August 5, 2009
Terrorists claiming to represent Pakistani Balochis are planning to declare ‘independence’ on 11 August 2009, according to BRASSTACKS. It will not change much on the ground but these terrorists and their supporters in Kabul, New Delhi and within CIA will score a major point against Islamabad. The pro-US government in Islamabad and even the Pakistani opposition are courting Washington and are silent on this emerging threat to the Pakistani state. No Pakistani politician is ready to call Akbar Bugti or Kabul-based Brahamdagh or London-based Harbyar Mari by their real designation as terrorists. Both President Zardari and Mr. Nawaz Sharif are silent accomplices in what they believe is a good opportunity to weaken the grip of the Pakistani military. Plans are also underway to create a ‘Pakistani Kurdistan’. Interior Minister Rehman Malik is yet to accuse Britain of giving safe haven to terrorists.
By Ahmed Quraishi
Wednesday, 5 August 2009.
Despite all these acts of terrorism by the grandson of politician-turned-terrorist Akbar Bugti, no one in the pro-US federal and provincial governments is willing to condemn the terrorists. Last month these terrorists planted a bomb on a train leaving Karachi and detonated it just half an hour away from Quetta, killing an innocent Pakistani Baloch. No condemnation then too.
The sheepish and apologetic attitude of the Pakistani government is inexplicable. Last month this government gave the Indians and the Americans damning proof on how Indian spy outfits were using the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar to target Balochistan. As much as eight foreign spy agencies are cramming this Pakistani territory. Yet the Pakistani state is reluctant to call a spade a spade. The pro-US government’s chief minister in Balochistan Nawab Asalm Raisani is on record having said to reporters a few months ago, « I don’t know if there is foreign involvement in the province. Go ask those who say there is. » Obviously, in his many meetings with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, no one cared to share with him the photographs of Brahamdagh Bugti cavorting with the Indians and Karzai’s men not just in Kabul but in New Delhi. A better explanation is that the feudal-politicians of Balochistan, like their kin in the rest of the Pakistani politics, are ready to accept a separated Balochistan in the hope that this somehow will help weaken the grip of the Pakistani military and forever stain it in the eyes of its own people.
Why foreign powers want to weaken Pakistan’s control over its southwest Here is what is happening on this front:
2.This comes with reports that the Zardari government is preparing to grant ‘full autonomy’ to Balochistan within the Pakistani federation. In essence, this means Pakistan will soon have its own version of Iraq’s Kurdistan. Considering the volatile security situation in the region and the active interest of both the Americans and Indians in wresting Balochistan from Pakistani hands, this would prove to be a kiss of death for Pakistan’s national integrity. The US media is quiet these days on the so-called Greater Pashtunistan, but in the last two years, the US media leaked story after story on the feasibility of this option. These leaked reports reflected an organized campaign by people within Pentagon and CIA. This campaign ceased only after protests by Pakistani officials. Another reason why this campaign stopped is to give some space to unknown ‘terrorists’ who have infiltrated from Afghanistan to Pakistan under the guise of the so-called Pakistani Taliban. The Kabul regime and its Indian and American allies were hoping that the death and mayhem created among Pakistani Pashtuns would be enough to rally the Pashtun of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to demand an independent country. Luckily, the Pakistani Pashtun, who are an important and active part of the Pakistani society and the power structure, understood the game and refused to play along despite enticements coming from inside the Afghan territory.
4. Meanwhile the potential of the Gwadar port has almost been destroyed and it is a matter of time before Pakistan's inept politicians turn it into another irretrievable mess. First Akbar Bugti and his foreign-supported terrorists attacked the project. Now the political parties in power are playing their usual games over the project in the hope of milking maximum kickbacks. So far the Zardari government is yet to commit funds for the remaining parts of the Gwadar port expansion. This happens while the Indians have completed and operationalized the competing Iranian port of Chah Bahar. The US surprisingly permitted Iranian and Indian companies to build roads in eastern Afghanistan connecting the Indian port despite the American aversion to anything that benefits Iran.
The terrorist acts and the new evidence is a great opportunity to delegitimize the terrorists who claim to own Balochistan. But our usually bland and uncreative political elite is incapable of encashing this opportunity.
Major grievances aside, there is no direct discrimination against Pakistani Baloch on ethno-language grounds from anyone in the rest of the country. The level of education of Pakistani Baloch denies them opportunities to climb the social ladder. And the blame for this rests squarely with both the federal government and Balochistan’s tribal chieftains. The landlord-feudal politicians of Pakistan are responsible for compounding the problems of Pakistanis everywhere. And there is no hope in sight that those running the federal government – PPP now or PML in the future – can change anything on the ground.
Pakistan needs a practical, nationalistic and visionary federal administration that can take monumental steps to reorganize the State and provinces.
2. Ban ethnic-, language- and sectarian-based political parties.
3. Introduce capital punishment for corruption and treason.
4. Ban the conduct of 'private foreign policy' by politicians and political parties with foreign governments.
5. Seize the vast land holdings of the landlord-political elite and empower the more creative and capable lower and middle class Pakistanis to step forward.
6. Forcibly democratize the family-owned political parties of Pakistan.
The big question is: Who will do this? Interestingly, a group of eminent Pakistanis with no political affiliations has come together to answer this question. Members of the group have assigned themselves to developing an out-of-the-box answer to one question: How to enact these difficult reforms outside the realm of the chaotic Pakistani democratic process? This group is expected to soon make its findings public.
Pakistan needs creative minds at the top to unlock the initiative of its people. We need change. But let’s begin with condemning the terrorists who have taken ownership of Balochistan without any contest from the pro-US government in Islamabad.
The original version of this column appeared in The News International. This is an updated version that reflects the latest developments in southwest Pakistan.
Nine Intelligence Agencies Crammed In A Pakistani Corner
|26 Jul 2009|
Eight foreign intelligence agencies are meddling in Pakistani Balochistan. There is a 9th possible player: Oman, where US and UK and reportedly Israel maintain ‘listening and monitoring outposts’. But it is the wily Indians who walk away with the top prize. For seven years now, India has played the lead role in spreading terror inside Pakistani Balochistan. India’s reckless adventurism has emboldened other players. But it is also emboldening Pakistan to respond. India cannot get away with this and stealing Pakistan’s water in Kashmir.
KABUL, Afghanistan—As the United States military occupation of Afghanistan falters, regional powers move in for the kill. Afghanistan has many neighbors. India is not one of them. It does not share any borders with Afghanistan. But after CIA, India’s two intelligence services – the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – are among the most active in the occupied country.
The Indians have excellent contacts within Karzai’s security setup. Most of them are former communist leaders who escaped to India in the 1970s and ‘80s and returned to power along with the Northern Alliance in 2001, backed by both US and India.
The Indians have also sold the Americans, or at least some key people within the American intelligence and strategic communities, on the dubious Indian ‘expertise’ on Afghanistan. This is how India was assigned an expanded role inside Afghanistan. The role takes the form of development work on the surface. But in reality, the Indians are neck deep in Afghanistan, and now it turns out they are neck deep inside western Pakistan as well.
The Indians have a separate, extensive intelligence and espionage setup focused on Pakistan’s tribal Pashtun belt. This is where the Indians and Karzai’s people are running a joint venture of pumping saboteurs into Pakistan disguised as the so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’, who are also known as the Fake Taliban to differentiate them from the Afghan Taliban who are fighting the foreign armies in Afghanistan and are not fighting Pakistan.
This report focuses on India’s espionage work in southern Afghanistan targeting Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Apart from the Indian Embassy in Kabul, there are nine consulates strategically located in the US-occupied country.
India has two consulates in the south near Pakistan’s three key areas: the provinces of Balochistan and NWFP and the tribal belt. One Indian consulate is located in Kandahar. The other one is located close to the airport in Lashkar Gah, capital of the Helmand province. This Indian ‘consulate’ has a training facility where training is imparted to would-be terrorists. Here they are equipped and sent to Pakistan. Most of these terrorists are young men recruited from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indian ‘diplomats’ from the two southern consulates have been sighted collecting large quantities of Pakistani rupees from the open market on several occasions.
Interestingly, Helmand is the same province where the United States and the United Kingdom have mobilized their military and intelligence resources to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban and push them toward Pakistan.
From Pakistan’s point of view, this US-NATO operation is bogus. After all, the Afghan Taliban are registering success in Afghan provinces that are nowhere near the Pakistani border, including northern Afghanistan. There is no evidence that the Afghan Taliban managed to do this because of help from Pakistani soil. And yet US-NATO forces forget Taliban everywhere else and decide to focus on Helmand which borders Pakistani Balochistan, a province that is being destabilized from the Afghan soil.
Knowing that this operation could be used by intelligence operatives [Indian, Afghan and possibly even American] to push undercover agents and saboteurs inside Pakistan, Pakistani authorities formally objected to Washington over the military action noting very clearly that pushing terrorists inside Pakistan is not a solution.
On top of the nine Indian consulates, six more ‘diplomatic’ outposts have been established by both RAW and a Karzai spy outfit called NDS.
The six new ‘consulates’ are part of a network headed by a retired major-general from the Indian army. His CV shows that he used to head RAW’s counterintelligence wing based in New Delhi.
His job description is simple.
In intelligence parlance, he is responsible for identifying strategic opportunities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and use them to India’s advantage. He is expected to cultivate, recruit, train, arm and finance espionage and sabotage inside Pakistan in a calculated manner resulting in supporting India’s wider political and strategic objectives in the region.
In simple everyday language, the Indian officer is supposed to open enough fronts for Pakistan from the west in order to distract Pakistan’s grip and attention over Kashmir, the Indian occupied region to the east.
The Indian major-general has led an operation where young men from Pakistan and Afghanistan have been recruited in the name of waging jihad against America. Once in, the young men are brainwashed. They are shown violent speeches by supposed religious clerics. They are introduced to ‘mujahedeen leaders’ who enjoy vast knowledge in Islamic and Quranic teachings. Most of these ‘mujahedeen leaders’ are either Indian or Karzai’s intelligence people.
The brainwashing sessions include virulent sermons against Pakistan and its role in betraying Islam. The indoctrination ends with the mission that Pakistan needs to be the first target in the jihad against America. Whoever sides with Pakistan in this battle is a supporter of America’s occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
These young men with ‘messed up minds’ are then sent to Pakistan to carry out bombings, suicide attacks, targeted killings, and slaughter innocent people.
Most of them are introduced as Islamic militants or Taliban. But a large number of them are also sent in to pretend they are Pakistanis fighting for the separation of Balochistan from the motherland.
As soon as these terrorists finish blowing up pipelines or killing university professors in Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta, Indian consulates in Afghanistan arrange for their Urdu writers to pen down neatly written statements in Urdu which are then dispatched to Pakistani news organizations. Some analysts who have had a chance to look at these statements are impressed by the high quality of the Urdu language used in these written press statements. [Non-Pakistani readers may not understand the significance of this point. A small minority in northeast India, a region that has been the seat of Muslim nobility and empire for most of the past ten centuries, continue to be well acquainted with Urdu, the language of the old Muslim nobility in the region. The terrorists spreading havoc in Pakistani Balochistan do not enjoy even a moderately acceptable command over this classical language. The only other people outside Pakistan who can show off a few experts in this language are Indians from the northwestern part of their country.]
Exploiting a barren, rough terrain, the Indians and Karzai’s security people have identified routes along three regions in southwest Pakistan – Dalbandin, Noshki and Chaman – as transportation routes for weapons and bombs smuggled into the province.
Pakistani security forces have consistently been confiscating US and Israeli manufactured weapons from terrorists in various parts of southwest Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
Intelligence agencies from eight different countries are suspected to be active in the wave of terror inside Pakistan. These spy outfits belong to the United States, India, Afghanistan, Iran, UAE, Israel, Britain and Russia.
Pakistani authorities have been slow in discovering the role of a 9th country in this mix: Oman.
Oman is situated right across the Arabian Sea, facing the coastal line of Balochistan. Thanks to cross migrations between Oman and Pakistan over the past two centuries, a substantial portion of the Omani population is of Pakistani Baloch descent. They have traditionally worked for the security service and the army of successive Omani kings, including the incumbent, Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed.
At least two countries, the US and Britain, have intelligence ‘listening and monitoring outposts’ in Oman. There have been reports that Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed had also granted Israel the right to use his territory for discreet information gathering operations targeting neighboring countries, especially Iran and the region surrounding the Strait of Hormuz. This area includes Pakistani Balochistan.
Apart from the Indians, Washington is known to be very interested in Balochistan. The Pakistani province offers the shortest land route to Afghanistan should Islamabad decide to cease support to NATO and US supply lines through the rest of Pakistan. The Americans are also suspicious that a hard-to-defeat Afghan Taliban are based in Balochistan.
The suspicion is that at some level Oman is helping US access Pakistani Balochistan without the knowledge of the Pakistani government.
The nine foreign intelligence agencies are in Afghanistan for various purposes. The American and the Omani roles have been explained. Karzai’s intelligence is simply ready to join any effort that harms Pakistan. The Indians want to punish Pakistan for supporting the struggle of the Kashmiri people against Indian occupation. India also wants to destabilize Balochistan enough so that China abandons the huge development projects inside the Pakistani province, an objective that the Americans would welcome without hesitation.
Iran is more concerned about the CIA-backed Jundullah terrorist group that is working on setting the Sunni Balochi population inside Iran against the Shiite majority. The Dubai emirate of the UAE has been told by the Indians that Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan is being developed as competition. There is also suspicion that some lobbies within the UAE are aligned with the American agenda on Iran, especially considering that Iran occupies three UAE islands. Pakistani Balochistan figures prominently in this agenda. I am referring to ‘lobbies inside the UAE’ because while Dubai is suspicious about Gwadar it is not interested in joining any anti-Iran effort. But Abu Dhabi, the other influential emirate in the UAE, is more susceptible to go along the Americans on Iran, including the idea of using Balochistan for this purpose.
The Brits are also closely aligned with the Americans. The case of the Israelis, however, is more interesting. Israel is the only country with the longest experience in dealing with Islamic groups. Israel has gone as far as establishing Islamic religious schools inside Israel that serve intelligence purposes, such as understanding how fighters are indoctrinated and also how to develop undercover agents who can go and join Islamic groups disguised as Muslim extremists.
Washington sought Israeli assistance in this regard after 9/11. The Indians were smarter. They approached Israel in the 1990s to counter Islamic groups backed by Pakistan. These groups were at the forefront of the Kashmiri people’s fight against the Indian occupation of Kashmir. Israeli has demonstrated it can help India in Kashmir in May-June 1999 when a defeated Indian army unit there was provided Israeli military assistance on the ground to repel advancing Pakistani and Kashmiri fighters. [The timely and effective Israeli assistance helped turn a tactical Pakistani military victory into defeat, providing India enough time to mobilize a diplomatic offensive to invite international intervention in Kashmir. This is according to a rare disclosure by Mark Sofer, Israel’s ambassador to India, in a Feb. 2008 interview with an Indian news magazine.]
There is a strong probability that Israel’s help is once again at play in India’s anti-Pakistan activities on the Afghan soil. The Israelis are also focused on Iran. This leaves out the Russians who are most probably fishing in troubled waters and are there to reclaim the influence they lost in the area with the end of the Soviet Union 18 years ago.
But it is the Indians who walk away with the prize. They have played their cards well and convinced likeminded lobbies in Washington to let them use the Afghan soil against Pakistan for a good seven years now. But as the situation deteriorates for the Americans inside Afghanistan, a desperate Obama administration is listening to Pakistani complaints for the first time and possibly taking some action to reign in their wayward Indian friends.