Iran Rejects Saudi Alliance, Now Border Heating Up. Coincidence?

jaish-al-adl

Security situation on the border with Iran is heating up. Ten Iranian border guards have been killed by militants from Pakistan side and Iranian government has issued a statement declaring that “the Pakistani government bears the ultimate responsibility of the attack”. This accusation can be understood in two ways: Either we do not control these areas as much as we claim to, or we do control these areas and the state is pursuing some strategy of using militant proxies to annoy Iran.

The possibility that we do not really have control of these areas is probably true. Despite media events showcasing surrender of hundreds of Baloch insurgents at a time, attacks against FC soldiers continue and jihadi literature is being openly distributed by state-approved militant groups posing as ‘relief’ organisations in areas controlled by Army. The spread of such extremist ideology is impossible to control, and Army’s tight controls on reporting from these areas means no one can be sure what is the actual security situation.

However there is another possibility, which is that the border attacks have heated up as a response to Iran’s rejection of Saudi military alliance led by ex-COAS Gen Raheel Sharif. FO has been trying to bring Iran on board with the Saudi military alliance despite their belief that there is a ‘hidden agenda‘ in the scheme. Foreign Office officials have rejected Iran’s claims, saying that the alliance is for good of all Muslims and is not against any country but terrorism. Could these attacks be orchestrated to pressurize Iran into joining the alliance? Or are certain quarters taking a page out of an old play book to send a warning about what can happen if preferred policies are not accepted?

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said last week that ‘We have no border issues with Iran and our border with Iran is friendly’. Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan has given a different view, warning that ‘we reserve the right to give a firm response to such acts of terror’.

We are already facing rising tension with Afghanistan and India. We cannot afford to open another front against Iran also.

State Still Protecting ‘Good’ Taliban? Did They Ever Stop…

Sartaj Aziz recent statements warning about ‘blowback‘ if the state tries to tackle militancy in Pakistan gave an uncomfortable feeling of ‘deja vu’. Analysts have responded asking whether this is a return to the old policy of fighting ‘bad’ Taliban while protecting ‘good’ Taliban. Is there really any question about this?

Here is ‘Good Taliban’ after recent militant attack in Kashmir

And here is the state’s response to their attack

And here is Karachi, which is supposedly under heavy operation by Pakistan security forces

Militants from ‘banned’ Jaish-e-Mohammad openly fundraising for jihad right under Rangers noses and we are supposed to believe that there is no policy of protecting ‘Good’ Taliban?

The only thing wrong with the question about whether there is a return to the state’s policy of ‘Good’ Taliban ‘Bad’ Taliban is that for a ‘return’ one has to actually leave. The state has never given up on the jihadi proxies, and the blowback that has cost 60,000 innocent lives. But this is a small price to pay for our leaders ‘living the dream’.

DHA

Masood Azhar’s ‘Protective’ Custody

Masood Azhar in custodyQuestions were raised about the status of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar after he was picked up by security forces following Pathankot attack at the beginning of the year. Official reports claimed that authorities were cracking down on the militant group without favour as per its international obligations. However this was quickly cast into doubt when Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah clarified that Azhar was not arrested but being held in ‘protective custody’, a term usually used when the state is protecting someone who faces threats.

Questions about the authenticity of the state’s efforts against ‘good’ militants have returned following reports that Pakistan has refused a request by Indian authorities to join their Pakistani counterparts in questioning the militant leader.

India wanted to send investigators to interrogate Masood Azhar and his brother but Pakistan “politely refused” it, a senior official said.

Pakistan assured India that Islamabad was seriously investigating the case and will not hesitate to act if anyone was found guilty, the official said.

“India wants us to hand over Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed and as we have declined a number of times, they want us to at least give access to the investigators to interrogate them. We have told them it was not possible,” he added.

The refusal to allow Indian investigators to question Masood Azhar confirms for many the belief that his custody is more ‘protective’ that officials are admitting. This belief is also supported by the decision of the Pakistani official to mention Hafiz Saeed who is not even under investigation for Pathankot attack.

India has not asked for Masood Azhar to be handed over. Only they asked for their investigators to join Pakistani investigators in questioning the suspected mastermind. Pakistan’s refusal to cooperate with this request raises questions about whether the state is honestly interested in finding proof against certain elements, or whether they are actually interested in ‘protecting’ them.

The Durrani Network: What Jihadi Generals Can Get Away With

Traitor stamp

Gen Musharraf has never been known for being tight lipped. Recently, he has been speaking openly to international media and admitting that Pakistan has been supporting the Taliban and other jihadi militant groups who Army sees as a useful proxy against Indian influence in Afghanistan while also cooperating with NATO. Musharraf says that Army is not playing a double game, but then admits the obvious: It is. “Pakistan’s interest comes first,” he said. “But is this also the interest of ISAF? I don’t know.” He doesn’t know if it is in the interest of ISAF for a frontline ally to support their enemy?

Musharraf’s confirmation of Army support for Taliban is particularly important in the context of facts revealed by Wikileaks documents a few years ago. One leaked document discusses the involvement of another former General, Hamid Gul, in supporting Taliban. According to one document, “It was not known whether Hamid Gul was acting with the knowledge or consent of ISI, or whether any portions of ISI were aware of his activities.” While the knowledge or consent of secret agencies will always be difficult to prove beyond any doubt, it would be fairly naive to believe that Hamid Gul’s pro-Jihad activities were done without at least tacit approval of the Army leadership. Hamid Gul has described himself as “an ideologue of jihad“. It is increasingly apparent that he is not the only General who subscribes to this ideology.

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Defending Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity workers

Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity workers

When government officially banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002, Amir Hafiz Saeed started calling his group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The group kept the same leaders, members, even the same flag. To defend his actions, Hafiz Saeed’s strategy was simply to lie. In 1999, Hafiz Saeed openly talked about Lashkar-e-Taiba’s suicide attacks. Speaking to Amir Mir in 2001, Hafiz Saeed spoke as Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and said that his group’s goal was “motivating the youth to participate in jehad and using force to liberate occupied Muslim territories”. Then, when his name was added to a list of terrorists by the UN in 2008, Hafiz Saeed said “No Lashkar-e-Taiba man is in Jamaat-ud-Dawa and I have never been a chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba”. Was he lying in 1999 and 2001 or in 2008? Either way, he had to be lying at some point.

Since Lashkar-e-Taiba was forced to change its name, lying has been the cornerstone of the defense of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and it continues to this day. From one side of its mouth, the group claims that it is a welfare organisation, and from the other, it openly advocates jihad, and collects donations to support mujahideen, and organises events promoting global terrorists. The truth is that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is the jihadi version of the fake CIA vaccination campaign, using humanitarian work as a cover for its jihadi activities.

None of this is new information. Actually, it is all done under broad day light and widely reported here and in the international media. Recently, however, there appears to have been a wide spread campaign to hide the group’s true purpose, and it is not just Hafiz Saeed who is involved in the cover up.

Following new calls for shutting down the militant group, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain defended JuD, terming it a charity. News organisations have begun filing reports that parrot claims that JuD is a “welfare group” and highlighting the group’s welfare activities while hiding or downplaying its militant activities. This has left many asking, if the state is serious about zero tolerance policy for militant groups, why the sudden PR campaign to white wash JuD’s image?

DG ISPR recently termed an insult the question whether Pakistan was capable of taking on all militants, but as long as politicians and media continue to defend Jamaat-ud-Dawa by pretending it is a welfare organisation like Edhi Foundation despite the obvious reality, what is the world supposed to think?