Against the backdrop of a possible Indian intervention in Balochistan, Gen Raheel Sharif sent a clear message of threat to a number of audiences, saying “We are aware of our enemies, know their tactics and to spoil their designs we would go beyond even the last limit”, hinting the use of nuke against “enemies”.
But Before this, recently, Pak-based Jihadi terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, directly conveyed Pakistan’s message to India and US in which he threatened both countries of dire consequences “if it continued to show aggression against Pakistan and let US aircraft to use its airbase, Islamabad would not hesitate to use nuclear bombs if New Delhi attacks”.
With the bogy of nuclear threat and Jihadi proxy wars Pakistani state hardly left a stone unturned in its nefarious designs to trouble India and Afghanistan, even the US and NATO members. Pakistan state has hijacked the peace and prosperity of the region with proxy wars just for the sake of Punjab interests.
But in response what is deterring India and America to take on Pakistan for a meaningful engagement against its supports to insurgents and terrorist attacks in India and Kabul is widely believed to be the paranoid of nuke threat that Pakistan possesses.
After the Modi’s historic speech at the ramparts of Red Port, in which Balochistan was mentioned, the question of Balochistan independence widely spiraled in Indian media that unnerved Punjabi establishment! And it quickly gained popular support from every section of Indian political society. Given the general public opinion in Indian social media regarding the support to Balochistan freedom movement, we can say so far so good! But Baloch intelligentsia is of the opinion that Baloch leadership must be taken on board with a holistic approach!
Now, before saying anything on Pakistani nuke threat, it is necessary to know that in fact, it is Punjab that is solely micro-managing entire Pakistani state affairs right from the Beginning through its armed forces, as Punjab is the Serbian character of the compressed chamber of so-called Pakistani federation.
The biggest question here is that: can the Punjabi Generals be stupid enough to risk its cities to be the targets of Indian nukes that Punjab rulers developed with looted natural resources of Baloch? Now the point is that we Baloch didn’t have any enmity with India, it means our villages and hamlets cannot be the legitimate targets of Indian nukes! Thanks to Punjab-led Pakistani containment policy, Baloch didn’t build Dubai like skyscrapers in Balochistan.
However, In case sanity betrayed Punjab’s intelligentsia, India then can redefine its nuke doctrine along that line of above facts. That means India would have to train its nukes at Punjab’s major cities as prime targets in order to neutralize Pakistan nuclear threat; as it is a well-known fact that Taliban and Nukes together are Punjab’s strategic assets. Regarding the nukes, here I would like quote one of my close friends who often says that “the razor is in the hand of monkey”. It must be taken away from it before it is too late. It means the security screws must be tightened around Punjabi military establishment.
Why we insist that Pakistan is the smokescreen of Punjab? The two headed beast of Punjabi ultra-nationalism never allowed this unformatted country to become a genuine federal state. Punjabis apparently never formed a nationalist party in the name of Punjab interest; yet reclusively, they’re extremely ultra-nationalists regarding their hold over Pakistani state affairs and that ultra-nationalism is shrouded in the garb of Pakistani nation! They don’t trust other nationalities except themselves. Yet the Islam is the shield they use to draw legitimacy for the smokescreen of Punjab, called Pakistan. The same Islam is also used on the peripheries of Pakistan’s so-called ideological and geopolitical boundaries.
What are Punjab’s interests in case Pakistan broke into pieces? It would be the biggest loser! From Sindh It loses the access to Karachi commercial port for export and import. From KPK it loses the free hydroelectricity. From Balochistan it loses the natural gas that is running through the veins of its cities like blood and other precious mineral resources, including uranium and gold, besides military geostrategic depth. In return, what other provinces get from Punjab under its dominance? The answer is: they get nothing except death and destruction!
As the world knows that it is Punjabi dominated Pakistan’s army that has been calling the shots all along in all state affairs internally and externally! But the question is that what is the composition of Pakistan army?
According to Stephen P. Cohen (“The Idea of Pakistan”, Oxford University Press), around 70% of the army officers are from Punjab, 14% from former NWFP, 9% from Sindh, 3% from Baluchistan and 1.3% from Azad Kashmir. According to Cohen the ratio of Punjabi in the senior ranks has increased to more than 80%.
Now this Punjabi dominated army is engaged in a sinister war against humanity in Balochistan with blanket impunity committing Baloch genocide thereby contravening Geneva Convention. What is more, it is now no more a traditional army; it is now a jihadist army targeting Baloch, Afghan and Indian civilians. It is the moral obligation of civilized world to defang Punjab army threats by stripping off its nuclear arsenals.
The gangs of Jihadists that Pakistan army created in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan are getting 70 billion annually as rewards to help contain Baloch and Pashtuns under abject poverty and provide legitimacy to Pakistan’s illegal existence in Balochistan and KPK since Zia era! Punjabi generals exploit religious sentiments in the name of holy wars as Jihad and use the religious fanatics for its nefarious designs in Afghanistan and India.
Almost every region of this globe, one way or another, has been affected by Punjabi led Pakistani terrorism. Holistically, it is the responsibility of all responsible nations to stop Punjabi generals from committing war crimes in Balochistan and its Jihadi wars in India and Afghanistan.
Empathically, we want the international community to understand the fact that Pakistan is committing Baloch genocide just because Baloch want to liberate their homeland from Pakistani occupation. Current Baloch leadership is extremely aware of the politics of the bargaining chip in the regional conflicts. Baloch don’t want to be a part of that, rather, they want to be a real partner in peace and prosperity as enjoyed by other nations of the world.
The secular Baloch have a logical case to present before international community for consideration. Baloch lost their sovereignty to British-backed Pakistani aggression in 1948. We believe, if Balochistan, as a secular and democratic nation, was helped to regain its sovereignty, would be the antithesis of the universal concept of Jihadism of Islam and would radiate secular and democratic values in the region.
Archen Baloch is a freelance Balochistan journalist, he tweets from @ArchenBaloch, He is associated with Free Balochistan Movement under the leadership of Hyrbyair Marri.
At the March 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) President Obama warned of the possibility of a terrorist group such as the Islamic State (IS) gaining access to a nuclear weapon as a real threat and ‘one of the greatest threats to global security’. While there was focus on this comment shortly after it was made, other news quickly overshadowed it. However, I feel that it should not be dismissed so soon. This is because of the higher likelihood of Obama’s warning coming true. In this specific context of Pakistan, this article explains why.
First of all, Pakistan as a state is not the most stable. The country only recently saw its first transition from one democratically-elected government to another, back in 2013. Prior to that, Pakistan was seemingly stuck in a pattern of interchanging civilian government and military rule. Recent revelations about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family in the recently leaked Panama Papers highlights the problem that Pakistan has with corruption of its leaders. As an independent country, Pakistan is still relatively young and is set to mark its 69th independence day in August this year. Therefore, within the context of international development, the country is still finding its feet. In combination with the corruption, Pakistan is therefore a malleable state. As a nuclear-armed nation with the close proximity of war-torn Afghanistan, the potential for nuclear weapons to transit through the chaotic Middle East certainly exists.
Contributing to this instability is the growing threat of radicalisation in Pakistan, with the Pakistani Taliban the biggest source of that threat. Recent attacks by the Taliban, such as in Lahore in March 2016 and in Peshawar in December 2014 are the strongest evidence of the country’s vulnerability to radicalisation and subsequent terrorism. The perpetrators of the Lahore attack were known to have been targeting Christians, particularly children, a characteristic that is shared with IS. This seemingly common motivation of attacking non-Muslims has the potential to be a horrifying foundation for collaboration between IS and the Taliban. If one of them somehow obtains a nuclear weapon, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Furthermore, the relationship between the Pakistan state and groups who have committed terrorist attacks is not exactly clear. When Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed in May 2011, he was found in a compound very close to a Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad. While there is no clear evidence that the Pakistan military had anything to do with Bin Laden’s location, the proximity to the academy raises questions, especially due to the fact that the power of the military is and has historically been very prominent. Back in the 1980s, the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), was involved with arming and training the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. One of those who was a part of the mujahedeen was Bin Laden himself. These incidents raise fears that IS or other terrorist groups could exploit some within Pakistan to potentially gain access to nuclear material.
Finally, we must observe IS itself. As a group/unofficial state IS has quickly risen to being one of the foremost threats to world peace in recent years and has amounted huge assets through sales of oil on the black market. As a result, it is clear that IS has the knowledge and capability of how to access powerful resources and utilize them for their own gain. Its location within the region and proximity to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey-all states with access to or alliances with strong military power-make the possibility of IS gaining access to more destructive material, including nuclear, existent.
From an economic perspective, this issue is also really important. Pakistan as a country requires investment to address infrastructure and service inefficiencies, with power supplies being unreliable. However, corruption along with a growing risk of radicalisation and terrorism in the country all place a huge barrier to investment and will lead to caution before any relevant decisions are made.
Furthermore, the oil and nuclear industries have risks. Both are now so globally interconnected that there is a danger for money to enter the industry from a legitimate source but unwittingly ends up funding terrorist groups. That has been the case with IS and oil where much of the money they gain on the black market originates from those who are trying to defeat it. This makes it difficult to continue to fund both industries without unwittingly funding threats to international security.
Overall, the combination of a fragile nuclear-armed Pakistan with radicalised elements hiding within it, state-associated institutions with a murky history, and an aggressive but effective IS makes Obama’s warning of a nuclear terrorist attack a lot more likely. While I am not arguing that IS is going to procure a nuclear weapon through Pakistan or through any other state in particular, I am raising concern that it is a potential turn of events. It may seem very far-fetched and require a whole series of other events to occur, but in security and intelligence you have to consider the worst case scenario, principally when it comes to nuclear weapons, and this is one of the worst by far. From an economic perspective, it means that Pakistan will lose out as investors will have to think twice.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — It has been three weeks since terrorists stormed a school here and slaughtered at least 148 people, nearly all of whom were children. The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for the massacre, saying it was in retaliation for army action in the Taliban stronghold of Waziristan.
Pakistan reacted with revulsion to the school attack. There was almost unanimous consensus among political parties and civic groups that this act broke the patience of the nation. Pakistanis are demanding, in a loud and clear voice, that the government tackle the menace of religious terrorism.
Although most of the country is united in this demand, the conduct of religious political parties has been anything but reassuring. Most of these parties condemned the massacre, but claimed it was a reaction to what the Pakistani army has been doing to the Taliban and their families in Waziristan. They are speaking from both sides of their mouths.
Pakistani religious parties have a checkered history. They opposed the creation of Pakistan on religious grounds. Since the creation of the country in 1947, they have been trying to turn Pakistan into a theocracy where power will shift to the mosques rather than rest with state institutions.
And while they do not talk openly about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, controlling these weapons fits with their dream of global dominance.
Whether the Pakistani Taliban function in concert with other terrorists is open to conjecture. Although its sympathies are with terrorist outfits such as Islamic State, it is not part of a global network.
Some prejudiced people blame the teachings of Islam for the terrorist activities of some Muslims. An occasional beheading of a Western man by ISIS aside, most religious violence has been directed against Muslims themselves. In the Taliban’s narrow and self-serving interpretation of Islam, anyone who does not subscribe to its version is not a Muslim.
The seeds of militancy and terrorism in Pakistan were sown during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan starting in 1979. Pakistan was pushed into becoming a front-line state during the decade long conflict.
American and Western foreign aid flowed into the country. So did Arab petrodollars and the puritanical Wahhabi version of Islam.
Thousands of religious schools sprang up in border areas of Pakistan, where poor boys were indoctrinated in virulent Wahhabi Islam and sent to fight the Soviet infidels across the border in Afghanistan.
The United States and Saudi Arabia promoted this culture of religious intolerance. The Soviets were eventually forced out of Afghanistan, but the culture stayed.
The lure of fighting a religious war brought thousands of young men from around the world — including the United States — to Pakistan. After the war, many of these young men, who were not wanted in their countries of birth, married and settled in tribal areas of Pakistan. A second generation of foreigners is working with the Pakistani Taliban to wreck havoc on the country.
The toll on Pakistan has been enormous. Since 2001, close to 50,000 people — including more than 15,000 army personnel — have been killed by terrorists in Pakistan. The economic losses have been substantial.
Why haven’t Pakistani governments tackled this menace? They fear religious parties that have twisted government intentions as anti-Islamic.
For many years, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has urged Pakistan to clean up sanctuaries in Waziristan, from which Afghan Taliban fighters attacked NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan. Because of its appeasement of the Pakistani Taliban and its long-term interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan did not follow through.
It has taken the massacre of innocent schoolchildren to wake Pakistanis up.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a retired Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift Posted Dec. 28, 2014 @ 6:57 pm
WASHINGTON — As a recent episode of the popular television series “Homeland” displayed, elements in Pakistan, including its intelligence service, may be in league with the Taliban, which means the friend of our enemy is our friend. And the fact that Osama bin Laden was found residing in an armed compound in Abbottabad, a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy, gives credence to the suspicion that our friend has been the enemy’s friend for quite a while.
In fact, Pakistan’s friendships have not changed. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and placed a puppet in charge, its forces were confronted by mujahedeen rebels, primarily supported by Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan and the United States. Eventually, U.S. support became dominant when President Ronald Reagan vowed to make Afghanistan the Soviet’s Vietnam. By that he referred to the Soviet use of a surrogate, North Vietnam, to wage war against South Vietnam. A safe haven being the key to surrogacy, Soviet ships bearing supplies and munitions anchored in North Vietnamese waters, signaling a U.S. invasion of the North would involve the Soviet Union. Hence, North Vietnam became the safe haven for the North Vietnamese Army.
In like manner, Pakistan, a nuclear power and U.S. ally, became the safe haven for the mujahedeen, Osama bin Laden among them. And as would be expected in a safe haven surrogate war, the surrogates prevailed. After nine years of fighting, Soviet forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan. Then, in 1992, the Soviet puppet regime of Mohammad Najibullah fell to the mujahedeen, and in 1996 the Taliban branch of the mujahedeen, with the aid of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, prevailed in the Afghan civil war.
Pakistan remained the common thread, protecting and supplying the hardliners, and as hardline as the fanatical Taliban was, al-Qaida was worse, and the Taliban was providing that group with sanctuaries where they trained Islamic militants to export terror, all of which led to the Osama bin Laden-directed al-Qaida attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. responded with aerial and covert support of the Afghan Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban and hound Taliban and al-Qaida fighters out of the country. Most of them slipped across the border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, the U.S. found itself in league with its longtime adversary, Iran, the other nation then supporting the Northern Alliance.
While the U.S. has switched sides from the mujahedeen to the Northern Alliance and the U.S.-allied Afghan government, Pakistan has remained the constant supporter of the Islamic fundamentalists who made up the mujahedeen, including the Taliban, though apparently not al-Qaida.
Now all that may have changed. Just as the Taliban appeared to be on the brink of success in Afghanistan as U.S. forces are rapidly withdrawing, a Taliban attack on a Pakistani school resulted in the slaughter of 149 students and teachers. Pakistan’s army swung into action and began hunting down the perpetrators. The heinous crime delivered a gruesome reminder of who and what the Taliban are, and maybe, just maybe, Pakistan will finally realize it has been supporting a rogue organization that they must now thwart.
Analysis: Despite billions in aid, U.S. unable to get Pakistan to confront militants
(Reuters) – Since 2001 the United States has tried virtually every strategy available to persuade Pakistan’s army to take the threat of militancy more seriously, but 12 years and $28 billion in aid later, all the American approaches are widely viewed as having failed.
First, the Bush administration heaped praise on former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, agreed to reimburse the Pakistani army for anti-Taliban military operations and launched drone strikes that killed al Qaeda leaders and militants wanted by the Pakistani government.
Adopting a more confrontational stance, the Obama administration unilaterally carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, vastly increased aid to Pakistan’s weak civilian institutions and, at times, cut off aid to the Pakistani military.
Yet the militants continue to operate, ever more brazenly, as illustrated by Tuesday’s harrowing attack on a school in Peshawar, in which 132 students were killed by a faction of the Pakistan Taliban. And with the United States increasingly focused on other crises, Washington’s options for bringing about change in an increasingly unstable Pakistan are dwindling fast.
“There is great ‘Pakistan fatigue’ in Washington,” said Cameron Munter, who served as the American ambassador to Pakistan from 2010 to 2012. “Not only have the last dozen years been very difficult, but other challenges – from Syria to Ukraine to Iran, to name a few – demand our attention.”
Although Tuesday’s attack sparked widespread condemnation, current and former U.S. officials expressed cynicism that the bloodshed would cause Pakistan’s military to change its view of militants.
Munter and other officials said the United States has been unable to break a powerful, army-backed narrative in Pakistan that militant attacks are the result of America’s war on terror. Foreign powers, not Pakistan, are responsible for growing militancy in Pakistan, according to the narrative. And Pakistan is not responsible for the problem and unable to stop it.
That narrative played out immediately when Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, flew to Afghanistan within 24 hours of the attack to meet Afghan leaders. They said they had information that the school attack was directed by militants hiding inside Afghanistan.
“We are hoping that we will see strong action from the Afghan side in the coming days,” said Pakistani army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa.
One senior American official said he hoped the trip was not “communications Kabuki” designed to divert blame for the failure to stop the attack away from the Pakistani army. Analysts said the army is failing to live up to its decades-long history of training, funding and sheltering some militant groups and using them as proxies to counter archrival India in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Since 2001 a parade of American officials – from presidents to CIA directors – have repeatedly warned Pakistan’s generals that they will lose control of their militant proxies and eventually be attacked by them. Pakistani military officials have denied sheltering militants.
But some current and former U.S. officials said the sheer brutality of this week’s attack would intensify demands from Pakistan’s public for the army to confront militancy. James Dobbins, who served as the Obama Administration’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2013 to 2014, said there was also growing pressure from Pakistan’s longtime ally China.
“I think they are pressing Pakistan to take this threat more seriously,” he said.
Munter, the former ambassador, argued that the problem reflects a more fundamental question of whether militants have become so entrenched that the Pakistani army cannot defeat them.
The senior administration official was more optimistic, contending that even before the school attack, the Pakistani public was raising pressure on the army to act. The ongoing military operation in North Waziristan that militants said prompted the school attack was evidence of change.
“There has been a growing sense in Pakistan that this is an issue that they need to deal with,” said the senior official, who asked not to be identified by name.
But Shamila Chaudhary, who served as senior director for Pakistan and Afghanistan on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2011, warned that as U.S. attention has shifted elsewhere, the steady deterioration of Pakistan’s institutions, security forces and economy has continued.
For years, Chaudhary said, she dismissed alarmist warnings from other U.S. experts on Pakistan that the country’s nuclear arsenal was unsafe. The inability of Pakistan’s security forces to protect a military-run school, she said, has given her doubts regarding Pakistan’s atomic arsenal for the first time.
“I will have a hard time saying to people that militants can never steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,” she said. “The more these things happen, that rate of risk goes ahead, and I just think, well, it could happen one day.”
(Editing by Jason Szep and Douglas Royalty)
Islamic State Coming to Pakistan
In Pakistan, support for the Islamic State is growing more visible. Elements of the Taliban, which all but controls small areas of the country, are openly giving a nod to their ideological kinship with the terrorist organization that has cut a path of destruction across large areas of Iraq and Syria. A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban, Shahidullah Shahid, recently stated “I pledge allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims, [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” The statement highlights a measure of internal strife, however; Shahid, it has been reported, was not speaking for the Taliban as a whole and the organization had apparently disowned him, following the remarks. An unnamed Taliban commander told Reuters “He used our name and tried to make it big news in the media.” As military operations against the Taliban in Pakistan continue to weaken the organization, there are growing fears that it could be vulnerable to a takeover by ISIS.
The swift gains made by the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq – and the rapid swelling of its ranks – caught western nations off guard. Afghanistan, a barely functioning state, and Pakistan, are both vulnerable to the spreading influence of ISIS. Speaking to the AFP news agency, security analyst Amir Rana said “ISIS is becoming the major inspiration force for both violent and non-violent religious groups in the region.”
Pro-ISIS propaganda leaflets have surfaced in the northwest of Pakistan and slogans supporting the Islamic State have been spray-painted on walls even in Karachi. Taliban leaders both in Pakistan and in neighboring Afghanistan have signaled their support for the Islamic State, although they appear to have broken ranks in order to do so. A loose federation of radical Islamist organizations in Pakistan, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has sent large numbers of fighters to Syria and it is feared that those who return may spread the Islamic State’s message and provide inspiration for further radicalization. According to Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst writing in The Express Tribune, some radical factions in Pakistan have even taken to using the name ‘Islamic State Movement.’
In Afghanistan, the black flag adopted by the Islamic State was raised recently in the Ghazni province as fighters identified with ISIS joined a Taliban offensive against several villages.
Although authorities in Pakistan have struck an optimistic note on operations against the Taliban and other radical groups, the country’s United Nations Ambassador sounded the alarm in an address to the UN Security Council on October 21. “We must all, collectively, oppose and defeat its evil ideology of ‘hate, murder and destroy’,” said Masood Khan. “We must remain united in our fight against this new face of terrorism and violent extremism.” Other Pakistani officials, however, believe that the Taliban’s attempt to create a ‘merger’ with ISIS is little more than an attempt to remain relevant, as Pakistan’s security forces continue to weaken Taliban control in the tribal northwest.
Pakistan has an arsenal of nuclear weapons, making it a potentially tempting target for the Islamic State. Whether the Taliban would welcome the presence of ISIS or resist it continues to be a subject for speculation.
Worse is the possibility that Islamabad might be unable to protect its nuclear assets in the future.
Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership have long been incapable of deciding if they should launch full-fledged operations against the Taliban. It is unclear if even the recent attacks will lead to the emergence of a needed coherent policy and civilian-military consensus in the country.
Reports indicate weapons used in the attack were imported from India, fueling more distrust within Pakistan for its eastern neighbor.
But Pakistan has to get serious about defeating the militants, especially as the American war effort winds down next door in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the risks increase that the Taliban may regroup on the Afghan border, further destabilizing the region.