Kashmir Jihad and Shia Genocide

Shia funeral

“The bus was stopped and the women were shot because of their ethnicity,” said provincial government’s spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar.

The entire nation has come united behind the Kashmiri cause. It is the one cause that can even bring together opposing political parties. And it is easy to understand why. How can one watch the brutal treatment of Kashmiri people by Indian forces and not feel some sympathy and anger? It is the same pain we feel when we see how our brothers and sisters in Palestine suffer. This is not an post criticising support for the Kashmiri people. But it is asking why we can’t find the same sympathy for others closer to us?

Yesterday, four Shia women were murdered by sectarian militants in Quetta. They were singled out and killed because of their sect. This incident has received some reporting, but nothing like the attention paid to Kashmir. Before you say, “but this is just four women and Kashmiris are being killed and injured by hundreds” let me remind you that yesterday’s attack was only the latest anti-Shia attack in a long line of such killings. A few months ago, Jinnah Institute released a report noting that Pakistan has become a nightmare for Shia who are being slaughtered by the thousands.

There has been an upsurge in attacks against Shia Muslims in Peshawar, Rawalpindi and southern Punjab…The Shia Muslims have been …. besieged for a very long time as violence has grown in some parts of Pakistan, particularly in Quetta, Karachi and north of the country…

Gen Raheel has strongly condemned the killing of Kashmiri youth, but he is silent on the killing of Shia women. Behind the Army chief’s silence, though, there is some talking.

Banned Sipah-e-Sahaba/#ASWJ Mansehra chief Rabnawaz Tahir with Brigadier Wajahat

Sipah-e-Sahaba/ Mansehra chief Rabnawaz Tahir with Brigadier Wajahat

Have we used all of our sympathy for innocents being killed in other places? Don’t our own fellow citizens deserve the same level of sympathy and anger while they are being slaughtered? Where are the angry condemnations? The speeches at the UN? Where is the Difa-e-Pakistan Council rally to defend our country’s Shia? Or is one’s value only a factor of their political usefulness in our eternal war against India?

Army’s Anti-Baloch Operations Helping TTP?

Dr Manan Baloch

TTP suicide bomber blew himself up outside a polio vaccination centre in Quetta today. At least 15 people are killed, with many more injured. This is the third suicide attack in Quetta so far this year, but represents only a one part of the violence that is taking place. While FC personnel are facing constant threat from Taliban militants, they are also fighting Baloch separatists who are considered as anti-state and a threat to the CPEC. Last week, security forces killed separatist leader Dr Manan Baloch. Some will term this as a successful operation, but it could also be seen as a set back for security in the region. There is no question that Dr Manan is involved in separatist activities. However there is the question whether killing him was intelligent strategy.

The killing of Dr Manan reminds of the larger conflict in Balochistan.

A 20 September 2015 press statement from the Interior Ministry of Balochistan states that law enforcement agencies have killed approximately 204 “militants” in operations, and 29 have been injured. However, the State has remained tight-lipped about the identity of these militants which law enforcement agency has undertaken the killings and arrests.

In the press conference, the Minister also stated that 8,363 Balochis were arrested over the span of 9 months, and 1,800 targeted operations were conducted in the Province between December 2014 and September 2015.

Next, in a 31 January 2016 press statement, the Interior Ministry of Balochistan notes that security forces conducted 239 intelligence-based operations in Balochistan over the past two months, in which 22 militants were killed and 14 others injured.

Actually, Dr Manan joined the separatists after witnessing so many killings by security forces.

Dr. Manan, 48, was a physician by profession and a senior leader of the proscribed Baloch Liberation Front (BLF). He joined BLF after he began having to confront many dead bodies of those who had earlier been disappeared; these bodies had torture marks on them. He was a committed nationalists and he joined the movement for the independence of Balochistan.

Similarly, eight years ago, on 3 April 2009, the ex-President of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, along with two other Baloch political activits, were abducted from their lawyer’s office at Turbat, at gunpoint by security officials. Six days later their mutilated and smashed bodies were found at Murghaab, 35 km from Turbat. The killing of this Baloch leader drew international condemnation.

Dr. Manan was widely respected for his tireless work for those internally displaced as a result of military and paramilitary operations in Balochistan. According to media reports, more than 178,000 persons from the Dera Bugti area – which has substantial deposits of natural gas, known as Sui gas – who were displaced as result of military action in 2005, are still not allowed to return home by the Frontier Corp. And, this is in direct violation of a Supreme Court order.

Anti-Baloch operations are the number one recruiting tool of separatist militants. Extra-judicial killings, especially of respected people like Dr Manan, gives the Baloch a feeling that they are not Pakistani, rather they are like the Bustard being hunted to extinction.

While more and more anger and resentment builds against Pakistan security forces, security forces must build capacity to carry out more operations. This means there is less capacity that can be paid to TTP terrorists who use the chaos to carry out more attacks against innocent Pakistanis.

The strategy from certain quarters is that defeating Baloch insurgency will free up the resources needed to defeat TTP, but this is backwards thinking. Rather we should be seeking a political solution in Balochistan that addresses the complaints of Baloch citizens. TTP terrorists cannot be negotiated with because they are only interested in replacing Pakistan with their own rule. Baloch separatists are not interested in taking over Pakistan, they are interested in the welfare of their own people. Till date they have been made to believe that their welfare will not be met as Pakistani citizens and the response of killing and detaining so many Baloch has only confirmed this incorrect belief. To defeat TTP, our forces must concentrate all resources on this fight. To do that, we must end our self-defeating strategy in Balochistan first.

Sovereignty Lost, Sovereignty Regained

Taliban

One of the most controversial topics in recent years has been the question of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Usually, this question is raised during discussions of drone strikes and the unilateral American strike that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Without saying that these are not important issues, there is another more pressing threat to our sovereignty that has gone ignored until it has reached a crisis point.

A new report tells how Afghan Taliban have actually taken control of Quetta.

According to the locals, the Quetta Shura has within the span of a decade gotten to the point where it “runs the show.” From managing neighborhood security and harassing those who oppose them, to investing in hospitals where militants returning from Afghanistan are treated and in real estate as far as Karachi, the Quetta Shura has not only become the face of insurgency in Afghanistan, but indeed, it has become the face of destabilization in Pakistan.

Several of the locals that I talked to suggested that Quetta Shura is openly collecting funds through its hoax Islamic charity fronts in major cities of Pakistan, and recruiting local Baloch to torch the NATO supply tankers. “They tell us that each truck that we will blow up will get us several ‘hoors’ in paradise. We don’t get fooled, but many do.”

As another local suggested, “[A] few years back, Quetta Shura was passive and was only urging people to wage war against the U.S., but now they are forcing people to wage war, not only on the US, but also on Pakistan.”

It is not just Balochistan where the Taliban appears to be seizing control of our territory. In an op-ed for Express Tribune, Ejaz Haider argues that the military should not go into North Wazirisitan. Even though “It’s our territory and we should be in control of it”, he says, “physical dominance of territory in irregular war is always of limited value.” He then explains that our security forces simply are not able to control our Western border or the areas of North Waziristan.

The Haqqani fighters will go into Afghanistan where they control large swathes of territory and where the bulk of their fighters are already based. Other groups will disperse inland: the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Punjabi Taliban and foreign fighters. The foreigners have nowhere to go and they will continue to operate against Pakistan until captured or killed.

At least in the short term this dispersal will result in heightened urban terrorism, though I am told by sources that the intelligence agencies have been more effective in busting urban terrorist cells and nabbing and killing their fighters. That may be so but all indicators tell us that our counterterrorism capacity — civilian law enforcement — falls short of what it will take to effectively neutralise urban attacks. The reprisals will take their toll.

In other words, according to Ejaz Haider, it would be useless to try to control North Waziristan because we can’t stop militants from crossing our border and our counterterrorism capacity is not up to the task of effectively neutralising urban terrorists. If Ejaz Haider is correct, the Taliban has achieved what India never could. They have effectively redrawn our border and taken over part of our territory. Perhaps this is why Sheikh Rashid appealed to Mullah Omar and not the Army to protect Imran Khan?

Some have found a clever way of avoiding this logical conclusion by demanding that it is America’s responsibility to secure the border with Afghanistan, but this is obvious nonsense. First, how can we claim to want no American military interference in our sovereignty and at the same time say that they are responsible for our border? Also, what happens when the Americans leave? Who will we demand to secure our border then? Either we can secure our own borders or we can’t secure our own borders.

Fortunately, I think Ejaz Haider and others are wrong and our security forces are up to the task of securing our border and controlling our territory. To succeed, however, the military leadership needs to take a strong stand against militants and their support networks, but armed and propaganda. The speech of COAS on the occasion of Independence Day was a good start, but it is not enough to stop there. Otherwise, what sovereignty will be left to defend?

Quaid-e-Azam Address to Officers of the Staff College, Quetta

 14th June, 1948

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah addressing Officers of Staff College, Quetta 1948I thank you, gentlemen, for the honour you have done me and Miss Fatima Jinnah by inviting us to meet you all. You, along with other Forces of Pakistan; are the custodians of the life, property and honour of the people of Pakistan. The Defence Forces are the most vital of all Pakistan Service and correspondingly a very heavy responsibility and burden lies on your shoulders.

I have no doubt in my mind, from what I have seen and from what I have gathered, that the spirit of the Army is splendid, the morale is very high, and what is very encouraging is that every officer and soldier, no matter what the race or community to which he belongs, is working as a true Pakistani.

If you all continue in that spirit and work as comrades, as true Pakistanis selflessly, Pakistan has nothing to fear.

One thing more, I am persuaded to say this because during my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what are more important are the true spirit and the heart.

But it is an important form, and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you.

“I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the Constitution and Dominion of Pakistan (mark the words Constitution and the Government of the Dominion of Pakistan) and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully serve in the Dominion of Pakistan Forces and go within the terms of my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I will observe and obey all commands of any officer set over me…..”

As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the Constitution, which is in force in Pakistan, at present and understand its true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the Constitution of the Dominion.

I want you to remember and if you have time enough you should study the Government of India Act, as adapted for use in Pakistan, which is our present Constitution, that the executive authority flows from the Head of the Government of Pakistan, who is the governor-general and, therefore, any command or orders that may come to you cannot come without the sanction of the Executive Head. This is the legal position.

Finally, gentlemen, let me thank you for the honour that you have done me by inviting me. I will be glad to meet the officers informally, as suggested by the General Officers Commanding in his speech, and such a meeting can be, arranged at a time convenient to us both. I have every desire to keep in close contact with the officers and men of the Defence Forces and I hope that when I have little more time from the various problems that are facing us in Pakistan, which is for the moment in a state of national emergency, and when things settle down–and I hope it will be very soon–then I shall find more time to establish greater and greater contact with the Defence Forces.

Pakistan Zindabad

They Warned Us, Didn’t They?

Eleven innocent Pakistanis murdered over the weekend in Balochistan by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants.

At least 11 people were killed on Saturday as gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in the provincial capital; reports indicate that all the victims were Shia. The attack follows Friday’s incident in which at least seven people were killed when gunmen attacked the office of a private transport company in Quetta. Police officials say the victims were waiting to board a coach to Iran. Proscribed militant outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Why should we be surprised? They warned us that it was coming.

Speaking to Geo News, Malik Ishaq said that he was satisfied with the decision of the courts and he had nothing to do with terrorism. Ishaq added that he would continue to fight for the country and the Sahaba.

And so the jihadis keep laughing…

Malik Ishaq laughing

While Pakistanis keep dying…

Mourning innocent victims of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

When will our patience run out?