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Who are behind Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder?

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By: Sajjad Shaukat

In wake of continued terrorist acts in Pakistan, on March 2 this year the cold-blooded murder of the country’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti has intensified the debate that as to who are behind his assassination. Although Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan, a militant group has taken the responsibility of Shabaz’s murder, yet Pakistan’s intelligence and security agencies are investigating in connection with some foreign hands or the possible involvement of Xe International, (formerly Blackwater) and indian intelligence agency RAW, specifically looking into the activities of a white foreigner who is acting as a “security consultant” in Islamabad. In this regard, some high officials of Pakistan have revealed that a third hand or party might be involved in the assassination of the federal minister for minorities.

Some intelligence officials told a Pakistani newspaper that they found suspect-the activities of the foreigner who was living under the umbrella of a NGO and running an office in sector G-11 of Islamabad. They indicated, “nobody knows what he is doing in Islamabad and on what mission”, he is. The paper explained that the foreigner also met with some security officers a couple of days back posing as “security consultant” and interviewed them regarding the current security situation of Pakistan, asking them whether Pakistan could face Libya-like situation in the near future. In this respect, a Pakistan’s renowned newspaper insisted, “the fact that the foreign hand that has been creating unrest in the country for a long time now could be behind the incident cannot be ruled out…links between foreign intelligence agencies like Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and American CIA and militants have been suspected…RAW is even known for having provided financial and military support to spread violence in Pakistan.” In another report, the paper, while quoting “well-informed sources” disclosed that in 2010, the Obama administration deployed over 400 pro-India and pro-Israel CIA agents in Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, the country’s biggest cities.

Washington hired these contractors from private security companies like Blackwater, and leading Indian and Israeli businessmen including their secret agencies which have been clandestinely and heavily funding such companies to carry out secret operations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa as per their interests against the Islamic countries. Some reliable sources suggest that the Blackwater has hired 286 houses in different residential sectors of Islamabad for their suspicious activities. Regarding the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, the police confirmed that the terrorists used 7.62 mm-AK-47 Klashnikov, an automatic gun and sprayed 35 bullets with two guns, adding that police recovered all the 35 empties from the scene.

It is notable that the terrorists threw on the road the pamphlets with Kalma-e-Tayyaba printed on them and also the name of the holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) after killing Shahbaz Bhatti. Th fact remains that no Muslim can ever think of dropping on ground such sacred material. Nevertheless, that condemnable act might also have been committed precisely to divert the investigations away from the real terrorists which belong to RAW, CIA and Mossad.

It is mentionable that through their secret agencies, the concerned foreign countries want to fulfil their multiple-nefarious aims against Pakistan by the murder of the federal minister for minorities affairs. In this regard, firstly, they intend to divert the attention away from the issue of Raymond Davis including his companions who are agents of the American CIA and were on an anti-Pakistan mission. Especially, Davis is part of the illegal activities of the Blackwater whose employees entered Pakistan in the guise of diplomats. Secondly, these covert agents of the related intelligence agencies want to distort the image of Pakistan in the comity of nations as they have already tarnished the country’s image through various subversive activities-are now working against Pakistan by taking advantage of the country’s deteriorated law and order situation which they have themselves created through their secret forces. Notably, in this context, the rulers and leaders of the western countries have strongly condemned the murder of the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, expressing outrage and termed it as “unspeakable”, “unacceptable” and a “dastardly crime”, and also called it an attack on the values of tolerance. In this regard, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the assassination of Bhatti was “absolutely brutal and unacceptable”. He also stated that the minister’s murder showed what a huge problem we have in our world with intolerance. He further added, “I will send not only our condolences but our clearest possible message to the government and people of Pakistan that this is simply unacceptable.” US President Barack Obama pointed out that he was saddened by the “horrific” assassination. He said, “I am deeply saddened by the assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti,” and “condemn in the strongest possible terms this horrific act of violence.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a US Senate committee, “I was shocked and outraged by the assassination of Bhatti…I think this was an attack not only on one man but on the values of tolerance and respect for people of all faiths.” German Federal Foreign Minister, Dr Guido Westerwelle, expressed his shock and dismay over the assassination of Bhatti, and said, “he was the only Christian who was passionately committed to the rights of minorities in Pakistan.” Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian leaders have also expressed similar views. However, this is what the anti-Pakistan secret agencies wanted to achieve through the murder. Thirdly, the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti was actually aimed at further creating rifts between different religious communities, accelerating sectarian violence in Pakistan. Fourthly, it is noteworthy that Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World; hence the US, India, Israel and some western powers are determined to weaken it. Despite American cooperation with Islamabad, its main aim along with India and Israel remains to de-nuclearise our country whose geo-strategic location with the Gwadar port entailing close ties with China irks the eyes of these countries, therefore, they are in collusion to destabilise Pakistan. For this purpose, a well-established network of Indian army, RAW, Mossad and CIA which was set up in Afghanistan against Pakistan in order to support insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and separatism in Balochistan have been extended. Fifthly, the major aim of these external secret agencies is to show that Pakistan is a prejudiced country where religious extremism is running high, and where people cannot tolerate other religious communities, particularly Christians. Sixthly, by creating such an aggravated situation, these secret forces are determined to isolate Pakistan with the efforts of Indo-Jewish and American lobbies which are already working on the anti-Pakistan agenda.

Nonetheless, while taking cognizance of the real aims of the external intelligence agencies in relation to the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the patriot people of Pakistan must wake up in order to apprehend the secret forces which have been trying to weaken the country. For this purpose, foreigners such as covert operatives who are running clandestine networks in the country must be captured by our intelligence agencies with the cooperation of public as quickly as possible. In this respect, a comprehensive strategy must be prepared to secure the lives of all people as well the survival of the country.

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Shocking revelations

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An audiotape doing the rounds in the cyber world has taken the country by storm. One of the country’s top anchors and a prominent journalist, Hamid Mir, while talking to an alleged Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) member, made shocking comments about various things. A transcript of the conversation was published in this newspaper yesterday. The conversation took place a few days before Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official, was killed last month by a militant group going by the name of the ‘Asian Tigers’. Some are speculating if Mir’s indiscretions played a role in Khawaja’s murder.

There should be a thorough investigation into the matter by the security agencies. It should first be ascertained whether it was actually Hamid Mir or an impersonator on the audiotape. If it is indeed a genuine transcript, Mir’s credentials should come under the scanner. Considering the fact that Mir is a very influential TV anchor, it comes as a surprise that he seems to be involved in murky areas where most journalists fear to tread. Being an investigative journalist does make one come in contact with militant groups so as to get exclusive scoops, but it does not give a journalist the right to incite violence and hatred. If these charges are proved against Mr Mir, he could attract the mischief of the Army Act and Pakistan Penal Code for aiding and abetting terrorists who have declared war on the state of Pakistan and against whom our forces are fighting and dying. These are serious charges and should be dealt with accordingly.

When asked by the unidentified man who Khawaja was working for, Mir opined that he was working for the CIA and not the ISI. He then went on to strengthen his allegation by citing incidents from the past and how close Khawaja was to former CIA chief William Casey and a character called Mansoor Ejaz. Mir alleges that Ejaz could have been an Israeli agent since he tried to persuade Benazir Bhutto to recognise Israel when she was in power. Mir is already on record as having written that Khawaja led a “highly complex underworld life, as a mediator, sometimes on behalf of the Americans, a power-broker, a mover and shaker”. In the audiotape, Mir discloses that Khawaja wanted him to arrange a meeting with Kashmiri mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, but he did not because of Khawaja’s links with the Indian government. Mir also implicates Khawaja in the Laal Masjid case and hints that the reason Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi opted for death was to wipe out the humiliation of his brother fleeing the mosque wearing a burqa. Mir talks about his friendship with PML-N member Javed Ibrahim Paracha, who is alleged to have spread sectarian terrorism in Kohat and has links to al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits.

Apart from Mir’s conspiracy theories about Khawaja being an agent of the CIA, India and Israel, the most horrifying aspect was to hear Mir spewing venom against the Ahmedis in the audiotape. He alleged that Khawaja was a “Qadiyani agent” and said, “I personally believe that Qadiyanis are worse than the kuffar (infidels)”. The Ahmedis are already a persecuted community in Pakistan and such views by a prominent journalist would put them in further danger. There is already a lot of intolerance because of the extremist mindset that prevails in our society. When such a prominent television commentator and anchor makes such comments, his journalistic ethics must be questioned. These days many anchors and journalists are challenging the credibility of the government, but one must now interrogate their own credibility. It is hoped that the media group Hamid Mir works for would, in its wisdom, distance itself from Mir. Not only has Mir acted in a criminal manner, he has violated all professional ethics as well. Mir must be taken to task so that the people of Pakistan are not misled by his ilk in the future. *

Dying without a voice

It is a sad day indeed when the plight of the common man becomes so tragic and desperate. The Chief Minister’s (CM) complaint cell, established to hear and act upon the grievances of the public, has found itself in rather unforgivable hot water. Mehmood Akhtar, a 50-year-old resident of Faisalabad, set himself on fire and succumbed to his injuries outside the cell’s Model Town office, due to an agonising lack of intervention on part of the CM to address his woes. In this age of unprecedented inflation and mass frustration because of it, Mehmood went back and forth for some financial assistance and allotment of a small house in Faisalabad, first to 7-Club Road and then to the complaint cell. He was jostled to and fro with an application letter that was forwarded to the Faisalabad District Coordinating Officer (DCO) Faisalabad, which was then rejected by unconcerned officials.

On arriving at the complaint cell on Friday, he was harassed and physically abused by security personal who would not let him register his plaint. With no other option, he set himself on fire. For the poor and unconnected, death seems increasingly the only solution.

What is the point of setting up a complaint cell Mr CM – amidst much hurrahing and self-congratulatory pats on the back – when you refuse to entertain those who need you the most? It is well known that only those who possess the means and highly regarded references are allowed to step into the confines of the complaint cell. The office bearers, who are so discriminate in their dealings, must be held accountable for a death that is being registered by the police as a suicide no less. That is equivalent to taking the man out of the morgue and hanging him! It is the officials who did not entertain this man’s dejection who should be hauled up and asked why patronage and privilege are the only voices that are heard.

To now hear PML-N party chief Nawaz Sharif take note and announce ‘compensation’ for the family is sad and laughable. Would it not have been easier to hear Mr Akhtar’s problem and have it sorted out instead of becoming responsible for a man’s suicidal despair?

Mehmood Akhtar is, unfortunately, just a bitter reminder of the general malaise that has afflicted a society ‘served’ by indifferent and callous representatives. *

Written by rohitkumarsviews

May 17, 2010 at 11:39 am

Pakistan push in N.Waziristan needs time: general

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By William Maclean

AMMAN:Pakistani forces, under U.S. pressure to enter the militant bastion of North Waziristan, will do so but in their own time and when adequate resources are available, a Pakistani general said on Monday.

Lieutenant General Sardar Mahmood Ali Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that such a big task in the mountainous northwest was not “firefighting” and had to be done in sequence with other battles.

Pakistan has come under fresh U.S. pressure to send troops into north Waziristan after a failed bombing in New York claimed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, which has fighters in northwestern areas including North Waziristan.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Jordan of special operations force commanders, Khan said the army was still busy consolidating its operations following an earlier push into South Waziristan and needed to adhere to a schedule for what he called a long campaign.

Asked if troops would eventually go into North Waziristan, home to a complex web of militant groups, to attack fighters there, he replied: “Of course, all these areas which are affected are on our agenda, yes.”

“LONG DRAWN WAR”

“It is a long-drawn battle, a long-drawn war, and we are continuing and there is a definite plan, there is a definite strategy which is being followed. It is just not firefighting, because there’s a whole lot of areas affected by this (militancy).”

“Given the limitation of resources and troops involvement and not to leave one portion undone and going to another (too soon), it is sequential. In every area we have already got forces which are busy consolidating.”

Some Western officials have questioned the determination of Pakistan to tackle militants while the long-time U.S. ally addresses other problems, from a sluggish economy to power cuts that have made the government unpopular.

Pakistan has proven capable of capturing militants, including some of al Qaeda’s most notorious heavyweights. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was arrested in Pakistan in 2003.

But Khan said North Waziristan’s geography made it an exceptionally difficult region in which to wage war and suggested any move into the region could not be done lightly.

He referred to a presentation on mountain warfare given at the conference by a special forces colleague, Major General Farrukh Bashir, commander of the Pakistani military’s Special Services Group.

Bashir enumerated many obstacles to mountain fighting, including difficulties in helicopter use, in achieving surprise, the need for large numbers of troops acclimatised for high altitude, and very restricted manoeuvrability.

Bashir told the audience: “Pakistan has the capacity and resolve to defeat militancy. We only expect the international community to understand the nature of the conflict. Some conflicts are very difficult to bring to an end quickly.”

Asked if he would accept more U.S. special forces to Pakistan, Khan declined to reply directly, noting there had been a limited number of these forces doing training in Pakistan for some time and they continued to play that role.

Another participant in the conference, organised by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, was Major General Charles Cleveland, Commander of Special Operations for U.S. Central Command, which includes Afghanistan.

He told Reuters he had “no idea” whether more special forces would be going to Pakistan and added that it was not his decision to make.