Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wave of Terror Attacks in Pakistan; Trump's Rocky Start

Who sponsored terrorism in Pakistan claiming over 100 lives last week in multiple incidents, including Lahore and Sehwan bomb blasts? Is it domestic terrorist groups inside Pakistan? Is it intended to create negative headlines to deter business and investment in Pakistan? Is it part of India's Modi's well-publicized campaign to isolate and punish Pakistan? Is to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?



Is it being orchestrated by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies supporting TTP/Jamat-ul-Ahrar based in Afghanistan? Is Pakistan justified in closing the Afghan-Pakistan border and launching attacks on terror bases inside Afghanistan? How deep should Pakistan go in pursuit of terrorists in Afghanistan?

Source: Economist Magazine

Can Pakistan government alone accomplish de-radicalization of terrorists and their sympathizers? What is the role of educators, mass media, entertainers, civil society and other groups? Can it be done quickly? How long would it take?

How's President Donald Trump's administration doing so far? Why is it having such a rocky start? Why are hate groups and hate crimes against minorities rising across America? Is it similar to the situation in Modi's India where attacks against minorities up sharply, according to USCIRF? Why are America's allies concerned about US commitments to their security? What must Mr. Trump do to improve his administration's performance?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/VIEfYOt0bbQ




https://vimeo.com/204799658


Who is behind the latest spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan Trump’s first month from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Ex US Def Sec Hagel: India Finances Trouble in Pakistan

Has Modi Stepped Up Terror Attacks in Pakistan?

USCIRF: Attacks on Minorities Up Sharply in India

Massive Growth of Hate Groups in Trump's America

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Trump's Muslim Ban, Mexico Wall

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel



22 comments:

Ahsan H. said...

Things were a lot better when
Gen. Raheel was in charge of the
anti-terror operations in the country.
The wave of attacks has resumed now
that he is gone. You have to wonder if there is a connection here between the two or if this is merely coincidental?

Extremely disheartening.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's market up 500% since 2009, and 56% in 12 months—leaving #India, #China far behind. How high can it go?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/02/19/pakistans-red-hot-market-how-high-can-it-go/#83d9bbc19903

Pakistan’s stock market has been red hot in recent years. The country’s main KSE index has soared close to 500% since 2009, and 56% in the last twelve months—leaving neighboring markets in India and China far behind.

Pakistan’s stock market rally has been driven by a number of favorable economic fundamentals, such as an improving macroeconomic environment—rising economic growth and falling inflation and interest rates. The country’s economy grew close to 6 percent in 2016, up from 4.8 percent in 2015, with inflation running around 4 percent, down from 10 percent four years ago. And the 10 year Treasury bond is yielding 8 percent, down from 12.5 percent four years ago.

Then there are a couple of overseas endorsements for Pakistan’s market reforms. Like $1 billion in support from the World Bank, a spike in domestic acquisitions from foreign suitors, and the inclusion of Pakistan’s market into MSCI’s emerging market index.

Adding to these fundamentals is investor hype about the potential of the Pakistani economy which could take the equity market much higher.

How much higher? It’s hard to say.

What isn’t hard to say is that the usual red flags that killed previous market rallies are rising again. One of these flags is the growing current account deficit, which confirms that the country is trying to live beyond its means. Another red flag is persistent government deficits and rising external debt. Add falling foreign currency reserves, and Pakistan is vulnerable to the next spike in global interest rates that can crush its market.

Wait, there’s more. There’s poor infrastructure that creates bottlenecks, which could push prices of basic commodities, and eventually interest rates, higher. Besides, Pakistan is heavily reliant on imported oil, which has almost doubled from a year

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Super League #PSL2 final to be held in #Lahore after #LahoreBlast and #SehwanBlast. #Cricket #T20

http://www.dawn.com/news/1315921/pakistan-super-league-final-to-be-held-in-lahore

In a meeting held in Dubai on Monday between the Pakistan Super League (PSL) management and the owners of the team franchises, it was decided that the final for the tournament will be held in Lahore.

“It has been heart-warming to see the dedication of all owners to the cause of taking cricket back home and the realisation that this final will be the first step in opening the gates to international teams starting to make the journey again," Najam Sethi said while talking to the media after the meeting.

"We are all committed to this mission and wish to have a thoroughly entertaining final where it should happen — in Lahore,” he added.

Earlier, due to security concerns following the Feb 13 suicide bombing in Lahore which killed 13, there had been speculation that the PSL final may not be held in Pakistan after all.

Nonetheless, PSL Chairman Najam Sethi had promised cricket fans that the final would still be held in Lahore, in the absence of foreign players, if the fans did not want the venue to change following last week's bombing.

In a tweet following the meeting, Sethi said, "PSL management and franchises resolve to hold Final in Lahore. We invite PM, COAS and CMs to attend the match at Gadafi Stadium."

“The foreign players have refused to play the final in Lahore after Monday’s blast, but if the citizens of Pakistan want the PSL final to be held in Lahore [...] then the final will be held in Lahore," Sethi had said in his statement.

Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, said on Monday that they decided to remain on the same page with the PSL in the national spirit.

"Cricket is what unites the nation. Our decision on the final was made in the meeting with PSL Chairman Najam Sethi."

On Sunday, star player Shahid Afridi had also urged the authorities that PSL's season two final be held in Pakistan.

“The final, as announced, should be held in Pakistan, with or without international players,” he had said in a post-match press conference.

“This is about respect, we can play with our local players, but I request overseas players who have supported PSL to also come to Pakistan and continue their support,” he had added.

“Pakistan Cricket Board should look at the situation, and if things are not working out [in Lahore], we have options,” he said. “We have the Pindi stadium, we have a stadium in Karachi. I hope the cricket board will take a good decision.”

PSL will give franchisees the option to draft new players in case contracted international stars opt out of the March 5 final at Lahore due to security reasons.

“On Feb 22, we will do a new draft... we will put a formula in front of all the franchises and foreign players to let us know who will play the final in Lahore and who will not come,” Sethi had said earlier.

International stars, including West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, Shane Watson of Australia and England's Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan, are among 30 foreign players contracted to the five teams in the PSL Twenty20 tournament.

Sethi said he had also been in contact with several foreign players who indicated they would still be willing to play the final in Lahore.

“We are in touch with other foreign players so that we could replace those (contracted international) players who are not willing to play in Lahore.”

Quetta Gladiators batsman Kevin Pietersen, who hails from England, had earlier said he had yet to decide whether to come to Pakistan or not if the PSL final is played in Lahore.

“I haven’t decided to go or not as yet, I will take the decision regarding coming to Pakistan if my team reaches the final,” said Pietersen.


Riaz Haq said...

Ex US Def Sec Chuck Hagel has said India has been funding terror in Pakistan via Afghanistan for long. https://youtu.be/IGvXPgXsKTE

Tambi Dude said...

Chuck said that before he joined the administration in 2013. On the other hand, in 2010, sitting secretary of state Hillary Clinton said this "You don't raise snakes in your backyard with the hope it only bites the neighbor". I wonder why products of cousin marriage a.k.a Pakistanis do not remember this statement from a senior person in administration.

Riaz Haq said...

TD: "Chuck said that before he joined the administration in 2013. On the other hand, in 2010, sitting secretary of state Hillary Clinton said this "You don't raise snakes in your backyard with the hope it only bites the neighbor". I wonder why products of cousin marriage a.k.a Pakistanis do not remember this statement from a senior person in administration."

Chuck Hagel had already served on US Senate Intelligence Committee and US Senate Foreign Relations Committee by 2011 when he said this. He had the benefit of US intelligence shared with him on Afghanistan prior to that.

Riaz Haq said...

#terror outfit jamaat ul ahrar that claimed responsibility for #SehwanAttack in #Pakistan has website in #India

http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/376050-JamaatulAhrars-website-operated-from-India

A major breakthrough was made in the investigation of Lahore blast. It was revealed that the website of terrorist organization Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is being operated from within India.

The IP address of the terrorist outfit that masterminded the horrific blast in Lahore was traced from the city Chennai in India.

It must be noted here that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed full responsibility of blast in Punjab’s provincial capital while uploading the photograph of suicide bomber on its social media account.

Earlier, the security forces had arrested a facilitator named Anwar ul Haq of the suicide bomber in Lahore blast. His two brothers Khalilullah and Hameedullah were also arrested upon identification.

http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/376050-JamaatulAhrars-website-operated-from-India

#terror outfit jamaat ul ahrar responsible for #SehwanAttack in #Pakistan has website in #India https://youtu.be/2GZ8XgvGBrU via @YouTube

Hamdum said...

This is laughable. My shoe business is located in California and manufacturing is done in China and website is maintained by a Scottish firm who outsource some work to Kochi India - that is the location of the IP ADDRESS AS WELL!

NBRX said...

A public IP address, in common parlance, is a globally routable unicast IP address, meaning that the address is not an address reserved for use in private networks, such as those reserved by RFC 1918, or the various IPv6 address formats of local scope or site-local scope, for example for link-local addressing. Public IP addresses may be used for communication between hosts on the global Internet.

Riaz Haq said...

Humdum: "This is laughable. My shoe business is located in California and manufacturing is done in China and website is maintained by a Scottish firm who outsource some work to Kochi India - that is the location of the IP ADDRESS AS WELL!"


This is not an innocent mistake if indeed the news is correct.

Jamaat ul Ahrar is a UN listed terrorist group; it's not a legitimate business like your shoe business in California with an IP address in India.

Raghuvandaram said...

Sir, the startling news and Chennai link is completely absent in any major news channel paper or magazine online.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump silent about #terror attacks in #Muslim nations while condemning phantom terror attacks in West #Islamophobia

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/22/what-a-bombing-in-pakistan-says-about-the-trump-administration/?utm_term=.8860dd64206d

there has always been a huge blind spot in Trump's worldview. When groups like the Islamic State launch attacks outside the West, slaughtering scores of Muslims, Trump remains curiously silent. On Thursday, for example, an Islamic State-linked suicide bomber killed at least 73 people at a famous Sufi shrine in the southern Pakistani town of Sehwan.

Did this hideous massacre — and other deadly bombings in Baghdad and Mogadishu around the same time — get any real acknowledgement from the White House? No. Instead, the American news conversation was dominated by Trump's conjuring of a phantom Islamist attack in Sweden over the weekend. Fake news overshadowed real suffering.

What happened in Sehwan was deeply important, and its absence from the White House's talking points is telling.

"The Sehwan shrine is dedicated to one of Sufism's most revered saints, Syed Muhammad Usman Marwandi, better known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar," explained my colleague Max Bearak. "He mostly lived in the 11th century and roamed far and wide, seeking guidance in the spiritual capitals of Medina and Karbala before settling in Sehwan, along the banks of the Indus River. The shrine honoring the preacher is at least 650 years old."

The shrine was attacked while a huge throng of devotees gathered there in revelry. Sufism is a strain of Islam particularly common in South Asia — home to a population of Muslims larger than that of the Middle East — that is intertwined with older pre-Islamic traditions and suffused with mysticism, poetry and appeals to cosmic love. Sufism was the religion of wandering seers and storytellers, renegade mystics and barefoot sages.

In other words, it's the sort of thing fundamentalist jihadists hate. Sufi shrines in Pakistan have long been targets of the Taliban and other militant outfits. The Sehwan shrine drew not only Muslim devotees, both Sunni and Shiite, but Hindus, too. It was testament to a deeply embedded pluralism in the land that's now Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC is world's most significant geopolitical & geo-economic project. #Aman17 #China #Pakistan http://www.afr.com/news/world/asia/pakistan-and-china-find-a-common-interest-linked-by-economics-and-the-military-20170220-gugxnr … via @FinancialReview

The Pakistan port of Karachi has just played host to a multi-national naval exercise, involving military ships from 36 countries including from the Royal Australian Navy. The exercises was focused on defending sea trade routes; the all-important Indian Ocean lies to the south of the Arabian Sea.

AMAN-17 (aman means 'peace' in Urdu) was a chance for the nuclear-armed and fast-growing Pakistan Navy to show off its latest acquisitions, which include two new Chinese built warships.

The objective in bringing together vessels from the UK, US, Indonesia and China, among others, was to build a coalition on maritime issues and develop tactics against non-traditional threats such as smuggling.

India was conspicuous by its absence — not surprisingly given 70 years of war tension on both sides over Kashmir, nuclearisation and state-sponsored terrorism.

Apart from the normalised security threat, it was the opportunity for discussion of the massive economic and geopolitical challenges which informed much of the talk, especially with a view to China.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an audacious project funded by more than US$56 billion in loans from Beijing to give China trade access to a new mega-port called Gwadar in Pakistan.

The project involves railways, roads and power stations leading from the south of Pakistan through some of the most rugged and unstable parts of the country to the border with China in the north. It is, in the words of Pakistan's defence minister, Khawja Muhammad Asif, a 'game-changer'.

The land link, and the transformation of Gwadar into a large and secure hub, would shave two weeks off the travel time of shipping from China's east coast to the Middle East and beyond.

----


A maritime conference being held in tandem with the AMAN 17 exercises pointed to the CPEC project as a key to the overdue economic development not just of Pakistan but also the western Indian Ocean region.


-----

Dennis Rumley, professor of Indian Ocean Studies at Curtin University in Perth, says if the sums add up CPEC could be one of the world's most significant geopolitical and geo-economic projects.

"Of course the Chinese want access to the Indian Ocean and why not? The problem with that access is it's going to take billions of dollars, it's going to the construction of railway that'll take at least five years in the best-case scenario and it's going to run through a region which is highly insecure," he said.

"You have to solve all those problems first and of course the money is not a grant it's a loan and there's a real possibility that given the economic situation in Pakistan they may be unable to repay the loan. So the long-term issues are rather fragile."

But Sydney-based funds manager Jack Lowenstein of Morphic Asset Management, who is a keen investor and visitor to Pakistan, has a more bullish take on the project.

He predicts the country's economic growth will pick up from 3-4 per cent to 5 per cent within a few years and CPEC will bring much-needed investment particularly to correct the nation's chronic power shortage.

"We believe the Chinese have far too much 'face' at stake to pull out and we see no evidence of the Pakistanis doing anything other than rolling out a very large red carpet," he said.

Almost 40 per cent of the world's trade passes through the Indian Ocean including most of Australia's fuel and food and the RAN has been active in the region and the Gulf since 1990.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan enhancing its #military capability to combat #terrorism. Buying more new equipment. #RaddulFasaad

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/pakistan-enhancing-its-military-capability-to-combat-terrorism-117022300253_1.html

Pakistan has speeded up its efforts to fight terrorists as it is silently enhancing its military capability by acquiring equipment and weapons required to combat terrorism.

This move comes after a recent wave of terror attacks in Pakistan which have claimed more than 100 lives.


Three such deals involving helicopters and military vehicles have been reported by the U.S. media.

Pakistan had earlier this week, concluded a deal for purchasing an unspecified number of AW139 helicopters with an Italian aerospace and defence firm, Leonardo S.p.A, reports Dawn.

Pakistan is also acquiring weapons from the United States (U.S.) despite uncertainty about bilateral relations with the latter under the Trump administration.

The sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan was stopped by the U.S. Congress last year but this did not affect Pakistan's move to acquire weapons needed to fight terrorism.

According to U.S. media reports, three Bell AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopters would be delivered to Pakistan by an American aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter in 2017.

Four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters would also be received by Pakistan this year.

In an another deal, Pakistan signed USD 35million contract with a US firm, Navistar Defence, for manufacturing 40 mine-resistant ambush-protected MaxxPro Dash DXM vehicles.

The manufacturing of 40 mine-resistant ambush-protected MaxxPro Dash DXM vehicles will be completed by October 31 next year and will be manufactured in in West Point, Mississippi.

The vehicles will be used by Pakistan to protect troops against attacks from jihadist militants and other insurgents in the country, said a press release announcing the deal.

ejaz khan said...

Blaming Afghanistan or India serves the ISI/Military narrative well forgetting; however, it was Pakistan who among other fundamentalist groups gave birth to the Taliban. The dangerous fire that Pakistan started to harm its neighbours many years ago and which Pakistan continues to fuel, is now burning Pakistan itself!

Nevertheless, the blame game, the propaganda and the usual narrative of existential threats, no matter how faulty, will become more vigorous.

Riaz Haq said...

From Economist Magazine:

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21717420-there-much-pakistan-could-do-put-its-own-house-order-pakistan-blames-afghanistan

It is true that Islamic State, the TTP and many other groups have bases inside Afghanistan. Afghan spooks may well provide them some assistance (in 2013 American special forces caught a leader of the TTP on his way to Kabul for secret talks). But the beleaguered government in Kabul, which has lost much of its territory to the Taliban insurgency, is in no position to satisfy Pakistan’s demand that it detain particular militants. They are based in areas where its writ is minimal or non-existent.

Moreover, the Afghan government is beleaguered in part because the Afghan Taliban has itself long enjoyed sanctuary on Pakistan’s side of the border. This week the Afghan government announced that its forces had killed Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a Taliban leader repeatedly captured and released by Pakistan. With many more of the Taliban’s leaders, bomb-makers and indoctrinators beyond the reach of Afghan troops and their allies in NATO, it has proved impossible to defeat the 16-year insurgency. Yet Pakistan has shielded the Taliban because it sees the group as its only ally in Afghanistan, a country it fears is too cosy with India, its arch-rival.

While the army harasses Afghanistan, there is much that Pakistan could do to fight terrorism domestically. A National Action Plan drawn up in the wake of the massacre of more than 130 schoolboys by the TTP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2014 has not been fully implemented. Regulation and reform of madrassas, religious schools that foster militancy, has been half-hearted. Notorious peddlers of sectarianism remain at large. It does not help that the army wants an even bigger role in domestic security—a source of tension with the civilian authorities. There is nothing Afghanistan can do about all that.

Riaz Haq said...

#Land rush around #Pakistan's #Gwadar port triggered by #Chinese investment | Reuters #CPEC

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKBN16215Q
Pakistani real estate giant Rafi Group made a ten-fold profit last year from its sale of hundreds of acres of land in the remote fishing town of Gwadar, acquired soon after the government announced plans for a deep-sea port there.

The windfall came after 12 years of waiting patiently for the Gwadar port to emerge as the centrepiece of China's ambitious plans for a trade and energy corridor stretching from the Persian Gulf, across Pakistan, into western Xinjiang.

"We had anticipated the Chinese would need a route to the Arabian Sea," Rafi Group Chief Executive Shehriar Rafi told Reuters. "And today, all routes lead back to Gwadar."

Gwadar forms the southern Pakistan hub of a $57-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure and energy projects Beijing announced in 2014.

Since then, land prices have skyrocketed as property demand has spiked, and dozens of real estate firms want to cash in.

"Gwadar is a 'Made in China' brand and everyone wants a piece," said realtor Afzal Adil, one of several who shifted operations from the eastern city of Lahore in 2015.

Last year, Pakistan welcomed the first large shipment of Chinese goods at Gwadar, where the China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd took over operations in 2013. It plans to eventually handle 300 million to 400 million tons of cargo a year.

It also aims to develop seafood processing plants in a nearby free trade zone sprawled over 923 hectares (2,281 acres).

The route through Gwadar offers China its shortest path to the oil-rich Middle East, Africa, and most of the Western hemisphere, besides promising to open up remote, landlocked Xinjiang.

Last year, the Applied Economics Research Centre estimated the corridor would create 700,000 jobs in Pakistan and a Chinese newspaper recently put the number at more than 2 million.

Authorities have completed an expressway through Gwadar, which has a 350-km (218-mile) road network. A new international airport kicks off next year, to handle an influx of hundreds of Chinese traders and officials expected to live near the port.

The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan's largest real estate database, Zameen.com, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month.

"It's like a gold rush," said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan. "Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar."

Prices, which have risen two- to four-fold on average, are climbing "on a weekly basis," said Saad Arshed, the Pakistan managing director of online real estate marketplace Lamudi.pk.

Regional fishermen have held strikes during the last two years, to protest against being displaced by the port.

To keep pace with the interest, urban officials are struggling to computerise land management and record-keeping. "We are trying to upgrade as fast as we can," said Zakir Majeed, an official of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).

But Gwadar lacks basic education and health facilities, in contrast to the gleaming towers and piped drinking water of the "smart city" envisioned by the GDA.

"For commercial projects, things are moving fast," Lamudi's Arshed said. "But people actually living there, that will take a long time."

Port officials expect the population to hit 2 million over the next two decades, from about 185,000 now.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army Winning the war on #terror. #ZarbeAzb #RaddulFasaad http://dailym.ai/2myA42c via @MailOnline

Winning the war on terror: From the badlands of Pakistan where Al Qaeda planned their attacks on Britain, PETER OBORNE, the first Western journalist to visit this epicentre of terror files a riveting dispatch


For more than a decade, the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan has been the deadly epicentre of global terror.
This mountainous area on the remote Afghan border was the secure base from which Taliban and Al Qaeda warlords launched attacks across the world.
Many have been aimed at Britain.

For example, it was from here that Rashid Rauf (the Al Qaeda terrorist who at the time was described as ‘one of the world’s most wanted’) masterminded the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 which killed 52 and injured more than 770 people.
Rauf — born in Pakistan but radicalised by a sect in Birmingham in his late teens after moving to Britain in the early Eighties — was also suspected of being the ringleader of a foiled plot to detonate liquid explosives on a transatlantic plane in 2006, which a senior British policeman said would have caused ‘mass murder on an unimaginable scale’.

I have travelled regularly to Pakistan ever since the darkest days of the country’s descent into terror. At times, the country seemed on the verge of collapse. Indeed, at one point it was regarded by global intelligence agencies, including Britain’s MI6, as the most dangerous state in the world.
This week, I was the first Western journalist in many years to travel to the North Waziristan capital, Miranshah.
Until recently, it was from these streets that Taliban commanders ordered public beheadings and Al Qaeda chiefs groomed innocent children as young as ten to be suicide bombers.
It seemed unimaginable back then that Al Qaeda and the Taliban would be driven out of Pakistan’s tribal territories. Yet the Pakistan army now claims that every last Taliban fighter has been expelled.

It is nothing short of miraculous that Pakistan survived after so many atrocities and disasters.
This, then, is a story of optimism; of how the men of terror can be taken on and defeated.
After a sustained assault, Pakistani troops managed to take control of Miranshah. The terrorists fled — but left a scene of heartbreaking devastation.
Entire streets were reduced to rubble. The city’s ancient market, once home to more than 600 shops, was flattened.

The blight of terrorism in the area dates back to 9/11 in 2001, and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan by the Western allies in revenge for the attacks on America.
In order to escape pursuing British and U.S. troops, Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, including the latter group’s leader Osama Bin Laden, fled from their traditional strongholds in Afghanistan into the tribal areas of Pakistan.
They were safe here under the protection of local tribes, many of whom had strong links to Afghanistan.
In due course, the Taliban used their new bases in Waziristan to attack British and American forces in Afghanistan.
Thousands of foreign fighters, including British Jihadis such as Rashid Rauf, who had been a student at Portsmouth University and had worked for a bakery in Birmingham, flocked to join them.
The Pakistan army was duly placed under huge pressure from the West to attack the Taliban in these tribal hideouts.
After protracted battles, the Pakistan military finally managed to clear the region of its last terrorist stronghold. But not before the Taliban had launched numerous reprisal attacks inside Pakistan itself, engulfing the country in a bloody civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Moeen said...

Terrorists are just the leaves on a smaller branch that grows out from a bigger branch that ultimately leads to the thick trunk of jihadism. The root system of terrorism is actually the culture that allows breeding of terrorists. Poor decisions based on ill advised proxy confrontations of the past and promotion of false narratives has provided nourishment to this culture at the root level.

Killing terrorists has been successful by ZeA but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan: #Afghanistan Border to Remain Shut Until X-Border #Terrorism Concerns Addressed. #India #NDS #RAW #TTP

http://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-indefinitely-closes-border-afghanistan/3756763.html

Pakistan is defying calls for permanently opening the border with landlocked Afghanistan, asserting that terrorist attacks emanating from the neighboring country continue to hurt Pakistani citizens and security forces.

A string of deadly suicide bombings across Pakistan last month prompted authorities to close all regular crossings for movements of people and trade convoys across the largely porous frontier spanning roughly 2,600 kilometers.

The move also halted transit of containerized cargo, an economic lifeline of Afghanistan, which is dependent on Pakistani ports.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, reiterated Thursday that fugitives linked to the anti-state Pakistani Taliban and affiliates of Islamic State are plotting the violence from across the border, pointing to statements the militants have made taking credit for it.

"The decision of the closure of the border was actually the security context ... to protect our own citizens from the dastardly attacks which were continuing from the other side of the border by those terrorist groups who are enjoying sanctuaries in Afghanistan," Zakaria told a news conference in Islamabad.

The Pakistan military earlier this week alleged that militants staged cross-border raids on its outposts, killing five soldiers.


The Afghan government says it has nothing to do with the violence and has criticized Pakistan for shutting the border. Kabul has called for the border's immediate opening to legitimate migration and trade.

Independent critics and some Pakistani commentators have emphasized the need for resolving political differences through diplomatic channels, rather than resorting to punitive measures such as closing the border.

Zakaria said that Pakistan has taken steps to strengthen security and tighten monitoring on its side under a comprehensive border management plan, and is urging the Afghan government to do the same for effectively deterring movement of terrorists in both directions.

“This border management is the most important aspect as far as we are concerned to control the cross-border terrorism and movement of terrorists who are actually hurting both sides. This is in the interest of both the countries to cooperate and this is what we had been talking about with Afghanistan,” the spokesman maintained.

Riaz Haq said...

#LeJ Militant Commander From #Punjab #Pakistan Reportedly Killed in US Drone Strike in Paktika #Afghanistan
http://www.voanews.com/a/pakistani-militant-commander-reportedly-killed-in-us-drone-strike/3776029.html

A U.S. drone airstrike in southeastern Afghanistan has killed a Pakistani militant commander accused of involvement in several deadly attacks, Pakistani media reported.

Qari Mohammad Yasin, also known as Ustad Aslam, and three other militants were targeted by a U.S. unmanned aircraft that struck his car on Sunday in the Afghan province of Paktika bordering Pakistan, according to Pakistani security sources.

U.S. officials did not respond to a VOA request seeking comment. The Pentagon routinely does not comment on drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Masterminded suicide attacks

The 51-year-old Yasin, who was from Pakistan's Punjab province, had a bounty of about $48,000 on his head. Punjab authorities named him one of the most wanted men who masterminded several suicide attacks in different parts of the country.

He was involved in several high-profile terrorist attacks in Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence. The attacks included one on a bus carrying Sri Lanka's cricket team in 2009 and a bomb blast at Data Darbar, a Sufi shrine in Lahore. Specialized in training suicide bombers, Yasin also was an expert in making improvised explosive devices, authorities say.

According to reports, Yasin also was associated with the Amjad Farooqi group, a militant organization that engineered two assassination attempts against former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in 2003. Later, Yasin became a key member of the Punjabi Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida's subcontinent chapter in Pakistan and other militant groups that fight government and international forces in Afghanistan.

Yasin's death confirmed

Pakistan's military has been carrying out an operation to clear militants from the tribal region of Punjab since 2014. The operation has forced many Pakistani militants to cross into neighboring Afghan provinces.

Ali bin Sufyan, a spokesperson for the Pakistani militant organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami, confirmed Yasin's death, saying the group carried out a bomb attack against Pakistan's military in the southwestern province of Baluchistan as “revenge.”

Al Alami is an offspring of the militant sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organization in Pakistan, which has ties to the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaida and most recently Islamic State militants. The group has been linked by law enforcement to high-profile attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A Pakistani militant who claimed to be one of the spokespersons for the Pakistani Taliban said the group would target U.S. forces in Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan to avenge Yasin's death.

Riaz Haq said...

Can #Pakistan’s Banned Organizations Rejoin the Mainstream? #JuD #JeM #ASWJ @Diplomat_APAC http://thediplomat.com/2017/06/can-pakistans-banned-organizations-rejoin-the-mainstream/

“Though Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) is not listed as a political organization but it is a political entity, we want to register JuD as a political party. We played a positive role in the politics and we want to continue it,” said Hafiz Masood in Islamabad on March 27 this year.

Masood, brother of JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was speaking in a closed-door session on “Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Different Brands of Militants.” The discussion, organized by the think tank Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), centered on the reintegration of banned outfits like Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ).

Later, during a press briefing on April 26, the spokesman of the Pakistan Army, Major General Asif Ghafour, released a confessional video statement from Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesman of the banned Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In April last year, he handed over two deradicalization plans to Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan. The first proposal was to be implemented through the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the other was under the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). There was a role assigned to at least six different government departments in the proposed plan.

The proposal was to segregate different kinds of extremist on the basis of their history and nature of involvement in militancy. Some individuals are associated with the welfare work of banned outfits and some are part of the propaganda arm, while others actually take up arms against the state. Therefore, each individual would be reviewed according to his level of involvement in militant activities.

Pakistan is not the only country trying to develop a mechanism to rehabilitate militants. Deradicalization plans for repentant militants already exist in the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Morocco, and Jordan adopted such plans much earlier. Pakistan has another significant example: neighboring Afghanistan, where Hezb-i-Islami has announced it will shun violence and join mainstream politics in the country. The United Nations lifted its ban on the Hezb-i-Islami chief, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, in February this year. The historic move was a result of a deal that was brokered between the Afghan government and Hekmatyar.

Pakistan is also running at least two deredicalization centers – Sabaon and Mashal – in the Sawat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Explaining the rationale of new proposed deredicalization program, retired Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib said that in January 2004, under orders from General (retd.) and then-President Pervez Musharraf, camps of banned outfits were dismantled and the militants were flushed out. It was a big blunder; for two years these men had been motivated and trained to wage jihad and then suddenly they were asked to vacate the area. “Those elements perceived that Pakistan betrayed the cause of Kashmir and [that’s when] Punjabi Taliban was formed. At that time nobody thought of starting a deradicalization program,” Shoaib explained.

Shuja Nawaz, a fellow at the Washington, DC-based South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council does not see rapid movement toward these goals given the lack of careful consideration of the deradicalization and de-weaponizing of Pakistani society. He believes that ties between these shadowy jihadi groups and the political system prevent firm actions. Nawaz, who author of the book Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within, says, “Mainstreaming can only occur when wider actions alter the school systems and curricula and to remove the vestiges of Ziaist [referring to General Zia-ul-Haq] policies and systems in both the civil and military are effected. That needs political gumption, a rare commodity in Pakistan today.”