pak and Paki Kashmir because, as the president says, ‘the terrorists want to destroy Pakistan, too.’ Unfortunately, India is still tossing around the football — taking the cynical approach in the public eye, calling the Paki raids and arrests since the Mumbai attacks, “tokenism,” as Pak won’t release those arrested to India in the effort to not be shut out:

Pakistan has arrested two key terror suspects India wants and could permit New Delhi to interrogate them if this is done jointly, a senior Pakistan minister said on Tuesday.

Confirming the arrests of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, a top suspect in the Mumbai terror strikes, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, wanted for his alleged role in the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, Pakistani Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar Tuesday said India may be allowed to interrogate them.

“If need be, we can have a joint interrogation,” Mukhtar said in a telephonic interview.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was silent on the interrogation aspect but asserted that the suspects would not be handed over to India, as New Delhi has demanded.

“The arrests are being made for our own investigations. Even if allegations are proved against any suspect, he will not be handed over to India,” Qureshi said in Multan, adding: “We will proceed against those arrested under Pakistani laws.”

Ruling out any movement of Pakistani troops towards the Indian borders, Mukhtar asserted that Pakistan will “help India in every possible way” and made a renewed pitch for joint investigations into the Mumbai attack – a suggestion that India has spurned.

Claiming that Islamabad was cracking down on terror groups, Mukhtar said: “No one can doubt our credibility. We have discussed how we can help our neighbours in fighting terrorism.”

“We are ready to help India in every possible way. Joint investigations will help in probing the Mumbai attack,” Mukhtar asserted.

“We will help India in joint investigations… India may be allowed to interrogate these people also,” he added.

Following the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistani security forces also sealed a camp of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JD), as the LeT is widely believed to have been renamed after it was proscribed, in the Shawai Nullah neighbourhood of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

In a statement issued late Monday, a military spokesperson in Islamabad said in a statement that an operation to target militant organisations had started in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

“The military confirms an operation of law enforcement is underway,” it said, adding that there had been arrests and investigations were underway.

Pakistani authorities on Monday placed restrictions on the movement of JeM chief Masood Azhar by confining him to his multi-storeyed concrete compound in the Model Town area of Bahawalpur.

“It’s nothing more then tokenism. They want to take minimum possible action to appease the Americans,” Satish Chandra, a former deputy national security adviser and a former Indian envoy to Pakistan, told IANS.

The TOI reported yesterday of confirmation that LeT is backed by Pak spy agency, ISI, without any mention of it being a rouge agency as I’ve compiled many reports that confirm just that while reporting Pak’s strong efforts in the raid of a LeT/JuD camp in Paki Kashmir, referring to the raid as “intelligence-driven,” sends a complex message to the Indians. Again, it is crucial for PM Singh and the Indian media to make it very clear that ISI is apart from the civilian government of Pakistan.

As for Indian law enforcement, the identities and images of the nine dead suspected Pakistani attackers were released.