Here’s Why Ansar Abbasi’s Pathankot Conspiracy Makes No Sense

Mohammad TanzilMohammad Tanzil, inspector of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) involved in investigation of the Pathankot terrorist attack, was gunned down in UP while returning home from a wedding. According to Ansar Abbasi, this adds to doubts about veracity of Pathankot attack because Tanzil was Muslim.

Pakistani security agency sources believed that India appears to have started to eliminate those “doubtful” Indians who actually came to know during the course of investigations of the drama of the ‘False Flag Operation’ at Pathankot.

Questions are being raised as to why the wife of the NIA officer has also been hit. Was it the result of possible fears that the officer might have divulged anything to his wife? Can the state be so callous that it starts killing its own citizen and a serving officer whose only crime was that he was a Muslim who had come to know the dark secrets of Indian statecraft?

There is so much wrong with this report. Are questions really being raised as to why the officers wife was hit? Isn’t the obvious answer that when gunmen carry out their hit they are not using laser guided bullets, and when they are spraying their target they will kill anything and everything in their path? Mohammad Tanzil was hit 21 times. That does not sound like a precise assassination, it sounds like a hail of gunfire. This may be the stupidest question of Ansar Abbasi’s, but it is not the only one.

Ansar Abbasi’s entire conspiracy theory is based on the idea that the investigator was killed because he was Muslim. This says more about Ansar Abbasi than anything else, however if it is true that he is reporting what he is told by our own security agencies, then it also explains a lot about our own national insecurity.

The assumption being made is that because Mohammad Tanzil was a Muslim, he would have discovered that the attack was a ‘false flag’ operation and therefore had to be eliminated before he spilled the beans. There are some obvious problems with this. If Mohammad Tanzil could discover that the attack was fake, so can others. Will India kill all of its investigators to keep them quiet? If the other investigators are willing to go along with the conspiracy because they are Indian, why wouldn’t Mohammad Tanzil? Are we supposed to think that because he was Muslim he was sympathetic to Pakistan? If so, why didn’t he remain Indian till his death? Could it be that he was a proud Muslim and a proud Indian, just like there are proud Hindus who are also proud Pakistanis?

As with most conspiracy theories, there is a much more obvious answer to who killed Mohammad Tanzil and why. Isn’t it also possible that he was killed by the jihadis who orchestrated the attack as revenge against a Muslim who was siding with India over Pakistan?

Jihadi groups inclulding Jaish-e-Mohammad who is suspected in Pathankot attack spoke openly about their plans to increase attacks against Indian targets. Do we believe they are lying? Or are certain quarters trying to ‘muddy the waters’ by spreading conspiracy theories in order to protect strategic assets? These are questions we are not likely to get answered by the likes of Ansar Abbasi.

PAF Badaber: Questions of Accountability

Another morning darkened by outpouring of grief and mourning for martyred innocents. Another brazen terrorist attack, this time targeting PAF Badaber. Sixteen of the dead were offering their prayers in a mosque at the moment terrorists killed them. Seven others were performing ablution. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji’oon.

The attack leaves us with more questions than answers. How could this happen? ISPR says the attack was planned in Afghanistan, but such an attack had to have some local support. At least some attackers or sympathiser had to do surveillance prior to carrying out the attack. Did they come and go freely from Afghanistan? How could our security agencies have no idea that this was being planned? The courageous response of our soldiers has been widely appreciated and it has been correctly noted that their acts saved countless other lives. But why were any lives lost? Were our agencies once again caught sleeping?

These question will probably remain unanswered, just like the question why US is still doing drone strikes in South Waziristan? This is not a question of American imperialism, though. Our own military has proven capability of using drones against militants. So why were these militants killed by an American drone? Did our own agencies not know they were there? These are questions that we will never even hear asked, much less answered openly and honestly. All we can do is hope that behind closed doors someone, somewhere is being held accountable for these deadly intelligence failures.

Speaking of accountability, Ansar Abbasi has condemned the lack of accountability

However the truth is it is exactly those like Ansar Abbasi himself who are responsible for pushing Pakistan to this situation. Ansar Abbasi and those like him who project extremist ideology and Taliban sympathies are the ones who create confusion in the people’s minds by parroting Taliban propaganda.

Everyone here knew that the re-opening of Nato Supply Line would resurrect the horror of terrorist and suicide attacks in Pakistan. Still, the supply line was re-opened merely because it was crucial for American’s interest in Afghanistan and the region. While serving the American interest, we chose to forget how each and every peace deal of Pakistani authorities with local Taliban was sabotaged by the Americans; how extremism and talibanisation is fuelled through US drone attacks; who protects and feeds the anti-Pakistan Taliban in Kunar, Afghanistan; who and for what purpose has established a net-work of Raymond Davis like agents within Pakistan; who is behind Balochistan’s unrest; why is Pakistan pressed to target “good Taliban”. While we are made to believe that all Taliban and al-Qaeda are the enemies of Pakistan, but the bin Laden documents, released by the US military recently, suggest otherwise.

  Read that again. If you did not know who wrote it, would you guess our media or TTP spokesman? What about this Tweet?

When Osama bin Laden was killed, Ansar Abbasi appeared on TV praising the terrorist leader and announcing that Taliban and al Qaeda have never been enemies of Pakistan. Do we expect people to listen to these statements day in and day out and not absorb at least some of it?

If we cannot hold those in military agencies accountable for failing to detect these outrageous schemes before they are allowed to take innocent lives, surely we have the power to hold accountable those who fertilise the soil with hatred and conspiracy theories so that Taliban sympathies can grow and spread. Ansar Abbasi is not the only one, but he is a good example. We desperately need accountability. First, though, we need to look in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable for having brought the country to this point.

Hagiographies: Who are they trying to convince?

Gen Raheel

Taliban released a new biography of Mullah Omar recently amid growing frustration among jihadi militants and the rise of Daesh in the region. The work has been described as a having tone of ‘hagiography’, the word used for writing about the life of a saint. This is widely seen as an attempt to rally support behind the missing Mullah who hasn’t been seen since many years yet still claims to be in command of Taliban forces. Mullah Omar isn’t the only subject of new ‘hagiography’. Increasingly, such works are appearing in Pakistan media detailing another subject: Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif.

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Foreign Funding and Conspiracies Against Pakistan

foreign fundsAllegations of foreign funding predate independence. What is interesting, however, is how certain allegations rise and fall. A new report by Ansar Abbasi claims to expose another foreign conspiracy against Pakistan, pumping foreign funding into effort to save Shafqat Hussain from execution.

A senior government source said that not only the proof of foreign funding has been secured it has also been confirmed that the purpose of the campaign was to get the death penalty banned in the country by scandalizing and demeaning the country’s criminal justice system.

According to Ansar Abbasi, this claim has been confirmed by intelligence agencies, giving it the seriousness of a national security issue.

There are two strange things about this ‘conspiracy’, though. Actually, most of the world has done away with the death penalty. 53 per cent countries have abolished it completely, and only 18 per cent continue to execute convicts. Interestingly, these countries include US and India, so the usual suspects are off the hook. Even more strange, though, is the claim that whoever is behind this ‘foreign funding’ is trying to get death penalty banned by ‘scandalizing and demeaning the country’s criminal justice system’. Weren’t we recently told by the powers that be that military courts were essential because the criminal justice system wasn’t up to the task of carrying out its duties?

Sadly, while supposed foreign funding behind efforts to stop one killing may be given the seriousness of a national security issue, foreign funding to stop mass killings has gone widely ignored. Saudi Arabia is believed to be funding extremist networks in Pakistan since long, even recruiting children for terrorist groups. Saudi funding is also believed to be behind militant groups like ASWJ that projects hate and sectarian killings.

Why is this foreign funding ignored and tolerated while hue and cry is being raised against death penalty activists? Instead of cracking extremist militant networks responsible for killing thousands of innocent Pakistanis, intelligence agencies are apparently working against human rights NGOs. We have to ask ourselves…what is the point?

Finally, it should be noted that there is even a new case of foreign funding that is only now coming to light, and one that could have very serious consequences for national politics. PTI has been ordered by Elections Commission Pakistan (ECP) to explain certain details of foreign funds that it has received. According to reports, PTI is under suspicion of taking illegal foreign funding and money laundering. Unanswered questions have surrounded Imran Khan’s finances since many years, and this is the first time that any effort has been made to untangle the secret web that has been able to support his massive operations.

Accusations of ‘foreign funding’ are easily made, but difficult to prove. What is more interesting is where these accusations come from and how they are treated. Asnar Abbasi’s report follows the pattern of gutter conspiracy theories: Vague, anonymous accusations that equate criticism of state policy with being anti-Pakistan. Reports of Saudi funding of extremist networks follow a different pattern: They are specific and documented, with only intelligence agencies unable to find any evidence. It will be interesting to see how PTI’s case is treated. Could it be that Imran’s time is up? Or is he merely being reminded that it is not his place to question the military? Only time will tell…

Gaza Can’t Be Saved With Religion

Religion and War

Israel escalated it’s attack against Gaza yesterday by launching a ground invasion, adding tanks and soldiers to the already indiscriminate air strikes. Hamas has refused any offer of cease fire and warns of ‘heavy price‘ for the latest invasion. Meanwhile, the world is struggling to find a solution that will stop the unnecessary killing. Well, most of the world. In Pakistan, our leaders and supposed ‘security experts’ are trotting out well worn emotional responses without a hint of reason.

I have already discussed the insanity of PTI’s suggestion that Pakistan nuke Israel, though I did not even bother to mention then what such an irrational policy would result for Pakistan itself.

Ansar Abbasi has made a similar suggestion recently, except not just for Pakistan but for all Muslim countries to launch a joint military operation against Israel.

Maleeha Lodhi, may be more sophisticated, but she appears to have the same suggestion also, although presenting it in a more subtle, plausibly deniable way.

Maleeha Lodhi obviously doesn’t mention war by name, but since Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan have all been working to try to negotiate an end to the violence, it is not unreasonable to assume that diplomacy is not a satisfactory means for our ex-diplomat.

Details aside, the idea is always the same – that the Ummah is under attack from Jews and all means necessary to secure the Ummah against the Jews is justified. Ironically, this is essentially the same idea that is guiding Israel’s policy of state terrorism against Gaza – a religious obligation to kill.

Gaza can’t be saved with religion. That does not mean we should not pray to Allah to intervene and stop this madness, but it means that giving the same prayers that the Israelis are giving – ‘Oh God Kill Our Enemies’ – is part of the problem not part of the solution. In the meantime, we need to start looking for solutions that do not involve religious violence. Both for Gaza, and for ourselves.