Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Subject: Cosmetic changes won’t resolve militancy

Lahore, July 21: While welcoming the return of the Malakand IDPs to their homes as a positive development, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has warned the government that no cosmetic shift in the security policies will solve the crisis of militancy and that efforts in a new dimension will be needed to achieve that end. Based on the conclusions of a quick fact-finding mission to the Frontier province, led by Ms Asma Jahangir, the HRCP statement issued on Tuesday said: “The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is monitoring the gradual return of the IDPs from Malakand Division to their homes. This is a positive development and gives peace a chance. It also presents a brief window of opportunity for reversing the trend towards Talibanisation but this opportunity may be lost if a cohesive policy is not adopted and civilian infrastructure not put in place, an infrastructure that can sustain peace. It is important to recognise the collective role played by the humanitarian agencies as well as the civilian and military administration in making the early return of the IDPs possible. Even more crucial to this turn of events was the exemplary behaviour of the displaced people and their local hosts. The displaced people found their own way to safety under extremely tough conditions and are now making their way home on their own. They have little faith in the government and there is a serious deficit of trust between the local population and the military. In order to build trust as well as to sustain peace HRCP believes that the government must take a new direction. There was near unanimity amongst official and non-official interlocutors that met with HRCP during their missions to Pakhtoonkhwa (NWFP) that any cosmetic shift in the security policies of the government will not solve the crisis of militancy in Pakistan. HRCP believes: • It is crucial that the policy of “bleeding India” and maintaining a strategic depth in Afghanistan be reviewed. In short, the national security paradigm must shift to the need to keep pace with the political realities of the region. There are indications that this has so far not happened.The government must distance itself from the ideology of pan-Islamism. • The nucleus of the top militant leadership must be taken apart and their communication and financial infrastructure dismantled. There are no indications that this has happened either. On the contrary, there are well-founded suspicions that certain elements known for their pro-Taliban policies continue to protect a number of top militant leaders. • The operation in Malakand Division must not lose sight of the strong militant presence in FATA. Peace will not return to Swat unless militant networks in FATA are defeated. • Simultaneous action must also be carried out against all militant networks in other parts of the country, particularly the Punjab, where militants operate with impunity. • The civil and political administration must take command on the ground in Swat soon. There is a comprehensive plan of recruiting and equipping the police force in Pakhtoonkhwa. The number of police stations in the Malakand Division is to be doubled and the police force tripled. It appears that the civil administration is also preparing a comprehensive plan for better governance in the province. The resources provided to them will, however, be monitored by a serving army general on behalf of the Federation. The Awami National Party leaders plan to visit Swat on a regular basis now but almost all IDPs resented the bunkerisation of the political leadership while they faced all the risks and tragic deaths of their families. • Access for independent journalists and observers to the area must be ensured. So far, the military has only encouraged embedded journalism to an embarrassing extent. At times local journalists have openly raised slogans in support of the military. Foreign journalists have accused the authorities of misleading them by giving false names of the places they were taken to for reporting. There are several reports of reprisals against journalists by the militants as well as by the security forces. • Human rights violations should be closely monitored both during and post-conflict. HRCP was appalled at reports of extrajudicial killings carried out by security forces. Militant leader Maulvi Misbahuddin was apprehended by the security forces and later the bodies of Misbahuddin and his son were found in Bacha Bazar. The government claims that they were killed in an encounter while eyewitnesses hold that they were arrested by the police in Mardan. Amir Izzat, spokesperson of the Swat militants, was arrested from Amandara. Two days later the authorities claimed that Izzat was killed allegedly by militants trying to rescue him when they attacked the vehicle taking him to jail. Independent journalists claim that the targeted vehicle shown to them did not even have an engine. The most harrowing reports were of dead bodies strewn upside down by the military with notes attached to the bodies warning that anyone supporting the Taliban will meet the same fate. There must be a difference between the actions of agents of the State and those of fanatical non-state actors. Such tactics only terrorise and dehumanise society. HRCP urges the government to impart training to the security forces and familiarise them with human rights and humanitarian law. HRCP has also received credible reports of the security forces resorting to collective punishments, forcible occupation of orchards and the use of indiscriminate and excessive force. • All human rights violations during the conflict must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. There are reports of reprisals which can only be discouraged if the State fulfills its obligation of providing justice through due process. • HRCP has received reports of children abandoned during the conflict being handed over to dubious NGOs. It is vital that the provincial government keep track of the adoption of every single child and ensure that children are reunited with their families or are looked after by well-intentioned groups.”

Advertisements

Couldnt resist the temptation, i have been long writing that Pakistan’s Army’s operation in Swat is just a PR exercise to improve their standing Amongst the people of Pakistan. Dr Samina Ahmad of International Crisis Group had also repeatedly warned people about this. She warned people against beating Army’s drum and the need to limit Army’s role in humanitarian activities in Swat. After killing innocent people and displacing 2.5 million people, creating ethnic hatred in Sindh between Pashtuns and Sindhis and providing safe escape to Taliban and spreading them all over Pakistan, in guise of operation: The notorious Taliban leader Mullah Fazalullah today contacted BBC. Yet another monster Muslim Khan the spokesman of Taliban also talked to the BBC. Not only they are well but they are running their Sharia Justice. They have “pardoned” 5 politicians and threatened others. The legendary Taliban radio was also heard in Swat again according to reports The secular clowns who were beating Army’s drum and cursing anyone who tried to point out that Army is main supporter of Taliban. Even  if thats not the case [suppose], these “patriots” [read establishment stooges] should worry about the professional capabilities of Pak Army who could kill a single Taliban top leader and couldnt block a FM radio Now keep cursing India, Gandhi and ANP. Welcome to Reality l FACT:  During the  Swat operation  , one of the most glorified military operation of Pakistan Army, Not a single Top Taliban leader was either arrested or killed. the estimated number of Taliban in region was approx 6000. 2.5 to 3 million people were displaced whose life has been ruined. Long Live “Jinnah’s” Pakistan

Dr Ahmad is a brilliant Pakistani academic trained in Australian National University and Kennedy School of Governance. She heads the South Asia chapter of International Crisis Group. She is a keen observer of Pakistani establishment and had repeatedly warned the world about Army’s support to the Islamic extremists. She brought General Musharraf’s double game to world’s attention. She repeatedly warned about the continuous support to Taliban and Al-Qaida by Pakistani establishment. She has focused on the “education policy” and “religious madrassas” as key contributors to spread of extremism. In 2005 at the height of General Musharraf’s golden rule of “enlightened moderation” she wrote in Washington Post an article which was named “Pakistan still schooling the extremists” in collaboration with Andrew Stroehlein. In that article she wrote something which now appear prophetic. She wrote:

“Musharraf’s promises came to nothing. His military government never implemented any program to register the madrasas, follow their financing or control their curricula. Although there are a few “model madrasas” for Western media consumption, the extremist ones account for perhaps as many as 15 percent of the religious schools in Pakistan and are free to churn out their radicalized graduates.

Whether or not it turns out to have been part of the London bombing story, Lashkar-i-Taiba is an excellent example of how Musharraf’s government has failed to curb extremist religious militants. Formed by Arab-influenced veterans of the Afghan jihad in 1988, the group enjoyed the military’s patronage in its jihad against India in Kashmir. Though formally banned in 2002, Lashkar-i-Taiba simply renamed itself Jamaat ul-Dawa and continued its activities, including the promotion of jihad in Kashmir, where it has openly claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks.

The organization’s leader, Hafiz Sayeed, was temporarily detained, but only under Pakistan’s Maintenance of Public Order legislation, not its much more stringent Anti-Terrorism Act, and he was soon released. Prominent figures from this and other formally banned groups such as Sipah-i-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed appear to enjoy virtual immunity from the law”

This was 2005. What has changed? The same LeT and Hafiz Saeed later attacked Mumbai. There was yet another banning and yet another temporary imprisonment . Lahore High Court released the monster to a Hero’s welcome. Today in Lahore , these people the same groups which Dr Ahmad has named have killed Mufti Dr Sarfaraz Naimi, the grand Sunni Mufti who was opposed to Taliban.

Now Dr Ahmad has spoken to France 24 and have pointed out an important fact, how Army can use Swat operation to increase its popularity. She has also boldly told the truth that Army still is controlling the political institutions. She says:

Of course, a significant part of the problem is that the army’s current operation is simply coming too late.

Rather than resolutely confronting the Taliban earlier, both military and civilian governments chose a worst-of-all-worlds policy, alternating the use of haphazard force with short-sighted appeasement deals with militants. This only strengthened the Taliban, making today’s fight many times more difficult than it would have been a few years ago.

The army’s use of heavy force, its failure to address the full cost to civilians and its refusal to allow effective humanitarian access to conflict zones have already been counter-productive.

Another danger is that the military will exploit any success on the battlefield and in its own relief efforts to try to dominate reconstruction to win public support and bolster its standing in the country.

Despite Pakistan’s transition to civilian rule in February 2008, the military continues to dominate key institutions, and it will take some time to tame its ambitions fully.

If Pakistan is going to emerge from this crisis a more stable country and a stronger democracy, all assistance efforts – relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction – have to be civilian-led. They must be responsive to the needs of local people and empower their communities. Beating radical Islamist groups and “the army” in the aid game is a key to winning this war”

The whole text of saving Pakistan can be reached here

Listen to Samina Ahmad , stop beating Army’s drum or else it will be too late

picasso23

Shaheryar Ali

Violent riots have erupted in Baloch areas of Balochistan as well as in Karachi after mutilated bodies of 3 Baloch nationalist leaders who were kidnapped by Pakistani agencies from the office of their lawyer were discovered near the Baloch city of Turbat.

One policeman has been killed in Khuzdar , 3 have been injured in Quetta, the violent riots took place in Quetta, Mand, Khuzdar, Gawadar, Karachi, Kushmor, Mastong and other cities. Dozens of cars have been set alight. , banks and offices including those of UNHCR have been ransacked.

Shuda e rah e wafa

Shuda e rah e wafa

What has happened? Almost 6 days old mutilated bodies of 3 well respected Baloch patriots were discovered today. Mr Gulam Muhammed Baloch was president of Baloch National Movement, Mr Sher Muhammed Bugti was a leader of Baloch Republican Party and Mr Lala Munir was also a famous political activist. All 3 of them were kidnapped in broad day light from the office of their lawyer Mr Ali Kachkol . Speaking to BBC Mr Kachkol said “All 3 of them were sitting in my office because I was their lawyer and had just secured their bail when agency people stormed my office. They came in cars which they parked outside of my office. They had ropes in their hands; they tied those leaders like animals and took them away. I told them that you can’t arrest them like that because they are on bail. But they asked me to keep my mouth shut. BBC: Did you saw them? Yea I saw them, they were in my office, and they were so relaxed one of them polished his shoe there. They also arrested one fellow lawyer of mine but later released him when he told them that he was a lawyer Responded the lawyer. BBC: Did you inform the authorities? Yes I went to the police station and gave a written application to authorities to launch FIR against the Chiefs of ISI, IB and MI , but the police refused to note my FIR. I wrote to higher courts but none took any action. Mr Ali responded. BBC: Balochistan high court took notice of the killing today. Yes they took notice when they have been murdered. If they would have taken notice earlier their lives could have been spared.” Ali Kachkol advocate.

Listening to these lines on BBC Urdu “shub nama” my mind went numb. The farcical drama which pro-ISI political parties and a section of opportunist de-generated left conducted for more than year of “restoration of Justice” stood in front of me as a monstrous deviation which was carried out to eclipse the real issues. These extra judicial murders in Balochistan and criminal attitude of higher judiciary in protecting the rights of these people who couldn’t get their FIR registered is a sharp slap on the faces of Ali Ahmad Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. Baloch political parties should arrange a sit in front of Ali Ahmad Kurd’s home and demand that he take this case to Mr Iftikhar Chaudhary who is doing Umra in Saudi Arabia and get FIR registered against Major General Shujja Pasha and Major General Asif of ISI and MI respectively.

Listening to the BBC reporting was a very painful experience for me, It seemed like Quetta has some how being converted into Dacca of 71. The murdered leader Mr Baloch was a famous poet of Balochi language, he also served as chairman of BSO the most popular and revolutionary Baloch student organization. Other two were also grass root political workers who have worked in masses. Mr Baloch was part of the “peace committee” which was formed to get the release of John Solecki . Mr Baloch gave evidence to the United Nations on Baloch genocide being conducted by state of Pakistan. It’s just like Bengal of 71. “ Hum le ke rahen ge Aazadi—- He Haq Hamara AAzadi” “We will take our freedom , its our basic human right” I could listen to slogans of Baloch activist in front of Karachi Press Club in back ground of BBC’s report.

The main lead on BBC Urdu website is “violent riots erupt through out Balochistan” and the news has photograph of 3 leaders in form of a poster of Baloch resistance with the caption “Heroes of Freedom”.

It was just like 71, Pakistani media and intellectuals have maintained same arrogant denial and apathy which they demonstrated in 71. What was left of hope died out when I listened to the press conference by Mir Hasil Bezinjo . Newly elected into senate of Pakistan Mir Hasil Bezinjo is son of Mir Gus Bezinjo , the most moderate and most pro federation Marxist of NAP. Soft spoken and one of the most refined pro-democracy activist Mr Bezinjo said

“Pakistan Army and its agencies are responsible for this crime. I want to say this loud and clear and Major General Shujja Pasha and Major General Asif , the chiefs of ISI and MI are responsible for these murders. We want the FIR to be registered against them. Time has come for the Baloch nation to unite under one flag, with Pakistani agencies doing this to the Balochs what option we have left if not to take up Arms?”

My torment was still not over , ex chief minister of Balochistan and leader of BNP Mr Akhtar Maingal , one of the most “pro- Punjabi” Baloch leader [He entered into a political alliance with Nawaz Sharif against wishes of many Baloch leaders] was next to be heard on BBC

“Pakistani state and its agencies have brought us to closer to the “point of no return”. This country could no longer remain united. Those who broke the country in 71 are now doing it again——–”

There is now no doubt left in my mind that Balochistan has been reduced to status of a colony, we have the same choice in front of us which we had in 71, to keep our mouths shuts in name of “patriotism” and “national interest” and let this genocide continue as we did in Bengal, or we tell our Baloch brothers that we stand with them in their war of liberation. Its not that long when Punjab sent its sons to Balochistan during the revolution. Punjabi and Sindhi youth fought alongside the Baloch revolutionaries against invading Pakistani Army. Those were the days of Pakistani Left. Najam Sethi and Rashid Rehman were two of those Punjabi revolutionaries who fought in Balochistan during the 70s. Thousands of Balochs remain in state custody, dead or alive no one knows. Baloch women are being abused as sex slaves. Should we all remain silent on that?? Alas Punjabi mothers have stop giving birth to revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. Its time to raise the flag of resistance and to launch a people’s resistance against the oligarchy. Punjab holds the key. I hope Punjabi mothers once again hear the demands from their sons to colour their shirts with the colours of spring —- “Mera rang de basanti chola mai rang de——”

The revolutionary song   associated with Shaheed Bhagat Singh , i dedicate  it to all Baloch revolutionaries.

Long Live Baloch People

Long Live People of Pakistan

Long live People of India

Shaheryar Ali

Today I searched my old closet looking for some thing, a book which I had read long time ago. Since the last few days I have been longing to read that book again. Its Oscar Wilde’s “The picture of Dorian Gray”.

Picture of Dorian Gray

Picture of Dorian Gray

Considered a classic in English literature, the book is an experiment with the concept of “duplicity”. Just as the “Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. Strikingly handsome Dorian Gray is painted by a painter who becomes obsessed with Gray’s beauty. The portrait is a masterpiece in itself and looking at it Gray wishes he be able to remain young for ever, the wish is granted. Dorian Gray falls into a life of corruption and evil, one day he looks at the picture; instead of the serene beauty he sees a monster. While Grey was granted youth and beauty, his picture became the mirror of his soul which was sinking into pits of evil. With his every act of evil, the picture became disfigured. When Grey looks at the picture he realizes how hideous he really is and what has he become. We in Pakistan are suffering from the same “Dorian Gray Syndrome

we want to keep living in the “Utopia of Mumliqat e Khudadad”, our great rivers, our spring, our winters. Land of four seasons, the modern progressivedorian_gray_1970 Muslim democracy Jinnah created. Such is our obsession and insecurity that most advanced of our thinkers spent all their energies in charting out an “intentionalist” perspective on Partition of India. What was intention of Muhammed Ali Jinnah. He was a liberal and secular leader who was fighting for socio-cultural-economic rights of a community. A community defined by a confessional faith. Pakistan was a “bargain card” of a sort. Nehru’s and Gandhi’s refusal to address Muslim insecurities resulted in partition of India etc etc. All correct. Have any one of us ever tried to discuss the “consequentionalist” perspective on Partition of Indian. What were the natural consequences of creating a “secular” state for members of a community defined by religion? The linguistically absurd terminology we created “Muslim state” or “Islamic state”, did it make any sense to mostly ignorant and primitive “natives” on whom a highly developed colonial apparatus was being imposed with an immigrant leadership? Are muslim and Islam by any stretch of imagination mutually exclusive terms? Is it possible to be muslim without Islam or can Islam be alien to muslims? How could a “secular” muslim state exist without being evolving into a Islamic state? This is the absurd debate we are engaged in for last 50 years, muslim state or Islamic state. All abstract absurdities. Millions died in communal violence when all 3 characters of partition were secular. These were the delusions of modernity, western educated elitists leaders failed to understand what would be the consequences of their lofty ideas of secular nationalism and secular nationalism of a community defined by religion [if such a pathetic thing makes any sense] in ignorant masses. . We killed millions of Pakhtuns to defend Islam against evil of communism. Pakistan ka Matlab kiya . La Illaha Illallah. When Taliban of our country say that “this meaning” is lost and they rise to impose La Ilaha illallah on us we start lamenting ah whiskey drinking secular Jinnah. Our Constitution states Quran and Sunnah will be supreme laws of Pakistan but when Quran and Sunnah are imposed in Swat we start crying . We are so busy in our logically absurd non sense that reality has become irrelevant to us. We killed 3 million Bengalis trying to impose our “muslim nationalism”. Our state sponsored thugs are killing people but we see India’s hand. The paranoia of Hindu majority engulfing us, the remedy of which we thought was creating a Muslim state has now become paranoia of state of India. We see all evil in India. Gandhi was fascist, Nehru was hypocrite, despite both these evil characters India is a functioning secular democracy. We people of land of pure with most pure, liberal and modern leader are a failed state. No but we must keep the mantra of Jinnah’s speech and Jalal’s work on Jinnah and in this narcissism of ours we keep sinking in the pits of evil. Millions of East Pakistanis were slaughtered by our Army and Jamate Islami, we have never seek justice for them. Now Baluchiis are being butchered, silently as state has learned more. We are drunk on “sharab e tahoora”, lecturing other countries how to behave. Islamic fascism our joint venture with United States of America to provide us with “strategic depth” against the “evil Hindu” India has eroded our very roots, but we want to keep denying our evil deeds. Few days’ back Nadra Naipaul’s brother was shot dead. He was a General. The reason it appears to hush up the “deals” GHQ had with Taliban. None of our great prophets of “constitutionalism” and “Rule of Law” have even spoken a single line to demand at least an 

The brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate, was murdered last month after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.

Major-General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s Special Forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.

Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed. Soon afterwards he told me that he had received no reply.

“It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.

Four days later, he was driving through Islamabad when his car was halted by another vehicle. At least two gunmen opened fire from either side, shooting him eight times. His driver was also killed.

This weekend, as demands grew for a full investigation into Alavi’s murder on November 18, Lady Naipaul described her brother as “a soldier to his toes”. She said: “He was an honourable man and the world was a better place when he was in it.”

It was in Talkingfish, his favourite Islamabad restaurant, that the general handed me his letter two months ago. “Read this,” he said.

General Alavi and Doug Brown

General Alavi and Doug Brown

Alavi had been his usual flamboyant self until that moment, smoking half a dozen cigarettes as he rattled off jokes and gossip and fielded calls on two mobile phones.

Three years earlier this feted general, who was highly regarded by the SAS, had been mysteriously sacked as head of its Pakistani equivalent, the Special Services Group, for “conduct unbecoming”. The letter, addressed to General Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, was a final attempt to have his honour restored.

Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Alavi, who had dual British and Pakistani nationality, named the generals he accused. He told Kayani that the men had cooked up a “mischievous and deceitful plot” to have him sacked because they knew he would expose them.

“The entire purpose of this plot by these general officers was to hide their own involvement in a matter they knew I was privy to,” he wrote. He wanted an inquiry, at which “I will furnish all relevant proof/ information, which is readily available with me”.

I folded up the letter and handed it back to him. “Don’t send it,” I said. He replied that he had known I would talk him out of it so he had sent it already. “But”, he added, “I want you to keep this and publish it if anything happens to me.”

I told him he was a fool to have sent the letter: it would force his enemies into a corner. He said he had to act and could not leave it any longer: “I want justice. And I want my honour restored. And you know what? I [don’t] give a damn what they do to me now. They did their worst three years ago.”

We agreed soon afterwards that it would be prudent for him to avoid mountain roads and driving late at night. He knew the letter might prove to be his death warrant.

Four days after I last saw him, I was in South Waziristan, a region bordering Afghanistan, to see a unit from the Punjab Regiment. It was early evening when I returned to divisional headquarters and switched on the television. It took me a moment to absorb the horror of the breaking news running across the screen: “Retired Major General Faisal Alavi and driver shot dead on way to work.”

The reports blamed militants, although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack.

The scene at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi a few days after that was grim. Soldiers had come from all over the country to bury the general with military honours. Their grief was palpable. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Kayani and most of the country’s military leadership.

Friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up.

I first met Alavi in April 2005 at the Pakistan special forces’ mountain home at Cherat, in the North West Frontier Province, while working on a book about the Pakistani army.

He told me he had been born British in Kenya, and that his older brother had fought against the Mau Mau. His affection for Britain was touching and his patriotism striking.

In August 2005 he was visiting Hereford, the home of the SAS, keen to revive the SSG’s relationship with British special forces and deeply unhappy about the way some elements of Pakistan’s army were behaving.

mehsudHe told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama Bin Laden.

Mehsud, the main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto late last year, is also believed to have been behind a plot to bomb transport networks in several European countries including Britain, which came to light earlier this year when 14 alleged conspirators were arrested in Barcelona.

Yet, according to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mehsud “whereby – in return for a large sum of money – Mehsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”.

The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter to Kayani were in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistani army, he said. At Hereford, Alavi was brutally frank about the situation, said the commanding officer of the SAS at that time.

“Alavi was a straight-talking soldier and some pretty robust conversations took place in the mess,” he said. “He wanted kit, skills and training from the UK. But he was asked, pretty bluntly, why the Pakistani army should be given all this help if nothing came of it in terms of getting the Al-Qaeda leadership.”

Alavi’s response was typically candid, the SAS commander said: “He knew that Pakistan was not pulling its weight in the war on terror.”

It seemed to Alavi that, with the SAS on his side, he might win the battle, but he was about to lose everything. His enemies were weaving a Byzantine plot, using an affair with a divorced Pakistani woman to discredit him.

Challenged on the issue, Alavi made a remark considered disrespectful to General Pervez Musharraf, then the president. His enemies playeda recording of it to Musharraf and Alavi was instantly sacked.

His efforts to clear his name began with a request that he be awarded the Crescent of Excellence, a medal he would have been given had he not been dismissed. Only after this was denied did he write the letter that appears to many to have sealed his fate.

It was an action that the SAS chief understands: “Every soldier, in the moment before death, craves to be recognised. It seems reasonable to me that he staked everything on his honour. The idea that it is better to be dead than dishonoured does run deep in soldiers.”

Alavi’s loyalty to Musharraf never faltered. Until his dying day he wanted his old boss to understand that. He also trusted Kayani implicitly, believing him to be a straight and honourable officer.

If investigations eventually prove that Alavi was murdered at the behest of those he feared within the military, it may prove a fatal blow to the integrity of the army he loved.

Britain and the United States need to know where Pakistan stands. Will its army and intelligence agencies ever be dependable partners in the war against men such as Mehsud?

James Arbuthnot, chairman of the defence select committee, and Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, were among those who expressed support this weekend for British help to be offered in the murder investigation.

Inside the Pakistan Army by Carey Schofield will be published next year by Soap Box Books.

Thanks: Times on Line

We are publishing here the analysis of Lahore attacks as “state crisis” of Pakistan. Our readers know that we have been persistent on our position that Islamic terrorism is a symptom of “organic decay” of the post-colonial and Neo-fascist state of Pakistan. We have always maintained a sharp distance from the elitist perspective in vogue in certain secular/ex-left quarters of Pakistan on war on terror which is nothing but a blind drum beating for United States imperialism. We have also been critical of “pro jamat and pro Sharif Left” who is blindly following the Petty-bourgeois and bourgeois agenda in Pakistan. This analysis by International Marxist Tendency is a must read by all progressive Pakistanis. Its one of the most important pieces of work which has emerged on the present situation in Pakistan.

Pakistani section of IMT also held its annual congress in Lahore which is the largest congress of communists in Pakistan. The advance theoretical work which has emerged from this congress is very encouraging. We render our solidarity to the revolutionaries of Pakistan.

Shaheryar Ali

Lahore Terrorist mayhem shows crisis of Pakistani state

IMT correspondent in Lahore

Monday, 30 March 2009

At half past eight this morning (March 30) terrorists used machine guns and grenades to launch a savage attack on a police training academy in Manawan, on the outskirts of Lahore. The police and special forces remain locked in pitched battle with the attackers who are hidden inside various buildings at the site, as emergency services are scrambling to evacuate the wounded to nearby hospitals.

Frictions are occuring between the two allies as the war in Afganistan intensifies. Photo by travlr on Flickr.
Frictions are occuring between the two allies as the war in Afganistan intensifies. Photo by travlr on Flickr.

According to private television channels at least 20 policemen are dead and 150 injured. Two militants have also been killed according to Rangers personnel. “The number of killed is at least 20,” police sub inspector Amjad Ahmad told AFP outside the police training ground in Manawan. However, given the murderous crossfire as police attempted to flush out the terrorists inside the building, the death count may turn out to be much higher.

The incident took place as trainees were participating in a morning parade. Eyewitness accounts estimate some 10 militants carried out the attack, and at least 11 explosions have been heard so far. According to reports, some of the attackers entered the academy wearing police uniforms.

The location of the attack is significant, since Manawan is close to the road that leads to the Indian border. Clearly, the implication is meant to be drawn that the hand of India is behind this latest outrage. In the same way, some sections here tried to pin the blame for the recent killings of Sri Lankan cricketers (also in Lahore) on India, allegedly as retaliation for the Mumbai atrocity.

However, there is a far more likely explanation, and it points an accusing finger at a source far nearer to home. Yesterday the Pakistan authorities conveyed their “concerns” through diplomatic channels over certain aspects of the new policy for the region announced by President Barack Obama on Friday.

“We will speak to them (the United States) on issues of concern in subsequent diplomatic negotiations,” the President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar told the Dawn on Saturday. A similar impression was given by senior officials of the foreign office, who said the concerns would not go unnoticed and would be taken up at an “appropriate level”.

What did Obama announce that so worries Islamabad? The US President announced several incentives, including an increase in aid to Pakistan, the passage of legislation on the reconstruction opportunity zones and a commitment to democracy in the country, but at the same time he was quite ominous in his tone when he categorically said that there would be no “blank cheques” for Pakistan.

What does this mean? It means that, although Washington sees Pakistan as a vital piece in its strategy to fight the “war on terror” in Afghanistan, it is becoming increasingly frustrated at the ambiguous role of the Pakistan authorities and in particular the role of the Pakistan secret services (the ISI), a shadowy state within a state, which is well known to have close links with al Qaeda and the Taliban and is secretly protecting and encouraging terrorist organizations for its own sinister purposes.

The response of the Pakistan foreign office was guarded because this is an explosive issue and one that lies at the heart of the crisis in the Pakistan state. Sources in the foreign office stated: “There are pretty big problems in the policy about which our leadership is not speaking.” They have good reason to keep silent!

American frustration was shown by recent declarations by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who urged Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service to cut contacts with extremists in Afghanistan, which he called an “existential threat” to Pakistan itself. Gates was merely saying what everybody has always known: that Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence has had links with jihadi terrorist groups “for a long time, as a hedge against what might happen in Afghanistan if we were to walk away or whatever,” as he told Fox News Sunday.

“What we need to do is try and help the Pakistanis understand these groups are now an existential threat to them and we will be there as a steadfast ally for Pakistan,” Gates said. “They can count on us and they don’t need that hedge,” he said, citing the ISI’s links specifically to the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani militant network and to the forces of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

The Pentagon chief’s comments came after President Barack Obama on Friday put Pakistan at the centre of the fight against al Qaeda with a new strategy to commit thousands more troops and billions of dollars to the Afghan war.

“He clearly understands this is a very tough fight and that we’re in it until we’re successful, that al Qaeda is no longer a threat to the United States and that we are in no danger of either Afghanistan or the western part of Pakistan being a base for Al Qaeda,” Gates added.

America is losing in Afghanistan

It is now an open secret that the war in Afghanistan is going badly. Western casualties are constantly rising. Obama is trying to extricate the US forces from Iraq in order to reinforce the US military presence in Afghanistan. Asked about a New York Times report that US military commanders had pressed Obama for even more troops, the defense secretary said: “The president has approved every single soldier that I have requested of him. […] And the reality is there already are a lot of troops there. This will bring us, when all is said and done, to 68,000 troops plus another 35,000 or so Europeans and other partners.”

Obama is now exerting intense pressure to extract more troops from its unwilling European allies. Washington is also demanding more civilian experts and police trainers. But no matter how many troops are sent to Afghanistan, the likelihood of victory remains a mirage. With every bomb dropped on an Afghan village the hatred of the foreign invader grows more intense. The government of Kabul is seen as a puppet government of collaborators and corrupt gangsters. On the other hand, the Taliban have an endless supply of recruits from Pakistan, plenty of money from opium smuggling and secure havens in the tribal areas across the border with Pakistan.

This explains the public attacks on the ISI from Washington, which have provoked angry denials from the Pakistan State Security. The fact is that the ISI was actively encouraged by Washington to support al Qaeda and the Taliban in the past, when these reactionary bandits were used to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan. This encouraged sections in the tops of the Pakistan army (and especially the ISI) in the belief that they would have a free hand in Afghanistan, which, in effect, would be under Pakistan’s control. They developed the notorious theory of “defence in depth”, which meant that Afghanistan would serve Pakistan as a kind of fallback position in the event of another war with India (a subject these elements are constantly obsessed with).

Ever since the US imperialists have changed the line and declared war on their former allies, al Qaeda and the Taliban, the ISI and other reactionary elements in the Pakistan General Staff have not concealed their displeasure. They have never abandoned the theory of “defence in depth”, nor their ambitions in Afghanistan. They have never broken their links with al Qaeda and the Taliban, which are not motivated by religious fanaticism, but rather the fanaticism to get rich by dirty means.

As Pakistan’s economy collapses and the masses are faced with poverty and hunger, prominent citizens of Pakistan are growing fabulously rich on the proceeds of the black economy, especially the lucrative drug trade. The so-called Islamic fundamentalists are really gangsters and lumpens, linked to the drug mafia and transport mafia that trades in human misery. This is big business on a vast scale, which involves massive corruption that leads all the way up to the top – including the tops of the army. This is the cancer that is gnawing at the entrails of the Pakistan state and destroying it slowly from within. That is why Gates talks about an “existential problem”.

A few months ago, a Pakistani general, Ameer Faisal Alvi, a serving officer in the Pakistan army’s campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Tribal Areas of Waziristan, and head of the elite Special Services Group (Commandos), sent a letter to the Chief of Staff, general Pervaiz Ashraf Kayani, denouncing the fact that generals of the Pakistan army were actively collaborating with al Qaeda and the Taliban. As a result, he was dismissed from the army. After this, he sent another letter to the Chief of Staff, in which he named the generals concerned. It was an act of personal bravery for which he paid a high price. On November 26, 2008 he was murdered in broad daylight on the streets of Islamabad.

Splits in the state

This explains why the rulers of Pakistan are afraid to talk about certain matters. The rottenness of Pakistan capitalism has extended to the highest levels of the state, army and government, to the extent that it threatens complete breakdown. Last week a US think tank predicted that if something were not done soon, the state could break down in six months! All these events are a striking confirmation of the Marxist analysis of the state that was put forward in the recent congress of The Struggle.

The murder of Benazir Bhutto was an indication of the sinister forces at work in Pakistani society. The western media falsely portray this as the rise of “Islamic fundamentalism”, when in reality these terrorist organizations are small minority groups composed of lumpens and bandits manipulated by the powerful drug mafia and the state. Although it was a lumpen fanatic who pulled the trigger, the real murderers of Benazir Bhutto were the ISI. There is no doubt that the same people were behind the Mumbai atrocity and the killing of the Sri Lanka cricketers. And there is no doubt that the same invisible hand is behind today’s bloody events, which are meant as an answer to the threat from Washington.

The idea that the fundamentalists enjoy massive support in Pakistan society is a blatant lie and a slander against the people of Pakistan. These reactionary gangs were originally created by US imperialism under the brutal Zia dictatorship and were nurtured, financed, armed and trained by the Pakistan state. Without the backing of the ISI they are nothing. That is why the US imperialists are now demanding that the Pakistan government take action against the ISI.

This is very easy to say from the safety of an air-conditioned office in Washington, but not so easy to put into practice on the streets of Islamabad. The ISI is entrenched after decades of a pampered and privileged existence. It is linked by a thousand links with corrupt government officials and politicians at the highest level, to organized crime on a grand scale, to the drug and transport mafia, to the religious fanatics in the madrassas that turn out brainwashed fanatics prepared to act as the murderous instruments of reaction, and to the murky underworld of jihadi terrorism.

Another section of the state has different interests. They are in the pockets of US imperialism, whose interests they serve like a dog licking the hand of its master. They bow and scrape before their bosses in Washington, who treat Pakistan as if it were America’s backyard. The conflict at the heart of these two antagonistic wings of the ruling class is explained by antagonistic material interests.

As far as the working class of Pakistan is concerned, there is nothing to choose between these two rival groups of gangsters. The Pakistan Marxists will fight US imperialism and oppose its criminal actions in Afghanistan, Waziristan and Pukhtunkhwa. But we will do so with our own methods and under our own banner, which is not the black flag of fundamentalist reaction but the red flag of socialist revolution.

Only by taking power into their own hands can the working class overthrow the rotten, diseased state of the exploiters and build a new state – a democratic workers’ state in which the lives and destinies of the people will be determined by the masses themselves. That is the only way forward to lead Pakistan out of the present nightmare and into the realm of socialism and freedom.

Lahore, March 30, 2009