Friday, December 19, 2014

Pakistan's Political, Military Policy Actions in Response to Peshawar Tragedy

How are Pakistani leaders and society responding to the worst-ever mass-casualty terrorist attack on school children in Pakistan since 911? 

Will Pakistani political leaders finally come together to fight the Taliban menace? How will the government and the society at large deal with terrorist sympathizers and apologists present in all walks of life in society? 

Will the Pakistani media continue to offer a platform to the apologists and sympathizers of terrorists to rationalize murders of innocent civilians, including women and children? 

Will Pakistanis finally own this war against the Taliban as their own war?

ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H CemendtaurSabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) and Riaz Haq(

Pakistan's Political, Military Policy Actions in Response to Peshawar Tragedy from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related inks:

Haq's Musings

What is Nawaz Sharif's Counter-terror strategy?

Pak Media Cheers as Vindictive Right Wing Judges Pursue Musharraf

Taliban or RAW-liban?

Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's Story as Undercover RAW Agent in Pakistan

Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo 

Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube 


Anonymous said...

Islam should be separate from politics. That's when things will start improving.
Western world realised it much before and that's why they never allow region or religious leaders to dictate any policy decisions. Today so many muslims want to migrate and live in western countries because of secular constitution this guarantees equality for men and women alike also laws although not sharia or church teaching based still don't discriminate based on religion.

Hopewins said...

Indian-Marxist analysis of our country:

Please comment.

Riaz Haq said...


History of Journalism Ethics

by Stephen J. A. Ward

This section provides a summary of the main theories of the press and its ethics, from the 17th century onward.

Societies have transmitted news since the dawn of human consciousness and pre-literate society. The origin of the modern journalist, however, begins with Gutenberg’s printing press and a host of social, political and
A drum transmitter used by Reuters to send b&w and color news photos before the use of digital photography. Photo courtesy John Schults.

economic changes in Western Europe that provided the conditions necessary for the emergence of a periodic news press by the 17th century. This was a press that included a variety of news and opinion for sale to a public, and it did so periodically. It took the form of weekly and bi-weekly “news books” or “news sheets” in Europe in the early 1600s. (See The Invention of Journalism Ethics.)

From this relatively modest beginning, the press grew into the daily press of the 18th century, especially in England. By the end of the 18th century, the press had played a major role in the American and French revolutions and were a major social force. The press was a “fourth estate.”

1. The development of a limited, but novel, “periodic news press” in the 1600s
2. The expansion of the daily press in the 18th century public sphere
3. The development of a liberal press in the 19th century, culminating in a mass commercial newspaper
4. The emergence of “new media” -- global and interactive -- in the 1900s

Theories of the Press
In an influential text from the 1950s, Four Theories of the Press, the authors outlined a number of “theories of press” since the 17th century.

1. Authoritarian theory of the press: The function of the press is to support the policies and actions of the state, and its authorities. The press should foster social solidarity and national unity. The state has the right to control the press for the overall public good. In many cases, controlling the press means preventing the press from embarrassing the existing government, to repress criticism and protest, and to severely restrict press freedom. The authoritarian view was prevalent in 17th century Europe where publishing came under the prerogative and censorship powers of the monarch and church. The authoritarian theory is embraced today by many leaders of non-democratic states.

2. Libertarian (or liberal) theory of the press: The function of the press is to protect the people’s liberties and rights, and to inform the public so they can participate as citizens in democratic self-government. The liberal theory prefers a privately owned news media that is maximally free to inform citizens and criticize public policy, as well as act as a watchdog on authorities. The right to publish and express oneself freely is not a prerogative of the state or a government. It is a fundamental right of free individuals. The liberal theory argues that a free marketplace of ideas, while it may cause harm over the short term, is the best safeguard in the long run for a free and liberal society.

3. The social responsibility theory: The social responsibility theory: Four Theories describes social responsibility theory as a 20th century development and critique of libertarian theory. It attempts to balance the liberal stress on the freedom of the press. It argues that such freedoms of a powerful news media must be balanced by social responsibilities. Journalists have a duty to provide well-contextualized news in a comprehensive manner. They have a duty to provide a diverse forum of views and values. They have a duty to go beyond entertaining news consumers and to provide a core of in-depth analysis on the most serious issues.

Riaz Haq said...

Over the past year, the TTP has been reduced to a shell of its former self. Founded in December 2007, it was once a formidable umbrella organization uniting scores of Taliban-style groups across Pakistan’s border regions with Afghan jihadis in a war against the Pakistani state. By the spring of 2009, the TTP controlled most of the country’s northwest, holding territory just 60 miles from Islamabad. While two major Pakistani army operations in 2009 managed to repel them from the capital, the TTP proved resilient, thanks in part to the safe havens it had carved out in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area and in parts of Afghanistan.

But last November, the tide against TTP began to turn once again, when a CIA drone attack in North Waziristan killed its second leader, Hakimullah Mehsud. His successor, Fazlullah, failed to assert control of the group — in part because he wasn’t a member of the Mehsud tribe, which spawned the TTP’s first two leaders. In February, ground operations seemed imminent. Instead, the prime minister announced before parliament that the government would begin talks with the TTP. But those deliberations soon reached an impasse and an impatient army decided to begin its military campaign.

Terrorist attacks in Pakistan rose, as did divisions within the TTP. Retired Pakistani generals clamored for operations on news talk shows. In private, the army chief pressed the prime minister to approve ground operations. Ultimately, the military got its way, beginning an air campaign in late winter 2013 that expanded in the spring and forced a reluctant civilian government into launching ground operations against the TTP and other groups in North Waziristan in June. These operations achieved a major tactical victory: They severely weakened the TTP terror machine by denying it the space tooperate. Prior to the Peshawar attack, Pakistan was on pace to have its fewest number of terrorism casualties since 2007.Prior to the Peshawar attack, Pakistan was on pace to have its fewest number of terrorism casualties since 2007.

In the process, Pakistan broke the back of the TTP. As the military moved deeper into North Waziristan, the TTP’s internal fissures grew. Umar Khalid Khorasani, an Afghanistan-based leader of the TTP’s Mohmand tribal agency chapter, established a splinter group, the Tehrik-i-Taliban–Jamaat-ul Ahrar (TTP-JA). The Pakistani army and air force kept up their campaign, continuing to hit the TTP and TTP-JA hard through the summer and into the fall. And in recent weeks, the United States has conducted rare drone strikes against TTP and TTP-JA targets inside Afghanistan.

Like a bloodied, weakened beast, the TTP lashed out viciously on Tuesday. In attacking the school, the TTP chose the softest targets in a military cantonment. Some, though not all, of the children came from military families. And so the TTP — indifferent to the blood of thousands of innocents on its own hands — has anointed itself as the avenger of its own collateral damage suffered at the hands of the Pakistani army.

Riaz Haq said...

Key TTP commander killed, two Mangal Bagh aides rounded up based on intelligence acquired by intercepting mobile phone calls

Technical spying, a safer and cheaper alternative to human spies, being used in over 90pc counter-terrorism offensives

Over 90 per cent of the recent operations conducted by the Pakistan Army and Air Force against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliate terror outfits in tribal agencies are technical-intelligence driven, Pakistan Today has learnt.

“Human intelligence has been taken over by technical intelligence mostly acquired through mobile phone interception and the same is happening in Pakistan now,” said a senior security official.

“The operations conducted against TTP commander Mustafa alias Mannan in Peshawar and the arrest of two aides of Mangal Bagh in Abbottabad were based on intelligence acquired through mobile phone interception,” the source added.

On Friday, security forces killed five militants including Mustafa, the brother of Usman Naray who masterminded the attack on Army Public School and College Peshawar, during an encounter in Koi Hassan Khel area of Peshawar Frontier Region. Mustafa was the chief of TTP Darra Adamkhel region.

Moreover, the security forces also rounded up two commanders of Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-e-Islam terror outfit from Abbottabad.

With the residents of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) evacuating their houses and army taking on the terrorists directly, human intelligence has become a very ‎risky business which is why the security forces have resorted to technical intelligence.

“Though we have ground sources which provide information about the whereabouts and movement of the militants yet the major sources of credible information are tracking and scanning mobile phone communication,” the source said.

Locals present in NWA, Tirah, Shawal, Khyber and Orakzai agencies are still coordinating with security forces by providing valuable information to the armed forces, said the source.

“However, human intelligence constitutes only 10 to 20 per cent of the total intelligence activities while the major sources of information are mobile phone intercepts. The threat alerts you get on daily basis are mostly based on mobile phone intercepts and this information needs to be verified by ground sources,” he said.

The source said that whenever a drone strikes in areas controlled by militants, mobile phone intercepts are the main source of confirmation of killings as the militants communicated with each other and were easily tracked down.

However, the information gathered through human sources and technological activities together make a success story, the source opined.

When contacted, defence analyst Brigadier (r) Asad Munir said that in the post 9/11 scenario, mobile phone scanning and other technical gadgets had replaced foot soldiers.

“Though human intelligence is still valid in the changing times but technical intelligence is cheaper and easier,” he said, adding that the information acquired through modern gadgets was relatively more credible and accurate. Besides, the risks involved in technical intelligence are minimal, he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-born Imran Aftab was traveling in 2004 when an AOL Time Warner colleague posed a rude question.

“Imran, you’re from Pakistan, yet you seem normal,” Aftab recalled. “What is the problem with the rest?”

Aftab, then director of global outsourcing at AOL, spent half an hour explaining that there was more to the millions of Pakistanis than the public perception after the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.

“People see all bad news. I thought, ‘How can I change things even at a small scale through business?’ ”

After that trip, the chemistry major decided to use his knowledge of outsourcing at AOL to start his own business that could make money while also helping his fellow citizens in Pakistan.

The business he created is called 10Pearls, a profitable custom software company based in Herndon, Va., and Pakistan. The company has more than 150 software experts supervised by Aftab’s brother in a 33,000-square-foot office in Karachi. Only about 15 employees work in Herndon.

Aftab creates customized software for all kinds of interfaces, including mobile platforms, kiosks and Web sites. Clients include NVR, Time Warner Cable, Discovery Education, National Geographic and Zubie, a spinoff of Best Buy.

For Zubie, 10Pearls helped develop an Android and Apple application that allows people to see where their cars are located, diagnose auto repair issues and track historical routes.

Although 10Pearls is relatively small, with revenues of less than $10 million, Aftab said it has been profitable since it began 11 years ago making Web pages for handyman businesses.

The company, which Aftab calls a social experiment, reminds me of the “double bottom line” businesses that Washington sports mogul Ted Leonsis espouses. That refers to business that earns profits while accomplishing some social good.

“I see that business causes positive impact,” said Aftab, who makes three visits a year to his native country. “It can change things even at a small scale. Business is a good way for people to learn about each other.”

He knew the bigger money was in developing software applications, but he had to build experience first. He quit AOL Time Warner in 2005 and worked as a consultant while he grew 10Pearls.

Bigger contracts started coming in, including one from a big telecommunications firm that needed help. During the Great Recession that started in 2008, business stagnated and 10Pearls pivoted to mobile applications.

“I could see that mobile was going to grow explosively,” he said.

The company’s big break arrived in 2011, when it won a highly competitive contract to build a mobile application for Social Radar, a Washington company started by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen. A key part of Social Radar’s business is that the app allows users to interact with people in the immediate vicinity.

The deal with Chasen helped establish 10Pearls’ credibility. That led to more and larger mobile app contracts....

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is to establish military courts to hear terrorism-related cases in the wake of a massacre at a school.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the move would help ensure "terrorists pay the price" for their "heinous acts".

Last week, Taliban fighters attacked an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 152 people, including 133 children.

Pakistan's political parties reached agreement on the new courts after meeting to discuss a national plan of action to tackle terrorism.

Mr Sharif hosted talks at which most of Pakistan's mainstream political parties were represented.

Speaking after the meeting, he gave few details about the military courts but said the deal marked an historic achievement for Pakistan.

Earlier, he said the country was in an "extraordinary situation" that needed "extraordinary actions," adding: "This nation and history will not forgive us if we don't do anything now."

He said Pakistan's politicians "should not wait for another tragedy to strike before we finally wake up".

Other measures agreed were reported to include a crackdown on hate speech and the funding of terrorist organisations.

Riaz Haq said...

Read the following excerpt from a piece titled "The myth of religious violence" that historian Karen Armstrong wrote for the Guardian recently:

If some Muslims today fight shy of secularism, it is not because they have been brainwashed by their faith but because they have often experienced efforts at secularisation in a particularly virulent form. Many regard the west’s devotion to the separation of religion and politics as incompatible with admired western ideals such as democracy and freedom. In 1992, a military coup in Algeria ousted a president who had promised democratic reforms, and imprisoned the leaders of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which seemed certain to gain a majority in the forthcoming elections. Had the democratic process been thwarted in such an unconstitutional manner in Iran or Pakistan, there would have been worldwide outrage. But because an Islamic government had been blocked by the coup, there was jubilation in some quarters of the western press – as if this undemocratic action had instead made Algeria safe for democracy. In rather the same way, there was an almost audible sigh of relief in the west when the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted from power in Egypt last year. But there has been less attention to the violence of the secular military dictatorship that has replaced it, which has exceeded the abuses of the Mubarak regime.

After a bumpy beginning, secularism has undoubtedly been valuable to the west, but we would be wrong to regard it as a universal law. It emerged as a particular and unique feature of the historical process in Europe; it was an evolutionary adaptation to a very specific set of circumstances. In a different environment, modernity may well take other forms. Many secular thinkers now regard “religion” as inherently belligerent and intolerant, and an irrational, backward and violent “other” to the peaceable and humane liberal state – an attitude with an unfortunate echo of the colonialist view of indigenous peoples as hopelessly “primitive”, mired in their benighted religious beliefs. There are consequences to our failure to understand that our secularism, and its understanding of the role of religion, is exceptional. When secularisation has been applied by force, it has provoked a fundamentalist reaction – and history shows that fundamentalist movements which come under attack invariably grow even more extreme. The fruits of this error are on display across the Middle East: when we look with horror upon the travesty of Isis, we would be wise to acknowledge that its barbaric violence may be, at least in part, the offspring of policies guided by our disdain. •