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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.

Five German militants among eight killed in NWA drone attack

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By Mushtaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Unmanned aircraft of the United States carried out another attack in North Waziristan on Monday, killing eight people who reportedly included five German nationals.

Six other people sustained injuries and security officials said three among them were Turkmen and the other three were tribal militants. Tribal sources said the drone fired three missiles and struck a home built above a market in the bazaar in Mir Ali, the second biggest town of North Waziristan, after Miramshah.

Security officials in the area said that five among the slain men were German nationals, who reportedly belonged to the Jihad-e-Islami organisation. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a security official said that some German nationals associated with foreign militants were living in the house. He said a local tribesman Sher Maula Khan owned the house and had rented it to the German nationals in Mir Ali. Sher Maula Khan was picked up by Pakistani security agencies in June this year in Bannu district along with his young daughter for allegedly helping a 27-year-old German national, Rami Mackenzie to cross over to the settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from North Waziristan. He is still in the custody of security agencies.

Pakistan clash kills six soldiers, 30 Taliban

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PESHAWAR, Six Pakistani soldiers were killed Tuesday when Taliban militants stormed a checkpoint in the northwest, prompting a retaliatory strike by the army that left 30 insurgents dead, officials said.


Armed Pakistani Taliban gather at a hideout in the semi-autonomous tribal district of Orakzai in 2009. …

The clash took place in the village of Karonchi in Orakzai district, part of a semi-autonomous tribal belt where the military has been waging an anti-Taliban offensive since late March.

Eight soldiers were wounded in addition to the six dead, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps said.

He said the militants were armed with heavy weapons and that troops responded with heavy artillery, as a result of which “at least 30 insurgents were killed.”

Local administration official Sajjad Ahmed confirmed the casualties and said dozens of armed militants were involved in the attack.

Independent confirmation of the casualty figures was not possible however because the area is a closed military zone inaccessible to aid workers and journalists.

Pakistani forces opened a new front in Orakzai on March 24 in an attempt to flush out Taliban who escaped a major assault last year on South Waziristan, a headquarters for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership.

The TTP is a major force behind a bombing campaign that has killed 3,300 people across Pakistan in three years. The group attracted global attention when it was blamed by the United States for a failed car bomb plot in New York on May 1.

Washington says Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside direct government control, is an Al-Qaeda headquarters and a stronghold of militants plotting attacks on US-led troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan last week declared an end to major combat operations in the region.

A military spokesman in Peshawar said lower Orakzai was now under government control, while intelligence sources said troops were engaged in the more volatile central and upper Orakzai areas.

Rs. 20mln Army relief package for Tirah valley victims announced

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Army has announced a relief package of around Rs.20million for the victims of Khyber Agency where 61 civilian deaths were reported following shelling over a Kokikhel’s tribe Jirga at Serawala area in remote Tirah valley few days ago. On behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, a high level delegation of Pak Army led by Brigadier Basit Raza and Brigadier Arshad visited ICRC Field Hospital in University Town and handed over compensation cheques to each injured of the said incident.

The Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has already tendered apology to Kokikhel tribe over the civilian deaths.

An official of ISPR told APP that Rs. two lakh would be given to heirs of each deceased and Rs. 100000 to each injured of the said tragic incident. The Chief of Army Staff had already directed the concerned authorities to provide better medical facilities to injured.

Political Agent Khyber Agency, Shafeerullah Khan told reporters that Rs.10.5million compensation package for the victims of the said incident has already been announced. He said that 61 people have been killed and 21 others injured in the said accident. He said that Rs.1,50,000 has been given to each deceased and Rs.50000 to each injured. The Political Agent said that government has been approached for approval of a mega compensation package for the victims families.

Likewise, he said that 400 bags atta, pulses and other relief items have been distributed among the victims families.

The injured of the incident, Noor Muhammad son of Yar Muhammad resident of Surawala who was admitted at ICRC hospital thanked the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani for providing assistance to them.

He said that Kokikhel tribesmen and tribal will continue to work for the strengthening of the country. Another victim Mosa Khan also thanked the government especially COAS for the compensating the victims families and assured full support to work shoulder to shoulder with government for peace of Fata.

Iranian agents rescue diplomat kidnapped in Pakistan

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ALI AKBAR DAREINI

TEHRAN: Iran’s intelligence agents mounted a “complicated” cross-border mission and freed an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in 2008 by gunmen in northwestern Pakistan, state television reported Tuesday.

The agents rescued Heshmatollah Attarzadeh of Iran’s Peshawar consulate “in a complicated intelligence operation” and took him back to Iran the report said.

Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said that Iran had asked Pakistan to free the diplomat, but after it failed to do the job, Tehran had handled the problem itself.

“We have a high intelligence capability in the region,” he said. “We have a good intelligence dominance over all other secret agencies active in the region,” he added, accusing US and Israeli intelligence agencies of supporting the kidnappers.

A senior Pakistani security official, however, maintained that Pakistani intelligence did help in the rescue operation.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, did not provide any further details.

Attarzadeh and his Pakistani bodyguard were driving over a narrow bridge in Peshawar on Nov. 13, 2008 when two gunmen blocked their way with a car and opened fire. The attackers fled with the diplomat after killing the guard.

Peshawar is the capital of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and borders the largely autonomous tribal regions, parts of which have become strongholds for Taleban and Al-Qaeda militants who have staged repeated attacks against the city.

In the 1980s, Peshawar was an intrigue-filled hub for US-backed guerrillas fighting Soviet troops in neighboring Afghanistan, some of whom went on to form the Taleban or Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden, now perhaps hiding in the adjacent tribal regions, was among them.

Despite that legacy, the city of some 2 million people was once considered relatively safe for foreigners. But organized crime and militancy are on the rise – and increasingly hard to distinguish – and it was possible that the Iranian was kidnapped for ransom.

A year after Attarzadeh was kidnapped, a Pakistani employee of the same Iranian consulate was gunned down near his home.

Iran is mostly Shiite and is regularly denounced by the fiercely Sunni Al-Qaeda and Taleban that operates along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Hard-line Sunnis consider Shiites to be heretics and often call for attacks against them.

The operation marks the latest success by Iran’s intelligence services broadcast to be announced on television. Last month, Iran captured Abdulmalik Rigi, leader of an armed Sunni opposition group whose insurgency in southeast Iran had destabilized the border region with Pakistan.

Rigi was captured on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan last month after he had left Pakistan. The Pakistani government claimed that Rigi’s capture would have not been possible without Islamabad’s cooperation but Iran insisted that its intelligence agents alone captured the terrorist leader.

One day we all will be terrorists!

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By Dr Haider Mehdi

“Dissent is no longer the duty of the engaged citizen but is becoming an act of terrorism.”

– Chris Hedges (in an article of the same title)

My generation grew up in a different Pakistan. A different Lahore, a different Karachi, a different Peshawar, a different Quetta, a different Islamabad and an entirely different country.

In Lahore, people sat in Pak Tea House and Coffee House and talked about politics, poetry, religion, culture and friendships gave birth, on a daily basis, to youthful romanticism of our times: the mutual seduction of kindred spirits within the confines of our cultural values and the gentleness of Urdu poetry, songs, geets (lyrics) and the Lahori humour. We celebrated basant (the kite-flying festival), maila-charagha (the festival of lights) and Urs Data Gung-Baksh (the festival of a saint). We observed Muharram with great reverence.

Karachi used to be alive 24 hours a day all year round. It was a city of “lights”, “fashion”, hustle-bustle of a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. Ethnic diversity and tolerance was the hallmark of this city.

Peshawar was a beacon of hospitality, a tribute to human gentleness and an affirmation of a rich community life.

Quetta’s apple-laden trees decorated its roads everywhere and the Balochis colourful existence found its spirit in its music, songs and even in its cuisine. Moreover, Pakistan’s rural society existed in purity, simplicity and the zealousness of hard working people.

Pakistan was a different country then: we lived in relative peace, tolerance and mutual harmony. A delicious puri nashta cost one rupee, petrol was Rs 2.50 a gallon, schooling was cheap, sugar and food were plenty, and a round-trip by PIA from Lahore to Karachi was Rs 250.

The majority of Pakistanis were poor even then, but there was no mass starvation, deprivation suicides, forced prostitution, massive collective depressive communities, agonising socio-psychological conditions, economic collapse, and no one knew of crippling demoralising inner fears. We did not know of institutional violence and extensive state terror – though police brutality and legal system atrocities were common, bureaucracy was horribly cruel, corrupt, inefficient and unbelievably powerful vis-à-vis the citizenry, commerce thrived on black marketing and the political class wholly and completely indulged in vested interests, inappropriate use of political power and mismanagement of state affairs.

Even though we lived with a million vices as a nation, but strangely enough, life was not as painful as it is in today’s democratic Pakistan. Neither was the entire nation, every one of its citizens, gripped with such forceful, depleting and paralysing fear – a fear that the management of the survival of this country has gone out of control. A fear that we all may be blown away from existence the next moment, if not literally then at least in a metaphorical sense!

Do you realise the seriousness of our contemporary political crisis?

The present state of our deplorable existence is the work of our decade long political leadership inclusive of Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship and the incumbent political dispensation in the country.

The fundamental failure of our national policy is this country’s ruling elite’s destructive all time political-economic-military alliance with the US and its allies (now India included).

Even at the time that I have described as the “golden days” of Pakistan’s past, our ruling elite was fully and comprehensively politically engaged with the US and its allies. However the US was in a different political mode then: it was fighting its own self-invented “demons” – the communist ideology and the communist nations (though communism was not a threat – it was a political experiment to solve mass poverty). The objective of American foreign policy was global political-economic and military domination.

In the present day world, the policy objectives of the US and its allies remain same: worldwide imperialist hegemony and exploitation by the west’s multi-national corporations.

However, in the contemporary equation, the west’s enemies have been redefined: Now we are the “demons”. They have declared a war against Muslim nations, their people, their faith, their culture, their traditions, their values and customs, their history and even against their existence as we know it today. Huntington in The Clash of Civilisations warns that if we do not transform our civilisation to a western model, then we must be prepared for an ultimate obliteration through successive wars at the hands of the west: we are given no choices.

Seven hundred Pakistani citizens died in American drone attacks in 2009 alone. It is not accidental!

What the US and its western allies do not understand is that their present war is not against an economic-political ideology (communism). This war is against a people, a faith, a history, an existential reality, an entirety of a civilisation, an actual formidable historical presence and an enduring spiritual entity. They, the US and its allies (which include collaborating political elites in Muslim countries), cannot win this war. Indeed, they can unleash havoc, a wave of destruction (as they are doing now), but they cannot and will not win!

Coming back to the context of Pak-US relations, consider the following most plausible scenario in the immediate future:

Through covertly managed organised violence, collaborations, propaganda, bombings and political manipulations, the US succeeds in destabilising Pakistan to an extent of complete political chaos, limited anarchy and a near civil war situation. Under the pretext of threat to international security, American and NATO forces are moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Pakistan’s nuclear assets are seized, a puppet regime is installed: Pakistan is de-nuclearised, India (the newest US ally) becomes a dominant regional power, Iran is contained, China-Russia growing political clout is checked, the US/west’s historical global dominance is achieved – the world is saved!

Is that what the Pakistani nation wants and deserves?

Imran Khan’s perspective on Pakistan’s foreign policy and domestic priorities is correct: we need to politically-militarily disengage Pakistan from the US/west’s global objectives. We need to immediately end this so-called War on Terror against our own citizens. We need to negotiate peace with political dissidents in NWFP, Balochistan and in every corner of Pakistan. We must appreciate the fact that political dissent is not terror!

We ought to, by engaging our own citizens and political dissidents, quietly and secretly do a complete “cleansing” of the foreign elements and local collaborators involved in organised violence in our country. This can only be accomplished by a determined, independent, nationalist and highly efficient political leadership that can make the national policy without American influence and interference. And this is the ultimate requirement of our times.

At last, Mian Nawaz Sharif said something right the other day: the public in Pakistan needs to think in revolutionary ways now.

Allow me to go one step further: what we need is a revolutionary political leadership in this country. We deserve a change in the political mindset and political conduct of this nation’s leaders. We need fresh leadership in Pakistan.

We all do not need to be politically loyal to our contemporary political dispensation or to our present political allies. We must completely reject a global political system of US/west’s dominance.

We all ought to be political dissidents! After all, dissent is a vital element of the democratic political process. It is a duty of an engaged citizenry!

One day we all might be considered terrorists by our western “friends”.

Never mind. So be it!

The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert.
Email: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 15, 2010 at 5:59 am