Nearing the end of his second term, the Afghan president wants early elections before US and NATO troops leave. His opponents are wary
The next two years are very important for Afghanistan. The US and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... are handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan cops and this transition will continue probably until 2014. Meanwhile, ...back at the wreckage, Captain Poindexter awoke groggily, his hand still stuck in the Ming vase... political parties and coalitions are gearing up for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for the spring of 2014.
President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use... is nearing the end of his second term, and the Afghan constitution only allows two terms for a president. Karzai has said he is considering holding presidential elections a year early, in 2013, and does not want to put too much pressure on the country when NATO combat forces are due to leave in 2014. "Either the elections could be brought forward, or the handover of security to Afghan forces could be speeded up," he said in a presser in Kabul on April 12.
"Skillfully navigating the complex regional, tribal and ethnic landscape has been Karzai's strongest ability"
Some Afghan politicians and analysts backed the proposal and warned the 2014 votes might be unfeasible if security declines as NATO troops withdraw. The election should be held while NATO troops are still present, they argue. Others see Karzai's proposal as a worrying admission that the Afghan cops might not be able to maintain peace in the country.
Analsysts believe Karzai is either preparing to run again or backing one of his brothers or close aides as his successor. "An early election would leave little time for electoral reforms to prevent a repeat of the massive ballot-stuffing fraud and use of government resources that marred Karzai's last victory," said General (r) Abdul Wahid Taqat, a former intelligence officer and a political analyst.
Independent candidates and coalitions are gearing up for the upcoming polls because there are no strong political parties in the country and the democratic system is weak
"Early elections can happen if something happens to the president or if the president resigns," said Bashir Alkozai, a senior analyst who monitors Afghanistan's parliamentary politics. "If he moves up elections, Karzai would have to resign and his first vice president, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, would take over. Emergency elections would then have to be scheduled within three months according the country's constitution."
The two largest political oppositions of the country - the National Coalition of Afghanistan (NCA) and the National Front of Afghanistan (NFA) - issued a joint statement on April 30 alleging the Karzai government was 'personalizing' the election institutions and engineering the date and outcome. The NCA is led by Dr Abdullah Abdullah ... the former foreign minister of the Northern Alliance government, advisor to Masood, and candidate for president against Karzai. Dr. Abdullah was born in Kabul and is half Tadjik and half Pashtun... , who was a candidate in the 2009 presidential elections, and Mohammad Younas Qanoni, MP and leader of Afghanistan e Naween (New Afghanistan) political party. The NFA is a political alliance between Ahmad Zia Massoud, former first vice president and brother of late anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban capo Ahmed Shah Massoud, General Abdul Rashid Dostum ...ethnic Uzbek warlord who distinguished himself fighting the Soviets and the Taliban. The story that he had a bad guy run over with a tank is an exaggeration. It was an armored personnel carrier... , the founder of Jombesh Party, and Muhammad Muhaqqiq, a leader of a faction of Hezb-e-Wahdat and a member of parliament from Kabul.
"The early election issue is just a political gimmick with specific objectives," said Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, front man for the NCA.
Analysts say Karzai has not decided whom to support as his successor, and he is not likely to, until the last minute. "Gaining the support of Karzai and the international community, especially the US, is essential to winning the vote," said Engineer Kamaal Khan Safi, an MP from Kunduz.
So far, only two people have formally announced that they plan to run for president: Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former interior minister and Fawzia Koofi, the deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament and the first woman to hold that office. Political analysts say neither of candidates is strong.
Karzai's elder brother, Qayyum Karzai, is also said to be planning to enter the race. Sources privy to the plans say Karzai's aides have advised the president to nominate Qayyum as his successor. But Karzai hinted he would not support Qayyum, fearing it may create the impression that he wants to keep the presidency in his own family.
Qayyum, 55, resigned from parliament in 2008 citing poor health. He has also reportedly been involved in back-channel peace diplomacy with the Taliban through Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... .Two other potential candidates are Omar Daudzai, the Afghan ambassador in Pakistain and former chief of staff of the Afghan president, and Farooq Wardak, the education minister. Analysts believe one of them would get Karzai's backing.
"Daudzai, a long time confidant of Karzai, was the man behind the scene who helped bring Muhaqqiq and Dostum into the coalition," said Bashir Alkozai. "If either of these candidates receives Karzai's support, they will also benefit from his financial and political networks."
Abdullah Abdullah - Karzai's top contender in the 2009 presidential elections - and Ahmad Zia Massud - former first vice president and brother of Ahmed Shah Massud - are likely to be the candidates from NCA and NFA
While it is too early to anticipate, Karzai's voluntary departure before the election will not only sit positively with many Afghans, but will also leave him a respectable legacy in Afghan history, experts say. But they think Karzai wants to remain a Milli Mashar or 'national leader' after quitting. The absence of an alternative keeps the coalition forces dependent on Karzai. "Skillfully navigating the complex regional, tribal and ethnic landscape has been Karzai's strongest ability," said Arif Ansar, an Af-Pak expert at Politact, a Washington-based think tank. "Karzai has masterfully exploited the sensitivities of Pakistain's relations with India and the US and the recently signed Afghansian-India strategic deal is a case in point. When it comes to connecting with the Afghans, Karzai has consistently projected Pakistain as desiring to dominate them and has raised the issue of civilian casualties when it comes to NATO."
The NCA and the NFA have started initial preparations for the presidential elections. It is not known if they will be able to back a joint candidate. "There hasn't been any discussion over joint candidates," said Sancharaki, adding that they don't even know who the potential candidates are.
Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai's top contender in the 2009 presidential elections, and Massoud are likely to be the candidates from the NCA and the NFA respectively.
Some circles believe that Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN, and Hanif Atmar, former interior minister and a leader of Hezb-e-Haq-wa-Edalat (Truth and Justice Party) are also interested in running for president.
Political analysts say the majority of Afghans, who are Pashtuns, will accept the next president if he is a Pashtun from a leading tribe. Karzai was able to hold his own in large part because he is a Pashtun from the southern province of Kandahar, said Israr Ahmed Karimzai, another political analyst. Historically, he said, the south is the region where leaders come from.
"Most people go by what has traditionally been the case in Afghanistan," Arif Ansar said. "Moving forward, it should be what the majority of Afghans think. Although for this to happen, it will require unity amongst Afghans."
Experts say only independent candidates and coalitions are gearing up for the upcoming polls because there are no strong political parties in the country and the democratic system is weak. According to the website of the Afghan Ministry of Justice, there are 84 registered political parties in the country. These parties have been formed by Mujahideen leaders, members of the former People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), and some independent figures. But because of a number of contributing factors, the political parties have no visible role in Afghan politics, especially the presidential polls.
"The affiliations of political parties are mostly with their ethnicity, tribes and region, and none of them are truly nationalistic in orientation," said Ansar.
The current Afghan government is structured around coalitions of individuals - former Mujahideen and influential tribal elders - and not around coalitions of political parties, said Bashir Alkozai. "Political parties have been isolated over the past decade, and will therefore not likely to strengthen."
Zia Ur Rehman reports from Kabul, where he is a part of the Pak-Afghan Media Exchange Program. He can be contracted at firstname.lastname@example.org Continued on Page 49
Rawalpindi should not to be consoled by the prospect of a Pashtun buffer along Pakistain's western borders'
The economy has been winding down for the past year and has reached a point where the population is forced to stage localised uprisings in all four provinces. The rupee is rapidly losing value and the employed are gradually losing their jobs. A prime minister has been fired, hailed by TV channels, most of whom don't pay salaries. The new prime minister is universally despised and the opposition is following 'scorched earth' policy to get rid of President Zardari. Pakistain has scant chance of surviving.
Foreign Minister Khar is challenging the US, insisting on an apology from President B.O. on the eve of elections in America, asking him to 'show understanding'. Pakistain needs help with an economy that is stalling. It needs to go back to the IMF to save its balance of payments from collapsing. Pakistain wants to allow passage to NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... but is incapable internally to make it possible, putting the teeth of Europe on edge and affixing a fatal seal on its obsession with 'honourable' isolation.
The Supreme Court has got rid of a prime minister who had a majority in a parliament that pronounced itself clearly against its encroachment into the domain of the legislature. ANF, an anti-narcotics force manned by serving military officers - and supposedly subordinated to the elected government - is pursuing a PPP politician named as next prime minister. The next election is early next year but the opposition thinks it is once again time to get rid of the government before its tenure is concluded.
Half of the Afghan Pashtun population will flee into Pakistain and seek shelter, not so much from the Pak state as from the nonstate actors collecting money from Pak population through kidnappings and bank holdups
With the mood Pakistain is in, no government can save it from collapsing into the 'failed state' category whereas the patently 'failing state' of Afghanistan is ensured survival till 2024 by the US and its partners to prevent Al Qaeda from coming to power there with the help of Pakistain. International opinion has swung against Pakistain, especially against the Supreme Court which was earlier seen as a rarely 'independent' guarantee against corruption. Former Chief Justice of India Justice Markandey Katju wrote in Hindu (21 June 2012):
'Following this principle in British constitutional law, almost every Constitution in the world has incorporated a provision giving total immunity to Presidents and Governors from criminal prosecution. Thus, Section 248(2) of the Pak Constitution states: No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or Governor in any Court during his term of office.
The language of the above provision is clear, and it is a settled principle of interpretation that when the language of a provision is clear the court should not twist or amend its language in the garb of interpretation, but read it as it is. I therefore fail to understand how proceedings on corruption charges (which are clearly of a criminal nature) can be instituted or continued against the Pak President.
'Moreover, how can the court remove a Prime Minister? This is unheard of in a democracy. The Prime Minister holds office as long he has the confidence of Parliament, not the confidence of the Supreme Court. I regret to say that the Pak Supreme Court, particularly its Chief Justice, has been showing utter lack of restraint. This is not expected of superior courts. In fact the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. It has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence'.
Social media prophet with a growing following of devotees, Zaid Hamid has foreseen the next episode in the unending misfortunes of Pakistain. His message reads:
'Dear Children and members, read this carefully and do NOT panic. We expect violent protests, riots and lawlessness in the country in the next 2 months. In the absence of a stable government, the bad boys, snuffies and criminals will take full advantage of the chaos and anarchy already present in the country.
Prepare yourself for these difficult times. Stock some food and essential supplies and if you have licensed weapons, keep them at home for self protection. With the levels of anarchy that we have seen in the last few days in urban Punjab, you may have to protect your own homes, honour and lives.
'We expect that till the end of August, this anarchy would continue, when finally, InshAllah, Supreme Court and army would then be forced to step in decisively to bring in a caretaker government which would start to stabilize the country. InshAllah, there will be no elections. Also, InshAllah, the PPP regime and the PML(N) will not form the caretakers as they plan to do. This duty will also be done by the SC and army, InshAllah'.
If Pakistain Army, which runs the country's foreign policy and doesn't want to fight the snuffies that attack other states, takes over it will hardly be able to take the tough decisions dictated by the economy. It has pushed the elected government to embrace isolationism and thus commit hara-kiri. Both Army and the judiciary are inclined to favour the forces that threaten the world with terror. They can firm up the identity of Pakistain as a rogue state, not a state inclined to self-correction.
Soon the next deniable Pak war will start in Afghanistan. Towards the end of 2013, it will reach its first climax with Pak nonstate actors lending a hand in the Taliban's war against the 250,000-strong Afghan National Army, with another 150,000 police added in a war that will be a mixture of terrorism and battlefield conflict. Half of the Afghan Pashtun population will flee into Pakistain and seek shelter, not so much from the Pak state as from the nonstate actors collecting money from Pak population through kidnappings and bank holdups.
Ashley J. Tellis writes: 'Any Taliban control of southern and eastern Afghanistan would lay the geographic and demographic foundations for resuscitating the old Pashtun yearnings for a separate state, a "Pashtunistan" that would threaten the integrity of Pakistain. Given the current resentment of the Taliban leadership toward its Pak protectors, Rawalpindi should not to be consoled by the prospect of a Pashtun buffer along Pakistain's western borders' (Commentary, June 22, 2012).
Zaid Hamid is a spokesman for the Pak army from memory
I just googled the name, and there seem to be a number of them, Fester Clunter7205. It occurs to me to wonder if a social media prophet is anything like a blogger, but the journalists of The Friday Times are pretty good.
[Dawn] RECENTLY, I came across a quote ascribed to Albert Camus: "No cause is worth a single innocent human life." Applauding the sentiment, I did a quick search for the context in which the Nobel Prize winner might have written the sentence. It's one of those profound-sounding statements Camus and similar professional Intellects™ used to make. There's no actual empirical evidence to support the statement, but it sounds really good. Makes you think of how you want to keep Mom safe, that sort of thing. Possibly he did say such a thing, but being an absurdist philosopher he professed to be convinced that life was actually meaningless, so if it's meaningless why should the loss of it, innocent or otherwise, cause a fuss?
Sadly, I failed to find the reference in the French philosopher and novelist's works. If a reader can supply the exact quote and where Camus expressed the thought, I will be grateful. I actually read Camus' The Myth of Sysiphus when I was a very young man. It brought to mind green meadows and sunny days, where you really have to be careful about stepping in the bull paddies, at least in the parts of it that were readable...
The reason I want to pin it down is that increasingly, I am depressed by the rising violence in actions and rhetoric, not just in Pakistain, but the world over. The last decade, in particular, has witnessed a steady upward trend in state-directed violence as well as terrorist activities. And in Pakistain the two are often one. And world-wide it's becoming increasingly evident that Pakistain's primary export is guys wearing turbans and waving automatic weaponry...
The rise in the number, sophistication and reach of non-state actors has been met with disproportionate force from some governments. Often, states have supplied terrorist groups with the justification to turn to violence. But mostly, romantics, utopians and nihilists have flocked to the turban banner in their search for adventure, identity and self-worth.
Nine-eleven has given rise to the perception that terrorism is the exclusive preserve of Islamic turbans. But the fact is that it has been widely used by secular groups just as it has been by groups drawing their inspiration from religion.
Terrorism has always been a weapon of the weak. The targets are undefended civilians, and the objective is to destabilise the state by repeated blows at the innocent.
Thus, when the Zionist Irgun gang attacked the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing a number of British soldiers and civilians after the end of the Second World War, their aim was to drive the British army out of Paleostine. Incidentally, the leader of the terrorist group was Menachem Begin, the future prime minister of Israel.
In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers, a secular group, pioneered many of the terror techniques and weapons copied by other groups around the world. Suicide bombing, in particular, is a gift to us from this deadly, and now defunct, band of killers. But whatever we may think of their methods, the fact is that their goals were political, and the causes of Tamil discontent persist three years after the end of the civil war.
After 9/11, many nationalist movements with legitimate political goals were lumped into the category of terrorists. However, if you can't say something nice about a person some juicy gossip will go well... in many cases, they lost legitimacy and respect by deliberately slaughtering innocent civilians. In Kashmire and Chechnya, for example, freedom fighters often turned their guns on bystanders, thereby losing international support. This also gave New Delhi and Moscow an excuse to increase their repressive measures.
Fred Halliday was, until his early death at 64, one of the leading British experts on the Middle East. A scholar and linguist, he brought an impressive degree of intellectual rigour to his writing. With 20 books to his name, he contributed a number of essays to the webzine Open Democracy that were later published as a collection called Political Journeys. In the section titled 'Violence and Politics', Halliday writes:
"...[ T ]errorism, as ideology and instrument of struggle, is a modern phenomenon, a product of the conflict between contemporary states and their restive societies. In rich and poor countries alike, it has developed as part of a transnational model of political engagement. Its roots are in modern secular politics; it has no specific regional or cultural attachment; it is an instrument, one among several, for those aspiring to challenge states and one day to take power themselves."
So as I have observed in this space before, religion has little to do with the acts of terrorism that have become routine in Pakistain. Although the Pak Taliban and their many evil offshoots use Islam as a fig-leaf to hide behind as they slaughter innocent men, women and kiddies, the truth is that what they really seek is power. The Sharia is merely a device they use to browbeat and impress the rest of us with.
Their success in their asymmetrical struggle against the Pak security forces and the state has been made possible by the enabling space created by politicians, the judiciary and the media alike.
In many cases, gun-hung tough guys have been released by judges either on bail, or because of insufficient evidence. Being armed at the time of capture apparently is not proof enough. In TV studios, there is seldom any condemnation of jihadi terrorism; similarly, politicians hardly ever criticise terrorist groups for their actions. The recent beheading of seven Pak soldiers went largely unnoticed by our media and the political class.
This benign attitude towards vicious killers lends them a spurious legitimacy that encourages them to further violence. Many fail to condemn them because they are supposed to be fighting for an avowedly Islamic cause. But anybody even vaguely familiar with the tenets of the faith would know the Taliban's claim to be utterly false. No religion in the world permits or justifies the violence these people have inflicted on thousands of innocent people.
Ultimately, violence dehumanises us all. But paradoxically, its prevalence and increased intensity is met with acceptance at various levels. Governments are reluctant to make the political decisions necessary to drain the swamp of the poison of extremism.
The harsh Israeli occupation of the West Bank continues to infuriate and radicalise Mohammedans. NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... 's ill-conceived operations in Afghanistan, and American drone attacks, provide snuffies justification for their attacks on innocent civilians. In the wake of the Second World War, a system for peacekeeping under the UN was put in place to prevent future conflicts. Never perfect, these institutions did manage to make the world a safer place for 50 years. And when the Cold War ended, we thought an era of peace would finally emerge. Dream on.
[Dawn] "At least 60 people belonging to Hazara community living in Quetta have been killed in targeted attacks, including suicide, remote-controlled and timer device bombings and firing," says a report published in this newspaper, following a brutal attack on Shia pilgrims belonging to the Hazara community.
Thursday's kaboom in the Hazarganji area on the outskirts of the scenic provincial capital of Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... was not the first such attack of the year. Not even the first of the month. The Hazara community has been targeted, with great impunity, by outlawed bad boy organizations on at least six occasions in the current year. While all attacks have claimed precious lives, one of worst attacks against the community came last September, when a bus carrying Hazara passengers was stopped by assailants heavily armed with rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs. They identified Hazara men, took them off the bus and slaughtered them one by one within half a kilometre from a security check post. A similar incident was repeated a few days later in Akhtarabad area of Quetta. Some unconfirmed reports say "over 800 Hazaras have been killed in 24 incidents of mass-murder and 131 targeted ambushes since 2001."
Murderous motives Responsibility for most of these attacks has been claimed by outlawed group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ... a 'more violent' offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistain. LeJ's purpose in life is to murder anyone who's not of utmost religious purity, starting with Shiites but including Brelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Rosicrucians, and just about anyone else you can think of. They are currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda ... , who have gone as far in their hate preach as declaring the community "wajib-ul-qatl" or deserving of death in their edicts handed out in the Balochistan province. Moreover, the community has been warned that its settlements in Hazara Town and on Alamdar Road will be transformed into graveyards as the war against them continues, according to a column published in this newspaper.
The killings have received mixed reactions and analyses from government officials, politicians and Hazara community leaders. Some blame security forces and intelligence agencies for the killings. Others point the fingers at the sectarian fanatics, Taliban and land mafia while some people even suggest a complex amalgam of all the aforementioned factors.
Role of security forces While there is little doubt that all the attacks have been unprovoked and unidirectional without any apprehensions for many years, for Hazaras, the failure of security forces to protect their community remains an unanswered question.
"They have not failed. They have rather no intentions to protect us from the terrorists" explains Sardar Saadat Ali Hazara, a community leader.
Members of the community allege that Hazara killings are designed as a counterinsurgency campaign to divert attention away from the activities of security forces in Balochistan.
"The Hazaras are being systematically killed because they are anti-Taliban and because they do not agree with the policy of strategic depth towards Afghanistan," says Tahir Khan Hazara, a political activist.
"They consider the Hazaras as pro-Northern Alliance and suspect our patriotism," says Zaman Dehqanzada of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP).
Dehqanzada alleges that his community's 'refusal to fight the Baloch' has led them to become targets of unabated violence. "We are not going to destroy our relations with our brothers in Balochistan," he adds.
Meanwhile, ...back at the scene of the crime, Lieutenant Queeg had an idea: there was a simple way to tell whether Manetti had been the triggerman -- just look at his shoes!... a former chief sectary Balochistan revealed on the condition of anonymity that the state policy towards the Hazaras has dramatically changed since 2001. "They are kept away from sensitive administrative posts both in the armed forces and civil bureaucracy as they are considered, albeit falsely, pro-Iran and Pro-Northern Alliance just because they are Farsi-speaking Shias," the official said.
According to a recent report on the killings of Hazaras, the Frontier Corps (FC) believes that "the Hazaras are receiving funding from Iran to incite Shia revolution in Pakistain," a statement refuted by the community. How can a small community, they say, surrounded by military cantonment bring about Shia revolution in Pakistain?
While the FC also blames the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for the Hazara killings. Hazara leader Sardar Saadat strongly disagrees. "BLA has no issues with the Hazaras. It is, in fact, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi operatives who kill the members of my community and roam freely all around. Everybody knows that they are being trained and protected in Qubo area of Mastung," he says.
Chairman of HDP Abdul Khalique Hazara is of the same view. "We have repeatedly demanded targeted actions against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who are a handful of snuffies but the government and security forces have given us a cold shoulder. Balochistan Home Minister Zafarullah Zehri has said on the floor of the provincial assembly that he had clues about those involved in the murders but he was helpless. So we were forced to call international protests against Hazara genocide in order to pressurise the government to take actions"
All the secular nationalist parties of Balochistan are of the view that religious extremism is thriving in the province in order to counter the activism of the Baloch nationalists. The nature of killings, they say, also indicates the same. Almost all the attacks on Hazaras have either taken place in the vicinity or in between two FC check posts -- raising questions over the ability of heavily gunnies to cross the check-posts, kill innocent civilians and escape on their pick-up vehicles without being caught or chased after.
"If you look at the videos of the Mastung and Akhtarabad massacres released by the snuffies on YouTube, you will find out that all these incidents have taken place on an international highway, bustling with traffic but the snuffies seem in no haste as they slaughter our people. It takes them almost half an hour to accomplish their mission and not a single vehicle passes the site of the attack. How was the traffic blocked on both sides?" asks a Hazara activist, who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons.
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued a statement on its website a day after the Mastung massacre under the title of "Members of Shia community were under attack while the military forces look on" questioning the role of military establishment in such attacks. According to AHRC "more than 500 Shias have been killed in terrorist attacks during the past three years after the FC received the powers of the police"
It further adds: "These campaigns against the Shia religious community is very well known to police, FC, the army and its intelligence services but no action has been taken against the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi."
According to columnist, Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad, "Attacks on the Hazara community started only two years after former president and army chief General Pervez Perv Musharraf ... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ... 's coup. These coincided with the period when agencies were directed under a master plan to give religious parties and bad boy groups a free hand."
Talibanisation of Balochistan The Taliban had massacred tens of thousands of Hazaras in Afghanistan during their reign in Afghanistan and had warned them to leave the country. The Hazaras of Afghanistan were part of the so-called Northern Alliance which resisted Taliban's rule and later on allied with the international forces to overturn the radicals. To avenge their defeat the Taliban pointed their guns towards the Hazaras of Baochistan by allying with LeJ and Al-Qaeda operatives.
In an open threat letter distributed at Hazara localities in Quetta Lashkar-e-Jhangvi warned the Hazaras to leave Pakistain by 2012 and in another, they vowed to continue targeting the community in Pakistain, particularly in Quetta.
[Dawn] THE story is not new. But with each attack, the targeting of the Shia Hazara community becomes a more firmly entrenched feature of life in Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... today. Thursday's kaboom on a bus of pilgrims returning from Iran was only the latest in a string of incidents that have taken the lives of at least 60 Hazaras this year alone, including students and people from the community simply going about their daily business. Easily identifiable because of their physical features, neighbourhoods and the routes they take for routine pilgrimages, Balochistan's Hazaras are now sitting ducks, victims of a relentless campaign that can only be compared to ethnic cleansing in its laser-like focus and its desire to kill as many members of the community as possible.
Given this focus and the pattern of attacks that has been established, the inability of the Balochistan government and paramilitary troops to protect the community can only be the result of extreme incompetence or a lack of commitment. Many of the attacks take place along the set routes that buses take when transporting pilgrims to and from Iran. Policing along these routes has reportedly been stepped up, but surely they can be monitored in a way that is better able to identify suspicious activity or prevent attackers from planting bombs. As for police escorts to accompany pilgrims, these have clearly not been adequate; if Balochistan's politicians can be provided with extensive and expensive security arrangements, why is the same level of protection not being provided at least to Hazara pilgrims?
The more effective method, of course, would be to tackle this problem at its roots, going after the Islamic fascistiand dismantling their infrastructure rather than trying to prevent already planned attacks at the eleventh hour. Balochistan's anti-Shia militancy has morphed into a force in its own right, with its own motivations, operational bases and centres of propaganda. For this, too, there are clues: the locations of madressahs propagating anti-Shia views and some of the bases of the Balochistan arm of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ... a 'more violent' offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistain. LeJ's purpose in life is to murder anyone who's not of utmost religious purity, starting with Shiites but including Brelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Rosicrucians, and just about anyone else you can think of. They are currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda ... have been identified, and include the chief minister's own base of Mastung. In the face of such a predictable pattern of attacks and available information about those behind them, the failure to prevent them has only fuelled speculation that Balochistan's civilian and security establishments are deliberately not taking action against sectarian militancy. These theories reflect the lack of trust in the provincial set-up, which is seen as being focused on clamping down on separatists instead. Whatever the thinking among state actors, the continued targeting of the Hazaras is increasingly becoming a massive abdication of responsibility on their part.
[Dawn] ANOTHER day, another attack from across the Pak-Afghan border inside Pakistain. On Wednesday night, the attack in Upper Dir was not as damaging as the one launched Sunday -- security officials claimed that the only deaths were of cut-throats involved -- but it underscored the deteriorating security conditions in the area. The savagery of the Swat ...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat... Taliban led by Maulana Fazlullah is well-known. At the height of their power in the Malakand region they committed atrocities that made them stand out even in the world of myrmidon violence. Having lost their fiefdom in 2009 but with their leadership on the run, there was always the likelihood they would creep back in and use tactics like beheadings and overrunning security check posts to sow fear in the region again. That is precisely what seems to be happening, notwithstanding the fact that the military does physically dominate the area in which Fazlullah and his band of violent Islamists ruled for several years.
Two points need to be made. One, pushing out cut-throats from one area -- whether into an adjoining tribal area or across the Pak-Afghan border -- is not a long-term solution. Only a concerted effort on both sides of the border to clamp down on militancy will stabilise the region. However, the way to a man's heart remains through his stomach... that process cannot be selective. There is a suspicion in Pak security circles that Afghan and foreign forces in Afghanistan are, at the very least, looking the other way while Pakistain-centric cut-throats pour across the border -- a tit-for-tat response to the Pak security establishment which refuses to squeeze the Haqqanis in particular on this side of the border. But that is a dangerous game in which only so-called non-state actors win. Better, then, for the Afghan, Pak and American governments to cooperate instead of engaging in what amounts to proxy warfare that could spiral out of control. The other point is that the Malakand operation was a success story that gave the inhabitants of the area a chance to rebuild their lives without the Taliban menace. Unless security is strengthened there, the perception that the Taliban are returning will only grow and may well prove a reality.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.